Terror in the Woods

For many years, my husband Alan, his brother Sean and I have enjoyed getting into the great outdoors, which includes a lot of hiking and fishing, especially for my brother-in-law who considers himself a kind of expert in fly fishing. When we camped by a beautiful, secluded river last spring, Sean was ecstatic.

Alan and I woke up early one morning and decided to go for a hike and do some wild strawberry picking. Naturally, Sean declined as he wanted to try his luck again with fly fishing the pristine river. The day turned out to be glorious, so we decided to keep hiking and picking while Sean continued fishing.

It was almost twilight when we returned to camp and as soon as we arrived I had a feeling that something wasn’t right. Our tents were undisturbed and nothing seemed out of place, apart from the fact that Sean was missing. Alan found his line and gear on the banks of the river and slowly, panic started creeping in.

We searched high and low, well into the night using our flashlights. Just as we were about to give up and call the authorities, we heard yelling coming from the river. We scrambled down the mountain and past the tents, then skidded to a stop when we saw something emerging from the water.

At first it looked like a mud monster, staggering out from the water and then falling to its knees. When Sean’s voice groaned loudly we knew that it was him. Alan yelled to me about getting a blanket while he ran over to his brother. On my way over with the blanket, I saw that Sean was completely naked.

He was covered in mud but when Alan told him to go with him to the river to wash it off, he screamed “NO!” Alan and I looked at each other, not knowing what had happened, as Sean wouldn’t speak after that. We wrapped him in the blanket and sat him in front of the fire. It took a while before he told us what happened.

We had left to go hiking and Sean had started setting up to fish, when he heard something in the middle of the river, like a gurgling sound. Thinking that it was either a drowning animal or a freak whirlpool, he put on his waders and made his way into the water. He said that the last thing he remembered was being dragged under.

While we listened to his story, he began to shudder and shake his head like he was trying to shake off a terrible memory. When we pressed him to go on, he finally blurted that he had been attacked by a monster. Alan and I looked at each other, obviously thinking the same thing – that Sean was hallucinating.

We gave him a warm cup of cocoa and soon got him off to sleep. The next morning, Alan was able to take him to the edge of the river to wash the mud off. My blood froze when Alan yelled for me to come over. I couldn’t believe the horrible scratches, gouges and bite marks on Sean’s flesh.

He looked like he was covered in bizarre markings. There were strange, circular rashes on his torso, which Sean explained - while sobbing - that they were marks left by the monster’s tentacles. There were strange scratches up and down his legs, like he’d been whipped by a Cat o' nine tails and many deep cuts.

The freakiest wounds were the bite marks, which looked more like he’d been bitten by large bird beaks. As we cleaned him up and administered first aid, we heard a strange gurgling, bubbling sound coming from the river. Sean started screaming and racing up the mountain before he even got dressed.

Alan jumped up and started packing our gear without even checking out the creepy sounds. He said to me, “We’re not waiting to find out – let’s go!” It wasn’t long before we raced after Sean, back to safety. All three of us still don’t have the guts to go back and figure out what happened that day or what unholy creature lives in the river.