I'm quite the fan of horror stories. I've seen hundreds of films, many of which are clearly a campfire tale told to scare children. Every now and then, you happen upon a horror film that's "based on a true story". Even these seem thin by comparison. Having enjoyed hundreds of horror movies and read dozens of scary novels, I've become somewhat immune to the shock value of many of them. What still gets me excited is hearing urban legends and ghost stories that have happened to people in my life. Stories told outside of the Hollywood backdrop. But again, I'm aware that they are just that; stories. To me, this "true story" seemed anything but...
Eddie, Dean and I were sitting in the bed of Eddie's truck, drinking a few beers and just telling stories. I was busy at school the evening prior so they had gone for a drive up in the mountains. I had taken this drive before as it was the only way to get to the local lake. I was not too interested in a driving story unless there were sketchy hitchhikers or a car being stranded in an abandoned area. Seeing as how Eddie and Dean were sitting in front of me, I doubted either of those events had happened. But I politely listened, hoping that there was a saving grace to this tale.
Eddie told me that they stopped to take a piss right outside of the dam entrance. They both armed their pistols, stepped out of the truck and went to take care of business. Dean had started to make his way back to the truck when he had heard a noise. He pulled his gun and Eddie followed suit. This is when I stopped politely listening and started attentively listening..
Dean kept walking towards the truck, pistol pointed out. Eddie grabbed a flashlight out of the passenger door and tossed it to Dean. Dean shone the light about twenty yards away from them. What they saw, terrified even me, and I wasn't there to experience it.
Eddie gave me a full description of what he saw.
"Well, at first I thought it was a coyote or mountain lion or something. It's hard to see out there. It was sitting there until we shone our lights on it. It immediately stood up on two legs and looked back at us. It was a tall creature, maybe six feet tall, and had these spike things up its back. Red eyes. Sharp teeth. Nothing like I had ever seen before. Dean popped off a shot and it ran faster than seems possible for a creature its size."
My eyes were wide open. Now this was a story. I pulled out my phone and searched for an image. I showed it to Eddie and he stopped talking mid-sentence.
"That's it.... that's what I saw."
I confirmed this with Dean and he nodded and promptly (yet nervously) lit a cigarette, slowly turning his head as if to check if something was watching us.
The image I had shown them was a rendering sketch of the chupacabra.
We live in Arizona, so the myth of the chupacabra was relevant in this region of the States. Reluctant as I was to go on a real "ghost hunt", we all piled into Eddie's truck the next day and made the trip out there. I had to see for myself whether something was out there or if this was a joke bred from boredom.
After encountering the beast a few days ago, Dean and Eddie has increased their firepower. Significantly. In the truck now was three pistols, two shotguns, a rifle, about half a dozen flashlights, a coyote call, and about twelve pounds of beef jerky. It was a few hour drive to the dam so I shut my eyes for the first hour or so.
Eddie reached to the back seat and tapped me awake. We were pulling over on the side of the road.
"Hey, we gotta leak. Grab the pistol next to you and stand guard."
What did he mean, stand guard? From what? I rubbed my eyes and grabbed the gun. Dean was much braver than Eddie in that he walked a good fifty yards away to piss. Eddie walked no further than ten feet. I pulled a flashlight and shone it around. The truck had been pulled to the side of the road, up against the side of a small mountain. My light hit a cave type formation in the middle of the mountain. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end and I silently urged the guys to hurry up.
"Guys, come here!" Dean yelled from the distance. Eddie left the truck running and we ran over to Dean on the other side of the road, pistols at the ready. We were terrified but we reached Dean.
"Look at this!" We followed his finger to see a puddle of urine. "Big gulps, man."
He zipped up his zipper and we punched him and made our way back to the truck. The truck was no longer running, a detail we had failed to notice at the time.
I was wide awake now so I kept my eyes fixated out the window. The road was a narrow and windy road carved out of the mountains so there wasn't much to see other than the mountainside ten feet away from the truck. Another hour had passed and we pulled over at a scenic overview spot to stretch. I didn't get out of the truck completely, I was uncomfortable and honestly, a little uneasy. I still wasn't sure if they were yanking my chain or if this was a real adventure. Dean reached in the back and grabbed a shotgun. "Let's hike down to that ridge over there." I did not see where he was pointing. It was pitch black and the moon was nowhere to be seen but I again grabbed the pistol and a flashlight and followed him down. Eddie followed behind.
We hiked for a few minutes, barely able to see where we were stepping. We were far enough from the truck that I could not see it anymore. Somehow, that tiny truck made me feel safer than being exposed out in the open. We stopped at a ridge and Dean threw a rock down into the river below. He clearly had been here before and was showing us around. I looked at Eddie and he smiled. I know that smile, he was about to screw with me. He quickly reached into his pocket and pulled out the coyote call and in one fast motion sounded it off. This scared the shit out of me.
He called it again but this time, there was a response. Great, there were coyotes in the area. I was used to coyotes and did not fear them. If they get close enough you can kick them and win that fight. What the coyotes did next, however, chilled my bones. They were howling in response and then suddenly they stopped. Not as if they had lost interest but as if they were interrupted. Dean cocked his shotgun and we started to make our way back to the truck. I'm glad I'm not the only one who had noticed the incident.
We hopped in the truck and took off before the doors were shut. Not a word was said for a good five minutes. I leaned forward into the front seat and looked at Eddie.
"What the hell was that?" There was a pause and then Eddie laughed.
"You're an ass," I said chuckling as I sat back down. The mood needed to be lightened after that frightening experience so Eddie threw on some country music and we cranked the speakers. There's no one out here to hear it and complain anyway.
We were acting like idiots, singing Garth Brooks and Johnny Cash at the top of our lungs. We had all cheered up and let our guard down. A small bridge had appeared just around the corner. Dean turned the radio down and continued driving.
"Almost there." I didn't have to ask where we were, I knew what he meant. Eddie slowly pulled out the coyote call but I saw him and yanked it out of his hands.
"Nice try, buddy." I chucked it into the back seat.
There was an uncomfortable silence as we crossed the bridge. We touched land on the other side and an immediate sensation of danger overcame us followed rapidly by feelings of uneasiness and paranoia. We were trespassing something's territory and being watched. Never had I felt eyes on the back of my neck so vibrant. Dean was driving awfully slow, as the road had thickened up and was not as well maintained as the rest. Eddie put down the beef jerky and turned the radio off completely. He motioned for his guns and I began passing them out. I attached the pistol to my hip and held the rifle in my lap. I attached two flashlights to my belt. I felt as if I were about to engage in a firefight.
Two minutes had passed and we came upon a little shack in a parking lot. Eddie mentioned that this was the bathroom they had stopped at a few days ago. My heart sank. I'll just stay in the car, I thought to myself. Dean parked the truck with the passenger side next to the shack and we all exited the vehicle, hesitantly. The bathroom doors were closed. None of us had to use the restroom so we walked down the walkway to the lookout over the dam. It's a long walk in the dark with nothing more lighting the area than three dim lights on top of the dam nearly a mile away. We got to the covered walkway at the end and stared at the dam for a bit.
Dean had leaned his gun against the railing and pulled out his phone and started playing creepy music. I chuckled and started to walk back to the truck. I feel they had been having a laugh at my expense. I holstered my pistol and strapped the rifle to my back. There was nothing to be worried about. But as all stories go, once you let your guard down; the threat strikes.
I was leading us up the walkway, humming along to the creepy music on Dean's phone. Simultaneously, they both shoved me out of the way, guns drawn. They ran ahead a few feet and my hand reached for my pistol. I had felt something watching us but didn't want to point it out, knowing that the guys were messing with me. But this... this was real.
Dean unlocked the truck as we continued to run up the walkway. I turned on my flashlight and we picked up the pace. We were not alone. Eddie hopped in the driver's seat and Dean and I approached the passenger side. We both noticed that the bathroom door that was previously closed, was now open little more than a crack. There was something in there, something with the capability of opening up a heavy steel door. We both hopped in the truck and Eddie started to peel out. The door was ajar and in the darkness of the portal opening, I swear I saw two reddish yellow eyes.
My breathing became labored and in that moment, I believed their story. Eddie was driving close to one hundred miles per hour down the mountain, trying to escape the terrain of the predator we had narrowly escaped. They had mentioned to me in their story the night before that there was a giant "government tunnel" in the side of the mountain that resembled CIA or FBI entrances to secret bases from the movies. Well, we passed it on the way down the mountain and the entrance was open without a guard or vehicle in sight. We slowed down to get a closer look. At a quick glance, the tunnel appeared to go on forever, with nothing more than a small dim light placed every ten feet along the way. Maybe this creature was the work of some government bullshit...
We kept driving in silence, too afraid to admit what we all felt. What we all saw. I kept my eyes closed, too scared to open them. I feared that if maybe I looked out the window, the creature would be running alongside the truck or perhaps even residing in the bed. It had been five or six minutes since we left the rest stop and I opened my eyes. I looked at the time on the truck mirror and noticed that the temperature gauge had read eighty-eight degrees. Arizona is never that warm in January and especially not at two or three in the morning. I thought maybe Eddie's truck was malfunctioning but after a few more minutes, the temperature reached the appropriate temperature. I brought the temperature raise to their attention.
"Just like last time..." Dean said, pausing. "We'll check it out when we hit town."
The roads in the mountain are dirt, so after driving for nearly five hours, the truck has a fair coat of dirt on it. We finally reached civilization again and I was at ease. Eddie pulled the truck into a gas station. He ran inside for a drink and Dean lit up a cigarette. He pulled out a flashlight and jumped into the bed of the truck, shining the light on top of it. He motioned me to join him and without saying anything, pointed to the thermometer reader on top of the truck. The dirt covering the truck made it very easy to see the claw marks. It was as if the creature was perched on top of the truck, watching us while we wandered through his home. This explained the raise in heat. Eddie came back out and questioned why we were up there. He looked terrified and we asked him what was going on.
"Look at this..."
He pointed at the passenger side of the vehicle, where long claw marks made their impression in the side of the truck. Those marks had not been there when we stopped at the rest stop. The creature had been following us while we escaped his territory. We paid for a car wash and tried to forget about it.
To this day, we've been on the chupacabra hunt a dozen times. We usually bring another spectator with the intention of just scaring them but we know. We know what we saw. When we tell the stories, Eddie, Dean and I all subtly look around and make sure we aren't being watched. We definitely are though. The reddish-yellow eyes have all been seen by us again, every time we make the trip to the dam. The creature does not like being invaded upon and one of these times, he's going to get the courage to attack...