She could only remember the numbers ringing in her ears.
It was the last thing she heard after waking up in the hospital 3 days after the attack. Casey Hotts was a Sophomore at Keiser University studying journalism in Miami, where she was investigating the ongoing disappearances in the California wilderness.
A documentary had surfaced on the internet regarding an urban legend only known to locals in the area as "the behemoth." The footage in question was shrouded in mystery: a group of kids wanted to "debunk" the myth of the creature only for it to turn into a crime scene when local news outlets reported the murder of Benjamin Henderson, and the convicted suspect was now on the run;
It was the reason for her expedition. Having the original footage not taken down despite what had unfolded over the summer made it all the more strange. She watched the whole thing, taking notes and analyzing every bit of detail as she followed the timestamps and slowly put together the pieces.
The documentary began as found footage from Matt's friend, claiming that he was returning from Jersey and hadn't been in contact with his friends in a while. Through the rest of it, it went from a wild goose chase with former friends to something...
She could only remember so much as of the critical condition she was in. If anything, she was lucky to be alive. Her parents were coming back from their trip to Hawaii when they learned that their daughter was hospitalized after almost being killed by a fugitive.
Despite her encounter with the individual, the only thing she could recall from it was the noise. The noise was all that remained of her experience in the forest. The loud, blaring, incomprehensible gibberish that rang in her ears.
"Nine." "Seven." "Eight." "One." "Four." "Zero." "Two."
She didn't know what it meant at first, but then after recalibrating via her notes and journal entries, she made a parallel to that of previous recorded disappearances localized throughout the area.
Nine year old Katherine Hubbens goes missing from her home after she hears strange noises coming from the woods across from their family's backyard. Her sister Abby is reported as saying that Katherine heard their mother calling to them from the trees, "but wrong. All echoey".
The only evidence she had to back her findings were the almost illegible archives of newspapers from late 70's to early 90's, and any digitized copies of whatever was left from outdated news sources.
The events surrounding the documentary however, were not validated. In the footage, there were various references to unfamiliar accounts of the same creature depicted throughout the media.
Though no evidence of said accounts were ever found. In her notes, Casey had listed the following details of what each witness had relayed to the viewer at the corresponding timestamp:
- “Red neck days like, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ days-” 19th Century? (12:24)
- Boy and girl playing near the woods, girl goes missing. (12:35)
- Family hears daughter’s voice in the woods following the event. (13:08)
- Boy encounters the creature, chased home, creature abducts mom. (13:16 - 13:56)
- Boy attempts revenge, disappears. (14:20)
Conclusion: Unknown 1800’s Account
- 1980’s unknown witness - Freddy Anderson (Missing) (1:23:20 - 1:23:23)
- Group of teens on camping trip go missing (1:23:37)
- Witness disappears after help arrives (1:23:55)
Conclusion: Unknown 1980’s Account, Canadian Wilderness
She was at her wits end. Her summer vacation was wasted on a manhunt for the truth, only for it to bite her in the ass. She felt the stitches on her side as she brushed against the surgeon’s handiwork: the nylon woven into where the carnage was performed.
She dropped her head back onto her pillow with a soft thud. She couldn’t help but feel disappointed with herself. She practically put her life on the line for this, if it hadn’t been for the lack of her consciousness.
She wouldn’t be here if she'd properly planned the whole thing. She wouldn’t be here lying on her hospital bed if it weren’t for… him. That deranged psychopath that’s still on the loose god knows where.
She didn’t know what to expect. She didn’t actually think she’d find anything. But after what she had witnessed however many hours ago it had been, she wish she didn’t. She could feel the weariness overpowering her as her eyes began to squint.
The fatigue from her voyage was slowly overcoming her system. She could feel it, her clenched fist beginning to lose it’s grip; eventually shutting her eyes to fall into a deep sleep.
The sounds of medical equipment being performed outside her room and voices that trailed along with it: doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, it all began to fade away until she couldn’t hear anything anymore.
She couldn’t remember the last time she shut her eyes for more than fifteen minutes. She barely slept the past week or so with her research. Her roommates had been concerned with her summer routine for the time being, and had suggested doing something together before it ended.
Being the quiet, antisocial person she was, she refused. It had only been a month since school had ended, and she planned to spend her time wisely. She became intrigued with the ongoing disappearances within California, and it’s connection to an internet meme people were now calling “Sirenhead.”
That’s what started the whole thing. That was the reason for the documentary; the sirenhead. As cryptic as it was, there was a sense of doubt that seemed to cross the public eye after what had been announced on the news.
Of course people didn’t believe in it, it was bullshit! The whole thing was nothing but a piece of artwork created by Trevor Henderson (not related to the late Benjamin Henderson), and people had become infatuated with it: making games, memes, fan-made content; the next big trend of 2020.
Having the murder being connected to a fictional creature was all the more controversial. Yes, at the time, the artwork inspired by “the behemoth,” or at least what the locals in California have called it, was basically their take on national folklore like Bigfoot or Loch Ness.
There wasn’t a single person in the area at that time that didn’t know what Sirenhead was. After the miscellaneous accounts and stories inspired by the monster, people had come to a mixed understanding. For one, it was something stupid people had conjured up on the Internet and nothing more.
But the other side of the story had remained untold. This was when Casey came into play.
What was later relayed to the police became the resurgence of a cold case that was reopened shortly after her consultation. To the media, it was the backlash of everyone and their mother within local residents and plenty of hot takes. After all, no one believed something so fictitious as a 40 ft. tall humanoid-creature whatever it was roaming the countryside in plain sight.
To this day, the memory remained etched into her mind.
— — — —
It had been almost a year since the footage was published.
Casey had been planning this trip for months. The footage. The kids. What happened afterwards.
It was 5:15 AM on Friday, June 4th. She was getting a ride to the airport from a close friend of hers after booking her tickets to California for a week-long stay at a nearby hotel.
This was a week before school had ended.
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