trip to skinwalker estate
A young man kicks an old half deflated football around the well-manicured lawn of his grandparents' country estate. Yuma had asked to come stay with them over the summer holidays because as a small child he was never invited to stay, neither did they make any effort to visit him. The only contact he had ever had from his estranged relatives was through cards at birthdays or Christmas with polaroids of them and the beautiful views of the forest from their house. To his youthful eyes, the acres of trees which stretched in every direction looked like a playground ready to be explored. However he had always been told that it was "a dangerous area" for a such a little boy like him. Finally, at the age of 16, he had convinced his mother to let him drive up to his eccentric, native-american, hippie grandparents' estate in rural Utah to surprise them. Yuma not only wanted to finally speak to his grandparents face-to-face for the very first time, but he was also keen to learn more about his heritage and they were the only ones in the family left that grew up following native-american traditions. Once his mother was born, they moved into a modern house and slowly drifted away from their roots. As soon as Yuma's mother had gathered enough money from working odd-jobs in the nearby village, at aged 17 she moved away all by herself to California. This caused her parents much heartbreak and soon communication between them ceased. It was only when Yuma was born they began to send each other the birthday or christmas card. Despite being pleased the family was finally coming together again, she was hesitant to let him go alone, her excuse was that it was easy to get lost on the road up the hill through the woods but after much persuasion she caved and let him set out on his long-awaited adventure.
Once he managed to navigate the never-ending, winding dirt tracks, that his poor 1967 Morris Minor convertible was definitely not designed for, Yuma finally caught sight of the house. To say it politely he was very disappointed. He had severely underestimated just how off-grid the place was and as he stood in front of the dilapidated mansion, he took in the spectacle that was the once white crumbling stone walls. A woman that looked to be in her late seventies came racing around the corner of the building with a hunting rifle pointing straight at him. He recognised her as his grandma, Enola.
"Who in the hell are you and what are you doin' on my property?!" She shrieked. Once he explained she lowered the gun and took a closer look at his face, she apologised for her rude welcome, saying something about how there is bad things out here on the mountain. He noticed her word choice of things rather than people, he thought that was strange. She hugged him tightly and ushered him inside, shouting on her husband to come downstairs. She smelled of lavender and pine and home baking. Once inside the house the boy felt safer but there was still something off about it. A thick layer of dust coated every surface and there was a strong scent of mold which tarnished the torn floral wallpaper. The house didn't look lived in at all. Half of the windows had been boarded up, his grandmother explained that some kids from the local farm like to throw stones and that they even had the cheek to return to spray paint their names onto the chipboard like an artist signing their work.
An old man with a long white wiry beard, which the boy assumed was his Heammawihio, his grandfather, limped down the spiral staircase. He smelled strongly of tobacco and damp. His icy blue, beady eyes met the gaze of his estranged grandson, the old man nodded a hello and then headed back up the stairs into a room at the top then slammed the sturdy door again behind him. The young man was taken aback by his grandfather's abruptness. He didn't expect such a cold introduction but a recluse that had lived on his own in the middle of nowhere probably didn't have the best social skills, so he let it slide. His grandmother led him along a corridor to the spare room where he dumped his suitcase, he had plenty of sports equipment and boardgames as he had guessed there wouldn't be WIFI. He had guessed correctly as the woman only looked at him as if he had spoken in a different language when he asked about it.
Over the course of the next few days, the boy spent all of his free time, which was all of his time, out in the pristine garden reading, playing ball games alone or helping his grandmother pick her home-grown vegetables. The kind old woman was always out obsessively tending to her plants. Maybe secretly she was sick of the house's desperate state of disrepair too. One day while the boy was lost in thought, mindlessly rebounding his now tattered ball off a large tree at the edge of the property a figure stepped out from behind the old oak startling him. It was his grandmother and he was certain he was about to be scolded for abusing one of her precious plants but instead she smiled warmly and asked him if he would mind finding his grandfather and asking him if he wanted anything from the market as she was going to nip in later that evening and she was far too busy watering her rhododendrons to ask him herself. Having nothing better to do the boy agreed and set off back to the house.
Once inside, Yuma made his way up the creaky spiral steps and knocked on the door of his grandfather's study. A low gravelly voice grumbled for him to come in. The study was considerably more well-kept than the rest of the house. Posters depicting odd diagrams plastered the walls, there were bookcases upon bookcases tightly packed full off old books with unfamiliar symbols on them, there were cabinets with a multitude of hunting rifles of various sizes hung behind the cluttered mahogany desk. Their conversation was short and sweet as always but just as the boy turned to leave the old man stood up and grabbed his arm, sternly he said:
"If I see you getting too near those goddamn woods ever again I swear to god kid I won't hesitate to send you back to whatever space-age city you came from."
The boy snatched his arm away offended and argued back that he had seen the man go out into the woods himself for hours at a time. This only put a scowl on his grandfather's face as he ushered him out and slammed the heavy wooden door in the confused boy's face. Whilst he made his way back down the stairs, bewildered by the unusual encounter, the older man spoke apologetically from inside the room:
"I didn't intend to scare ya lad but lets just say the guns aren't for decoration and I don't think your mother would appreciate getting you back in 100 tiny pieces now would she?"
This stern warning hadn't deterred the Yuma at all. In fact it only sparked excitement within his youthful, adventure-hungry spirit. He decided he would prove that old blathering man wrong. It only took him a few days to gather everything he thought he needed and pack it tightly into a small leather book bag that he found amongst the mountains of clutter. He looted the pantry for bread and cheese to make sandwiches, a large glass bottle of fizzy juice, a lighter and a small pocket knife. The original plan was to borrow one of the many guns scattered around the house but he decided it was too risky as he was sure his grandfather would notice, also he wasn't entirely sure he even knew how to use a gun. On the following Thursday he waited until the sweltering sun sank below the horizon and he could no longer hear his grandparents shuffling around in the room next door then slipped on his boots, grabbed the bag of supplies and crept down the stairs, making sure not to make a sound then cracked open the heavy front door and slipped out into the crisp night air.
As he grew closer to the foreboding regiment of evergreen trees his confident strut shrunk into a timid shuffle as he peered into the inky black silence of the forest. He stood for a while having an internal argument, questioning why he was doing this to himself, however in the end the childishly brave side of him won and the foolish young man set off into dense woods.
Cautiously, Yuma picked his way through the thick undergrowth and fallen branches. Under his feet twigs snapped, leaves crunched and the spongy moss added a spring to his step. The feeling of rebellion gave him a thrill and he felt like Frodo from Lord of the Rings, on an important quest venturing through this long-untouched land. All around the trees towered like mother nature's city, blocking the now less confident boys view of the burning amber sky.
As he descended deeper into the heart of the forbidden land his mind began to wander. Out of the blue, an overwhelming sense of dread overcame him. It engulfed his body like a net and an uncomfortable sensation like a billion scuttling spiders spread across his skin. It made him shudder as he tried to dust off the invisible pests. Just as he managed to convince himself it was just his paranoia heightening his senses, a deep guttural snarl echoed throughout the forest behind him. Time seemed to grind to a halt. He could hear the crunch of crispy autumn leaves as whatever was stalking Yuma creeped closer.
His feet felt rooted to the spot and it wasn't until he could feel the creature's moist breath on that back of his neck that he regained control over his body. Ever so slowly he turned his head to see the protruding ribs of a pale grey bipedal humanoid. The trembling boy's eyes grew wider and wider as they panned up to the monster's dreadful face. Its limbs were long and skeletal, but somehow still looked powerful enough to crush a human skull. Its bulbous amber eyes seemed to penetrate into the young man's very soul. Its nostrils flared as it analyzed the scent of its prey. Slimy brown fangs poked out from grinning, stone coloured lips. The petrified child's flight instinct kicked in and he turned to flee but before he barely made one step an impossibly large clawed hand wrapped around his neck snapping him back round and giving him no choice but to look at the disturbing face. With its free hand the beast took one curled yellow talon and slowly pierced the now wailing boy's windpipe and severed his vocal chords. The hand around Yuma's neck tightened its deadly grip and before all the air was squeezed out of the foolishly rebellious child's lungs, he saw the creature 's jaw unhinge revealing a set of needle sharp teeth. With the taste of iron in his mouth, his vision faded to inky black.
Submitted March 13, 2019 at 04:38PM by BoomerZoomer69