A Skinwalker Comes Walking: A Memory
A Night to Remember
Growing up and moving into college strange and often scary instances tended to follow me. But the more I aged, the less these things occurred. Over the years, I've assumed this had to do with becoming an adult, my imagination and general concern for the weird to tame with the realization that paying bills and going to work every day were often scarier than some bizarre situations.
The last few years have been quiet until the day I woke up needing to go on an adventure.
It was early and I had just opened the blinds to find the sun shining and the pond below my window teaming with natural fowl. It was calling my name. So, I listened.
I texted a friend wondering if she was feeling adventurous. She agreed but not until later that night. While I waited for her to show, I filled my time with off put tasks and tinkering in the garage. By the time she arrived the sun had set, but the need to adventure was still there. What kind of adventure? Well, I wasn't sure but we tossed some ideas around. Strip Club.... drive to another town... stay in to play jenga(not such an adventure but still fun).
Finally, we arrived at a conclusion. Drive until we found an empty field to release floating lanterns into the sky. I had plenty of floating lanterns left over from a bucket list item from several years prior. So, after digging them out, finding a lighter and some lighter fluid, and lastly, fillings some containers with water, we were on our way.
We took my car, but my eyes had been bugging me as of late, so I sat in the passenger's side enjoying the ride. Then the city lights began to fade, and the dark countryside emerged. Field after field passed but we didn't dare to trespass as homes laid dark and silent, the only sign of life coming from the eerie green glow illuminating from a single light post flooded with moths. It was straight out of a horror film.
As these thoughts rolled through my head my friend spoke up, "I hope we don't run into a Skinwalker tonight."
My repritoire for the unusual was pretty decent but Skinwalker had not been one of them. "What's that?"
"A Skinwalker? Well, it's an old witch or monster who takes on the traits of a loved one. They call out in distress hoping to lure you in. Most often they call out for help."
"Guess the jokes on them, I only love myself," I said. "Turn here."
Taking a sharp turn, we rolled onto a dirt road. A few houses, large open fields covered in the moon's light, and one small cemetery laid in our path. It was perfect.
"Why do I always end up in cemeteries with you?" My friend questioned referencing our time spent ghost hunting in the local cemetery a few months prior.
"If anyone asks, we're here remembering our loved ones," I said noting the headstones dating back to the late 1880's.
Dipping the small block, which would attach to the lantern, in lighter fluid, we were ready to light the lantern. I flicked the switch to be stopped by a large gust of wind. Again, I tried lighting the block but again and again it was blown out until finally I couldn't get the lighter to even spit out fire.
"Shoot. Well, we tried I guess," I said tossing everything in the back seat. "Shall we go check out the graves?"
We wandered the aisles checking out the headstones, some decorated with fresh flowers or small objects family members left behind. Further and further from the car we got but the brighter the moon shined.
As we stopped to glance at an older headstone I heard it. "Help meeee," floated on the wind over to where we were. I peered up to only see my car in the far off distance, the empty fields, and the moon shining bright above. "Help me..." the voice faintly rang out again. Even though I had my fair share of strange instances over the years, I wasn't one to get scared very easily. But what's the chance we had just been in the care, not even thirty minutes before, discussing this exact moment. For others, they might not think much of it, but for me, it was extremely possible.
"Help me...." the voice called out again this time closer to where my car was parked. I turned to my friend hoping she would take me seriously, "Did you hear that?"
"No," she said walking back towards the car.
"I'm not trying to scare you, but I definitely heard someone call out for help over that way," I mentioned following behind. She didn't say anything and continued on. The closer we got to the car the more I squinted searching for any dark shadows amoungst the trees my car currently sat under.
My mind quickly shifted though once I spotted the jug of water I had left on the side of the road in case the lanterns caught fire. I picked it up stopping to take the lid off to pour the contents out. I watched as my friend continued to walk towards the driver's side. She didn't make it far when a deep growling voice as if standing right beside me bellowed out, "HELP ME!!!!"
She didn't even stop in her tracks but instead reverse ran towards my direction. I, almost peeing my pants, not because of fear, but because of the laughter now escaping my mouth, reassured her everything was fine as she gripped my arm tightly. "It's a cat," I said a few times still pouring the water onto the dirt road. "It's just a cat making noises."
I pushed her towards her side of the car and quickly jumped in on the passenger's side. From the loud growling we'd just heard it wasn't just any cat, it was a mountain lion. I couldn't see it but from the direction the noise came it was perched in the treetops above the car. Jokingly, to keep spirits high, I rolled down the window calling out, "here, kitty kitty," before my friend told me to roll it up as we cruised down the dirt road.
I turned to my friend, tears still in my eyes from laughing, "Do you think skinwalkers walk or do you think they can run like really really fast too?"
"I don't want to think about it," she said eyes still in the roads.
After a while, we finally made our way back to town, I satisfied with the overall adventure I had hoped to set out on earlier that morning.
That night made such an impact, I went on to write a short story inspired after the haunting Skinwalker. Benson Beach, my favorite short story to date.
I haven't had another feeling of adventure since that night, but I know it's coming soon, and when it does, I'll be ready for whatever walks our way.