Small Wooden Chest

This story takes place on a brisk, early October morning in the year 2012. My brother and I were 3 days in on our week-long backpacking trip across the Uinta Mountains. We had done this particular hike the previous year and had enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again. This would be the last time we ventured into these mountains.
I remember looking up on our frosted over tent this specific October morning and feeling the silence. There’s a sensation that is hard to describe when being alone, deep inside these majestic mountains. It’s as if sound and life have vanished and all that’s left is you.
My brother and I had hiked 2 days straight into these mountains allowing us to be completely removed from the outside world. As morning approached the 3rd day, my anxious mind woke me in anticipation for the fun adventure that awaited us. As I was laying in my sleeping bag surrounded by darkness and listening to the unique and almost forgotten sound of stillness, I heard a noise that has forever carved itself into my mind. A woman’s scream.
Coming deep from within the forest, this woman’s scream was abruptly stopped and followed by silence. “What was that?” my brother said with a grumbled, just-woke-up, voice. All I could say was “I…I’m not sure.” My mind began trying to make sense of what just happened. What did I just hear? No person could be out this far, considering we took a dirt road that hadn’t been traveled on in months, just to get to where we started our hike. Was that just in my head? I asked my brother “Was that a scream?” “Yeah… it sounded like a girl.” My brother and I just laid in what seemed to be increasing silence. My brother broke the silence “What if someone is hurt?” He had a good point. “We should probably check it out.” I replied. I tried to mask my fear as we exited our tent into what would be complete darkness if it weren’t for the faint stars. “Where did it come from?” My brother asked. I remembered it coming downhill from us which was close to a small lake. “that way.” I whispered, pointing downhill. We began walking in the direction of the sound we heard. After walking for a while, we stopped to listen for any more sounds. Following a minute or two of listening, I said, “I doubt anyone is even ou…” My brother quickly turned around with his finger pressed up against his lips. “shhhh” he said. “Listen.” As he pointed toward the lake. At first, I didn’t hear anything. But then, sure enough, I heard it. A low hum was coming from the lake. Not knowing what it was, my brother and I slowly inched our way out of the thick forest and onto the shore. If it weren’t for the dim light coming from the stars, we would have never seen it. Maybe 50 yards ahead of us on the shore were 6 dark figures all in a circle, standing a few feet in the lake off the shore. “What… what is happening?” I said under my breath. My brother didn’t answer as we tried to make sense of what we were looking at. Slightly secluded by the forest, we inched closer. It wasn’t until we had made it within 30 feet of these dark figures when we saw it. Right in the middle of these shadowy figures, a woman was floating a few inches above the water. For a moment, all I could hear was the blood pulsing through my body.
I don’t know if it was out of bravery or fear, but I yelled “HEY! GET AWAY FROM HER!” Instantly the low mumble coming from these figures stopped. Their heads all turned in my direction, some turning completely backward. A short, low laugh emerged from the one closest to me and immediately they all vanished, except the girl floating above the water. Right after they disappeared, the woman let out a heart-piercing scream and dropped into the water. My brother and I ran into the cold water over to where she dropped. “Where did she go!?” my brother frantically yelled after a quick search. All we ended up finding was a small wooden chest right where she dropped into the lake. I don’t dare open it. Will you?

Leave a Reply