Nancy Tostos had her hands placed firmly on the steering wheel as she coasted down the paved road. She narrowed her green eyes and glanced to her left, at the pile of folders sprawled across the passenger seat, containing the details of what was certainly a strange case. She was used to boring cases that had to do with mere gossip, but what that man had presented to her earlier that week was huge enough to put knots in her stomach.As she drove, a blue sign that reads “Pruvette” popped out from the brambles, marking her entrance to the peculiar town. The wheels of her car whined a little as she slowed down, taking the time to cruise around the few streets that composed Pruvette, getting a feel for the town, before pulling into a nearby parking lot. Nancy reached a hand towards her keys, twisting them to turn the ignition off. Then she raised her hand to wipe away her blonde bangs with a disgruntled sigh, and picked up one of the folders sitting next to her, flipping it open.
“The Village of Pruvette… more like a hamlet… with more missing persons cases than its own population… yet no one does anything about it… no coppers… no media… nothing…” she murmured to herself, running her fingers down the lines of text reading the information she had already read dozens of times before. Nancy frowned and flipped to another page, which was a map of the area with dozens of red dots all over it, most of which were clustered around the forest northwest of town, while a few of them were peppered about in other areas. She just gave a grunt and tossed the entire folder aside, an angry gleam in her eye. Nancy was certain that her client’s daughter was already dead. Despite that, Nancy was determined to complete her contract, to bring an end to this by any means possible.
She picked up the second folder, biting her lip as she opened it up, going through the few wrinkled pages contained within. The first folder was of her own making, filled with facts and theories, but the second contained the papers her client had collected on his own little investigation, something he couldn’t even look her in the eyes about. Nancy didn’t blame him, for the words on it described something that would raise a few eyebrows.
Where to begin? I know what I wanted to say, but not how to start saying it. I could just cut to the chase and simply write what happened, but looking back there is so much more than that. What happened to us has happened before. I don’t know how or who, but all the little oddities that I had just brushed off now make sense. Why we were all shoved inside at night, the bells at the door, and the guns at the bedside… it all makes sense now.
You see, my cousins are not known to be the most civilized folks, living in a rundown shack, just outside of a small town, kilometers away from the forest. They own about half a dozen guns, prefer to piss outside despite having an indoor washroom, and the most advanced device in their home is a typewriter. Yet, they were the ones you went to if you wanted to have a good time. They didn’t worry about being proper and were experts at having fun, whether it was mucking around the fire pit or snowmobiling. I always loved spending the holidays at their place. In the winter we would snowmobile almost every day, and then curl up by the fireplace at night, drinking beers to crazy stories
This morning I had mentioned that there was supposed to be a solar eclipse in this area. My cousins were confused at first, but when I explained it to them they just laughed. They said that the idea of a something as small as the moon covering the gigantic sun was ridiculous and that I was probably reading some crazy magazine that liked to install fear into people. I just sighed, not bothering to argue.
We bundled up and donned our helmets. We triple checked that the snowmobiles were indeed in perfect working order and had full tanks of gas, before bringing them out of the garage and speeding into the woods. We drove along for a few hours, steering across the various trails, enjoying the scenery that zoomed by. Then, a shadow started to inch its way across the forest, signalling the beginning of the eclipse.
My cousin Liam, eventually realized that a dark circle was creeping in front of the sun. He cried out to us to stop, quickly turning off his snowmobile and taking a gander at the sun, shielding his eyes with his gloves. “Shit on a stick…” he cursed, before looking at me and the others. I couldn’t see his face, but there was a tone of fear in his voice that came with an unsettling feeling that slowly grew worse, eating away at your gut. Liam suddenly hopped back onto his snowmobile, revving it back to life and turning it around, shouting at us to hurry up, before flying away at top speed. We all followed of course, matching his velocity.
We were probably driving back for a good hour before it went totally dark. As the shadows got darker, I shouted a warning, “We need to stop! It’s getting too dark to see!” I had feared crashing my snowmobile into a tree, destroying my beloved machine, but what I should have feared would have sent that worry scurrying away. My cousins did not listen however, and screamed at me to shut up and keep going. That’s when it appeared.
I cannot even begin to describe it, except maybe as this dark, lurking, mass that materialized in front of us. My cousins and I screamed, sharply turning our snowmobiles around to flee from whatever it was. I took the turn too quickly and then find myself falling face first into the deepening snow, the weight of my snowmobile pressing down on my back. As I laid in the snow, wriggling around in a desperate effort to escape, I could hear my cousins screaming and the snapping sounds of things being ripped apart, followed by a noise similar to rain.
Then there was a brief silence, interrupted by a crunching sound above me and a sudden feeling of freedom. I rolled over just to see my snowmobile wrapped around in a dark limb, crushed into an hourglass shape. The dark limb tossed the vehicle, letting it fall into the snow a few hundred meters away. I scrambled to my feet just to have the same willowy fingers wrap itself around my throat and raise me upwards. I could feel it cut off my airway, that feeling of being stuck. I started flailing my limbs; my feet kicking the air and my hands grasping at it, scraping my palm on its coarse and rugged surface. Soon, I could feel large talons grasping at my sides, claws digging into my coat, beginning to pierce my flesh. Hot pain laced my ribs and stomach, while a warm blood began to well up. I attempted to scream, but all that came out was a hoarse wheeze. Within seconds I could have died, I could have been torn in half by that thing, but it did not have the time to unleash its fury on me.
With a slow lightening of the area, the thing just let me to fall to the ground and disappeared. I sat there dazed and coughing, not really caring where it went: I was just glad it was gone. With each breath I took, pain burst through my sides, but it was welcomed; it meant I was still alive. After several minutes of coughing, breathing, and bleeding, I eventually staggered to my feet and took a look around. The snow was red in several places, accompanied with arms, legs, and bits of flesh. Intestines hung from the trees like streamers, and Liam was the piñata, dangling from a branch of one of the larger trees. I screamed with fright and howled with pain, before sprinting down the trail, ignoring the shots of fire that burned with every step. It took several hours, but I managed to make it back to my cousin’s home before dark. I am now here, under some convulsion to write down today’s happenings while I keep a gun by my side.
Nancy shook her head at the little anecdote. Monsters lurked about, but they were not the terrors spoken about around campfires. They were the kind that walked among crowds without being noticed. The pages described nothing that could possibly take place in this world.