My name is Tavo Rojas. I currently go to college on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and I’ve lived here for most of my life. My story takes place 6 months ago. At the time, I was still a highschool senior, living the life I want to live, working with theatre, had a nice girlfriend, etc. An important point to note in my story is at the time I was in my AP art class, with a concentration (set of pieces revolving around a certain category) of fear. Having already submitted for potential college credit, my teacher gave us banners to to work on so she could hang them up in her room for next years’ classes to see. I was having a certain amount of artist’s block, but I had a lot of time and so I watched a good deal of Youtube in the meantime. I was looking at something related to Call of Duty when I noticed a video regarding something called the Goatman. Being thoroughly enticed, I clicked on the video and listened. It had my attention enough that I decided that it would be the subject of my artwork. As I researched further, I also noted that it was a fairly close to home, just on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay bridge close to Bowie, Maryland. Again, being a highschool student close to graduation, I thought it a fine idea to have a small trip to look it over.
I enlisted two of my friends, who I’ll call Brennan and Carmen for the purposes of my story. I had brought up the idea of this to other people who thought it would be a waste of time, including my girlfriend. I wasn’t a skeptic of the existence of cryptic animals and while Brennan was, Carmen was in the same boat as me. So we set off to Prince Georges county on a Friday night so we didn’t have to worry about waking for impending finals. With us, we brought a couple cameras, our phones, snacks, anything needed for a scouting trip in the woods. As Carmen drove, I continued my research, taking note of creatures such as Wendigos and Skinwalkers, but I was very exciting about the possible promise of the Goatman.
After about an hour and a half of driving, we reach our destination at about 9ish at night. It had just turned dark and it was quite warm out, expected of early summer. Carmen informed me and Brennan that it was time to get out and go begin our search. She parked the car alongside a stretch of road with forests on either side, with very little traffic. We turn on the flashlights we brought so that we could save phone battery, not that it would have mattered since we had little to no service, even though I thought I had full bars when we went through town. Just the forest, I figured.
We trudged through the woods, listening to the sounds of nature. Brennan and Carmen are talking ahead of me. Apparently some long term couple at the school just had a big breakup, lots of juicy details. As we continued our discussion, it noticed that there was kind of a… I’m not sure how to describe it because of how little I felt it, but there was just a nagging feeling on my shoulder. I swept off though, it’s been awhile since I’ve been through the woods. We’re just having a jolly old time, joking around about something when we heard a snap. Something I always knew was that in the area, the only thing that should snap a branch would be a human. We’ve stopped in our tracks and looked in the direction of the noise. Just deep blackness. Brennan called out, “Anyone there?”. With no response, we eased up a little. It was at this moment I regretted bringing a machete I left at home. Despite that, the sounds of the forest were still present and we kept moving, more alert now.
It’s about our 4th hour hiking, so it’s about 1am. Having found nothing of interest Brennan looks slightly peeved while I’ve my arm around Carmen because she claimed being cold, which it was surprisingly chilly being in the middle of the summer. “Are we going to fi-” *snap* Brennan is cut off by the snap of another tree branch. We stop dead in our tracks. This time I notice the forest sounds are gone. That nagging feeling I felt earlier is emphasized greatly. Almost like it’s telling my body to get out. Carmen looks up at me with wide eyes
“What was that?” She asks, clearly panicked.
I shake my head, a chill down my spine. “I- I don’t know,” when we begin to hear footsteps. They sound much heavier than a human’s. We look among each other for an answer, and only freak out more when no one can give an answer. We walk back the way we came slowly when my foot lands on something with a small squish. I look down. I see a squirrels’ body, what’s left anyway, with a large bite takes out of its stomach, with only small bits of entrail left. I quiver, that feeling reaching a peak, as if I’ll explode when that bar fills. Brennan gasps.
I see that he’s looking at a certain area and I turn slowly to check. Carmen hides her face behind her hoodie sleeved arm, only showing her eyes. We focus on the spot that Brennan is looking at. Standing there is a dark shape, maybe 40 yards out. I can’t good good grasp of what I’m looking at. It’s huge but… humanoid. But it’s legs are all wrong. They’re more bent like a horse’s… or perhaps a goats’. Carmen stifles a scream as the figure just complacently looks at us. As my eyes adjust, I notice the shape of it’s head. It’s facial features are blacked out, with our flashlights only reaching so far, but I could make out the horns on top of it’s head. Brennan is the first to action. “RUN!!” He yells as he grabs me and Carmen. I stumble but get my footing quickly as we sprint as hard as we could back in the direction of the car.
After 10 minutes if steady sprinting, we slow as we seriously need to catch our breath. “What. Was. That?” Carmen asks, huffing. Neither Brennan nor I answer, but I think we can agree on what we saw. We didn’t want to admit it, but we also didn’t want to feel like we were giving him power by evoking his name. We slowly go back in to the car, which we make it to in about an hour and a half. The entire time, the forest sounds were absent, almost making our footsteps echo. Carmen is mumbling to herself while Brennan and I try to make small talk to ebb away at the deafening silence in the forest. Then we hear it. Something between a wail, scream, and some animal? It couldn’t be.. We sprint again, making it back to the car. Something was here. There were claw-like marks on the sides if the car, peeling the steel like a knife through butter. We decided it would be much better if we investigated once we got home.
The car ride home was silent. We put on some Hamilton on the radio, as it’s a musical we all liked to sing to, but no one felt like singing. Brennan looked out the window, still pale, while Carmen looked more depressed if anything. “My parents’ll kill me because of the car,” she said finally. I couldn’t say anything. My mind was still in a daze. What was that thing? We told all of our friends the story, but as to be expected, no one believed us. I still a so myself what that… thing was, but I knew exactly what it was. That was the Goatman.