I live in a place away from the city. There’s a forest nearby, and few families live in the area. In the last few years, many people shifted in the area, and I’m one of them.
My dog was a hunting dog; he was fast, an excellent sniffer, and my best friend. He seemed to know my routine. During weekends he’d wake up just before I got up and I’d see him waiting outside; all excited and wagging his tail. He would sometimes track small animals like squirrels or cats and would chase them through the forest. He never got lost, he seemed to know the forest better than me.
It was February, a pleasant day of spring. I was all set for the weekend trip with my dog. I planned to spend a night, put a tent there with some snacks and pre-cooked food. I took blankets, pillows, and almost every essential that I might need.
My neighbours warned me and started telling me weird stories. I believe all scary theories or stories can be explained scientifically; it’s just we get scared easily, and the scared mind provides us with an assumption that we keep believing for the rest of our lives.
I took some time to set up my camp in the forest and my dog was beside me all the time. The tent was set, I made a bed for my dog besides my bed. I started a movie on my laptop, and my dog came to my bed, and we spent most of the evening watching movies and videos. He was curled up with me all the time.
Close to 12 am, my dog sat up and was looking straight at the opening zip. I assumed that he needed to pee, so I opened up the zip and let him out.
Strangely, he just sat inches out the tent and looked straight ahead. He wasn’t making any sound, I got out of my bed and went outside to look. After a minute or two, I convinced myself that maybe he smelt or heard a fox or some insect chirping in the woods. We then came back to the tent and just slept.
Next morning, I noticed my dog was up before me and was again looking towards the zip. I opened the zip, and we stepped outside. I felt as if something was behind us, something heavy. I even felt twigs on the ground snapping. I looked back, but there was nothing. As I turned my head, I say my dog hunched himself on his hind legs, his front legs were pressed close to the ground, and his teeth were bared. He was in an attacking positing and was growling looking ahead, and there was nothing in front of us. I was scared that maybe an animal is nearby and he just sensed it before I could. We moved inside the tent, and he was sitting upright, staring at the zip again.
I tried to get him out to pee, but he didn’t move. This time he started wailing as if he was crying. Maybe he was trying to let me know that he didn’t want to go out. I understood, and I came to my bed. He was still sitting right there. I told myself that maybe he sensed a big animal and is just scared.
Next day, we returned home. My dog was silent, and he didn’t eat all day. Strangely, he didn’t go out for once. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t eating or drinking so that he doesn’t have to go out. He pissed on my floor once; I didn’t mind that. At night, I cooked up meat for him, but when I put it in front of him, he didn’t even smell it or eat it. He came to me and sat upright, watching the door intently. The door was locked.
I was watching TV and almost after 2 hours, my dog started wailing and crying. He came close to me and hugged himself close to me. I felt sorry for him and thought that if there’s something out there that is scaring my best friend, I should do something about it.
IT WAS A TERRIBLE DECISION.
I opened the door and tried to look in the dark. I stood in the doorway for almost an hour. There was no sound. It was silent and dark. I could hear critters and leaves moving in the wind. Just when I was about to enter, my dog darted outside at his full speed and ran into the complete darkness. He was barking non-stop, I could hear his barks. I didn’t know what to do. My dog’s barks started to fade away in the distance, and he was getting far into the forest.
I went inside and took my cricket bat and came back to the door. I stood there for more than an hour with the bat in my hand. I waited for my best friend. It was hours now; he didn’t return. I saw the Sun coming out through the trees. It was morning, and I went inside. I sat on the chair waiting for my dog. He didn’t come for the next two days.
I was worried about my dog. I was planning to seek help from professional dog-catchers to track him. I was distressed and was missing him badly. I was scared for him.
My dog came back on the third day. Usually, he would just run back barking to the door and scratch it. However, this time he walked towards the house slowly. I even thought that maybe it’s another dog because of his behavior, but it was him. I could recognize his features and the outline of his body. It was him, but there was something different about him. Then I thought that maybe he’s hurt or hungry and that’s why he is so silent. I ran to the door and flung it open. He didn’t come inside; he watched me intently for some time. I called to him, and he moved. The way he moved, it seemed he got hurt, and he wasn’t walking properly.
He came to the doorway, sat and not for a moment took his eyes off me. I opened the door widely and showed him his bed. He walked straight to it. He didn’t jump on me, sniff or lick me as if he missed me, instead, he went to his bed, sat, and was watching me again.
At night, I sat in front of the TV. I called him; he didn’t respond, he just sat at a distance, staring me. Strangely, I don’t remember him blinking even once, he just sat on his bed and looked at me. I didn’t want to trouble him much. I switched off the light and went to my room.
At night, I could hear him walking in the house. I could hear his nails clicking against the cement floor. The sounds were coming closer to my door; his movements were deliberate and slow. There was no quickness like he had before, he wasn’t panting or sniffing; he was silent. The sound stopped, I could feel him sitting just outside my door. I didn’t think much of it, and I went to sleep.
In the morning, I saw him exactly where I saw him last night; he was still sitting upright and watching me. He didn’t respond to me or even wag his tail. He didn’t touch the food that I gave to me. Strangely, he appeared to be a little longer. He got up, came closer, stopped, sat, and was looking at me again. I was creeped out a bit, so I called out his name loudly. He didn’t even blink. I was scared this time. I went to my room and started a movie to take my mind off it.
I went out after a while. It was afternoon. Suddenly, I realised that there was no sound. I didn’t hear a bird chirp, or a fox howl, or even a dog bark. Suddenly, it felt that for miles there was just one sound; the sound of my breathing.
I went deeper into the forest where we camped up. I saw disembowelled bodies of squirrels, cats, and foxes. It was like something just horribly killed them but didn’t eat them.
As I hurried back towards home, I saw a bigger body; a deer was killed and mutilated. It was as if it was skinned alive. Strangely, I saw so many dead bodies but not one fucking fly on them.
I started jogging towards my home, and then I saw my dog sitting in the door; as if waiting for me. He was looking straight at me. I was scared, and inside my mind, I started planning to get the hell out of that place. But it was already dark, and there was no way I can leave now as the forest would be covered in fog and it will be risky to drive through it.
I went back inside. As I walked past him, I glanced at him, he was still looking at me and this time he was looking a little longer. I went to my room and sat on the bed.
It was midnight when I heard something that froze my blood.
I heard someone whistling outside; it was exactly the way I used to whistle to call my dog.
I slowly opened my door, without making a sound. I poked my head out to find out who was calling my dog. I saw the outside door was open and I saw the back half of my dog. It was long and looked as if it was coiled around the back of the door. His head was outside the door, and it was whistling. It was whistling to call my dog back. It even called out my dog’s name in my voice.
I was shaking with fear.
I went quietly back to my room and sat there without making a sound. I was shaking and was scared.
I waited inside my room till the afternoon. I got up and opened the door, trying to look normal. I saw that the house was empty and the food near my dog’s bed was untouched. The fridge was open, and all the meat was gone. I didn’t think twice, I ran to my car, threw my bag in the back seat and started the car and started driving away leaving everything in the house.
I was scared and felt a pang of guilt when I realized that I am leaving my best friend in the woods, but I know what I saw last night.
Whatever I allowed in my house last night and whatever killed all those animals in the forest wasn’t my dog. I lost my dog in the woods and what came back wasn’t my dog.