I am an anxious, nervous person. Probably even too nervous. At least, that's what the doctors tell me. "You just need some sleep.", "Go home and try to catch some shut-eye." The same thing, all the time. I sleep, but I don't dream. My brain can think, but I can't. My blood is furiously running through my veins and it is throbbing in rhythm with my heartbeat. I don't know what to do… some of my friends think that I'm insane: I mean those friends, who are still alive.
Even now, my hand is trembling while trying to write what might seem ridiculous, unreal, but to me, it is nothing but a pure nightmare. It is not simply a piece of paper with evidence of me going mad or anything of that nature. It is a warning although I'm afraid because my effort may be in vain. Even though it again might sound strange, the fact that I should reveal all this is apparent to me. In the end, I rely on the judgment of those who will find this letter. I hope my handwriting is more or less legible.
Hiking is a wonderful thing, isn't it? Well, not for me. My friends—Jack, Roy and John—however, loved it. They were encouraging me to come with them for two years or so; yet, I'd always managed to find a good excuse not to go until my imagination betrayed me and I couldn't make up any. One cannot possibly picture the joy they had when I finally agreed.
They wanted to take me somewhere to the mountains. Actually, it had always been hard for them to get ready for any kind of trip. People used to compare them with the company from "Three Men in a Boat" which seemed true at some point. Nevertheless, their inspiration and happiness were so contagious that I got engrossed in packing things too. I wouldn't say I'm sort of a I-need-a-lot-of-stuff-for-the-trip person, but it took me quite a time.
The train was to set off early in the morning, so I slept little, if at all. Jack called me and said he was waiting right behind my door with his luggage. I think he was the happiest person on Earth and he still would be one if that trip hadn't happened in the first place. I've always loved his stupid jokes! For example: "Don't spell part backwards. It's a trap!" Isn't it hilarious? Roy would call Jack a humorously challenged person but I didn't think so. Sometimes I truly laughed at his jokes.
We had a meet up at the station, Roy and John had already been there when Jack and I finally got to them. Only John seemed to be a bit under the weather, but that was usual of him. The train was about to start its journey, and then, all of us enthusiastically got on it. The road was rather short, about half an hour. My friends were chatterboxes when I was more of a looking-in-the-window passenger. The view was magnificent: the train was passing by a cliff and there was a creek that was oozing its way through rocks and slime at the bottom of that cliff. That was the moment I felt sad since I didn't have a camera.
The train stopped not far from the Red Mountain (please, avoid that place!), where my friends wanted to take me. Its spearlike top was so high that it seemed to pierce the cloudless sky. The surroundings reminded me of the US south. Despite the fact the place looked astonishingly beautiful, I didn't notice many people around us as if we were the only group of hikers there. That is one of the reasons I didn't like those trips to the outside of the city; too far from the civilisation…
The stones had a peculiar orange tinge, somehow reminding me of the planet Mars with no vegetation whatsoever. In fact, it looked so strange that I decided to take one of them with me, so anyone who is reading this, please pay extra attention to it! This is the stone from hell!
We didn't get to the top of the mountain, just walked around it a little bit, and then we set a camp. Everyone seemed to have fun (including me) and even the slightest thought of a possible evil outcome wouldn't have dared to cross my mind. I simply wanted to relax with my friends and that's it! Was it too much to ask? Why did we have to suffer? Why? Nobody deserves such fate! That's why I'm writing all this, aren't I?
So, please, let me continue. On the first day of our arrival, not just odd but extremely bizarre things started to occur. I had (still have) a suffocating headache as if something was trying to penetrate each cell of my body with a hook! I used to take different pills, yet they didn't help me at all (if not made things even worse), and I was on the point of going to a doctor when Jack suddenly called me and asked if I had any painkillers. I was shocked: I didn't expect any of my friends to have exactly the same problem. I said I didn't, but he sounded rather frightened, so I decided to pay him a visit anyway and buy a few things in a pharmacy on the way.
I got to Jack's flat as soon as possible, but nobody answered the door. I got nervous, asked the neighbours if they saw anything, and I still couldn't get rid of the headache! Eventually, I called the police. They broke the door, found nothing but a bit of a mess and a small blood paddle. There were no signs of a fight nor breaking in nor anything like that. It seemed that Jack simply disappeared. I was taken for questioning and so were my other friends. None of us had heard from Jack since that day. What astonished me was that Roy and John complained about a slight headache as well! However, there was more: strange sounds started hitting my ears; crack-crack-crack. As if someone was cracking bones. I asked my friends, but they didn't hear that both abnormal and frightening noise.
The police were investigating but in vain. Jack disappeared for good; his relatives hadn't heard anything from him, and his colleagues said the same thing. There was no letter, no message, nothing, less than nothing… The police again advised me to see a doctor and I was told to take certain pills, explaining the whole thing as a temporal shock.
One day my cell phone rang and I saw it was Jack calling me. I was so happy and excited until I answered the call. There was no voice, utter silence—then it came again—crack-crack-crack! I told the police everything, yet they couldn't trace the call. Apart from that, I was informed of Roy's sudden disappearance. John was the one who investigators suspected, which seemed absurd, even though he didn't have an alibi. John was no killer! Especially, considering there were no bodies. And one day he called me, saying weird things: "I'm pursued by something horrible! Please! Please, help me! The police want to scapegoat me, but it's insane! I can't stop hearing this cracking noise. please, come! I beg you, I can't do this alone!". What he meant by "do this alone" I didn't know, but I knew I couldn't leave my friend alone, and there was still a chance to learn what happened to Jack and Roy. I called a taxi. John was waiting outside and he could barely stand up. His hands were holding his head, and he wouldn't stop saying: "It's near! Crack-crack! Please, I need my pills! Where are my pills?!". He looked more than annoyed and he wanted only one thing. Pills. Taking pills all the time.
Again "Jack" called me, and "Roy" called John. Both of us heard the same sound. It'd never changed. We got to John's flat. The headache was so unbearable that I couldn't help but lay down on a couch for a couple of minutes. I was disturbed by my cell phone, but it wasn't "Jack" nor "Roy" who was calling me. It was John! I jumped to my feet in a second and searched the flat for him. He was gone. Again, the same blood paddle. I answered the call—crack-crack-crack!
I'm too exhausted to think, I feel I need some rest. Insane people don't sleep but I do. Please, anyone who reads this. Do. Not. Go. To. The. Red. Mountain. This is the place where something had broken through the shadow veil and unleashed its terrors on those who happened to be there. No, I won't kill myself! Neither have I killed my friends! I'm not mad! I won't yield to that unknown fiend or whatever took Jack, Roy and John. I shall find them! I will! I'm going to plan every single step, and even if that horror cannot be defeated, I will face it anyway, as my friends did.