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The Thing in the Woods

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The following was taken from Joshua Danton’s diary. To this day, Joshua’s whereabouts are unknown.

April 5th, 1978

Shadow woods

My hands are shaking as I write this.

Today I decided to go for a walk in the woods near my house. It was a perfect day for it, too. The sun was out, the birds were singing, no clouds in the sky, just gorgeous.

After lunch I got my coat and set out on the worn dirt trail leading into the woods.

I was walking along, enjoying the fresh air and the silence, when I came across a set of tracks in the soil.

I have never seen anything like them. They looked like human footprints but the toes were longer and narrower, like claws. When I bent down to look at them closer, they seemed pretty fresh.

I should have turned around and went back.

Out of curiosity, I began to follow the tracks.

They lead me through a section of forest where the tree branches were so long and intertwined that they blanketed the sky, only letting small cracks of sunlight in. The tracks ended at a small brook.

I stopped to listen. There was no sound but the water rushing over the smooth rocks.

Then I heard the rustle of grass and dead leaves close by. Slowly, I walked toward the sound.

I came to a small clearing and that’s where I saw it.

I really don’t know how to describe the thing.

It had the shape of an adult human. It was fairly tall, at least six feet, probably more, in height.

Its skin was made up of pale blue diamond shaped scales that had a wet shimmer to them, like the skin of a fish, and it was bent over the mangled body of a dead deer with its jaws latched onto the animal’s neck.

The thing made a loud sucking sound; I thought it might have been drinking the deer’s blood.

Slowly, very slowly, I started to back away.

Then it looked at me. Its mouth was wide and round and filled with long, yellow, needle-like teeth arranged in a circle. It had no nose, but two little slits where the nose would be on a human.

I tried to bring myself to run away but I couldn't. The thing stared at me for what seemed like forever with its big black eyes that glimmered with a kind of alien intelligence.

I turned my gaze to the dead deer. On its neck was a ring of little holes where the creature was drawing blood.

Then the thing pointed at me with its crooked fingers and it let out the most god awful sound. I can’t find the words to describe it.

Before I could even react, the thing lunged at me.

I was on my back, grappling with the creature. Its teeth were so close to my face. I dug in the pockets of my coat for my knife as the thing dug its black claws into my sides.

The pain was unimaginable. What happened next is a haze, but I definitely remember finally getting my knife out and plunging it as deep into the creature's scaly flesh as I could. Oily, black blood spurted out as the thing let out an ear-splitting scream as it twitched and clawed at me. I twisted the knife and dug it in deeper until the thing finally fell backwards off of me.

I ran until my legs were sore. I don’t know if that thing pursued me, but I sure as hell didn’t turn to find out.

It was so nice to see my house again.

My coat and shirt were tattered and stained with both mine and the creature's blood. I went into the bathroom and looked at what the creature had done. My chest was covered in stinging red scratches. Thankfully, none of them were too deep. I spent a very painful hour with gauze and a bottle of peroxide disinfecting these wounds.

I took my knife and took a look at it. It was covered with the thing's ink-dark blood.

I made sure all the doors are locked and just in case, I'm sleeping with my gun beside the bed.

April 6th, 1978

I had a bad dream last night. I dreamed I was back in that dark part of the woods, but it was darker. Almost pitch black. And that thing.

Then I woke up. It was running after me, I heard it bellowing that same, low sound behind me as I ran. The forest seemed to go on forever, and the more I ran the darker it got.

I tripped over a branch and that thing was closing in on me, bearing its teeth stained with fresh blood. I felt its claws sink into my skin again and all I could see was its black gaping maw closing in on me, its putrid breath blowing in my face...

I was on edge the rest of the day. I’ve been looking over my shoulder ever so often. I nearly lost it when I heard something tapping on the window upstairs. It turned out to be a tree branch knocking against the glass because of the wind. Oh well.

April 7th, 1978

Couldn't sleep last night. Every time I tried the same dream returned, except it was more real, more vivid, like I was really back there in the woods with that awful beast. I spent the night watching television. Nothing much good was on, but I was glad just to have something to take my mind off the woods.

Early this morning I thought I heard something outside. I didn’t find anything unusual when I went out to check. Must have been a raccoon.

There are no birds out today. That’s odd. Usually, I can hear them singing by now.

Went into town and got a case of beer. That should help my nerves.

April 8th, 1978

I woke up to something scratching at the door in the middle of the night. I went out, shotgun in hand, to see what was doing it. I was out there for half an hour and I didn’t see anything.

There still aren’t any birds out.

Later, I took a look at the scratch marks on the front door. They look like they're from a wildcat but they never come this close around here, and I really don't want to think about what else it could be.

April 9th, 1978

Another sleepless night. I have the worst damn headache. I feel like nails have been pounded into my skull. I took two aspirins but it's not helping. I can barely concentrate on writing this and my eyes feel so heavy and why can't I sleep, damn it?

I can’t shake the feeling that I am being watched. Everywhere I go, I’m seeing things out of the corner of my eye. I couldn’t sleep at all last night, and I don’t think tonight will be any different. I spent the last hour checking time and again to see if all the doors are locked. I went back to the dirt trail and I saw a dead blue jay. Its head was torn off and its bright blue feathers were stained red with blood.

I swear I heard something breathing back there. It was a stupid thing to do - going back there - but I went anyway.

April 10th, 1978

I haven’t slept at all and I’m so tired but every time I try to sleep, I see it again. Every time I close my eyes, I am back in the woods with that thing and it’s standing over me about to sink its teeth into my neck and I scream and find myself back here. I’m seeing things moving. Little shadows moving between the trees and in the corners of unlit rooms and I had all the lights on since yesterday without turning them off once, not even once. They have to stay on, or that thing could hide in the dark until it comes after me and I have to be ready for it.

I have to be ready.

Oh God, I heard its voice! I remember when I was young and I used to laugh at the kids who believed in ghosts and monsters. I don't know what that thing is but that's the only word for it. A monster. Something that can't be, shouldn't be, but is. Nobody believes you when you tell them you've seen a monster. Not until they're the ones that see it. If I had my camera with me I could have proof. Something to show them so they know that I am not just seeing things. I heard it again, and it’s getting closer. All the doors are locked. I checked again and again and I am sure they are locked and there is something scratching at the door and

It’s in the house! IT’S IN THE ܮ

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