01 Feb I Went Camping with My Wife… But Now I Can’t Leave the Woods
What was supposed to be a nice night in the woods eventually turned into a nightmare. My wife and I were going to set up our tent and have a lovely time there, surrounded by nature. Little did I know, things would take an unexpected turn.
I hadn’t seen Christine in two months because she had been contracted to restore some historical buildings in South America, mainly Argentina and Uruguay, so we couldn’t be happier to spend some quality time together. I’m a police officer and we live in Ely, a small town that’s easy to miss in northern Minnesota, near the beautiful Shagawa Lake.
We started packing and I was double checking to see if we didn’t forget anything. Christine was so excited to go kayaking, she loved doing it on her days off and she was clearly missing it after all this time away.
’’Ethan, I cannot wait, come on, are you done? Let’s go already!”, she said, the rays of the sun reflecting from her blonde hair.
’’I missed you so much, Christine,” I told her, gently caressing her face.
On the way there we stopped at a decrepit gas station to fuel up and buy some diet chips and soda. Behind the counter there was this odd looking guy, he had a big mole on his nose, he was sweating non-stop, the cap on his head was soaked, and he had a twitching eye that was smaller than the other one. On the left side of his face, he had a big burn and it looked like someone punished him for something bad he had done, by placing a hot iron on his cheek.
As we were taking a turn to enter the road leading to the woods, the scenery changed its color from the monotonous asphalt grey of the highway to the enchanting green of the lively forest. It seemed like time was passing in a different fashion here and the trees looked very old, standing tall the test of time.
We arrived just in time to catch a few more hours of daylight and decided to set up camp by the lake. We started unpacking, got our tent in place, the kayak was ready to go and Christine was as happy as a kid watching the ice-cream truck on a sunny day. We chilled for another half an hour, while listening to the sweet sound of birds singing and waves hitting the shore. After that we took a small hike and we reached an open area, filled with green grass and tall trees.
“Ethan, this is fabulous, look at this place! The forest looks alive! Let’s sit on that mossy lodge over there for just a bit and then we can go kayaking!” Christine said, absolutely impressed with this, she looked like she really needed this trip.
“Yes, honey! This is great, I’m enjoying it so much!”, I said, inhaling the fresh air of the woods.
The lake was perfect for our adventure, we started paddling and Christine was really enjoying it, but all of a sudden a sense of dread came over me, as I saw some shadows moving behind the trees. I decided to ignore them, as they were probably some animals.
We arrived back at camp, it was around 8 PM, so we had another hour to cook dinner and watch the sunset, the view over the lake was fantastic. Christine really enjoyed the food and before we knew it night came, we sat outside the tent on a blanket, watching the starry sky. Everything was exactly as it should be, Christine was smiling at me, we were so happy. We even saw a falling star, we both wished for something.
Then we started making love, her blue eyes were lit up with desire. Needless to say, it felt really passionate. The mild breeze made the leaves rustle and our hearts were beating faster than ever. We then fell asleep, in a lovers’ embrace.
I woke up in the middle of the night, all sweaty and thirsty. Christine was missing. Scared, I started screaming her name.
“Christine! Where are you? Chris!” I yelled in desperation, my screams lost in the vastness of the night.
Nothing came back. I dressed quickly, grabbed a flashlight and went to search for my wife. Being a police officer, I never lose my calm in tough situations like these, but now it was really tough, because I love her and she is missing. I ran like crazy for what seemed like hours, but she was nowhere to be found. I didn’t know what was going on, so I kept searching and searching. Ultimately, I decided to go back to the tent just to find it all ravaged like it was attacked by some wild beast.
“What’s happening here? Heeeey? Is there someone there? Christine! Where are you?” I screamed until my throat was raw.
As I was looking around to see if I could find anything, I saw a tree with a wooden pentagram tied to it and blood dripping. A piece of her nightgown was on the ground. I quickly went to the car to get my gun and start looking for Christine again. I needed to kill whatever was holding her captive. The tires had been slashed and the windows were broken. Fortunately, the gun was well hidden and whatever or whoever thrashed our tent and car didn’t manage to get it.
I was running low on battery, so I was really glad to find my extra-battery lying on the floor. Luckily, it was not damaged.
Enraged and dejected, I started going through the woods and every branch seemed to point that I should move forward. The stars above were my only guide as I went deeper, not knowing what I would find.
I heard a branch cracking behind me, turned around quickly, but there was no one there. After that, I heard a cry for help: “Ethan, hurry up! They have me! Please, hurry!”
I started following the sound of her voice, until I reached an open area in the woods, where I found what looked like a church. It was the same area that we saw earlier in the day, but how was it possible? Right beside that mossy log, this wooden church appeared, it was painted black, with light coming from inside it, while a thick fog was enshrouding it. A metallic fence was surrounding it, the front gates opened wide, while the hinges were creaking under the light of the moon. The building looked ancient, like it was over a thousand years old. It seemed not of this world and more so, it looked evil. It looked like a place where nightmares come to life, and pain was its favorite meal.
I was watching cautiously from behind the trees and couldn’t believe my eyes. Last time I was in this area, there was nothing there. So, it must have been built recently. But how and why did it look so old? How was it built so fast? Impossible. Was I lured here? What was I to find when I sneak in?
I decided to approach the building carefully, with small steps. I went to the left side of the building, keeping my grip firm on the gun. I raised my head a little, just to look inside where I saw some sort of a gathering. I noticed hooded people chanting and raising their hands to the ceiling. They had a live lamb placed on a stone. Their leader approached it and began an incantation: “Mother Furia, take this offering as a gift from us to you, O, Unholy Goddess of Chaos and Destruction! Protect us and let us live to do your bidding!” Then, she cut its neck open and blood started painting the altar.
She then called one of the people in the group, they both removed the hoods from their heads and as I looked in despair, not understanding anything at all anymore, I saw my wife talking with the guy from the gas station, I recognized by the burn on his face. Christine was wearing a crown of branches on her head and some sort of make-up that was dripping down from her face. On her forehead, a half-moon was painted with the blood of the lamb.
My loving wife began to berate her followers as my heart shattered into a million pieces. ’’She wants human sacrifice and she wants it fast. Her patience is wearing thin. That’s why I came here with him! You were supposed to catch him while he was sleeping! Why did you fail? Why?” I put something in his drink to make him sleep longer, you had one job to do! “Take some men with you and find him fast! Go now!” my ‘wife’ said, enraged to the utter failure of her men.
Out of nowhere, I saw my wife floating in mid-air, like she was possessed by some unknown entity, probably this Furia goddess, her eyes rolled back and turned white, as she said in an unholy voice, while throwing the dead lamb in a wall: ’’I am hungry, I am hungry! I need to eat! Bring him to me!” Then she quickly came back to her senses, as my skin prickled with horror.
My time with the force taught me to be strong in situations like this and so I kept my composure. I heard a cracking behind me and as I turned I saw one of the cultist trying to attack me. I blocked him, punched him in the face and chocked him, and eventually killed him. Then I dragged the body back to the woods, stole his clothes and dressed up like one of them.
My battery is running low, reception is pretty bad and I can’t make any phone calls from here… I am hiding behind a tree, thinking of what I should do next.
Now I can’t leave the woods, I must find out what happens and who my wife really is.
Nightmares exist in reality too and I know it, because I’m living in one right now. I have been hiding in a hole under a tree, with this dead guy lying next beside me, but I managed to keep composure. It started raining, so I needed to take shelter somewhere. I stole the clothes off of the guy I killed and I wanted to go inside and search the church, although I knew it was dangerous, but I had to take my chances.
Time stands still here, it seems, because it’s been night for the past twenty-four hours and I saw the trees hunching over the church like they were drawn to it, as it started transforming, it seemed alive, it even grew four towers, each on every extremity. This is a place of evil, of ill will, I can feel it in my gut. The obsidian towers looked like they were guarding the evil inside, watching carefully for any trespassers. Their goddess was hungry and in need of a sacrifice.
“Well, I’ll sacrifice them all, alright,” I remember thinking to myself.
Being a cop has you dealing with tough situations, but not with anything like this, not when it involves the supernatural. My plan was to take them down one by one, as I only counted ten hooded figures inside the church. And then there’s my wife, but I didn’t want to think of anything of that sorts. My Glock’s mag had seventeen bullets in it, so it should’ve been enough. I never miss a shot and I always aim for the head.
They were leaving the church, and as I saw them splitting into three groups, I noticed that one of them was coming towards me. I quickly took the dead guy, which I dressed in my clothes, put him on the trail, and waited to see if they’d fall for it. They had flashlights and as they approached, one of them yelled “There’s someone lying on the ground!” They all came quickly and as they rotated the body face-up, another one said “But this is…”, they turned as they heard me stepping on a branch while sneaking behind them, and I slowly whispered “Hey, you fucks, say goodbye.”
*Bang* *Bang* *Bang*
I never miss; three headshots. Seven more to go and I only wished that the last one standing was the guy from the gas station, so I could question and rough him up a bit before putting a bullet in his head. They must have heard the shots, so I decided to go hide under the tree again. And I silently waited, watching and hearing everything around and above me, as the second group came to see what happened.
“It came from there, get your gun, Anthony!” the voice said, as one set of footsteps started running frantically, I heard a door creaking open and then closing. I let them pass me, and I slowly emerged from under the tree.
“I think I saw him run that way,” I said while they turned around and before they even got a chance to see who I was, I dropped them all. Poor Anthony forgot to put bullets inside the chamber, which was a pity, one extra gun would’ve been useful.
*Bang* *Bang* *Bang*
Four more lunatics to go. I took all the bodies and piled them under the tree and as I was moving towards the church, I heard a crack to my right side and the cultist asked me: “I heard gunshots, are you alright, did you find him? She is starting to get impatient. She needs food, otherwise she can’t leave The Black Church,” he said to me, fear breathing from his mouth.
“Yes, I found him, you’re talking to him,” I replied while turning to face him and noticing that there were two of them standing one next to the other. “Don’t make a move, this thing is loaded.”
As they both collapsed to the ground, I heard another one yelling behind me and as I turned he hit me in the stomach with a baseball bat. An immense wave of pain passed through me and I fell to the ground. I saw the guy trying to hit me once more, I avoided the bat as he hit the soil beside me. I drew my gun and put three bullets in his chest and as I looked at his face, I saw that this was not the guy from the gas station. Blood started staining his clothes, as he was gasping for what was his last breath of life.
I wanted to find him quickly before entering the church. I decided to take another look around and I saw that a shack had appeared, just a few feet away from me. I went inside, only to find dead rabbits, hogs, birds, snakes and other small insects lying on a wooden table. The walls were filled with sickles, machetes and very sharp knives. They were probably using them for hunting and gutting the animals. Probably, they would’ve done the same to me if they caught me sleeping.
I heard someone coming, but before I could reach my gun, I heard him say: “You killed them, but forgot about me. Take your gun from the holster and place it on the ground, then turn towards me slowly,” the man said. I finally had him where I wanted.
“Alright, take it slow, you got me. Look, I’m putting it down,” I said as I was checking the table for a sharp knife I could use to slit his throat. As I turned around, I saw that his face was now burned on the right side as well. “Damn, you’re one ugly motherfucker.”, I said again, making fun of him. I wanted him to lose his nerve, so I could attack him.
Motherfucker shot me in the shoulder, and I yelled in pain as I saw him grinning with his yellow ugly teeth. “You bastard, why did you do that?” I asked him again, the pain was becoming unbearable and the blood wouldn’t stop flowing.
“I got this second burn because of you, you son of a bitch, because you didn’t stay asleep, so we can get you. Mother Furia punished me, she always punishes us when we fail a task. But, I’ll be fine. On the other hand, you won’t be. Just wait until she finds out you killed all her followers. Oh boy. At least, she’ll be well fed. She’ll decorate the walls of her church with your blood,” the burnt guy said, still pointing the gun at me, not entirely sure if he’ll pop another bullet in me.
I then asked him about my wife and he told me that she has been Furia’s devoted follower since her childhood, all the women in her family were. Things were going pretty good up until I decided to start this fuss, he said. She ate men from Christine’s family, as she did with her father, grandfather and probably, that’s how she survives. It’s a sacrifice they have to make, it’s been like this since hundreds of years. When there’s no more men to eat from one family, Furia takes the form of her last leader and moves on to find another one, and then another one, and so on.
I was the last man in my family and so I must stop her. If not, she’ll go and destroy another family and she’ll be doing this forever. I have to kill this guy and then Christine, well, if Furia doesn’t kill me first.
A strong wind came howling in the shack and as the man turned, I took my chance and severed his hand with a machete. As he started screaming, I slit his throat and watched him die right before my eyes, gurgling on his blood. As his hand landed on the ground, the gun came off and, luckily enough, the bullet flew right by my ear.
“You motherfucker… you’ll die a horrible death,” he said as he fell to the ground, his blood quickly absorbed by the soil, meaning that Furia was feeding.
I took a knife and decided to take the bullet out, because it didn’t go through. The pain was excruciating, but I managed to get it cleaned up. I took his gun only to see one bullet remaining, got the gunpowder out and cauterized the wound. My survival instinct saved my life.
I got my gun and decided to go inside Furia’s church. The full moon in the sky became a half bloody moon, and I figured that meant evil was rising. Silently, I opened a side door and the view inside was grotesque.
The walls were decorated with dead animals, pinned to the walls with nails, as if someone got angry when failing the taxidermy exam. Strange drawings were depicted on the walls, showing a female figure eating the flesh of men and painting her face with their blood.
The last part of the ritual showed antlers growing from Furia’s temples, she was floating in the air, her eyes all-white, and branches were embracing her as blood was dripping down from her mouth. On her forehead, a half moon was depicted.
This means that when I first saw Christine floating in the air, I saw one of Furia’s forms and the thought of seeing her final one chilled me to the bone.
I only have five more bullets in the chamber.
I then decided to go and look for her and I saw a small hatch leading to the basement. I took the stairs down and at the other end of the room I saw Christine praying and silently chanting to one of Furia’s wooden statues. The final step creaked and as Christine turned, she saw my face and let out a shriek.
She started running towards me, I quickly went back upstairs, closed the hatch and now I’m hiding behind a wooden bench. I hear Christine breaking the hatch door: “Ethan, my love. Come out, please. I need to eat,” she’s saying, oblivious of the life we had before.
Except, that’s not Christine anymore.
My heart was pounding at that moment, yet somehow I managed to stay lucid amidst all this insanity. I knew then very well what I had to do with her. Christine or Furia needed to be killed. My mind and soul were inundated with pain and sorrow at the thought, because I was absolutely certain that I will never understand what has happened there nor will I ever receive any sort of explanation.
She started screaming my name, obsessively, but I could hear Furia taking over her, as Christine’s voice was changing, emanating sounds from beyond this plain of existence. Her voice sounded like it was letting out all the agony, despair and inconsolable grief of all the men she devoured throughout time. “Ethan, if you don’t come out right this instant, you will suffer a slow and violent death,” the distorting sound of her voice filling the room inside the Church. ’’Fine, so be it. I will devour you,” she went on, ravenous.
I started gnashing my teeth as the wretchedness inside took over what little love I had for the woman who once was my wife, but Christine wasn’t there anymore. Furia took over her completely, throwing the wooden benches all over the place, searching for me. I tucked the pistol behind my back and got out before she would’ve gotten to me: “OK, I’m coming out, I give up. I can’t win this fight anyway,” I said trying to stall her a bit and think about my next move. This was a fight for my own life. It was either her or me, it was survival of the fittest.
She was laughing uncontrollably as if it was the single most ardent pleasure of her life. Her appearance was monstrous, she looked exactly like she was depicted on the walls. Her eyes were all-white, antlers were coming out from her temples, twigs and branches were embracing her. The half moon on her forehead was carved into her skin, blood falling down her cheeks and painting them to look like rivers on a map. ’’There you are, my love. Now I want you to play hard to get with me a little, OK?” she said, probably enjoying the thrill of the hunt and adrenaline rush that you feel when you shoot and kill the prey.
Then I noticed the animals on the walls starting freeing themselves and falling down. They came to life and, squirming, they started rising up. Their mutilated bodies, eyes dangling from their sockets and flesh hanging from their bones, were an absolute horror to behold.
I squished a possum with my foot, blood and guts sticking on my boot. I then decided to take a piece of loose wooden plank that was sitting behind one the benches and proceeded to kill them one by one. The last animal standing was a wolf, its lower jaw was missing, the tongue was dangling in the air and saliva dropping on the floor. It charged on me, but when it tried to jump, I hit it so hard that I decapitated it.
“Ethan, it’s all fun and games, but my hunger is growing stronger, so come here,” she said floating in the air as she came to me, trying to grab me. I moved to the side and hit her with the plank. “Christine, this is not you, stop it, please!” I said, still trying to cling on to whatever was left inside. “Christine is gone forever, come here, don’t make it this harder than it has to be!” she yelled, angered.
I started running towards the exit, but she placed herself in front of the door. I was trapped, so I had to find something else to escape alive from there. Then, I wanted to go towards the hatch door, but to no avail, she was faster than me. But, she was also more and more erratic and enraged. Her hunger was making her do irrational things. She started throwing the benches everywhere, she even raised the dead animals and threw them on me, leaving me covered in animal guts and blood.
Then she smacked me so hard out of nowhere, that she threw me across the room into a wall. I started coughing, my eye got cut and bleeding, she came towards me again. “I need to eat, I’m hungry,” she said as she grabbed my throat, choking me.“Please, stop, please stop, you’re killing me, Christine!” I begged as a final plea, hoping maybe… just maybe, things can work out after all and we can go back home to live our happy life together.
She then started sinking her teeth into my already damaged shoulder, blood painting her lips a bright shade of red. I watched her with tears in my eyes. Before she could even get to bite my throat and kill me, I slowly took the gun from behind my back and shot her in the stomach…
*Bang Bang Bang Bang*
“What did you do?”, she said coughing up blood and looking up at me with teary eyes.
Her own blood was mending with mine.
“You… you killed me…” she said, but now in Christine’s voice. As she gave her final breath, I took her lifeless body and placed it on the grass outside the church and watched her lying there, as if she was finally freed from her demons.
There was one more thing that needed to be done.
I went back to the shed and took a canister of gas, soaked the church in gasoline and set it ablaze. A purple incandescent flame took over the church, and, while it was burning bright, it let out screams of agony.
I then went back to stay with Christine, looking at the burning church and contemplating my past life, knowing things will never be the same and not knowing if I will fully recover. As the fire extinguished, I saw the sun rising up in the sky, a brand new day was upon me.
I placed the gun under my chin and closed my eyes, contemplating if I should use the last bullet in the chamber. As I was about to pull the trigger, I heard a voice from the distance. “Ethan, put it down, it’s not worth it, man. Put it down, please, we’ll figure this out!” the voice said gravely, trying to save me.
I opened my eyes and turned to see my colleague and two other police officers, pointing their guns at me. As I put the gun down, he said to me, “Good job, Ethan. Can you please run me through what happened here so I can understand why you killed her?”
“She was running a cult, Jim. I killed them. All eleven. One of them is in the shed behind the church and I stuffed the other ones in a hole under that tree over there,” I said, replying to his question as best I could. “She was in league with the crazy people, and they tried feeding me to their goddess,” I said, realizing that this sounded like utter madness.
“Ethan, there’s no church and there’s no shed, just that dead charred guy lying on the ground,“ he said looking at me like I was crazy. ’’Did you burn something over there? he asked me, pointing to where the church used to be.
“I burnt it down, that’s why it’s not there, you can only see the ashes,” I said to him. “It was something evil, Jim. A thing not of this world and it possessed Christine. Her family has been worshiping this Furia goddess for God knows how many generations.”
He then gave me a blanket to warm myself and told me“It’s been a tough night, Jim. Thanks for coming. But why did you come so fast?, I asked him with an expressionless face.
”What do you mean one night, buddy? You’ve been gone for a week, that’s why we have the search party here. Come one, let’s get you fixed, you’re still bleeding and you’re in shock,” he said, trying to be as helpful and respectful as he could be.
”So that’s probably why the sun never came up, I was trapped in some sort of place where time was nonexistent,” I remember thinking to myself.
After they called an ambulance and took the bodies out of the hole, I took them to the camping site and told the whole story from start to finish. I went to the hospital for three days and now I am home, recovering. I’ve been placed under medical supervision for 60 days, but at least I will be fine and I stopped Furia from ever doing harm again. I still miss Christine sometimes, but given that we lived in a house of lies I’m sure that I will get to get on with my life and be happy again one day.