For the longest time, I believed that monsters weren't real. It just seems too unnatural for something like a giant, three headed lizard or an octopus big enough to swallow ships to exist. Over the years, many stories have been told of terrifying beasts killing people and whatnot but I personally thought this was a load of crap. But last year, I experienced something that made me believe that some form of monster has to exist.

It was fall of 2019 when my brother and I were going to camp out in the woods. I had never been camping before so I thought it would be a fun, new experience. We were going to camp out in a small clearing that Joseph, my brother, had found when he had been here before.

I unpacked a few things from my bag and set up my tent near the center of the clearing. It was small and tight but I didn't really mind. I'd slept in worse places.

The rest of the day, I just explored the campsite and everything in its vicinity. I didn't find anything interesting but at least I'd gotten used to my surroundings. We were going to be staying here for five days so I was glad that I'd already settled in. When dusk came around, Joseph and I went out for a walk in the woods. All the trees looked withered but that was what made this place special.

The woods were called the "Withered Woods" for a reason. Nothing interesting happened during our walk, but I did laugh when Joseph got frightened by an owl. I also caught a fish in the nearby lake. Shortly after that, we headed back to the campsite for the night. Joseph said he was going straight to sleep so I decided to go to bed, too.

I had trouble sleeping that night. I wasn't sure why I couldn't get to sleep so I just shrugged it off as insomnia. The next morning, I woke up at around eight 'o' clock and found Joseph sitting in front of the fire.

"Want a sandwich?" he asked me as soon as he noticed me.

"Sure," I replied.

He got up and grabbed a bag from his tent, pulling out a sandwich wrapped in foil. As I ate my breakfast, I stared out into the woods around us where I could've sworn I saw a shape in the trees. I blinked a few times before confirming that I must have been seeing things. There were no other people here.

How right I was....

After eating breakfast, Joseph and I went out for another walk. It was a bright day but there was still an eerie atmosphere. I couldn't place my finger on it, but something didn't feel right. A couple hours passed and we returned to the campsite, finding that our tents had been ravaged.

"God damn it!" Joseph shouted. "I bet there were raccoons here or something. Dan, mind helping me out?"

I helped Joseph set the tents back up and gather everything on the ground. But, there was something I noticed. The fish I had caught was gone. Last night, I put it in my bag before going to bed. It was nowhere in sight now though. The raccoons probably took it with them. But why only take the fish? Everything else was there, just scattered all over the ground.

It was confusing but I decided not to dwell on it. At night, I just went straight to bed again. Luckily, I fell asleep a lot easier than the night before. The next morning, I woke up before Joseph did. I sat down by the unlit fire and waited for Joseph to wake up. That's when I heard a low growl in the distance.

I jumped up and looked around.

Nothing.

There was nothing but trees.

Maybe it's just my imagination, I thought. I looked around the area one more time before sitting back down.

Joseph was stretching in his tent, yawning loudly.

"Did you hear anything?" I asked him.

He shook his head, getting out of the tent. I stared off into the trees, questioning whether I did actually hear something or not. Once again, Joseph and I went for a walk. This time, we encountered something that shook me.

A trail of blood.

"What the fuck?" Joseph said, staring at the blood with an unreadable expression.

I looked at the blood, feeling sick. But I was curious. Where did the trail lead? This blood didn't belong to... a person, right? No, it would be stupid to follow the blood.

"We should go back," I told Joseph.

He looked at me as if I was mad.

"Are you kidding me? This could be a person's blood. We have to go help them!" he exclaimed.

"We can't risk it. What if there's... a killer or something?" I tried to reason with him.

"So you'd rather save yourself than someone else? This guy could be in danger!" He wouldn't give in.

"We don't even know if it's a person's blood. It could just be an animal," I said.

"Well, we won't know unless we find out. Come on." With that, he left.

"Joe, wait!" I called after him but he kept going.

Hesitating, I ran after him. The trail seemed to go on for a while. Eventually, we found the source. Before us lay a small, brown rabbit. It had a singular bite mark on its body. It was breathing slowly, water in its eyes.

"Poor thing...," Joseph said, looking down at the rabbit.

"I... I told you it might not have been human," I said, feeling slightly guilty as I looked down at the defenseless critter.

The two of us were silent for a moment. We stared at the rabbit. It was still alive, but paralyzed. Soon, it would die from blood loss. There was nothing we could do....

The next day, Joseph and I stayed at the campsite. I felt terrible about yesterday. That rabbit would be dead by now. All I felt was guilt. I don't know why. There was nothing I could do. I decided to take a nap.

I woke up in the middle of the night. There was a loud ruckus going on nearby. I rushed out of my tent where an unexpected scene played out before me....

Joseph was lying on the ground, a look of terror on his face. His skin was pale. Blood forming a pool around him. On top of him, a furry, black mass with bull-like horns feasted on his flesh. When it felt my presence, it turned around. Its face was hidden in the darkness of the night, but I saw its devilish, red eyes. It opened its mouth and roared, shaking every bone in my body.

...

I don't know what happened.... I just remember running away. I don't even know what killed him. What killed my brother. I just ran.... Maybe I'm paranoid. Maybe it was just a bear or something. No. That was definitely not a bear. Bears don't have horns. Bears don't have demonic eyes. I don't know what that thing was. All I know is that whatever killed Joseph was a monster....

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.