I'll never forget that night.
I'm a park ranger, and that is all you will learn about me. Aside from this story.
During the summer of 2008, I had been assigned to a watchtower in the middle of a heavily forested area. Most nights it was uneventful, and I tended to just read a book as I waited for my shift to end.
However, this night, when I started my shift, the guy I took over from was shaken up. Concerned, I asked him what was wrong.
He just shook his head and said, "There're things in the woods." He didn't say anything else and just left me standing there like a jackass.
Well, I set up for the night and took out my book. It was a Bentley Little, The Mailman, and I found myself surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Sometime around an hour into my shift, something struck the window. I jumped and quickly set the book down, before checking it out. I had expected it was either a big bug or some poor bird.
It was a bird alright, but not what I had been expecting at all. This bird was clearly dead long before it had collided with the window, both wings torn right off and stripped of all feathers. It was bound together with straps made from long grass blades.
With the clear evidence that this was man made, I quickly took out my flashlight and began scanning the area beneath me. I couldn't see much through the woods, however, as I did a quick double take, I swear, I saw a shape dart away out of the light.
I feel this needs some elaborating. I could barely make out anything, but when I brought my light over this thing, I only got a brief so glimpse I literally couldn't describe it for the life of me. This thing was fast. Too fast.
"Alright, punks, if you're out there, show yourself right now!" I used my most commanding voice possible. Nothing. As I drew my pistol, I heard the radio crackle. Naturally, I went to check and picked up the receiver.
As I held it up to my ear, I could only hear static, so I at first assumed that it was a glitch. But right as I decided to set it down, something stopped me. Call it intuition. Something just wasn't right.
And then, I realized what it was.
I could hear something over the radio. It was faint so I really had to strain to hear it. Slowly, I could make out what sounded like faint, low humming. There was a pattern to it, a steady beat that started low, built up carefully then dropped back down in an instant.
I don't know how long I listened to that humming, but eventually I turned off the radio, ready to radio it in.
Then I realized I could still hear the humming. Without a second thought I drew my pistol and turned around on my heel, before steadily walking back outside.
The humming sounded like it was all around me, following that same pattern. I still had to strain to make it out, but there was no question it was there.
I swiveled around, pistol aimed at empty air. Every part of me was screaming to call for backup, but I wasn't sure what I needed backup for. I needed some definitive proof of what I was dealing with.
So I waited, on guard and ready...and then it stopped.
As I became accustomed to the silence, I realized how all encompassing it was. I couldn't hear anything, not even a bug chirping. Cautiously turning my flashlight back on, I pointed it down at the base of the tower.
Nothing. Nothing whatsoever.
Then I heard a creak. I immediately spun around, processing this information. At first I dismissed it as just the wood contracting, but then there was another creak. And another.
Something was up here with me. It took me a few moments to realize that it was just around the corner.
In that moment, fight-or-flight kicked in full gear. I chose fight.
I rounded the corner and found...nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I'm not ashamed to admit I was unnerved, but I still had a job to do. With no other option, I decided to call for back up. I should have done that a long time ago.
I realized that when I saw the receiver had been cut right off. I stared, dumbfounded for a few moments before grabbing my walkie talkie instead. But when I turned it on, all I got was a harsh whine right in my ear, which caused me to drop it as I recovered. Once I had, I immediately tried to find it.
But it was gone.
My situation was desperate. I was now completely cut off with some...thing or other that seemed to defy all sense.
If I was going to make it out of this, I had to stay put and wait for someone to come check on me.
I still had my pistol drawn, waiting. And waiting.
Absentmindedly, I quickly shone my flashlight outside one last time.
And this time, I finally saw them. Standing among the trees, staring up at me.
They had been avoiding me all this time, so to see so many of them...you’re probably wondering what they were.
I’d rather not tell you. For my sake.
I was at my limit then, and screamed, turning off my flashlight and pointing my gun right at the door. There I stayed for the rest of my shift, unwilling to move from that spot.
I consider it a miracle I lasted for the rest of my shift. By the time someone finally arrived to see why I wasn't checking in, I poured out every thing I had gone through. At first the other ranger at looked at me like I was crazy, but when he asked if I had any proof, something landed on the roof of his car.
It was another dead, naked and wingless bird wrapped in grass. Needless to say, we booked it right out of there.
When I got back and made a report about what had happened, I demanded to speak with the last guy who had been on shift. I really wanted to let him have it for not warning me of what was out there.
But here's the thing. We never found him. We searched high and low, checked every single record for a trace, tried to look up his name if when we could remember it...but, for all intent and purposes, it seemed like he had never existed in the first place.
So what the hell took his shift?