22 Dec I Encountered a Skinwalker in the Desert – Creepypasta
This happened a few years ago. I’ve never brought this up to anyone who wasn’t involved because I know how insane it sounds, but I want to put this story out there so at least people know this threat is real, and what they can do if it comes for them. Honestly, if someone told me what I’m about to tell you, I’d probably just say they were desperate for attention. I’ll let you decide for yourself.
I’m from the American Southwest, in what was once the Navajo Nation, and that’s where this story takes place. I was dating this girl, Gigi, at the time. I was 20, and she was 18 and had just graduated high school a month or two ago.
One weekend, Gigi’s grandparents went out of town and they asked Gigi if she’d watch their place while they were gone, mostly because they had a cat named Jake that her grandma absolutely adored. We’d been dating for close to a year at this point, so Gigi asked if I wanted to stay there over the weekend with her. I excitedly said yes because I knew her grandparents lived in this extremely nice residential area called Kayenta. It’s a very secluded area, maybe 15 minutes from the nearest part of town, out in a gorgeous, fertile part of the Great Basin Desert. Every home in Kayenta had about a half acre of property to it, so the houses were kind of far apart. It’s also worth noting that there wasn’t a single home in Kayenta worth less than a million dollars. They were very nice homes.
So Gigi and I drove out to her grandparents’ house in the desert the first night they were gone, and I was just in awe of the house. It was a very beautiful adobe style home, with Mexican ceramic tile floors, and genuine Navajo tapestries decorating the walls. There were a lot of rooms too. A main living room area with a fireplace, a dining room, kitchen, a library, a den where her grandpa watched TV, a bathroom, a bedroom, and then the master bedroom with a private porch, the master bath, and a private shower room connected to the master bathroom. One of my favorite things about the house was how many windows there were. In the kitchen and living room, nearly every wall was entirely made of windows so you can always take in the gorgeous desert view.
We found Jake curled up on the couch in the den. He’s a large black cat with green eyes and was very friendly. There was a door to the outside in the den, and it had a little cap flap in it so Jake could go explore the desert and come back as he wished. We made sure he had some food and water, and then I wanted to check out more of the property.
While we were walking around the sandy hills surrounding the house, I pulled out a joint I had brought. Gigi and I both liked smoking, so we got very high as we watched the sun start to set. Sunsets in the desert are some of the most beautiful. The sky turns into a painting palette of colors. The bright orange sun creates pink streaks that glow across the purple sky. It was beautiful, but suddenly we got this weird feeling being so exposed out in the open desert.
“Do you feel weird being out here?” She asked me
“What do you mean?”
“Just this place is so vast. Anything could be out here. It’s like The Hills Have Eyes or something.”
I chuckled at that. “Only things out here are coyotes and retired seniors… maybe a cougar.” But Gigi insisted that she had a weird feeling like we weren’t alone in the desert. She agreed it was probably just an animal, but it was getting dark anyway, so we decided to go back to the house. Plus Gigi said she knew where her grandma kept some alcohol.
We got back inside and rummaged the pantry until we found a handle of Bacardi. It was big enough that we figured we could drink a pretty fair amount of it before making a noticeable dent. We both took a couple shots and then mixed some with orange juice to sip on.
Gigi’s grandma had a lot of books about the Navajo people, about their traditions and beliefs, and about their superstitions. I opened a few of them just to look at the pictures inside. One that caught my attention was a book about ‘Yee Naaldlooshii’, or skinwalkers. I’d heard about them growing up. They’re shapeshifters in Navajo folklore, supposedly witches who were once human, and their ultimate goal is to kill a person and wear its skin, so it can feel like a human again. I picked it up and opened to a random page where I saw a picture of a demonic looking creature, like a twisted wolf with big antlers. I remembered one time a Navajo girl in my class was getting mad because we were talking about them. She said that simply mentioning them attracts their attention. Looking at this picture, I could understand why she would be afraid. I only read about half a page and decided that was enough.
By now the sun had completely gone down and I started to wish there were curtains for all these windows in the house. It was pitch black in the desert, and with the lights turned on in the house, the windows basically turned into mirrors. We could no longer see outside, but whatever is on the outside can still see in. It made me think about skinwalkers and what Gigi said earlier, about how she felt like there was something in the desert with us, and suddenly I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were being watched. I told myself it was just a stoned paranoia, though, and Gigi and I watched some TV in the den.
After about 30 minutes, Gigi said, “Hey, are you hungry?” I said yeah, and she told me there’s a Costco pizza in the freezer out in the garage. She asked me if I’d go get it. I said sure. A trip to the garage was a small price to pay for Costco pizza.
Now, mind you, the garage isn’t connected to the house. It’s a detached garage about 10 yards away on the property. So I go out through the kitchen door and walk the 10 yards to the garage. I get the pizza, and I’m on my way back when I hear what sounds like an animal in the sagebrush. At this moment, I remember that we haven’t seen Jake since we first got to the house, and I want to make sure it’s not him, since he should definitely be inside at this time of night. There are coyotes around, after all. I take out my phone and shine a flashlight in the direction of the noise I heard.
“Jake?” I call out in a friendly voice. “Here, kitty kitty.”
Then an animal emerged from the bush. For a second, I thought it was a coyote, but I realized this animal was much too large. It looked almost like a dog, but it wasn’t any kind of dog I’ve ever seen. The sight of it actually really creeped me out, but I know you’re not supposed to panic or run from predators, so I calmly walked to the door. Its eyes followed me as I backed up to the house, but as soon as I slid the glass door open, it started running toward me. I freaked out and got inside as quick as I could and I locked the door right as it got up to the glass. It stared at me for a moment before walking off, and its eyes looked so strange to me, almost human-like. And as it turned around, the porch light caught it and I swear I could see antlers on its head.
My heart was racing. “Hey Gigi!” I called out to my girlfriend. I think she could hear the stress in my voice, because she came out quickly, looking worried. I looked at her, prepared to tell her about the weird creature, but then I remembered something else. “Where’s Jake?”
The look in her eyes said ‘oh shit’, realizing she hadn’t seen him in a while either. We tore the house apart looking for him, searching in every one of the many rooms. We were panicking so hard. This cat was the whole reason Gigi was staying at her grandparents’ in the first place, and her grandma would absolutely freak out at her if we lost it. She probably wouldn’t talk to her for a couple months; she really loved that cat. We searched the living room, bedrooms, bathrooms, and the den. We looked under every couch and mattress in the house. I was so panicked, I’d honestly forgotten about the strange experience I’d just had with that animal. I had just peeked inside the shower room when I heard a faint sound.
I ran back out from the master bedroom and saw Jake sitting in the porch light outside the kitchen door I had just come in through. I took a sigh of relief.
“Hey, I found him!” I shouted to Gigi. I opened the sliding door and let Jake inside. He brushed his head up against my shins and meowed softly at me. Gigi ran into the room and picked him up and let out her own sigh of relief.
After this we just settled down and watched more TV in the den. We were both a little drunk at this point and we started making out on the couch, being sure to keep an eye on Jake so he didn’t disappear again. After a few minutes of this, we heard what sounded like the cat flap in the door. We looked down at the flap and saw… Jake? But Jake was already sitting on the other couch in the den, we could see him right there. Something wasn’t right. The cat by the door started making weird growling noises at Jake, hissing, and puffing up its tail. Then Jake jumped down from the couch and the two cats lunged at each other, screaming and clawing and biting. Not in a playful way, either; in a serious ‘I-want-to-kill-you’ kind of way.
I stand up and yell at them “HEY!” which seems to scare them both and they stop fighting long enough for me to pick one of them up and go into the other room.
I wasn’t sure if I picked up Jake or the intruder cat, so I had Gigi look at both of them, and she couldn’t tell the difference either. They were identical black cats. In order to figure out which one was which, we stayed in different rooms and studied both cats’ behavior. My cat was friendly and kept brushing up against me, trying to get me to pet it, so I was pretty sure I had Jake. I asked Gigi how her cat was doing and she said he was acting very skittish. Confident we had identified which cat was Jake, we shooed the other cat out through the door in the den and then blocked the cat flap so it couldn’t come back in.
“Ew, do you smell that?” Gigi asked. I hadn’t noticed it until she pointed it out, but then I got hit by a very weird and off-putting scent in the den. It honestly smelled like something had died in the room. “What is that?”
“I think it’s from them fighting,” I said. “Cats release a pheromone when they’re in danger. This must be what it smells like.”
I had to agree, it was pretty gross. So bad that we could no longer stand to be in the den. We grabbed Jake and took him out into the living room where we continued to watch TV. Jake just wouldn’t leave me alone, either. He kept getting on my lap and meowing for me to pet him, and I gladly obliged until he seemed satisfied.
As the night was winding down, Gigi said she was gonna go take a shower. I said “Okay,” just planning to watch more TV.
Gigi went to the shower room, and Jake decided he’d had enough of me and followed her. I heard the shower turn on, but then a minute later, Gigi walked out of the room saying there were no towels, and she’d have to go back in the den. She plugged her nose before entering and I giggled a little bit. I wished I could go back in the den, because these windows were still creeping me out. That weird animal never left the back of my mind, but I tried my best to distract myself by just watching TV.
After a minute I heard Gigi call out from the shower, “Hey.”
I replied, “What’s up?”
In a sultry voice, she said “Come join me.”
I suddenly got really excited thinking about having sex in that shower room; she didn’t have to tell me twice. I got up off the couch, but then I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I looked at it and saw I’d just gotten a text from Gigi.
’don’t go in there’, it said.
I was frozen in place. I realized Gigi had never gone back to the shower room; she was still in the den looking for a towel. I looked over to the door of the den, and it cracked open slowly. I held my breath waiting to see what came out of there. I half-expected the demonic horned dog from that skinwalker book to come creeping out to devour me. I could feel myself shaking. Slowly, Gigi emerged from the den, and I could see she was terrified, her skin colorless, and her eyes wide with fear. She was clutching a six shooter, and trembling.
She nodded at me to head for the front door. Quietly, I inched toward it, but I was much closer to it than she was. By the time I got there, she was only halfway across the floor.
We heard that thing call out from the shower again in a sweet, sing-song voice, “Don’t keep me waiting.”
I gulped and felt sweat drip down my brow as Gigi picked up the pace. She was only a few feet away when I heard the sound of wet footsteps coming out of the shower. I suddenly was unable to breathe, hearing the footsteps get closer. It was as if I could feel my life about to end.
It peered its head around the corner and my heart stopped in my chest. It looked just like Gigi. Same black hair, same face, same freckled skin. I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference, except its eyes immediately turned to the darkest black. I let out a weak, pathetic scream as it started running. Skin was replaced by feathers, a crown of antlers broke through its hairline, and it opened its mouth so wide its cheeks split open.
Then I heard the loudest sound I’ve ever heard in my life.
The creature suddenly fell to the floor, screaming and writhing. There was a hole in its chest that looked like it was already beginning to rot. Gigi grabbed my arm and pulled me out the front door. Sitting just outside was Jake, or what used to be Jake. His body had been mutilated and partially eaten. We didn’t waste any time getting the fuck out of there. I drove through the desert as fast as I could.
“What did you do?!”, was the first question out of my mouth.
Gigi was still taking deep breaths and staring wide-eyed at nothing.
“What was that thing?”
Gigi explained that her grandma was very superstitious about the old Navajo legends. She held up the revolver she brought out from the den. “My grandma keeps it loaded with silver-capped bullets, and inside is a pocket of ash.” Ash and silver are supposedly the only things that can hurt a skinwalker, and thankfully it bought us enough time to get out of the desert alive that night.
I’ll never forget that night for the rest of my life, but that’s actually not where this story ends.
On the way out of the desert, Gigi called her grandma in a fit of hysteria. Through her tears, she managed to explain what happened. There was a long silence, and then her grandma said they’d come back early tomorrow, and told us to keep the gun close and just go back to Gigi’s apartment for tonight.
We got to the apartment and tried our best to sleep, but we were utterly terrified of what we’d just experienced. Every little noise set us off. We were worried maybe it was able to follow us somehow. Eventually the morning rolled around, and Gigi’s grandma came to pick us up. We didn’t really question it, we just got in the car with her. But after a few minutes, we noticed we were headed back to Kayenta.
“What are you doing?” Gigi asked, “You’re not going back there, are you?”
“Why not?”, her grandma said, “It’s my home; not theirs.” She explained that she had felt this creature stalking her for some time now. She thought it had gone away when she didn’t notice it for several months. That’s why she was comfortable asking Gigi to watch the house for her.
She also said she knew how to get rid of it for good, now that it’s bold enough to try and claim her home.
As we pulled up in the garage, we drove past Jake. The pain on the grandma’s face was clear, but if anything, it only strengthened her resolve. Gigi and I hesitantly got out of the car once we parked.
“Stay right there.” Her grandma warned. She pulled out a container of salt and drew a circle around us. “This will keep it out for a while.”
She had Gigi hand over the gun, checked the rounds, and cocked back the hammer. Then she cried out.
She stared out the garage door, waiting for something. We waited anxiously as well.
“Mai-coh!” She yelled again.
“Mai-coh! Mai-coh! MAI-COH!”
After the seventh call, Jake emerged from the desert and walked into the garage with us. He meowed sweetly and looked up at Gigi’s grandma. She responded by pointing the gun at it.
“You cursed, wretched beast. You’ve stalked me for years.” Her voice was oddly calm and low. “You were here first, so I was willing to ignore you for a while, knowing you couldn’t hurt me if I didn’t invite you into my home.”
The cat started circling our ring of salt, laughing.
“But now you’ve invaded my home and turned your eyes on my granddaughter. It’s time for you to go. I know your name.”
Its laughing intensified, far louder than any sound a cat would be capable of making. Antlers started growing from its head.
The grandma fired a single shot into the beast’s skull and yelled, “TSIISHCH’LII!”
I’ve never heard a more horrifying sound. The cat violently morphed into a coyote, then a cougar, then a stag, all the while screaming a terrible scream, until its grotesque body finally turned back into a feathered old woman. The wound festered and black smoke spilled out as the skin around it burned and fell off the monster’s face. It turned away and ran out of the garage, running back into the desert.
“What’ll happen to it?” Gigi asked.
“It’ll suffer greatly. Speaking the birth name of mai-coh is the only way to truly extinguish it. In 3 days, it’ll die a death more agonizing than you or I could imagine.”
Gigi and I felt every muscle in our body relax, knowing this thing could never harm us.
Since then, I’ve moved north and don’t have much interest in returning. I’m sure whatever magic created the skinwalkers can be found here too, but the desert just doesn’t feel safe to me anymore.