Stay out of the woods of Ohio

I grew up in the city, my parents were both backwoods people but when my sister and I were born they’d been forced to move, so as soon as we were old enough my parents quickly sought out a large plot of land and started building a log cabin like they’d always planned.

Having finished my last year of high school I’d spent most of my time working odd jobs around the property with my dad until College started in the fall, and this night like many others I’d just pulled into the drive from the drive to town with a bag of stuff for my dad. It was late and we were going to finish the project in the morning so I set the parts in the barn, locked my truck and went up to bed.

Sleep had come quickly after the long day but it’d only been an hour before I heard a familiar noise, rustling. living next to a large plot of woods and with a number of cats on the property working as mousers it wasn’t uncommon for there to be coyotes on the property, so I got out of bed, grabbed my dad’s old rifle, a 30-30 caliber lever action that we kept for these occasions and stepped outside.

Flipping on the porch light I saw nothing of note, the cats were asleep in the barn most higher up away from predators and the dampness of the barn’s dirt floor. Slinging the rifle over my shoulder I walked off the deck stepping into the large backyard looking for anything out of place. I saw nothing of real note, the barn wasn’t open, the garden was fine, in general everything looked like it had when we’d gone to bed. But I still rounded the barn heading towards the shed to make sure the tractors hadn’t been taken. even out as far as we were crooks would go to any length for some things.

As I got round the back of the barn I saw the shed still locked up tight as well, nothing to worry about but as i turned to head back for the house I saw a cat in the corner of my vision. A large yellow tomcat, he was slinking along the ground, he pounced onto a mouse killing it before proceeding to head towards me. But something wasn’t right. I knew tails of creatures that would stalk the forests, drawing people away from their homes but never believed them truly, but the rifle was off my shoulder and in my hands before I knew what had happened. The cat stopped, it’s gaze almost sharpening and something just seemed wrong. The other cats ran when they saw the rifle, they knew it was loud and so they avoided it. this one though was staring me down.

Backing away from the cat, i kept my eyes on it as long as i could only losing sight as I rounded the barn still backing towards the house. I watched as rather than a cat, a small wounded dog rounded the corner limping and looking hurt, I knew if my mother or sister saw it then everything would be over and whatever this thing was would kill us the minute we got close. So I raised the rifle now standing on the deck my back to the door, lined up the small dog in my sights and squeezed the trigger. The rifle was loud even with hearing protection, so I knew it’d awoke everyone in the house, but even the rifle’s bark was drowned out by the sound that creature made. A loud howling shriek, somewhere between a large cat, a wolf and a person all mixed into one and so loud i had to cover my ears. I levered the spent shell from the rifle and raised it to fire another as the creature, now no longer a dog but some oddly deformed deer bounded into the distance, firing again I watched the round miss sailing over its head as it whipped off to the right and seemed to disappear into the woods.

My dad came down a few seconds later asking what had happened, another rifle in his hands as well and I tried to explain to my parents what I’d saw. Neither truly believed me though thinking I was crazy. I’d always had an over active imagination so it was no surprise me telling them a shape shifting creature was chasing me was brushed off.

After digging some more I found that I’d apparently encountered a skinwalker, and it had most likely chosen me knowing that I often checked the many buildings when I came outside. I don’t know if that creature is dead, but now I do know. Don’t trust the woods of Ohio

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