July 19, 2016

I’ve stalked these woods for months now. Every night, something draws me into the darkness. I’m not sure what it is that calls me there. Hell, I don’t know if it still is; it’s become such a habit that it seems natural to me now. 

    The thing is, I never remember what I’ve done in the morning. I wake up in my bed, changed into my pajamas and everything. There’s just a giant blank from the time I walk into the woods to the time I wake up warm, safe, and clean in my bed. 

    At first, I was terrified. Now, I’m used to it. Part of me finds that much more terrifying. How does one get used to huge holes in their memory every day? I’m afraid to say anything to anyone though. They’ll all think I’m crazy. Maybe I am crazy. I wouldn’t doubt it at this point. There’s definitely something wrong with me. 

    Instead, I’ve decided to attach a video camera to myself before I enter the woods tonight. Hopefully, it will work out and nothing will happen to the camera while I do...whatever it is I do every night. 

    I mounted the camera to my chest. I thought about buying a head strap for it, but odds of it getting caught on a tree branch or something were too great for that to work out. I figured with it attached to my chest, there would be fewer things that could rip it off of my chest. 

    Breathing in deep, I tried to mentally prepare myself. Cautiously, I took my first step into the trees. 

    As soon as I awoke the next morning, I checked my chest for the camera. It wasn’t there and panic took over. I had changed my clothes before I went to bed, like every other night. Hoping that I would find the camera with my clothes from the night before, I flew off of my bed and into the bathroom. My clothes were in a pile in the middle of the floor. I ripped through them, looking for the harness. I held my breath as I found it. My heart raced as I flipped it over. The camera was still there and intact. I nearly cried from the relief, but it wasn’t over yet. 

    I took the camera to my computer. Every second of waiting for it to load felt like an eternity. Finally, I could watch the footage. 

    In stone silence, I watched as I entered the woods. Thankfully, it was a full moon with a clear sky so there was enough light to make out most of my surroundings. Stupid me hadn’t thought about using night vision on the camera. I hoped it wouldn’t get darker as the night went on. 

    I entered the woods with such confidence. The trail I took was grown over but I marched along it like I knew every inch by heart. Several minutes passed before I stopped. I dropped down in front of a tree and started pushing leaves out of the way. Underneath there was some sort of cloak. The fabric was pure black and had tears from what I assume was getting caught on branches. I put the cloak on. When I looked down, I could see that it reached the whole way to my feet. 

    I cursed as I watched myself in the video. The cloak, when I pulled it across my chest, covered the camera. My idea was ruined. With defeat, I shut off my computer. There was no finding out what I had done the night before. All it had earned me was more questions. 

    Why in the world did I have a cloak hidden in woods? Was I part of some cult? I groaned as the questions flooded my mind. 

    I’m determined, though. I will find a way to get to the bottom of this. There has to be a way. 

    There has to be...


 

July 22, 2016

    I feel like such an idiot. It took me two days to even think to check the audio of my recording for any hint of my activities in the woods. 

    As soon as the idea finally lodged itself into my brain, I dug through my tiny apartment for headphones. A shitty pair of earbuds wasn’t going to cut it for this. If there was any clue hidden, I needed to be able to hear it. 

    I’m sitting in front of my computer now, headphones covering my ears and muting the world around me. It’s starting to get late: I’ll have to leave soon. The draw to the forest is still so strong. I had hoped it would at least lessen as I dug for information. It’s almost done the complete opposite. 

    I fast forward through the video, starting after the camera has been covered by the cloak. I make sure the volume is up the whole way. Muffled steps through the fallen, rotting leaves is all I can hear. Well, that and typical crickets and frogs. Occasionally, I can hear the sound of a far away owl. 

    Several minutes pass of just walking. Nothing out of the ordinary happens. I start to feel disappointed. 

    Nothing? 

    Really? 

    Frustrated, I start fast forwarding through the video again. At this point, I’m beyond desperate for anything at all. 

    Every couple minutes, I stop fast forwarding to listen. Halfway through the file and I’ve still heard nothing. Eventually, the sound of my walking stops. 

    Someone is whispering. It doesn’t sound like me. I can’t make out any of the words. They’re weirdly distorted. I can’t even tell if it’s English or some language I don’t know. 

    “Shit,” I mumble under my breath. This is just getting more frustrating. My idea was supposed to make things clearer, not lead me to a thousand more questions. 

    I’m about o shut off the recording when I hear it. A scream so loud it clips the camera’s microphone, distorting the audio. I rip the headphones from my ears. Part of me wonders if they’re bleeding. The volume was up the whole way and that scream...It was ridiculously loud. 

    I stare at the screen, dumbfounded. 

    Autopilot kicks in. I stand and leave my apartment. My feet carry me to the woods. My mind is blank.



July 23, 2016

 

    I sat straight up as I finally woke up. As usual, I didn’t remember anything from my adventure into the woods. The only thing in my head was that scream. That blood curdling scream...

    I stayed sitting in bed for several minutes, trying to process what had happened, what I had heard. Something horrible happened in the woods that night. It had to have. 

    Does that....does that happen every night? 

    Do I go into the woods every night and...and...kill people? 

    I can’t wrap my mind around it. I fight hard to keep the tears from falling. I’m a monster. Some awful fucking monster. 

    My body starts to shake. I’m so overwhelmed. I think I’m having a panic attack. 

    Everything is turning black...

 

July 25, 2016

 

    I remember nothing of the last two days. After my panic attack, there’s nothing at all. I don’t remember going to the woods that night or last night. I woke up as normal in my bed this morning. Nothing seems out of place. I’ve been trying to keep my mind blank so I don’t have another panic attack and black out. It’s been no easy task. 

    I want to listen to that tape again. I need to go back before the scream and listen for any hint of what happened. There has to be something. 

    All day, I’ve been listening through the video and I can’t find anything other than the whispering. Trying to decipher it seems impossible at this point. 

    Maybe I’m not supposed to know what’s going on. Something out there is trying really hard to keep me from it. I’m not ready to give up yet. I’m going to figure this out even if it kills me. It might be better than living with these huge holes in my memory anyway. 

    Tonight, I’m going to try strapping the camera to my head. I’m not sure it’ll work at all, but it’s worth a shot. Hopefully, it’ll be here when I wake up in the morning. I’m still a little worried it will get caught on something and end up in the woods, lost forever. 

    It’s time to leave for the woods. God, I hope this works.



July 26, 2016

    I bolted to the bathroom this morning looking for the camera. It wasn’t there and it’s not still attached to my head. 

    Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. 

    I have to go to work today. If it’s not in my apartment...I’ve no time to go looking for the camera before then. I hope it’s somewhere in here and not in the woods. Odds of me finding it out there are slim to none. 

    Scanning my home turns up absolutely nothing. I’ve looked everywhere and it’s definitely not here. After work, I’m going to the woods to look for it. Watching the previous video over and over again has burned the trail into my mind. I can at least make it to the tree the cloak is hidden under. Assuming I hide it in the same place everyday. 

 

 

    Tromping through the woods is more difficult than I imagined. Honestly, I thought it would be second nature since I do it every night. Whatever takes over my brain and body at night apparently doesn’t translate when I’m in control. 

    I sound like a stampede as my feet crumble the twigs and leaves beneath them. Quiet just isn’t going to happen. Slowly, I inch my way along the path, looking closely for the camera. I really wish it had been brightly colored at this point. 

    It takes me nearly an hour to get to the tree. No sign of the camera at all. I slumped down, my back against the tree. 

    How fucking hopeless. I’m so defeated I want to cry. I don’t want to continue into the woods. With my luck, I’ll get lost and eaten by a bear. Surprised I haven’t already. 

    Something moved behind me. The leaves ruffled on the other side of the tree. At first, I think it’s just the wind. Then I hear it. 

    Soft whispering. So soft that I’m not sure if I’m imagining it or not. 

    I turned my head to glance over my shoulder. Leaning around the tree, a hooded figure stared at me. I jumped to my feet and ran back the way I came. I didn’t look back to see if it followed me. I knew it was. I could still hear it whispering as if it was right beside my ear. Nothing was clear though. It sounded like gibberish. 

    I didn’t stop running until I was behind the locked door of my apartment. Anyone that saw me on the way here surely thinks I”m a mad man. And they’re probably not wrong. 

    I’m afraid of what will happen tonight. I’m afraid there will be no tomorrow morning for me.


July 27. 2016

    I’m surprised to still be here. My body is sore and I can barely move, but I don’t have any bruises or wounds. I’m even more curious about the woods now. 

    I have to find a way to solve this. 


July 28, 2016

    I messed up. 

    I messed up so bad. 

    Whatever is in the forrest...I think it’s trying to kill me.


July 31, 2016

 

I’ve lost my job. They left a voicemail on my phone. I have a ton of missed calls from them and people worried about me. Apparently, I’ve been slipping up a lot at work. It’s been getting progressively worse over the last few months. They’re concerned about me and my mental state. 

    I can’t say that I blame them. I’m concerned, too. I can’t remember the last two days. I’m not sure I even went into the woods. My body is no longer sore and I’m still wearing the same clothes I was the other day. Normally, I would be wearing some form of pajamas. Maybe the curse is over? There’s no way I could be that lucky. 

    Though how lucky I could be after losing my job and worrying everyone that knows me, I’m not so sure. 

    So fuck it. I’m going into those woods and I’m getting my answers one way or another. There’s a good chance this is the last you’ll hear from me. If I make it back from the woods alive, I’ll post what happened. 

 

    I’m bleeding pretty badly, but I made it back to my apartment. I tried to wrap the worst of my cuts in t-shirts to slow the bleeding. I should go to the hospital or call an ambulance, but I’m pretty sure they’re going to put me in the psych ward as soon as they hear what happened. There’s no way they’ll believe me so I need to get this out somehow. Hopefully, someone will see it and they’ll know not to go into those woods. Stay as far away from them as possible. Please just avoid them at all costs. 

    It was early morning when I went into the woods. Everything was bright, the sunlight shining through all the tree limbs. I took the time along the original path to look for the camera I had lost. I still haven’t found it. And, I guess, I never will. 

    I made it to the tree without incident. Immediately, I checked behind it for the cloaked figure that chased me last time. I strained my ears for the sound of whispers, but there was nothing. It wasn’t here this time and I was thankful for that. This trip would have been a total waste if I had been chased away before I made it any farther. 

    I turned in a small circle, trying to decide which way to go. Then it accord to me: I should put my own cloak on. It might deter them from coming after me if they think I’m one of them and not doing this on my own. I dug through the leaves until I found mine. It smelled of rotting leaves and...blood. My stomach churned as the scent wafted around me. I had definitely done terrible things hidden in these trees. 

    Cloak in place, I decided to go straight back from the trees. There was no real path to follow so I figured direction wouldn’t make any difference. I walked for what felt like an eternity before I heard the whispers. It was more than just the one this time. They were layered and blended together so I couldn’t determine how many I was about to encounter. 

    Trying to be as quiet as possible, I hid behind a tree and peeked around the side. In a circle stood three hooded figures. It sounded like there were so many more of them. I was afraid there were more than I just couldn’t see. 

    They all faced each other, whispering their strange gibberish. I’m not sure how long I stood there before I realized there was something laying at their feet. It looked like a naked body, it’s back facing me. There was no blood or bruises so I didn’t panic at first. 

    What the hell are they doing? I wondered to myself. Was this some sort of ritual to induct this naked person into their weird fucking club or was it a sacrifice? 

    I didn’t get to find out right away. A hand came out of nowhere and covered my mouth. I tried to scream, but it came out as a muffled gurgle. 

    “You’ve been very bad Daniel,” he whispered into my ear. The sound wasn’t like a normal whisper, though. It was somehow airy and reverberated seemingly all on its own. Like we were in some echo chamber and I was completely unaware. It was unsettling. 

    I started to panic. How did he know my name? How had I been bad? I didn’t have the slightest clue what was going on. 

    “Coming here was a terrible idea,” his voice rang. “Masters are going to be most displeased.” 

    He pushed me forward to the circle of cloaks. They continued to whisper. The one holding my mouth shut joining the conversation. It still sounded like gibberish to me. I couldn’t see faces under their cloaks either. It seemed very odd for the middle of a bright day. 

    I looked down at the man at their feet. He seemed to be asleep or passed out. He didn’t move but to take shallow breathes. At least he was still alive. 

    “It would seem they have decided to make an example of you, Daniel,” my capture informed me. “You will be the sacrifice tonight. You’ll feed our happy little family, Daniel. It would be an honor if you hadn’t gotten too curious. Your death will be a painful one.” 

    I stopped breathing. I thought I was going to pass out, honestly. I’ve never been so scared in my life. 

    The three in the circle turned back to their whispering over the sleeping man. The one behind me lead me through the trees. We walked for at least half an hour before we came to a large, dark cave. Outside of the cave, he tied me to a tree. The ropes were covered in dried blood. I certainly wasn’t the first to be tied up here. 

    “Stay,” it commanded. “Be quiet.” I watched as he went into the cave. He was wearing the same cloak I had on, its hood up so I couldn’t see his face. 

    While he was in the cave, I played with the knots, what little bit I could. They were tight and I didn’t have much movement of my hands. Slowly, I picked at the first knot. I tried my best to look like I wasn’t up to something. 

    A few minutes later he came back out. He placed what I can only describe as a cloth bag over my head. It was black and blocked out all light. It muffled the sounds around me as well. I nearly jumped when he leaned in and whispered in my ear. 

    “Behave, Daniel, and maybe they’ll spare you.” 

    I could barely hear him walk away. I was too afraid to move for quite some time. I had no idea if there was anyone else around. They moved so quietly that I knew there was no way I would hear them even if I didn’t have the bag on my head. 

    I decided it was worth the risk. I was dead either way. I continued to pick at the knots. I only made it through two before I heard someone moving. I cursed under my breath, I knew I was caught. 

    “Well, well, well, what do we have here?” the whisper came. It was less airy than the previous whispers. It was on the verge of normal. “Have you been bad, boy?” 

    “What are you?” I asked, finally working up the nerve to say anything at all. 

    “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. I am what you almost became. And trust me, you don’t want to be like me.” He was right beside my ear. “You don’t have much time. Run as fast as you can.” 

    I heard something slice through my ropes. They shook free and piled at my feet. I yanked the bag off of my head and looked for the man that had set me free. He had already vanished. 

    I started running in the direction I thought lead to the road. I didn’t make it far before I heard the voices. They started faint and grew until they were almost more than I could bear. 

    I watched as the cloaked men stepped out from behind trees all around me. I ran faster, trying to avoid them. I wasn’t successful. I got too close to one. It swiped at me, catching me with long claws as sharp as razors. I yelped in pain, but kept running. It hadn’t latched on, just ripped open my skin. 

    Only random ones attacked me. I started to wonder if some of them were just illusions. There were more as I neared the end of the trees. Many of them ripped open my skin, but none of them had actually caught me. 

    I was almost out when the last one grabbed onto me, digging its claws into my shoulders. I screamed and tried to wrench free. Nothing seemed to work but I kept trying to move forward, out of the trees. Something told me they couldn’t come out of that forest. 

    As my feet barely inched out of the tree line, its grip loosened. Finally I was free. I turned to face the trees and they were gone. The whispers stopped abruptly.  Whatever they are, they can’t come out of there. They’re stuck for some reason. 

    I turned back towards the road and took in the damage. I was and still am bleeding badly. I’m sure there’s a trail of my bright red blood leading the whole way to my apartment. 

    I’m calling 911 now. I don’t know what will happen to me. 

    Just whatever you do...don’t go in there. I don’t know what they are or what they’re doing, but they’re not friendly. They’ll take you over and if you get to curious, you become dinner.