Slender Terror: The Fear
We stumbled through a forest, we being my best friend Caitlin and I, the sun sending brilliant shafts of purple and gold light through the thick forest canopy. As I lead the way, our argument grew louder, shattering the natural stillness of the woods. I was insisting I knew where we were going. Caitlin was insisting we were lost. Our disagreement carried on as the sun slowly set, though it did seem to take longer than normal as if it was trying to give us as much precious light as possible, before succumbing to the laws of nature. As the natural light disappeared, the all-encompassing darkness forcing us to use our flashlights to guide us on our way. Finally we stepped into a small clearing. I leaned against a tree, completely drained from our hike.
"Now will you admit we're lost?" Caitlin huffed. She collapsed on a nearby rock.
"Maybe," I replied defiantly. I set down my backpack, pulling out a pack of matches and a sleeping bag as I did so. "Obviously we're not going anywhere tonight, so help me prep."
Ever so slowly, Caitlin let her bag slide off her shoulders. It dropped to the ground with a thud. She left the clearing, returning a few moments later with an armful of sticks. I arranged them in a teepee in a small circle of rocks, lighting a match and tossing it onto the pile at the end with a flourish. It successfully ignited. Soon there was enough fuel from my search to last us through the night. Meanwhile Caitlin spread our sleeping bags and prepared a meager ration of granola bars and water. Originally we had intended to hike around the expansive Canadian forests and camp. We, however, did not expect to stray so far from civilization. My poor navigational skills got us into trouble-again.
Caitlin grew tired of my stony silence so unbefitting of my personality. She asked, "Something feels off. Didn't a sign at the parking lot say there's been a ton of supernatural sightings here?"
Staying silent for so long was quite a feat, considering the word quiet is not in my vocabulary. "Yeah," I finally mumbled. I noticed the sign and knew what supernatural being it referenced. It warned against hiking alone; advised spending the night in motels placed periodically along the highway. The website for the trail had links to hospitals and mental institutions. All were about insane patients mumbling gibberish about a man stalking them. Assuring Caitlin we would not stray far, I wandered off the path. That backfired. Several wrong turns later Caitlin declared us lost. Too stubborn to admit it, I trusted only my instincts. Little did I know my faulty instincts would save our lives.
"We're doomed," she said definitively, folding her jacket to act as a pillow and settling into her sleeping bag.
I added some thick logs, stoked the fire one last time, and settled down in my sleeping bag. At first I slept soundly, but slowly and steadily, terrible visions started to plague my sleep. A black shape in the darkness which, no matter how I tried, evaded my every attempt to see it fully. A feeling of deep primeval fear swept through me as my nightmare, for that was what it was, showed me scenes of the most brutal and horrific murder. Even for a fan of the stuff like me, nausea swept through my body.
I awoke with a start, my fist in my mouth and a terrible sense of dread haunting my mind. The silvery moon caught my attention as it shone brightly overhead, a white orb in a sea of black. It reminded me of something, something from my tormented sleep. Still the face eluded me.
It was then that something made me turn my head slightly, and from the corner of my eye I caught the glimpse of a white face in the darkness. The face, along with its thin black body, impossibly long arms and legs, emerged from the pitch black and made its way towards me. I froze in terror.
A sound echoed from Caitlin's half of the campsite. The creature turned its blob of a head and moved towards my friend. It moved slowly, knowing it had time to prepare. Shadows set around the campsite. The fire was snuffed. Without it, we were victim to the darkness and whatever monsters it held. I lay frozen in my sleeping bag, completely helpless to the sheer terror wafting over the site.
One sound pierced the suffocating silence: a long, strident scream.
All at once the scream stopped. My best friend did not make it.
To be continued…