Beware the Wendigo

Algonquin legends say the wendigo was once a man like you and me. Poisoned by greed and gluttony, the man turned into a pale, gaunt creature with sunken eyes, reaching limbs, and an insatiable hunger for human flesh. Always hungry, the wendigo searched constantly for its next meal. The truth, however, is much worse.

My name is Charles Keeper, and I was an investigative reporter for a local paper in Wisconsin. If that sounds impressive, then you have the completely wrong idea about my career. Mostly they sent me out to the middle-of-nowhere to investigate supernatural events and creatures. Half of the people I talked to were pulling their bullshit stories out of their ass, and the other half were hopelessly deluded. Not exactly a perfect job. But hey. Whatever puts food on the table, right?

My last investigation brought me to a small town nestled deep in the northern forests of Wisconsin. So the curious among you do not seek out this town, I will omit its name. Trust me. It’s for your own good.

In any case, the remote settlement made a small buzz after a young man living with his mother reported two grisly murders: one he committed himself and another he claimed was the work of the wendigo. The man, who I shall simply call Robert, told authorities he heard a scream while hunting one evening. Following the noise down one game trail, he found his neighbor half-eaten while a skeletal, white creature stood over him covered in blood and gore. Robert shot several rounds into the creature and then burned its body. The body of the wendigo was later identified as that of a man who had gone missing almost fifteen years prior. Robert never stood trial.

To get a closer look at the full story, I first met with Robert at his home. I realized it might not be the smartest idea to visit a confessed murderer on his own property. However, I made certain his mother would join us. Even a crazed killer would not hurt an innocent reporter in front of his mother, or so I told myself anyway.

Their home was a shack battered and broken by time. Dust fogged the windows, and weeds strangled the rickety porch. The front door, where Robert waited eagerly for me, hung at an angle and swung to even the gentlest breeze.

“You’re here,” Robert said. He sounded surprised, but pleasantly so. His lips curled into a wide, yellow-toothed smile and then faltered, falling into a gloomy frown.

We shook hands and headed into the living room to talk. The room smelled of spilled beer and old deli meat. Robert invited me to sit on the couch, no doubt the source of the dizzying stench. I didn’t plan on staying long.

“Thank you for agreeing to meet,” I said. “I know what you went through must have been difficult, so I won’t pry too deep. But please, if you would, recount that day for me in as much detail as you’re comfortable with. Our readers are eager to hear the truth.”

Robert shrugged. “Ain’t nothing. People deserve the truth, even if it’s hard to hear.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” I said. I forced a smile.

“Truth be told. I’m just happy someone wants to hear my story,” he said. “The newspapers. You read them? They making me out as some lunatic killer.”

“Well, I work for a newspaper,” I said. “But we’re dedicated to all sides of the story. That includes your side. So, whenever you’re ready.” I pulled out a notebook and pen.

Scratching his head, Robert glanced up and to the side. His brow scrunched together as he struggled to recall his story. Real or fake? I didn’t know or care.

After some time, Robert shrugged again. “Nothing special about that day,” he said. “I went out hunting. There’s some game trails back through the woods there. Didn’t find nothing, of course, and night came all quick-like, so I was just heading home.”

“And that’s when you found your neighbor and the…?”

He nodded. “Wasn’t three yards from the backyard if you can believe it.” I couldn’t. “At first, I didn’t see nothing. Like I said, night came all quick-like. Clouds all across the sky, so not a moon or star to see. But I heard it.” He made an unsettling sound like a dog gnawing on a bone. “Then down the path I shine my flashlight. I see it…and Kev.”

“Kev is your neighbor?” He nodded. “And the creature-“

“The wendigo,” he corrected.

“Yes. The wendigo. What did it look like?” I asked.

“It was tall with long, white limbs. Its skin was stretched thin as if it didn’t fit its bones. And its eyes. They were sunken in, you know? Like big, black pits. They were cold, dead. Nothing there but hunger and hate.” His brow pinched together, and his mouth fell open. “Blood too. Blood everywhere. On its arms, on its face, on its chest. And there Kev is.” He cleared his throat, and muttered something under his breath. I didn’t catch it. “God bless him. He was just torn to shreds, and that beast, the wendigo, still had bits of him in its teeth. Well, I got my Ruger, and I pumped five shots in it. No hesitation.”

“You and Kev were close?”

“Good guy. We hunted together on occasions. Ma says he went looking for me in the evening, wanted to ask me something. Now I’ll never know what,” Robert said. He stared into the distance and said nothing.

I was beginning to wonder where his mother was. So far she hadn’t made an appearance, and the longer the silence lingered, the more uncomfortable I felt. Eventually, I made a curt cough. “And the five shots. Did they kill the creature?”

“Seemed so. Howled something awful and fell to the ground,” Robert said. “But I don’t take no chances. I knew what it was as soon as I saw it, and I know the legends. Only fire can kill a wendigo. So, I ran back home, got some gasoline, and lit that fucker up.” His face spread into a proud smile.

“Hm,” I said. “The police identified the wendigo as –“

“Yeah I know,” Robert interrupted. “But I didn’t know him.”

“You think it was this man or something else?” I asked.

Robert shrugged. “Could be. They say the wendigo used to be human.”

A small, shriveled woman shuffled into the living room. “Ain’t no human,” she said in a harsh, combative tone.

“Ma,” Robert said.

“I told you before,” she said. “Wendigo just means ‘evil spirit.’ It ain’t no human. I told you before Robby.”

“You think it’s a spirit?” I asked his mother.

“I do,” she said. “You know how many people have gone missing over the past fifty years? Five. Christ! We only have a hundred people in this town. Something ain’t right with that forest. It ain’t natural. You want my advice? Don’t go near it.”

I chuckled. “Funny you should say that. I was just about to ask if you’d show me where you found the wendigo.”

“I can show you where the game trail starts,” Robert said. “But even I won’t go down that way again. You’re not thinking of looking around, are you?” His eyes twinkled with genuine concern. Robert may have been a murderer, but I could tell he truly believed the story he told me. I pitied him.

“You already killed the wendigo. What do I have to fear?” I said.

The wrinkled, old woman scowled. “Don’t go looking for trouble,” she said. “Cuz you’ll find it, and you’ll be sorry.”

A good reporter would follow up on the story with the police. If Robert’s mother was right, the town had too many missing persons than could be explained.

But I am not a good reporter. I wanted to go home. It didn’t matter whether or not I got to the bottom of the story. My readers would still eat the garbage up anyway. So, I went out into the woods looking for more wendigos. One night in the forest, and I’d call the story finished. It’s not like I expected to find anything.

The forest was a forest. Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Dead, brown leaves blanketed the floor while reaching, black branches blinded the sky. And through the woods ran a winding, dirt path, where Robert used to hunt.

After walking up and down the trail for an hour, a starless, moonless night had cast everything in shadow. So, I made camp for the night. I set up a tent and lit a small fire to keep me warm. Once the flames grew tall and bright, I pulled out my notebook.

“Late in the evening, I heard strange noises,” I wrote. “Rustling trees. Muffled chatter. A shadow shifted among the silhouetted trees. It could’ve been a person or an animal, but the hair on my neck stood straight up. I didn’t feel safe.” None of it was true. I hadn’t experienced anything outside of the forest’s usual sights and sounds.

The fire cracked. I sighed. I was tired of spending nights alone in the forest making up stories about fictional creatures. There are much better ways to spend one’s time and make one’s money. I was still young. Maybe I could switch newspapers and write something real for a change.

I heard another crack. Then another. This time they hadn’t come from the fire. I squinted into the dark forest. It had to be some kind of animal. All sorts came out at night to forage: possums, racoons, skunks, and so on. But as I searched into the woods, I saw the branches bend and snap. The animal was large. A coyote perhaps. What else could it be?

Leaves rustled. The sound was close. Whatever it was, it was approaching the fire. I looked long and hard for the source of the noise, and soon I saw an inky shadow passing from tree to tree.

“Robert?” I asked the dark figure. “Is that you?” There was no answer. “Robert?” Nothing.

Now I was growing afraid. Against all logic, I entertained the possibility that maybe Robert and his mother were right. Maybe there were such things as wendigos and evil spirits. God, I hoped not. Just in case, I grabbed a log and lit one end in the fire. Robert said only fire could kill a wendigo. It was probably bullshit. But, you know, better safe than sorry.

Before long, the noises stopped. I waited and listened with the flaming log in hand. Minutes passed, one after another. But the forest was silent. After several bated breaths, I relaxed.

The campfire, which I had all but forgotten about, had burned down to its last embers. The dark coals smoldered faintly. So, I placed my makeshift weapon on top and tried to coax the fire back to life.

Just then, I heard the crunch of leaves close behind me. I whirled around. But there was nothing. Only my tent trembling slightly to a cool breeze.

I built the fire into a great blaze, whose heat and light gave me strength. For hours, I watched the flames dance and listened for any noise big or small. Thankfully, I heard nothing. And by the time the fire finally died, I was exhausted but calm.

With my fears behind me, I headed into my tent to rest. It was then I saw it for the first time: the wendigo. Its face, not at all human, was a pallid skull adorned with gnarled, black antlers. To fit inside the tent, the towering creature hunched over its limbs. But its body was not pale or emaciated as Robert had described. At one look, it was solid, black flesh with muscles wide and bulging. And at the next, it was a gossamer fog. However, I didn’t get to look too long before it knocked me out cold with a swipe to the head.

I woke in a dingy cave with a raging headache and a chill running down my spine. I was naked, bound to a rock slab, and utterly terrified. Beside me were two other slabs, each with a pale, naked body on them. Even in the dark, I could see the curve of their bones pressing so tight against their skin I thought it might burst. They were dead. They had to be. Yet, when I called out for help, the two bodies stirred suddenly as if waking from sleep.

“You’re…you’re alive? Oh thank god,” I said. “Where are we? How long have you been here? What’s happening?” For all my questions, I only received anxious grunts and groans in response. The two people craned their necks to look at me. When I saw their faces, I shrieked in horror. They weren’t people. Not anymore. Their eyes had receded into their skull, and their teeth had narrowed to beastly points. Bloody sores spotted their hairless scalps, and scars marked their gaunt cheeks. When they looked at me, they gnashed their teeth and licked their tattered lips.

I had no doubts Robert had seen one of these creatures. But why were they tied up? And what was the creature I saw in my tent? I didn’t know.

All three stone slabs faced a long, gaping tunnel that stabbed deep into the hillside, far from the touch of light. I strained to see its end. Yet, I could see nothing. And as I looked deeper into the tunnel, I saw a white skull and black antlers emerge silently.

“Hey! Hey!” I said. “Who are you? What do you want?” The creature eyed me with a hollow stare and then sank back into the darkness.

My heart raced in my chest as I struggled against my restraints, but they would not budge. I felt around for something to help me escape, but the ropes pressed down on my wrists. I could only reach fruitlessly with the tips of my fingers. “No no no,” I muttered in a shrill, frantic voice. “No. Please. Help me. Help!” My breaths grew short and shallow until my lungs trembled. No matter how hard I gasped, I couldn’t get enough air. Soon, my vision spun and went black.

When next I woke up, I found my captor seated on a rock. Though it had no eyes to blink, the creature was staring at me. “What do you want?” I asked. It cocked its head to one side but said nothing. “You aren’t human. What…what are you? A ghost? A spirit?” The creature grumbled low in its throat. “A spirit? Is that it?” The creature murmured in a deep, guttural voice. Whatever words it spoke, it was no language I had heard before. “A demon? A wendigo or something?”

“Wendigo,” it said in a menacing tone. The wendigo stood and approached me. It lowered its hand towards my bare chest and then growled. Then, pulling its hand back, the wendigo turned and walked towards the next captive. The pale beast on the table was already squirming with anticipation.

“What do you want?” I asked again. The creature spoke several words in its foreign tongue. “I don’t understand,” I said.

“Food…must…starve,” it said as it scanned the captive’s willowy body. I had no idea what that meant, but I didn’t like the sound of it. I hurled another barrage of questions at the wendigo, but this time it ignored me.

From out of thin air, the wendigo produced a short, steel knife. Without hesitation, he pressed the keen blade against the captive’s sickly, white skin. The beast wailed in pain as the wendigo shaved off a sliver of skin. But when the deed was done, the bony creature raised its head. Mouth agape, it stretched towards the slice of flesh like a flower to the sun. Then, chanting, the wendigo fed its prisoner.

In an instant, the meager strip of skin was gone, consumed without second thought. But the chants continued for several moments more, and when they finally ended, the pale beast began to whimper. It shrank in on itself and trembled visibly.

Delighting in its fear, the wendigo chuckled. Then, after a long, disturbingly silent moment, the wendigo thrust its hands into the beast’s stomach. Soon, the cave filled with the victim’s shrieks of horror and pain, and the wendigo’s moans of pleasure. I closed my eyes, too scared to watch.

Several minutes passed before the screams finally died down. I cracked open my eyes. Somehow the pale creature’s stomach was untouched. Even so, it continued to writhe on the slab, traumatized and in agony.

As for the wendigo, it had moved on to the next victim. Cruel laughter rumbled low in the cave, accented by the shrill whimpers of the imprisoned. The ritual was about to begin again.

I heard the cry of steel, and of pain, and of pleasure. Organs squished and groaned. Blood sloshed and spilled. All the while, I wondered when it would be my turn to suffer under the wendigo’s touch. However, when the wendigo finished, it merely turned and disappeared down the tunnel. It was not yet my time.

Time, they say, is relative. And in that cave, with no light to signal the day, it could’ve been days, weeks, or even months that I stayed strapped to that stone. Hunger gnawed at my belly, aching worse than anything I’ve ever felt before. At times, I caught the wendigo watching me from the shadows as if waiting for something. But he didn’t say or do anything. He continued to torture the other prisoners, but not me. After that, he returned to the tunnel and disappeared for hours on end.

With the wendigo gone, I searched for some way to free myself. But I could think of nothing. One day I heard the wind howl from somewhere behind me. Another day I heard rain patter gently against stone. The exit couldn’t have been too far away, but still too far from reach.

In time, the pain of starvation became so unbearable that I could think only of food. I even chewed off the dried flakes of my lips in a desperate attempt to fill my belly. But it didn’t even touch my hunger. God, I would’ve eaten anything if you put it in front of me.

Of course, this was exactly what the wendigo was waiting for. “Food must starve,” it had said. It didn’t take long to figure out what that meant. I had watched the wendigo enough to know it wasn’t torturing the other prisoners. It was feeding off their pain, their starvation, their hunger. When the wendigo stood before me one day, I knew it was time. I had starved enough.

My heart quaked when I felt the wendigo’s short, steel blade, but I suffered the pain with pride. I didn’t shout. I didn’t cry. The wendigo had not broken me yet. And when my flesh was forced into my mouth, I spit it back out at the cruel spirit. However, the wendigo didn’t care. It hacked off another chunk of meat, grabbed my jaw in a firm grip, and shoved the flesh down my throat.

As I swallowed my pride and flesh both, the wendigo muttered in its demonic tongue. The words meant nothing to me. Even so, I felt a strange sensation seep into my veins as if my achy, unrelenting hunger had expanded out of my stomach and into the rest of my body.

While I pondered what was happening to me, the wendigo forced its hands into my abdomen. Its fingers throbbed as they wrapped around my stomach, twisting it and tearing it open. My entrails surrendered to the wendigo, bursting under its strong grip. The pain was unimaginable. I roared in agony while the wendigo moaned in delight.

No man or woman should have to endure what I did. Worse than the pain and the wendigo’s pleasure was the knowledge I could do nothing to stop it. I was helpless. Not just then, but for years. I thought I would grow accustomed to the torture, resign myself to it. But pain is a funny thing. When you feel it intense enough and often enough, you don’t grow numb to it. You grow more sensitive. It traumatizes you. Every moment of every day, you fear it. Scared and helpless. That’s what I was for so many years.

You may wonder how I survived so long on just meager scraps carved from my body. The wendigo did something to me and the others. Call it a spell or a curse or whatever you want. But I survived. I survived and I starved, so the wendigo could feed for years to come. What that creature did, it changed me. Slowly, almost without notice, I became like the other prisoners. My hair fell out, my eyes sank into my skull, and my skin drained of all color. Even my thoughts had started to disappear, consumed by an irresistible, insatiable hunger. I could only cling desperately to my humanity. I forced myself to recall my favorite songs, my hobbies, and my family’s faces. But it was all fading so fast. Soon, I knew…soon there would be nothing.

What’s more, I heard things. Deep within the lightless tunnel, thin, ghostly voices murmured and growled. I caught only the echo of their words, but it was enough to convince me I had truly gone mad.

Regardless, I did escape that cave eventually. That fateful day began not with my freedom, however, but with the freedom of another. Some time after feeding, when the wendigo had returned to its tunnel, one of the prisoners rose from its slab. With a jagged rock in hand, it walked to the center of the cave and looked at the path behind me, where a soft wind murmured.

I could barely believe it. Of course, it was possible. After all, Robert had seen and killed one of these creatures. But how many years had I been there? How many years had it been there? If there was hope for that poor beast, then maybe there was hope for me. Maybe it would even let me go.

As the pale creature walked past me towards the exit, I opened my mouth to call for its attention. Nothing came out but a dry croak. After all those years without speech, my body barely remembered how to do it. I poured all my strength into my throat and tried again. “Please,” was all I could muster.

It was enough. The creature turned around and approached my slab. Some humanity lingered in the beast after all. It understood me. It pitied me. It would help me. Or so I thought.

Still clutching the pointed rock, it looked down at me. For once, I could see its eyes clearly. They were utterly black. Its pupils had expanded until they consumed the entire cornea. Inside, I could see nothing. No thought. No emotion. Only hunger. Mouth ajar, the beast grabbed my arm and lifted the rock. All I could do was scream.

Then, appearing suddenly, the wendigo caught the creature’s wrist. Without a word, the wendigo dragged its prisoner back to the slab. Desperate to escape, the creature thrashed at its captor. It clawed and scraped and bit, though to no avail. The wendigo took the abuse without complaint.

In a last ditch effort to free itself, the creature grabbed one of the wendigo’s antlers and pulled with all its might. A short, twisted chunk snapped off, making the wendigo howl in pain. For an instant, the creature was free. However, it only managed to take a step before the wendigo returned to its senses.

With the back of its hand, the wendigo struck its prisoner across the face. Keen, crooked teeth sprayed across the cave. They tinged against the cold stone like death bells ringing. Fueled by rage, the wendigo thrust its hand through the creature’s chest. Blood splattered over the prisoner beside me, who licked up the hot liquid without remorse.

Now one prisoner short, the wendigo sighed and muttered something in its ancient tongue. Then, it grabbed the bloody corpse and dragged it into the tunnel. Halfway down, before disappearing from sight, the wendigo stopped and looked back at me. A shiver ran down my spine. I clutched my fists tightly. In one of them was a tooth that fell like a miracle into my hand. I prayed to any god that would listen not to let that miracle be taken away. And perhaps one of them heard me because the wendigo turned around and sank into the darkness.

Uncertain how long the wendigo’s absence would last, I waited. The tooth would be my key home, but I had to be smart. As I expected, the wendigo returned shortly. It would not let a slab sit empty, so it slipped past me into the free world, where it would soon find another victim.

After several anxious minutes, I began my work. The tooth I received was a molar. It wasn’t sharp enough to cut a rope, so I honed it against the stone slab. It took hours to narrow the tooth to a razor-like point, and just as I began to saw through my rope binds, I heard the rustle of cloth against the cave floor. It was the wendigo dragging its prey.

This time it was a girl. Blonde. In her mid-twenties I guessed. The wendigo laid her against the slab and disrobed her. She was pretty. At one time, I may have looked at her with pleasure and desire. But at the time, all I could think of was how hungry I was.

I held onto the sharpened tooth for another week or so, hiding it when necessary. Truth be told, I was too terrified to free myself. If I got caught, that was it. No more miracles. I would be stuck in that cave forever. I needed a distraction.

One day, as the wendigo carved a sliver of flesh from my thigh, a thin beam of light penetrated our chamber. The light was weak as if it had come from somewhere far off. But it might’ve well been the noontime sun. I hadn’t seen light in decades.

Although the light flickered and slipped away, the sound of footsteps echoed throughout the cave. As soon as it heard the sound, the wendigo dropped its knife and vanished into its tunnel. What it feared, I couldn’t say. Your guess is as good as mine. But it was an opportunity, and I took it. I frantically dug the tooth into my rope binds.

Not long after the footsteps, I heard the voices of three men calling out for someone. I didn’t know the girl’s name, but I could only assume they were looking for her. The ray of light flashed our way again, this time wider and stronger. I glanced at the girl. She struggled against her own binds, but to no avail. Her lips moved, but no words came out. Starvation had drained her of all energy. She was helpless, just as I had been so many times before.

But not this time. This time I would be free. I hacked through my restraints even as the men’s voices faded along with the thin, shifting light. Knees wobbly, I pushed myself to my feet. I gave one last look at the depthless, black tunnel and left as quickly as my legs would allow. The whole time I wondered if the wendigo would drag me back to the slab or kill me as it did the other prisoner. However, luck shone on me that day.

After several minutes of raggedy breath and throbbing anxiety, I stumbled through the mouth of the cave into freedom. For a man that had not seen light in years, the moon and stars were blinding. And though I shielded my eyes from them, their presence gave me hope and comfort.

Gaunt and naked, I ran through the woods in search of civilization. At some point, I collapsed from exhaustion. But when I woke again, I returned to running, bound by fear and hunger. It was midday when I found a dirt path that wove between the trees. I followed it until I came into contact with a young man on a hike. Naturally, his first response was to scream.

“Please,” I said. It was the one word I knew I could say. And this time the hiker responded with kindness and concern. Despite the horrific transformation I had undergone, he could still tell I was a person. Not just that, I was starving and covered in cuts and scars.

“I’m sorry,” the man said. “Do you need help? How can I help you?” I took a step closer. The man’s cheeks were full and red with life, and along his neck ran a plump, juicy vein. I tried to speak, but this time only a hoarse grumble came out. “Water? Do you need water?” the man asked. He pulled out a plastic bottle from the bag strapped to his back.

“Food,” I said. I took another step closer. My heart roared in my ears. Or perhaps it was his heart I heard, beating strong behind his thick, meaty chest. A shiver ran down my spine.

The man pulled a granola bar out of his backpack. “Here,” he said. I reached forward to take it. But I didn’t want granola…and I couldn’t control myself. I tried. I swear I did. Yet, even with the wendigo far behind me, its influence lingered. I swatted away the granola bar and leapt at the man, scratching him across the neck. Blood coated my nails, and when I licked the dark drops, they tasted sweet as cream.

Unbeknownst to me, the man had a knife. He stabbed it into my shoulder and then cut me across the cheek. The pain was no worse than what I had felt every day in that cave, but I didn’t want to suffer anymore. I let go of the man and retreated into a fetal position. Meanwhile, the man ran, to the cops I presume because sooner or later a group of police officers approached me with guns drawn. Not long after, I found myself in a cell, imprisoned again. At least this time I was clothed and fed.

Of course, the police had questions. Simple ones. For instance: who are you? It took me a second, but I remembered. “Charles. Charles Keeper,” I said.

They ran the name through their database. Then, they came back with a photo. It was a photo of me. I looked so different. I barely recognized myself. Yet, it was enough for the cops. “Jesus Christ,” one of them said. “You’ve been missing for fifteen years.”

“Fifteen?” I repeated. It felt like fifty.

“What happened to you?” they asked. Their eyes studied me closely, never once letting up or looking away. I cowered into my knees. I said nothing.

When the silence dragged on too long, they held up another photo. “Do you know this girl?” It was the girl from the cave. I flinched at the sight of her. “You do, don’t you?”

I looked up. It hurt to meet their gaze, but I met it anyway. “Please,” I said. I didn’t want to think about her. I didn’t want to think about the wendigo. “Please don’t. I can’t…”

“Can’t what?” one cop asked. By the color of his face and the volume of his voice, I could tell he was angry. “She’s been missing a week. Her parents are worried sick. They want to know what happened to their baby. And you can’t tell us?”

“You won’t…you won’t,” I stuttered.

“We won’t believe you?” another cop finished. I nodded. “Go on. Try us.”

“If you tell us where she is, maybe we’ll forget about the man you assaulted in the forest,” another cop added.

I had no choice. They wouldn’t let me leave until I told them, so I did. I told them everything. At times, I caught them looking among each other, thinking no doubt that I had gone mad. But on the whole, they were receptive. They tried to make reason of my story. Maybe the wendigo was just a man in a costume. Maybe the trauma of my torture had altered my memories.

In any case, two of the cops happened to be part of a search party that investigated the cave the night I escaped. Even if my story was a lie, it didn’t matter so long as they found their missing girl in the cave. They asked me to help them find her. There were simply too many tunnels in the cave for them to find her on their own. But I refused outright. Nothing would bring me back to that cave. The thought of it triggered such a severe panic attack that they let me go without another word.

Since then, I have readjusted to life, as best I can anyway. At first, food tasted sour, but for the most part, I’ve gotten used to it. I just take my steaks rare now. I found myself a lady too. She’s decent and sweet, and she helps me forget about the times I suffered. She doesn’t believe my story. I can sense it in the tone of her voice whenever the subject comes up, but she knows better than to tease me. As for the missing girl, the police never told me if they found her. I haven’t heard anything from them since they released me. I hope they did find her. I really do. But in the many years that have passed, it never once occurred me to find out. To tell you the truth, this is one story I don’t want to see to the end.


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