"The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window."
Everyone who lived in the village remembered the old man who had lived in the cabin. He was a recluse who only ventured to the village every 2 weeks for basic supplies. The smoke rising from the chimney told everyone how he created heating and probably cooking. The stream running down from the mountain appeared to supply him with his water, the rack of animal carcasses seemed to show where he got his food from.
In fact with his vegetable patch he was virtually independent of everyone. Totally off the grid, almost totally independent. As he only came close to the villagers very rarely many people didn't know what he looked like or even sounded like. He wore a long coat regardless of the weather, a leather hat pushed down on his head and sported a long white beard.
The local kids liked to guess who he was, the parents used him as a threat if their kids misbehaved and still nobody actually knew his name. Nobody visited, nobody delivered and the man stayed within his house and garden when he wasn't on his shopping trip. The only thing you could see of the cabin after dark was the faint flickering of the candle.
Like clockwork it was lit at 7pm and extinguished at 11pm. The mountains and the trees meant the house spent a lot of time in shadow so the candle was needed. Of course there was no electricity to help, not even a generator. Then one night the unthinkable happened, no candle light. One thing the man bought on every trip was candles. A few people noticed but all said nothing.
The usual concept of not my problem covered all the people who wondered but did nothing. In fact the cabin would have been left totally un touched if it wasn't for another reason totally. The police were called for a suspected break in, finding nobody they decided to drive around to see if anyone suspicions was about. When they stopped at the shop the owner asked why they had come. When they said why, the owner said he thought it was to check the cabin.
It had remained a case of everyone leaving the job to someone else. So finally the police got involved and went to check the cabin, 3 weeks after the light went out. They approached the home and walked round, looked in through filthy windows and saw little in the gloom. They knocked and got nothing, as they had a degree of concern they tried the door. It wasn't locked and opened with a creak.
With no natural light the torches were the only way to see anything. The officers saw the main living area and 2 doors leading off. The room was basic and looked well lived in. The carcasses had not only supplied meat but also pelts. The only chair was covered in animal pelt, the curtains were the same. The first room was the bedroom, inside the room the bed also had animal coverings. The one thing still missing was the man. The bathroom was behind the other door, just as empty as the other rooms.
With no person, no recent signs of life and no crime the police left. They let the shop keeper know and drove away. The villagers eventually forgot about the man and his cabin. the presumed he had been taken ill or found somewhere better to live. In fact the cabin was forgotten for almost a year, until one night when it was noticed there was a flickering candle in the cabin window.
After so long this was a definite shock, had the man returned or had someone new moved in. They collectively decided to see if there were signs of life and who would emerge. Nobody emerged for 2 weeks, though the candle was lit at the exact times each night as before. Who was lighting it and why weren't they coming for supplies and who were they.
As before it took the police calling in to get someone to check. They only called in to ask if anything had happened since their last visit with the cabin. When they were told the man must have gone away but come back they were surprised but thought it was a feasible explanation. Having been there before they decided on a return visit , for a welfare check. With the lack of facilities and the chance the man had been in hospital they wanted to see if he was safe.
As it was early evening the candle was lit, indicating to them the the man was awake and at least home this time. They drove past the trees surrounding the home, parked up and went to meet the mystery man. Walking past what looked like freshly hunted animals they went to the door and knocked. There was no reply, no answers to their calling and altogether no signs of life at all.
Again the door was unlocked, also despite the candle the rooms were empty. The candle was still nearly new, very little wax at its base. This confused the officers still more, last time with the extinct candle they could just shrug and walk away. This time it was all a bit different. The officers decided this time to look around a bit more carefully, both inside and out.
Unseen until you walked past the hut was a pit, dug about 10 feet deep and about the same across. Although the officers couldn't see what the pit contained they had a good idea from the smell. As they got closer they both held their breath before looking over the edge. What they saw was something they would never forget but at the same time never explain.
Up above the terrible site they both stared, both recoiled and both vomited profusely. The image burnt into their brains, a sight that no training could prepare you for. firstly the mystery man was there, sitting waist deep in a broth of rotting animals and blood. Without his coat and hat the officers were able to make out more detail.
The man was very old, very very thin but also very much alive. The officers worked this out by the fact the mans eyes moved to look back at them. What they really remembered was the pump type machine attached to the mans arm. It was linked at the other end to a very dead looking wild boar. The pump drawing blood from the pig and putting it into the ancient man.
As the policemen sat and stared at each other they heard noise from the pit. Looking back the elderly man slowly rose from the side, dripping blood and wild animal meat. He was moving slowly but seemed determined to get out, as he saw the officers he stopped. He drew breath and spoke for the first time.
"I am very sorry you had to see that, I have kept away from the villagers so they don't get tempted to visit. In fact I try and stay away as much as I can, that's why I have tried other ways to sustain myself. I used to teach science many years ago, so I used that knowledge to help me experiment."
"I was living off the animals bodies, keeping warm with their skins but disposing of their blood. I did some tests and found out I could maybe use it. Unfortunately my body has got too used to it and I need a lot to sustain me. What I have found is that I can now utilise some of my animal friends abilities. So last year when the animals ran low I connected my self to the biggest animal I could find, let my self drift off and I was kept going by the deer's blood. "
The officers were still so traumatised they could barely speak. Finally one managed to speak up "You haven't been seen for nearly a year, how did a dead deer keep you going for a year?"
"Firstly" the man replied "it appears I can now hibernate or at least go into a trance state and survive with a slower heartbeat"
"As for the deer, who said he was dead. He was on a chain the same length as the pipe feeding me. I set it so he could eat, also give me the blood to survive with out killing either of us. When I was refuelled I went back inside to live as before."
The officers went back to traumatised silence.
About the Creator
England based carer, live with girlfriend. will write for all areas but especially mental health and disability. though as stuff for filthy seems popular will try there too
Wow! This was really interesting I gagged at the description of him staring back at the police officers. I would have not suspected that he was using the blood for that reason, so I was surprised! Great job!