Nicole bopped out of her apartment door as she set her bags down outside. Turning to lock the door, then grabbing her bags in tow out to her car. Her shoulders were broader than most women when played well in her Judo training, and her 5’6” stature put her smaller than most as well. Her figure was thick yet tight as she made her way to her silver Chevy Impala. She was popping the trunk as she approached with the button and plopping her bags in the spacious trunk, then with a sigh closing it and making her way to the driver side door. Tightening her high ponytail, holding her long brunette hair, reaching down to her lower shoulder blades, and was wearing a slightly baggy plain gray t-shirt with a sports bra under and denim style yoga pants, marginally thicker along with socks and laced up boots. She opened the door, climbed in, and pulled out, headed off to her best friend since childhood.
Tiffany danced in her room in her skinny jeans and bra as she threw clothes into her bag for the trip. They were going out to some area in the woods that Nicole’s boyfriend, Darrell, had been talking around. Some fabled woods thing, she giggled to herself as she thought about it again and how Scooby-Doo it sounded to her. She grabbed a shirt and tossed it on finally as she realized Nicole would be there soon. A baggy Sonoma State University shirt, as she slipped on her sketcher sneakers onto her socked feet. Standing much taller than Nicole at six feet, having a slimmer appearance, but that shouldn’t fool anyone. She grew up on a farm and knew her way around just about everything, along with having that invisible farmer’s strength. Closing her bag finally, she heard honking outside her window, “I’M COMING!” Tiffany shouted, although no one could listen to her but herself. Throwing her hair medium-length blonde hair up into a ponytail out of the way, she grabbed her bag and darted out of her apartment, locking the door as she passed, tossing her bag in the trunk, and climbing in as they took off.
The two of them pulled up to a duplex, giving off two beeps on the horn.
“He does realize that he’s riding in the back since we’re both going, right?” Tiffany giggled as she locked the front passenger door.
“Well, he’s gonna figure it out soon enough, and he needs to get his ass out here before we just bail on him…” Nicole hit the horn in a succession of three beeps.
“I’m coming; I’m coming!” Darrell shouted as he popped out of his door, locking hit behind him, with a duffel bag slung over his shoulders. He was wearing skinny jeans and sneakers, with a slightly tight-fitting UnderArmor shirt. Trotting out to the car as he dumped his bag into the trunk, closing it and looking faux surprised at both ladies sitting upfront as he mocks fought outside the car about it before finally climbing in the back and closing the door. “I get the back; I see, huh?”
“Of course… drooling guys in the back, rockin’ gals in the front,” Tiffany retorted, giggling. “So what the hell is this thing all about?” She turned to look at him with her brow arched questioningly.
Darrell smiled as they started, and he got ready to tell them again, “so there are these woods supposedly. Out somewhere in Calaveras County called Mimic Woods, it’s somewhere deep in the woods past Sheep Ranch, they say. It’s said that when you’re out there, the woods can mimic what you say.” He sat back, looking all impressed.
“You mean a fucking echo dumb-ass?” Nicole snorted as she laughed afterward.
“NO! Not an echo! Geez, there have been YouTube videos and stuff of people out there but nothing solid. They say the night is the best, but I can’t find any evidence that anyone’s tried. I’m guessing they’re scared since it’s the spooky woods and all.” Darrell chuckles, lounging back in the back of the car.
“Well, that doesn’t mean we should go trotting around in the woods at night alone either though numbnuts!” Tiffany huffed and turned around.
“Oh, come on, ladies! It’ll be fun! Really! You two never want to do anything; I found this on the internet, one of those ‘spooky things to do’ sites. I figured it’d be right up until all our alley.” He shrugged and looked at the window.
“We’ll have to see what it’s all about then, I guess. As you said, it can’t be that bad, not like monsters are real or anything, haha” Nicole laughed and shrugged, smiling over at Tiffany as she playfully nudged her.
“Fine! I suppose you’re right, better than sitting around doing nothing for our extended weekend.” Smiling, Tiffany replied.
After a few hours of travel from the California bay area, east towards the mountains, they were finally in Calaveras County out past Sheep Ranch. Still, there was nothing to find as it was mainly woodsy and no definitive landmarks or signals to the supposed ‘Mimic Woods.’ The conversation had lulled to a halt as they were all looking around to try and figure out where they should go, it wasn’t dark yet, but it would be soon approaching.
“Ohhh, hey! Turn down here, to the right, Nicole; this area looks familiar from YouTube, actually,” Darrell said excitedly.
“Alright, but this better not turn into some ‘Hills Have Eyes’ shit, I swear… I already hear the banjos in my head…” Nicole responded as she turned down the unmarked dirt road he’d indicated.
A few minutes down the road, they fell into almost a trance-like silence as they all starred at the woods around them as they passed slowly by. Deeper and deeper, they traveled in as they were virtually awestruck in an almost eerie way. What they also didn’t realize is that Nicole hadn’t been driving straight down the road. She had been aimlessly turning here and there in their daze as they traveled down the dirt road.
The trance-inducing sound of the tires on the road was violently interrupted when the passenger side front tire blew out loudly, causing the vehicle to swerve off the road into the makeshift ditch slamming into a tree. Fortunately, they weren’t traveling fast enough to harm anyone; however, enough to crack the radiator, as a plume of white steam erupted out of the crumpled hood between them and the tree. Both airbags deployed as the two ladies coughed and slammed the bags down as they deflated, having broken out of their dazed state finally. Darrell was laying back in the back of the car, a groggy, confused look on his face as he slammed into the seat in front of him, shaking up his head a bit.
“Uhhhggghhh… Is everyone ok?” Nicole murmured as she finished moving the airbag out of her face and massaging the sore spots on her face from the bag’s impact.
Coughing still from the dust that came out with the bag as Tiffany cleared her throat, “Yes, yes, I’m fine, just trying to breathe, and catch my breath,” as she finally was able to gasp in a full breath of air having had the wind knocked out of her from the bag as well.
“Uh-huh,” was the only response Darrell could make at the moment as his hands held his head. The pounding in it killing him, thinking for sure a slight concussion from his head bouncing off of the front seat into the back. “G…give,” He held one hand up with his index finger, indicating a minute, as his hand returned to his head. He was giving small pressure point presses and massages here and there to relieve any of the pain.
As Tiffany went to open the door, it didn’t budge. Pulling on the handle and then hitting it with her shoulder dislodged it from being jammed shut as it flung open, spilling her out onto the forest floor in a heap. Darrell’s door opened with ease. Tiffany climbed over the middle and out the passenger side door, as her’s was jammed.
Darrell leaned up against the car, warily standing only due to the car’s support, squinted one eye open to see it was dusk. “Oh crap, it’s getting dark fast… we either need to find help or get back in the car and camp it out until morning, ladies?” Still holding his hands to his temples, massaging both in a circular motion.
Clamoring to her feet, Tiffany brushed the dirt and leaves off of her. “No, someone’s got to be out here. Where else would all these back roads lead to? They’ve got to be private residences at some point, right?”
Nicole sat up on her knees, giving herself a slow, methodical brush off as she sighed, “uhhh, well, I might have a flashlight in my trunk if we want to go find someone. Should someone stay here?”
“NO! That’s how horror movies start… you separate, and that’s the first to die, don’t you watch movies?” Tiffany seemed a bit annoyed with the idea of someone, anyone staying behind alone.
“Nicole, do you remember how to get back to the highway from here? The path you took? We could backtrack and wave down traffic; there’s bound to be a semi at least at some point.” Darrell didn’t even look, keeping his eyes closed, his palms now rubbing along his forehead, rustling his short brown hair a bit.
Looking shocked, she responded, “I… I don’t know. I can’t explain it; it’s like that whole time is gone in my mind; how could I blackout while driving?! Tiff! Do you remember anything?” Nicole looked to Tiffany, filling with panic.
Shaking her head, “no, I don’t remember anything except… the forest,” Tiffany responded, realizing how the forest sucked her in.
“Well shit, I guess we’re going to have to try and find someone then because I don’t know about you two, but I’ve had zero bars on my phone since back on the highway, so…” Darrell stared at his phone as he had finally opened his eyes, holding it up high in the air trying to see if a bar would appear. However, it was to no avail.
The other two quickly grabbed their phones, unlocking them only to find the same situation, zero bars of service. “FUCK” they shouted in unison, looking at each other with matching fear.
“Ok, be calm, and we’ll figure something out. Well, we can go in the opposite direction we were driving in, see if we can find our way back to the highway, and perhaps we’ll either run into a residence out here or the highway. The other option would be to camp out in the car and attempt to hike out in the morning.” Darrell said as he pocketed his now useless phone.
“Oh hell no, I don’t want to stick around here; the doors are jammed and won’t work right. Let’s grab our sweatshirts from the car and do, as Darrell says, what do you say, Nicole?” Tiffany was already moving to the car to grab her sweatshirt as she finished.
Nodding already in response before she responded verbally, “yeah, grab mine too and let’s get the hell out of here. I don’t like these woods anymore; where the hell did you take us?” Nicole gave Darrell’s arm a fake punch.
Tiffany grabbed both sweatshirts and tossed Nicole hers as she put her own on afterward. Darrell grabbed his zip-up hoodie and threw it on as well, waiting for the other two before they started in what they thought was the direction they were coming. What they didn’t realize is they’d just turned around, so they were now walking deeper into the woods.
They had been walking in stunned silence, confused about how they ended up in the situation. Thinking things has been played safe, which, right into the heart of it, it would seem. What had seemed like hours upon hours of walking had, in fact, only been two; however, they realized they should have perhaps reached the highway by now.
“Uh… Darrell? Don’t you think we should’ve reached the highway already?” Tiffany was turning her phone back on to check the time, “it’s been like, oh, ok, but still it’s been two hours. We weren’t driving off the highway that long.”
“No, we weren’t; what’s going on?” Natalie retorted.
“Oh shit, I think I see something, just in the distance!” Darrell was ignoring what they had just said as he sprinted off ahead of them.
“What the hell! Darrell!? Don’t leave us!” Nicole shouted out to her boyfriend in protest as she and Tiffany began trotting in the direction he took off. They didn’t see anything as the Sun had finally set on the horizon, and the dim light had been fading fast. In the distance, though, they could see what appeared to be the dark outline of something, a building perhaps? Their speed picked up as they thought they might have found someone who lived out here.
Coming to a stop as Darrell stood in front of an old, dilapidated cabin. Appearing to have last been used probably in the pioneer days, the ladies stopped with a huff of disappointment.
“Well shit… this isn’t good,” Darrell muttered as he carefully wandered into what he could of the cabin. The roof had caved in, but there was some room to get around inside.
“What the hell are you doing? Why would you even want to go in there? You’re going to get tetanus, or it’s gonna cave further; get the hell out of there!” Nicole shouted in protest.
“I think this was someone’s cabin back in the mining days; there are old lanterns and crap I can see… “Oh shit! Score!” Darrell shifted around in the cabin as the floor creaked and the roof cracked, going more as he darted out a window suddenly as a portion of the roof collapsed further in an area behind him.
“You dumb-ass! You’re lucky you didn’t get hurt, or worse, you shit!” Nicole slapped his arm in protest again. “What the hell do you have?”
“Look what I found!” He held up an old double-barrel shotgun and a small bag with shells. “Now I think these should still be ok… but might be best to keep this with us just in case?”
Tiffany reached for the gun and snagged it from Darrell’s hands, “perhaps we should let the one who used one before holding it, though?” Her right brow raised in judgment.
“What the…?!” He began to protest before Nicole snagged the bag from his other hand and tossed it over to Tiffany.
“I’m sorry, sweetie, but I’m going to have to agree with her on this one. As big and tough as you want to be, she’s used one of those a lot back home. If we need it, we’ll need it to be useful and accurate.” Nicole chuckled as she hugged him.
“But… you don’t have to be accurate with those…” his protest died as she hugged him, and he returned it and ended the argument.
Tiffany looked at what was left of the cabin. “Well, obviously, this isn’t an option, but it is dark. Do we continue or camp out here in front of the cabin? Can use some of its wood for a fire, I’m sure.”
As their hug parted, he looked back in confusion, “camp here? Are we just going to stop? I can go all night, but maybe we have been going the wrong direction.”
Nicole was over by the cabin with Tiffany collecting wood as Darrell was still looking confused at the two of them.
Darrell heard something in the distance, and what was creepier was, it sounded like his voice. “Uh… ladies? Did you say anything?”
“Are you hearing the forest gnomes now, Darrel?” Tiffany joked at him as they both got a laugh from it.
“…saaaayy annnnythhhhing…” the eerie quiet voice of Darrel said from the woods again within his earshot.
“Ok, you two aren’t hearing that shit? Someone is out there whispering. It’s creepy as fuck!” He began to walk back to them as the forest itself seemed to lunge forth at him. Knocking him to the ground as it bulled him over completely. The sheer mass and size of the thing were mind-boggling, considering how fast it was also maneuvering. Supernatural came to mind as his shrieks filled the air from the creature’s iron-like grip crushing both of his ankles completely as it pulled him into the forest.
The two ladies looked up just as he impacted the ground as it was with such force that they heard and felt it. The impact had knocked his wind out, or he’d have called out sooner; they looked on in sheer shot and horror. Unsure what to make of what they saw, as it appeared the forest was moving and attacking him. Before either of them could even get to standing and out of the cabin again, he was gone. They were both running full bore, Tiffany behind Nicole as she had the mind to grab the gun before taking off after them. Until she finally stopped to where Nicole stood, silent and still.
“What the hell was that, Nicole? Did you see it? Do you see Darrell? What the fuck?!”
“No, I… I don’t know; there’s just… so much… blood…” Nicole turned to face Tiffany, and both of her hands were covered in something sticky; fumbling for her phone, she turned on the light and saw her hands were covered in blood.
“Holy shit Nicole, are you ok?!” Tiffany exclaimed as she shined the light onto the ground, only to see it just covered in blood, too much for Darrell to be alive anymore. She looked up at Nicole, “calm down; it’s going to be ok. We need to stick together, and we’ll get out of this. Think about us right now; that’s all we can do.”
“Darrell’s gone,” Nicole said to Tiffany in a creepy matter-of-fact way, almost in a state of shock.
“…Darrell’ssss gooonnnee….” Nicole’s voice came mysteriously from behind her.
“What the fuck was that, Nicole?” She looked at Nicole in confusion.
Nicole screamed out in pain as something huge came grabbing her; Tiffany could see something hold her around her complete body so hard it broke both of her arms in half. She could hear her ribs cracking as she started gurgling blood in her wailing screams as she vanished into the forest, much like Darrell did.
“NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Nicole!!!!!” Tiffany ran and ran and ran hard in the direction that Nicole vanished in. No matter how hard and fast she ran, she didn’t seem to catch up with whatever it was that took her and could hear her screams still until they abruptly went silent, and that’s when she came to a complete halt herself. “Nicole…” a tear fell from each of her eyes as they began to well up, but she held it back. I opened up the shotgun looking in the barrels to see it loaded, closed, and cocked back the hammers. “FUCKER!!!! COME GET ME!!!”
The creature was cut off by the loud sound of both barrels of the shotgun going off at once. A brilliant flash of light blew off the barrels’ end as the previous owner seemed to have added something to his rounds; however, it seemed to help. The sound was replaced with a wailing shrieking filling the air. She quickly popped open the gun, loosed the shells, reloaded, and snapped the gun shut, letting off both barrels in a great flash in the direction again. Once again being returned with an ear-piercing screech. This time it sounded wet and gurgly, though as there was a gasping wheeze from the woods, then, nothing.
She quickly reloaded the gun once more and kept it pointed in the same direction, just waiting for any sound or movement. Her fingers were a hair-trigger to snap off both barrels in front of her. She still didn’t hear anything in front of her after a few minutes of waiting. Bringing out her phone again and using its light, she shined it in front of her then towards the ground. A liquid was oozing towards her from the screeching direction; it had a mirror-like appearance and even gave off indigo colors. Moving the light up further, she saw more of the same liquid and realized it must be the creature’s blood.
She fell to her knees; tears began to stream down her cheeks steadily now. She let out one sob as she wiped her nose, “Well guys, I’m sorry you didn’t make it, but we killed it at least… we killed it.”
“…weee killlllleddd iittt…” was heard to her right in her voice.
“…we killedd ittt…” was heard to her left in her voice.
“…wee killed itttt…” was heard behind her in her voice.