A Short Horror Story



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Veritas

Is Retired.
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Brief Foreword: I like to write short stories a lot. This was based on a writing prompt on reddit that was just supposed to be your dog coming home after being lost for a while and suddenly being able to talk. I'd never written a horror story before, so I thought I'd give it a go. Also, since I'm back on the site for a little bit, I thought I might as well post something.

I woke up to what sounded like someone rapping on my door with only their nails. It was my weekend, and I was eager to get in as much sleep as I could. I assumed it was those stupid kids a few apartments down messing around in the hall again. I rolled over and tried to fall back asleep, but it just kept going, an incessant "tap tap tap tap" on my door.

I finally rolled out of bed when I realized that it wasn't going to stop and stomped over to the door. I puffed out my chest, cleared my throat, and tried to get my best commanding adult voice ready. I was fully prepared to give some children an ear full. I opened the door and looked around but no one was there. I peeked my head out a bit further and looked down the hallway. No kids. I stepped back and got ready to close the door when I heard a throat clear, almost like a dog was growling. I stopped, looked both ways again, and then it hit me where the noise came from. I slowly looked down and saw him standing there, my dog.

Four years ago, my dog Lord Archibald Featherwink III, Archie for short, and I had gone for a week of camping with James, my best friend. Archie was a spotted brown, black and white Australian Shepherd who was always full of energy. James was a Korean guy who looked about as Korean as you could get. We had spent the weekend canoeing up and down the creek nearby, playing board games, and just hanging out. Both being big gamer nerds, we had decided that we wanted to "detox" and get away from electronics and civilization for a week. The week went relatively uneventful until the last few days.

Three days before we were supposed to leave, James started talking about seeing and hearing things at night. We had chosen a spot far away from all the other campsites. In fact, it was almost like the other campers were avoiding this part of the woods, but the other parts of the park were pretty nice. I shrugged off James' claims and told him that someone else probably had the same idea and camped near us. He complained about hearing them again that night, and I told him that we'd look around in the morning to see if we had neighbors. We woke up, grabbed our backpacks, and hiked around to see if we could find any neighbors or signs that maybe someone was passing through here at night. There was nothing, no sign of anyone camping nearby, walking through, or even of animals in the area. The forest around us was absolutely quiet, eerily so.

It was still pretty early in the morning when we walked back, and that's when I started to notice them. It looked like someone had etched runes into the trees with a pocket knife. They looked new like someone had just done them. I signaled James over, and he looked at it and shrugged that he wasn't sure what they were either. He started to walk away and froze. I turned to look at him, and he was looking up at the trees. They looked like those Christmas ornaments you make in school with sticks and other craft supplies, but there were hundreds of them. They were shaped like animals and people, and they looked to be made with branches, animal bones, and pieces of camping equipment.

I was creeped out now, and I wanted to leave. I told James that I wanted to go, and he said, "It's probably nothing. Let's just stick around until we were supposed to leave." He said this without a whole lot of emotion. It was very not-James-like, and he had a glazed look on his face. I asked him again if he was sure, and he reassured me that he wanted to stay. I pushed one more time, and he screamed at me that we were staying. I didn't bring it up again.

That night, he asked me if Archie would be able to sleep with him. He was a little freaked out about the voices and the things in the trees and wanted the company. I was freaked out, too, but I was worried about James and obliged. We zipped up our tents and went to sleep.

I woke up in the middle of the night to a bloodcurdling scream and a howl. James' tent was ripped to shreds and covered in blood, but there was no trace of his body. Archie was gone, too. I grabbed a machete and a flashlight and began to frantically search the woods. I could hear it now, too. There were voices whispering in what sounded like another language. It sounded like the voices were above me and stretched throughout the forest. There was no wind, but the ornaments in the trees were swaying. I heard footsteps and tried following them. At different instances, I saw the shadow of what looked almost like a satyr march between the trees. I told myself that I was panicking and hallucinating. I searched until the sun started to come up and headed back to camp. That's when I saw it. There were two new ornaments hanging above our campsite, one of a dog and the other of a man with what looked to be shreds of the tent and the shirt James had worn to sleep.

But, now, here he was. Archie was standing in front of me, wagging his tail. I stared in disbelief, and then he said in a familiar voice, "I have been many places and seen many things, human. Its time we had a chat." I froze and then started to back away. I tripped over my feet and fell backwards. Archie slowly walked into my apartment towards me and then kicked the door shut.

"Y-y-you...You can talk?" I stuttered out. I was shaking. In that familiar but strange voice, he stated, "I have been looking for you, human, for four years. You abandoned us in the forest, and it is time for you to return." I froze again. What was he talking about? James and Archie disappeared in the forest. We sent out search parties. No one was able to find even a trace of them past the blood on the tent. The dog looked at me impatiently and stated, "It's time for us to go back now, human. It's time to complete the collection." I suddenly recognized the voice. It was James'.

Before I knew what I was doing, I was running. I ran into my bedroom and locked the door, and I started to hear voices and much louder footsteps from outside. The footsteps seemed to morph from the sounds of a dog tapping across hardwood to hooves. They paced around the apartment and then finally stopped at my door. "You have to leave eventually, and we'll be waiting," the voice hissed from the other side. This time it didn't sound like James anymore. It sounded like thousands of people crying and screaming in unison. The voice sounded like pain.

I heard the hooves tap away from the door, and then it was silent again. I waited in my room, clutching a pistol I kept in my bedside table. I waited for hours until I was confident that it seemed safe and slowly slid out my bedroom door still clutching the gun. The house was silent, but hanging from the ceiling were the ornaments from above our campsite, the ones that I was pretty sure were of James and Archie now. Seemingly burned into my walls were the runes from the trees. I clutched the pistol tighter and started to move towards my front door. I was shaking.

I opened the front door and ran out it, but I didn't end up in the familiar hallway of my apartment building. I was in the forest at the spot we had camped four years ago. I began to run back towards where I knew a road should be, but the forest just seemed to never end and every time I stopped I'd look around and see that I was back in the campsite with the ornaments hanging above me, almost mocking me. I continued to jog through the forest for what seemed like hours, always ending back up where I started. I moved until nighttime frantically hoping that I could escape this. As the sun began to set, I could hear the voices and footsteps again. I started to panic even more. I ran harder than I had before and started to cry.

As the sun fully set behind the trees, I could see that I was finally running towards something. It was tall, really tall. It had long pointy horns that curved back on top of a head that looked like a wolf's with its bones protruding out its snout but with teeth much larger than any wolf I'd ever seen. It had a furry body with huge bat-like wings on it's back that stretched down into the legs of a goat. I found myself unable to stop running towards it. Everything in me was saying to turn around and run the other way, but I couldn't. I seemed to be picking up speed and running towards it with even more vigor until I finally screeched to a halt in front of it.

It reached out with one clawed hand and picked me up by the throat and pulled me close to it's face. In James' voice, it whispered in my ear, "Welcome home."
 

KingdomKey

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This was an absolute pleasure to read because, I couldn't predict what would happen in it. And it felt like something you'd see in a movie. Furthermore, the suspense was hit dead on because, I was on the edge of my seat thinking the dog would end up taking him back into the woods. Instead it blew my mind that he was suddenly teleported there some how that makes me think he never really left. lol. Atop of that, I didn't expect the protagonist to charge head first against this eerie monster either. Overall, I greatly enjoyed it. If you share any more short stories, I'd love to read them! :)
 

Muke

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I absolutely liked this! It was suspenseful and also something else for me, since I never really read horror stories. There were also some nice little twists and turns. Really, if you have any other stories you'd like to share, go for it! I'd love to read them!
 
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