From the Desk of Edward R. Conners

Here in the year 1883 I am with little uncertainty that I am going to die soon; as I have been hearing her singing again. I am not certain if this is a product of my own degenerated mental state brought upon by age and guilt or something I dare not ponder for very long least I end my own life before the lord has the chance to.

What I am about to write here is most certainly not the confession the authorities would have hoped to produce from me; however I am with little doubt that it will be taken as such and forever mark me as the guilty party in my once friend's disappearance. I am most certain this will be read as a testament of madness and those who have a firm grasp upon only what they can detect with their own senses in their every day lives will detect among the gibberish that they read here bits and pieces of their own biased truths to condemn me.

In the year 1843, precisely forty years ago to this month my friend, George O'Brian and I were on a fur trapping expedition in the disputed zone of the Pacific North West between the United States and Canada. I won't write down exactly everything we did, I don't want my family's good name ruined anymore than it already has with all this. I am no writer, no author of fiction, fables, and horror stories. I will not relate what the weather was like or the terrain, or any superfluous details of that manner. I will however relate that we had an isolated cabin far from any town, settlement, or Indian reservation. This is important as what happened shouldn't have happened. We had bagged a deer, good leather, good size. Unfortunately; a word that fails miserably to describe just how horrific this was, we didn't get to the deer first. Something else did, something, I can't really describe without sounding insane; something akin to a large black rabbit mixed with a dog. Its head was hideously disfigured for a rabbit with forward racing large red eyes with a wavy horizontal black line for a pupil outlined in a shimmering blue separating the black from the red both for the iris and around the eyes its self; like an eye behind the eye trying to peer through it. George shot at it, and it shrieked. The sound was like a woman screaming mixed with every beast I've ever shot and then some. There was a flash; like lightning without the sound, like the whole world blinked, and then it was gone. I remember that thing's face, its mouth filled with lapping teeth, like rows upon rows of teeth embedded in larger teeth and affixed to no fixed surface just rolling about in its mouth; details disguised by the gore from the deer's body; yet when it screamed those were gone; replaced by a hollow darkness. I looked, I was drawn in by the sound, I remember clearly just how unnatural, how haunting it was. No teeth, no tongue, I couldn't even make out a throat, just blackness inside a mouth that opened as wide as a snake's. Mind you who read this, it was not night, it was not raining, or anything of the sort. This was the middle of the day, and this thing was no spook or fairy or boogyman that I could name; and I doubt even my great grandfather or George's great grandfather back in Ireland could have named.

We didn't touch the carcass, other than the act of piling stones around it and setting it on fire. Looking back it was the strangest thing, no words were exchanged between us; we didn't even run. We just started the task of clearing away the area and setting that body on fire. Something deep inside us, some deeply seeded programming by God maybe, something compelled us to get rid of the body. When we set it on fire, this deer, just an ordinary dead deer with its body ripped open and a cavity ripped out; dead; it jumped and it; I swear to God in Heaven; it screamed. A deer's scream, but still a scream, and still unnatural, as unnatural as a dead animal screaming as I can't compare this to anything I am familiar with. It jumped in that the body flopped around while burning for a short time, we; maybe just I for all I really know, feared it would set the forest on fire as it got close to the edge of the stones and such that we had piled around it to help contain the fire; taken from our own fire pit of course and make shifted around this thing. It got close to George; he; to put it simply he freaked out. He shot at; having apparently reloaded at some point after we came to our senses and set this damned thing ablaze. For truly it was damned, for aside from flopping about and wailing for all the wolves and bears to hear when George shot it stopped. That dead animal twisted its head clean around, breaking its own neck to look directly at him; its eye sockets cracking, ripping through its own skin to position themselves forward. I swear again those eyes changed; they became like a man's eyes and it started to laugh. A horrible cackling sound like a child mixed with an old drunkard, not in chorus but together as one voice. It was then that the flames grew bright. Then just as sudden we were both looking at a normal dead animal being burned up. Lying still where we had left it, no signs that it had moved at all.

We watched it burn till it was nothing but blackened bone and foul chunks of dark burnt remains of everything else. We opted to leave that night, more practically because the smoke might have attracted attention; and the smell brought in predators. Not to mention something else was going on. There were no more incidents that night; George had written the whole thing off as poisoning from the water or maybe we grabbed the wrong berries to eat. I wasn't going to argue with him; despite having never heard of two people hallucinating the exact same things at the same time before.

The next morning however I was awakened to the sound of George fighting with someone. He had caught an Indian woman; a real looker to. He was certain she had been the one that poisoned us; sneaking around us in the dark. He insisted; despite not having told me; he had thought we were being followed all night and someone had been watching us the day before. George was panicked, we weren't supposed to be there; she struggled a bit; arguing something in some Indian tongue I didn't recognize. George threw her to the ground and aimed his rifle at her. By God so did I; especially when she started to laugh. She looked at us with eyes, not the eyes of a frightened woman; the eyes of a predator; and despite the rifles pointed at her she laughed and then started to sing. I don't think the song was anything human; the sound, I've never heard anything even remotely close to it come from a person before; some birds maybe, perhaps a flute or some other wood instrument; however even then there was something else in her voice I couldn't place something that puts me in mind now to the hum of those electricity devices; back then I'd never seen one before. I am stalling a bit, the truth is we shot her. Dead, bloody, dead, some woman whose name we didn't know, acting strangely. After what we experienced; no I am making excuses; the same ones we made back then.

Of course this isn't about the death of some random woman; whose death and disappearance as best I could tell has never been reported that I am aware of. Not that it matters; because the body was gone. George and I had a bit of a fight right there; we turned away only a moment and when we turned back the body was gone. The blood wasn't. That day the forest was silent; far too silent. As it started to grow darker we started to hear some music; a drum beat like a heart followed by a chorus of women chanting. The song was faint, yet somehow loud like it was playing through the wind its self; bursting as the breeze went past my ears; yet always impossible to make out. We tried to say it must be some people, some village not on the maps, isolated out here. Not that the creepy chanting was making the idea of a large group people who might have been right behind us and retrieved the woman we killed was of any comfort. Those words, I can hear them now, every night. Try as I might I can't make out the words; they most certainly are not in English or German, nor any of the so called Romantic Languages; it sounds sort of Oriental. Soft R sounds and long O sounds, yet somehow it sort of all rhymes.

As dawn approached; yes we walked the whole night trying to get some distance from the chanting; yet it never seemed any closer or further away the whole night; something else happened. Once more I swear to all mighty God this is true; the animals were back. They weren't themselves; just standing there watching us, they were chanting; or rather it was like something else, some horrible unseen thing was somehow reaching its voice out through them. So many were choking out remnants of words, horrible attempts to bend animal vocal chords to words they were never meant to speak; not sure humans were either. George I remember shot a chipmunk, it was standing in a line of them. Its blood splattered on the others yet they didn't flinch. Everything just stood there, chipmunks, squirrels, some deer, even birds. The birds were chanting some name, something starting with an R I think and ending with an A perhaps or a long O sound. I can't remember it clearly; I wasn't really paying attention at the time. We were being surrounded, as George was reloading we heard the song; heard it clearly and saw its source. The woman, the woman we shot was standing right there in the woods, she was naked save for wearing a burnt foul smelling; I didn't smell it till I saw it somehow, deer carcass; the head and antlers over her dirt and leaves filled hair. She had clean, alive, the day before. Now it looked like she had clawed her way out of the ground and put on the body of the deer we burned. I am sure this same thing was going through George's mind; especially with what happened next; she started to laugh. It wasn't the same laugh as before; this time it was the laugh the deer made; the laugh we swore we had hallucinated.

George shot her.

Shot her again I mean. This time however, everything went silent; I don't remember it clearly; but the next thing I knew I was blurry, fuzzy, and numb. I had my rifle aimed at George. I remember that look of disbelief, of betrayal in his eyes as I shot him. There; that the confession everyone wanted. The body I dragged back to civilization, the body with a bullet in its chest, shot at point blank. Which I didn't drag back from that spot; I remember very little other than falling over as everything went black; however it wasn't. Sorry I paused for a good twenty minutes typing this; after I fell over, I remember it clearer now than I ever did. A rustling sound, and in what little I could see as half my face was buried in leaves what looked to be a long black dress; something really formal, one of those fancy English dresses only really dark. I felt it touch my face, so silky, and so warm, and moving like the waves of a gentle sea. Then I really blacked out. In the darkness I recall being dragged before everything went light again. When I could see and hear and had all my other faculties about me I was dragging George's body behind me by the legs like an animal over the ground approaching a trading post with none of our gear. From there the rest is public knowledge. The cabin was burned down after we left; I will never say different; our equipment was stolen. No signs of the deer, not that there would be, fairly certain even bears will eat a burned up carcass; unless. No, no unless and; and, and,;so pretyyyyiiiiiiiiiiiii,';;;;bgefuepwqouew