01 Feb Stolen Tongues
My fiancee and I are from California but her family lives in Colorado, and they own a cabin near Pikes Peak, way up in the mountains. After visiting them, they recommended we go stay at the cabin a few days (we are avid hikers and jumped at the opportunity).
Colorado is very rich in Native American folk legend. Virtually every place you go used to belong to an Indigenous community, and the few of them who remain keep the traditions and stories alive. Pikes Peak is no different; there are enough stories (and gift shops) to give anybody the sense that the land itself is alive. I don’t know if this has anything to do with what is happening, but maybe someone here is from Colorado and could help us connect the dots.
Faye and I are currently at the cabin. It’s day four, and we were planning on leaving today. But things have gotten very strange around here and it looks like we’re going to be here a while longer. We have enough food for a winter and the heater is in stellar order, but the wifi is terrible at best and there is virtually no cell reception. We feel isolated. I will try to respond to comments but the internet dips out for hours at a time up here.
The first weird thing that happened was the snow. There was no snow in the forecast, so we packed light, but on first night here (just our luck) a blizzard pounded the whole area. My little Corolla is basically a brick of ice outside, and there’s no way I’m going to try to make the 6 mile drive down the mountain to the town. I blame myself for trusting Colorado in Spring.
After a day (Thursday) of lovely hiking and sightseeing, some really unsettling stuff started happening. When we returned to the cabin just before dusk, we found an enormous dreamcatcher dangling from a tree about a dozen yards from the back door. This wasn’t the kind you’re imagining, the kind you buy from a novelty shop; this thing was made from twigs and twine. And it’s about three feet in diameter. Absolutely humongous. Neither Faye nor I were stupid enough to touch it. We’re veteran horror movie fans and we know that’s how you get cursed. If the snow melts a bit I’ll get back out there and snap a picture of it and post it here.
That night while we were eating dinner, we heard a bunch of noises in the woods outside. Twigs crunching, leaves rustling, etc. This isn’t unusual because we saw some elk and deer on our hike, but the sounds were slow and purposeful. They stopped and started and were rhythmic, like someone was casing the area in a crescent shape around the cabin. I used my really bright tactical flashlight to look outside from the porch, but there was nothing.
We stayed in all day on Friday, and just cuddled/hung out/played some of the board games we brought and some of the Super Nintendo games they had in the cabin (Donkey Kong Country 2, I have considered stealing, because it’s the greatest game ever made). It snowed again, and after dark, we started hearing more noises. Around 1AM, Faye woke me up and told me she was hearing a voice outside. I strained to listen, and I thought I could make out the sound of a man crying very far away, but his voice was drowned out by the wind so I wasn’t absolutely certain of what I heard. We went back to sleep, but again around 4:45AM, we heard him more distinctly and closer. He sounded like he was calling for help, but he would dip into another language that I’ve never heard before.
We called the ranger station at the bottom of the hill using my cell phone, and they told us they’d get up there and check it out. We never saw them, and I doubt they ever came.
On Saturday, shit got really scary.
It snowed again in the morning, and I stopped getting service for most of the day. Faye and I watched movies and tried to skype with her family, but that didn’t work. She went to sleep early, around 8, while I did some photo editing on my laptop in the living room. She woke up crying hysterically. When I asked her what was wrong, she said she’d had a dream that she was lost in the woods outside, and something was following her. I cuddled with her until she fell back asleep, and eventually I drifted off too.
Faye woke me up around 1AM. She was absolutely beside herself. I’ve never seen her so afraid in my life, and just the look on her face really unsettled me. She told me that she heard the man outside again, but she recognized the voice. She was absolutely convinced that it was her grandfather’s voice, and that he was wandering around outside begging for help.
Faye’s grandpa died when we were seniors in college 4 years ago. I told her that she was dreaming, but then I heard the voice too. I never met the guy so I wouldn’t recognize his voice, but it did sound different from the night before. It sounded older. I had to do everything I could to keep her from running off into the woods looking for him. Eventually she realized that the possibility of it being him was absurd, so we put a movie on at a good volume and fell back asleep. My cell phone wouldn’t connect a single call.
What happened last night, Sunday, was the thing that has sent me over the edge. Essentially the same thing happened. Around 1AM (at which point I was still awake, almost expecting the noise to happen), I heard a voice. This time, it was a woman’s. Thankfully it was distant enough that it didn’t wake Faye. I walked into the bathroom and cracked the window open just a tiny bit. The frosty air that came through that crack seemed like a death sentence to me as a Californian. Nobody could survive outside for long in that. Not without serious, military-grade winter gear.
And yet, someone was wandering the fuck around out there, stepping on twigs, and crying. I am a reasonable, skeptical, sometimes arrogant agnost, but I’m telling you, the voice sounded exactly like my mother’s. My mom is alive and well and living in Southern California, so my brain instantly cramped at the sound of her voice out here in the Rocky Mountains. I would know my mother’s voice anywhere. I think we all would. And I’m telling you, I’m about 90% sure it was hers, which is way, way too sure to not scare the shit out of me.
I grabbed my light and went outside with a blanket wrapped around me and my hiking boots on. I circled the entire cabin and looked around. There was snow pushed out of the way in a big, meandering pattern that snaked in and out of the tree line, like someone was drunkenly shuffling around. Maybe they were injured. The path went right up to the bathroom window and then back into the woods. Each time the voice called out, I shouted, “Mom?” or “Who’s there?” or “Who are you?” and each time the voice receded further into the woods. I’m pretty certain it was trying to coax me deeper and deeper into the forest, away from the cabin.
I’m still alive because I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to die like some dumbass in a bad horror movie. I went back inside and made sure we were locked down tight. Since I can’t call the ranger station, I’m posting this instead. I will keep you updated.
edit: It’s Monday, and we got a hold of Faye’s dad. The weather is supposed to clear up tomorrow so he’s going to come pick us up in his truck and help get my car down the mountain. I will keep you all informed. Only one more night in this place. I’ll try to get some photos up.
edit 9:30PM, Monday:
I’ve been able to get online twice today. I wish I knew more about electronics but I’m a history teacher (sigh), so I don’t think I can fix the wifi or predict when it’ll work. I can send/receive emails and some reddit posts but I cannot load some websites or view photos.
Faye hasn’t been feeling well since noon. She developed a stomach ache and has been intermittently throwing up. We both ate the same thing and I feel fine, so I’m not sure what it is. She sometimes gets like this when she gets worked up. Although I’m an agnost/atheist, she is VERY Catholic, and is pretty convinced that something supernatural is going on. No need for alarm at the moment – she does not have a fever and I’m keeping her hydrated and in high spirits. She seems to be on the mend. Went to sleep about 1.5 hours ago.
Some noises to report. Cackling/repetitive vocalizations in the forest, probably 100 yards out. The tree line starts at about 20 yards out, so this sound is coming from much deeper. Some movement spotted just behind the tree line at dusk, but could be elk, deer, etc. Couldn’t see very much. Keeping all the curtains closed, windows locked, furniture in front of the front door/back door, and I’m checking on Faye every half hour.
Her dad will be here in the late morning to pick us up/dig my car out. Another redditor near us pointed out that I am an idiot for not double checking the weather. You are correct.
I promise I’ll provide an update as a new post tomorrow, should anything significant happen.
I’m sorry for the delay, everyone. We are collecting ourselves. Sorry for any formatting issues – I’m writing this on my phone. Faye’s dad picked us up in his truck. He brought his buddy with him, who is now following us in my car.
A lot of things happened last night. Some things I won’t share because I’m not sure how to interpret them yet. I’m not even sure I understand what happened. But here are the most important things. I also managed to get some recordings, which I’ll try to upload when we get home to California in a few days.
I tried to stay awake last night until 1AM, because over the past few nights, that is the approximate time the noises change from rustling/branches cracking to voices. I didn’t make it. I fell asleep on the couch with my laptop open, waiting for the wifi to come back – I think this was at about 12:30AM.
I woke up right around 1:15AM to a muffled voice. In my sleepy daze I struggled to figure out where it was coming from – I thought it was just outside the living room window, so I sat there quietly trying to make the words out. It was a woman’s voice and said things like “A few days. It’s not mine. I’m not alone. Okay.” I got up and peeked out the curtains and didn’t see anyone, but then the voice said “It’s my parents’ house” and I knew the voice was Faye’s. As I mentioned earlier, my fiancee has an undiagnosed sleep disorder and has extensive sleeptalk and sometimes sleepwalks. She has had pronounced night terrors since she was a little kid. I’ll post a story on that someday.
I walked into the bedroom to find Faye, sleeping on her tummy as usual. She didn’t say anything else as I came in. Two things really disturbed me about this situation, though – the first is that she appeared to be having a conversation with someone (which is actually quite common for her), but the person she was conversing with was interrogating her. Asking her questions about herself, me, the cabin, etc. Second, in her sleep, Faye was imitating another voice. It wasn’t hers that she was speaking with; she was altering the pitch and tone to sound like a different person.
My modus operandi is to not wake her up when she has sleep disturbances (there’s a story behind this, expect one someday). Instead, I gently rub her back and hair, which calms her, and puts her back to restful sleep. I did this for a few minutes, but then there was another noise, off in the distance outside. I got up and walked to the window to listen, and I think this was the first time that I really felt scared enough that I felt like we were in real danger.
It was a child, singing in the dark. I couldn’t really make out much of what s/he was saying. But I am certain that it was a child, probably age 6-8, trying to sing a song. The snow had abated for a while now, and the stars were notably bright, so I could see all the way to the rim of the forest (about 20~ yards out). There was a figure standing there just past the first trees, back facing me, looking up at either the moon or the tops of the trees. It stood so still that I convinced myself it was a tree stump or something, and in a few minutes, it was no longer visible. My skeptical nature compels me to be reasonable and say my eyes were playing tricks on me.
When I turned around, Faye was sitting straight up in bed, eyes closed (she does this a lot in her sleep). She craned her neck and said something like, “Don’t let them in” or “Don’t let him inside.” She was still doing the weird voice. So I woke her up.
Faye and I sat in the bedroom with the lights on, talking about what we should do. I tried to get online to send an email to her parents, but of course, it doesn’t work when you need it. We agreed to stay in the same room and try to fall back asleep. At one point I got up to get her some water (she hadn’t vomited in several hours now and was feeling a lot better), and out the kitchen window, I saw flashes of pale light. They weren’t like the flashes you’d see when someone walks through the woods with a flashlight; they were more like, if someone had a lantern that they could slowly turn on and off.
I flicked on the porch lights to the front and side of the house, hoping that it would discourage anyone from trying to approach. But as I walked back to the bedroom, I saw the distinct outline of a person through the window curtain in the living room; they were pressed against the glass with their hands on it, trying to peer inside. Since it was dark in the living room and bright outside, I could clearly see their silhouette. I shouted and approached the window, but the person ran off before I pulled the curtain open.
Faye slept soundly, but I continued to hear voices outside. Different ones. On and off all night until dawn. I wrote several of them down. I couldn’t sleep so I camped out in the living room. I kept the bedroom door open so I could hear Faye if she started talking again. The voices would go away for hours, and then start back up again.
At one point I fell asleep, because I was awoken by the sound of a light switch flicking on and off. From the couch I could see light from outside, going on and off in patterns of 5. I can’t explain why this disturbed me so much, but it did, and I imagined some kind of horrible creature standing in my house somewhere, flipping the switch up and down and smiling. My first instinct was to check on Faye, and I nearly had a heart attack when I saw that she wasn’t in bed.
I started calling her name and pacing around the house, looking out the windows to see if she was outside. When I looked out the kitchen window, there she was, sitting on the hood of my car about thirty feet out in the driveway. Her back was to me, and she was staring off into the forest. She was absolutely rigid, just the way she sits up in bed when she’s asleep. Faye has sleepwalked all over the house back home in California; I’ve found her in the kitchen and the downstairs hallway and the living room, but she’s never gone outside.
I shouted her name from the kitchen, but the second I did, Faye jumped off my car and dashed into the woods at full sprint. She never looked back at me. I started FLIPPING out and screaming her name over and over. I scrambled to grab my boots to go after her, but the second I pulled the front door open, Faye called out my name from behind.
She was standing in the hall, looking confused, asking me what was wrong. Apparently she had been in the bathroom (in my masculine crusade I’d forgotten to check there). I looked out at my car and into the forest, and honestly, the first thought that came to my mind was, “you clever motherfucker.”
Needless to say, we stayed up the remaining few hours until dawn, intermittently writing down the voices we heard, which faded away and became less frequent with the passage of time. I’ll try to get the recordings up in a few days. For now, here is that list of voices we heard. We recalled some of the voices from the previous nights from memory, but I just figured you’d like to know what was being said throughout the duration of this lovely cabin experience. I will return to Colorado, but fuck Pikes Peak. The (?)’s indicate that the words were very unclear.
A man’s voice, vaguely familiar, but couldn’t put a face to it (over the past several nights):
-“Hello? Oooooh God, look at it! Look! Hello?” (desperate)
-“Don’t. Don’t. They see in the dark.” (kind of wailed dramatically)
-“I’m lost. I’m lost.”
-“Wachu…wachu…wachu…wole my…wole my…” (growled, hacking sound, reminded me of Gollum) (?)
-“IT’S VERY DARK, I SEE THOSE LIGHTS” (shouted in anger)
-“I’ll come down there!” (shouted)
-“Don’t smile. Don’t smile. I see you.” (? Could have been “goat smile”)
A woman’s voice, sounded age 20ish (last night):
-(gasp in horror/surprise over and over)
-“Lay it on the ground…and burn/turn it” (?)
–“Lalalala….lalalalala…” (monotone, not melodic at all)
-“She talks in her sleep. She’s talking to me now.” (threatening, malicious voice) (?)
A child, sounded about 6-8 years old, indeterminate sex (last night):
–“Ohhhh soul me ah do, why do I doooo, eat eat eat, I AAAAAM A VAAACANT/NAAAKED/SOUL me aaah dooo” (singing, not sure if this is actually English or if my mind is just forcing the sounds into English)
-“When do we go insiiiiiide? When do we go insiiiiiide?” (very unusual intonation. Sounded like a robot trying to mimic a child)
Voice of my mother (a few nights ago):
-“Staaahp!” (laughing, joking. She has a recognizable Bostonian accent)
-“Look at the windows.”
-“Did you see it?”
Voice of Faye’s grandfather (a few nights ago):
-Lots of indiscernible groaning, calls for help
-Something about the war. “They’s bodies still in the ground there. Never found ‘em. But they’re there.”
-“Right here. Right here. Ooooh they found it. Theeeey found it.”
-“Ahhhhww I’m standing in the same place. Twenty years!” (?)
By the way, I forgot to check to see if that dreamcatcher was still there out back. You’re welcome to drive out there and look for yourself, though.
So that night we sat down with Faye’s mom Laura in her bedroom while her dad was watching the news downstairs. Her mom was so upset at the stories we told her; I mean she was visibly disturbed to the point of being in tears. She kept apologizing to Faye and hugging her. Laura told us that they’d purchased that cabin from their good friend (Jennifer? I think) who moved to Nevada about twenty years ago, and that Jennifer and her husband had complained about all sorts of weird experiences while living there. Her husband Tom, like myself, was fond of hiking and exploring the woods, and collected tons of arrowheads and other neat trinkets he’d found on his travels around Pikes Peak.
But Jennifer started having dreams about Tom being dragged off into the woods from their bedroom. She had all kinds of horrific nightmares about him being skinned and pinned up in the trees like some kind of macabre artwork. Jennifer said that while Tom was at work, she would occasionally hear the voice of her daughter (who died in childhood of of some kind of bone cancer) calling “Mommy?” from the edge of the forest. Jennifer’s doctors claimed it was the medication she was on and changed her meds. Tom got a new job in Vegas, and they basically noped out of there.
On a lighter note, Tom hanged himself in the garage two years after they moved. No note or anything.
Anyway, Laura (Faye’s mom) and Greg (Faye’s dad) only used the cabin as a getaway in summers. Laura never experienced anything beyond “weird feelings” while she was there, and she chocked that up to all of the crazy stories Jennifer had told her. Greg, however, who suffers from PTSD-related nightmares occasionally, experienced exacerbated sleep disturbances in the cabin. Over the years he became reluctant to go there, and claimed that all of the things he’d seen in Vietnam came back to him when he slept there.
Allegedly, some of the people he saw get killed would come back to talk to him in his dreams at that cabin. The last time he stayed there, he “woke up” in a dream to find a few of them sitting in his bedroom with him – maimed, rotted, etc. He privately maintained to Laura that he also heard their voices in the forests, crying, begging, screaming for their mothers, etc. Oh, and guess what time he always heard them.
Laura told us that she honestly did not believe there was anything really wrong with the cabin. Faye was extremely pissed and let her have it; they kind of ended our visit on a bad note.
Later that night, I was up reading, and Faye was sleeping next to me (she always falls asleep before me. That girl could fall asleep on a pile of rocks). She started mumbling in her sleep, so I listened carefully, and here are a few things I heard her say:
“Never. Never never. No. I wouldn’t.”
“On the mountain.”
“We don’t know you.”
“No it’s Felix. (my name)”
About two hours later, she woke me up by nudging me in her sleep and saying, “Tell the man in the hall…to leave.” This set me over the edge, so I got to go to the bathroom and get some water. I didn’t find anything strange. Had a very hard time falling asleep, though.
This morning we heard back from the guy who went up to the cabin to check it for gas leaks/carbon monoxide, at the behest of a few scrupulous Redditors. The guy mentioned that radon is a really big problem in some of these old places in the mountains. He’s some kind of super badass handyman with all kinds of equipment, so he rangled up one of the peak rangers and they went up to the place together.
Apparently, there were tracks all around the house – a dozen pairs of them – like a large group of people had been wandering around looking in the windows. All of the windows and doors were sealed the way we left them. When they got inside, some stuff was moved around. The silverware drawer was emptied onto the kitchen floor and turned upside down. The power was completely dead. The weirdest thing was that there was water all over the bed and on the floor, but our guy checked for leaks in the ceiling and the bathroom pipes – nothing. Nothing had been stolen from the house. Not even food. Some of the old clothes in the bedroom closet were strewn on the ground, but nothing stolen – like maybe someone was trying them on/smelling them?
The ranger said that there were legends about the mountain, something about things that sort of act like people, but they come out of the old abandoned mines. Greg’s friend couldn’t remember the name the ranger gave them; it was in a Native language. I asked Greg to ask the ranger about the sounds I heard, specifically the “wachu, wachu, wole my, wole my”, and he said it’s a widely recognizable chant, but he doesn’t know what it means. Anyone here have any idea?
No radon, no carbon monoxide, and no gas (the place is all electric). He checked for mold but said it was unlikely that there would be any all the way up there. He did say it’s possible that there’s some kind of electrical problem, and that this can sometimes cause people to feel very unsettled and maybe have hallucinations. He has some kind of Geiger counter or a gadget that detects issues like this, but it was broken when he tried to use it.
I’m going to keep a close eye on Faye. She’s still shaken up about all this. If there’s anything left to report…I’ll let you know.
We have begun hearing voices outside of our home. Faye is really upset and feels that I might have exacerbated these strange circumstances by giving them widespread exposure online. I’m going to go dark for a few days and see if that helps. Don’t worry about us; we have a few close friends looking out for us. They know the entire store.
Hi everyone, I just want to make a quick update, as promised, because Faye and I are flying back to California shortly. Faye is back to normal, feeling great. I watched her eat a huge plate of chicken parmesan yesterday.
The first thing I should mention is that Faye’s father was very reluctant to talk about the cabin or the weird experiences we’d had there. He kept trying to change the subject, and was generally in a bad mood. Which is pretty normal for him. He’s a really grumbly Vietnam vet and has been in the Army since he was young – his personality is exactly the way you’d imagine it. Faye asked him bluntly, “If something is wrong with that cabin, why would you let us go up there in the first place?” and his response was, “talk to your mother.”
Over the weekend, my fiancee and I stayed in her parents’ cabin up in Pikes Peak, Colorado. I made a NoSleep post about the disturbing events that transpired over the course of a few nights. Many people have messaged me for an update, but I stopped responding because things have gotten worse since we returned home to California. I feel it’s time I say what’s going on here.
I’m sorry that this is long, but I want to document everything.
Faye and I flew back from Colorado on Wednesday afternoon. She slept the entire flight, despite the noise, which amazed me (I can’t sleep on planes because I’m absolutely terrified of flying. I’d rather stay another night in that cabin). When we got home, I ordered a pizza and she wolfed it down. Her appetite has returned in full force, which is great news.
I mentioned this in my original post, but Faye has an undiagnosed sleep disorder. She has pronounced night terrors, sleeptalking, and occasional sleepwalking. This disorder lies dormant 90% of the time, but it tends to flare up when she’s under a lot of stress. If we’re moving, if she’s changing jobs, or if a relative dies, I can expect a night of horrifying talking and odd behavior.
Needless to say, our experiences at the cabin have set Faye on edge. Although she’s in high spirits, she’s still afraid at night. I am too. That night after pizza, she fell asleep on the couch while we watched Wedding Crashers. At around 10PM, the movie ended, and I turned the TV off. As I brought our plates to the kitchen, I passed by the stairwell, and heard a faint noise from upstairs that sounded like a man sighing. I shrugged it off and woke Faye up. We brushed our teeth and went to bed.
Faye talked in her sleep a lot that night, and it started at about 1AM. I woke up to her calling out, “What did you do?” and “Do you need help?” and laughing. This isn’t really unsual for her. She babbled occasionally, said a few funny things, etc. I woke up again around 4 and heard her talking, but this time, she was doing something she’s never done before. We’ve been together for almost five years, and not once has she ever whispered in her sleep. But now she was whispering with her back turned to me. For a second, I thought someone was lying on the floor at her edge of the bed, talking back to her. This disturbed the shit out of me, so I sat up and leaned over her, trying to listen in the dark. The only thing I heard her say discernibly was “Shhh.”
I asked her, “Faye, what are you talking about?” and she didn’t respond. I said, “Who are you talking to?” and she replied, “Don’t” and nudged me.
Another unusual thing happened. At about 5:45AM, I woke up to Faye getting back into bed. She hurried into the bedroom from the hall and got back into bed quickly, making zero attempt not to wake me. First of all, Faye does not get up. Ever. She sleeps like a dead horse, and even if she went to the bathroom in the middle of the night (which she never does), the bathroom is not down the hall – it’s in our bedroom. When I asked her what she was doing the next morning, she claimed to have no memory of it.
I spent all day Thursday thinking about why Faye was still acting weird. I was the one who found the dreamcatcher and got close to it. I was the one who interacted with the voices at the cabin. And then I remembered something – on our last night in Colorado, at her parents’ house, Faye got back into bed at around the same time, 5:45AM. I barely remembered because I was half asleep. But the image returned to my head. She’d been getting up really, really early for a few days.
So last night I set my phone’s alarm to vibrate and I put the time to 4:45AM. In the middle of the night, Faye started talking again. This time she was doing the same thing she did at the cabin – changing her voice to sound like someone else. In 5 years she’s sleeptalked a bunch but has never whispered or changed her voice until recently. She said a few things, which I tried to commit to memory:
“Laaaaaaa. Laaaaaaa. Laaaaaa.” (flat, monotone)
“Sssssaaahh” (more like a sharp exhale) followed by “day-on” or “tay-all” (?) over and over
“He’s still in the trees”
“Where were you? I looked for you”
“ooooohh it’s time”
About the same time, I heard a noise outside, which sounded like an old man grumbling to himself about something. We live in Norcal in a really woodsy town, so when you look out our bedroom window, there are tons of trees across the street. It was very dark, but I’m fairly certain I saw a man walking behind the first line of trees. He was too far away to be the one grumbling, but it is very unusual to see anyone over there this time of night. In fact, I have never seen anyone there at night, ever.
Looking outside required me to open the curtains, which lit up our room with moonlight. When I looked back at the bed, Faye was lying there with her neck craned toward me, her eyes crazy-wide and fixed on me, and her mouth was open. She issued this really frightening gurgly, drawn out groan and flicked her tongue around. It looked like an epileptic fit in slow motion. Faye has definitely opened her eyes in her sleep, but never like this – she looked like a fucking murderer.
I got so scared I called her name really loud and woke her up. She was confused and asked me why I was at the window; I lied and said I was just closing it because it was cold. I didn’t want her to know I’d heard a voice.
We talked a bit, but I’ll skip that because this is getting long. My alarm woke me up at 4:45AM, and I laid there awake, waiting for Faye to get up like she had been the past few nights. She breathes very rhythmically when she’s asleep so I can always tell how deep she’s under. At around 5:20, she sat straight up, swung her legs out of the bed, and tiptoed down the hall. I followed behind. When I say that my fiancee tiptoed, I don’t mean like a child on Christmas eve. This was robotic, alien, inhuman. She moved like a meth-addicted ballerina zombie down the hall and stopped at the stairwell.
Her breathing never changed.
I just stood there in our bedroom, poking my head out into the dark hall. Faye looked down the stairs, still standing rigidly on the balls of her feet, swaying to and fro slightly. She did some weird shit. She touched her face slowly for several minutes, touched the banister, touched the wall, flicked the light on and off a few times, all the while maintaining her perfectly regular coma-breathing. Then she reached an arm out in the motion of a bicep curl, stretching her fingers and wiggling them, then curling them, her hand, and her arm back up to her face. I watched her do this motion for about 4 minutes. It looked like she was testing the limb, as if she’d never used it before, but then I realized she was actually communicating with someone on the first floor of the house. She was making a “come hither” motion.
With full confidence that Faye was sleepwalking, I walked into the hall and leaned over the half-wall that overlooks the living room. It was totally dark down there. I couldn’t see anything but the clock on the cable box. Faye stood there waving, smiling, making gestures, and then touching her face and pulling gently on her hair.
I carefully ushered her back to bed and talked to her softly, trying not to actually wake her. She didn’t resist (she never does) and went back to sleep without another word.
I have zero clue what the fuck is going on. I told her this morning what she did, and now we have a doctor’s appointment for her at 3PM today.
You don’t have to read all of these former posts if you’re new to my situation. All you need to know is that 1. My fiancée (Faye) has a sleep disorder and has been sleeptalking/sleepwalking/having night terrors and other frightening sleep disturbances since she was a child. 2. We’ve been together five years. 3. We recently stayed at a cabin her parents own way up in the mountains in Colorado, whereupon we discovered an enormous, handmade dreamcatcher in the woods out back, and began hearing creepy voices at night that mimicked people we knew (including family members who are dead). 4. My fiancée’s sleep disturbances got out of control during our stay and she appeared to be communicating with the things outside at night. Now we are back home in California, but something might have followed us.
I took Faye to see her doctor yesterday and we hesitantly explained what was going on with her; I left out the paranormal stuff because I didn’t want to get put in a ward. She seemed really concerned about Faye, ordered a blood test, gave her a physical, asked her about her diet and drugs, medications, etc. Faye and I are both non-drinkers, non-drug users, and neither of us are on medication. She wants Faye to be evaluated by a psychiatrist next week. For now, she gave her a sedative at night and some anti-anxiety medication. She wants us to get some fresh air and get out of the house, so we’re going on a hike today.
A redditor named Pixiedix brought up the possibility that the child’s voice outside the cabin asking “When do we go insiiiiiide? When do we go insiiiiiiide?” might not refer to inside the cabin, but rather inside Faye. This really worries me because it corroborates some of the strange behavior she’s been exhibiting in her sleep. I contacted the park ranger, who is pretty sympathetic to our situation, and he’s going to get in touch with some of the members of his tribe who have experience with spiritual guidance and medicine. He is convinced that Faye and I have attracted the attention of “the ones who come out of the mines.” Lucky us. More on that later.
Some redditors have recommended that I test Faye, to see if it’s really her. So yesterday evening, against my wallet’s advice, I took her to our favorite steakhouse. I only ever order one meal there: medium tri-tip, house macaroni + cheese, and a bottled root beer. Faye only ever orders one meal there too: the bbq chicken sandwich with mac cheese and a salad with ranch dressing. And a Coke. She drinks Coke only. Her blood is mostly Coca-Cola.
Faye took a long time deciding what to order, and ended up ordering a fucking New York strip. I jokingly told her to order for me too, and she said “I don’t know what you want.” She also ordered water instead of Coke. Usually we have arguments over how much Coke she drinks, and how I’m always trying to get her to hydrate better and just drink water. This was really unsettling to me. At the end of the night when we were walking back to my car, I kissed her temple and asked if she still liked it when I called her Noodle. She said “of course.” I’ve never called her Noodle in my entire life. Her nickname has always been Monkeytoes (long story).
When we got home, she cracked open a Coke and got on Facebook, which is completely normal for her. This threw me off.
One thing that’s been on my mind lately is the song the little kid was singing outside the cabin. For those of you who don’t know, in the middle of the night at this cabin in Colorado, we heard a child’s voice coming out of the forest, singing an eerie song. I’ve been catching myself humming it almost every day. “Ooooh soul me aaaahhh doooo.” I asked Faye if it meant anything to her, and I sang it to her while she was sitting on the couch. After a few repetitions, she sort of went blank, like she was hypnotized, and just wobbled back and forth ever so slightly for about 8 seconds, then snapped out of it and said “I don’t remember that.”
Last night is when the shit hit the fan. I haven’t gotten a full night’s rest in over a week now, and it’s starting to make me feel over-emotional and crazy. Faye started murmuring in her sleep around 1, as usual, but I couldn’t understand much of it. She sat up in bed, took the sheets off her legs like she was going to get up, but I grabbed her arm and asked her what she was doing.
She said, “Tell them to leave.” Her eyes were completely shut.
I asked her, “Who? Who needs to leave?”
She sat there for about 2 minutes, not speaking, just sitting straight up. I asked again, and she replied,
“There’s a man at the door.” Then about 10 seconds later, “…And a woman at the bottom of the stairs.”
Of course this made every single hair on my entire body bristle. I got up and went downstairs, turning on every single light as I went and carrying my buck knife with me. Nobody was in our house. I looked in every single room downstairs and even in the backyard.
When I got back to the stairwell, I heard someone stomping around upstairs. Someone had turned the light to the upstairs hallway off. I stood at the bottom of the stairs, looking up, trying to listen, but the noises stopped. So I walked back up into our bedroom and got back into bed; it was likely that Faye had gotten up to go to the bathroom or sleepwalked a bit in the room and went back to bed. I fell asleep pretty fast, but woke up again only a few minutes later. Faye was gone.
I heard movement down the hall, so I looked out into it, and I saw Faye coming out of the other bedroom. She staggered down the hall toward me, then stopped, turned around, and walked back in the other direction. She did this 7-8 times. She was walking in almost the same way as the night before: standing really high up on her toes, her legs totally rigid like they were made of cement, and her arms completely limp and flopping back and forth. It was extremely fucking terrifying seeing her move like that; she was totally graceless. It was like someone was testing out a human body for the first time.
At that same moment I heard a noise through the bedroom window and ran over to check, thinking someone was really at the front door (you can see down to the front entryway from our bedroom window). Off in the distance, about 30 yards out, somebody was walking back and forth in the exact same way that Faye was. He was humming loudly and intermittently singing. The song sounded like the one I sang to Faye earlier; the one the child sang outside the cabin. I made this youtube video explaining what happened. Basically I ran back into the hall, woke Faye up, and brought her downstairs. I opened the front door to get a better look at the man, but he was gone.
Today, at the behest of a few redditors, I asked Faye if she’d ever been to that cabin before we visited it. I don’t know why I never thought to ask her this before. She said nothing about it when we stayed there for several nights. She was hesitant to answer me, and eventually admitted that she’d been there once when she was 14. She and her parents went snowshoeing up the mountain. A few hours later I emailed her mother and asked the same question; she told me Faye had gone to the cabin multiple times as a child but stopped going when she went into high school. I can’t figure out which one of them is lying to me.
Because so many people have questions about Faye, she has agreed to do a filmed interview. If you post questions for her I will film her responses and post them here within a few days.
I haven’t told Faye this but Im thinking of going back to the cabin and meeting with the ranger. He wants to do some ritual with the dreamcatcher we found, if it’s still there, and he says he will bring his friends and try to cleanse the house and the surrounding area. This will cost me like $500 just to fly out there, but if this shit gets any worse, it might be worth it.
edit: A redditor sent me a private message, telling me to investigate the guest room to see if Faye was doing anything in there. It turns out she was. She had written the number “5” on the window with her finger. I only saw it because of the condensation from the cold this afternoon. It’s written backwards, so that someone standing in our backyard can read it.
If you don’t want to read the other posts, here is a brief synopsis:
My fiancée Faye has had a sleep disorder since she was a little girl. It involves night terrors, sleepwalking, sleeptalking, etc. This condition is generally under control, but is exacerbated by stress. A few days ago we went on vacation and stayed in a cabin in Pikes Peak, Colorado. We found a creepy homemade dreamcatcher in the forest behind the cabin, and at night, we heard several voices calling out from the woods, saying all kinds of terrifying things. Sometimes the voices would mimic people we knew, including deceased relatives. Faye’s sleep disturbances got much worse, and while sleeptalking one night, I overheard her answering strange questions about herself and me. When we returned to our home in California, her behavior became extremely erratic, and she is convinced that something has followed us back.
I cannot tell you how much all of your support has meant to us over the past few days. Faye feels so good knowing that people are constantly asking about her health. And I feel like a few of your suggestions have literally saved her life. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
I don’t even know where to begin. So much has happened in the last 2 ½ days. The sedatives and anti-anxiety meds the doctor gave to Faye work during the day, and she has been less stressed. However, at night, her behavior is still highly unusual. I have taken the overwhelming consensus of Redditors seriously:
I went out and purchased a bunch of child-proofing materials for the house to prevent Faye from harming herself or going outside while sleepwalking (I could not afford a bunch of cameras, sorry, I’m a teacher). I bought these knob covers that little kids (and hopefully sleepwalkers) are too stupid to figure out, outlet covers in case she tries to jam anything into them, and I hid the kitchen knives. I also brought in a spiritual healer after very carefully searching for one. It is my opinion that 99% of them are frauds and huxters, but this woman did not charge us anything, and she was recommended by close family. She is the daughter of a Shoshone tribal elder.
The long and short of it is, she believes our house is not haunted. However, she says that Faye feels very off. She said she couldn’t get a good read on her at all, and that there is “a dark cloud over her.” Still suspicious of this woman, I took her to a random upstairs window and told her that I had seen something outside near the edge of the woods, mimicking Faye’s sleepwalking (which was true, but I pointed out the wrong window, to the wrong part of the forest). She quietly examined the other windows upstairs and said that our bedroom window (the correct one) gave her a terrible feeling. She said, “He watches from here. She can hear him whispering at night.”
We told her everything. She was horrified by our story. The look on her face unsettled me so much; it was like she’d never heard of anything this bad. She went out of the room and had to collect herself downstairs. The woman prayed for several minutes, sang a beautiful song in a language I can’t even begin to describe, and saged our entire house. She put some kind of crushed herbs on the ground in front of the two doors that lead into our home. Then she told me, in private:
“You are dealing with the hollow ones.” She said its name her ancestral language, but I can’t even come close to remembering/spelling it. She said that one is infatuated with Faye, and will do absolutely anything to get inside our house, but the process takes time. I don’t know if I actually buy any of this, but at least she didn’t sell it to me.
We also had Faye take a pregnancy test, as recommended by many redditors. The woman said it was a good idea. Good news – not pregnant. And the woman stood in the bathroom with her like a prison guard so she couldn’t fuck with the test. We then thanked the woman and she left.
That night, we attached a little jingle bell (from Faye’s Christmas-themed lingerie) to a hair scrunchie and put it around her ankle. I’m such a light sleeper there’s no way she’d be able to get out of bed without waking me.
Faye fell asleep really fast due to the meds, out like a light in a few minutes. I lay in bed thinking about the “5” she wrote on the window in her sleep a few nights earlier, and reasoned that it meant 5AM, and not 5 days, as some redditors had speculated. This makes sense because she’s been getting up at that time to sleepwalk every night for four nights now. Since the 5 was written backwards, facing the backyard, I reasoned that it was a signal to whoever/whatever was out there – she was going to try to let it inside.
I eventually fell asleep, and I had a fucking horrifying dream. Something came into the house, through the sliding glass door to the yard, and walked up the stairs and into our bedroom. It sat at the edge of our bed, rubbing Faye’s foot and staring at us. It was completely wreathed in shadow; I couldn’t see it at all except for a silhouette, just like the video I posted about what I saw a few nights earlier. I woke up soaked in sweat and couldn’t fall back asleep for a while.
5AM rolled around, and the reliable little jingle bell woke me right up. In her sleep, Faye did something she’s never done before – she stood up on the bed, rigid as a board, and stared out the window. I shouldn’t really say “stared” because her eyes were closed, but she was alert. Watching, listening. She remained there like a statue for at least five minutes (I also didn’t move, I just watched). Then, she slowly raised her hand and started waving at someone outside. My skin crawled when she did that. She definitely knew someone was there, even with her eyes shut.
Faye then stepped off the bed and darted to the bedroom door, trying to get out into the hallway, but the childproof knob cover stopped her. She couldn’t figure it out in her sleep. She did another thing she’s never done while sleepwalking: she got extremely angry, and started pulling on the cover. She shrieked and growled like a trapped animal. After about 30 seconds of this, she woke herself up. She started crying really hard and told me that in her nightmares, she had seen a man without a face, walking through the halls of our home, whispering her name and looking for her. I sat up and talked with her for an hour, and then we went back to sleep.
When I woke up again, it was around 10AM (4/24), and Faye was gone. The bedroom window was open. As I walked downstairs, I saw her in the backyard, reading. Every single window in the entire house was open, and it was like 55 degrees outside. She told me the smell of the sage made her nauseous, and she wanted to get it out of the house. I couldn’t smell anything.
I suggested that we go to the church downtown today to speak with a priest (she’s Catholic), but she refused, so I had my buddy K (who is a very, very devout Catholic) come over with some holy water and his crucifix. Apparently, K told his priest what was going on, and the guy very reluctantly blessed the water and told us to call him. Faye was irritated that I’d done this without her permission, and waited outside while K set up a few little crosses and his big crucifix around the house. Faye refused to have any holy water put on her; she kept saying “I’m freezing, don’t you dare.” She’s going to be super pissed when she finds out I put that shit in her shampoo and conditioner bottles.
She was in a really nasty mood all morning, but after we went out for lunch, she was feeling better, and agreed to film the interview video and answer questions from redditors. While filming, I noticed that she wasn’t wearing her engagement ring, and realized she hadn’t been wearing it in several days. I asked her where it was, and she said it was in our luggage (which we’ve now only partially unpacked). Later, when I checked, it wasn’t there. I’m worried about this for a few reasons. I will post the video as soon as she watches and approves it. She’s self-conscious. Expect it within a few days. I’ve finally begun moving some more of the photos from the cabin onto my laptop too. I cannot bring myself to listen to those voice recordings yet.
Since this is getting overlong, flash forward to last night: I got up at about 1AM to pee, and I knocked the bell scrunchie off the bed. Faye had taken it off and was gone. I got angry and scared at the same time. I found her sitting on the stairs, looking down into the dark, spreading her arms open like she was trying to get a child to climb the staircase for its first time. She was smiling with her eyes closed. As I usually do, I gently got her up and walked her back to bed. When I laid down next to her, she leaned over, and with her eyes still closed, said “They’re gonna kill you” and then licked my face.
I called her parents today to arrange a flight back to Colorado – they’re paying for it. Her mom, Laura, admitted to me that something had happened to Faye as a child at the cabin. That is where her sleep disturbances started, when she was five. I have had enough, and they can tell. They spoke with the ranger at Pikes Peak again, and he’s arranging for me to meet with him and his buddies from their tribe who knows the entire history of the area, and all of the hauntings that other visitors have reported.
Faye will be staying with my two best friends, R and J, and J’s fiancée, A. I’ve known all three of them since high school, and they are completely informed about all these events. They will guard her with their lives.
In short, I’m going back to the cabin – alone. I’ll update soon, but no matter what happens, I’m not going to drag this out any further on NoSleep. I’ve polluted this place enough with my problems.
EDIT: Folks, I won’t be at the cabin alone. I’m meeting the ranger and his friends there. His two friends are from his tribe (Nation? sorry I don’t know the correct terminology), and they are healers. They know all about Pikes Peak and the ongoing situation. I’m not going out easy.
UPDATE: Dropped Faye off at my friends’ place. They’ll take care of her. Heading to the airport now. No idea when I’ll get back on. Will try tonight if I’m not too tired after landing.
UPDATE 4/26 MIDNIGHT, COLORADO: I’m at Faye’s parents. Exhausted. Talked to her parents extensively. Got word from my friends – Faye started feeling really ill, wanted to go home. They’ve moved the whole posse over to our house, which has been saged/blessed/protected/covered in holy water and crucifixes, and she is allegedly doing much better now. Richard and Jason, and Jason’s fiancee Alison are all sleeping over for a few nights to ensure Faye is alright. Heading to the cabin tomorrow morning to meet the ranger.
UPDATE 4/26, 9:45AM, COLORADO: Leaving in one hour to go to the cabin. Sorry for typo, I said it was the 27th by accident
UPDATE 4/26, 5:15PM: Spotty bullshit wifi, snowing like crazy up here. Met with the ranger, investigated the cabin. Nothing unusual inside except a lamp shade removed from a lamp, which he claims was not like that when he came in here a few days ago. His friends will be here tomorrow morning. I’m alone for tonight. I went outside for just a minute when it was still light to grab some things from the truck, and heard two voices. Making short videos with my phone. Will try to upload.
UPDATE 4/27, 9:12PM: So much has gone down. I am so terrified and sleep-deprived. I’m writing a huge post right now with everything that’s happened. I will post it tomorrow morning because I know I can’t finish it tonight. I’m going to fall asleep in my chair. Sorry to keep you waiting.
My fiancée Faye has had a sleep disorder since she was a little girl – night terrors, sleepwalking, sleeptalking, etc. This condition is generally under control, but is exacerbated by stress or trauma. A few days ago we went on vacation and stayed in a cabin owned by her parents in Pikes Peak, Colorado. We found a creepy homemade dreamcatcher in the forest behind the cabin, and at night, we heard a voice (or voices) calling out from the woods, saying all kinds of terrifying things. Sometimes it would mimic people we knew, including deceased relatives. Faye’s sleep disturbances got much worse, and while sleeptalking one night, I overheard her answering strange questions about herself and me. When we returned to our home in California, her behavior became extremely erratic, and she is convinced that something has followed us back.
Because of her worsening condition, I had the house blessed and purged, and flew back to Colorado to demand answers from Faye’s parents and to revisit the cabin. The Pikes ranger, who is a Pueblo Indian, agreed to bring tribal elders to investigate the cabin and nearby forest. My three closest friends are taking care of Faye back home.
It has been an interesting few days. I have so much to say, so I’m going to try to be terse. Sorry that it’s taken so long to report, I really am trying. All of your questions and analysis of these events have really helped us through this struggle – some of your observations are what brought me back here to Colorado.
I landed in Denver International Airport two nights ago and stayed with Faye’s parents in Arvada. While there, we all sat down and I basically forced them to tell me what was going on. A redditor pointed out that Laura, Faye’s mom, appeared to be lying/hiding something. Another redditor asked me if Faye had ever been to the cabin before, since her family owned it for almost three decades. I had never even thought of this. When I asked Faye, she said no, and that her parents just used it as a getaway a few times a year. Faye’s mom told me that she’d been there multiple times when she was little.
This time, Faye’s parents told me a different story. They claimed this was “the truth.” Faye had been to the cabin as a toddler a few times, and when she was five, something happened to her. While Greg (Faye’s dad) and Faye were outside, playing in the snow, Faye wandered off toward the edge of forest to look in. She was following a voice. Greg was building a snowman and keeping his eye on her. They were only a few dozen yards apart.
Allegedly, Greg heard Faye talking, answering questions, but he couldn’t hear anyone else talking. He started walking toward her to bring her back, and he heard her say, “Faye. No it’s Faye. I can’t see you.” A moment later, little Faye began shrieking and crying. She went stiff as a board and Greg had to pick her up and haul her back inside. She was almost catatonic and would go through bouts of total silence or inconsolable hysterics for several hours, until Greg and Laura decided to go back down the mountain and take her to a hospital. Greg claims he never saw anyone in the woods, and never heard any voices speaking to Faye. The doctors thought she had an epileptic seizure, and to this day, Faye does not remember ever going to the cabin. When I took her, she acted like she’d never seen it before.
I believe that if Faye did remember being traumatized as a child, she’d never want to go back. So I really think she’s blocked out the whole experience, and when we visited it a week ago, she thought it was her first time going. In Laura and Greg’s subsequent visits to the cabin (without Faye), Greg experienced terrible nightmares in which dead people entered the bedroom and sat on the ground and bed, watching him sleep.
In the morning, Greg let me borrow his truck, but refused to go to the cabin with me. He told me when I left, “We let you kids go up there because we honestly wanted to believe there was nothing actually wrong with the place.” They used us to validate their denial. But I don’t hold them responsible; I’d never have believed any of this if I were them. Dreams and a frightened child do not a haunting make.
I arrived in Pikes Peak around 1PM yesterday and the ranger met me at the cabin. We investigated the place and didn’t find anything unusual, except that a single lampshade had been removed from one of the lamps and placed on the couch. We checked out the nearby woods – I was kind of surprised to discover that the creepy, enormous dreamcatcher was still there. The ranger told me he did not recognize it, and it was not something that his people made. He told me not to mess with it until his friends showed up. He told me he’d return with them in the morning, and left.
That night, some shit happened.
Greg told me that he’d hidden a .357 magnum in the closet, so I retrieved it (and a really dopeass purple bathrobe) and felt a little better. Don’t worry, I know how to shoot and how to keep it safe.
Right around sunset, I walked out to Greg’s truck to grab a few things I’d neglected to bring in earlier, and I heard two distinct voices chattering in the woods. It was snowing like crazy and the wind was howling, but above the storm I heard a gruff, masculine voice, and a younger, adolescent male voice. They were both yammering incomprehensible gibberish from two different places. I hurried back inside and locked the door. The stuff they were saying was pure madness. It made no sense. “PUT THEM UP! UP THERE IN THE TREES!” and “AH TAKE AND TAKE, WALK ON DOWN THERE! GO AHEAD!” I just sat there imagining psychotic cannibals jabbering with their tongues hanging out and eyes rolled back in their skulls. I figured they’d come out of the woods as soon as it was dark.
I tried to reach out to Faye back home but my phone wouldn’t get any reception in the cabin; the storm was too strong. I tried to play video games on the SNES but I was so distracted by all of the sounds outside. Every single noise the blizzard produced caught my ear, and so my imagination manifested all kinds of horrifying creatures slinking around out there in the dark.
When I finally went to bed, the wind died down a bit, and I heard a few more voices. There was a distant, high-pitched wail that echoed across the entire mountain. There was a child crying, saying something like, “Put me down in the hole” and “It’s so deep you can crawl forever.” But his voice sort of glitched; it would suddenly become deeper, as though a grown man were doing an impression of a little kid. I also heard someone hacking and vomiting and crying, begging for help. I didn’t fall for any of it.
I’m 28 years old, and this is the most afraid I’ve ever been in my entire life – even with Faye walking around like a fleshy marionette and calling out to a presence in the dark of my own home. Around the time I was getting into bed, approximately 12:45AM, there was a gentle tapping sound on the window in the living room. It was soft, like a neighbor who was reluctant to bother me. I stood there in the bedroom with the door open, holding my breath, trying to figure out if I’d imagined it. Then I heard it again, so I crept down the short hall and peeked around the corner, just in time to see a figure walking past the windows and toward the front door. With the curtains drawn, I couldn’t make out anything but a big shadow.
Then, it knocked on the door. It was a gentle knock. A man’s voice called out softly,
I just listened intently and tried to keep silent. Eventually he knocked again, and said,
“Hello? I…I need to speak with you.” He was speaking through clenched teeth. He was either extremely cold, or extremely angry.
I very carefully stepped back into the bedroom to grab the gun, but the god damn place is so old the doors creak. I barely tapped the bedroom door as I passed and it squealed like a dying pig. Then the man outside said, just above a whisper,
“I know you’re there.”
For just a moment, in my lethargy, I considered the possibility that this was one of the ranger’s friends, or maybe somebody else who lived on the mountain. I was never going to open the door, but stupidly, I figured talking to it couldn’t hurt. I say “it” because I immediately stopped believing there was a human being on the other side of the door the moment I opened my mouth.
I said, “Who the fuck is it?” as assertively as I could.
The second I stopped talking, whoever it was out there repeated my question, while mimicking my voice accurately. It almost sounded like an echo. Then he said,
“May I come in?…Please?” His voice was a little shaky, but it definitely sounded like me. Unnervingly similar to me. But he was still clenching his teeth, so I could hear the difference. I pointed the gun at the door (it was dark in the house so he couldn’t see what I was doing through the curtain), and said, “If you don’t get the fuck out of here right now, I’ll blow you in half.” For those of you who don’t know what a .357 can do to a person, a slug to the chest essentially makes you into a human milkshake. And that’s after passing through two inches of oak door.
We both just stood there for a dreadfully long minute. It started testing out my voice, groaning and whispering and muttering. It said a lot of things, but I only remember a few of them:
“What’s your name? What’s your name?”
“A little cabin, for the weekend, for the weekend, for fffffffff” and then a bunch of lip smacking and chewing noises
“They’re lying, they’re lying, the ones out there, la la la la la la” (not singing, but just flailing his tongue around and making noises like a child would)
“You aren’t alone in there, and I’m not alone out here. What’s your name?”
and “You go up in the trees or down in the hole, that’s where you go. Oh they’ll find you. Either way.”
The sound of my own voice making these horrific noises and phrases set every inch of my skin on fire. I can hardly describe the physical sensation of fright this intense. It was almost like having a bad fever, hot and cold and wet and sticky all at the same time. I shouted for it to leave, and said I was armed. I considered firing off a round, but that’s a decision you can’t take back, and my number one rule is to only fire when I’m certain I’ve got a target and a clear reason. I am proud to say that I can use my voice a lot better than whatever it was that mimicked me. I’m a soft-spoken guy but I came down like a fucking hurricane, screaming “I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU!”
He replied simply, in a softer tone of my own voice, “I will fucking kill you.” Then it went back to babbling gibberish and knocking politely on the door over and over and over. After another minute or two, it suddenly stopped.
The last thing it said was, “I know where she is.”
Then, it kicked the door – and I mean, harder than any human could possibly kick a door – and ran off. The boom was so loud I couldn’t believe the door didn’t implode in its frame. The person/thing bounded down the wooden patio and off into the snow, and I swear on my life and honor, it sounded like a horse or some other huge four-legged animal charging off into the woods. A child’s laughter rang out, and then everything was silent.
Needless to say, I remained in a cat-like state of delirious paranoia for the rest of the night. The storm picked back up and I did not hear anything else. I spent the whole night debating whether the thing at the door was talking about Faye. I tried to convince myself that it was just yammering more nonsense like all the voices I’ve heard up here, but the way it spoke that sentence haunts me even now as I write this. Its voice, my voice, was purposeful and restrained. It chose the words carefully. And it knew exactly what to say.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what redditors have been saying about Faye being some kind of doppelganger. When I first saw the nude woman on my car, I thought it was a trick to lure me into the woods, where the voices lie. I thought the real Faye stopped me from leaving the cabin – but many of you have pointed out that the reverse could be entirely possible, given how the Faye I took home to California is behaving. Given how she has failed all of my tests. And given how her engagement ring has been missing since we got home. So I sat there for hours, considering whether I should go out into the woods during broad daylight, to search for my fiancée. Of course it is a stupid idea, but now I understand why people in horror movies do idiotic things. If I’m not looking for her, or for answers, why am I here? I need to know what I saw that day in the driveway. I need to know if there are many voices or just one, and I need to know how to get all this back to normal.
I listened to music on my iPod and desperately tried to distract myself by reading news articles online until daybreak. Most of them wouldn’t load, because the gods of internet have cursed this cabin. Around 4AM, I got up to get some food from the kitchen, and I opened the window curtain a tiny bit to see if anything was going on outside. A ton of snow had fallen. At the rim of the forest, dozens of yards out, I could see a distant figure standing perfectly still in the moonlight. He was facing away, staring off into the darkness of the woods. I checked on him every 20 minutes since then; he never moved. When the sun rose around 6:15AM, he was gone. I never saw his face.
Today, the ranger and his two buddies came to the cabin, as promised. They were instantly likeable and warm. One of them, Tiwe (pronounced tee-way), is a medicine man in his 60’s, and was especially cool. The other was his son Nathan, who was probably just a few years older than me. They told me all kinds of interesting lore about Pikes Peak and surrounding areas, and then proceeded to tell me a disturbing story that they believe explains the strange activity on the mountain. For the sake of brevity, I will relay this in my next post.
The ranger gave me one of his facility’s satellite phones to stay in contact with him in case of emergencies. I used it to call Faye but she didn’t answer, so I called Jason and Richard, who are presently caring for her. Apparently Faye had become inexplicably outraged after taking a shower, threw an enormous tantrum, and locked herself in our bedroom. She refused to eat for the rest of the night. Alison and Jason slept in the guest room and Richard slept on our couch downstairs, and worked late on his commissions (he’s a digital artist). He told me that around 1AM, the same time I had my visitor, Faye ran downstairs into the kitchen, eyes closed, and started drinking out of the sink faucet. Then she turned around and “stared” (eyes still shut) at Richard while he sat at the breakfast table. She said, “Felix,” to which he replied, “He’s in Colorado, Faye. Remember?” and then she said, “We sent him there to die.” Then she sat down right there on the kitchen tiles and went back to sleep.
I’ve instructed my friends only to wake Faye if she does anything serious, so they observed my rules and got her back in bed without much of an issue. For all the crazy shit Faye does when she’s asleep, at least she never gets violent. The guys put her back into bed easily enough. The next day, Alison bailed on the whole project. She said she was awake all night, listening to Faye whispering through the wall. Faye told Alison about how there was a man in the house, and he was asking about her.
My flight home is the day after tomorrow so I’m going to have to figure all this shit out real quick. I’m going to take a nap. It’s nice and bright outside. No voices. Goodnight.
PS – As soon as I get home I will put up the Faye video. I know I keep saying this, but I really did not expect to suddenly return to Colorado. I swear I will put it up. And then that will be the end of it; I resent myself for turning this into such a long and ridiculous blog of my experiences.
My first night back at the cabin was the most terrifying experience of my life. You can read about it here if you haven’t. The next morning (Wednesday) the ranger showed up with his friends, Tiwe (a Pueblo medicine man) and his adult son Nathan. These people are amazing. They were instantly likeable and sympathetic to my situation. I mentioned them in a tiny update in my last post, but here is what happened:
Lore and legends
Tiwe is an incredible storyteller. He told me that Pikes Peak and the surrounding area was inhabited by the Ute, Manitou, Arapaho, Pueblo, Anasazi, and other Native American groups at various times. In the 1860’s, when the Gold Rush was in full swing, many Indians were violently displaced because of mining operations there. They were torn away from their sacred lands, which was catastrophic to their cultures.
Tiwe stressed that historically, Americans have not understood the significance of land and names to Native Americans, and this is critical to understanding the supernatural presence on the mountain. The major world religions like Christianity and Hinduism and Islam are “universal” – they can be practiced anywhere. You can pick up your whole life and move to Kentucky or Scotland or Istanbul, and you’ll still be whatever religion you are. Your god still hears your prayers, he still intervenes in your life.
But Native Americans practice land-based religions. The land they inhabit is a part of their creation stories. It’s not that the land belongs to them, it’s that they belong to the land, and both are in a symbiotic relationship with one another. History is embedded in the landscape; a person is reminded of specific lessons and wisdom when they see a part of the land. The mouth of this river has a story attached to it, that fallen tree has a story attached to it. A battle was won here. A chief died there. Peace was made between tribes with a feast here. When a Native group is forced out of its homeland, the people lose their history. What’s worse, they leave behind the places where their dead are buried. Since the dead are bound to that place, the Indians who left no longer have spiritual connections to their ancestors, and thus, to their gods. Their medicines and magic no longer work. They forget the names of sacred places. As the names and history and wisdom are forgotten, the tribe’s spiritual power evaporates.
Tiwe said that when Pikes Peak was taken, a group of disgruntled Utes descended on the miners and slaughtered a bunch of them. Because a complex network of alliances and peace treaties, these Utes were punished by another tribe. They dug holes in the ground and slit the Utes’ throats. Then they buried them upside-down in the holes with their legs sticking out of the ground so that wolves would feast on their calves.
That was supposed to be the end of it, but then something else happened. The legend says that these dead Utes arose from the tainted ground one night. Because their flesh had been flayed from the hips down, they looked like walking skeletons. They hobbled into the Arapaho camps and took women and children back up the mountain. They forced them deep into one of the mines, never to leave again. The howls of women and children have been reported on the mountain for over a hundred years now.
The Utes and Arapaho engaged in blood feuds, sometimes called “mourning wars,” for years over this. They exchanged curses, executed and skinned and tortured each other. They stained the once-sacred earth on Pikes Peak with rivers of blood.
I was pretty mortified by this story. I just kind of sat there with the ranger while Tiwe and Nathan blessed the cabin. They burned sage and tobacco inside and outside, and used crushed herb dust to cover their hands. They made a handprint on every window, and drew small symbols in ash at the top of the front door inside and outside. They gave me bundled sage/cedar/hawthorn and told me to burn it if anyone tried to get inside. It drives bad spirits insane. Then, they provided me with small pouches filled with herbs and blessed objects to wear around my neck and in my pockets whenever I went outside. Nathan gave me a totem that he wears around his neck, and told me to give it to Faye. Then they sang a really incredible chant in their language; it lasted about 15 minutes. I was blown away. I fucking love these guys.
Then, we went outside. I showed them the dreamcatcher, and they told me that they had never seen anything like it. The dreamcatcher is made with three branches woven together with hair, and it has old yarn or wool string with glass beads criss-crossing the center in a pattern. It is old, and hand-made. Tiwe told me not to touch it or move it. If you find an object of power and do not know who made it or what it protects, you should leave it alone. I asked him if it could be evil, and he said, “Maybe.”
I got them up to speed on everything that has happened. I said that a lot of my friends (redditors, but I didn’t explain that) suspected that the Faye at my house in California was a duplicate, and that the real Faye was somewhere in the woods. Tiwe and Nathan disagreed with each other on whether that could be, but we searched the woods looking for signs of my Faye. We found nothing. I told them about the missing ring, and they said exactly what many redditors have said: if Faye loved the ring and it was powerfully symbolic to her, it could be used by a bad spirit to harm her. They told me to find it at all costs. They also told me that if Faye indeed were still here on the mountain, she was certainly dead.
And the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Tiwe named the creature that was tormenting us. He said his people call it At’an-A’anotogkua, “the Impostor.” Bad spirits inhabit the land everywhere, and sometimes they get the opportunity to use a tragedy like the Pikes Peak massacres to commandeer a human figure and walk the earth partly mortal. In the case of the Impostor, they collect animal and human parts piecemeal wherever they can, and stitch them together. This is why they walk strangely, vocalize strangely, and why they never show their faces or come out during the day – they cannot pass for humans.
I asked Tiwe why I always see someone facing away from me at the edge of the forest, and he said it is because it does not want me to know its identity. But eventually the Impostor would come for me, wearing Faye’s skin and teeth and hair, and try to convince me that it was her. When I asked him what it wanted, he said,
“Nobody knows.” He also told me that there is power in names, as many redditors have stated, and that I should not speak its name, especially not to it, because that could provoke it. Of the voices I was hearing in the forest every night, Tiwe said, “They practice what they hear, for decades. It makes it easier for them to hunt.”
The freaky shit
Tiwe, Nathan, and the ranger left at sunset, and I spent the rest of the evening thinking about all of this. And I think I’ve figured a lot of things out. Around 9PM, something disturbing happened.
I used the satellite phone the ranger gave me to call Faye. She actually answered, and was just lying in bed reading. We had a great conversation. I told her I missed her so much, and that I was up here trying to solve what was happening. I told her I wanted to have a family with her. She said that she was feeling better, and had actually gone a whole night without sleepwalking or terrifying Jason and Richard (my buddies who are looking after her while I’m here in Colorado).
After about 15 minutes of talking, I started hearing sounds outside. I heard footsteps crunching in the dry snow, and I heard a voice – my voice. It said things like, “Flight,” “insomnia,” “miss you,” “See you soon.” The thing had been standing near the window, mimicking my conversation with Faye. I told Faye I’d call her back later, and hung up the phone, then went silent. The thing walked around the cabin slowly, trying to figure out if I had moved, and kept mumbling and repeating a few phrases as it went.
Finally, it came and knocked on the door. Its knock was gentle, just like last night. I was a little bit less scared because of all the blessings Tiwe had put on the cabin, but I still held onto the gun just in case any shit went down. He spoke to me in my own voice, and the first thing he said was,
“The hole will fill with snow and blood.”
So yeah, that amped up my fear quite a bit. Every hair on the back of my neck bristled. Do you know the feeling of being so scared that your vision turns hyperreal? Everything looks like a realistic video game, so everything looks just slightly off. Then it knocked again and said,
“Hello? May I come in?”
I simply said, “No. Leave.”
Then it knocked for another 30 seconds or so, and said, “What is your name? Hello?”
I lied and said, “My name is Daniel. Now leave. You can’t come in.”
The thing started knocking harder, a lot harder, nonstop, and said, “What is your name? What is your name?” It was terrifying to hear my voice coming from the other side of the door, and to hear rage building in that voice.
I said again, “MY NAME IS DANIEL,” but the thing just kept yammering and asking the same question. It would occasionally say things like, “Ticket, ticket, rental car. You go up in the trees! The hole, the hole, down in the hole. What is your name? May I know your name?”
Then I had an idea. I’m really good with fake accents, and when I was a child my first language was German (dad immigrated to Boston and met my mom). I started speaking in a thick accent, talking about my day, and then started shouting in German. I recited a poem I know by Hermann Hesse, Die Frauen von Ravenna Tragen. My visitor went silent and stopped knocking. I could tell it was just listening. So then I started shouting in a British accent, reciting lines from V for Vendetta (my favorite film of all time). I shouted “thank you” in every single language I know (I once committed to learning it in 100 languages and stopped around 20).
My unwanted guest just sort of stammered a little bit, trying to mimic me, but failed to do so. I was no longer speaking in any recognizable pattern or tone. Eventually, it just started growling the sounds Faye and I heard in the forest when we first stayed at the cabin – *”Wachu, wachu, wole my, wole my” and started scratching and pounding on the door. I grabbed the sage bundle and torched it with my lighter, then waved it all around the door frame. I don’t know if the thing outside could smell it, but it walked off the porch all pissed off, growling, and went off into the night. This time, I ran to the window and tried to get a glimpse of it, but all I could see was a very dark, amorphous form disappearing into the trees.
I think I’ve figured a lot of stuff out. I think this entity is mimicking me because it’s going to try to convince Faye that it is me. It is rehearsing my voice and then whispering to Faye while she sleeps, talking to her in her dreams, trying to get her to let it inside of our house. I think it wants to convince her that I am the impostor, not it. I think I also figured out why the voices go crazy at night, and why they’re getting closer to my home. These fuckers aren’t trying to scare me. They’re trying to deprive me of sleep. If I’m psychologically and emotionally drained, I’m weaker. If I’m delirious, I’ll make a mistake. Their (or his) attempts to get to me will be easier.
I’m still trying to figure out how controlling Faye like a puppet in her sleep plays into all this. I know what I saw. There was a man standing outside our house, walking the exact same creepy way Faye was sleepwalking, at the exact same time.
I’m also still considering the possibility that I already made a terrible mistake, and that the Impostor has already won – when I went outside on the first night at the cabin with Faye, trying to see where the voices were coming from. I left the door unlocked. /u/andfranbut said that that was the moment that Faye was replaced by something else. I just don’t know what to think. But for now, I’m going. the fuck. to sleep.
UPDATE 4/30: Well. I found the ring. 🙁
UPDATE 5/2: I am out of the cabin and safe. DO NOT go to to Pikes Peak looking to be a hero, looking to find the mines, or looking for me. You will die. Avalanches, radon gas, mine collapses, etc. Do NOT be a fool.
edit: I took down the photo of Faye because someone started sending me creepy messages about it. I should have known better.
Someone gilded another one of my posts; thanks very much stranger.
There are so many new developments it’s hard to figure out how to cram it all into a 3,000 word NoSleep post. The morning after I spoke with my fiancée, Faye, on the satellite phone (and then was visited by the thing that mimics our voices), I got a call from Richard and Jason. In case you don’t remember, they are my two best friends, and they’re staying at my place and taking care of Faye while I’m gone. They’re the only people I trust.
Richard stays up very late and sleeps in the morning, kind of like what I’m doing now. He does this for two reasons: to work on his art commissions, and to make sure Faye doesn’t stab everyone to death and burn the house down in her sleep. The guys report that she is behaving quite normally and feeling good/being productive during the day, but then at night, she is unpredictable and weird. I feel like her soul is being cleaved in half; the two distinct sets of behavior are drifting farther from each other every day.
Around 1AM that night, Richard heard the voice of a young child, mumbling incoherently. He is up to speed on all of the unusual experiences that have plagues my fiancée and me, so he immediately got up to investigate. He looked out the kitchen window, which faces the same part of the forest where I saw the man mimicking Faye’s sleepwalking movements. Richard didn’t find anything, so he walked a circle around the house and realized that the sound was coming from our bedroom window.
He went inside and woke Jason up, and they stood outside the bedroom door, listening. They claimed they heard the distinct sounds of a child whispering and softly singing, and I bet you can guess which song – “oh soul me aaaah do, I’m a naked soul me aaah dooo” (the song Faye and I heard outside of the cabin on our second night, sung in a child’s voice). Both of these dudes are super ripped climbing enthusiasts, and they said they had never been so creeped out in their entire lives. Jason knocked on the door and said, “Faye? Who’s in there?” and he promptly heard the child go “Shhhh” and whisper something inaudible.
Richard pushed the door open, and said that Faye was standing in the corner of the room, in the dark, facing the wall. She was standing up on her toes, dragging her hands and nails down the wall and talking to herself. With her back turned to the guys, she said, “Ohhh, their skin is so perfect, which one which one, put him down in the hole.”
Richard saw something out the window and hurried over to it. Jason stepped inside the room and reached out to put a hand on Faye’s shoulder, but she whirled around quickly and covered her face with her hands. Her eyes were open, which is unusual for her when she sleepwalks. Then, and these are the exact words Jason used,
“She started speaking in the voice of a little kid.”
She made whining and crying sounds, and rocked back and forth on her feet, cradling her arms as though she held a child. Then she turned around and started scratching at the wall again, still whispering in the kid’s voice, saying things like “It’s Faye. I can’t see you. Are you up in the trees or down in the hole?” Then she started singing again.
Richard ran down the stairs and out the front door, barreling toward the tree line. From the window, he had seen a small child, walking around on its tippy toes, flailing its arms up in the air. On the phone he told me he could hear it singing while he watched it from the window. When Richard got about 20 yards away from the kid, it took off running on the balls of its feet, heading straight into the trees. Richard stayed in pursuit and went in after it. It was too dark for him to follow, and he lost the kid after a few moments. He wandered around for a few minutes, searching the area, and eventually heard the voice of an adult male.
Rich says he walked a few steps deeper into the grove and saw a huge man standing about 30 feet away, completely naked, looking up into the trees. There were lacerations or dark pockmarks of some sort all over his body. Now, Richard is about 6’1”, 210 pounds and bulky/muscular – and he said this dude was way bigger than him. He said the man was perfectly still for several seconds, but then started rolling his head around, cracking his neck loudly, and started making gurgling and mumbling sounds. I guess Rich was paralyzed with fear, because he claims he stood there for an entire minute or more before running like hell back to the house. As he turned to get out of there, the man let out a long “Heelllllllllooooooooooo?” and as he did, his voice transformed. It became my voice. Richard said that the thing in the woods called out with my voice several times as he fled, wailing “please help me” and “they’re gonna kill me tonight.”
Jason says that he did not hear or see anything out the window, only Richard running back inside, ghost-white with terror. He said Richard actually cried. While they talked in the living room, Faye sat at the top of the stairs, just watching, wide awake, with a little smile on her face.
The next morning, they took her to her psychiatric appointment – the first she’s ever had – and I will hopefully hear back on that soon. It kills me that I’m not there with her now.
I’m still stuck at Pikes Peak. It’s like this place doesn’t want me to leave. The ranger station shut down the entire road network on the mountain because of the huge blizzard that rolled in, and there are avalanche warnings. My road out of here is completely iced over, and one part of it has a snow collapse/mini avalanche (shut up I’m from California, where God pays attention). I’m in contact with the ranger (his name is Greg, just like Faye’s dad, so that’s why I avoid referring him by name in these updates), and he assures me they’re working on getting the roads cleared every time it stops snowing. I missed my flight, but thankfully they gave me a voucher, so now I can just roll into the airport whenever I can.
I have enough food to feed an army, and the electricity here is surprisingly reliable, so I’m warm. The wifi dips out for 5-10 hours at a time, though. I’m working on Donkey Kong Country 2 and Secret of Mana on the SNES and writing about my experiences here in my spare time. I also slipped on the icy porch steps and fell on my side, so I’ve got an enormous bruise and it hurts like a bitch, but only when I breathe so I got that going for me.
/u/sweetrosemarie asked me if the cabin had a basement, and I had never thought to check. Outside, under the snowpack, and halfway covered with old chopped wood, I found a little locked door. The key was in the kitchen cupboard, and it turns out there’s a decent-sized cellar under the house. Down inside, I found a ton of creepy shit. There is a bundle of long, black hair, several dozen jars of some rotten, mutant-looking shit, and tons of old books from the 60’s and 70’s. And lots of porno magazines.
There are also lots of sticks and yarn. All of the material necessary to make a dreamcatcher like the one hanging at the tree line behind the cabin. I didn’t touch anything. I just noped straight out of there.
I’ve been thinking about something that /u/waittimeislame said to me the other day, which was “have you considered that it is not a dreamcatcher at all?” And he’s right. I’m not an expert on Native American symbology or artifacts. It just looks kind of like a dreamcatcher to me, so I’ve been calling it one all this time. Tiwe, the Pueblo friend of the ranger, didn’t call it that. He just said to leave it alone.
I’m wondering if that thing attracts the Impostor, instead of keeping it away. It could mark the house. I kind of want to move it for one night, to see what happens. After all, Tiwe blessed the entire cabin, so I feel quite safe. And I have a .357 magnum in case leaves don’t protect me.
At about 9:30AM, there was a knock on the door. I grabbed the gun, suspecting another encounter with the Impostor. It was lightly snowing and gloomy, so I figured the sun was blocked enough that the creature would be willing to come out of the woods. But then I heard familiar voices, talking cheerfully. I looked out the window, and to my total surprise, it was Tiwe and his son Nathan! These badass motherfuckers had hiked up from the ranger’s station in the snow to check on me. I let them in and they made me tea. I cannot tell you how happy I was to see them.
Tiwe brought me his own dreamcatcher. It was one he made specifically for me, and he told me I should hang it beside the creepy one. It’s very colorful and ornate; I could tell he spent a lot of time on it. It’s even got two beautiful hawk feathers dangling off it, which Nathan says represent freedom and unboundedness. He reiterated the importance of finding the engagement ring Faye had lost, and blessed the house again. I tried to get them to stay longer, but they had to get back down the mountain before the storm picked up, and told me I should come with them. We all knew I wouldn’t. If I left with them, I’d be leaving Greg’s truck, and I’d never have found what I came back for. I said goodbye and Tiwe hugged me. I wish that guy was my grandpa.
I took a nap after they left. I figured out how to sleep without being interrupted by the god damn voices in the forest – from 6AM to 3PM, it’s pretty quiet outside, so I nap on and off. But something really bad happened this time. I woke up opening the bathroom window.
I’ve never sleepwalked before in my entire life. Faye’s been sleeping next to me for five years, and she says I don’t move, I don’t speak, I don’t snore, I don’t steal sheets. I’m the most polite bed-buddy on earth. But when I came to, I was standing next to the toilet, both hands prying the frozen window open. It was about 2 inches up, and the freezing cold wind on my fingers is what woke me up. I slammed it shut and checked all the windows, ensuring that they were locked and sealed tight, then went back to bed. I dragged one of the living room chairs into the bedroom with me and propped it against the door, so that I’d knock it over if I got up again.
This did not work. At around 1PM, I woke up standing at the front door, and found myself pulling it open. The loud groans it issued were what snapped me out of my stupor. I slammed the door shut and looked out the window next to it, praying nothing was out there waiting for me at the tree line. I saw nothing.
Then, I remembered that I’d had a dream. Images of a huge hole carved into mountain surfaced in my mind. Snow and branches were caked all around the mouth of the entrance, and an impossible yawning blackness emanated from within. In the dream I just kind of stood there, gazing into the vacant face of the deep, listening to Faye’s weakened cries.
I sat down on the couch and just sort of cried for about a half hour. I thought about what our lives had become, and how bad I missed her. I thought about all of the dreams we have of our future, the things that can never be if I don’t figure out how to save her. I thought about all the promises I’ll never keep if I die up here.
I decided that it would be best to hang the dreamcatcher sooner rather than later, because the clouds broke for a while and it was fantastically bright out. I got geared up and trudged across the snow with Tiwe’s gift, and hung it on a branch about 3 feet away from the evil-looking one.
And that’s when I saw it. Faye’s engagement ring. It was dangling there right in front of me, as if to tease me. Someone had woven it into the strings of the dreamcatcher.
I stood there for a long time, right between the two objects. I couldn’t figure out if some benevolent force was giving me a break, or if I was being taunted by whatever beings have haunted my footsteps ever since I arrived on the mountain. Retrieving the ring would require me to not only touch, but destroy, the creepy dreamcatcher. I had the thought to go ask NoSleep what I should do, but I feared that if I left even for one second, the ring would be gone when I got back. So I just tried to solve the riddle by myself. How I wish I’d brought the satellite phone out there with me. After a few minutes of standing there, I reasoned that Tiwe’s dreamcatcher would probably do just as well in protecting me, if in fact that was the function of the original one. I also figured that if it were cursed or something, touching it couldn’t actually be worse than leaving the ring there and allowing Faye to be completely consumed by her madness. If the ring has anything to do with the creatures who are controlling Faye and me while we sleep, then getting it back is a priority over not touching weird stuff in the woods.
So that’s what I did. I broke the brittle thing apart and took my god damn ring back. What else could I have done?
And, as if on cue, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was a person, standing in the snow beside a tree, about twenty feet from my left side. I was so scared I didn’t look directly at him; I just watched him in my periphery and prayed he hadn’t noticed me. It was a man with black and gray hair and dark clothes, facing away from me. His head was tilted all the way back, and he was looking way up at the tops of the trees. His limbs looked mangled and bent and elongated, even without looking right at him. I slid the ring into my pocket as slowly as I could, trying not to make a sound, and as I did the man hobbled around and faced me. I really didn’t want to look now. I just slammed my eyes shut. I knew he was looking at me; I could feel his gaze on me. He started gurgling and making throaty noises, then said in a voice so threatening I can’t even begin to describe,
“Felix, I knoooow youuuu…Felix, I knoooow youuuuu….Felix, I knoooow youuuuu…” over and over. I took off running and screaming like a bat out of hell. I screamed all the way back to the fucking cabin. I barricaded the front door with the couch and burned up half the sage I had left. I even prayed. Like, an actual prayer. I haven’t done that since I was fifteen years old.
I’m really struggling to write this last part. It’s taken me hours to finish this entry because I keep getting up to distract myself. The ranger isn’t answering his phone, and nobody’s at the station. Maybe the power is out. I don’t know what I did by breaking that dreamcatcher, and I don’t know what tonight is going to be like. But Faye, if you ever read this, and if something happens to me, don’t forget. Your tenderness, your softened skin / all I needed / Your love is my tourniquet.
I have to say this even though I desperately want it not to be true.
The man I just saw was Tiwe.
Here is the interview I have been promising for so long. As you can see by its length, there is no possible way I could have uploaded it at the cabin on the crappy wifi. Sorry about my allergies.
Sorry that this is so long. But people have been hounding me for as much information as possible. This will be my last update. We need to rest.
Things have spiraled out of control up here on the mountain. I made a decision that changed everything, and it almost killed me. Only time will tell if it was the right choice to make. But for now, I’m just piecing everything together in my mind, and trying to convince myself that I’m one step closer to solving all of this.
I destroyed the strange dreamcatcher that has been dangling on a tree branch behind the cabin since Faye and I first came to this place. Nobody knows who made it, what its purpose is, or why it’s on the side of the tree facing into the woods, rather than the side facing the house. I found all of the supplies to make another one just like it, locked behind a cellar door that someone tried to hide years ago. But when I broke the dreamcatcher, I learned everything I needed to know.
Tiwe is dead. A lot of people have said otherwise, but I am certain of this. I saw his likeness, stretched over the gruesome form of the thing that stalks these woods. It was broad daylight, and the look on that its mangled face told me exactly what I didn’t want to accept: I really am all alone. Several Redditors have speculated that this thing only shows itself at night – and always faces away from me – because it cannot convincingly appear human. Not without the help of the recently-dead. Tiwe confirmed this during his first visit to the cabin. But when I destroyed that dreamcatcher, there it was, proudly masquerading in the skin and hair of my best friend on this mountain. In the sunlight, no less. I cannot even imagine how his son Nathan must feel, if he’s even alive. The two hiked back to the ranger’s station from the cabin, knowing a blizzard was coming. I’m sure that’s when Tiwe died.
When I got back inside the cabin I completely lost it. I barricaded the door and windows with every piece of furniture I could, but there just isn’t enough stuff inside this little cabin to protect me. So I sat there on the floor against the bed, clutching the gun, sort of wishing my dark visitor would come and kill me already.
But of course, this is Pikes Peak. Death is not the worst thing that can happen to you here. So the mountain kept fucking with me.
It was getting dark, and I was on the verge of a total psychological break. I’ve been running on 4 hours of sleep per night and a few naps for the past two weeks, my only hope for redemption just got turned into a puppet, and I was about to find out what happens come nightfall when the dreamcatcher no longer functions. So what did my brain decide was the best course of action at this point? To fall asleep.
Somehow I nodded off. In fact I think my brain just did a hard reset, because nothing about that sleep was restful. I just went into a fear-coma the minute the sun dipped behind the mountain.
And then I woke up.
I was in bed, with the sheets pulled up over me. The lights were off – all of them – and my hands were empty, when before they held Greg’ s .357 magnum. When I opened my eyes, I supposed it was possible that I’d climbed into bed myself. After all, I’d caught myself sleepwalking twice the day before. But it took me a solid minute before I realized there was a fucking arm wrapped around my chest.
I did not have the reaction you’d expect. Most people would fly out of the bed screaming bloody murder, but the first thought I had was, “Uh…where am I?”
My parents divorced when I was three, so as a kid I’d spend a few nights a week at my dad’s house and a few nights at my mom’s. Sometimes I’d wake up in the dark and not be sure which bedroom I was in. It always took me a second to remember where I was. This is the thought that crossed my delirious mind. Maybe I was back at home in California? Maybe I was at Faye’s parents’ house in Arvada?
I sort of rolled out from under the arm and tried to figure out who the hell was lying in bed with me. I’d been sleeping with the lights on for the past few nights, and I’d never in my right mind have turned them off after seeing the creature so close to me a few hours ago. The body in bed beside me felt familiar, its warmth, its texture. I was pretty sure it was Faye, but I still couldn’t remember if she was really with me up here. Then she spoke.
She reached through the dark and touched my face, and said, “What’s wrong, poptart?” (Yes, that’s actually the nickname she gave me. Love me some S’mores poptarts). I wasn’t really afraid, just overwhelmed with confusion. I asked her where we were, and why the lights were off. She just squeezed my shoulder and said, “Honey, we’re in Pikes Peak. There’s a storm. The power’s out. It’s done this before. What’s wrong with you?”
I got up out of bed. A feeling of dread was falling over me, heavier and heavier, the more awake I became. As soon as the sheets were off of me, I felt a blistering cold. Colder than it’s ever been in the cabin. The heat must have been off for hours. Only a bit of pale moonlight filtered in through the windows, and it was barely enough to outline the objects in the room. I stumbled around looking for the flashlight, totally unable to remember where it was, and said, “Why the fuck is it so cold? Did you screw with the heat?”
Faye tried to get me to come back to bed. She told me it went off and came back on earlier, and that it would probably be back on soon. Everything about her felt wrong, but her voice was perfectly clear; her skin felt totally recognizable. I couldn’t shake the strange feeling I had.
I left the bedroom and walked out into the living room. It was even colder out there. I felt my way around with my hands, and noticed a strong, icy draft coming from down the hall. It’s a straight shot from the living room to the bathroom at the other end of the hall, and from where I stood I could see the bathroom window. It was wide open. A big, two-by-two foot gap leading out to the snow.
I went to shout, “What the fuck did you-“ but Faye stepped out of the bedroom, and stood in the hallway between me and the bathroom. She said something like, “Felix, you aren’t feeling well. Do you not remember what’s going on? You’re sick.”
I almost believed her, because I definitely felt dizzy and feverish, but it could also have been the mixture of disturbed confusion and freezing cold. The thought that this was not really Faye invaded my mind, and I immediately regretted not knowing where the gun was. The only words I could find were, “…Who are you?” and “Why are you here?”
Faye just stood there in the darkness of the hallway. The only thing I could see was a little silver outline of her figure; her face was entirely black. But even though her eyes were hidden, I could feel them burning into me – just as Tiwe’s had when I found the ring. It felt like we stood in the eye of a hurricane; everything was totally calm, but I knew hell was about to break loose. There wasn’t a single sound outside. No branches snapped, no snow crunched, no voices moaned. It was as if time had stopped completely.
Faye didn’t move. Even as she spoke, she held herself with the stillness of death. She said, “Felix.” It wasn’t to get my attention. It wasn’t to convince me she was really my fiancée. It was a threat. She was reminding me that she knew my name. I still don’t fully understand what the power is in names, but Tiwe and Nathan believed it, and many Redditors warned me about it. When she said my name, I felt smaller than her, even though I stand almost foot over her head.
“Do you remember the five?” she asked. She still didn’t move an inch. Not even her hair kicked up in the drafts that blew in from behind her. “I can’t remember. Not in this place.”
I didn’t know how to respond to this. I didn’t know what she was talking about. All I could say was, “Get out. You are not welcome here.”
Again, Faye didn’t move. But she did clear her throat, and the sound she made was about two octaves deeper than the real Faye’s voice. She inhaled sharply, and said, “Tell me. About. The number five.”
And that’s when I knew. I remembered where I was, what day it was, and exactly what had happened up until this point. My visitor had finally come to call, and it no longer needed to be invited. I deeply regretted breaking that dreamcatcher. My hand instinctively slid over my pocket, and to my relief, the little shape of Faye’s engagement ring pushed back against my fingers.
There was nothing else to do. I decided to throw down the gauntlet. I figured it was probably time to die anyway, so I might as well go out bravely. I just said, “I know who you are, and you will never be Faye.”
She took a menacing step toward me. A gurgle seeped out of her throat. She inhaled again, more slowly this time, and demanded, ”I want to know about the number five. Tell me, Felix.” I looked all around me on the counters for a weapon but found nothing. The knife block was on the other side of the short wall that divided the living room from the kitchen. There was only a roll of paper towels within reach, but in retrospect, I was so amped with terror that I probably could have beaten her ass to death with it.
“I don’t have a clue what that number means,” I said. “In fact, about five thousand people online don’t either. Nobody knows. Only Faye knows.” My visitor started shaking with rage. Her face was wreathed with impossible black; there was an endless abyss in it that stung my eyes.
But then I realized something: this creature, whatever it is, has had access to Faye’s mind for several hours every night. Maybe for many years. Maybe even since she first visited the cabin, when she was five years old. And in all that time, it still hadn’t learned everything about her. It could never perfectly imitate her because she kept some things buried so deep in her subconscious that not even this thing could find them. Whatever the number 5 meant to Faye, that deep place is where she kept the secret. She didn’t even go there in her dreams.
The next part was all a blur. I said something like, “You are the one who speaks to her in her sleep.” The visitor kind of nodded. I said, “You ask her things. She answers you. I hear everything she says.” The visitor didn’t react. Then I said, “You’ve asked her this question, just like you’re asking me now. And she always says, ‘No, no. I can’t tell you.’”
My visitor took another step forward, dragging a hand along the wall, as Faye had so many times in her sleepwalking fits. It raised up on the balls of its feet and twitched violently. It said to me, “I will make you tell me.” It didn’t try to mimic my fiancée’s voice anymore. It sucked in huge breaths, trying to control its rage.
There is a certain feeling you get when you’re about to die. When you’re in danger, and you might die, fear completely overwhelms your senses and compels you to flee. To fight. To save yourself, somehow. But past that point, when you know you are going to die, that fear becomes useless and disappears. This has happened to me only once before, when I was sucked into a rip tide at the beach during an El Nino winter as a teenager. In that moment I just wondered, “will my body ever come back to shore? Will they ever know what happened to me?”
In this moment, my heart slowed down, and I didn’t feel cold anymore. I just stood there, ready to be mauled to death. I was satisfied in the knowledge that I had not given this creature what it wanted, and therefore blocked it from using that knowledge as a weapon against Faye. Whatever 5 meant, this thing needed it to take full possession of my fiancée. And I wasn’t going to let that happen.
I laughed. I actually laughed, and said, “Well. You’re shit out of luck, buddy. Because I don’t know what the hell it means. Maybe you can tell me when you figure it out.”
The Impostor laughed right back, in my voice, a perfect mimicry. Then it said, “Well. Then we don’t need you anymore.” It lunged at me.
I have dodged a rabid German Shepard like I was a ninja. But this thing was so fast and so strong it knocked the wind clean out of me. I toppled backward and crash-landed on my shoulders on the tiles near the front door. It unleashed a barrage of blows on my face and neck. It raked my sweatshirt with razor-like claws. I tried my best to defend myself, but it was so dark in the house I couldn’t see almost anything. I managed to flail my way free of its grasp for just a second. I pulled myself up to my feet by grabbing the counter, and in doing so, my hand brushed against the little bundle of sage I’d been burning.
The Impostor was on me like lightning, grabbing me by the back of the neck and pulling me with the strength of a 250-pound man. I very ingloriously whirled around and smashed the sage bundle into the creature’s face, burnt-end first, and wrapped my other arm round its head. Faye’s familiar locks tangled in my fingers. I pulled its head forward and jammed the brittle sage into its eyes as hard as I could, screaming like a banshee. It shrieked and growled in some inhuman language, and tried to push me away, but I held on as hard as I could and kept driving my fingers into its eyes, crushing the twigs in them. A memory of Nathan and Tiwe’s chant surfaced in my mind, and I shouted the only part of it I could pronounce: ”Tineke Adan, Tineke Adan, Tineke Adan” (who knows if I’m even remotely close to the correct spelling). My hands slid over its face and the mockery of Faye’s appearance fell away. I couldn’t see in the dark, but the face no longer resembled my fiancée’s; the mouth was much too big for a human’s and the wet lips draped across the maw of a hundred fangs.
And that was it. The bastard had had enough. It screamed and growled and took off on all fours. Its limbs elongated as it moved farther from me; its shape became recognizably inhuman even in the pale light. It barreled up the bathroom wall and out the window, and in moments, it was completely gone.
I definitely am not afraid to cry – I do it at funerals, at weddings, during The Hunchback of Notre Dam, etc. But I’m a little embarrassed to admit how long and hard I cried after that creature left the cabin. I had never felt so utterly, miserably alone in my entire life. I only stopped when the power came back on, probably twenty minutes later. The heater kicked on instantly and I ran over to shut and lock the bathroom window. My satellite phone was gone. The gun was gone. Probably outside in the snow, or up in a tree. Or down in the hole.
I peeked out the kitchen window and saw something lying on the porch, right near the front door. When I cracked the door open just for a second, I saw that it was Tiwe’s dreamcatcher. It had been destroyed and placed in front of the cabin, mocking me. Or reminding me that I was unprotected. I checked the timer on the little battery clock in the kitchen, and it read 12:15AM.
I was going to have to spend another night in this god forsaken cabin. But I vowed to myself that at daybreak, no matter the conditions, I would take Greg’s truck and get down the mountain, or die trying. I didn’t care if I slid off the cliff face; I’d never watch the sun go down in Colorado ever again.
For a while, I actually considered leaving right then, in the middle of the night. Many Redditors have reprimanded me for not doing this before, but I assure you, even in this situation, driving in the dark on that icy little road next to the 400 foot cliff is a complete nope situation.
But the mountain had other plans for me.
At one point I risked sneaking outside to determine how deep the truck was buried. But as I approached, I saw that the snow had been dug out around the two front tires, and they’d been slashed to ribbons. All I could do was let out a grim laugh and trudge back inside. At least it was warm in there now.
At around 1AM, the voices started up. They arose from far off in the woods, several of them at once, groaning and screaming dark elegies to the night. It was all the same evil gibberish I’d heard a thousand times before, but they slowly made their way into the open field, and eventually, to just outside the cabin.
I lit the remaining pieces of sage and did a once-over on all the windows that weren’t barricaded with furniture. I also donned the medicine pouches and amulet that Tiwe and Nathan had given to me, hoping they’d be similarly effective in protecting me. Then I remembered Tiwe’s useless dreamcatcher, and imagined my crumpled corpse lying in the snow beside it.
Outside the front door, I distinctly heard my own voice calling, “Faye! It’s me, Felix! Let me in! Let me in!” and from near the bathroom window, my voice again, saying “Hi sweetie. I miss you so much.” It repeated a few other things I’ve said on the phone in conversations with her, and even a few things I said to her while she was sleepwalking back at our home in California.
There were footsteps on the roof. Two, maybe three pairs of little feet, stomping all over the ceiling. Voices of crying children paired with them. I stood there in the kitchen, clutching a knife and the herbs, waiting for the end. The voices circled the cabin, as though a handful of deranged lunatics were slowly marching around the perimeter, singing the songs of hell as they went. They begged for help, they laughed maniacally, they whispered and screamed and talked entirely to themselves, all at once. Their dim shadows passed the window curtains over and over.
I heard glass breaking in the bedroom, and then in the bathroom. The stomping on the roof grew louder, and the voice at the front door grew more urgent. Someone began knocking on the door, and the others tapped on the living room windows. They all started screaming, “Faye! Faye! Let us in!” and “Felix? Are you there?”
And then, as if heaven-sent, a blinding white light illuminated the entire cabin from outside. All of the window curtains at the front of the house lit up, and the sound of motors drowned out the hellish cries. Someone had driven up to the cabin.
I heard doors opening and men calling out – coherently. The footsteps on the roof thundered overhead to the back of the cabin, and then the screams of children drifted off into the woods out back, echoing as they withdrew. The ranger bashed on the front door, calling out my full name, instructing me to come outside.
I looked out the window and saw five men, some in uniforms, and the ranger. There was a humongous off-road snowplow, two snowmobiles, and a big truck. They’d come to save my life. When I went outside, I just walked up and hugged the ranger. I didn’t even grab my winter jacket. He informed me that they were getting everyone off the mountain because of a problem with the power grid. He said he feared I’d freeze to death.
The ride down the mountain would have been the happiest ride of my life, except for the view. We snaked across slippery, white roads, and even with the truck’s high beams on, I could see the brightest stars I’ve ever witnessed. But beneath them, dangling in the trees, were dozens and dozens of human bodies. They swung by rope from their feet or necks. Some of them were flayed or missing parts. The ranger did not appear to notice, and I kept my mouth shut. As they passed overhead on our downward crawl, I could almost make out their frozen faces, lifeless for years, maybe decades. Their black blood stained the trunks of the trees. I’m not sure if these were the “spirits” Tiwe talked about, or if I had simply been experiencing temporary insanity. I’m not sure I’ll ever know who they were, but I’m guessing that if the ranger showed up any later, I would have become one of them. I will never forget the haunting image of passing underneath them.
We arrived at the ranger station and remained there overnight. I slept on a cot in a room of about fifteen people, all locals from different places on the mountain. I asked the ranger if he’d heard from Tiwe or Nathan, but he said he had not. The next morning, one of his men drove me straight to Denver International Airport, and I boarded a plane without any luggage whatsoever. It didn’t matter. I had the ring in my pocket, and I’ll never need another jacket again – as long as I live.
When I finally got home, Faye let me have it. She kept kissing me and yelling at me. I understood. She was angry that I’d spent so much time trying to take control of this situation, treating her like a child, and disregarding her feelings in my crusade to rescue her. She was upset that I consigned her to the care of my best friends without asking, but seemed to appreciate their help. Richard and Jason were very happy to leave my house and never look Faye in the eye again, although they did have some good news for me: Faye had not sleepwalked or sleeptalked or done anything out of the ordinary in over 24 hours. This corresponds almost exactly with when I retrieved the ring from the dreamcatcher. After an hour or so of reprimanding me for being a thick-headed idiot, Faye forgave me, and we laid in bed together and talked about everything.
I apologized to her for the way I had treated her, and put the ring on her finger. She looked relieved to have it back on. I swore I’d never screw up like that again. We both slept a full night; no strange night terrors or bad dreams or sleep disturbances of any kind. And in the morning, yesterday morning, we had Faye’s favorite: waffles.
At about 11AM, I received a call. To my great relief, it was Nathan. I immediately pressed him for information about Tiwe, and what exactly had happened after they left the cabin that day. He ignored my questions and said, very ominously,
“Please let me speak to the one who followed you home.”
I said something like, “Uh, what?”
To which he replied, “The one that calls itself Faye.”
My fiancée and I had been sitting on the couch watching the most recent Game of Thrones, so I just sort of handed the phone to her and said, “It’s for you.” She put it to her ear and said “Hello?” and then listened for about a minute. I could hear Nathan speaking, but I could not make out what he was saying.
Suddenly, a volcano of black puke exploded from Faye’s mouth. It absolutely covered the couch and carpet, and sent me nearly jumping out of my skin in the process. Faye doubled over onto the floor like a ragdoll, coughing and sputtering. I fell to my knees beside her, panicked, asking if she was alright. I picked up the phone and screamed at Nathan, demanding to know what he had said to her.
Nathan just said, “Please, Felix, please listen,” and then proceeded to recite some sort of chant or incantation. A wave of syrupy vomit rushed up my throat and out of my mouth, and as with Faye, it was oily black. I am actually an emetophobe, so vomiting sends me into a state of near-catatonia, but Faye had made a quick recovery and was right there to nurse me back to my senses. Nathan spoke to me a bit more, and explained what he had done. I’ll get to that in a bit.
Faye and I spent the rest of the day feeling queasy, and eventually went to Urgent Care across the road to get checked out. They gave us blood tests and checked our vitals and sent us home, telling us that we’d suffered minor food poisoning. But I know deep down it wasn’t the damn waffles. Thankfully, for the past several hours, we’ve been feeling much better.
I mentioned a while back that Tiwe and Nathan had a disagreement over who the real Faye was, and whether it was even possible for a duplicate of my fiancée to exist. When they hiked back down the mountain from the cabin a few days ago, they had to go up into the forest to avoid the snow collapses all over the road. Out there in the woods, they heard the crying of a woman, and followed it to an abandoned mine. Both of them knew that it was very likely a trick, but Tiwe said that it was their duty to explore the possibility that Faye was alive somewhere on the mountain. The blizzard came on earlier than expected. They stood at the mouth of the mine, listening to the begging of a young woman somewhere off in the dark, but concluded that its voice was too unusual to be a human’s.
Tiwe and Nathan decided to bless entrance of the mine, which could ward off its dark inhabitants, but their chanting enraged whatever lived in it. It came out of the tunnels and snatched Tiwe. He screamed all the way down into the dark, and Nathan could not follow. He ran away, terrified, but got lost in the blizzard. He wandered for an hour, fearing death, and eventually came upon a skinned body swinging from a low tree branch. It was so fresh the blood hadn’t yet fully frozen. Nathan knew it was his father’s corpse.
Eventually he found his way back home. He said his father’s voice guided him out of the squall. Nathan explained to me that the Impostor’s goal of taking over someone’s mind was different from its penchant for killing people. These creatures hunt and kill at random, salvaging the human parts they need to walk the earth as mortals for a short time, but their real pleasure derives from conquering a person from within. Faye was one of the unlucky few that are “chosen” in this way, and the Impostor’s fixation on her had lasted for decades. After long enough, their continued presence in the body and mind of a victim leaves a stain on the soul. This corruption necessitates a purge, hence the barf-party we held in the living room (whose stains, by the way, I have thus failed to banish).
Nathan invited me to the funeral ceremony for Tiwe. I sadly declined, as I am already on the verge of losing my job and flat broke from this experience, but I promised that I’d honor his memory in my own way. I can’t go back to that place. Fortunately Nathan was more than understanding, and promised we’d meet again soon.
I’m still thinking about all of this. I do not yet have all the pieces of the puzzle. If you’re looking for all the answers, you’re going to have to help me find them. But I think I have part of this figured out. The Impostor gave Faye’s ring back to me. They wanted me to destroy the dreamcatcher. The ring was an object of great sentimental value, both to Faye, and to our relationship. The creature used it to invade Faye’s mind and control her thoughts; its goal was to convince her that it was me, so that she would welcome it into our house late at night. The home, Nathan said, symbolically represents the body, just as the ring represents our union. To be welcomed into the home is to be granted acesss to Faye.
But because the Impostor could never learn everything it needed from Faye to mimic me, it gave up on that project and instead came after me. It returned the ring to me, thus giving up its power over Faye, but I broke the dreamcatcher to retrieve it. As it turns out, that creepy, mysterious dreamcatcher was in fact protecting the cabin, and everyone inside it, which is why the Impostor needed to be invited in. When I broke it, the creature could have easily come in and killed me – but it needed information from me before it did. It needed to know one of Faye’s darkest secrets to rule her.
I’m not sure I’ll ever unravel the mystery of the number five. But I do know one thing. Not knowing what it means actually saved Faye’s life. I’m not sure I ever want to know.
As for Faye, she’s back to normal and in perfect health. She sleeps soundly and only mumbles a bit, which is pretty normal for her. Her sick sense of humor has returned as well. Last night as we went to sleep, she turned out the light and said to me, “Thank you for trying so hard.”
Then she leaned over and licked my face.
edit: I am overwhelmed by the kindness and reception of the NoSleep community. Your words really do mean a lot to me, and to Faye. We read them together. Thank you very much.
edit: Thank you for the Gold x3!
NEW UPDATE: link at the top of this post. Scroll up.
Last month, my fiancée Faye and I went to her parents’ cabin up in Pikes Peak, Colorado, and had a set of extremely weird and terrifying experiences. We found an old dreamcatcher on a tree in the woods out back, and at night, we heard a series of unsettling voices calling out from the forest. At first we thought someone was messing with us, but then the voices began to take on recognizable traits; we heard Faye’s grandfather calling out for help (he’s been dead since 2012) and my mother laughing (she lives 700 miles away). Faye got sick and began talking in her sleep, and at one point, the voice of a woman outside began to repeat some of the things Faye was mumbling, as though they were communicating.
I documented the entire experience here on NoSleep and received overwhelming support from fellow Redditors. Thousands of people have gotten involved with helping us out. Everything has been going really great, up until a few days ago.
I’m sorry I haven’t posted about this matter in a while, but Faye and I have been trying to forget. Especially with her weird sleep disorder, the best course of action for us was to try to bury what had happened and move on with our lives. The more upset/stressed out she becomes, the more she sleepwalks and sleeptalks, and that is when scary things happen. For those of you who haven’t read the prior stories, my fiancée has suffered from extensive sleep disturbances since she was 5. She has night terrors and is an accomplished sleepwalker. At the request of redditors, I interviewed her, so you can hear all about her weird experiences.
Long story short, some sort of entity became fixated upon her while we were at the cabin in Colorado, and made several attempts to coax her into the woods. When those attempts failed, it came after me. It followed us home to California and tried to get into our house at night by communicating with Faye while she sleepwalked. We were both exposed to whatever it was, to the point that it made us ill. A family friend, Nathan, essentially forced us to puke our guts out in a spiritual purging process (although I wish he’d told us first because we destroyed my living room carpet).
We thought it was over. Faye went back to normal and returned to her playful, funny self. She got her strength back – and not just physically, but the strength of her personality returned as well. She’s been feisty and won’t put up with any of my shit, which was a great sign that she was feeling better. And she’s been wearing her engagement ring! It hasn’t left her finger since we got it back.
But two nights ago, weird things started to happen. I absolutely dread writing this because I know that by paying attention to it, I risk exacerbating the situation. The part of the carpet where we’d lost our lunch is permanently stained, and rather dark, because I couldn’t afford to get a decent carpet cleaner out in time. When we were watching/crying through the new Game of Thrones on Sunday, Faye pointed out that the stain looked like the shape of a man. It’s about three feet long and basically looks like some kind of 2-dimensional troll. We made some Rorschach jokes about it, then went to bed.
I rolled over in the middle of the night to put my hand on Faye’s back, and the second I touched that empty space on the bed, a thousand horrible thoughts rushed through my head. Faye hasn’t sleepwalked since things settled down, and I feared this was an omen that our “visitor” had returned.
I found her downstairs. She was sitting in the dark, spine straight, right in front of the TV. It was off. Her eyes were closed. But she was running her fingers across the stain on the carpet, whispering to it, and giggling. I raced over and threw the light on, forgoing my rule of never waking her up abruptly from a bout of sleepwalking. I just didn’t want this to be happening again. I couldn’t accept it. Just before I shook her awake, she said,
“How could I forget?”
She came to, and had no idea where she was. She seemed unusually upset that I’d woken her up, as if she were in the middle of a very good dream, but then appeared frightened when I told her what was happening. I asked if she remembered anything, but she said no. I can’t tell if she lied to me.
On our way up the stairs, she inexplicably vomited all over the wall. It was the same dark brown/black color as when Nathan “poisoned” us. At this point I was completely freaking out. I tried to keep my cool and helped Faye into bed, got her some water, and made sure she was alright (she was absolutely fine and couldn’t explain why she puked). Then I shut off the light, closed the bedroom door, and spent about a half hour trying to clean the god damn wall off. I’ve mentioned in my previous posts that I’m an emetophobe, so cleaning vomit is basically the worst form of punishment I can imagine. But something distracted me from the horrid stench: no matter how hard I scrubbed, the stain would not come out, and it had splattered roughly in the shape of a man. Because of the fact that Faye was standing halfway up the stairs and barfed down the wall, this time the stain was much longer than the one on the carpet – almost 5 feet tall.
When I finally got in bed, Faye was still awake, and was kind enough to give me a really nice shoulder rub as I laid there in a heap. I was nauseated and terrified. She tried to reassure me, but we both knew what was happening. Whatever it is that’s fascinated with her, it’s back. Or, it never left. I don’t know how long we sat there talking, but eventually I passed out, Faye lying in my arms. She said a few more things in her sleep, but I could never quite catch them. I was just too tired.
The next day I tried to reach out to Nathan but he wasn’t answering his phone. I had to work so I didn’t see Faye all day, and I got home before she did, so I spent several hours jumping at every sound outside while grading my students’ final papers. When she did get home, she said she’d felt sick all day, and just wanted to go to sleep, so she went upstairs and showered, then got into bed.
Around 10:30PM I shut off my laptop and headed upstairs. Faye was sitting on the bed, feet on the ground, staring out the open window into the woods across the street. I gently laid her down, rubbed her back until she snored (that’s the only way to guarantee she won’t get up for a long time), and inspected the whole house. I don’t know if I’m just freaking myself out, or if I’m tired, but the vomit stains seem bigger now than they were before. I’m calling a guy tomorrow to come do a professional cleaning, but I’m pissed because I know I’m going to get stuck with a $200 bill for the job.
I checked the backyard and didn’t see anything, then made sure the front door was locked and all the windows were sealed tight. The last window I checked was the one in the guest room – the one on which Faye had drawn the number 5 backwards while sleepwalking.
I stood there for a long time. It was late, and dark, and all of the memories of last month’s events just kept cycling through my mind over and over. I felt dizzy and sleepy, almost hypnotized. It was a strange feeling, an ineffable mixture of strange relaxation and terror. I cannot explain to you why I did this, but without even thinking about it, I reached out my hand and lazily drew a backwards “5” on the window. And in that tiny little moment, I saw something move behind the trees across the street. Faye abruptly burst into sleep-laughter from down the hall. As I walked back to the bedroom in the dark, I could hear her giggling the entire way.
Nothing else to report for now. It’s 10:31PM (Tuesday) as I write this, and I’m going to go to sleep. Will update if there are any new developments. I pray there aren’t any.
A lot of Redditors have mentioned that since I retrieved Faye’s ring from the creepy dreamcatcher, it’s possible that it’s been cursed. After all, the ring was given back to me. It could be what is causing the new disturbances around my house. So, Faye and I have decided to take the long trek back to Pikes Peak, from whence the evil ring came, and destroy it by throwing it into the mine at the top of the mountain. We’ve gathered a fellowship of seven other people to help us on this journey.
Just kidding. But seriously, a lot of people have speculated that the ring is now the problem. I am taking this into consideration, but Faye is not willing to part with it right now, seeing a how she just got it back. But if the entity seeking Faye did curse the ring and got me to break the dreamcatcher to retrieve it, it is even more clever than I could have anticipated. More on this if I decide to make a move.
We had a professional carpet cleaning service come out yesterday and try to tackle the puke stain situation. The guy told me over and over, “That’s not vomit, I can get vomit out.” It took him a long time, but he finally managed to get most of the stain off the carpet in the living room, and recommended we get checked out at the hospital. I told him we already had. Some parts of the carpet are still spotted and ruined. He gave me a discount.
The wall in the stairwell is another story. The guy took one look at it and said we needed to paint it, but I insisted the stain had to be removed before doing so. He told me to strip and sand the wall, or he could come back and do it on his day off for a small fee. I told him I’d take care of it. He made an exorcism joke and left. I was not amused.
Faye came home very excited yesterday. She got a promotion at her job. We celebrated by going out to dinner at our favorite steakhouse. She ordered her normal meal, thank God, and had a few drinks. I don’t drink at all, so I was the D.D. for the evening. When we got home we pretty much went right to bed, and on the way up the stairs she drunkenly said “Fuck that guy” and pointed a lazy hand at the stain on the wall.
That night I had a very strange dream. I dreamed I was trying to scrub the stain off the wall, just like I had a few days ago. But this time I was scrubbing in the dark. Moonlight was just barely seeping through the window and illuminating the outline of the stain, which looked more like a man than ever before. It loomed over me as I crouched there on the stairs. But then, something weird happened. The wall underneath the stain turned mushy, like oatmeal, and gave way to my hand. My arm went right through the drywall. When I pulled it out, there was a faint light coming through the hole. I pushed more and more of the squishy wall away; it crumbled and plopped onto the floor on the other side. At last, I cleared a hole big enough to squeeze through.
It led into a familiar place. I realized I was where I was the second I stepped in. It was freezing cold, even in the dream. I was in the cellar of the cabin, where I’d found all of those jars and that hair, where I’d found the pieces needed to make more dreamcatchers. I felt instantly afraid, and turned around to go back into my house, but the wall was sealed shut. The only way out of the cellar was through the open panels at the top of the wooden staircase, leading to the outside. Snow was falling down onto the stairs.
I remember seeing something on the ground behind one of the shelves. I picked it up, and instantly recognized its importance. It made me feel like I understood everything better. But before I could see what it was, I was woken up by Faye.
We were still in bed. She was sitting up against the pillows, running her fingers across my neck and back. She was looking down at me, smiling. But her hair was dangling in such a way that it obscured her face a little, and the moon lit her up from the window behind her, so she looked different. I recognized my fiancee’s hair and body, but her face looked old and weathered – like an old man’s. At that point I noticed her hand felt different too: it was rough and heavy, like a guy’s. It took me a second to realize that she was probably asleep, so I sat still and just watched her.
After a few moments of this, she abruptly got out of bed and walked to the door, mumbling to herself about “that sound again.” I followed her quietly, wondering what she’d do. She walked through the hall, never searching for the light switch, and stood at the top of the stairs. She started whisper-arguing with something down there in the dark, like when a couple is bickering in public but they’re trying to hide it. She said,
“You need to leave. You need to get the fuck out of here and never come back.”
“I don’t know any of them. I don’t know anybody.”
“Is that you? Who’s with you? Who’s making all that noise?”
“You just gonna stand down there and call my name all night? Well why don’t you come up here then? You think I don’t know what you’re doing?”
The last thing she said was, “WE DON’T KNOW! LEAVE US ALONE!” she shouted it so loud it took me off guard and momentarily paralyzed me with fear. I rushed over and grabbed her before she could fall down the stairs. She told me to get off of her, and that she didn’t need help, then brushed past me toward the bedroom. Along the way, she vomited. I got to spend another hour trying to clean that up while she slept soundly. And guess what. New stain.
It wasn’t until writing this that I realize, the stain has been making its way closer and closer to the bedroom.
This morning before work, I talked to Faye about what happened. She had no recollection of any of it, including barfing up our expensive dinner, but she did say she heard several voices outside the house early this morning. She said there was a child calling out, “Where is she? Where is she?” and a man grumbling angrily, but she couldn’t make out his words. She also said I was talking in my sleep this morning, which is something I almost never do.
Faye agreed to seeing the doctor again because of the vomiting, and also mentioned to me, after reading the Reddit comments, that hypnotism might be a good thing to try. So, we are looking for one in our town. More on that if anything develops. Also, her older sister Becca is going to come to town in a few days to visit us and see how things are going. Becca lives in Arizona with her husband and infant son, so I’ve only ever actually met her a handful of times. It’ll be nice having some extra people in the house for once.
In other news, Nathan is still not returning my calls, so I might try the ranger tonight. I also want to let you all know that it’s finals week, both for me as a graduate student, and for the undergraduate students that I teach. I might not be able to update every other day like I usually do. If I’m missing for a day or two extra, don’t be alarmed. I’m keeping a close watch on Faye.
And I have one last thing to report.
Today at lunch I put my head down in my office and drifted off for a few minutes. This is also unusual for me because I’m a chronic insomniac and do not take naps almost ever. But I had another dream. Tiwe came to me. For those of you who don’t know, Tiwe was a Native American man who lived near Pikes Peak. He and his son (Nathan) blessed our cabin and helped Faye and me in our struggle last month. He died in the woods under mysterious circumstances during my last nights at the cabin.
In the dream, I was looking out our bedroom window, and Tiwe was standing at the tree line across the street. It was really him, not the creature that did a horrifying impersonation of him. He was pointing into the forest. I think I’m supposed to go in there, but I don’t know whether I can trust my own dreams anymore. That is where the Impostor hides.
edit: I literally just got to work thirty minutes ago and got a call from Faye’s boss. I’m on their emergency contact list. They sent her home for “behaving erratically.” I’m on my way home now.
Sorry for the long wait, NoSleep. I really do appreciate your concern. I can’t even describe how busy I am right now – Faye’s older sister Becca and her baby son Caleb are here, staying in the guest room. It’s finals next week for my students so I’m hosting tons of meetings with them, and I’ve got only one of three major projects done for my doctoral advisor. And I’m grading a huge stack of essays. Oh, and something is trying to steal my fiancee’s skin or mind control her into killing me or something. So yeah, it’s pretty busy around here. How bout you?
I want to be absolutely transparent about something because a lot of people have been asking me. Yes, this series is now being turned into a book. At the behest of a humongous amount of NoSleep and Storypick readers, we successfully crowdfunded it this week. I did not mention any of this in any of my posts because Reddit has strict rules against advertisement, and I have grown very fond of the community here on NoSleep – I really never want to get in trouble.
Secondly, I feel that my experiences at the cabin and the subsequent events are becoming overlong, and my biggest fear is that people here are going to get sick of hearing from me. So I’m going to try to post less and say more.
Friday morning: My ass hadn’t even warmed the seat in my office before I got a call from Faye’s boss, notifying me that Faye had been acting erratic. Erratic, in fact, to the point that they sent her home from work. She apparently stood in the open doorway of one of the storehouses, staring into the darkness within, not moving for several minutes. A coworker tried twice to get her to snap out of it, but she did not. A few minutes later, the boss came over, and found Faye inside, standing in the shadows, looking out. It was pitch black inside the storehouse so when the boss flipped on the lights, she found Faye standing there in the corner just smiling up at her, eyes unfocused. A few seconds later, she came right out of it, and went back to work.
About an hour later, my fiancée allegedly claimed that she could feel “eyes on her” while she was working, and had to go inside the breakroom to sit down. Her coworkers found her fast asleep and just left her there, thinking she was hungover or sick, and went to lunch. When they came back, Faye was sleepwalking in large circles around the perimeter of the room, singing a lullaby. This scared the other employees so much that they got the park manager to actually drive her home (they didn’t trust her to drive). Now Faye has to take a drug test because they think she’s on drugs. Thankfully, she’s completely clean.
When I got home, I immediately took Faye to Urgent Care, who miraculously got us in in a reasonable amount of time. We explained everything. Everything. I thought the doctors would think we were insane, but both of them actually looked scared shitless. After a CAT scan, a blood panel, and several other small tests, they concluded that Faye seems to be healthy, but needs a full psychiatric evaluation. They gave us a referral and we made an appointment, but it’s two weeks out. We’ll have the blood panel back sooner.
When we got home, Faye took a nap, and I went out into the woods across the street from our neighborhood, where I saw Tiwe in the dream. For those of you who aren’t caught up, it’s pronounced Tee-way and we still don’t know how he died. I wandered around between the trees, trying to figure out if there was something I needed to find. For about 10 minutes I searched and found nothing, but then I remembered the phrase that many of the voices at the cabin kept repeating: “Up in the trees, or down in the hole. You go up in the trees, or all the way down. Down, down, so deep you never see the light again.” There were so many variants of that phrase I can’t remember them all. But, I looked up at the tops of the trees, and voila, there was a little crudely-constructed object made from twigs and twine, dangling from a branch about thirty feet off the ground.
It looked kind of like the dreamcatcher we found at the cabin, but it was obviously made with the twigs from the very tree from which it dangled, so it was a different color and shape. I climbed up the tree and tried to retrieve it, but it was so frail it fell apart the second I pulled it toward me.
One thing about it stood out in particular. It had strands of fiery strawberry blonde hair dangling off of it. Just like Faye’s. I need your opinions on this. As far as I know, Faye cannot climb trees. Then again, there’s apparently a lot I don’t know about Faye.
My fiancee went out around 7PM and picked her sister Becca up from the airport. She insisted I stay at home and rest. I think she feels bad about how often she deprives me of sleep. I reluctantly obliged. They came home at about 9PM, and with them was Becca’s son Caleb. I know nothing about babies, but Caleb is pretty cool. He cries less than my students and is smarter than half of them. And Faye absolutely adores him.
Becca and I caught up over hot chocolate in the living room while Faye unleashed the full scope of her maternal instincts upon Caleb upstairs. She sang lullabies, laughed, cooed, and basically went mommy-crazy. I know that when Becca leaves, I’m going to have to deal with Faye crying and wishing we had kids already.
Becca is tough as nails, just like her sister, and it comes from being raised in a strict military family. But having a strict dad also teaches girls how to be expert liars, and I got the sense that Becca was selling me all sorts of bullshit when I told her about what we went through at the cabin. Becca is 5 years older than Faye and has already been married twice; she has a ten-year-old daughter with her first husband. She claimed that she only went to the cabin at Pikes Peak once. She said the drive up there made her carsick, so whenever her parents went there with Faye as a little girl, she’d sleep over at a friend’s house instead.
She also told me she had no idea what the number 5 means to Faye, and dodged me like a minnow when pressed. I get the overwhelming sense that she is deeply troubled by Faye’s behavior, and not just because it’s creepy. She knows something she’s not saying. Faye’s entire family seems to be keeping me out of the loop about something big.
A very tech-savvy Redditor offered to help me track down Jennifer, and he delivered. When I checked my email that night before bed, he had provided me with an email address and phone number of Jennifer’s husband (she remarried after Tom hanged himself. Tom was so deeply disturbed by his experiences at the cabin that he couldn’t take it, even after moving to Nevada. Or, maybe he just couldn’t take Jennifer).
I emailed the guy, his name is William, and he got back to me the next day and asked me to call him. I explained the situation to him. He informed me that he and Jennifer had moved to Washington state years ago, but she started abusing prescription medication a year into their marriage. Over the course of a few weeks, she repeatedly told William she’d heard her daughter (who died in childhood) calling to her from the forest outside their home. One night when William got home from work, the back door was open, and Jennifer was gone. She left with her shoes and jacket.
Jennifer went missing for almost six months. A group of campers found her remains about 40 miles away. She had been buried in the ground, with her legs sticking out. They had been gnawed clean by wolves.
That night, I woke up to the sound of a baby crying. Faye was gone. My first thought was that it was coming from her, because a few weeks ago, she had accurately mimicked the sound of a child’s cries while walking around the house at night. But this time, it was Caleb. I walked down the hall that led to the guest room and found the door open; Becca wasn’t there and the crib was empty. I followed the sounds down the stairs, walking past the barf stain on the wall (I’m going to strip it today), and saw Faye and Becca sitting on the couch. Faye was cradling Caleb in her arms, staring at him, and Becca was babbling on and on about her husband. She didn’t notice that Faye was actually asleep. When Faye looked up at me, only the whites of her eyes showed – they were rolled back in her head. She was completely out of it. And she smiled.
I stood there for a second, just really disturbed at the scene, and didn’t say anything. Suddenly, something moved just outside the sliding glass door behind them, the door that leads to our tiny little garden. It was almost pitch black out there, but the black shape of a man – a huge man – moved away from the glass and vanished into the darkness. Someone had been standing there behind Faye and Becca, watching them play with Caleb.
I took off out the front door, hoping to circle around and intercept the man. We live in a housing complex that has a walkway that goes behind all of the houses, and the only thing separating it from each backyard is a tiny little wooden gate that you can literally step over. It’s mostly to keep dogs and rodents out. But I ran up and down the path and found nothing at all. There was, however, an oily-black substance on the ground about 10 yards away from our back patio.
Last night, Faye started mumbling more lullabies in her sleep. I’m guessing it’s probably because she’s been thinking about Becca and Caleb’s visit, and she loves kids so much. She also said, “He’s in the stains. He gets up and walks around in the dark.”
I took the advice of a few Redditors and asked her, “Faye, what did you forget?”
She paused for a long time, then replied, “He needs me.” Right when she said it, a child laughed somewhere outside.
Tomorrow, the Shoshone woman who visited us last month is going to come back with her friend who specializes in hypnosis. I will report the results when I can. Again, please forgive me if it takes me a bit longer. This week is a nightmare.
The last time I updated, Faye’s older sister Becca came to visit us with her infant son Caleb. The presence of the child seems to have awakened something in Faye, because her sleep disturbances have become more erratic, and her unusual behavior has intensified. They stayed for almost a week, but left abruptly after a few weird experiences with Faye. Becca seemed to be growing angry with Faye over the course of a few days, although I could never really discern why. One night when Faye was asleep, Becca and I sat on the couch and talked more about what had been happening. I asked her why she seemed so hostile toward her sister that day (she wouldn’t even speak to her), and Becca replied that “Faye really has a problem letting things go. If she’s mad at someone, she’s mad for weeks. If she’s hurt, she’s hurt for years. She can’t forgive and she can’t forget.”
I asked, “Did you do something to make her mad? Are you two fighting?”
Becca denied that they were having any sort of conflict, and said that she was just speaking in general terms, having grown up with Faye. I asked if there was something in the past that made Faye angry, and Becca sharply responded,
“Nobody did anything to Faye. Nothing happened to her.”
At that point she stood up and went upstairs, claiming she needed to check on Caleb, and closed the door without saying goodnight. Faye is sometimes difficult to handle because she’s proud and stubborn – and the strongest person I’ve ever met – but her sister is like an obsidian wall. You can’t get any information out of her. You can’t read her poker-face. You can’t know what she’s really thinking, ever.
But I know that she knows something. And maybe I can’t get it out of her, but I figured I’d be able to get it out of her mom. Becca/Faye’s mom Laura agreed to a Skype chat with me this week. This time, I’m going for the throat.
I successfully removed all the vomit stains from the house, so Faye isn’t talking to them in the dark anymore. But she is still getting worse. I feel like she’s slipping away.
Seeing Faye holding Caleb on the couch with her eyes rolled back in her head and smiling was one of the most disturbing memories I have of this entire ordeal. There is something about Faye and that child that deeply unsettles me, but I’ve been keeping quiet and trying to make sure that Caleb is safe. I have no reason to believe Faye would ever hurt another person (except for the one time in college when she punched out a drunk girl at a party for grabbing my ass and saying “I’d hit it”). But as far as animals and kids go, Faye is angelic.
The night that Becca stormed off to bed mid-conversation, Faye did something odd. I woke up to her mumbling in the dark, and when I turned on the light, she was standing at the far end of the room, cradling a pillow in her arms and swaying back and forth, half-singing a lullaby. The words were unrecognizable, but the melody sounded distantly familiar. I called out to her and asked, “Sweetie…what are you doing?”
She replied in a low, grumbling voice, “I always wanted to be a big sister.” Her speech was slurred; she sounded drugged.
I got up and gently ushered her back to bed, and took the pillow away. When I did, she said, “Now I want to be a mommy.” I rubbed her neck and assured her that I do want to start a family with her someday, and that she would be a great mom. She then mumbled, “He’s a little corpse.”
I asked, “What do you mean?” but she never replied. She just started that rhythmic breathing that lets you know your partner is fast asleep.
Angela visited our house again the next evening, just after the sun went down. For those of you who don’t recall, Angela belongs to a Shoshone tribe in California, and is the daughter of a very important tribal elder. She first visited me and Faye when we got back to California, and told us that a malevolent spirit called “the hollow one” was infatuated with my fiancée. She said that there was a dark cloud over Faye that could not be easily removed. This time Angela brought her friend, who is a hypnotist, and they inspected the house and the yard. We told them about the barf stains, and Faye’s claim that “he’s in the stains. He gets up at night and walks around in the dark.” Then, in private, I told them about baby Caleb’s presence and how it has exacerbated Faye’s behavior. I also showed them where I found the new dreamcatcher.
Angela said that this entity has many names, and is known to several different Native American groups. It is “older than the skin-walkers” and the progenitor of many evil spirits that inhabit different places near the Rocky Mountains and Southwest. Her friend referred to it as “a soul trader” that snatches up a person’s essence and takes it down into the dark, then enters the remaining body to seek out more victims. I don’t know where the dark is, but allegedly, that is where Faye is headed.
With too much exposure to this thing, both Faye and I had become tainted by it. This is why we were vomiting dark bile, and the stains still carried remnants of that evil. Angela spoke with Faye for a long time, and concluded that she was “still Faye,” but on her way to somewhere else. She is making a spiritual journey into a place that she thinks is good and safe, but in reality, she is being coaxed out of this world.
Despite what has happened to us, a lot of this whimsical metaphysical talk is sometimes hard for me to swallow. But the hypnotist’s session with Faye did a good job of convincing me that there is something here, inside my house with us, always watching.
The hypnotist had Faye lie in our bed, and we brought chairs from the dining room upstairs to sit with her. She put her hand on Faye’s forehead and hummed a chant for a while, then covered Faye’s eyes with her palm and asked her a few questions. They were things like, “What is your name?” and “Who is your fiancé?” All of Faye’s answers were normal.
Then the hypnotist hummed some more, and lifted her hand. Faye’s eyes were rolled back in her head, which only happens when she’s in a sleepwalking state. Her mouth was twitching a little bit. The hypnotist asked, “Who are you?” and she responded, “I am Faye.”
The important parts of the conversation went a bit like this:
“Faye, can you tell us who is in this house?”
Faye raised her arm slowly and pointed each person in the room out and said their name, even though she was not looking at them. She knew where everyone was.
“Felix…Becca…Angela…you…” and then she pointed at the wall and said “Caleb.” He was in the other room.
The hypnotist asked, “Is there anyone else? What about the man who has been following you?”
She shook her head and said, “Right now he’s outside.”
We all glanced out the window to the tree line where I had first seen the figure walking back and forth in the middle of the night, mimicking Faye’s sleepwalking. This time, there was no one there.
Angela asked, “What does he say to you? Is he talking to you right now?”
Faye replied, “I can’t hear him. He’s facing the other way.”
The hypnotist asked, “And what are the dreamcatchers for? Who makes them?”
Faye did not respond. She smiled a little bit.
I butted in and said, “Honey, I found your hair wrapped into a dreamcatcher outside. Did you do that?”
She put her finger to her lips and shushed me. Then she put her palm flat against the wall, like she was feeling for a pulse. After a few moments, she said, “he’s here.”
Right when she finished her sentence, Caleb burst into tears. Becca and Angela rushed out of the room to go check on him. The hypnotist and I remained with Faye.
The hypnotist finally went for broke and said, “Faye, sweetie, you wrote the number 5 on the window in the other room. You wrote it backwards. Why did you do that? What does it mean? Did you write it for someone outside to see?”
In that moment, Faye’s eyes rolled forward, and her little green irises finally showed. She immediately looked toward the door that led into the hall, and said, “No. No. He’s listening now.” Then she began hyperventilating and struggled to speak the words, “He’ll find out.”
The last thing she said was “Ffffffelix” (my name) in a deep, guttural voice. It wasn’t her own. Then the hypnotist pressed her hand against Faye’s eyes and spoke a loud command in her Native language (I think it was Shoshone but I’m not actually sure what group she’s affiliated with). Faye immediately “woke up” and seemed very confused about where she was, then started crying, and reached out for me. I hurried over and held her in my arms. Her body was so cold it was like she was a corpse. When she was crying, she said, “He wants to kill you. He wants you dead. I saw you in the trees.”
Angela and the hypnotist (I haven’t given her name, by the way, because I don’t want you to have to memorize a million names) hurried around the house, blessing it and burning sage, then also recommended I call in a Catholic priest for Faye’s personal comfort since she is a Catholic. They left after a few words of parting, and Becca seemed really angry and scared at this point. She remained in her room for the rest of the night.
I got a call about an hour later from Angela, who told me that she had discussed the situation with the hypnotist, and they believe that Faye is in extreme denial about something. Perhaps some sort of trauma. And they said that she had repressed it so well that it was consigned to a place in her subconscious that only years of therapy or hypnosis could unearth. It was in a place in her mind that could not even be accessed by talking to her in her sleep. That is where the number 5 rests, and that is why the entity hasn’t yet found it, despite communicating with Faye in her sleep virtually every night. He’s drilling her brain like miners digging for gold.
And the fun didn’t end there.
We all went to sleep pretty early that night because of all the drama, but as I’ve learned on so many other occasions, going to sleep upset usually results in a night terror or some other sleep disturbance for Faye. At about 2AM she leaped out of bed, jolting me awake in the process, and bombed down the hall like there was a fire. She started bashing her fists against the door to the guest room, but didn’t utter a single word. Her eyes were shut. I flicked on the light and stood there in the hall just for a second, scared stiff, but when baby Caleb started crying I snapped out of it and rushed over. I bear-hugged my fiancée to try to get her to stop making so much noise, and in return, she tried to bite me.
Faye has never been violent toward me in her life, even in her sleep. She is always a very passive sleepwalker. Creepy, but passive. This time she was trying to rip my throat out. She was trying to draw blood. I fended her off and sort of apprehended her, then walked her back to the bedroom; she was basically wearing me like a straightjacket. When I carefully put her back in bed, she whispered, “You’ll go up in the trees. He went down in the hole.”
Becca was understandably furious the next day, but she swallowed her anger and drove Faye down to the Catholic church at the town center. I went to work. Apparently they finally got one of the priests to agree to visit – next week – to bless the house. They explained that this wouldn’t be enough, so he said he’d speak with the bishop of his diocese. That could take a while.
That evening, Becca informed me that she had changed her flight, and she now intended to leave in two days. I begged her to set aside her differences with Faye and try to get through to her; I said Faye needs her big sister right now. But Becca wouldn’t budge. She seems to be holding a monolithic grudge about something neither of them will tell me.
I ordered pizza, Faye’s favorite, in a lame attempt at lightening the mood around the house. But the two would only have casual, light conversation with each other, and the tension in the house was so thick I could feel it in my stomach. Faye and I retired to our room early and watched Game of Thrones in bed (we always record it on Sunday because Faye is at work, and then we watch it during the week). I asked her if she remembered telling me that the Impostor wanted me dead, or that I was going to be put up in the trees. She said she did not recall saying any of that, but that she did have a dream about seeing me impaled on a tree branch high up in the air. She said my skin and hair were missing.
Faye fell asleep pretty quickly, but I couldn’t sleep at all. I remembered that Nathan (Tiwe’s son) had left me a voicemail a few days prior, and I had forgotten to call him back, so I grabbed my phone and went downstairs. The house was quiet; Becca and Caleb were already asleep upstairs. I turned the TV on low to mask my conversation with Nathan. It was midnight in Colorado but he answered the phone, and asked me how everything was going. I told him everything.
Nathan had a lot to say. He apologized for making me and Faye sick, but said that a simple purging process was a very common treatment for many physical and spiritual maladies in his tribe. However, by my description of the barf stain events, it obviously did not work and we were still under the influence of the Impostor. He said if we came back to Colorado, he would bring us to the elders of his community and request that they perform a more serious healing ritual. I told him that would be Faye’s call entirely, but I doubt she would go (or that the Impostor would let her).
Last month when I was in the cabin by myself, there was a blizzard that shut down the only road down the mountain. The ranger couldn’t come up to check on me. But Tiwe and Nathan, being the badass gentlemen they are, actually hiked up the mountain through the snow and checked up on me. You can read that story at the bottom of this post if you haven’t, but basically on their hike back down, they heard Faye’s voice calling out to them from inside one of the abandoned mines on Pikes Peak. Tiwe went to investigate, and was dragged into the dark by an unseen creature or animal. Nathan eventually found him dead, and parts of his skin had been flayed.
The reason that I hadn’t been able to get a hold of Nathan for several days was because he and a group of men from his community went back to Pikes Peak to investigate the circumstances of his father’s death, and to explore the cabin. They camped for a few nights, and even spent one night in the woods next to the cabin. Nathan heard Tiwe’s voice, calling out for help over and over, crying and speaking Nathan’s name. However, occasionally the voice would cry out in Zuni, which is a language that some Pueblo tribes speak, but their tribe does not. They speak Hopi. So Nathan was fairly certain that this was not, in fact, his father.
They also heard children weeping in the forest. One of Nathan’s friends left the tents to take a piss, and he claims he saw a naked child with grayish skin standing a dozen yards off, facing away, looking up at the trees. He looked like a stiff corpse, and was standing high up on the balls of his feet. This sight apparently scared Nathan’s friend so bad he took off, grabbed his things, and went to hike back down the mountain – in the dark, in the cold, by himself. Nathan and the others tried to stop him, but it was too dangerous to go after him. They haven’t seen him since.
Nathan told me that he had recurring dreams of a child while on the mountain. Of a child, and of Faye. He said to me, “Tell me about the child, Felix.”
During our conversation, I had been standing in the living room, facing the sliding glass door, looking out into the backyard. Right when Nathan said “tell me about the child,” I saw a large shadow move behind the orange tree outside. I told Nathan to hold on a second, and went to grab the flashlight from the kitchen.
When I got there, I almost collapsed in fright. The front door was wide open. From my front door, you can see the tree line across the street. Someone was walking behind the trees; I could see them moving slowly between them. I set down the phone and ran upstairs to wake Faye and Becca, but Faye wasn’t in bed. I frantically rushed to Becca’s room to see if Faye was with her, but Becca was fast asleep, and was really disturbed at my urgency when I woke her up. We turned on the light and she went to grab Caleb, but he wasn’t in the little crib Faye had bought for him. He was gone.
Becca turned into the Hulk in about 0.5 seconds flat. She started shrieking in rage and terror, screaming “WHERE IS HE? WHERE IS MY BABY?” over and over. We dashed around the house looking for Faye and Caleb, but couldn’t find them, and then I realized that she had taken him outside. We ran out there barefoot, straight to the trees, and came up behind Faye.
My fiancée was standing there in her underwear, looking up into the trees. Her arms were outstretched, holding Caleb up in the air, as if offering him to someone above. High up on one of the branches was the dreamcatcher – the one I had taken down and broken only days earlier. Now it was intact.
Becca grabbed Caleb out of Faye’s hands and shoved her to the ground, then took the baby back inside. I picked Faye up and rushed her back into the house. Neighbors were starting to come out of their homes to see what all the commotion was. Faye woke up on our way back up the stairs, and broke down crying, apologizing to both of us. Becca packed all of her things and stormed out of the house, grabbing Faye’s car keys, and drove off. The police showed up within a few minutes and I had to explain to them that the sisters had a big fight that got taken outside. I said that Faye was drunk so she took it a bit far and ran off across the street. Thankfully, nobody saw the baby, so I didn’t get arrested for child endangerment.
What else could I have said? They’d never have believed me if I told them the truth. They checked Faye out to make sure she hadn’t gotten beaten up, and asked her repeatedly if I was treating her alright. Then, they left. Becca drove straight to the airport; Faye and I had to go pick up the car the next day.
I’ve got a Skype chat scheduled with Faye’s mom tomorrow. Becca texted me and said, “Ask her about 5. She knows.”
If I get the answer out of her, I’ll post a brief update here, but I won’t make another post for a while. I’m sorry. Thank you for all of the support over the past month. Now I need to try to put all the broken pieces of my home life back together.
I am so sorry for the length of this post. It is enormous. I actually have to split it in two because of Reddit’s word count limit, but this is it. For better or for worse, the end has finally come. After I post the other half of this update in a few days, I will never speak of these events again. I have lost far too much, and it hurts me too deeply to continue.
It has been a long time since I talked about my fiancée and the events surrounding our vacation at her parents’ cabin in Colorado. But I think enough time has passed. I have finally unearthed the secrets Faye’s family has been hiding from me. NoSleep has been remarkably supportive, so even though what I’m about to tell you is deeply personal, you’ve helped us get this far. You deserve to know what I’ve found.
We moved two weeks ago. I got a new job, so we found a new place a few towns over. It’s only an hour’s drive from our old place, and it’s the same distance from Faye’s work but in the opposite direction. As if by the law of horror film clichés, the strange activity that plagued us at night ceased entirely for a week when we moved into our new place. However, it started up again after a while, just as I feared it might. Our new home had not yet been blessed by Angela when the activity started up again (she is the daughter of a Shoshone tribal elder who saged and blessed our old home a few weeks prior).
The At’an-A’anotogkua – the “Impostor” – has not given up on Faye. Its game is to wear us down until we just give up.
I had a Skype chat set up with Faye’s very reticent mother, but per NoSleep’s warnings, I waited until after we moved. The fear was that Laura might divulge something over Skype that the Impostor could use against us. The more it discovers about us, the more closely it can mimic me and any of Faye’s family members – living or dead. When she is asleep, Faye is highly susceptible to suggestion. The running hypothesis NoSleep has developed is that there are certain things the Impostor needs to know about Faye in order to fully infiltrate her, to control her, to kill her (we don’t really know what it plans to do with her). But we do know that it is especially curious about the significance of the number 5, which Faye drew on a window while sleepwalking. She gets agitated any time 5 is brought up, but cannot coherently explain why. I think that once it learns the meaning of the number, it will have full access to Faye and will be able to do whatever it’s planning with her.
I sat on the couch with my laptop and Skyped Laura around 10PM one night in our new place, about a half hour after Faye had fallen asleep. I had to be extremely aggressive in order to break Laura’s wall of lies about her family’s past, and just when she seemed ready to crack, Faye walked out of the bedroom (we now live in a one-story house).
It was dark in the hall so she scared the shit out of me when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. She stood there in the shadows, rigid and still. Her entire body was stiff, and her head was craned all the way back in a painful position. Her chin pointed at the ceiling, and her arms were straight up in the air in a “Hallelujah” gesture. She hadn’t sleepwalked in a while now, so I immediately told Laura I’d call her back and jumped up.
Faye shushed me and wiggled her fingers, arms still outstretched. She looked like a praying mantis in repose.
I asked, “Faye – what is it?”
She smiled and replied, “Did you know about her?” She closed her hands, and one of her fingers pointed at the ceiling.
I said I didn’t know what she was talking about, and asked, “What? Know what?” I looked up at the ceiling and saw nothing.
Faye paused (she typically pauses for long periods between sentences while sleeptalking) and then said, “There’s an old woman up there. She lives in the attic. She’s so friendly. She remembered my birthday!”
My skin crawled; it felt like insects skittering under my clothes when she said that. Faye says a lot of disturbing things and I’ve grown used to it, but occasionally she still surprises me. I asked her more about this old woman, and she said,
“She sleeps right above our bed.”
Faye brought her arms down to her sides and her muscles relaxed. She stopped answering my questions. I walked her back into the bedroom and gently tucked her in.
That night I lay awake in the dark, staring up at the ceiling. I imagined the corpse of an old woman stuck up inside the drywall or dangling from the rafters in the attic. I couldn’t shake the feeling that our unwanted guest had moved in with us, and was now pretending to be a friendly stranger to trick Faye. That night I dreamed of a dark stain spreading itself out across the ceiling in the shape of a large man, just like the vomit stains in our old house a few weeks prior.
As I was falling asleep, I thought I heard something heavy dragging itself around up there.
Laura called the following evening. Faye wasn’t home from work yet, so we had a good hour-long conversation before things got uncomfortable. I had to spend a lot of time getting her back into that emotional space where she could open up about her daughter, and when she finally did, I was astonished. It felt like the first time Laura had ever told me the truth about anything. I don’t have any proof that she was being honest, but I could hear it in her voice.
It is true that Faye was five years old when she developed her unusual sleep disorder. But the number 5 does not symbolize that. It goes a lot deeper. As I mentioned before in a previous update, Faye’s parents lied to me and told me she had been visiting the cabin in Pikes Peak regularly throughout her life until she was thirteen – and yet Faye claimed she had never been there before, ever. In reality, Faye went there a few times as a child, but her last visit was at age five. She and her father Greg were outside building a snowman, but then Faye walked to the tree line and began speaking with someone that Greg could not see. She spoke her own name, and said a few other things Greg couldn’t hear, then had some sort of seizure and became catatonic. When she came to, she cried for hours.
But there was apparently more to the story.
Just as Faye got home from work and walked in the door, I heard Laura say, “A few months before that, I was pregnant.”
The second I covered the mouthpiece and said “Hi sweetie,” Laura hung up the phone.
I kept this revelation to myself for a while. Laura didn’t return my calls after Faye went to bed, so I never found out what happened to her pregnancy. Did she have a miscarriage? An abortion? Did she give the baby up for adoption? Was it not Greg’s child? Millions of questions swarmed my mind. I didn’t sleep at all, and I could barely hide my thoughts from Faye. She knew something was wrong (she’s quite perceptive and can read me like a book), but I acted like I had a stomach ache and went to bed.
That night I had an absolutely terrible dream. Probably the worst one I have ever had. In it, an adult Faye attacked her pregnant mother. She was sleepwalking, but screaming wildly and pummeling her mother – just like she had pummeled the guest bedroom door when her sister and infant nephew (Becca and Caleb) visited us last month. There was blood everywhere in the dream, and Faye ran off into the woods with the fetus. It was so violent I jolted awake, nearly screaming.
When I woke up, Faye was sitting upright in bed, staring out the window. She was awake. I could tell because her posture was normal, and her eyes weren’t rolled back in her head or blissfully sealed shut.
She said, “Did you hear it too?”
It took me a while to figure out where I was. When I saw her sitting there in a pristine white t-shirt, I sighed in relief. There was no blood anywhere. It was just a dream. Before I could answer her question, I heard a baby crying.
We live in a bigger suburban neighborhood now, so it was entirely possible that it was just a sound from one of the nearby houses. But Faye’s reaction to it really disturbed me. The look on her face made me think the sound was causing her physical pain. She cringed and shut her eyes, trying not to cry. I cupped her face in my hands and told her it was okay, but as I did, another voice rang out from the dark.
It was a little girl, and she was speaking as if to a baby. From what I could hear, she said:
“When do we go insiiiiide?”
“Up in the trees? Where?”
(starting to cry) “Not in the hole. Not down there.”
Faye started crying too. I looked out the window but couldn’t see anything. She had no explanation for why she was so upset, other than, “He’s back. He’s here. I know it’s him.”
I didn’t want to scare her, but I completely agreed.
CONVERSATION WITH NATHAN
I had a missed call from Nathan the next morning when I woke up. It was Saturday, and Faye and I had plans to get new furniture at Ikea. While she was in the shower, I returned Nathan’s call. He answered on the first ring. He sounded terrible.
The first thing he said was, “Felix, do you know anything about the child?”
A few weeks prior he had said, “Tell me about the child,” and I had no idea what he was talking about. Now, I had a pretty clear idea. So I whispered to him that Faye’s mother had been pregnant when Faye was five, but I had no idea what became of the baby. He told me to get as much information from Laura as possible, at all costs, but to keep it from Faye. He also told me that he was going to mail us a special herbal mixture (mugwort, damiana, and calea zaca-something) to make into tea before bed. He said it promotes good dreams, and therefore would shield us from some of the Impostor’s intrusions.
I asked Nathan to explain what he meant. He said very simply, “The At’an-A’anotogkua does not read minds. It reads dreams.”
This was an astonishing revelation to me; it explained so much about the cabin. The Impostor mimicked Faye’s grandfather because she probably had a dream about him at the cabin, and it mimicked my mother for the same reason. It mimicked the people that Greg saw die in the war because he frequently had nightmares about them. The former owner of the cabin, Jennifer, heard her dead daughter’s voice in the forest at night because she regularly dreamed about her (who wouldn’t have painful dreams of their own child who passed away?).
The creature mimics the people it learns about through the dreams of its victims, and repeats them in the forest to coax those victims outside. It also listens to the things people say while they are awake. This is why we heard so many unrecognizable and familiar voices at the same time – some of those voices belonged to other victims. That thing wanders around in the dark, learning from its target, sharpening its skills, and pretending. That is how it hunts. So, since I was getting nearer to the significance of the number 5 – the information the Impostor so desperately sought – Faye was in greater danger. My own dreams could betray our safety.
Nathan continued (and I’m just paraphrasing because I can’t remember everything verbatim): “Faye is the most fascinating person the At’an-A’anotogkua has ever encountered. Her dreams are mysterious to it. She is a puzzle to be solved. And most of all, when it speaks to her through her dreams, she speaks back. I guess you could say it has a very dark fixation with her…perhaps even love. A putrid form of it, anyway.”
It was true. Faye mirrored the Impostor’s darkness; when it looked into her, it didn’t find all of the hopes and dreams and fears it saw in others. Instead, it saw a deep well of impenetrable blackness, and it knew there was something hidden beneath it. Whatever it plans to do with the information it seeks, it knows that 5 is the light that will reveal the bottom of that well and everything inside it.
Cold sweat matted every inch of my skin during this conversation. I pressed the phone tighter to my ear so as not to miss a word. I asked, “Why does it even need Faye to find the answer? Her parents probably know what that number means too.”
Nathan said something in his Native language, as though he were speaking to a person sitting in the room with him. Then he said, “Her parents haven’t been to the cabin in a very long time. Its connection to them is weak. Maybe it can’t keep hold of someone for very long if they aren’t on the mountain. After all, Faye has had her sleep disorder since she first went to Pikes Peak, but as the years passed, this entity faded from her life. It only returned when she came back.”
I heard the shower turn off. The glass door slid open, and Faye began moving around the bathroom. I walked outside onto the patio and closed the door behind me.
“But what does it want, Nathan?” I asked. “I mean, once it learns everything it needs, what does it plan to do? Nobody will give me a straight answer.”
Again, Nathan said something I could not understand. He was talking to someone else. Perhaps one of the elders of his community was with him.
“It is one of the Old Evils,” he said. “Our people have believed in them since the beginning. When a person dies, sometimes they become a – what do you call them – a wraith. A haunting. But these entities were here long before.”
So many horror films Faye and I had cheerfully watched came flooding into my mind.
“Uh, so like a demon,” I said. I can’t tell you how many movies I’ve seen where a family finds out that the ghost in their house is actually a demon, and for a few obscure reasons, that’s much worse. I felt like I was about to be given that speech.
Nathan cleared his throat. “Well, no, not exactly. We don’t believe in Hell, or any equivalent place. Our interpretation of the other worlds is very complex. But basically, this type of entity, they take you away. Not your body. Your spirit. They take it out into the dark, away from this world and its light. So far away, eternities upon eternities away. The distance drives your spirit completely mad, and then you become one of them. That’s what it does. He separates you from where you are supposed to go in the afterlife. It steals you from yourself.”
So, yeah, good news all around.
I also asked Nathan how he was coping with his father’s death, and pointed out that he sounded especially dreary today. Again I expressed my condolences and said that I was most honored to have known Tiwe, and that we are alive because of him. Nathan replied that he knows his father’s spirit lives on through his family, and in the sacred earth where they live. For that reason, he does not mourn his death.
However, Nathan also said something that made my hand go cold as I clutched the phone. He said, “I keep having the same nightmare, every night. It keeps me awake when it’s over. I’m exhausted.”
I asked him to tell me about the dream, as I had been having terrible ones lately too.
He said, “It’s the cabin. I see it in my dreams. It’s sitting there in the dark, and there is a bad storm. I’m standing in the distance, looking at it. A light turns on inside, and I walk toward it. As I approach, the front door slowly opens, and something in my heart tells me not to step inside. But I do. Every time, I do. When I’m inside, the light cuts out, and it’s very dark. From the living room I can hear my father’s voice calling out to me from the bedroom. He is speaking in our language, and sounds happy and peaceful. He tells me to come to him, and that he wants to see my face before he goes to be with our ancestors. He calls me Ha’an’tue, “my light,” the nickname I was given as a child. But when I go to push the bedroom door open, I wake up to the sound of a child crying. Every time.”
Nathan went on to explain that he feels these dreams are a sign, and that he must return to the cabin and the site of Tiwe’s death.
I said, “It could be a trap, you know. In fact I’m sure it is.”
Nathan spoke once more in his language to whoever was in the room with him, and then paused. He finally sighed and said, “You might be right. But it really feels like him.”
I made him promise not to go back to the cabin. He agreed, and said he’d call me in a few days. I thanked him again for his father’s sacrifice.
THE SECRETS UNRAVEL
A few days passed in relative peace. Laura did not return my calls, and Becca (Faye’s sister) did not return my texts. The standoffishness of this family drives me insane. When Faye and I got home from doing groceries one evening, a package had arrived in the mail. It contained the herbs Nathan had talked about, with instructions on how to make them into tea.
“Not too much!” read the little note.
Faye brewed some of it up and drank it, and when she was finished, I jokingly told her “actually we are sending you on a vision quest. This is going to be really intense.” She was not amused.
We both slept soundly that night. No bad dreams, no strange activity outside, no weird sounds. The next morning there was a knock at the door, so light it only woke me up (I’m the light-sleeping insomniac of the family). I snuck out of bed, trying not to wake Faye, and crept to the front door.
It was Laura. She had come to our new home, totally unannounced. Uninvited.
I immediately knew there was about to be a shitstorm. I couldn’t begin to imagine what she was doing here, but I knew by the on her face that there was trouble. I invited her inside and informed her that Faye was still asleep, and she actually was relieved and said she wanted to talk to me alone.
From her bag she produced a photo album. We sat on the couch, where she quietly apologized to me for everything: for being constantly evasive, for lying, and for letting us go to that cabin in the first place. I waved away her ramblings and demanded to know the purpose of her visit. I had absolutely had enough of all this and wanted to get to the bottom of things.
Laura dropped her voice to a whisper and opened the photo album. As she turned the pages, I realized that it was actually a scrapbook – a very elaborate one that had taken years of effort to construct. There were photos, drawings, designs, letters, postcards, even a necklace and some flattened flowers. I saw pictures of Faye I had never seen before. She was absolutely adorable as a child. Her glowing smile poked out from beneath little strawberry locks in photo after photo.
Laura said, “This is what I wanted to show you. I don’t know how to talk to Faye about it.”
I was amazed. It took expert handiwork to craft something like this.
“You made this?” I asked.
She flipped further into the scrapbook and revealed a few old pictures of herself in the later stages of pregnancy. The centerpiece of one of the pages was a photograph of Laura, big-bellied and bearing a youthful smile, and little five-year-old Faye curiously resting her ear on her mother’s tummy. It was a priceless image, and one that hadn’t seen the light of day in decades.
“Faye and I put this together, actually,” she replied. “When she was very little.” It made sense. Faye is one of the most talented arts and crafts hobbyists I’ve ever known.
“So…uh, what happened?” I asked.
Laura looked over her shoulder and down the hall. She obviously feared Faye would wake up.
“His name was Christopher,” she said. Tears welled up in her eyes as she spoke. When she turned the page, there was a photo of Laura undergoing an ultrasound and giving a thumbs-up. “He was stillborn a little over a month before the due date.”
I had no idea what to say. I felt that saying “I’m sorry” was too empty, so instead I just remained silent.
“Placenta abruption,” she continued. “It’s rare. But it happens.”
She scooted closer to me on the couch and set the scrapbook on my lap, then grabbed my wrist. She said, “Felix, Faye doesn’t remember any of this. We have never, ever spoken of it.”
I asked how that could be possible, given that she was certainly old enough to remember an event like this. Laura explained that the emergency occurred while Greg was out with the girls. The paramedics rushed Laura to the hospital, but the baby could not be saved. When she and Greg finally decided to break the news to their daughters that Christopher had died, Becca was heartbroken, but Faye did not react. It was as if what they were telling her simply didn’t register. Laura would say, “Do you understand that Christopher is never coming home?” And Faye would respond, “Yes, mommy” with a blank expression.
This went on for weeks. Faye would occasionally ask about Christopher as if he’d be visiting soon, and then suddenly she’d not remember anything about him, as if he never existed. She began to act out at school and would throw violent tantrums for no reason. A child psychologist warned that Faye was not handling the situation well, so Laura and Greg decided to spend several days up at the cabin with the girls in hopes of separating little Faye’s mind from the heavy event.
That’s when it happened. Whatever it is that lives in the forest up there, “up in the trees” or “down in the hole,” took notice of Faye. It wanted to learn more, but her little brain shut down in terror when it got too close.
Laura said, “After that day, Faye never spoke of Christopher again, and seems completely unaware that he ever existed.”
Quite suddenly, Faye’s voice erupted from behind us. She was standing in the hallway, perhaps for a long time. I slammed shut the scrapbook. The air went out of the room. There was an agonizingly long moment of stillness, during which all of us exchanged surprised looks.
“What’s that?” she finally asked, pointing to the scrapbook on my lap.
I was useless, a deer in the headlights. Laura got up and got between me and Faye, giving her a hug and asking how she was feeling. She said they needed to talk, but Faye pushed her aside and walked over to the couch. Her fiery eyes locked on the scrapbook and didn’t blink. She reached down and opened it. The page she revealed had a colorful cutout of the number 5; it was one of the final pages of the book. Her jaw trembled and tears instantly welled in her eyes. A look of excruciating pain fell over her face, and she began hyperventilating. Laura rounded the couch and tried to assuage her, but Faye slapped her hand away and grabbed the scrapbook, then raced off to the bedroom. She cried in there for hours, and never let us in.
THE WORST NEWS
I spent the rest of the day alone. Faye never emerged from the bedroom, and wouldn’t speak to me when I knocked. So, I played Overwatch to distract myself from the horrible knot of stress in my stomach, meanwhile texting with my best friends Richard and Jason regarding the new developments. When I got up for a drink, I heard the bedroom door click. Faye was ready to let me in.
She was sitting on the bed with the scrapbook in her lap when I pushed the door open.
I said as gently as I could, “You wanna talk about it?”
Her face was streaked with hundreds of tears. Her skin was pale, and her eyes were lifeless. Never had I seen her in such a state. I considered calling the paramedics for fear that she might hurt herself – or me.
She said, “I remember now.”
I stood there in the doorway, afraid to make a move. I wasn’t sure how Faye would react to the knowledge that I had been conspiring with her mother about their secret past.
“Mom and I spent all summer getting the nursery set up,” she said, tracing a finger over one of the photos. “Dad was so excited that he was finally going to have a son. So we did a sports theme.”
I walked over to the bed and sat down, quiet as a lamb, trying not to trigger another explosion. Faye kept her hands pressed on the scrapbook, as though she were feeling for a pulse. The colorful number 5 rested at the center of the page, laid over various photos. In one, there was a baseball mural painted on the wall with five players, and in another, a toddler onesie in the design of a basketball jersey. It displayed the number 5.
Faye started crying again, and choked out, “Christopher was going to be the fifth member of our family.”
We talked for a long time. Mostly Faye talked; I just quietly watched her face in awe as a deluge of ancient memories flooded her mind. Sometimes she could barely speak, other times she shook her head and said it was all a dream. Her denial rose and fell in waves, and she grasped at all the faded images in her head and tried to describe them to me with great strain. A tomb had been unearthed, and Faye was excavating it despite the pain it wrought on her. All I could do was hold her hand through it.
That night I made Nathan’s tea again and we both drank it. Faye fell asleep and I stayed awake watching Netflix. Just as I was about to shut off the computer, I heard rustling outside, and then the voice of a little girl. She said,
“It’s Faye. I can’t see you. Who are you?”
I walked down the hall and peered out the blinds in the living room. A dark figure walked right past the window, scaring me half to death. It came from our back yard, and no doubt had been standing beside our bedroom window. I ran down the hall and grabbed my sweats and shoes, then bolted to the door and looked all around the property.
There, across the road, standing under a street lamp, was a man. His body glowed in the pale yellow light, but his face was totally black. He looked nearly 7 feet tall and one of his shoulders was noticeably higher than the other; his posture was rigid and reminiscent of the way Faye sleepwalked.
I knew exactly who it was. I can’t explain what prompted me to run after him, but I wanted to grab this thing by the neck and beat it to death with my bare hands. Perhaps it was because I was so tired my fear instinct hadn’t yet kicked in, or perhaps I had just had enough. But instead of clawing me to death right there in the street, the figure turned and ran. I chased after him, screaming at the top of my lungs to stay the fuck away from my family and my house.
The thing moved very fast, but limped with a freakish gait. My mind envisioned a rail-thin creature made of oily black parts, stretching on the costume of a human and gracelessly lurching around in it. This thing was not a person. Its movements were animalistic; its strides were far too long. Its breath wheezed the air like an antique accordion, and the stench that dragged behind it singed my nose. It smelled like wildfire.
“No woods for you to fuck around in out here!” I screamed. Lights flicked on in houses all around me as I chased the figure. It practically galloped, and was always twenty feet ahead of me.
I chased it down for two blocks. It rounded a few turns and finally bounded over a chain-link fence into the community park, where there were no lights. I couldn’t see a damn thing so I had to run all the way around the other side to get in.
The only thing I could see was a silhouette. The figure stood there in the empty field, shrouded in the night, gazing up at the moon. The silver outline of its body indicated that it was facing away from me. One of its hands twitched wildly; the other was gnarled up like driftwood. The sight of it out here, so far from help, unnerved me. I approached it still, committed to ending this nightmare tonight, one way or the other.
My courage evaporated about ten feet from the figure, when it issued a growl I can’t even describe. It was so deep I felt it in my ribcage as much as I heard it.
I stopped in my tracks, but still managed to say, “You will never take her. You will never have Faye. You will leave us alone, forever. Go back to that fucking mountain and bury yourself in a mine.”
It growled again, then gurgled up a wet laugh.
“What is your name?” it asked – in my voice. It had been practicing. It was perfect now. “May I…come in?”
How do you carry on a conversation with an entity that is basically a demonic parrot? I said, much louder than before, “You will leave us alone and go back to the mountain. Faye will never be yours.”
The Impostor emitted the shrieking of an infant. The sound startled me, and felt so wrong coming out of the form of such a large man. Then it said, in the voice of a child, “You go down in the hole. That’s where he’ll put you.”
“Look at me, you piece of shit,” I said. I tried to sound menacing, but in reality, I am a coward. Most people can sense it, so there was little doubt the Impostor knew it too.
Then it said something that I did not expect. The sound threw me off so much my head spun.
“Tell me about the child,” it said. Nathan’s voice wafted gently from its throat. “Tell me about the child.”
Before I could speak, the Impostor whirled around and squared off with me. There are no words to express the combination of shock and instant despair that I felt. My knees came straight out from under my body and I fell onto the wet grass.
Staring down at me, boring into me with lidless eyes, was the face of Nathan – my friend, my protector, the son of a man who had given his life to help me. Now his skin was hard and bruised, his scalp flayed, his eyes tormented. He’d been stretched over a skull that didn’t quite fit and a body that rattled with loose, collected bones. A slimy black liquid dribbled down the arms. Perhaps it was blood; it was too dark to tell. It spoke a phrase in the language of Nathan’s people – the same one Nathan had uttered over the phone last month that made us sick – and I began vomiting profusely as I lay there on the ground.
“Tell me about the child,” it said once more, then smiled. The lips spread and stretched in an expression of malevolent joy, bearing the rotten maw of a long-dead wolf. Nathan’s calm voice seeped out of it. “Let me speak to the one who followed you home.”
I gasped for air but couldn’t command my body to move. The creature took a few steps toward me, and I slammed shut my eyes, expecting to feel those hideous fangs in my neck. Instead, I heard its footsteps approach, and then recede in the opposite direction. When I opened my eyes, the Impostor had stepped over me, and was walking away. It was already in the distance, moving quickly. Back toward my neighborhood. Toward my house.
“Followed you home,” it repeated, voice echoing in the cold night air. “Followed you home. llowed you home.”
When I was three years old, my parents and I went with some family friends to a cabin up in the mountains. One of the other family’s kids was sick with some sort of flu. A few nights in, I came down with it, and threw up everywhere, over and over. My father was so grossed out that his reaction made me cry. A lot. My mom had to kick him out of the room while she took care of me. His horrified expression imprinted in my mind forever, and taught me that there is something terribly wrong with being sick.
I’m 28 years old now, and I spent years of my life being absolutely paranoid about throwing up. Emetophobia controls so much of a person’s existence: It makes you afraid to share someone’s drink, afraid to eat without washing your hands, afraid to get on rollercoasters, afraid to fly in planes, afraid to try new things. But at some point after decades with that phobia, you almost forget what causes you to regard all of those things with fear. The possibility of vomiting becomes subconscious; you don’t even think about it anymore. You are just afraid of virtually everything that could cause it, and yet you have no immediate explanation for why you are afraid anymore. You just are.
Although that possibility no longer lingers at the precipice of my conscious thoughts, the Impostor found it. He went straight to the core of my being and saw what terrifies me the most. He brought it out and used it against me. Repeating Nathan’s “spiritual purge” chant didn’t just disable me there in the field; it was a reminder. A reminder of the creature’s remarkable power to turn my own flawed humanity upon me. A reminder that it was planning to make me suffer in the most personal of ways. The Impostor was designing a personal Hell for me, and was nearly ready to drag me down into it.
And so the world collapsed on me. I laid there on the ground, puking my guts out, knowing that my fiancée was asleep and unguarded in bed while a terrible being strode toward her through the dark. It called out her name in every voice familiar to her. It said things that would make her happy. It begged for help and mimicked the cries of children. It capitalized on her innate motherly instincts, on her buried memories, and on the vulnerability of her unconscious state. And all I could do was stagger around and wait for the thrum of my death-gripped heart to subside.
After a few moments, moonlight poured back into my vision, lighting the way out of the park. My pulse recovered from its frenzy, and the numbness of my limbs faded. The taste in my mouth, for once, didn’t paralyze me. I tore through the streets to get back to my house. I had no plan.
A lot of lights were on in the houses that lined my street. Many of my neighbors had likely heard me screaming. I hoped this meant that the Impostor would think twice about moving out in the open beneath their watchful gazes.
The front door of my house was wide open, and it was pitch dark inside. I shouted for Faye but couldn’t find her; the bed was empty and disheveled, as though she’d jumped out of it (or had been dragged from it). A faint sound caught my attention – the sound of crying – and I struggled to determine where it came from. After looking in every room, I realized it was coming from outside.
As I stepped out the sliding glass door in our bedroom that leads to the back yard, the sound grew louder, and mixed with shuffling noises. There is a walkway that runs along the side of our house and connects the back yard to the front, and there in the darkness was Faye. She was sleepwalking in the most unusual manner I’d ever seen. She stood high up on the balls of her feet, as before, but was bent over at the waist. Her hair and arms dangled lifelessly toward the ground, and she shuffled toward the street where I’d first seen the shadowy figure. Faye’s neck was craned in such a way that I could see her face swaying just outside her left thigh. Two mournful eyes peered up at me from it, and her lips trembled as she cried. I couldn’t tell if she was conscious or not.
She mumbled something, but with her cries I couldn’t make out what she was saying. I wrapped my arms around her waist and literally carried her inside; she clawed at me and landed a tigerpalm to my crotch. Just as we careened into the living room, a police car drifted by, its flashlights tracing all across the houses. I gently closed the door and peered out the window. It took me a moment to see it, but in the tree in our front yard, a dark form was crouched on the thickest branch. I yanked the curtains down over the blinds.
Faye and I remained awake the rest of the night until dawn. We heard footsteps on our roof and in the attic, but no voices. On two occasions, someone knocked gently on the front door and once on the sliding glass door in the back, but we remained in the living room. We communicated only through pen and paper, and prevented each other from nodding off and dreaming about the scrapbook, or about Christopher.
The last thing she wrote was, “Got an idea. Explain tomorrow.”
At about 6AM, my cell phone buzzed on the table. All had been quiet for a few hours now, and Faye and I were almost done with the second Lord of the Rings movie. When I grabbed the phone, I was surprised to see that it was the ranger from Pikes Peak (his name is Greg, the same as Faye’s dad, so I just refer to him by title in these posts). We hadn’t spoken in a while. I immediately feared that his call was confirmation of the grim likelihood that Nathan was dead.
He skipped all pleasantries and said, “You better sit down.”
A nauseous fear crept up my throat when he said that. I shook my head and replied, “Just tell me. Just tell me.” Static began to form around my peripheral vision, which happens when I’m feeling faint. If it grows and covers my entire field of view, I pass out.
The ranger cleared his throat and tried to speak with composure, but I could hear on his voice that he’d been crying. He said, “We got a call from one of Nathan’s relatives. Said he’d been missing a few days. Thought he went camping with his buddies, but none of them knew where he was. On my routine this morning, I dropped by Faye’s folks’ cabin-”
There was a long silence, which told me everything I needed to know. But then, the ranger said more:
“We got cops everywhere up here now. Whole mountain’s shut down. They’ve still got Tiwe listed as a missing person, but now they’re out huntin’ for a body like they mean it this time. Lookin’ for a murderer too but-”
I interrupted him and demanded to know why. There was no way I could hide the frantic anxiety any longer.
The ranger said, “Somethin’s happened up there. Up at the cabin. They did somethin’ to him. I don’t know how to tell you.” He paused again, struggling to hold back tears.
I crumpled to the floor while he spoke. The news singed every nerve in my body; pain radiated up from my stomach across every limb. My scalp tingled. The static grew in my vision.
“I need to know,” I said. The ranger insisted that the details were unnecessary, but I begged him.
What I am about to tell you is a paraphrasing of what the ranger said. Some of this info might change as the Denver coroner performs an official autopsy, but this is what we know:
The bathroom window of the cabin had been forced open from the outside, but also the front door was unlocked and slightly open when the ranger arrived. The bedroom door was locked from the inside. It appeared that two people (one of them being Nathan) had been staying inside of the cabin for two or three nights. Nathan’s satellite phone was found inside, my number being the last one dialed. It was unclear whether Nathan was present at the cabin when we last spoke (when he promised he wouldn’t go to the cabin). There was a buck knife jammed into one of the walls, and many unusual symbols and words had been carved all over the hallway leading from the living room to the bedroom. There were words in Hopi, the language Nathan’s people speak, and Zuni, a language they do not. The words haven’t yet been translated. There was a carving of a large dreamcatcher on the outside of the bedroom door, and non-lethal amounts of blood spattered on the carpet and lower wall opposite of said door. On the inside of the bedroom door, there were small marks everywhere, as though someone had been pounding very hard on it.
The ranger and sheriff speculated that Nathan sat on the floor in the hallway for several hours or perhaps an entire day. Someone was in the bedroom, but the door remained locked. It’s possible that they had a long conversation. At no point was the electricity or heat functioning in the cabin, because it had been shut off after I was rescued on my second visit. This meant that however long Nathan stayed, he remained in the dark in freezing weather each night. Two pairs of tracks were found leaving the cabin – one from the bedroom window, the other from the front door – heading into the forest out back. The tracks joined together, indicating that the two people walked side-by-side into the woods. Nathan’s body was found by the ranger’s dogs approximately a quarter mile in, buried upside-down with his legs erupting from the soil at the knee. Upon exhumation it was discovered that Nathan’s face and scalp had been flayed or mutilated. There were deep lacerations in his back that appeared to be from claws, and carvings on his arms that looked self-inflicted. The unofficial cause of death, however, was suffocation; he had been buried alive.
Oh, and everything in the cellar was gone. It was completely empty.
I’ve never come so close to ending my own life. The guilt and horror I felt at hearing the ranger’s words are still ineffable, so I won’t bother trying to document them. Somehow I convinced myself that there would be a time for grieving in the future, and even for acts of penance, but right now I needed to focus on Faye. After all, she might end up just like Nathan and Tiwe if we didn’t figure out what to do.
A few days passed with no strange activity beyond a voice here and there. I was hesitant to let Faye sleep, for fear that she would dream of her little brother and give the Impostor what it sought. But she explained to me her idea – a plan to get rid of the creature once and for all – and for the first time in months, I actually felt a glimmer of hope. We kept drinking Nathan’s tea after concluding that it was doing no discernable harm, and Faye spent the days furiously drawing, journaling, and texting with her mom and sister. I called Angela, the Shoshone woman, and requested that she come visit us with her hypnotist friend to speak with Faye again, and to bless our new house. I also made as large a donation I could afford to Tiwe and Nathan’s community to help cover the cost of their funeral ceremonies. In my spare time in the evenings, I wrote a letter for both of them, and I intend to read it at their place of burial someday.
Each night, Faye went to bed crying. She had definitely entered some kind of mourning process, long-delayed by years of denial, and I now bore witness to the lifelong impact of her loss. Never have I seen a human in so much pain. But, Faye assured me that she would be alright, and that I should have faith in her. I silently obliged, because I trust her more than anyone in the world. She knows herself, and I put my faith in that.
One night I snuck into the bedroom and retrieved Faye’s drawings. She had produced several pictures of her own nightmares, of memories from her childhood, and of a young man that looked like her. I believe he is Christopher, or at least how Faye imagines he might look, had he survived and grown up. She wrote all kinds of things around the drawings – mostly detailed descriptions of the images, sometimes stories from when she was young – and wrote her brother’s name dozens of times. She even drew a family portrait that included herself at age 5 holding a smiling baby.
On the fifth night after the incident in the park, Angela and her hypnotist friend arrived. (As I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t given the hypnotist’s name because I just don’t want you to have to keep track of too many people.) Faye informed our guests of what she believed we could do to get rid of the entity for good.
I went outside and set the drawings under the tree in our front yard, where I’d last seen the shadowy figure. Then we got Faye comfortable and set her up on the couch. Fortunately for us, Faye has the remarkable ability of being able to fall asleep any time, any place, so all we had to do was dim the lights in the house. I made a pasta dish for everyone and within a half hour, she was out cold. This time, she didn’t drink Nathan’s tea.
For a long time, Angela, the hypnotist, and I sat at the kitchen table over coffee and ice cream. We kept our voices low and discussed all of the recent events related to the cabin, waiting for the Impostor to show up. The hypnotist was especially interested in the dreamcatchers, and wanted to know who made them. I told her I didn’t have any idea, and that at first I thought the entity itself created them. After speaking with you NoSleepers (you are more insightful than I am), I started to believe that someone had summoned or was controlling the entity with the original dreamcatcher. Then, when I broke it, I realized it was protecting me.
She said, “Do you think it’s possible one of her family members created it? Or the ranger? Do you trust him?”
Many people have speculated that Tiwe and Nathan were not honest with me, or not who they said they were. But I honestly hadn’t considered that the ranger himself could be behind all this. I conceded that it was possible.
Faye spoke a few times in her sleep. She laughed and said things like, “Do you need help with that?” and “What the hell are you doing?” After she said the name of her boss, I realized she was dreaming about work. We waited until about midnight, but by then no activity had occurred and no sounds were coming from outside. Angela woke Faye up and said, “We need to take a more direct approach.”
The two women propped Faye up hospital bed-style and began to hum a beautiful song. Angela intermittently spoke in her native tongue and traced lines with her finger across Faye’s forehead; the hypnotist occasionally raised her hands in the air and then touched Faye’s shoulders. After several minutes, my fiancée went limp. Her head slumped back on the couch and her arm dangled to the floor. Finally, she opened her eyes, which were now rolled back in her head, and she began breathing rhythmically.
The hypnotist said, “Who are you?”
She replied simply, “Faye.”
“Are you alone?”
“I am with you.”
“Who else is here?”
“Angela. Felix. Erica (her boss).”
The hypnotist corrected Faye. She said, “Erica isn’t here. It’s just us four.”
Faye looked puzzled for a moment, then said, “Okay.”
Angela joined the conversation and touched Faye’s arm. She asked, “The one who follows you. The one who calls out in the night. Where is he now? Is he here?”
Faye’s head craned from side to side like she was emptying water from her ears, and then replied, “No.”
“Where is he?”
Faye sat motionless for what felt like a whole minute, then finally said, “Across the dark.”
The hypnotist then said, “Faye – can you call out to him? Can you ask him to come here?”
She remained silent. The hypnotist asked again.
Faye said forcefully, “No.”
Angela said, “Honey, we can’t get rid of him unless you bring him here.”
Faye began to whimper. Her mouth trembled, and then she uttered in the voice of a small child, “Please no.” Goosebumps rippled across my arms as I sat at the table watching.
Angela implored, and Faye began to cry.
“You have to call out to him,” the hypnotist repeated. “Tell him where you are.”
Faye slowly rocked her head back and forth and tried to reach up into the air to protect herself, but the weight of her hypnotic state kept her in place. Suddenly, her body went stiff and her eyes rolled forward. They landed squarely on me, then looked over my shoulder and focused on something a thousand miles behind me. Her mouth opened slightly, and a gurgling sound came up from her throat. She said in a wet and masculine voice, ”Wachu…Wachu…”
Faye leaped off the couch and shuddered as though she were trying to throw something off her back. Her body stayed rigid, and she turned and faced away from us. Every joint in her limbs popped with sickening cracks. She bent her head back and stared up at the place where the ceiling met the wall in front of her, then tightly balled her fists. She said again, ”Wachu, wachu, wachu.”
The hypnotist and Angela were standing now, gathering around Faye to prevent her from hurting herself or dashing off into the night. I played safety a few feet away, trying to be ready for anything.
The hypnotist said, “Faye, tell us where he is.”
She breathed hard through gritted teeth and then forced out the word ”Bedroom.”
We all turned and looked behind us, down the dark hall. The hypnotist wrapped her hand around Faye’s forehead from behind and started whispering in her ear. I turned and quietly moved down the hall toward the bedroom. As I approached it, I could hear the sliding glass door to the yard open.
When I stepped into our bedroom, a cold breeze was blowing into it. The glass door on the opposite wall was wide open. I looked around to make sure I wasn’t about to get ambushed, and then approached the door.
The backyard light has a motion sensor that automatically activates when something moves. It was off, and the yard was dark. However, at the far end of the yard, I could make out the shape of a man. The same figure I’d seen a week earlier, the one I’d made the dire mistake of chasing after. This time the figure was even larger than before; it appeared to stand at roughly seven feet tall. It faced away as always, and its head was cocked toward the moon. Its hands lay pressed against its sides, fists balled, tightly clutching many pieces of paper. Faye’s drawings. It growled ”Wole my…Wole my…”
I slid the door shut as fast as I could and locked it, then raced back to the living room. Faye was now sitting on the couch, head still craned up toward the ceiling, with Angela and the hypnotist speaking to her. They implored her to wake up, but it seemed as though she was struggling to return.
Outside, a voice howled. It sounded like a little girl crying out for her mother. Another voice erupted, Laura’s, shouting “Greg, we need to take her to a hospital!” Faye began to convulse, so the two women clutched her tightly and begged her to wake up. An infant began to shriek in the yard, and then it slowly moved down the side of the house to the front door. There was a loud, slow knock, followed by more voices. The knock repeated over and over, and Becca’s voice called out from behind the door, “Faye? Where are you? Help me, please help.”
At last, Faye sucked in a huge breath and leaned back on the couch. Her head returned to a normal position and she stood up, frantically trying to collect herself. The pounding on the door grew louder, and the voices began to overlap, as though several people were standing in front of our house crying out in the night.
She said breathlessly, “It’s here, it’s here,” and looked at me. In Faye’s eyes I saw uncertainty and terror, mirrors of my own state. But then, a look of conviction fell over her face. The fear seemed to evaporate right off it.
A man began to cry just outside the door. It said in Greg’s voice, “He was my child too, Laura. My son. Did you think a weekend in the goddamn mountains would make me forget?”
Faye gasped. His words were so perfectly clear that I nearly believed he was on the other side of the door.
“Don’t you fucking dare!” Laura’s voice shouted. “Just let her forget. Let her forget. This doesn’t have to be her burden too.”
Faye burst into tears and wobbled to the door. She rested her face against it and reached for the knob. The shrieks of a baby echoed through the house, followed by a little girl saying, “What’s your name? I can’t see you. It’s Faye. Faye.”
I watched my fiancée collapse to the floor in despair. Angela and the hypnotist took a step forward, but Faye put her hand in the air to halt them. She sat on the ground, leaned her back against the door, and brushed the strawberry locks out of her face. The door knocked again. My own voice followed it, saying, “May I…come in? It’s freezing out here. Another storm’s coming tonight.”
“I have to tell you something,” Faye said, gently knocking on the door. “I know what you really want.”
The voices fell silent all at once, and only an uneven breathing remained.
“I had a baby brother,” she said. “His name was Christopher. He was number five.”
The breathing cut out.
Faye knocked on the door again. After a minute, something knocked back.
“I remember now,” she continued. “I couldn’t remember for years. Or I guess I didn’t want to. It’s easier for me to just pretend things never happened. Some kids make things exist. Friends, monsters, places. But I made Christopher not exist. That way I didn’t have to lose him. His death was just make-believe.”
A long, slow scratching noise resounded through the door. The thing outside was dragging a claw across the wood, like it was drawing a picture.
Faye put her palm on the door, feeling the weak vibrations of the scratching. “For a long time, the number was all I could remember. I knew it meant something more, but every time I thought about it, my whole body would hurt. I’d feel sick. And then I’d just fall asleep. Or, if I was dreaming, I’d just wake up. I always knew it meant something more.”
The door knob rattled and a wet, clunking sound emitted from it. The Impostor was gnawing on it from the other side. The clatter of a hundred jagged teeth rose in vile symphony across our living room.
“He was stillborn. Do you know what that is? He died inside my mom. All this time I’ve avoided burying Christopher. But you’ve finally helped me realize why it’s time I laid him to rest.”
“Faye, come hold him,” Becca’s voice called out. “I don’t get it. He falls asleep so fast when you’ve got him. You want her to be your new mommy, Caleb?” The scratching noises persisted.
Faye wiped tears out of her eyes and took a deep breath. “Now you know everything. I wanted you to know.”
A chorus of voices rang out in the night. An infant screamed, a toddler cried, Greg and Laura and Becca and Tiwe and Nathan and the ranger all spoke at once. Decades of pain washed through the door; words of anguish and sorrowful cries drowned out all other sounds in the room. Angela, the hypnotist and I exchanged terrified glances, but Faye remained motionless at the door, staring up into my eyes. She didn’t blink.
The knocking on the door swelled to violent pounding. The entity used every possible trick it could. It tried to hit her right where the wounds were fresh, and tried to tear open the oldest scars. But Faye never budged. She held her ground emotionally, and never took her eyes off me. They were filled with a knowing calm, as if to say, “Enough.”
When the Impostor got no response, it stomped from the front door to the nearby window. It towered over us and blocked out the moonlight that lit up the drapes. A huge shadow fell across Faye as she sat there unmoved. ”Wole my, wole my,” it growled. Faye’s lips quivered, but she said nothing. A titanic scream erupted from the creature, and it slapped the glass with an open hand. The sounds shook our home and struck a lightning bolt of terror in the pit of my stomach, but Faye did not react. She didn’t even flinch.
Then, the entity said something I did not expect. Instead of assuming the voice of someone we knew, it spoke in several I did not recognize. It spoke only one labored sentence, but each word was uttered with a different tongue:
”I…walked…a thousand…years…across…the dark…to find you…”
A small part of me wanted to run away screaming, but I was so afraid my legs wouldn’t even move. The finality, the longing of what it said was incomprehensibly dreary. I totally lost my nerve.
That moment, another thing even less expected happened. The shadow receded from the window, coloring Faye’s face silver with the dim kiss of moonlight. Sullen footsteps lurched across our yard and vanished into the backdrop of cricket songs. After a while, we were alone. All three of us looked down at Faye; a relieved smile spread across her face. She wasn’t crying anymore.
It’s been several days since the Impostor left. It returned once, only to sing the morose lullaby “sol me aaa dooo, I’m a naked soul me aaaa dooo.” Faye slept through it entirely. I didn’t mention it to her.
My fiancée has been sleeping well since that night. She hasn’t talked at all, and certainly hasn’t sleepwalked. In fact, she hasn’t even really been tossing and turning like she normally does. It’s as if a dreadful weight was lifted from her shoulders. During the days she cries, she cuddles with me and talks about her childhood, she Skypes with her mom and sister. They cry too. I have shed many tears with her, and for her loss, but I understand now what she did.
Faye never dreamed of Christopher, only of the number 5. As a child, she repressed the memory and pain of his death and thus forgot about him; that number became the lockbox in which he was hidden. It was the coffin she buried him in. And she buried him so deep within herself she couldn’t even remember him in her nightmares. That is why the entity never fully understood what she was hiding. And that is why it never gained full access to her. Faye’s lifelong sleep disturbances were her mind’s attempts at keeping that welling pain repressed, but by talking in her sleep, she invited dark attention to herself: if you speak long enough into the void, someone is bound to start listening. Someone, or something, heard Faye’s pain and saw it as a weakness. It saw those cracks in her heart as a passage into her soul, and so it chose her. The Impostor became transfixed with my fiancée not because she was an easy target, but because she was a monolithic puzzle-box of torment. A challenge. A worthy opponent.
I remarked early on in these stories that one of the things I love most about Faye is her intelligence. She has an artistic creativity that allows her to see things in ways I do not. She realized that the Impostor knew it could tug on her puppet strings by delving into the darkest parts of her mind. In all those hidden places, there were weapons to use against her. To weaken her. To wear her down. But instead of burying her secrets deeper, she unearthed them, and brought them into the light. By moving Christopher and the number that represented him from her subconscious into her waking thoughts, Faye unleashed a tidal wave of forgotten pain upon herself – but also, she also took away the Impostor’s power over her. She cut off her own puppet strings, and now there was nothing left for the creature to grab onto. And so it left.
I’ve also shed tears for my dear friends, Tiwe and Nathan. Perhaps I can never convey the warmth of their personalities and the sincerity of their hearts. But I trusted them entirely, and do not believe they had anything to do with the foul thing that stalked my fiancée for all these years. Their deaths are mortal wounds on my heart, and I will always carry the agony of their loss. I want it to hurt, as a permanent reminder. They have given so much to me and asked nothing in return, only that I preserve the goodness of their people in my memory. By writing about their altruism and sacrifices, I am trying to fulfill that promise. May their spirits live on in the sacred land they protected.
We may never know for sure who built the dreamcatcher at the cabin, or the one in the trees outside my old home. Right now I believe that they were built by different people who live on Pikes Peak. Some of them want to protect fools like me who venture to that mountain without understanding its significance to the Indians living there. Others, perhaps, wish to harm them. Maybe even Angela herself built one for us; maybe you can’t tell the person they’re designed to protect or else it doesn’t work.
Faye’s ring has also been the topic of heated debate: whether or not it is cursed, what should be done with it, etc. For now, my fiancée does not wish to part with it, but she might consider it if anything happens again. It is still a precious family heirloom and the symbol of my devotion, whatever taint it may carry. I guess what I mean is, we still don’t have all the answers, and the unfortunate thing is that we may never. The true nature of the entity and a full explanation of what happened to us might remain a mystery. But in time, I believe I will come to understand more about this terrible ordeal.
We plan to head back to Colorado in a few weeks to spend time with Faye’s parents, to pay our deepest respects to Tiwe and Nathan’s community, and to witness the bulldozing of the cabin. Whatever secrets it still hides, let them be buried deep beneath the rubble and the snows of decades to come.