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By K. BensleyPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 9 min read
Photo by Mads Schmidt Rasmussen on Unsplash

“The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. According to legend, it’s said to light itself on the anniversary of the murders,” I said as I over dramatized a tale about our cabin. The eager listeners stifled their laughter, adding to the ironic attempt.

“Keep going Sarah,” Marcus said in a slightly mocking tone. Everyone else seemed to be in agreement too…

Telling stories wasn't really a strength of mine.

However, what happened that weekend wasn’t made up.

I finally feel ready to retell it in full…

I, my boyfriend Marcus and another couple (Rory and Hannah), planned a weekend away in a remote log cabin, specifically choosing one without electricity and the modern luxuries. It was to be a well needed weekend of hiking, skinny dipping and board games.

The trip started perfectly but it wasn’t long until the reality I knew shattered…

“Is that someone outside?” Hannah cut through the jovial atmosphere while in the midst of our stories. Reluctantly we stopped to look at what in the window caught her attention, assuming she was bluffing for her own amusement.


We all jumped at the sounds coming from the thick oak door. What set us on edge was that it wasn’t ordinary knocking but more like a hammering of fists. Rory, assuming he was the most capable, reluctantly and gingerly approached.

With his foot propped against the bottom, he lifted the latch and opened the door an inch. It was difficult to tell what was said but it was obvious Rory was visibly disturbed, even nervous. The conversation appeared to be rushed and after a pleasant farewell was uttered, the door was promptly shut and relocked.

Rory walked back shaking his head, “That was so weird.”

Marcus drew the curtain back to get a glimpse but said he couldn’t see anything in the pitch black.

“Who was it?” I asked anxiously.

Struggling for words he continued; “It was a man, I think...But he was very strange.”

Rory went on to describe an odd looking man in full suit and fedora, which was weird in itself given the heat. Although the man was just politely asking for directions, he acted and looked very peculiar. Apparently very tall, very pale and very hairless. Rory emphasized that last part still shaken by the encounter. We all laughed and made a joke about how he was now so obsessed with this ‘hairless’ guy. Rory didn’t seem to find it funny. We felt the seriousness of it but hid it with humour.

It didn’t work. The mood was dampened so we called it a night, agreeing we needed to get a good sleep in preparation for hiking the next morning.

I was clearly more disturbed by the interaction than I thought as I struggled to sleep from over thinking. It eventually came but only seemed minutes had passed when I woke to the sudden appearance of intense light. It warmed my skin while engulfing the whole building as if it was coming from all directions, or was it above? It had a blue-ish hue to it like a tanning bed only many times brighter, penetrating every possible cranny, no matter how small.

Pulling out my earplugs with an audible pop, I felt noticeably dizzy as a rushing feeling ran through me. Squeezing them back in place seemed to stop it.

Shielding my eyes to look around, I could see Marcus still fast asleep, which wasn’t normal as he’s a much lighter sleeper than me. Disturbed already, I shook him; “Marcus?... Marcus?” Nothing. Am I dreaming? There was an impulse to check his pupils. I wished I hadn’t. Recoiling from not only how dilated they were but how they didn’t react to the light whatsoever. Even with limited medical training I knew that wasn't good.

A bang came from their side of the cabin, at least they’re awake. The relief was short lived. Running to open their door I found the room empty.

Ok, what the hell is going on?

Then another thump pierced my spiralling composure. Marcus? I ran back to our room hoping he was up but as I got to the door, the emanating light completely shut off, leaving me in total darkness. The air was left stagnant and eerily silent. It was as if sound was muffled somewhat. I took out the earplugs and it almost felt like I could breathe again. The buzzing had also stopped but the vibe was still off.

Sinking low to the ground in fear, I mustered the courage to feel my way around the room. I had an intuition to keep low, it felt safer. It wasn’t a big room so it didn’t take long to reach the bed.

Marcus was gone! How…where?

At this point I felt utterly helpless. Dread held me in position for a moment but I tried to remain logical. I stretched out my arms in every direction in the hope of finding him elsewhere, but the only evidence of his existence was the warmth from where he’d been laying, just a minute ago. It brought with it a realization of how cold it had suddenly gotten, feeling around the back of the chair for the thick robe I’d brought.

Another bang, back on the other side this time, is someone playing with me?

Too scared to move but also aware of the need to find out whatever this was, I gave up the gown and attempted to find a torch, or a weapon. Our backpacks are in here somewhere.

Another bang! It sounded closer this time, maybe the hallway. These noises sounded intentional. It even crossed my mind if it was all an elaborate hoax but it couldn’t be, too many unexplained things pissed on that theory.

I became almost frantic at this point, clawing manically at whatever I could reach to find anything, I eventually felt Marcus’s rucksack in the corner of the room. Rummaging through it didn’t look promising but upon reaching the bottom, my fingers grasped a small box, the flare gun.

While unclipping the tub, the door nearly flew off its hinges as it swung open with an incredible force. Stood in the even darker frame was the outline of a man in a suit and a hat. It could only be the one Rory had spoken to. Whelping in shock had evidently given away my position as he stared right at me, although I couldn’t see any features.

Fumbling as fast as I could, I just managed to free the pistol from the foam that held it in place before the figure stepped closer.


The gun recoiled when I pulled the trigger, sending the flare way above where I’d aimed. A hissing bright red trail hit the ceiling behind the now dark silhouette of the man. I did catch a glimpse of his face, or lack of. It didn’t register at the time as I was trying to pry out another flare to load while simultaneously opening the barrel to insert it. It didn’t matter. The thing reached over effortlessly and picked me up by the neck with one large spindly hand.

I couldn’t breathe and the pain of my whole bodyweight resting against my jaw was excruciating. All the while being brought close to what can only be described as a faceless head. The comprehension of such a thing existing was overshadowed by my fight for survival.

Bright red phosphorous burned into the timber above, blinding and burning at the same time. The thing appeared oblivious. With the other hand it caressed my face, wiping away tears and snot as I fought for breath.

“Why did you do that? We only want your skin,” it said from somewhere in a flat robotic tone. Is this in my head? I couldn’t tell, I just wanted to breathe again.

“Perhaps you didn’t recognize me,” it proceeded. Its free hand pulled up what I thought was a novelty scarf but to my horror, it was a face.

A real face!

It was tucked under the hat to take on the crude imitation of a person, eye slots filled with rudimentary replicas while shrivelled lips hung loose and open. As my limbs fought and clawed for air, little time was spent figuring out which ‘face’ was more frightening.

Held rigidly in place, I couldn’t do a thing but flail.

This was what eventually saved me; by knocking off the thing’s hat with a desperate arm, it impulsively dropped me to grab its falling ‘face’, which gave me enough time to roll under the bed and gasp for air. My breathing eventually slowed back down while half expecting the bed to be flipped. I remained still, confused and terrified.


That noise again. Slowly edging my head out from under the bed, it became obvious a fire had started in the passageway. The dull glow illuminated the figure just feet away, only it stood with its head pressed against the wall, what the...

Seeing the opportunity, I grabbed the pistol, loaded the last flare and rolled out to the other side of the bed hoping to sneak out to the doorway.

Luckily it didn’t seem to notice but as the passageway came into view, so did the extent of the ever growing flames. Shit! It crossed my mind to charge through but for some reason I hesitated.

Probably because another thing stood beyond the fire. This one was completely void of clothing. Its featureless skin appeared to ripple in the flickering light. Even without visible eyes I knew it knew I was there.

This time without thinking I ran towards the flames and the creature. Just as the unbearable heat hit me, I raised the gun and fired, this time lower. The flare fired straight into its chest instantly sending it backwards. There wasn’t time to celebrate as my gown and hair were on fire. The smell still haunts me. I’ve still yet to feel pain like it, screaming I turned to the front door expecting it to be open. It was barred from the inside. By some miracle, in the blind panic of choking and burning I managed to unlock it and throw myself outside into the grass. I embraced the cool moisture, it felt like ice but the relief was palpable.

Lying there, mostly naked, burnt and sobbing, the same overwhelming light from the cabin reappeared and consumed me. An immediate buzzing swept over my being, feeling nothing but peace I gave in to it.

Half conscious of the fact my body was now secure, I felt more relief.

Until I opened my eyes.

For the most part I remember only feelings. Feeling of shock, dread, fear and disgust to name a few. What I actually saw still escapes me. Perhaps my brain is saving me the trauma or perhaps something else did this to me. All that I know is what I experienced between escaping the cabin and being found is difficult to explain coherently. There are a few fleeting memories, one being of a white almost clinical room. Another, which I will never forget was seeing rows of huge jars that contained people. It reminded me of embryos you see growing in laboratories, although these were adult humans. I think, although I have no idea what is real anymore.

The only thing that I do know is that Marcus, Hannah and Rory are all dead and that is the story as I remember it, honestly.

People think I’m evil or mad. The media calls me a serial killer, ‘Sarah the skinner’ or ‘the flayer of Belmont’. For years no one has listened, or should I say no one important enough has believed my version. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t either. But how can I be free if the story can't get out?

There is a chance.

I was made aware of a story that happened a year after I was sent here. which means it must have been in 2021. Six people were found skinned from head to toe in a remote lodge only fifty miles north of our cabin

The nurse who told me, she and I have become friends. She’s helped me a great deal and I’m actually starting to feel less crazy.

Please look into this, if it’s true it would prove my innocence (and sanity).

If not, I’ll certainly be here for the rest of my life.

Your big sister,


Wardens Comments.

This 'correspondence' was found in the library mail box, like the others.

Patient is displaying observable agitation with increased aggression towards staff.

Delusions are becoming more elaborate and defined, which similarly happened the previous time medication was reduced.

Recommendations are for an updated psychological evaluation.

Signed by; Dr. Marcus Grindon. Governor of Belmont County Institute.

Date; June 21st 1984.


About the Creator

K. Bensley

Writing is a hobby that I’m looking to explore and improve upon by creating a variety of fictional content.

Please enjoy.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (4)

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  • L.C. Schäfer2 years ago

    Nice ending!

  • Angela Derscha2 years ago

    Very intense suspenseful story!

  • Heather Hubler2 years ago

    Great suspense building and very creepy! Well done :)

  • Whoaaa I loved the twist!

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