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What Happened At The Whitfields’

by Linda Serrano 2 months ago in fiction
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A dare gone horribly wrong

The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. How could this be? Well, it all started with a dare.

Indy and his friends were traveling down an empty back road late one night. One of his friends, Eric, was driving while the other- Ryan- was sitting shot gun, ranting about how awesome this dare is going to be. Sitting beside Indy in the backseat was Drew who didn’t seem to be in the mood for mischief. If anything, he’s ready to retire for the evening. The car sped down the narrow road. All Indy could see out the window was his reflection and darkness. Where were they going, he wondered. Was it necessary to be out this late?

His phone dinged, causing Indy to jump a little. He glanced at his phone; it was a message from his mom- well step mom. Are you ok? It read. Indy rolled his eyes. This woman was always worried about him. Then again it was his first sleep over since he moved back from L.A. He didn’t know Ryan and Drew like that, but Eric had always been his childhood friend. If they were good friends with him, they should be good friends with Indy, right? Indy sent a thumbs up emoji. His step mom sent another message: Okay if you need help please don’t hesitate to use the safe word.

Ugh the safe word. His step mom and that stupid safe word. Indy was positive he wouldn’t need it. He typed: Sure thing, Jill. He hit send. His step mom hated it when he called her by her name, but Indy could care less.

“Are we there yet,” Ryan asked Eric. Indy looked up from his phone. It appeared that Ryan’s excitement turned into impatience. Eric, eyes transfixed on the road replied, “Almost.” Indy could feel Eric rolling his eyes. Ryan took off his seatbelt to face the backseat, much to Eric’s annoyance. “Hey, man,” Eric began. “Sit back down, the cops might be around the corner.”

However, Ryan ignored him. “So your drop off spot is coming up in a second. Any regrets for choosing dare?” Indy glanced at a tired Drew for answers, but to no avail. “Indy,” Ryan exclaimed. Indy’s eyes darted back to Ryan. “Did you regret choosing dare?” Did he regret choosing dare? No. Did he regret coming to the sleepover? Probably. Obviously Indy wasn’t going to show fear, especially in front of Ryan. The car came to a stop.

Indy looked around; all he saw was darkness and the outline of nearby trees. They were parked on the side of the road. There’s no way they’ve reached their destination. Well his destination. He chuckled. “Come on, you’re not serious right?” He looked at Eric, gripping the steering wheel firmly staring straight ahead. Indy then turned to Drew who was suddenly alert. He looked shaken.

Indy glanced back at Ryan who wore a wicked grin on his face. “Have you heard the story about the cabin in the woods?” Indy shook his head. Was this a story that’s been going on for quite some time or was it made up while he was gone for the past five years? “Well,” Ryan began. “Long ago, say fifty years ago, there was this family- the Whitfields- who loved nature so much that they decided to live off the grid. So they built a cabin somewhere deep in the woods right there,” he pointed at the dark abyss outside. “And called it home. Those who knew the Whitfields dearly, claimed that they were the picture perfect family. Boy, we’re they wrong.

“You see, Aubrey- the father- wasn’t the most…pleasant person to be around, especially when he drinks a shit ton of moonshine. He would beat his wife if he finds a single dust bunny on floor. He once punished one of his sons by forcing him to fashion a switch and then beat him with said switch. He even literally branded his teenage daughter a slut for ‘encouraging’ these hunters to assault her.” Ryan paused. Indy couldn’t even imagine living off the grid, much less with a psychopath father like Aubrey Whitfield.

“Anyways,” Ryan continued. “One night, Aubrey had a little too much to drink and was fully convinced that his wife was having an affair behind his back. With who, you ask. With Satan himself, of course and that he never fathered any of his children. So he grabbed the nearest weapon he could find- an ax- and killed his whole family, but not without assaulting his wife and oldest daughter first.

“When he came to the next morning, he saw the damage and couldn’t live with what he done. So he got a rope and hung himself on the ceiling in the attic. Their bodies remain there rotting until a couple of hunters stumbled upon the cabin and alerted the authorities of the foul stench. You can imagine their reaction from the discovery.”

Ryan sighed as if he’s in deep nostalgia. “Now it's said that the cabin is haunted by the family unable to leave, because Aubrey wouldn’t let them. People claimed to still smell the scent of rotting flesh near the cabin. Others hear the cries of the family being slaughtered. Nature enthusiasts are too afraid to hike near there, because they claimed to see the spirit of the youngest child, Holly, roaming the woods looking for her dolly.” He took a pocket knife out of his pocket and handed it to Indy.

“Your dare,” Ryan continued. “Is to take the forbidden trail to the cabin and light one of the candles with this lighter.” He held the lighter in his hand and shook it. “Afterwards, you’re going to go upstairs to the attic and use the pocket knife to carve your initials on one of the wooden beams. The one closest to where Aubrey hang himself.”

Indy wondered how they were going to know if he flaked on them or not, but Ryan beaten him to it. “You’re going to film the whole thing on your phone so we know you did it.” So he was going in there by himself. Surely they won’t drive off without him, right? “We’ll be right here waiting for you to return.”

Indy sat there dumbfounded. They were really sending him into the woods by himself to a potentially haunted cabin as a dare. He looked at Eric for reassurance, but he sat idle in silence. Drew was no help either as he was too shook to speak. “Well go on now,” Ryan broke the silence. “We don’t have all night.” Indy slowly opened the car door and got out. The cool autumn air welcomed him, as for the darkness that lay ahead not so much. He pulled his phone out to start filming as he closed the car door.

He didn’t take more than a couple of steps, when Ryan whistled at him. Indy turned to find the window down and Ryan grinning at him. “You forgot something.” He tossed the lighter at Indy who caught it. “Remember candle then attic,” Ryan said casually. “Now go.” He waved his hand dismissively at Indy. No good luck or anything, just “get the fuck on.” Okay then.

Autumn leaves crunched underneath Indy’s feet as he trudged along the forbidden path. So much for being forbidden when anyone could stumble upon it, Indy thought. Phone in hand filming, he scanned it around just to get a good look at his surroundings. Better yet, to catch a glimpse of the youngest Whitfield, Holly. Hopefully she found her dolly. Hopefully, the Whitfields didn’t exist and it’s all a small town tale.

Indy hoped that was the case. The light illuminating from his phone revealed the path. Nature definitely tried to cover up the trail, but to no avail. Indy wondered how many people were either brave or stupid enough to go to the murder cabin in the past. If it was that many, did they make it out alive? Damn it, positive vibes only, Indy thought. He needed to focus on finishing the dare before Ryan runs out of patience and forces Eric to drive off without him.

The trail seemed to be never ending. For what seemed to be like twenty minutes, Indy seen trees, animals, and his own shadow that scared the living soul out of him a few times. Perhaps the cabin never existed and this was a waste of time, Indy thought. He could turn around and call off the dare or he can- WHAT WAS THAT?!

He heard the sound of rustling leaves as if someone was treading through it. He scanned his phone around, expecting to find someone. Was it one of his friends following him just to scare him or was it Holly? Indy suddenly felt like a prey on a look out for his unseen predator. He was afraid to take a step, but he needed to head to the cabin. Surely he wasn’t going to let his friends or a little ghost girl stop him. He continued on the trail, this time jogging.

He recalled that people can smell the scent of rotting flesh near the cabin. Did legend say anything about people shitting themselves out of fear? Because it was going to happen to Indy. Adrenaline was flowing through his body as he tried to get away from whoever was following him. The autumn air slapping his face as it fills his lungs. His heart beating uncontrollably that he might die before he could reach the cabin.

Indy shined the light ahead of him, revealing the end of the trail. He’s almost there! He stumbled on a couple of tree roots, but managed to regained his balance. He made a quick dash towards the dilapidated cabin, practically skipped a step or two on his way up the porch. He flung open the rotting door and shut it behind him. Indy gave a huge sigh of relief. He made it inside the cabin alive!

What was the next step? Oh yes, light the candle. He scanned the phone around. What used to be the living room was now part of the forest. Furniture was flung around from what he assumed to be from the night of the murder. Books were scattered all over along with other debris. The place didn’t smell like rotting flesh, but the smell of mold was just as repulsive.

Indy noticed a broken picture frame nearby. He walked towards it to find a picture of a family, the Whitfields, he assumed. It was an old black and white photo of the family dressed in their Sunday best. The youngest, Holly was sitting on her mother’s lap holding a doll. Her hair was in golden locks tied with a ribbon that matched her dress. She looked around five years old. Her mother, wore a dark colored dress. Her dark hair was tied up in a simple French braid. She looked happy, but when Indy looked into her eyes he could tell she was depressed. The oldest daughter shared her mother’s traits as well as beauty. She wore a bright colored dress with her hair tied up in a low bun. She looked around Indy’s age. As for the boys, they were clearly twins seeing as they looked and dressed alike. They both wore dark colored long sleeve plaid shirts tucked into khaki trousers with a solid colored bow tie. They had short blonde hair and freckles and looked to be about ten or eleven years old. As for the patriarch, Aubrey, he had a long beard and little to no hair on his head. He stood about six feet and is buff. He wore a plain white buttoned down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He had one hand on his wife’s shoulder and the other on his teenage daughter’s.

Indy found this picture unsettling, especially since he knew their fate. He turned away from the picture, scanning the phone around the room. Where is that damn candle, he wondered. As if the cabin read his mind, he spotted one by the window. The candle looked like it was used before with it’s dripping wax dried on the side. It still sat in its bronze candle holder waiting for it to be lit once more.

He pulled out the lighter and lit the candle. The glow from its flame didn’t make the cabin any less creepy, but Indy wasn’t planning on staying overnight there. He aimed the phone at the stairs; it’s time to head to the attic. He took a couple of steps before he heard a sound coming from what was formerly the kitchen. It sounded like the sound of metal moving around like pots and pans. Probably animals or the wind, Indy thought to himself.

Indy climbed up the stairs, each step groaning in protest from his weight. The smell of rotting wood and mold overpowering his sense of smell, but that wasn’t going to stop him from completing the dare. As he reached the top of the stairs, he felt the cold breeze hit him in the back of his neck, giving him goosebumps. As if on cue, Indy heard a huge creaking sound behind him as if someone was trying to follow him upstairs. He whipped around and flashed the light at….nothing. No one was there.

Was he losing his mind? Was he letting Ryan’s stupid ghost story get the best of him? Ghosts aren’t real, he assured himself. He turned on his heel and scanned his phone around the top floor. There were a couple of bedrooms, so the kids must’ve had no privacy, Indy concluded. He rounded the corner to find an open space filled with old chests and debris all around. This time, Indy could smell something rotting and it’s NOT the wood. He began to cough. No way this is the attic, but then again it’s a small cabin deep in the woods. The full moon glowed through the small round window.

Indy panned the phone around every single corners of this makeshift attic and concluded there was no other set of stairs. He was indeed standing in the attic where Aubrey Whitfield presumably hanged himself. He aimed his phone at the two beams ahead of him. If I were to be a psychotic guy where would I hang myself at, Indy thought. He targeted the beam almost aligned with the window. This would make sense, right? Perhaps he was found in the center? Makes sense to Indy.

He pulled out the pocket knife; time to carve a John Hancock! Indy began carving the “I” for his first name. He barely got anything etched when he heard the wind-no- a voice from nearby. “Dolly,” a voice whispered. “Dolly.” Indy turned his phone at the top of the stair case. Nothing. It has to be the wind, right? Indy returned to carving. He repeatedly dragged the blade up and down, hoping that the rotting wood wouldn’t render the carving unreadable.

A faint scream can be heard, causing Indy to jump. It came from downstairs. He was too scared to move. The scream continued, but he was barely able to make it out. It sounded like a couple arguing. “Honey, stop it,” he heard a woman cried out. “You’re drunk.You need to lie down.” Then a series of bottles and plates being thrown around followed by a man shouting unintelligible things at her. What did he heard? It must be his imagination, right? Ryan must’ve scared him real good with that story.

Damn it, Indy, focus. He shook his head; he needed to carve his initials. He turned his attention back at the beam and dug the blade further into the wood. Soon after the cool air smacked him in the face followed by a series of voices talking over each other. Indy couldn’t comprehend much of what they were saying, but he heard Holly crying out for her dolly, the wife begging her husband to stop, the daughter’s cries for help, and what he assumed the twins begging to be set free.

Indy, however, didn’t have time to play savior with the dead. He needed to complete this dare and leave. This created more havoc as now the voices gotten louder and Indy was able to understand them. “You wretched woman,” a man’s voice echoed throughout the cabin. “You and your demon spawns will pay for deceiving me!” Indy felt the cabin start to shake sending him and everything else sliding around. He managed to finish the “I” but he need to carve out the first letter of his last name. Easier said than done when the cabin is moving and the pocket knife was no where to be found.

Ugh! Indy must’ve dropped it when the cabin started to shake. He grabbed his phone and began looking for the knife. It has to be around here somewhere. He started kicking at the excess debris, hoping that it’s underneath it, but to no avail. Where’s the damn pocket knife?!? The screaming didn’t help at all and Indy became irritated. “Shut up,” he screamed. “Shut up already!” Unfortunately, the paranormal activity continued. The sound of objects being thrown about downstairs continued, the constant screaming was giving Indy a headache, the cabin shaking wasn’t making anything better.

“Fuck the knife,” Indy exclaimed. He grabbed the nearest bottle and smashed it against the beam. He resumed with carving his initials with a shard. Despite the chaos going on around him, he managed to carve out the letter for his last name. Then just as all the activity began it suddenly ended and Indy was met with silence. Well except for his heavy breathing of course. He admired his handy work as he wiped the sweat off his forehead.

Indy aimed the phone at the beam. “You see that, guys” he laughed. “I’ve completed my dare!” A cool breeze brushed the back of Indy’s neck once more. Indy breathed, only this time he can see his own breath! Goosebumps began to form and unfortunately he knew what this meant. They’re back for more! It’s time to go, Indy thought. He backed away from beam, then turned so fast he almost ended up kissing a set of shins. Wait what?

Dangling before him was a set of legs. No this can’t be, Indy thought. He didn’t want to know who’s legs they belonged to. He already knew, but fear and curiosity got the best of him so he aimed the phone at the ceiling. Lo and behold a disturbing sight! There he was with his head tilted on one side meeting Indy’s gaze with his milky and bloodshot eyes. His body was limp and pale. His clothes was bloody from the bloodbath. It’s the infamous Aubrey Whitfield making his traumatizing debut!

Indy was too shook to scream much less move. Well except for him dropping his phone from the real life jump scare of his life. So what was the safe word his step mom gave him? No fuck the safe word. Fuck this family. Fuck this cabin.

Once Indy got the nerve to move, he bolted past the dangling spirit and practically fell down stairs. His legs were moving like jelly and it was pissing him off. He managed to get back on his feet just in time to meet another disturbing sight. There before him in the living room were the corpses of the rest of the Whitfield family, hacked and bloody beyond recognition. The smell of blood caused Indy to gag. He couldn’t take it anymore.

He was out the door in seconds, jumped over the porch steps. Adrenaline consumed his body once more as his lungs struggled to keep up. Indy could hear the family begging him to come back and save them from Aubrey. Like hell I will, he thought as he ran. He didn’t know how long it took him to travel from the car to the cabin, but it took him about five minutes to race back.

He hopped into the car alerting everyone else. “What happened,” Eric asked. Indy tried to speak, but he was out of breath. Ryan rolled his eyes. “Did you do it or not?” Indy tried to pantomime Eric to go, but was too exhausted to do so. “So is it a yes or a no?” Eric looked at Ryan and punched him in the arm.

Ryan looked at Eric unphased. “What? You know something. I think Indy here chickened out.” Eric’s jaw locked. Indy could tell his friend was trying too hard to hold his tongue. He tried again to signal Eric to drive, but at that point he was too weak to do much of anything. He glanced at Drew for help, but he was still in shock. From what, being awoken by a frantic Indy? Indy noticed Drew shakingly pointing at Indy.

That was odd. Why was he pointing at Indy for? What was he afraid of? Before Indy could gather his strength to ask, Drew screamed. “LOOK OUT!” Just then a bloody creature slammed itself against the window causing everyone to scream. It was screaming unintelligible things. Indy took a good look at it before Eric drove off. It wasn’t a monster: it was a desperate Mrs. Whitfield trying her last attempt at convincing Indy to save them from her abusive husband.

Eric didn’t stop until they got back to his house. By then everyone was still shook by what just happened. Indy wanted to tell them what happened, but felt like they were already traumatized enough for the night. Before they went inside, Ryan (yes surprisingly Ryan) made everyone swear to never talk about that night ever again. They went to bed. Well all except for Indy.

He couldn’t help but wonder what he could’ve done to save Mrs. Whitfield and her children. He wasn’t a psychic medium or anything. He had no knowledge about the paranormal and how to move them into the afterlife. He wasn’t a good fit to be their savior. So what now? Obviously he made no plans to go back there, but knowing their story Indy could only hope that some day Mrs. Whitfield and her children can finally rest in peace. Until then, they remained in the cabin deep in the woods forced by their abuser to relive their murder over and over again.

fiction

About the author

Linda Serrano

Don’t mind me. I’m just an ambitious writer trying to write stories inspired by films, books, music, and my personal life. I’m currently working on three different novels on Wattpad as I’m typing this profile so stay tuned 😉

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  • C.M. Silas2 months ago

    Loved your story, it kept me on edge!

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