Amanda thought she’d never have to see that twisted, possessed cabin ever again. She was wrong. Her boyfriend Tony insists on her facing her fears and investigating the area. Every fiber in her body demands she stay far away from the barren mountaintop, but with Tony by her side she figures maybe she can overcome the fear. Then they can find the source of her terror, the source of that creature.
Amanda reached her car in record time and was relieved to find it just as she’d left it. There were no other cars in the lot, so she hurriedly slid into her lonely vehicle and locked all the doors. For the first time she had the security to think over the previous night, and the more memories she recollected the more abhorrence she felt. The breaking point came when she remembered how needy she’d been at the last, how desperately she wanted the creature to take her and make her its own. She covered her face in her hands and sobbed at what she’d done. The tears poured from her eyes and she started to blubber like an idiot.
“Oh god, why?” she sputtered out. The darkness had penetrated every part of her, and she’d enjoyed it. Her whole body felt corrupted, unclean. “What have I done?”
No one answered her quiet questions save for a few angry squirrels and chirping birds. Life was all around her again, but she was shut off from their happiness.
Her disgust knew no bounds, and she pulled away her hands to look down at the dirty and grime tucked away in their lines. They reflected the filth she had become, the disgusting person who had given into their desires and slept with a horrible creature.
A loud crack in the woods startled Amanda from her brooding self-deprecation, and her head shot up. She glanced over the dashboard and half turned to look out through the back windows. She saw nothing but her instincts told her to run far away from here. She was still too close to the cabin, and the thing could come for her and drag her back. Even knowing how wicked her acquiescence was before, she couldn’t guarantee she wouldn’t give in again. Not when the thing’s methods were so persuasive.
Amanda needed to find someone to tell, someone who wouldn’t outright call her crazy. The authorities were immediately ruled out, as was her psychiatrist, but there was still one close person to whom she could turn. She started up the car and pulled out of the parking lot in such a hurry that her tires left deep pits in the gravel. The young woman put the car in drive and gave one last glance toward the trail. Nothing stirred, but deep down inside herself she felt it was out there waiting for her. Then she drove out of there and toward the safe, normal arms of the man she loved.
Tony Cochran owned a small flat near the heart of the city’s business district. It cost him a great deal in rent, but he saved in travel time and expense for everything from getting groceries to going to work. It was a lazy Saturday afternoon and he was sitting on the couch watching tv when he heard the knock on the door. He frowned and glanced at his watch. It was too early for the get-together he’d planned with some of his friends. They weren’t going to the clubs until after five, and that was a good two hours away.
He heard the knock again, but this time it was louder and more persistent. Then he heard the yelling.
“Tony!” The said young man jumped to his feet. That was Amanda’s frantic voice. “Tony! Please let me in!”
Tony rushed over to the door and opened it. Amanda collapsed into his arms and clung to him as though he was her last lifeline. She sobbed into his shirt and her entire body quivered in both fear and relief. He grabbed on to her shoulders and managed to pull her away so he could get a good look at her. She looked awful.
Amanda’s hair was matted and her clothes were in disarray, what with her pants buttoned but not zipped and her shirt askew. She had scratches and cuts all over her arms and legs, and her shoes were scuffed and dusty. His girlfriend was blubbering out words he couldn’t understand.
“Wait, wait,” he pleaded with her. He pulled her away from the entrance and shut the door to avoid any unwanted attention. With care Tony led her over to the couch and set her down on one of the cushions. “Now slow down, take a deep breath and tell me what happened.”
His suggestion didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. She paused, took a deep breath and then burst out into tears. He set his hands on her shoulders and was surprised by how badly they shook. She was more than just sad, she was terrified.
“What happened? I thought you were going to the cabin?” he asked her. She inhaled some sobs and nodded her head.
“I-I did go, but something happened up there. Something terrible.” Amanda broke down again, but this time she opted to wrap herself around Tony. She buried her face into his shirt and the poor, clueless man could only pat her on the back.
The worst-case scenarios ran through his mind. She obviously hadn’t died, and there were no signs she’d been attacked by some wild creature. There were the bruises and scratches all over her body, but they were covered in tree sap and tiny bits of rock. That meant she’d gotten them from carelessly brushing up against the forest greenery and resident minerals. With all those options brushed aside, all he could think of was that she’d seen something horrible.
“Did you see something?” He held his breath for her to reveal a murder, but she shook her head. Tony was at the end of his wit,s and so he took hold of the situation. He grabbed her shoulders and pulled her away from him. From arms distance he could look into her swollen, tired eyes. “Calm down and tell me exactly what happened.”
Amanda blinked at his firm voice, and she managed to get a hold of herself. She wiped away the tears, blew out her nose courtesy of Tony’s handkerchief, and steadied herself for her outlandish tale.
“I-I did go up to the cabin just like I’d planned,” she explained to him. “I didn’t get lost or see anyone else, and I made it up there just before it got dark. I was by the fire when I heard a noise beneath the floor.” She paused and shuddered at the remembrance, but Tony wasn’t terrified in the least.
“So was it a rat or mole or something?” he asked her. He had the sneaky suspicion that she’d been frightened all night by some woodland creature. She shook her head.
“No. I-I don’t know what it was. It was dark and moved like tar, but fast like a snake. It came out from between the floor boards and grabbed me.” Amanda clutched onto Tony and lowered her head in disgrace. “It touched me everywhere.”
Tony blinked. He took hold of her shoulders and pulled her away. They looked into each other’s eyes, hers full of fear and revulsion for herself, his mirroring confusion.
“Wait, so you’re telling me some tar-like thing made out with you?” he slowly questioned, and she nodded in reply. Tony was quiet for a minute and then he gently smiled. “Seriously?” She frowned when she noticed the disbelieving tone in his voice.
“This isn’t a joke,” she insisted in her most serious tone. His playful smile was knocked off his face by her stern expression. “It came at me and-and it took me. I couldn’t fight against it.” The last statement was to hide some of the shame she felt for wanting to be taken. She couldn’t bring herself to tell Tony about her betrayal of their relationship with that thing. He looked at her again, and then the teasing expression fell off his face.
“You really are serious about all this, aren’t you?” he asked her.
“You really think I’d be making up something as bad as this?” she countered in an irritated tone. Amanda shoved herself away from him and spread out her arms to show off her filthy appearance. “You think I’d want to admit that something did that to me and then filthy myself up like this to put on a show? Why the hell would I do this?” Her voice was at a high pitch and Tony worried she’d upset the neighbors.
“Come on, Amanda, let’s just calm down and get you cleaned up,” he insisted. He stepped toward her but she only matched his step by moving backwards.
Her eyes were spitfires of anger and her whole body was trembling. “Why would I do this?”
Tony paused and his arms dropped to his side. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, then shrugged.
“Maybe to get attention? Maybe you’d want others to feel sorry for you, especially after what you heard from the doctor,” he pointed out. His words deflated her fury. Amanda was more disappointed in him than angry.
“You honestly think I’m making this stuff up to get attention?” she asked him.
Tony shrugged his shoulders again. It wasn’t a question he could answer that wouldn’t elicit some angry outburst from her, so he opted to remain quiet. Tears sprang into her eyes and Amanda shuffled over to the couch. She collapsed on it and Tony winced when he heard her sniffle. He hated to see her crying so much. She generally was made of tougher stuff than this, but whatever she’d seen up there had really shaken her loose.