“Dad, please don’t make me go, you know how boring this place is.”
“It’s only for a week, your grandfather hasn’t seen you since last summer; do it for him.”
I was sitting in the passenger side of a pickup truck. My dad was in the driver’s seat right next to me. I had a bag packed with clothing in the backseat. We were speeding down an old country road, trees towering over the side of us. Once a year, I had to go stay with my grandfather. He lived out alone in the middle of nowhere. He lived in a small, old, run-down cabin. My parents said that he had lived there his whole life, and that he couldn’t let go of the house. I never liked the place. It gave off this creepy vibe. There was no one around for miles, as far as I could tell.
Every year I would beg my parents not to take me, and every year it would still end the same.
They would say that my grandfather was getting old, and that he was lonely. That he didn’t have much time left to see me. With this speech I would give in. It was no different this year. I was quiet for the rest of the ride, watching the trees blur outside of the window as we zoomed by. Eventually we came to an old rusted gate and stopped. My dad got out of the car, and unlocked and pushed the gate open. We drove the down the dirt road, dust kicking up behind us. After a while an old steel windmill and white wooden cabin came into view. We stopped and got out of the car. The door to the cabin swung open and an old man came shambling out. An old hound dog followed him out too.
“Hey hey hey son!” The old man and my Dad hugged. I came up and joined them.
“I gotta lot of work for ye son. Lot of stuff needs to be fixed ‘round here,” he laughed at me.
“Gee I can’t wait.” I was happy to be with him, but at the same time; I was not looking forward to all the work I would do. My Dad and Granddad had a long talk, and then said goodbye. My Dad got back in the truck and took off, leaving a cloud of dust behind him.
“Why don’t ye come inside and set yer stuff down. I can’t wait to hear all about your year.”
I followed him inside and went to go set my stuff down. There were only two bedrooms in the cabin. It was a tiny place, but surrounded by a lot of land. There was a huge cornfield in the front of the house, and a huge normal field behind the house. At the edge of these fields were tree lines for massive forests. I used to be downright scared of this place when I was a kid. Of course now I didn’t believe in ghosts, or monsters, aliens, or any of that sort. Although I still probably wouldn’t willingly walk through the forest in the middle of the night. There was no internet here, and no entertainment but a radio and a black and white TV with one blurry channel. I set my bag down on the old couch. Grandad followed by sitting down on his favorite beige chair. We had a long talk about school, sports, and stuff like that. He poured me a glass of nice lemonade he had made. After a long conversation he made me get to work outside.
The heat was irritating and I was exhausted by the end of the day. I came inside and read a book I had brought with me while Grandad cooked dinner. He was making some steak with baked potatoes and a salad. After eating the delicious meal, Grandad went to bed and I went to sit on the porch on the front of the house. There were no city lights out here, so you could see all the stars. It was fun to try and find the constellations.
Something else other than the constellations got my attention. When I was trying to find Scorpio, I noticed two blue lights flying through the night sky. They didn’t stop, and they didn’t blink either. They made no noise. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was actually seeing a UFO. I tried to think of any possible reason for the lights, but nothing crossed my mind. They seemed to be getting even closer so I headed back inside. It was cool, but a little creepy at the same time. I didn’t want to wake up Grandad, so I decided to go to bed anyway. The bed was a little dirty, but I was so tired that I didn’t care.
I woke up to the sound of water hitting metal. The sink in the bathroom was running.
That’s strange, I could have sworn I shut it off, I thought to myself as I got out of the bed. I reluctantly went to the bathroom and turned it off. I drowsily walked back to my room and went to sleep. But it didn’t last long. I woke up again to the sound of the sink running. I angrily walked to the bathroom, only to find that the light was still on in there too. I checked the clock hanging on the wall. Exactly one hour had passed since I had gone back to sleep earlier.
I knew this place was haunted or some shit, I jokingly thought to myself as I turned off the sink and the light. Once again, I headed back to my room for some sleep. I almost immediately fell back into my slumber once I laid down in my bed. For the third time, I was jolted awake by a sound. Not only could I hear the sink, but also the loud electric razor. I kicked off my sheets angrily and stomped back to the bathroom. Without hesitation I flicked off the lights and turned the handle on the sink. I then picked up the electric razor to do the same. But it was already turned off. I gasped and dropped the razor. It turned off when it hit the ground. The razor had not been plugged in. I turned around and looked at the clock. 3:09 AM, exactly one hour after the last incident. I felt shivers run down my spine and took off running back to my room, slamming the door and locking it behind me. Now I was genuinely frightened. I thought about waking up Grandad, but there was no way he would believe me. I lay there awake for hours, thinking about what could have caused the recent events.
By the time I awoke, sunlight was beaming through the windows onto my bed. I jumped and ran to the window. The sun was hanging high in the sky. Normally Grandad always woke me up right at dawn.
What if something happened to him? I nervously thought. I jumped out of bed and headed to his room. He wasn’t in there, so I searched the rest of the cabin. I found him sitting on the porch, reading a book and drinking whiskey.
“Grandad, you didn’t wake me up? Why? Is something wrong?” I frantically asked him.
“Just calm down son, I thought ye worked really hard yesterday, and that ye deserved a day off,” he responded. I felt relieved, but this was unlike Grandad.
“A-are you sure?” I asked him cautiously. He chuckled in response.
“Go explore the land or somethin', whateva' ye boys do these days.”
I didn’t want to argue this, so I left him to relax and put on jeans and boots.
I spent most of the day doing what he advised; exploring the land. I was walking through the large field behind the house, kicking ant beds, when I saw something weird. At the edge of the tree line, there appeared to be a black animal of some kind. It wasn’t moving, and didn’t seem to be too big. As I got closer, I noticed it was a fox.
Strange, I’ve never seen a black fox before, I thought to myself as I approached it.
And unlike other foxes, this one didn’t run away or even seem the least bit scared. It just kept staring at me. It also had blue eyes. When I got about ten feet from it, the fox turned around and slowly walked back through the forest. I followed it, making sure to keep my distance. It didn’t stop or change pace, just led me deeper into the forest. It never even once turned around to look at me. I had a large knife in my pocket at the ready, so I wasn’t really scared of something happening, even after last night. After what seemed like an hour, the fox went into some brush and I lost sight of it. I pushed my way through the brush and came to a large clearing in the middle of the woods. The fox was nowhere in sight. The clearing had a small hill in the middle, so I walked to the top of that to get a better view of what was around me. My heart skipped a beat when I saw another man standing by a tree. He didn’t have a gun, but he was carving something into the tree with a small knife. I quickly ran over to him.
“Hey! What are you doing on my property!” I shouted. The man looked to be around the same age as me. He was even a little chunky.
“Oh shit man! Dude I’m sorry I didn't know anyone was here, I swear!” The kid looked harmless to me, so I told him to calm down. He told me that he was my Grandad’s neighbor, and that he would occasionally get bored and come over and just mess around in the woods. He said that he wouldn’t poach or destroy any property. I didn’t have any reason to believe him, but my Grandad would tell me if there had been a poacher or someone vandalizing his property. He introduced himself as Paul. He was pretty redneck, and didn’t seem to be the smartest out there, but at least I had someone to hang out with now. He had been carving random stuff into the trees. I told him not to do it anymore, in case my Grandad would find out. He showed me a beaver dam that he had recently found. And a chimney that was all that remained of a house that burned down. Apparently he came on this land often.
“Have you seen, like a black fox around here?” I asked him.
“No, I didn’t even know those existed. But speaking of strange things, I have seen something weird around here before,” he responded.
“Like what?” I asked.
“Lights, blue and red, they fly around in the night sky. Sometimes they go low, especially over the field and the house,” he told me. My mind started racing when I heard this.
What if Grandad had been abducted by aliens or something crazy like that? What if that’s the reason he has been acting so strange? How can I know if Grandad is actually even Grandad? I stopped at this thought.
No, that’s impossible, aliens don’t exist. How could I believe this stranger?
“You said you were his neighbor, can we go to your house?” I asked Paul. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Dark clouds were gathering at the edge of the horizon. The branches swayed violently in the wind
“You better get home, this storm looks nasty. Maybe you can see it tomorrow, I might come back to that same clearing,” he told me.
“Sure… I’ll see you tomorrow dude.” I turned around and slowly walked off. Paul suddenly turned around.
“Oh one last thing! I have seen a lot of weird stuff around here, so be careful bro,” he said before turning back around and walking off.
I didn’t waste any time getting back to the farm. Getting caught in thunderstorm out in the woods is not an enjoyable experience. Fortunately for me, the storm seemed to be moving at a snail’s pace. By the time the sun was setting, It still had not reached us yet.
“So where’d ye go today?” my grandfather asked me when he saw me walk in.
“Oh, I just explored around the woods. By the way, Grandad, do you happen to have a neighbor?” I asked him.
“Not that I recall, why ye askin'?”
“Oh no reason, just wondering,” I didn’t want him to freak out about Paul. I figured I would confront him directly tomorrow. I turned away to look out the window. The setting sun looked like an orange wave peaking over the storm clouds. Then I noticed it. The Black Fox was sitting in the middle of the field, staring directly at me with its blue eyes.
That night, the storm was in full swing. There was no rain or hail, just lots of lightning. The most I’ve ever seen in a storm before. Jagged streaks constantly darted across the sky, not leaving a moment’s rest in between. Me and Grandad sat on the porch for a while, watching the show. The storm was so violent that it scared his hound, who had left the porch to go hide under the couch. We grew tired of watching the storm after a while and decided to go back inside and get some sleep. For me, it didn’t last long. My eyes jolted open and I shot up, looking around the room. It was still dark. I got up and looked at a clock. 1:09, the exact same time I woke up last night. This time however, there was no sink or razor that had turned on. Instead I heard granddad’s hound barking wildly. It slept on the porch, so I thought that maybe it just wanted to go inside. I left the room and made my way to the porch door. I couldn’t hear any thunder, so the storm was no longer present. When I got to the kitchen, something changed. I heard the dog begin to growl, and then whimper. I grabbed a knife that was sitting on the kitchen counter. But the dog had gone silent now. I slowly looked out the nearest window. All I could see from it was the windmill and the corn field.
Strange, the corn stalks weren’t moving, but the windmill was spinning, I thought to myself. It began to spin faster and faster; faster than it had gone during the recent storm. Then the house began to shake violently. There was a flash of blue light, and I stepped back from the window, rubbing my eyes. The light beamed through every window and door, and began to get brighter and brighter. I fell back on the floor, sinking into blackness.
“Wake up boy! Wake up!”
My eyes shot open. Grandad was shaking me.
“What are ye doin' sleepin' out here?” he asked me. I slowly got up and looked around. It was daylight now, and the house looked fine. I had a massive headache though. I didn’t want to tell Grandad the truth.
“I came over here to get a glass of water and tripped, it was so dark I couldn’t see where I was walking. Ahh, my head is killing me,” I told him. I wasn’t lying about my head.
“Why don’t you go sit down over there on that old couch.”
I got up and walked down to lay on the couch. Even thought I had technically slept last night, I was still exhausted.
I heard my grandfather scream. He was standing on the porch. I jumped up and quickly ran over to him.
“My dog! My cattle! They’re all missin'!” he was breathing heavily, and I was scared he was going to have a heart attack. He then turned on me, his face red with anger.
“Did you do anything to ‘em boy?” He grabbed my shoulder and squeezed hard.
“No I swear! I don’t have any reason to take your animals! And where would I even put them?” I begged him.
“Fine,” he responded angrily,
“We have a poacher then. You didn’t happen to see anyone or traces of someone yesterday, did you?” He stared at me. I began to open my mouth, but hesitated.
There was no way Paul could have done all this? Could he?
“Well? Did you?”
He stormed past me and to his room. I stood there contemplating what I was going to do.
I turned around and saw Grandad holding a double-barrel shotgun. He had opened the barrel and was loading red shells into it.
“If I see anyone on this farm, I’m going to blow their godamn head off!” he shouted.
I was speechless. I had never seen Grandad this angry before. Even when someone stole his truck a few years ago. He grabbed my shoulder and turned me around to face him.
“You listen to me boy! If you see or hear anything; anything! You tell me!” he shouted in my face.
The rest of the day went slow. I wasn’t really allowed to do anything, and Grandad sat on the porch with the shotgun the whole day. At this point, I didn’t trust him anymore. I had started asking him random questions only my Grandad would know.
“So Grandad, do you know when my birthday is?” I asked hesitantly.
“Umm… Ain’t it in June or somethin'.”
“It’s in November. How could you forget?”
“My memory isn’t what it used to be,” he claimed. But I still thought it was suspicious.
I thought I was going to be stuck in the house the whole day, but Grandad wanted me to look for his lost animals, so he let me leave. I immediately made my way to Paul and I’s meeting spot. Just as I had expected, he was standing there waiting for me.
“Paul, did you steal my Grandad’s dog and cows?” I asked him. Then I paused.
What a stupid question, he would never answer it anyway.
“I have no reason to do any of that,” Paul responded.
“It doesn’t matter anyway, my Grandad is going to shoot anyone he sees. He’s… he’s gone crazy now. He’s just sitting around with a loaded shotgun, babbling to himself,” I told him.
“You need to get out of there before he does something stupid, listen Aaron, you grandfather is a senile old man now. It isn’t safe to be around here. You should come stay with me at my place for a while,” Paul tried to persuade me. I hardly paid any attention to him.
“I have to make sure Grandad doesn’t do anything insane like shoot up the house or himself for God’s sake. I need to go now, sorry. We’ll talk tomorrow if everything goes alright,” I turned around to walk way, but then turned back around.
“Oh, and don’t come around to the house to try anything, please. I don’t know if he is crazy enough to kill someone right now, but I wouldn't test it,” with this, I headed off. I saw the Black Fox for the third time on the way back. Like last time, he was just sitting there. And I could have sworn, he was staring directly into my eyes.
Finally the day began to end and the sky was almost completely black, save for an orange streak at one end of the horizon. Grandad was still just sitting, holding the shotgun like a madman. Then I noticed the dark outline of a figure walking by the cornfield to the house. As it got closer, I could tell from the size it was Paul.
That idiot! What is he doing? I thought to myself as I got up to tell my Grandad. But it was too late. My Grandad had already stood up and aimed the shotgun in his direction.
Without any warning, he fired, kicking up dirt around Paul. Paul jumped behind a nearby shed and out of sight. Grandad fired again, causing the wood to splinter on the side of the shed. He pulled the trigger once more, but the only response was a click.
“Damnit!” He cussed as he ran inside to grab more ammo.
“Help me find my shells boy!” he shouted at me as he frantically tore up the house.
I was just standing there, frozen. I didn’t know what to do. I headed to the window to look out at the shed. Shivers went down my spine when I saw it. In front of the shed was a pile of firewood and an axe used for chopping it. Now, only the firewood was there. My Grandad had reloaded the shotgun and headed out to the shed.
“Where did dat son a bitch go?” He cussed to himself as he looked behind the shed. I reached for a nearby kitchen knife and began to head back to the porch. At this point my mind was filled with confusion and I didn’t know what to do. Grandad was coming back inside the house.
“Maybe I scared ‘em off,” he chuckled a little. Just then, I heard a loud cracking sound and the front door cracked. There was another and part of the front door splintered open. I could see the edge of an axe through it. Grandad raised the shotgun and fired, but it didn’t stop the axe from swinging on the door again. Finally the door splintered open and a figure stepped into the house. It sprinted at Grandad, holding the axe up in the air like it was about to behead a chicken. Grandad reloaded the shotgun but didn’t have time to bring it up, and the man brought down the axe in a violent swing. Grandad quickly held up the shotgun horizontally with two hands and blocked the swing. In the light, I could tell the figure was Paul now. He was bleeding on his arm and chest, from where the shotgun had hit him. I didn’t think any man could survive that. The two men were in a power struggle. I was just standing there, gripping the knife with shaking hands.
“Son… I can’t hold him much longer… please, stab him! Help me!” Grandad begged.
“Don’t listen to him! He isn’t your real Grandfather!” Paul replied. I was frozen. A million outcomes went through my head. I-I couldn’t do it. The axe was inches away from Grandad’s face now. He stepped back suddenly and the axe came down on the couch. Grandadused the shotgun like a bat and hit Paul violently in the head.
“Ahhh!” Paul screamed as he squeezed his bloody forehead with his hand. Grandad swung again, this time hitting Paul in the chest. Paul stumbled back. He swung the axe into Grandad’s stomach. Grandad made a grunting noise. I could see blood spilling out onto the ground. Paul brought the axe back for another swing, but Grandad had aimed the shotgun right at Paul’s head. Paul swung. Grandad fired. There was explosion of blood in the room, covering everything. Paul’s headless body dropped the axe and fell back on the floor. My mouth was hanging wide open. Grandad was standing there, panting heavily. He turned around and looked at me.
“I told you to help. And you just stood there. I could have died! What kind of grandson are you!” He aimed the shotgun at me and pulled the trigger. I winced, but the only response was a click from the gun. It was empty.
H-he tried to kill me… I stared at Grandad in horror. He picked up the axe and charged at me, letting out an inhuman scream. He was an old man, and his swing was slow. I dodged and stepped out of the way. I still had the knife in my hand. “Don’t make me do this!” He raised the axe again, and I was trapped with a wall behind me. He began to swing and I stepped forward, plunging the knife into his chest. He dropped the axe, blood pouring out of his mouth. I pulled out the knife and stabbed again and again. Grandad fell back on the floor. Tears were rolling down my face.
“You left me no other choice. I-I’m sorry,” I dropped the bloody knife by his body and sat down.
I must have sat for hours in the dark silence. There was no noise, not even crickets or owls. But then the silence was interrupted. I heard a creaking noise coming from outside. It began to get louder and louder. I got up and looked outside the window. The windmill was spinning fast.
Uh oh… I thought to myself. I noticed a dark silhouette behind the windmill in the field. It was the silhouette of a fox. I noticed the blue eyes too. The silhouette got up and slowly began to move towards the house. I felt my heart sink to my knees. That thing was no normal fox. I rushed around the house looking for more shells, but couldn’t find any. I couldn’t just stay here and come face to face that “thing”. I pulled open the front door and took off running through the cornfield. I didn’t stop running, I ran through the whole field, cornstalks whacking my face. I thought I heard something behind me, but wasn’t sure. Eventually I left the cornfield and ran through the forest. My legs began to cramp and breathing became difficult. I had to stop, I didn’t want to pass out in the woods. I looked around me, trying to make out where I was. I was standing in a small three-sided ravine. There was a pretty large opening in the ravine, filled with nothing but dirt. The ravine suddenly lit up by a bright blue light. I looked up at the sky and saw a big silver ship. It looked like a giant sphere, with multiple blue lights circling the exterior. It made no noise and just hovered in place. Fear flooded me and I took off running in the other direction.
Aliens are real! What the hell am I going to do? Paul was right about the lights. What if Grandad was a… These thoughts flooded through my mind as I ran back through the forest. I came to a large field and saw the house and the windmill in the distance. My eyes fell on the truck parked in front of the house.
The truck! Why didn’t I think of that before! Once I got to the house I began to search for the keys. My adrenaline and excitement about leaving wore out when I saw the two dead bodies again. I was filled with anger and sadness again. Luckily I didn’t have to stay there long, as my Grandad had left the keys sitting on the kitchen counter. I quickly left the house and started up the truck. I took off down the road, not bothering to look back behind me. I as I drove silently down the dark road, I grew more nervous. I had just left two dead bodies behind me, and I had been the cause for one of them. No one would believe the story about the aliens either. My thoughts were interrupted when the radio began to blare static.
Strange, I hadn’t even turned it on, and I know there would still be a signal out here, I thought to myself. Next the headlights flickered then turned off. Then the engine followed. The truck had come to a complete stop on the dark road, and I hadn’t even done anything, I tried to start the car again, but there was no result. I got out of the truck and put my head in the palms of my hands, sighing.
What the hell am I going to do now? I thought as I paced around the truck. I then noticed two blue eyes piercing the darkness down the road. The eyes belonged to the silhouette of a fox. And the silhouette got closer and closer. As it got closer, I began to recognize it as the same black fox I had seen earlier. It came within ten feet of me and stopped.
“Get the hell away from me! I don’t have anything you want!” I shouted at the creature. The black fox opened its mouth and began to speak.
“You have done well, Aaron,” it spoke in a calm and soothing voice. I was startled and stepped back.
“Y-you’re not a fox! How do you know my name? What do you want from me!”
“We put you through a test, and you succeeded. You acted exactly as we had predicted. You did well,” it continued.
“What about Paul and Grandad?” I asked curiously.
“You killed them. They were both human. All it took from us was a little push or two. You found Paul. You convinced him to come back to your house tonight.”
“That’s not true!” A single tear was falling out of my eye.
“Oh is it now? Did you not plunge the knife into your Grandfather’s chest? There was a reason he hesitated. He was going to set the axe down. He had been suffering through a lot of mental problems. He was isolated out here alone. Your Grandad had crossed the line at that point, and he had just realized it.” I wanted to burst out crying and beat the fox to death, but I only felt calm in its presence. I felt peaceful. A bright blue light began to illuminate the road.
“Don’t be sad. Everything is going to be okay now.”
Written by Tide16