When I was young, my father and I often went hunting together. My father was a real outdoorsman. He was tall and kind of a big guy. He taught me almost everything I know about survival in the wild. I remember one time he told me in a slightly exaggerated way how he almost starved to death and survived among wolves and bears. Thanks to my father, I know the diet of almost all animals in the wild, and I remember it even now. For many years, my father was the man who was not afraid of anything. But this changed after an incident.
That year we were camping at the foot of a rocky slope in our favorite hunting area. The previous year I had shot a deer for the first time in my life. I was very excited for the next day. Our plan was to get up before sunrise and head out to the meadows a few kilometers to the west. The deer population in this area was quite good. That night my father was again telling me one of his hunting stories from before I was born. In the middle of the story, we heard a high-pitched scream, and I think my father realized that I was a little scared. So he smiled and told me that the sound belonged to a deer. Seeing my father’s relaxed demeanor, I relaxed too.
After that, we heard that sound a few more times at different intervals, and after a while it got farther and farther away from us. That night the sky was clear and the air was a little cool. My father said that tomorrow would be a beautiful and tiring day and that we should go to sleep. Every time he was in a good mood, my father would sing a folk song. And I would fall asleep to his voice…
I was in a deep sleep. I remember waking up with my father shaking me by the shoulders. “Son, come on, wake up! We have to go. Come on, get up!” The tent was dark. My father was already dressed and ready. “I fell asleep. Is the sun up yet?” I asked my father. My father shook his head negatively and said, “No, son. Hurry up! You have to get up now!” That’s when I heard screams coming from the rock above us, like wailing.
The screams were so loud that they seemed to pierce the darkness of the night. At 5-second intervals, the same sound was repeated. The hairs on my arms and the back of my neck started to stand on end. I asked, “Dad, what is it, a fox?” He said nervously, “No. We have to go now! Quickly!”
I hurriedly started to pack. The screams from the rocks above us never stopped. I had just woken up from sleep. My eyes weren’t even fully open. My father was acting strangely and his tone of voice was starting to scare me. “He put his bag on the floor of the tent and turned to me and said, “Son, I have never heard such a sound in my life.”
At first, the mysterious sound gave the impression that it belonged to an animal screaming for help, but then it became increasingly strange. I thought to myself that maybe it was someone in need of help. My father said, “Pack your things. Take your gun with you.” He was a very meticulous man about gun safety. He would never let me enter the tent with a loaded gun. But now when he told me to load the gun inside the tent, I started to get scared.
When we came out, the screaming suddenly stopped. It was as if the owner of the voice had noticed us. I looked up quickly. There was no light at the top of the rock. The rock above us was about 25 meters high and too sharp to stand on. We quickly packed up the tent and in a few minutes we were all packed up and ready to set off.
The screams started again, but this time they were different. It was like a low hum. It was like the sound of an ambulance siren at the beginning. We started to descend, the sound following behind us. My father had his pistol holstered and his rifle in his hand. Suddenly my father started firing into the air. He fired 2 shots. After the echo of the gun stopped, we waited quietly for a while. There was no sound. We kept going down.
After walking for about half an hour, we came out of the forest and reached a meadow. The screams returned. This time at the edge of the forest. My father signaled me to stop. We were holding our breath. “That’s not a deer, son,” he said. My father started walking so fast I could hardly keep up with him. Now we were in a field, stopping every now and then to listen to the sounds. The screams were definitely following us.
After a while, we came to a path in another wooded area. We crossed a bridge over a stream and reached a parking lot. Our car was the only car around. We had parked the car a little away from where we were at the time. My father turned to me and said, “I won’t stop until I reach the car. Stay close to me.” We started running. The weight of the materials on my back made it difficult for me to keep up with my father.
The screams behind us started to get closer. It was pitch black. All I could see was the light of the lantern in my father’s hand. I was running in fear, each scream echoing behind me making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Before we reached the parking lot, my father suddenly stopped. There had been no screaming for about two minutes. My father turned to me and said, “You run ahead of me to the car.”
I started running without looking back. Dad was following me, I could hear his footsteps. Just then I heard screams very close by! This one lasted longer than usual. Almost 10 seconds. “Son, run!” my father yelled. I can’t remember much until we reached the car. I was running so fast that I had to keep my eyes focused on the road to avoid falling.
I could feel my father’s breath on the back of my neck. That’s when I started to cry. The screaming sound was even worse than before. It was as if whatever was making the sound was desperately trying to reach us. The faster we ran, the closer it seemed to us. I could hear the sound of cars passing by on the highway in the distance. I saw our car up ahead, and my father was running to open the door.
My father had started the car before I could reach it. I threw myself in so fast that I hit my knee on the door. We both looked at the edge of the woods as we took a sharp turn out of there. We couldn’t see what was there, but I could still hear her screams, her voice, despite the sound of the car. I’ll never forget the last thing I heard. It was almost like a laugh, a crazy laugh…
As we drove further away, my normal perception and emotions returned and I realized that I was crying. My father had turned white. We stopped at a gas station a few kilometers away. I was hugging my father and crying.
When my father and I returned home, we didn’t tell my mother or my sister what had happened. It remained a secret between us. I tried to talk to him about it several times, but he always dropped the subject. Almost 20 years have passed since that night. Since then, my father and I have never gone hunting, and we probably never will…