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Frog Farm

Vacation?

By Fred LooneyPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 20 min read
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Frog Farm
Photo by gary tresize on Unsplash

Cabin in the Woods

The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window.

We both stopped, frozen in a mix of curiosity and terror and we both just gaped. one of us whispered, “He’s Back?”

That was the very first thought I had as I regained consciousness. I opened an eye and saw my daughter and then things got crazy. I was being touched, held, everybody was talking and there were tears everywhere coupled with huge smiles. Then a Doctor showed up, poked, prodded, asks me questions that I can’t understand and then she pronounces, “too soon”. A needle went into a tube above my head and then all went black before I went back more than half a century, to the vacation adventure to end all vacation adventures.

A Walk

West Virginia was such a dull place and while spring was in the air and summer knocked on the door just 400 miles away at Virginia Beach, I was stuck in snow melt, very cold nights, mud and gloom. Vacation usually squeezed in a few weeks after the mountains greened but well before being too warm was a thing to be dealt with and this year was no exception. The beach was a mountain teen’s definition of freedom. The weather sucked when Mom and I got to Virginia Beach, dreary, misty rain and dark. The late afternoon brought us to our family’s home at Sand Bridge and, as luck would have it, nobody was home. Mom found the hidden key and we started to unload when I heard somebody say, “Want some help?” Looking up I found myself eye to eye with a stranger about my size and age. He thrust out his hand and identified himself as Vonnie and I found that he too was vacationing in Sand Bridge with his Dad. And just like that my vacation started with a new friend.

That evening I had been smart enough to discuss my planned activities for the day with the whole family. My Uncle gave his permission for us to go the Frog Farm and to use his jon boat. He did say that he was a little surprised that I knew how to power the boat and gave me great instructions about how navigate the couple miles of Back Bay to find and positively identify his land on the island that everybody in the family referred to as the Frog Farm. Everybody enjoyed my Uncle George kidding me about knowing which direction to face while rowing a boat and good hearted kidding made the evening fun for the grown ups and my cousin Billy and I were teenage interlopers to world we just wanted to escape for the rest of the evening.

The planned morning had arrived, Aunt Ann had even made us sandwiches and winked when she asked if I wanted to take a jug of kool-aid, but having anticipated the question I quickly said it would be too heavy, we had canteens and water is easier. Aunt Ann cautioned me about drinking just any water and told me my Uncle George’s hunting cabin had good water and reminded me that I would have to work a bit to prime the pump and get it out.

We took the shallow draft jon boat from my uncle’s house after the adults had all gone to accomplish their daily errands. My Dad was scheduled to join us in vacation land in a couple days and there is no way he would not have figured out what Vonnie and I were doing so today was going to be the day. This was our chance! My first big party of summer vacation and it was going to be great. We were just walking in the woods, singing and thinking about sharing a six pack. Mostly the singing was loud, a little off key and with words we did not really know. We were currently describing how it will be be when we get our picture on the cover of the The Rolling Stone! Probably the only thing we got right was that we were going to buy some copies for our Mothers. It was a warm summer day, not too hot. The humidity of the season had not hit us yet and the skeeters were not horrible. There was a little breeze coming through the woods and the smell of salt water from Back Bay.

It was my uncle’s farm land, well maybe we could call it farm land, it was a little marshy because it had not rained recently. If we had gotten rain last night like the weatherman said, it would be damn wet and if it had stormed it would have pulled the tide in a little higher. My uncle and all the family called it the “Frog Farm”.

Summer vacation in Virgina Beach, at Sand Bridge, on Back Bay in the middle of the Frog Farm! Life was good. My friend Vonnie, who I had known for all of 24 hours scored us a six pack of the good stuff, we had “Bud” on ice in little red and white plastic cooler with IGLOO proudly painted on the lid. Best of all a whole day of freedom and fun was ahead of us. I managed to arrange our hike to coincide with when my cousin Billy had to go to a doctor’s appointment and although I really liked my cousin, he was too young for the beer, I mean, geez, Vonnie and I both were almost old enough to get our driver’s licenses and I was pretty sure Billy was only about 12 and he would talk about the Bud where he shouldn’t.

We kept walking , talking, singing sometimes and just enjoying being alive. I told Vonnie all about the well and priming the pump and we both broke out into an amazing version of the Kingston Trio’s “Desert Pete” especially emphasizing the instructions of the ditty which cautioned us to prime the pump and have faith. Then we suddenly came out of the trees and onto a little clearing and in the middle of the clearing almost invisible, in the darkness of the surrounding trees there stood a ramshackle cabin.

I laughed and said, I think we found my Uncles Hunting cabin. Then Vonnie grabbed my arm and said, “I thought you said it was empty!”. As I replied in the affirmative I caught a flicker of light in the filthy window and then I followed his eyes to the peak of the roof where an old stove pipe stuck up and out of the end of that pipe came gently curling smoke.

We were frozen by surprise and curiosity but since we were practically men, we choked back our sudden fear. I gave a small shout and demanded to know who was in the cabin. Vonnie joined me in our collective bravado and let it be known that we were supposed to be here but anybody else would be trespassing. As we continued to pump ourselves up and bring our courage to action we suddenly heard a small pitiful scream, followed by sobs and low moans.

We had almost worked up the courage to go open the door and find out what was happening when everything went dead quiet.

Suddenly the door exploded open and a large form completely filled the doorway. All of our bravado was evaporated by what we were struggling to understand, there in the darkness of the cabin we had to work hard to comprehend what we were seeing but eventually it be came clear that the giant was holding something.

No, he was holding someone! It was a girl, and she did not have most of her clothes. Fear, shock and surprise kept us both gripped, staring, trying to make sense out of what was before us when the giant spoke. As we noted glistening red streaks of blood all over the inside of the girl’s legs and covering the arms and more of the giant. He bellowed, “See What you made me do! Do you see! Well you are going to pay! This has never happened before and you are not going to say it did. You WILL Pay for this!”

A Run

We turned tail and ran! Oh God, what is happening here, he killed her and now he is going to kill us. We ran.

Though the briars and the brambles, crawling over dead falls and scrambling through the perpetual mud. Our senses were gone, thinking was impossible, we just ran. I think we were screaming, I think the giant is screaming, even the dead girl was screaming. Get away. Get away. Get help. Run, run, run.

We could hear him crashing through the woods behind us and at times it seemed like he, one giant man, had the two of us surrounded. The island was not big but we ran like it was a continent. Turning right or left as the dead falls and the terrain required.

Eventually we realize that there is no longer the crashing of the giant to be heard. My pants were covered in mud and very wet, I could barely catch my breath and when I looked for Vonnie it took me a few seconds to realize that he was no better off and was in fact flat on his back, staring straight up making small sounds the would have sounding like crying if we had just been little kids. It finally registered to me that half of the sounds were coming from me.

Slowly our thoughts began clearing, we both quieted and started to look around to see if we could figure where we were and how to get out of this self made hell.

Another sound suddenly came to us. We looked at each other and then toward the sound. It had started to get a bit darker as clouds were rolling in to do a repeat of the previous day’s precipitation but our hearing was more acute. It did not take long to identify the sound, we both had made that sound many times before when we helped around home, cleaning up the yard, planting trees and flowers and vegetables. It was the sound of a spade cutting through the earth, somebody was digging a hole.

We both wanted to just start running again but this time we tried to actually act like responsible adults. We slowly crept forward to see what could be seen.

We were back in the clearing, but on the other side of the cabin. The giant is not a giant he is just a man, bigger than either of us but just a man. He has a spade or maybe it is a shovel and a small digging pick. He is off the left of the cabin, breathing hard, we can easily hear him wheezing. A lit cigarette was dangling from his lips and he kept a steady rhythm with his tools. Suddenly he stopped, and although we knew we had not made a sound, he sensed us being there. He straightened and stretched, took a long draw from the butt of the weed and and threw it down. Then he started scanning the surrounding area.

We were fortunate to be under heavy cover and in the darkness we must have been close to invisible. Then he started to speak, slowly, rationally with a deep rolling thunder he told us about finding our boat and then laughing like a demon from hell he assured us that it would never again float.

He then went on to promise that we would not be able to hide from him and when he caught us we would beg him to just let us die. You made me do this, because of your caterwauling bull shit I was startled and that made me jerk my hand. My hand that held the key to her life and you caused me to jump, and the super sharp that I held jumped and that caused her to die. He swore at us that she was dead because of us! Not him, he had done the same thing many times before and never had he injured a customer, much less killed one! He declared us to be murderers and promised to be our executioner. “It may not be today, but you will pay, I will kill you!”

Slowly he turned as we continued to not breath, and the we watched him lower her body into the hole and cover her up. He apologized to her for what those 2 jackals had caused and swore again that we would pay for it. He beseeched god to take her to his heart and then picked up his tools. We were still frozen, completely afraid to do more than barely breath. We saw him go back into the cabin and then a short time after the candle from inside was extinguished and he came out carrying a ruck sack over each shoulder. one obviously was filled with shovel and pick, the other sack was bloody and stuffed with visions from the nightmares we had not yet experienced.

To Follow

We followed him, far back and soundlessly as he easily made his way to the edge of the island and then seemed to walk on water as he easily found a small, almost dry path across with only 30 or 40 feet to the mainland and then after he disappeared behind some trees we heard the unmistakable sound of a pickup starting, followed by headlights slicing the night in the opposite direction from where we stood. Suddenly, he was gone.

A Night on Watch

Vonnie and I decided that we did not want to go anywhere near the road he left on. Then the second decision was not to go back to the cabin. So, instead we circumvented the island walking the edge of the water and eventually finding that the man had not lied. My Uncle’s boat was dragged to shore and busted all to hell.

We spent the night napping, always with one of us keeping a very nervous watch and hoping for dawn. Eventually the morning broke and we were able to gather pieces of wood that had been part of the small boat and using a tie off line from the boat made a very shaky raft. Then we found a dead fall tree long enough to use as a pole and we were preparing to pole our way across back bay to get back to civilization when we heard the very recognizable sound of a medium sized outboard.

Rescue?

I looked at Vonnie and he saw the absolute terror in my eyes as we both thought he was back and coming for us. We ran into each other trying to figure which way to run, we were both suddenly crying and very far from being quiet. Scrambling, crawling and trying to get our balance when the boat came out of the light fog and there in the bow, searching for us with a face etched with deep worry was my Dad.

I screamed for him and Vonnie quickly realized who we were welcoming to our hell.

I have no idea how long it took for my dad and my uncle along with Vonnie’s dad to calm us enough to get our story.

We searched for the makeshift grave while my uncle went for the sheriff. Soon the island was crawling with police and we were being closely interrogated and we were not completely believed by the authorities simply because that was not a single scrap of evidence found that matched anything we said about the big man. No body, no blood, no tool marks not even recognizable tire tracks in the area where we said the pickup was parked.

By the end of the day, due mostly to Vonnie’s Dad’s insistence, it was over! We were sent home in disgrace and, at that point, we were even wondering if it had all really happened.

Finally Home

A week later and it was over, my family had returned to Bluefield, WV and we returned to the normal boring existence of everyday life.

There was one more evening of owning up for what I had done and facing the music. It seems that my younger cousin Billy began having nightmares after we left. They were bed shakers! Real wall bouncers, if you know what I mean. Eventually he spilled the beans and admitted to his mom and dad that I had told him everything about that day. I had been explicitly instructed not to do that and I had a long couple months of home confinement and increased responsibilities for getting certain chores done afterwards.

But soon, life settled down, the hell day at the Frog Farm was banished to the deepest darkest corner of my memories and life went forward.

Going Back

Now, I am elderly, well, truthfully, an old man. In my 70’s. My cousin Bill is a successful businessman and we still stay loosely in touch thanks to social media.

One evening, we were both online and somehow we started chatting about that day. I found out that my new friend for that day, Vonnie, who was also on vacation when we met disappeared almost instantly.

His vacation ended that day. His Dad loaded him up and they took off back the where he lived in Bethesda, MD and his dad was back at work in the midst of the Washington Elite. Suddenly I understood how the police were able to just let us leave and never ask another question.

Bill also told me that his Dad had sold the Frog Farm not a very long time after the incident and, in truth, it was very seldom even visited after that day.

Then came the huge reveal, in a moment of nostalgic weakness, Bill had bought the place. It was his now and he has a developer on the hook for a way to convert it into an adventure vacation spa. A Fishing, Hunting and Pampering Spa where hubbies went out into the wild and got sweaty while the wives got pampered and all rested for when the great adventurer returned in the afternoon. If all worked out he would end up making the bundle that Uncle George always thought the land should bring home. We had a great laugh and when he suggested that I come down the Frog Farm for old time’s sake I jumped at it and said “Hell Yes”.

Is This a Do Over?

Bill met me at the airport in Norfolk and we spent the ride to Sand Bridge catching up on family and life. The weather was reminiscent of the day I arrived with my mother all those years ago and I found myself lost in my thoughts reconsidering what happened that day and wondering why I came here again now.

I was asking myself if I was trying to recreate the past to try and find answers to the unanswered questions from youth? As if by mental telepathy Bill asked me almost exactly the same thing as we arrived at the hotel.

We went to the bar and attempted to discuss why we both were here. Bill told me that he felt compelled to be here. He felt responsible for my coming because he had bought the old Frog Farm and I was a bit fearful that if he were not with me then I would try to go there by myself and he just did not think that would be a good idea at all.

Eventually we both decided that we did not have any answers, just more questions. He confessed to me that he went back to the cabin several times over his life to try and understand what had happened and it always left him cold and wanting. He then dropped the big one by telling me that, in a way, he set me up to come back here. He admitted that the craziness of that day had haunted him after I told him the whole story. Bill also admitted to still having the nightmare that he hates.

I also confessed to having frequent nightmares, and admitted that I had no idea what we could possibly accomplish by going out to the cabin on the morrow.

Eventually, a few drinks later we both retreated to our respective rooms to consider the next day with a promise of a breakfast meeting to be followed by a short visit to an outfitter store nearby before we were to go hiking.

He's Back

Just like that morning from all those many years ago, we awoke to a beautiful day and, frankly, we were both feeling elated to be doing this and all the nerves from the night before were either gone or at least off hiding somewhere.

We had a blast in the Outfitter’s store and probably bought a bunch of junk that neither of us needed. Eventually we made our way to the access point for the Frog Farm. I was amazed that the area was building up and could immediately see how Bill was going to make a bundle on his Adventure Spa resort. When Bill parked I realized that we were in the area of where Vonnie and I had heard and then seen the lights of that pickup truck on that fateful night. I gave a little involuntary shudder and we proceeded to load up our fancy duds and go for a walk.

Bill had purchased a GoPro camera and he set that up on his chest, so he could record the day to show his fiance and I just asked for a copy for myself. The trail out to the island was a certainly overgrown but showed signs of activity from, I assumed, the comings and going of those involved with the possible new venture to be constructed there.

Soon enough I was mentally feeling 16 again although my 70 year old body kept telling me that I would be sorry. I started singing about getting my picture on the cover of The Rolling Stone and Bill jumped right in.

We were walking, talking, singing and trying to see what there was to be seen. As I glanced around I saw a small flash of red just past a small stand of bushes. I had to investigate because the color had absolutely zero similarity to any natural red and when I got past the bush I froze and cut loose a laugh from the very bottom of my lungs!

It’s the cooler, I shouted, as Bill came up nearby. The cooler that Vonnie and I carried out here with the Budweiser in it that fateful day. And as if by magic a cloud shifted a bit and then I could plainly read the word “Bud”. I retrieved the pieces of the cooler, it had been decimated by UV Light and the plastic was far from sound at this point. But, wonder of all wonders, there were 6 Buds still snuggled down in the white base to the cooler. I decided that I had to keep this as a souvenir and I pulled a light weight mesh bag from my ruck sack and the whole mess fit neatly in the bag.

I closed it up and carefully carried it back to the trail and left if where I could easily pick it up on the way back to the car later.

Out spirits were high and we talked loud and long about music and when we came to the edge of the well remembered clearing. There was the cabin, I swear it was none the worse for wear though Bill swore that it was never used and would be gone soon thanks to the front blade of a small bull dozer. My mind shifted back …

The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window.

We both stopped, frozen in a mix of curiosity and terror and we both just gaped. Bill shakily whispered, He’s Back?

Then, the door exploded outward just like it had before. I know I was making noise but I have no idea how to describe it, not a scream, not a yell, not even a whimper but something else, a noise that I can’t make, a terror filled utterance.

The giant stood filling the doorway and he bellowed, “I have been waiting for you boys!” Then something changed. He pointed and looked straight at Bill and said “You’re Wrong, Where is the other one!”

“No DAMN IT I want the Other one TOO”

Bill and I just turned and ran.

He still stood in the door screaming! “You screwed me over, nothing has been that same since then and it must have been your fault. When I bury you it will come back again”

I was running for all I was worth. Bill was on his phone. The giant was still screaming and made somewhere between little and no sense.

Suddenly I felt like I had been hit with a truckload of bricks and went down with what I was told later was a classic face plant.

That enraged the Big Man even more and he screamed, no, you are mine, I get to kill you damn it you are mine. It was then that I just turned off, like a switch had been thrown.

Clean Up

The next time I awoke, things were a whole lot calmer. I could tell I was in a hospital and there were family filling the room. My cousin Bill was suddenly in the front and he says the he is betting that I would like to know what happened.

Bill explained that he was planning to kill two birds with one stone and had arranged for his construction partner to meet us at the Frog Farm in the late afternoon. This was about when that the door was kicked open and all the shouting started that they showed up. When they heard and saw what was happening they called the local Sheriff and then called Bill to try and coordinate what needed to be done next.

My attempted suicide by heart attack had thrown a huge monkey wrench into anything happening in a smooth organized manner but it did cause the Big Psycho to get completely confused and the construction team kind of cornered him with big wrenches, big muscles, hard hats and mean looks. Since the big guy wasn’t armed they simply kept him at bay while he bellowed nonsense about how I had destroyed his life by putting him out of business all those years ago. Then he would start on how he was making a come back and the glory days would be back soon.

Eventually the Sheriff department arrived and then things started making sense. Of course they knew the big guy and had a list of warrants for him about as long as an arm and pretty soon he was in cuffs and being loaded into a patrol car. He had a old woman with him that they also arrested and she was being described as the brains of the outfit. They talked about how ground penetrating radar was going to be brought in in a couple days and they expected to find a field of bodies. But Bill did not have any more of the details of the investigation.

He also told me that a former Army medic was on the construction team that showed up and he took care of me until I could be transferred to an ambulance for a ride into Virginia Beach to a hospital. Then my wife told me that I had been sleeping for 2 days and the whole family had gathered to find out what had happened.

My wits had started to come back, and I heard Bill talking about how the big guy kept saying over and over that the glory days were coming back, any day now it was going to be great again.

It was then that I saw a TV on the wall and all the jumble of pieces from more than 5 decades began to suddenly fall into place, it was scrolling in big letters:

“Breaking News : The US Supreme Court has Overturned Roe V Wade. Repeating SCOTUS has Overturned Roe V Wade.”

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Horror
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About the Creator

Fred Looney

My first lifetime, I wrote in the language of computers. Now, in my "Retirement" I want to express my thoughts and feelings to other humans.

Please join me in this new adventure while I explore what I have been hiding in my subconscious.

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