Settling about the cold , grey woods of the upper portion of the North American continent, the fog slithers it's way along the low spots in the Earth. I think to myself how similar the stinking, blue fog of the muskeg is to mankind itself. Nothing but a creeping plague that curdles everything it touches. Just like this damn fog that swirls about me now! Fall is slowly setting in. Sinking it's ravenous claws into the weak, still summer softness of the surrounding countryside. You can see it everywhere. Things are dying second by second, shriveling up before winters awesome advance. Soon the venom of winter will course through everything that abides in this land where darkness reigns throughout much of the year.
Time was, when I was like everyone else, I didn't think like this, that is until I was sent here. It was even fun to be here at first, all alone with thousands of miles between me and anyone else. That is until things started turning up missing from camp. Then everything started blurring into a world of constant shadow and anxiety. You see, I work at a remote weather observation post. One of the last manned weather posts on Earth, all the other stations have slowly gone to full automation. No humans needed thank you ! Why this one particular station has held out against going auto for so long baffles me. How I ended up here is equally baffling as well. But, maybe now I know why others refused the assignment, maybe now I know about other unexplained events that have occurred around this region. I'll tell you this much, there is something up here in this desolate shithole of world that stalks men like a phantom from hell. I've met it!
THE UNEXPECTED ATTACK
Into my second month here (Editors note: Circa Mid-November of 96) I came across a very large set of caves located in a draw between two rock outcroppings. This place was situated in a deep natural bowl. Almost as if it were an ancient crater. I was hesitant to enter and felt a fair degree of anxiety for some unknown reason.
I had only taken a small flashlight with me, intending a quick survey. Right away the darkness became an impenetrable curtain. But my spirit was aggressive at that point. I was underground no more than 10 minutes when suddenly a force of tremendous energy came down upon my back and neck. My initial rush of fear was that I was caught in a cave-in, I screamed as the wind was forced from my lungs. The light flew from my hands and everything went black. As I screamed, I simultaneously felt the weight of what I had thought was earth and debris suddenly leave me. Replacing the weight was an unbelieveable charnel house stench of the worst kind. It filled my nostrils like raw sewage. Sheer panic had taken over all of my instincts at that point. Pulling a tiny penlight from my coat pocket I found the larger light nearby. I headed for the surface immediately, senses reeling. Bleeding and scraped, I pulled myself back into the now fading evening light, happy to be out of the cave system. My head was bleeding profusely by then so I headed for the camp, rather oblivious to the reality that had just confronted me hundreds of feet below the Earth.
I was quite alone up here and mistakes were paid for dearly. So perhaps my apprehensions were well warranted. The weekly radio check-ins were of little solice to me. There seemed to be no immediate animal activity around these caves so I thought it safe to explore some of them. I should have known then that the absence of animal presence was a warning. This is not a region usually known for caves so I was twice as curious about their origins and their size than I normally would have been otherwise. They weren't on any of my topo maps, which I thought was an odd aspect in itself......
Once home and settled in, I had a cup of Java, I took off my coat to hang it to dry, the cave had been wet in spots. That is when I saw what appeared to be a huge foot print on the back of my jacket. I first thought it was where some rock and debris had struck me leaving the strange pattern on the jacket. But there undeniably on my coat was what looked like a BIG footprint. As I began examining my minor facial wounds and cranial abrasions in the mirror I soon realized that these were not injuries from any falling debris. The outline of a large human-like hand with nails lay across my face. I shuddered and locked the door, I slept with the cheap K-Bar beside me that night. Weeks later, I reasoned it out that it simply MUST have been a bear I disturbed, it HAD to be. Even then my mind thought of the legends of these parts, of Wendigo and Sasquatch. Native folklore? I refused to go there in my mind and went on about my work at the station. The bear theory seemed plausible to me, I felt lucky to have escaped so lightly.
You see up here at the roof of the world, the Govt. policy is not one of practicality. It's a "by the book" existence or else ! You know what I mean, miles of red tape for fools to play games with. The presence of firearms of anykind on base is not tolerated ! Mess up with a gun and they can actually send you to prison for Christs sake! At the time I got the job I thought what the hell? Why screw up a good thing? So, I left my old pistol back home, in Arizona (where I am from). I did take a knife with me though. Nothing fancy, just a K-Bar repro from some discount knife house back in the states. But, thank the dark Gods of this forbidden land that I did bring it. Later it provided me a great amount of mental comfort.
HOBBY / OBSESSION
From a mail order catalog I began aquiring knives. First it was with the idea of protecting myself, then I became obsessed with the wicked sharpness of the whole thing! When you are alone for extended periods of time, your mind runs in strange circuits at times. My tastes in knives began to run to the extremes of the scale. I went from hunting knives to the fighters in a swift arc of money and mail.
Slowly, my ever growing tastes for exotic fighting cutlery led me to the purchase of a Keating designed Crossada fighting knife. It is how I first linked up with Comtech, Keating and related this story to him, knowing his penchant for the weird side of life I knew he'd enjoy the yarn. And here we are... Now on with the story.
For where I was living and for what I needed it for, I felt the Crossada was what I needed! A blend of wickedly sharp steel, highly innovative design and an almost art-like appearance. Carrying a large knife in this northern wasteland is not a problem. In a certain sense, I am the law up here, me and that thing which haunts this region. Since getting the Crossada it's begun to travel everywhere with me. I felt the safest then, as Mowgli the wild boy said in the Jungle Book upon getting his knife, "Now Shere Khan, I have a tooth too! "
Then away I went, armed with Crossada and flashlight. Once I was out of the heavily timbered area I could discern the outcropping. Arriving at the opening I wasted little time. I decended into the stygian darkness once again. Like before, I was crawling about 250 feet on my belly before I could feel the area above me open up. It was about here that the first attack had came.
I waited awhile and moved ahead slowly and very quietly.
My heart raced as I inched along, sometimes squatting, then walking and back to crawling again. No sign of any human habitation was evident to my weakening beam of light. The smell of wet earth and hoary age assailed my nostrils. The rocks and roots mixed with my imagination to create beings in the shadows. So far, so good, the prayer must be working I thought.
Time underground was going on 45 minutes. I had gone much further into the cave system this time. Crossing two larger galleries between various tunnels in the process. The darkness was so intense, the silence so great that my own heart was the loudest thing I was aware of most of the time! I started to get very uneasy at one point, panic began to engulf me in a big way. Only deep breathing and an iron will kept my mind from going totally beserk at that moment. The hair on my neck was standing on end.
The SECOND ATTACK
The whole thing took its toll on me. I dreamt about the cave nearly every night. It was calling me back and I felt it inside my chest cavity. I didnt want to go, but I began making plans to go the next morning. Before I left the shelter I quickly smudged myself down with sage and sweetgrass.
I kept those things with me from my hunting days back home in Arizona. The friends whom I hunted with were part Apache and had taught me the ritual.
I smudged down the Crossada also and said a silent prayer for protection.
Going back into the caves took an ample amount of courage I'd like to tell you!
Then my fears really took their full-bloom! Deep in this underground crypt of the unknown, I heard a sound! A grunt or deep exhalation from a large set of lungs describes it best. Quickly dowsing my light, I stepped behind an outcropping of large rocks and drew the Crossada. It knew at that moment that I was in the lair of a beast. And whatever it was, it was searching for me in the bowels of an earthen deathtrap. Fear ran up my spine like a thin, ice cold silver thread. But what was IT? Not a bear surely, not any known beast. My imagination raced, was it a Sasquatch afterall? The Indians up here tell of the Wendigo. Was it one of these semi-demonic spirits that supposedly inhabit this
region? H.P. Lovecraft wrote of these things, did he know of this place and its inhabitants?
The waiting game began to wear on my already frayed nerves. I knew that darkness was ready to fall outside the cave. I was suddenly hungry, and honestly, I wanted out of there. I felt sick alone and afraid. Making my move to pull back I suddenly turned on my hand torch in a bold move and headed back from where I had came. From out of the gloom came an arm, a gigantic arm reached out and engulfed me. Simple as that and twice as fast. I was smashed into the rocks above and below, in a wild, half crazed swipe I hit paydirt too and finally got a piece of my stalker! A sound from hell ensued, a roaring screeching of the most hellish proportions echoed throughout the damp caverns.
Clawing my way to safety was no mean feat. Looking back, I remember only fear and the sound of my own blood rushing through my veins. The blood covered Crossada remembered though! It logged the encounter in the ink of mortal combat, blood! An unknown blood at that. I know I did not kill this thing. I also know that it now hated and respected me. I also knew that it was not a bear. After this encounter it seems that my mind went somewhat numb. Things were pretty quiet until it was time to leave. My tour of duty was over. I had been operating on auto-pilot most of the time. The day by day work monotony was a refuge from the fear.
Soon after my last cave incident the station did in fact become automated (Dec 97), I was sent to another station in the lower 48. Although I never saw the creature, I saw it's arm. Large and hairy seems to describe it well, an odd coloring in the flashlight's beam. An almost reddish cast to the hair made me even more baffled. It did have an opposing thumb, I saw it in a blur of violence before my light went dead from the impact of the blows I recieved. There were odd lights in the sky too, flickering in harmony with the Aurora Borealis, they were there and they moved unlike any star. What were they? Now, my world is dark, I have changed, I see things differently now, I know that the world is not the orderly place we are led to believe, I know that there are still haunters in the darkness.
Oh yes, one last thing. When I finally broke out of the confines of the cave, before I resheathed my weapon, for some reason I cannot explain, I licked the blade of my knife. Brassy and tart it was too, this blood-blade bond took hold and will forever be a part of myself and that thing in the Northlands. At night I dream of that encounter and I know that in the darkness of that far-flung Grendel-like lair it thinks of me too. Both man and beast the wiser. In an odd way, I hope the creature still lives. For whatever it truly was I'll never know, but I hope it survives. We are now linked in a bizarre twist of cosmic fate. I call it "brother".
Editors Note: As far as we can tell this gent has told the truth. Who knows the limits of a man's mind under the extremes of environment and lonliness. Was the creature a figment of his mind? Was it a Wendigo as the Indians claim ? Perhaps it was a wayward Sasquatch with an attitude, who knows, eh ? There is more to this story, but we at Maajak World edited much out due to space limitations. The world really has grown dark, that much we know for sure eh?