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It was mid January, my father and my brother were talking about their up coming annual camping trip. I never understood why they preferred to go out during the winter, it was so much nicer in the spring or even the summer. That was just how they enjoyed it, I guess, but I later learned that I certainly didn't like it. I was in my room, heater blaring heat onto my bed as I played on my DS, when my father knocked on the door. He walked in and told me that I was going with them on their trip since my mother was going to be at my relatives which meant I would be home alone for an entire weekend. I sighed, not wanting to spend three days out in the cold, especially with no wifi or electricity. I tell my father that I didn't want to go and he simply chuckled.

"Nonsense, son, you'll enjoy the peaceful silence out at the cabin. There'll be plenty of things to do, even without all your stupid electronics. Now start packing, we're leaving tomorrow morning."

With that pep filled statement, he left the room and headed to his. That night I made sure to pack every bit of warm clothing I had and packed several notebooks to write in during my stay with the two of them. Just as my father said, that very morning we departed from our warm, urban home, into the national nature reserve. Long gravel road after long gravel road, we drove. I stared out the window, boredom holding a death grip on me like I was the only thing keeping it from diminishing away. My eyelids flutter slightly as I felt the spell of sleep slowly descend on my. It was thrown out the window when my father swore loudly and slammed on the breaks, tossing me out of the back seat and into the passenger seat in front of me. I groaned in pain and looked up to see what made my father stop our car. It was just a moose, standing in the middle of the road. Rather than scaring the animal off with the car horn, my father did nothing, as did my brother. The three of us were left waiting for nearly ten minutes before the moose decided to walk off the road.

We arrive to the cabin, a small little shack made from logs, nearly two hours after we had left. My father and brother get their things and head inside. I hesitated, not wanting to leave the still warm car. Nature had other plans and soon I was forced to go into the cabin when the car's warmth faded away into cold. As I made my way to the cabin, I saw scratches on the outside walls. Long, deep gashes in the wood were what was left by whatever caused them. They were too long for and bear and too deep to be from a deer. I tell my father this and he shook his head lightly. He explains that the claw marks were there the previous year and the year before that. They had no clue what caused them, and never found out. That did little to convince me that nothing bad would happen during the trip. Nothing much happened during the day, save for a bit of hunting and the discovery of more claw marks, some way up in trees. That night we fried up the deer we shot and ate our fill. My father didn't eat much, his excuse being that he wasn't hungry. I believed him, of course, since he was my father. We didn't do much after dinner, we talked and that was about it. When it came to call it a day, I had a hard time falling asleep. I heard... noises, that sounded like scratching. Long, and faint scratching that came from all the walls around me. It was unbearable to not know what was causing the scratching, so I got out of bed and peeked out the window. I saw nothing but darkness and trees. I stare out into them, trying to ignore the scratches, until the sound came from besides the window. I was motionless, not wanting to move with something so close to me. What was out there, and why was it scratching at the walls? I stayed at the window until sunrise, only then did I pass out and slept.

When I awoke, it was noon and my brother and father were near the fireplace, talking about something they found in the woods. When I came out of the room and asked about it, they refused to tell me since I had a weak stomach. I was glad they didn't tell me right there, for what they found was a severed deer head on a spike. We didn't go outside for the entire day, since my brother was scared that something was out there, something dangerous. My father wasn't one to be very worried about things, but when both my brother and I were scared of what's out there, he knew he had to do something. To calm our fears, he went out for an hour and came back, but he looked just as scared as us. My brother and I asked what had happened and he explained what he saw. He saw a bear carcass, gutted open from the chest down. No bullet wounds, no traps or snares, or even any other cuts, that single slash was what killed it. Hearing the details, I hurried to the bathroom and emptied my stomach into the toilet. My brother and father agree that it would be best that we leave today and soon had their things packed up. I was a bit slower in packing my things, for the vomiting earlier left me weak. As I was packing up, I glance out the window and practically froze when I saw someone watching me from behind a tree. They were tall, horribly skinny, their skin was grey, almost bluish. They had no lips, showing their yellow gums and several sharp teeth. Their eyes were white, and dead looking and all they wore was a tattered scrap of deer hide around their waist. They stared at me, and I stared back. Neither of us moved until the window suddenly shattered and a loud bang rang in my ears. The person was hit in the shoulder by a high caliber rifle round and fell back, screeching. They got to their feet and ran away into the forest on all fours. My dad grab my arm, holding a rifle. My brother hastily put my things in their bags and carried them to the car while my dad pulled me there by the arm. It all happened so fast that I didn't realize I was in the car until we were on the highway. I don't know who, or what that person was, but I stayed away from the forest since and I swear I can hear my brother, or even my father, calling out to me from outside. Though, I knew well enough it wasn't them, for when I hear my brother's voice one time, he was sitting right besides me.

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~Ace

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