CREEPY STORIES: THE GIRL IN THE LOG
by reddit user Fillimilli
TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ABUSE
kind of a long read, but so worth it
I always hated visiting my grandpa’s old cabin. That might make me seem spoiled or ungrateful. What kid doesn’t enjoy seeing her grandpa? Especially considering he was the only grandparent I had ever known. Both of my mom’s parents were killed in a car accident before I was born, and my dad’s mom walked out on him when he was very young. He still doesn’t know where she is or if she’s even alive. So that only leaves my paternal grandfather. My parents desperately wanted me to have a good relationship with him. My dad insisted that, although Grandpa was stern and quiet, he really did love me. He just didn’t know how to express it. I figured that was probably true, but it didn’t change the fact that trips to his house were filled with idle hours watching television and reading while he worked during the day, followed by awkwardly silent dinners in the evenings. I rarely saw him, and he seldom spoke in any loving way. He just kept a wary eye on me, like he was waiting for me to break something of his or talk out of line.
Still, my parents insisted on sending me to spend a week with him every summer since I was ten- old enough to look after myself for the day. I had visited his isolated cabin in the woods several times before with my parents, but this would be the first time I stayed overnight by myself.
There were no kids my age around, or neighbors of any age for that matter, so I would have to pass the time by reading and watching the few channels he had on television. This may sound awful for a ten year old girl, but I was used to being alone. I was an only child and was always a bit of an introvert. Truthfully, I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to make new friends even if I had the option.
So, on my first day at the cabin, I set out into the woods with a Nancy Drew book tucked under my arm to find a peaceful area to read, away from the musty “old person” smell of the cabin.
After walking for a while, I found a little clearing illuminated by the sun breaking through the trees. Pushed against a large oak and surrounded by pretty flowers, was a large hollow log. The whole scene reminded me of a place where the characters in my stories would have their adventures, so I decided to make this little clearing my own special spot for the next six days. I plunked myself onto the center of the log, leaned against the trunk of the oak tree, and began to read, thinking that I might be able to enjoy my week here after all.
I was incredibly comfortable in my new place. The smell of the flowers, the hum of the insects around me, and the gentle breeze soon had me drifting to sleep, content with the feeling of nature.
The wonder was gone when I suddenly awoke hours later to find that the sun had set. The moonlight cast eerie shadows on the ground. The trees that felt so welcoming during the day were spooky silhouettes against the darkness, bending and snapping in the wind. The insects’ pleasant buzz was replaced with a distant howl and the low hoot of a nearby owl. The dry leaves scraped across the forest floor beside me with a rustle that chilled me to the bone.
I sat up on the log, rubbing my eyes and attempting to clear my sleep-fogged mind. Just as I was realizing the trouble I would surely be in for coming home so late, I heard it. To my left, at the end of the log, I heard a voice say two words.
I froze. I have never felt so cold, so vulnerable. There was something wrong with that voice. It was too creaky. Too low. Too dry. I heard the leaves scrape across the ground again, but I felt no more wind. The air was oddly still. The realization suddenly hit me that this creepy rustling noise was not leaves; it was the low, raspy giggle of whoever had spoken. They were laughing. Laughing at me.
Slowly, I turned to the source of the awful laugh, and felt my blood freeze at the sight beside me.
A little girl crouched at the end of the log, her cracked and bloody fingernails scraping the dark wood. Her hair was probably blonde, but it was also slick with dark red blood, pouring from the horrible gash on the side of her head. The blood trickled onto her grey, bruised face. Her eyes were bloodshot, as though she had been crying for hours, maybe even days. But I could only assume she eventually ran out of tears and decided instead… to smile.
Oh, God. That smile…
A grin stretched unnaturally wide on her bruised face, clashing with the sadness of her eyes, giving her the look of one who has truly gone insane. Her teeth were mostly stained with blood, but the parts that were not shone white. Bright white. She continued to giggle, but did not part her teeth. She giggled through them and stretched that grin even more as she watched me.
She sprang from her crouched position on the ground and perched beside me on the log. The movement was so sudden that I clambered back, crashing onto the soft ground and staring in wide-eyed terror at the thing above me. She giggled louder at my terror, sounding like the static on a phone, and tilted her head to the left as she observed me. She tilted it so far that I could swear I heard her bones cracking, before she spoke.
“You’re scared,” she said, grin never wavering, head still tilted. It was not a question, but I could somehow tell that she wanted a response. I tried to speak, but all that escaped was a pitiful squeak. I then did what any child would do- what most adults would probably do in this situation- I peed myself.
The creature noticed, her awful eyes observing the growing darkness on my jeans, and let out a hiss of delight.
“Good,” it said.
At this point, my mind finally gained control of my body, and I managed to get up and RUN. I got back on the path and was out of there. The girl didn’t chase me. She stayed perched on that log like some gruesome bird, and continued to laugh.
I couldn’t get away from that laugh. It didn’t get quiet as I ran. On the contrary, it continued to get louder and louder the closer I got to my grandpa’s cabin. Only when I reached the yard did it start to fade. By the time I threw open the door to the house, it was only a whisper. Once I raced through the living room, down the hall, and into my bedroom, it was barely audible. Just before it faded completely away, I heard it say one more thing, so softly I wasn’t certain I’d heard correctly:
“Better lock the door.”
And it was gone. No whisper. No laugh. I turned on the light switch and slammed the bedroom door, leaning against it to catch my breath.
“Where have you been?” a gruff voice demanded from behind me.
I spun around, thinking for one horrible second that the creature had followed me home, and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw my grandpa kneeling beside my bed.
I began to stutter about dead little girls and chilling grins and evil laughs. My grandpa rolled his eyes and cut me off before I’d formed one coherent sentence.
“Whatever, I don’t care,” he grumbled, climbing to his feet. “Enough excuses. You’re home now. But know that you won’t get off easy next time. No crazy ghost story will help if this happens again.”
I was devastated. He didn’t believe me. Of course he didn’t. What adult would? Definitely none like my mean old grandpa.
“Something smells,” he griped, wrinkling his nose and glaring at me. “What’s all over your pants?”
“I, uh, I wet myself,” I admitted quietly, blushing at my shoes. “When I got scared.”
“Ugh!” Grandpa groaned, disgusted. “I thought you were old enough to be done with that sick crap. Clean up and get to bed. I’m not going through this every night.”
My loving grandfather then stomped out of the room, ignoring my apologies, and slammed the door.
Great guy, that gramps of mine.
Admitting defeat, I changed into my nightgown and clean panties, putting the soiled ones in the washer. I felt better. As mean as my grandpa could be, he’s still an adult who I knew would protect me from whatever was in the woods. After all, the giggling had stopped once I reached the guest bedroom. I felt safe there.
Until I went to bed.
Still on edge, I left the lights on and read a funny book to calm me down. I was beginning to drift off, feeling safe and warm, when I heard the dry, raspy voice say the words I would never forget.
“You didn’t lock the door, Ella.”
I shot straight up and looked at the window. There she was. Both hands pressed against the glass. Grinning that awful grin. The wild red eyes looking from me, to the door. The unlocked door. The giggle was mocking me, celebrating that she would win even though she gave me a head start. She continued to laugh as I flew from the bed to the door and locked it. As I heard the satisfying ‘click,’ I heard her croak, “Never forget.”
It stopped. She was no longer at the window. The raspy chuckle was not heard.
I didn’t go back to the woods that week. I stayed in the house to watch the news and read. Boring was good. Boring was safe.
I locked my bedroom door every night, and every night I woke up to the rattle of someone trying to get inside my room. The doorknob would shake loudly as the creature would grow frustrated with its resistance; the banging against the strong, wooden door would shake my bed. I never moved nor made a sound. I waited for her to give up, which she would. The shaking would stop, and I would hear low, deep breaths just outside the door. Sometimes the breathing would cease after a few moments, and sometimes it would follow me into my dreams. But it was always gone in the morning.
Years went by. I continued visiting my grandpa for one week during every summer, and I continued to spend the days indoors. Locking the door became a ritual, and I knew to expect the rattling as the creature tried to get to me. It no longer phased me. Part of the reason for my lack of fear was that I knew that the thing couldn’t get past my locked door (for whatever reason) but I also wasn’t afraid because I was fascinated.
The incident had sparked an interest in the paranormal. I was no longer a frightened child; I was a know-it-all teenager. I wanted to know more about the ghoulish girl. Who was she? How did she know my name? Why did she tell me exactly how to escape her? There came a point where my curiosity out-weighed my fear. I had a chance to encounter something few people ever will. I could find answers others would never find. That is why, when I was fifteen, I made the decision to unlock the door and confront the spirit.
I was an idiot.
The first night of my stay that summer, I got ready for bed and closed the door, resisting the natural urge to lock it. I tried to ignore the heavy dread that settled on me as I climbed into bed. I had made up my mind. I would no longer be a scared little girl.
So I waited. I had no intentions to sleep that night. I pulled out my iPad and played some games, alert to every creak and groan of the old house.
It was close to midnight when I heard them. Footsteps. Coming toward my room. This was it. I froze. Goosebumps all over my body. My heart pounding out of my chest. I set my iPad aside and watched the door that protected me for so long.
The doorknob slowly turned. I held my breath. The door was opening. This all happened in just a few seconds, but it felt like hours.
The door was completely open now, revealing a larger silhouette than I expected. I fumbled for the lamp next to my bed, grabbed the thin chain, and tugged. Light flooded the room to reveal…
I laughed. I couldn’t help it. The relief was overpowering. There was nothing to fear. My disappointment that I would not discover the secrets of the dead was pushed aside by the sheer joy that I was safe. No dead girl stood before me. It was only my grandpa, smiling at me in a way he never has before as he stepped into my room.
“Grandpa! You scared me,” I laughed, pushing my hair back with shaking hands.
“You left the door unlocked for me,” he noted, smiling warmly and closing the door softly behind him.
“Yeah, I did.” I couldn’t stop laughing at my own foolishness for leaving it locked for so long.
“I knew you’d come around, pretty girl,” my grandpa whispered, sitting beside me and tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. “I knew I just had to be patient for you.”
Uh. What was he talking about?
“I could have unlocked it myself,” he continued. “I have the key, of course. I thought many times about using it. But I resisted. I knew I had to give you the choice to let me in. It’s more special that way. I knew you’d come around.”
This wasn’t my grandpa. My grandpa was strict and never smiled; he never had a kind word to say. My grandpa doesn’t sit on my bed and touch my hair. And he certainly doesn’t run his hand up my thigh like he’s doing right now…
“Stop it!” I cried, slapping his hand away and jumping out of bed. “What are you doing?!”
A flicker of surprise passed his face quickly before he relaxed back into that sickly sweet smile.
“Honey, I won’t hurt you. Just come back to bed and we’ll take it easy.”
This wasn’t happening. This couldn’t be happening. I felt like I was going to vomit. I wanted something paranormal, something otherworldly. But this… this was real. Far too real.
“Shy all of a sudden?” the man on my bed asked, chuckling. “Allow me to break the ice, then.”
With that, he grabbed my hand and pinned me onto his lap before I had a chance to react. With surprising strength, he squeezed me arms to my sides and silenced my cries with a crushing kiss.
No. No! NO!
Summoning all my strength, I broke away from him and tore out of the room. I heard his surprised yelp and his pounding footsteps as he quickly chased after me, but I didn’t look back. I hurried out of the cabin and, ghost or no ghost, I was heading for the woods.
I wasn’t sure where I was going or what to do. I just ran as fast as I could, my grandfather right on my heels cursing and screeching that I would regret this. I ran, hoping there would be a house on the other side of the woods. Or maybe he would trip and break something. Or maybe he would grow tired and give up. I didn’t know.
We reached the clearing where I had met the little girl five years earlier, and I was struck with an insane idea. I’m not sure what I expected to happen, I just knew what my grandpa was threatening and I was desperate to stop him.
I raced to the old log and fell to my hands and knees, peering into the hollow darkness within.
“Help!” I screamed, my panicked voice echoing back to me. “Please, help! It was unlocked! The door was…”
Two strong hands grabbed my shoulders and whirled me around. I was looking into the face of the lunatic I once called “Grandpa.” His eyes rolled wildly in his head, his thin white hair stuck out at odd angles, and his mouth was twisted into a furious snarl. Panting and heaving, his red face was full of hatred and contempt for me. I saw no love there. No mercy.
“You,” he wheezed, “are going to regret…”
He stopped. I heard something move behind me, and his eyes widened in terror as he gaped over my shoulder. With a scream, he pushed me away and jumped back. I fell on my butt and backed away, turning toward my savior.
Her skin was still grey and her wound was still bleeding. That impossibly wide grin was still plastered across her bruised cheeks. Her eyes, however, were no longer sad. They glowed triumphantly as she approached my whimpering grandfather.
“Y-you!” he stammered, falling backwards and attempting to scramble away, seemingly unable to break eye contact with the dead girl.
She chuckled as she watched his horror. Giggled louder when he let out a painful cry and clutched his chest. Giggled louder still as he fell to his side, clawing at his heart. Laughed harder and louder than ever when he turned his head toward the night sky, the life fading from his eyes.
I squeezed my eyes shut, my back against a tree, and prayed for it to end soon. It did. The girl’s laugh faded away, whispering one last message: “Goodbye, Ella.”
The next day, I called the police to let them know that I had gone for a hike that morning, only to stumble upon the corpse of my beloved grandpa. Some nice officers arrived to comfort me and get my statement before driving me home. The cause of death was a heart attack. Some people thought it was odd that he had been in the woods when he died, but no one questioned too much. It wasn’t unheard of for him to take light night walks.
I didn’t tell my parents what happened. I didn’t think there would be a point. It would only cause more pain. He was dead. That was all that mattered. I even went to help them clean out his old cabin. I was tasked with boxing up the books. As I pulled an old photo album off the shelf, I managed to let it slip through my fingers and hit the floor, sending poorly secured photos flying everywhere.
Cursing my clumsiness, I bent down to gather them all. I picked up the photo closest to my feet, and froze.
It was her. Sitting on the porch of my house, holding a baby and grinning a wide grin that was much more pleasant when it matched her eyes. Her skin was creamy white and her cheeks were rosy. No wound spilled blood onto her beautiful blonde hair, but there was no doubt: this was the grinning girl I had feared for so long.
I hollered for my father and asked who she was. Looking at the photo, he paused for a long moment as tears filled his eyes.
“Well, the baby is you. And the girl holding you, she’s your sister. Abby.”
He looked at me with a sad smile.
“Sorry, kiddo,” he said softly. “We weren’t trying to hide her from you or anything. It’s just… difficult to talk about. She died when she was ten. You were barely a year old. We should’ve told you all of this sooner but, we weren’t sure how to go about it. At some point, I guess we just decided to let it go, figuring it would come up when the time was right.”
I could hardly register what he was saying. I heard myself ask how she died.
“She was playing in these woods out here, running around and having fun, when she tripped. Banged her head on a log and died instantly. She was found in the same general area they found my dad…”
At these words, he broke down in fresh tears. I comforted him numbly, knowing I would never tell him what I knew in my heart. He need never question his idea that his daughter was playing happily before she died. It would be cruel to tell him that Abby died running away in terror of the man he called “Dad.” Nor would he ever know how long her spirit lingered in that place, unable to rest in peace until she had warned the sister she knew so briefly of the danger, only leaving once the monster was dead.
Looking at the photograph of the smiling girl who held me so securely in her arms, I could only think of two words as my eyes filled with tears.