By Jason Warden
“Boys, sit down. Look here, I need to tell you about what you saw. That thing isn’t real, at least not in the way we think of it. I know you’re all excited to explore it. Probably even thought about going in, breakin’ the lock if need be, didn’t ya?”
The place has a pull about it. Well, telling you there’s nothing to see won’t do no good, I know cause I have been there, right up close, stood just outside the door. Thing is, part of me didn’t want no part of it, part of me wanted to go running in the other direction just as fast as my legs would carry me. Lookin’ at it standing there all crooked hurt my head somehow. The angles are just all wrong and I knew it just couldn’t be, but it was. Speakin’ of wrong, did you two see the grass around it? Ain’t never been no grass on this God’s earth that green or that thick. It was like tryin’ to walk through a snow drift. You boys didn’t go that far right?
Good. Now, when I was a boy we hunted these woods. Usually my friend Tyler went with me, and he was with me the day I first saw the damned thing.
“Whoa, look,” Tyler said.
Goose flesh ran all over me when I did. I wouldn’t have been more surprised to see him pointing at the last Saber-Toothed Tiger, ‘cause that thing just didn’t belong here, or anywhere we know about. Only, sometimes it does. I’m telling you, it’s only back now ‘cause it’s hungry again.
You’re gonna call me a liar or think your Grandpa is crazy, but I want you to look at something. You see this scar? I did it myself, so I wouldn’t forget. The T is for Tyler, and to be fair, the cabin did it, at least the first time. I’ve been re-cutting that one for years, crazy as it sounds, it heals faster than the other, like it’s erasing itself. The other one, the G stands for Goode. That was Tyler’s last name. I believe you boys know Todd, well Tyler would have been his uncle, ‘cept Todd’s dad don’t remember nothin’ about having a brother, neither did his parents.
We walked to the door of that place and peeked inside. The closer I got, the sicker I felt. It seemed to buzz inside my head, like it was telling me to stay away. Just before we reached the front door, I told Tyler I thought we should go back.
“Hold on, it’s unlocked. I just want to look.”
Thing is, when it’s here, It’s always unlocked, on the outside anyway. As soon as Tyler stepped through though, the door slammed shut and we couldn’t budge it. After a few minutes of trying to break it down I hollered in to Tyler that I was goin’ for help. It was the last time I ever saw him.
I fell down those front steps and landed on the bottom riser trying to get away from it. That’s how I got the scar. When I got home, bloody and still feeling sick, I told my dad what happened, but he only looked at me and asked, “Who’s Tyler?”
There wasn’t time to explain, somehow I could already feel pieces of Tyler being stolen away. I finally convinced your Great-grandfather to follow me back, but we never did find it. Where it had been was just forest like everywhere else. Even the grass was gone.”
My dad whooped me for leading him out into the woods after dark and told me not to be makin’ up stories. I never did, not after that, I didn’t need to, but every time I see the scar on my arm, I think about Tyler. Even if this world says he never existed, I know…I know he did.
I’ve only seen that cabin one other time since I was a boy, but I don’t remember if it left hungry or not. I don’t have a way to remember. If it took someone, no one knows, ‘cause no one lost anyone, at least that they know of.
You just mind me, don’t go near it, not even just to see. Now… it’s time for bed, I’m gonna sit awhile… Good night boys.
“Grandpa, can I ask you a question?”
“Just one, I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
“It’s not that. Umm, why’d you put out three sleeping bags for the two of us?”