I’ve always hated camping, being afraid of bugs, snakes and other nasty insects and creepy crawlies. I knew when I married my husband that I’d have to suck it up, seeing as he was an avid outdoorsman. He did his best to accommodate me, bringing a porta-potty and enough mod-cons to make me feel comfortable.
One concession I had to make was to sleep in a tent, but I did so with the proviso that we had a built in floor.
My first time was on our honeymoon and I was excited, even though I was apprehensive about the idea.
We found a great spot in a secluded part of the woods that was right next to a river, with a beautiful view.
After pitching the tent, gathering wood and setting up, I was starting to get into the swing of it.
It was fun cooking over an open fire and we snuggled afterwards, watching the stars and talking about the future.
I bristled at every sound coming from the woods but Alan was able to allay my fears by explaining each sound.
There was one sound Alan couldn’t explain.
A strange, rasping noise that sounded like it came from the throat of an old woman kept coming from the woods.
The hairs on the back of my neck stood up when Alan said, “Geez, I wish I knew what’s making that sound.”
We stayed up until the fire died down and did our best to ignore the raspy noises that seemed to be getting louder.
Once in the tent and finally falling asleep on our airbed, I realized that the strange noises had subsided.
Rolling over, I saw a shadow move across the tent, separate from those cast by the branches in the light of the moon.
I sat up and watched the new shadow – which appeared to be a tall, thin woman creeping around the tent!
I whispered to Alan and tried to shake him but he was sound asleep, so I continued to watch the creepy, dark figure.
Believing that my eyes were playing tricks on me, I thought that I was confusing a tree branch waving in the wind.
My flesh turned to ice when I saw a long, thin arm reach out overhead – with a large dagger in its hand!
This time I screamed and Alan woke up. “What’s the matter?!” he asked, exasperated. “Look!” I said – pointing.
I pushed my face in his chest as he looked upward. “What? There’s nothing there!” He said, annoyed.
My voice was muffled when I yelled, “The woman with the knife!” He snapped, “The tree branches?”
I looked up and saw that it was only the tree branches shadowed on the tent now. Maybe I had been seeing things.
I apologized but wouldn’t go back to sleep until he went out to survey the area. He stomped around for five minutes.
He came back in the tent, zipped up and turned to face me. “There’s nothing there but trees! Go to sleep.”
He got into bed and I snuggled close, apologizing profusely but still feeling that I had not imagined the creepy arm.
I was soon fast asleep and slept soundly for at least an hour before being awoken by the horrible, raspy voice.
At first, I forgot where I was, but when the voice started getting closer – I rolled over and pricked my ears up.
The wind was starting to build and the branches waved faster overhead, as the voice began to form words.
“Alan!” I thought I was hallucinating but the raspy, cracked voice continued to call out his name in earnest.
I was horrified to hear the demanding voice.
“Alan – you belong to me!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but I hesitated to wake him up.
I sat up and once again saw the tall, thin shadow of the old woman creeping around with a dagger in her hand.
I could tell that she was old, as her craggy face and bedraggled hair was clearly defined in her terrifying shadow.
Barely breathing, I sat and watched as she crept towards the zipper of the tent, dragging the dagger up and down.
The wind was now whistling and tearing down branches in the distance while she called out, “ALAN!”
I was too petrified to move or make a sound. I could see the old woman dragging the dagger up and down the zipper.
I could hear her wheezing in between the commands, “ALAN – YOU ARE MINE – NEVER SAY NO TO ME!”
What happened next is stamped in my memory forever. The zipper slowly started to open, forced by the dagger.
I gasped as I watched in horror, hearing her raspy voice, wheezing and crackling like twigs in a roaring fire.
The wind was blowing the tent around as the flaps of the opening started whipping around in a frenzy.
Then I saw her dreadful face! Her head poked through the opening and I could see her deep, dark, hollow eyes.
Her straggly hair was like a clump of dead tree roots, blowing about in the wind while her arm came into the tent.
What triggered my screams was the sight of the rusty dagger raised high in the air. She was about to kill me!
I screamed long and loud – but Alan would not wake up. The terrifying woman continued her approach.
The tent was now billowing in the storm, but Alan continued to sleep amid the ensuing horror and her terrible voice.
The air was icy cold and I could see the clouds of steam emanating from the old woman’s awful mouth.
She was louder when she bellowed, “HE BELONGS TO ME. HE'S MINE!” Then she reached the other hand out.
Alan was lying on his stomach and I tried to shake him as she grabbed his ankle – with the dagger close to my face.
I hooked my arm in his and held on tight while I screamed, “LEAVE HIM ALONE! GET OUT OF HERE!”
Amazed and terrified that Alan was sleeping through this, my eyes widened as she tugged hard and pulled him out.
I was being dragged out with him but was still halfway inside the tent, screaming and crying in horror.
The woman began to swing and slash the dagger dangerously close to my face. “GIVE HIM UP! HE’S MINE NOW!”
I couldn’t help noticing that the woman was at least seven feet tall, naked and gnarled with craggy skin like bark.
Now that I think about it, it was like she was an old tree come to life as a woman – although possessed and unholy.
I threw myself on Alan’s body and screamed once more, as she raged furiously, “NEVER SAY NO TO ME! NEVER!”
I felt that she was going to win, so I buried my face in his neck as the rain pelted down, saying “I LOVE YOU, ALAN!”
Suddenly the storm stopped. Everything was back to normal and the revolting old woman was gone, including the dagger and her disturbing, raspy voice.
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