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He was a secluded paralian on the rusty clay cliffs of the Atlantic.
Every morning he smoked a cigar on his porch and breathed in the crisp, salty air.
He was a stout, rough looking man, with choppy silver hair obscuring sunken eyes—his mother was a native Wampanoag Indian. He fished on the hillside, but never the beach.
His name was Ralph Williams.
He was a simple man with a simple life—he liked everything the same each day and anyone who was rude enough to disrupt him was quickly received with an aggravated huff.
He seemed like a typical, cranky old man.
But Ralph had a terrible secret.
He visited his wife's grave every Sunday.
Twelve years ago, she'd gone missing and her body had never been recovered. He left dogwood flowers from the hill.
When he returned home in his rickety station wagon, he poured himself a cup of coffee and gazed out the window.
Then he shivered.
It was there again.
His secret stood about ten feet tall.
It's face was like gnarled branches, and it's body almost man-like. It had antlers like a deer, and something like torn sackcloth wrapped around it's torso.
If it had eyes, Ralph couldn't see them. He never got quite close enough to see it's beady stare.
He watched as the Wendigo raised oblong fingers.
He blinked, and it was gone.
Once, the Wendigo was just a story his mother told him about.
A creature that feasted only on human flesh that stood on the border of the woods, staring into emptiness until it's next victim would fall upon it.
Ralph had laughed off these stories as a child.
He didn't anymore.
For the most part, the monster left him alone. It lurked only the edge of the wood behind his house, and it only came either at night or on foggy mornings.
Sometimes it stood there while he smoked his cigar—just staring. But he never looked away from it. It chilled him every time—of course—sending shivers down his spine. But he never looked away.
He didn't tell anyone about the monster.
It left him alone, and they would call him crazy. Not that he cared much about that—people already called him crazy.
He sat, fishing on the hillside. It was gray and foggy, the waters were a bit rough. He could feel it behind him.
“Go. Away,” he commanded.
The Wendigo stayed.
Ralph turned to stare right back at the creature.
Ralph shuddered, but stood his ground.
“What do you want?”
The Wendigo was silent.
Ralph thought about bolting to his door, but he was old—his bones were becoming more and more frail, and this creature had long, lithe legs.
“You 'come to eat me or something,” Ralph grunted. The monster was silent.
Finally, Ralph moved, watching carefully to see if the Wendigo moved with him—but it just turned it's tiny eyes in his direction.
Slowly, without looking back, Ralph walked up to his porch.
When he turned around, the monster was standing on his lawn.
He resisted jumping—how could it be so quiet?
He opened his door, and backed into his house slowly. The Wendigo just watched, haunting.
Ralph hated the phrase “skeletons in your closet.” It implied that his secrets were tangible, that there was a closet somewhere that could be opened and you'd find what he was hiding.
He didn't know how literally the phrase applied to him.
Ralph went another week at battle with the monster.
It came closer and closer to his house everyday, until it was at the very foot of his porch and Ralph could no longer leave.
He thought about walking right past it. Would the Wendigo pursue him? Would it devour him when he ran? Or would it do what it did that day on the hill, following quietly, but never touching him?
He didn't know.
All he knew was that every day, the beast was at the foot of his home. A month went by. He needed groceries.
He was already out of coffee and all he had left to eat was a can of peas and a few cans of 'Gansett bear.
That was gone all too soon.
Three days later, he hadn't eaten and the monster was still at his doorstep.
Weak, tired, he decided he'd had enough.
He marched into his closet and brought out his shotgun. Loaded and ready, he kicked open his door.
For a moment, he just stood.
The Wendigo was there, staring at him hauntingly in the mist. The door creaked on it's hinges and wind blew violently in his ears.
It was close enough now for him to see it did have eyes—and after a moment of shock, he realized they were his own.
Then he began to fire.
“Strange old guy,” the chief said. They'd gotten the report about two hours ago from a frantic woman.
His body was now being transported to the morgue, and the police were left to investigate what may have caused his death. The chief, Billy Sands, thought it was natural causes. The autopsy would reveal later it was shock.
“Wife went missing some a while back—Nathan Baits was the detective. Never found her. He always seemed. . .not right after that. But from what the neighbors said, they was always bickering. Strange how death can change things.”
They fished about his things.
“That's odd,” Detective Walters muttered. “Doesn't look like he'd had food in here for weeks.”
“Probably weren't all there,” the chief grunted. “Old, you know. Nearly ninety. Happens round then.”
The moved on to his bedroom.
“Here's the closet,” Walters said. “This must've been were his shotgun was.”
Chief Sands nodded. But he was more interested in a loose floorboard.
“Walters, help me over 'ere.”
Walters quickly complied, and together, the lifted the loose floorboard.
The two gasped.
Underneath dust and decay, human remains. And a note. A single note.