Mind Your Momma
Ever since I was a child I've had an affinity for adventure. Nothing fills me with the same sense of overwhelming joy and adrenaline than running through the forest at dusk, and exploring forgotten ruins of old buildings left to rot away. This same passion of mine has always filled my mother with great disapproval.
Every time I would prepare to embark on a new journey, she'd give me the same old spiel about how foolish and dangerous such behaviors were, and how I really should listen when she told me not to go.
Despite her warnings, I never ran into trouble. Sure, I'd gotten my fare share of bumps and bruises from rough spills while hiking, but I wore them like battle scars. I knew the woods behind my house like the back of my hand. So well, in fact, that I began to grow bored with them.
However, to my delight, a few weeks ago my mother informed me that we would be moving to a new town to be closer to my Uncle. I won't list the name of said town because I don't trust you guys not to intentionally seek it out after what I'm about to tell you, but nevertheless, our new home is nestled in a rather large piece of property made up of several dozen acres of heavily forested land.
Anyways, it didn't take long for me to settle into our new place. Since my Uncle now lived rather nearby, he was over, helping us get unpacked. He brought my cousin with him, and it was only a matter of minutes before we discovered our shared love for adventure and began making plans to explore my new backyard.
Seeing us leave, my mother once again stopped me at the door. Preparing for the worst, my cousin and I slumped our shoulders in impatience while she began her ever so familiar speech.
However, this time she wasn't alone. My Uncle had overheard her giving us the what for, and decided to interject.
"You really should mind your Momma."
I sighed loudly and turned my attention over to him, wearing a painfully skeptical expression.
"I know that look." he said. "I gave it to my Momma plenty of times in my day. But I'm being serious. The woods around these parts are not safe."
My cousin and I exchanged wordless looks before reaching for the door once more.
"You think I'm being funny do you?"
His words were sharp this time.
"I'll tell you what, I swore I'd never speak of this again, but if I tell you kids about something that happened to me years ago, and you STILL wanna go, I'll let'cha."
By this point, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in what my Uncle had to say. I mean, my Uncle is a 6'4, gun toting mountain of a man. It would be an understatement to say that he doesn't spook easily. And whatever experience he had in those woods years back, clearly had him shaken.
"Alright." we said in unison, backing away from the door and pulling out chairs from the kitchen table.
He released a great sigh and closed his eyes before beginning to recall his tale.
"Years ago, when I was about your age, my high school buddy lived on this property. We spent a good deal of our time out there exploring. This land goes through all sorts of terrain you know, it's not easy to keep track of it all. Damn near impossible to even know if you're the only ones living here.
Well, my buddy and I had heard rumors that back in the 60's, a group of hippies built a little commune out there somewhere, unbeknownst to the landowner. Being young and curious, we decided to go see for ourselves if there was any truth to these rumors.
We searched for weeks. Even on our atvs, there was only so much land we could cover if we wanted to be home before it got dark. (Mind you, this is cougar country, so you gotta be home before dark.) Anyways, one day after riding for what felt like hours toward the southwest border of the property, we finally found it.
Eerie as Hell, I'll tell you right now. It was clear that it had been vacated for several years by then. It was a perfect little ghost town. It consisted of about 12- 15 little buildings, and what appeared to be a giant old fire pit.
The buildings were covered in moss, and the windows were full of dust. Upon peeking in, it looked as though the buildings functioned like community lodges, meant to house a decent number of people. The doors were nailed shut, and we didn't have a hammer on us, so we resolved to keep looking around, and return another day with a hammer at hand.
After snooping around the ghost town for a while, we noticed a little shack a fair distance away. My friend told me that it was likely a "honey shack", or where couples stayed when they wanted a little privacy from the rest of the community.
Upon approaching the shack, we discovered that the door was not nailed shut like the others! We excitedly made our way inside, where we were surprised by the relatively good condition of the interior. Other than the dust and cobwebs, it looked great. It had shag carpets, cushy old furniture, and some ugly retro wallpaper.
All in all, not bad. We even discussed turning it into a new hangout place for the rest of our friends back at school. It wasn't until we were heading back out that we noticed it.
In the corner of the living room, plopped onto a little chair was an enormous doll. It looked like one of those little wooden artist's dolls, but it appeared to be plush, and it was life size. It was sitting arched over, with its arms bend out and resting upon its knees. It almost looked like it was lost in thought, but its head pointed up, as if looking at us.
My friend and I both became incredibly uncomfortable. There wasn't anything logically frightening about it. There was no apparent danger in it, yet it shook us both. We immediately left the shack, closing the door tightly behind us before hopping back on our atvs and taking off, straight for home.
Years passed, and we both eventually forgot about the commune and the creepy doll. Though we stopped exploring the woods, we still stayed friends all the way through high school, and even kept in contact through college.
It was in our Junior year that we returned.
My friend had invited a bunch of us out to his property for a big party. We were all pretty smashed, so by the time he brought up the subject of that old hippie commune, the thought to decline never occurred to me.
I remember our group made our way back to the old commune and that we broke into a few of the larger buildings. We then remembered the old "honey shack" and decided to take another look. I wish we hadn't.
Though the door was still tightly shut, just how we left it, the interior was not at all the same. It had been completely trashed. The wall paper had been slashed to ribbons, the carpet was torn up in patches, and the stuffing from the furniture was tossed about. But one thing remained the same. That goddamn doll was still there, sitting slumped over in the chair in the corner, in the exact same position it had been years previously.
At this point, my memory is nothing but a blur. It's like I completely blacked out. I remember leaving the shack, and then nothing..."
My Uncle stopped speaking for a moment at this point. He squeezed his eyes shut and frowned. It took him a few moments before he began once more.
"The next thing I remember, I was coming to inside a building. It took me a moment to realize what I had been doing. I was holding a large rock in one hand, and a handful of nails in the other. I was alone inside of the shack, nailing myself inside.
Horror began to rise up inside of me. I frantically looked around, hoping it was some kind of twisted prank, but I was utterly alone, and night had fallen. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise as I slowly turned to face the direction of the small chair. But this time, the doll wasn't there.
I began to hear a violent scratching sound from the direction of the kitchen. It was growing louder, and heading in my direction. I frantically began pulling the nails out of the door frame. The scratching grew louder and louder, and I knew it had to be nearly right behind me, but I couldn't bring myself to look.
With one last desperate tug, I pulled out the last nail and threw myself out the front door, slamming it behind me. I broke into a dead run towards my friend's house, screaming as loudly as I could.
Fortunately, a group of people weren't too far off. They were carrying flashlights, and apparently had returned to look for me. I tried to tell them what had happened, but I was in such hysterics that they couldn't understand me.
Upon returning to my friends house, he demanded to know what had happened. Apparently, right after the group had started to leave the "honey shack", I had gone berserk. I had started screaming at them that they needed to leave, and when my friend tried to grab me, a clocked him and continued shouting and demanding everyone leave. Not knowing what to do, and seeing me act so out of character, they decided to take the women back and to return for me later, perhaps after I'd sobered up.
I never did tell him what happened. I simply warned him never to go back there. I can only imagine he didn't take my advice, because a few months later, the house was on the market. His folks never gave a reason, but they left as soon as they found a new place.
Now I'm not trying to be a stick in the mud. I just really think you ought to mind your Momma."