Yuputka (n.): the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.
It’s time for another scary story. Today, I’m returning to Jezebel’s annual scary story contest, because I was reading the entries last night while drinking cheap, cheap wine (and eating copious amounts of orange chocolate).
You might want to read this story with the lights on…
When I was little, my family had a weekend cottage in the mountains not far from Stowe Vermont. Back then, it was still to some extent the back country, and quite unspoiled. Our cottage was surrounded by woods, and there was a gravel road that formed a horseshoe, where about 7 or 8 neighbouring cottages were. Often times, there was nobody in those cottages, and we were pretty much alone for miles. Needless to say, night-time was extremely dark.
One summer night, we’re all sitting around on the orange shag carpeting and watching Star Trek or something, and someone knocks softly at the screen door. It’s a woman, wearing a house dress, and looking very sweaty and out of breath. (I must have been about 7 yrs old, and had a brother slightly older). My dad talks to her for a little while, as she explains that she needs a lift down to the village. My dad, ever the good Samaritan, says, sure, no problem, let me get my keys. They both leave in my dad’s Cutlass, leaving my Mom, brother and I sitting, still with the screen door open, watching tv on this warm but pitch-black summer night. Meanwhile, my father is driving this woman down to the village, a good 30 minutes each way, and he begins to talk to her and pay closer attention to her. He notices that she is barefoot, and her dress is all torn and muddy. She explains that her husband lives with her in a cabin in the woods, and that they have had a huge fight, and that she has run away through the woods, since he intends to kill her. She has lost her shoes in the woods, and run through brambles and branches in her panic to escape. Now, my dad is at least 30 minutes from home, and he knows that the first house a murderous guy would encounter as he chased his wife through the woods, would be our cottage, where we’re all still sitting around, completely oblivious, with every door and window wide open. Cell phones haven’t even been dreamt of in this era, and he has no way to reach us. He drives the woman to some friend’s house, urges her to call the cops, and motors back to the cottage, wondering if he’s going to be greeted by our massacred corpses. It was a different era, I guess, because it never occurred to anyone to call the cops just in case.
I still remember him getting home and calmly, icily locking every door and sitting by the door, trying not to convey to us how scared he was. That’s not even the creepiest part, though. A couple of days later, my brother and I were looking around the outside of the cottage, and we noticed hand and face marks on the back windows, where a tallish person had pressed his face against the glass. We also explored the woods over that summer, and actually found the woman’s shoes stuck in the mud, as well as their utterly trashed cabin. Someone had absolutely destroyed the place, breaking every glass and picture frame, and throwing all their belongings out into the woods. That was ONE creepy place. We heard later that the woman had committed suicide.
For years afterwards, my Dad and I would often walk the dog out on the gravel road, and at the turn of the horseshoe that was closest to where these people’s cabin was, we always, always got a really bad feeling. They were long gone, but the hairs would stick up on the back of my neck, and I would always feel watched and terrified. I always assumed my Dad, a calm and rational guy if there ever was one, didn’t feel scared. But years later, he confided in me that he always hated that spot and felt very bad vibes, some kind of immense sense of foreboding, when we walked by there.