Do you know why it becomes so quiet after snowfall? During the winter, the mountains of northern British Columbia are covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. Up in the serene pine green forests, all that can be heard is the caressing sound of the cool wind. Recently fallen, the powdery snow is light and soft, and emits a scent of watery freshness throughout the mountainside. And with every breath, the air is soothingly cold like a crisp breath mint.
Within these peaceful woods, rest a wood cabin, accessible only by a narrow dirt road. Prior to the long stretch towards the cabin, a much longer section hugs the mountain cliffs before arriving in the isolated town within the Rockies. A paradise of solitude, free from the chaotic jungles of humanity.
Moping into the quiet living room, it seems I’ve forgotten why I came here. The faint pastel sunlight struggles to illuminate the room, and I can almost see my breath, it looks cold in here. It feels like gravity is working, my chest feels hollow, what was it I came in here to do? You know, my mother always told me that I can be absentminded, now I’m starting to think she may be right, of course. This is a trait my family exploits as much as they can. The amount of times Anna, or dad, have jumped at me from around the corner, makes me roll my eyes. I’m surprised they haven’t given me a heart attack yet. As my mind wanders, the growling of my stomach regained my attention, that must be what woke me from my nap.
Turning towards the kitchen I see a dark figure, and without hesitation I dash to the light switch, but nothing happens. Obviously in this situation the one switch I choose controls an outlet. I can feel my chest pounding, however from this angle it begins to ease. I think I’m starting to lose it, it seems the oddly placed mirror in the kitchen has joined my sister and father in terrorizing me.
I hate being dragged up here. I don’t know why I can’t just stay at home while everyone stays at this boring cabin. Without my laptop there’s nothing to do up here, and the lack of signal makes my phone pretty much useless.
Arriving at the sink, I fill a glass with water and grab some jerky from the freezer. We had gone hunting earlier and it seems this is all we had left. With how quiet it is, everyone must have left to get more food from town. I guess they ditched me immediately after I fell asleep.
Leaving the kitchen, I lay down on the only couch with natural light in the living room. As I lay down, it feels like I’m on top of a bladed encyclopedia. Removing it from under me, it looks like some book about the native peoples of Canada. I guess it’s better than nothing. It’s too much work to constantly lean to grab my water from the coffee table, so I guess I’ll just rest the cup on my side.
Resting my neck on the arm of the couch, I inspect the book further. There’s a bookmark in it, on the page of The Wendigo. The Wendigo comes from stories from the Algonquin peoples, it is said that one becomes a Wendigo when you eat people. Eating this jerky makes me a bit uncomfortable now, but food is food and I’m hungry. Looking further down the page is a sketch drawing of the creature. Looking at the sketch, my eyes are drawn to the creatures. The sketch seems to be in pencil, however the eyes have been colored a deep yellow. I can’t shake the feeling of déja vu. I try adjusting my body when suddenly I hear a sharp shattering on the ground. My body involuntarily jolts, making me kick my feet out and dropping the book on my face. Removing the book, I lean to look towards the floor seeing my glass of water has broken, however there’s no water. I don’t remember drinking any of it, but maybe I just forgot. With my heart calming down, I need to clean this up before they get back.
Rummaging through everyone's winter wear by the back door, I finally find my coat. However, I can’t find my boots. I don’t know why they wouldn’t be here. Searching through the closet and I still can’t find them. Where the hell are they? Giving up, I look down at my boots which are a foot in the snow. When...how did I get outside? I swear I was just standing by the back door. I look a little in front of me, and there’s and odd pile of snow
Suddenly I hear a snapping noise, my attention jumping towards the woods in front of me. I can feel goosebumps, the hairs on my arm now standing straight. I guess I’m not alone out here. I better gather this wood quickly in case it’s a cougar or something. As I struggle to walk closer to the shed, I notice it’s pretty much empty. When we arrived a couple days ago this shed was completely full, how did we use this much wood? I hope we can go into town tomorrow to buy more, unless my dad makes me help him do it the old fashion way.
As I’ve picked up as much wood as my arms can carry, I notice how dark it’s become. If it weren’t for the moon, it would be pitch black out here. I’m pretty sure we’re the only cabin out here for a while. As I begin walking back to the cabin, the hairs on my arm straighten again. That feeling again, I can feel my heart. From the right behind a tree, something is here, and it’s watching me. I quickly turn my head, and it’s staring right back at me. Two shining yellow eyes, the only things visible in the darkness of the woods. I’m the deer and it’s the headlights.
The one thing I recall from that book is the image of that creature. The Wendigo, the one with the yellow eyes. The thing dashed to a closer tree, and roared. It’s coming for me. Dropping the wood, I summon as much energy as I can to run through the snow to the back door. With every step, I hear its own coming faster. Flying into the cabin, I slam and lock the door. I need to think straight, and remain calm. My arms feel heavy, and my stomach is growling. I need to board up the cabin.
Looking through the back door window, I don’t see anything, but I know it must still be out there. The sound of sticks snapping is circling the cabin. How can it move so fast? I begin locking all the doors and windows, and closing all the blinds. The cabin is dark. I go to grab some jerky from the freezer when I recall the book, it must have information on how to get rid of it. Quietly walking to the living room, I catch a whiff of that smell again. It’s difficult to describe, it almost smells like perfectly cooked chicken. Whatever it is, it’s only making me hungrier than I am.
Right when I pick up the book, I see my dad's keys beside it. Before I can think anything of it, I hear another snapping of a stick, this one was noticeably closer to the cabin. Opening the book, I arrive at the page of the Wendigo I skim as much as I can to find what I need. According to the book, hiding indoors is not safe because the wendigo can and will get in and make the place its new home. So far I’ve yet to read any good news. The rest of it says, to kill the wendigo, I need to destroy its ice cold heart, and that’s it. This is not exactly the perfect guide I need right now. My stomach growls again, I wish we had something other than jerky around here, because it’s clearly not doing anything. Wait...where’s my family?
They’ve been gone all day. I know the town is far, but I don’t think it would take a whole day. They can’t come back here with that thing lurking out there. I need to warn them, if they’d even believe me. Maybe I could say there’s a crazy bear right outside, maybe that would incentivize them to bring the police with them. I don’t even if the town police could even help me. Looking at my phone, there’s still no signal. I have no idea how to message for help. There is nothing out here for a while. It’s just me and the Wendigo.
What am I going to do? How am I going to get rid of that thing? I have my dad's keys, I wonder if any of them can open the gun cabinet. Shooting it is all I can do right now.
“Hello? We’re back!”
My mind is blank. Mom? Did the creature let them up here? I don’t know, I’m just happy they’re back. I let out a breath of relief. Dropping the book, I run to the front door.
“Come out here! I need help with the groceries.”
Blessed, they have food. As I put my hand on the door handle, my body resists. My subconscious does not want me to unlock this door. I don’t remember hearing the car come up the driveway. Opening the blinds, and a tear dropping from my eye, my breathing stops. The Wendigo is in front of the porch, lit by the moonlight, and its yellow eyes staring into my soul. As I stare back, it opens its mouth.
“Please. Help me.”
Each word came out with disgusting accuracy. The thing lunges towards the door, and I launch backwards. It slammed into the front door, I don’t even know how the door is still in place. Crawling into the kitchen, I know it’s trying to find me through the window. I glance in the kitchen mirror to see if I can look at it from this angle. Right when my eyes focus at the reflection of the front door window, I see it quickly run to the side. It knows I’m stuck here. I need to find a way out of here.
I have no idea what to do. Even if I do manage to evade the creature, I have no idea how to get to town, especially during the night. The road is covered in snow, I doubt that thing will have any trouble finding me again. Maybe I can distract it with whatever jerky I have left. Once it’s busy, I’ll run along the driveway with the gun, and if it gets close to me, I’ll shoot it. Breathing in, I can smell it again. The delicious smell, it’s coming from the direction of the backdoor. Instead of the driveway, maybe I can follow the smell. It must be coming from another cabin out here. Our cabin can’t be the only one in the middle of nowhere. They could help me.
My escape is interrupted. It’s breaking into the house. I need to arm myself.
Suddenly a door is being slammed against. My attention bolts to the back door. It’s trying to get in. I grab the key from the coffee table and run to the gun cabinet by the garage door in the kitchen. I hear the back door window break, the wind gushing in. I can hear it’s claws scraping. Opening the cabinet door, my hope disappears. The guns aren’t here. I have no idea where they could be. The wood of the back door is letting go. I need to hide.
The back door breaks open. The wendigo has found its way inside the house, just as I hide behind the island. It runs with the wind into the living room. The couch tips over, books fly off the shelves, lamps break. It sounds like a hurricane has entered the cabin. I hear it crawl upstairs. I need to think quickly. The garage!
We went hunting earlier; dad must have left the guns in the garage. It’s trying to find me upstairs, this is the perfect time to sneak into the garage, get the gun, and maybe get through the garage door. I slowly make my way back to the door to the garage. Reaching the door, I notice how quiet it is. I don’t want to stay to wonder what it could be doing. I turn around and back through the door to make sure it’s not behind me. It must still be upstairs.
My first step into the garage, I fall backwards. With all that’s going on, I forgot about the couple steps right after the door. I fall and the door swings closed. I should be hurt, but the snow I landed on helped protect me. The snow? I haven’t miraculously made it outside, I’m still in the garage, but the garage door is wide open, and the wind is gushing in. Looking around I see something half buried in the snow, it’s...the car?
How is it still here? Everyone is gone. This is our only vehicle. They left to get more food because we ran out, right? I woke up and everyone was gone. They left without me, but didn’t say anything.
I’m struggling to remember what happened before I took a nap. We came to the cabin to go hunting? Was it winter when we arrived? How did we use almost all the wood? How long have we been here?
We went hunting, but didn’t bring anything back. I think the power went out, and all we had for warmth was the fire. We quickly ran out of food. Why didn’t we leave? We didn’t leave because the car broke down, and we couldn’t fix it. We were stuck out here during a snowstorm. It was too dangerous to traverse the mountain cliffs to town. We had no power, no water, and no food. We were freezing. We were starving. We were losing our minds due to the deprivation. I was hungry. I am hungry. I’ve been standing in the snow with the wind trying to blow me over. I’m not cold, I don’t feel anything. Nothing but hunger.
I don’t hear the Wendigo in the house anymore. Am I alone? Reaching into my pocket to grab more jerky, but I’ve eaten all I had brought, it feels wet. I take my hand out and it's covered in blood, but I’m not bleeding. I haven’t been eating jerky. My family isn’t coming back. They never left.
I’m so hungry. I don’t feel like I’m in control anymore. All I feel is hunger. I’m starving. I run to the kitchen, my speed, supernatural. Ripping open the freezer door, it comes off its hinges. I stop for a second. It’s quiet, I don’t hear the hum of the fridge. The house is dark and I can see my breath. I’m hungry. The freezer is covered in frozen blood. There’s no food left. I’ve eaten everything. I smell it again, coming from the direction of the back door. There’s no food here anymore, I need more.
With the door broken open. I dash through, flying over the back porch and landing in the middle of the snow. It’s as if I can see the trail of smell. I start running towards it. Avoiding every tree, I’ve never run faster. There’s nothing clearer than this smell. It’s food. Within minutes of running I finally see it. A glimmer of warm light in the bleak forest. There’s more than one smell there. More food. Swiftly dashing closer, hiding in the dead of night, I hunch behind a tree. I need to get they’re attention.
“Hello? I need help!”
I climb up the tree to get a better view.
Someone opened the door. “Is someone out here?”
I’m salivating. Finally, my next meal.
It was difficult to drive up here after the storm. I’m just glad we finally made it. Just in time for christmas. We don’t usually come up here, but this year just seemed like the right time. I wish we could have renovated this cabin or something. I hate that there’s no signal up here.
“Hello? I need help!”
Who the hell could that be? There’s nothing out here. The road goes further into the mountains, maybe there’s another cabin out here. It sounds like a woman needs help or something.
“Alex, can you go see what’s going on out there?”
Putting my coat on, I open the door to check it out. God it’s cold out here, the wind feels like blades against my cheeks. Looking around, I don’t see anything. My gut says otherwise. I don’t know why, but I feel like something is wrong.
“Is someone out here?”
There’s a faint shuffling in the treetops. My eyes move upwards towards the tree. My heart is picking up. We’re not alone.
Covered by the trees, the forest floor is pitch black. Only slivers of moonlight can pass the trees. The woods at night are silent, almost serene. In a foot or more of snow, it’s hard to run. With every step, the snow gives, and gravity pulls you down. It’s difficult to gain momentum. It is impossible to see a narrow dirt road, and it’s advised against driving along the cliffside after fresh snowfall. In these woods, it’s solitude, far from any fragment of humanity.
The reason why it’s quiet after snowfall is because snow absorbs sound, and once it compacts, it can bounce soundwaves. One could theoretically hear sounds from further away. The mountains of northern British Columbia are covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. Recently fallen, the powdery snow is light and soft, and emits a scent of watery freshness throughout the mountainside. And with every breath, the air is cold and sharp. During the winter, the forests are actually quite lively, it is until a predator is near, when everything becomes, dead silent.