Randy Silver was tired of the big city life. He had lived in Memphis since he was a young boy and he grew to hate it with a passion. However he had always loved the trips to his Grandparents' thirty-five acre ranch in Mississippi. He loved the freedom and seclusion and stated many times throughout his youth that as soon as he had the money he was getting the hell out of the big city.
When he was twenty-seven years old, his wishes were finally granted. He had an uncle that was quite wealthy who had taken a liking to him. Naturally, Randy got the bulk of the money issued in his will. He received a total of $400,000. He soon took his money, slapped in on the barrelhead, and got a place in a rural community in Arkansas known as Fouke. He soon learned to embrace the community and the people within it, and, naturally, the favor was returned, but when he spent his weekends in discussion with the old men in cafes or gas stations, he heard tale of a creature that used to wander the nearby Boggy Creek area. However, several years prior, the creature just randomly disappeared. It hadn't been seen in several years and people would often speculate about it returning. Randy, the skeptic that he was, simply wrote it off as local legend. No more than just folklore. Or, as they called it in rural communities like this one, "fire talk." However, his mind was about to change.
Within a year he was married, quite happily so, to a beautiful, vibrant young woman named Tracey Miller. They were the definition of a picture-perfect couple; they were madly in love within a week of meeting each other. They knew almost everything about each other, almost. Randy noticed that, when they would be in town, in a gas station discussion with the old men of the community, and the topic of the creature known as the "Fouke Monster" would come up, she would just freeze with a look of horrified disgust.
He would ask her why she reacted like this, and she told him that it was nothing, just that she was easily creeped out; but he knew Tracey well enough to tell that she was lying to him. He never pursued the subject, afraid it might upset her, but he had to know. So, one day, without her knowing, he went to her father, hoping he could tell her something.
He decided to loosen her father, Charles, up with small talk. He sat there, waiting on Charles' wife and Tracey's mother, Charlotte, to make them some tea. They talked for about fifteen minutes about random subjects, like the weather, good hunting and fishing spots (he may have had a mission here, but he still had some smaller priorities of his own) and business at the gas station, which Charles now owned. But he finally decided to ask the question.
He asked, and as soon as he did, he saw the same look of terror in Charles' eyes. Charles said, after hesitating for a few seconds,
"It's very hard for us to talk about. I don't know if I should tell you..."
He paused, with the look of terror still in his eyes. He finally said "I'll tell you. After all, she is your wife. It's something you need to know about her."
He again hesitated, but after a four or five second pause, started with,
"It was sixteen years ago. She was only ten years old, but she wanted to go on a camping trip with me so bad. So, even though I knew everything out there that could hurt her, more than anything the creature, I eventually caved. I will always regret giving in to her pleading. What happened on that trip was the worst thing that has happened to either one of us. It was a truly terrifying experience, and we remain scarred by it to this day."
Randy just sat and listened intently as Charles paused yet again, took a deep breath, then began his story.
"We headed into the woods with a tent, a .22 rifle, and a bag of marshmallows. I knew the way to a decent campsite about two miles down the creek from our place, so we set out around four thirty. After about an hour of walking, talking, and observing the surroundings, we arrived at the campsite. It was around six when we had everything set up. We made a fire, talked about stuff, roasted some marshmallows, then went to bed. But we would be woken before the morning sun.
"I awoke to a light rustling sound not too far from the tent. It wasn't right up next to us, but it was no farther than the creek, which was about thirty feet away. Whatever it was made no effort to be stealthy, so it either didn't know we were there, or didn't care. As I stuck my head out of the tent, my worst fears were realized. I was staring right into the damn thing's eyes. It was about twenty five feet away, but closed the distance quite fast, arriving at the edge of the opening as soon as I had the rifle in hand and pointed in that direction. In the heat of the moment, I forgot about Tracey being there. I know it sounds terrible, a violent creature coming towards us and not even remembering my own daughter is there. I lined up a shot, and fired. The shot woke her up. She came up screaming, but that just reminded me she was there. My thoughts were trained on this thing trying to attack us.
"I saw that the shot had done little more than stun the damn thing, but I gambled and figured we had at least a few seconds, so I grabbed her by the arm, shoved her out of the tent, and told her to run as fast as she possibly could, and get the hell out of there. Just as I started to follow her, I looked back. The beast was back on its feet, and our eyes met yet again. I could see the seething rage, and I knew that if it got its hands on one of us, it could be the end. So, as we ran, I shot it again. What it did next is what scarred Tracey more than anything else. It let out a hellish scream that was nothing short of blood curdling. It was also as deafening as it was hair raising. It was honestly the second time I'd heard that scream, but the first time, I was quite a ways away when it let out that yell. Truth be told, it doesn't even sound like an animal yell. More like the whirring of a circular saw, or an upright grinder when it first starts, but getting louder and more hellish by the second.
It resumed chasing us when the screaming was finally over but, as fate would have it, I tripped over a damn log in the darkness. It grabbed me by the shirt and clubbed me on the side of the face with its enormous hand, knocking me into a tree. I found myself overcome with fear, realizing that I was helpless. I told Tracey to run as it continued to brutally beat me. Finally, he knocked me down in the spot where I had dropped my rifle. The damn fool gave me just enough time to snatch it up, aim and shoot. Really, aim isn't the word for what I did. More like point in the general direction. But I got a damned lucky shot, giving me just enough time to get up and get out of there. I finally reached the house, seeing Tracey safe on the porch. Once I reached the porch myself, I aimed back, making sure the beast hadn't followed us. I didn't see him, but one cannot be too careful. We finally got inside, where we welcomed the sense of security.
"Tracy broke down, crying, on the couch. As I was consoling her, her mother came, took one look at us and said, louder than I've ever heard that woman speak before or since, "WHAT IN THE HELL HAPPENED!?" So I told her. It wasn't until I got through telling her what had happened that I realized just how lucky I was to make it out of those woods alive. Realizing that if my rifle hadn't been where it was when the damn thing threw me down, I probably would have been mauled to death.
"My wife took me to the nearest good hospital, in Shreveport, Louisiana. There, I was told I had a broken arm, jaw, two broken fingers, and four broken ribs. I was pretty much covered in bruises.
"After that, Tracey never wanted to go back out to those woods. Hell, she didn't want to leave the house for two months. Not even to go to school... although I could see why she wouldn't want to do that anyway, but still. The thing that really shocked me was the fact that, despite its vicious nature and menacing appearance, the scream... the scream of the beast is what scared her more than anything. But in all reality, I can't say that I would be much different if the damn thing hadn't manhandled me like it did. I hope this answers your questions."
Randy was dumbfounded. He had heard so much about the creature breaking flower pots, turning over trash cans, breaking down fences and tearing up sheds. Even how it killed pets and cattle. Even a story of how it put a boy in the hospital due to shock, but never had he heard of this thing violently mauling someone, trying to kill them. After hearing what he had just heard, he simply said in a low, somewhat pathetic, trembling voice, "Yes, it does. Thank you for sharing that with me."
It always travels the creeks. He'd heard that saying in almost every conversation he heard about the creature. He'd heard it thousands of times. Randy really didn't know what to think of what he had just heard, because of his natural skepticism, but he had to admit that it was likely true. That this thing probably did exist somewhere out there. This bothered him for weeks. He thought through every detail. At first, he suspected that it may have been a bear or some other big creature, but the way Charles described it, it was definitely bipedal. He eventually decided to believe it was real, but from the talk he heard of it, the thing was long gone.
Over time, he became more known in the community, and discovered the companionship of a pair of friends that he had hit it off with almost right away. As the old saying goes, they were blood brothers, right on the spot. Their names were Robert and Bill. He had known them for several years when the three of them began planning a big hunting trip into the Sulfur River bottoms. They had been on hunting trips before, but they were just two day hunting trips right up Boggy Creek. They had always wanted to go deep into the Bottoms and see the wildlife. More specifically, see the wildlife that will give them food on the table and heads on the wall. But still; wildlife.
Tracey kept asking him not to go, if they could just plan a trip to Cajun country in south Louisiana, but Randy was dead set on the Sulfur River Bottoms. He said that he would see if they would shorten the trip to a week, to make her happy (he also didn't think he could handle two weeks away from her, but he was not going to admit that), but for her, that wasn't good enough. She eventually broke down, and decided to finally tell him what her father had told him five years earlier. She started out by saying,
"Look, there is something horrible in those woods. I never wanted to tell you about this, I wanted to forget about it, but back when I was ten yea-"
Randy cut her off.
"I know. I know what happened to you and your dad when you were a child, but that was twenty three years ago. The creature is probably dead by now."
Tracey continued to object, but she eventually realized that her attempts were in vain. She just thought to herself,
"My dad did this to me. Now I'm doing it to my husband. I've made the same mistake he did. I just know something bad is going to happen. I just know it."
But when the day of the trip came, she just told him to be careful, told him she loved him, and kissed him. As they headed off, she prayed that God would keep them safe.
They air-boated their way from the bank of Boggy Creek to their destination, the Sulfur River Bottoms. It took them around two and a half hours to reach a good clearing to set up camp on the riverside. After setting up camp, it was around four thirty. They stayed up till around eleven, just talking. As they talked the night away, they saw many creatures. Squirrels, rabbits, birds, even a couple deer. But, eventually, they decided to hit the hay and start fresh in the morning.
Randy woke before the other two, with a start. He grabbed his unloaded 30-06 and .22 rifles, to see if he could scout any honey holes, as he had heard the people call particularly productive hunting spots. He walked down the river a bit, to see what he could find on the bank. As he was walking, however, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was watching him. He was around forty feet from the camp, so he was hoping it was just Bill and Robert pulling a trick. He yelled back,
"Bill? Robert? Is that y'all? If it is, come out, 'cause it's not funny."
He got no reply. He couldn't see or hear them, or much of anything, for that matter. He saw that the time was seven forty eight. He knew that the animals should be stirring and about by now. The only thing he could hear was, in fact, his own footsteps. And he still couldn't shake the feeling that someone, or something was watching him. The feeling was so strong, he was beginning to wish that he had heeded his wife's warning. Just as he turned to return to camp, he saw it. It was a hairy creature, and it looked all too much like the one that Charles had described to him. He lifted his rifle, but then remembered that it was empty, and realized he had no bullets on him. By the time he made this realization, it was too late. The creature started towards him. He had only one chance, and that was to run.
And run he did. In what seemed like less than a second, he covered the forty something yards between him and his camp. He came in screaming, trying to wake the others. But, as he looked up, he saw the creature, a mere fifteen feet or so from him. He had just enough time to reach for his loaded pistol in his tent. He let off two shots, both landing in the creature's chest.
The creature was taken aback, but when it came to, it let out a scream worse than anything he'd ever heard. Worse than nails on a chalk board and a fork scraping across a glass plate put together. Bill emerged from his tent with a gun in hand. He put the gun to his shoulder, tried to aim and shot. To their misfortune, Bill missed. They began to back away as the creature came towards them, and Randy cried.
"Shoot again, dammit!" Bill simply told him, "I would, but this is a muzzle loader! It's the only weapon I keep loaded!"
Randy, revolver still in hand, fired three more shots, but only one found the beast. To their relief, just as the creature was within arm's reach, Robert emerged from his tent, .22 rifle in hand. He lined up his shot with expert precision, and fired. He struck the creature, right in the back of the head. It stumbled, then fell to the ground, blood trickling from the wound. They didn't know if it was dead, and they didn't plan on sticking around to find out. As quick as they could, they gathered everything and left. They don't plan on going back.
As they were headed back, Randy broke the ten minute silence. He said,
"You know, I remember hearing about some of the first experiences the town had with this creature. I remember hearing about Fred and James Crabtree, how they saw it and simply let it be, and it would just wander off back into the woods. Then, people began reacting to it, trying to hunt and kill it. The truth is it wasn't a monster when it came to Fouke. It was just a creature, just like the rest of the wildlife out here. No, it wasn't born a monster. We were the ones that turned it into a monster. We humans were the ones that made it the monster it turned into."
"Here, the Sulfur River flows,
Rising when the storm cloud blows,
And this is where the creature goes,
Safe within a world he knows.
Perhaps he dimly wonders why
There is no other such as I,
To love, to touch, before I die,
To listen to my lonely cry."