tagNonHumanMonsters in the Mountains

Monsters in the Mountains

bybobalous©

Jordan was shocked when a lawyer called and told him that he had received something from his uncle's estate. He had barely known his uncle and did not know that he had died.

Uncle Ira had been strange; actually Jordan's great uncle on his father's side, he had only met the man a few times. As a child Jordan had been scared of the old man. The last time Jordan saw Uncle Ira he realized he was a drunk with some minor mental problems. Jordan doubted that there was anything in his uncle's estate that he would be interested in. The old man had never married and his house was a small single-wide trailer clogged with hoarder's trash.

The lawyer handed Jordan the document and waited for Jordan to read it. Jordan could not believe what it said. 2 square miles of Colorado mountain forest now belonged to him.

There was a pile of documents. Maps, deeds, mineral rights, historical records and descriptions. The property was remote. It was over 4 hours away from Jordan's home in Denver. The closest Road came within 4 miles of his property border.

The land was surrounded on all sides by national forest and national wilderness areas. Jordan was shocked to find that it had once belongs to his great grandfather and his father before. The mining claim on both square miles of land had been claimed in 1889. One was claimed by Jordan's great-great grandfather, and the other was willed to the man by someone named Enoch Brown.

Other documents showed that Jordan's great-great- grandfather and Enoch Brown had been mining partners, and Mr. Brown had died under mysterious circumstances.

Jordan was thrilled. The land itself was worth millions, and the US forest service already had a bid to buy it off his hands. They also had a first right of refusal claim, which meant that Jordan could not sell the land on the open market.

Jordan was curious to see the land itself before he would even consider selling. He knew very little about his family's history with mining in Colorado. Jordan enjoyed camping and once spring came Jordan planned a backpacking trip to his new property.

***

Jordan's mother was thrilled when he called to share the news with them, but his father was silent.

"Are you okay dad? You're not upset that the land went to me instead of you?" he asked.

"I know a little about the property you've inherited. Why don't you come over for dinner soon and we can talk about it?" his father answered cryptically.

Two nights later Jordan sat eating dinner with his parents. He saw little of them since graduating college, especially since he was working 80 hour weeks. He missed home cooked meals and the comfort of the house he grew up in. His parents still treated him like the teenager that had left for college 8 years earlier, but he enjoyed the attention knowing it would end when he left for his own condo that evening.

After dinner his father offered him a beer and asked to sit on the back porch while they enjoyed them.

"Listen, I don't want to scare you or anything," Jordan's father started. "...but something isn't right about that land that your uncle gave you."

Jordan's dad was silent for a while, then continued: "Uncle Ira was always a little strange, but he was fully functioning when I was younger. Back in the 70s when my grandfather died, and Ira inherited that property, he was as excited as you are now. He spent the entire summer up there, even quit his job. A park ranger found him in August beaten within an inch of his life on a forest trail near there. He never told any of us the truth about what happened but I know he never went back.

"He refused to file a police report, and started drinking. He was never the same after that. I know my grandfather and his father were changed by that property too. I know there's been at least a few deaths up there. I'm not superstitious, but I want you to be careful. If you do go, I doubt there's cell service, and no one within miles if you do need help. Don't go alone and don't go unprepared."

With that Jordan's father change the subject, and said no more even when Jordan brought it up.

That night, Jordan studied Google Earth images of the property and could see at least two mine trailings where the rocks from a mine had been cast down the hillside. There was also a black rectangle which Jordan hoped might be the remains of an old cabin.

***

Winter turned to spring, and the snow melted of all but the highest peaks. Jordan had Memorial Day off, and decided to take the rest of the week off of work for a little vacation. He carefully loaded camping gear and food for a week. He weighed his backpack once fully loaded, and found that it weighed less than 40 pounds, which he was proud of.

He had a steri-pen, which could kill microbes in water, so he could drink water where he found it. All of his food was freeze dried, and weighed less than 10 pounds. The heaviest single item he carried was his .38 revolver, which he carried out of respect for his father's warning. He brought it loaded along with 6 extra rounds.

Jordan climbed on his motorcycle early Saturday morning and flung his backpack over his shoulders. The drive was beautiful all the way up through the mountains. He passed through the town of Buena Vista then over Cottonwood Pass and down to Taylor Park Reservoir. From there he headed south along a dirt road.

Jordan's motorcycle was a dirt bike with strong suspension and hybrid tires that he could take off road. Jordan left the main trail and headed up a single track trail that looked like it would take him in the right direction. The road was overgrown and he often had to stop or go around obstacles through dense forest.

There were no tire tracks but there were hoof prints from a moose or elk in the muddier areas. He guessed that this was the mining trail his great-great grandfather had used to access the land, and the animals had kept it open. They didn't remove fallen trees, but they did seem to trample them, which made travel by motorcycle easier.

Moss covered boulders and ferns lined the trail in places. Sometimes it was wide enough to drive a car and in other places century-old trees blocked the path. Twice the trail crossed a stream with no bridge. His boots got soaked as he drove the motorcycle through foot deep water.

By mid afternoon Jordan's GPS told him that he had arrived on his inherited land. It was gorgeous. High grey mountains formed the backdrop for lush meadows and mixed forest of pine and aspen. The meadows were full of every color of wildflower, and deep green grass. A few hundred yards away, Jordan saw a moose grazing by the side of a pond.

Jordan lost the trail through the Meadows, and headed first for where he thought there might be there remains of a cabin. He was shocked to find a standing structure. The door stood cracked open, and there was some water damage on the rough wood floors inside, but there had been no squatters or teenagers here, looting or damaging the place.

Jordan parked his motorcycle and walked inside the cabin. It was a single room inside with a bed in one corner, a fireplace in the middle, a kitchen in another corner and a small table with a single chair. Faded pictures and papers covered the wall. There were photos of Jordan's grandfather, and he recognized his father as a boy. There was a yellowed newspaper by the fireplace, and Jordan checked the date.

'July 24, 1973'

Jordan remembered what his father had told him about Uncle Ira spending a summer here in the 70s. There were some minor holes in the roof, but it could be fixed up with a few hours of work. The mattress on the bed was moldy and disgusting, so Jordan rolled it up and pushed it out the door. The plywood underneath was intact so Jordan flipped it and unrolled his bedding on the frame. Jordan spent the next hour collecting firewood and piling it up next to the small stone fireplace.

Before dark, Jordan wanted to fix the door enough that it would close, and repair the holes in the roof. There were two shuttered windows, and Jordan opened them to air out the musty smell of the molded mattress.

Jordan took the door of its hinges, and used his knife and hatchet to carve enough wood off that it would fit in the settled doorway. He used pieces of bark as shingles, and plugged the holes in the roof.

Jordan had always wanted a home in the mountains. This small cabin held few comforts, but it was part of the land and held family history. Jordan could see why his uncle would want to spend an entire summer here. The closest neighbors were at least 10 miles away, and there was a deep sense of isolation and peace out here.

Remembering his uncle, Jordan tapped the revolver in his hip holster checking that he still had it. He wished he knew more of the story of how his uncle was injured, but he felt safe with his side arm.

As night fell Jordan started a fire in the stone fireplace, and filled the sink basin with water from the stream that ran near the cabin. He boiled enough water to rehydrate dinner and sterilized a plastic bottle full to which he added Gatorade powder.

Jordan spent the rest of the evening thumbing through the faded papers and pictures on the walls. His uncle had been obsessed with Bigfoot, and even had several books on the subject. There was a family photo album, and Jordan enjoyed seeing old pictures of his uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather that he had never seen before.

The oldest pictures were grainy black and white images of miners working in a mountain valley that looked a lot like the one he was currently in. He pulled one out and saw cursive writing on the back that said 'Enoch Brown and Silas White, June, 1893.' It must have been taken weeks before Enoch was killed.

Jordan studied the face of his great-great grandfather. There was a strength and determination there, but both men looked weary and tired.

The next picture was of the same two men, holding a rifle over the body of a dark, furry creature. Jordan guessed it was a huge bear, but the photo was too grainy to be sure. The description on the back was the same.

Jordan decided to save the batteries on his flashlight, and turn in early. He closed up the cabin and threw a few more logs on the fire. He climbed into his sleeping bag and turned out the light. The warm glow from the fireplace cast dancing shadows over the walls and ceiling as Jordan drifted off to sleep.

***

Jordan was awoken in the night by a woman screaming. He forgot where he was, and struggled to get out of his sleeping bag. The room was cold and dark, and when he found his flashlight, he realized that there should be no women for miles. He was worried that a female camper has wandered onto his land, and opened the cabin door.

"HELLO!" Jordan shouted. "DO YOU NEED HELP?"

There was silence, and Jordan listened again, but there was no more noise.

"Is anyone out there?" he called again.

Suddenly Jordan remembered something he has read about mountain lions making a sound like a woman screaming bloody murder. He scanned the trees again with his flashlight, and caught a flash of movement. He saw a furry shape move behind a tree, and quickly pointed his flashlight there, but it was gone. It had moved away without a sound.

Jordan closed the cabin door and swung the wood latch down to lock the cabin from the inside. His tired mind briefly wondered if a bear or mountain lion had injured his uncle Ira all those years ago. He put the idea out of his mind and threw a few more logs on the fire before climbing back into his sleeping bag.

Jordan was woken again by what sounded like a stick being banged on his cabin. It was moving, banging first on one wall, then another, all around the cabin. Jordan also thought he could hear a grunting sound. He thought it was a bear, and hoped that the cabin was strong enough to keep it out. He put one hand on his revolver just to be safe.

Eventually the banging sound stopped and the Forest was once again quiet.

***

Jordan slept in the next morning. His sleep had been interrupted too many times by wildlife, and he didn't wake until the sunlight came in the cracks of the door and shutters, and the cabin warmed up in the morning sun.

He made a breakfast of freeze dried eggs and powdered coffee. The valley was even more gorgeous in the morning than it had been in the afternoon when he had arrived. He drug the wood chair outside and sipped his coffee in the morning sun. A passenger jet was the only man-made sound all morning.

After breakfast, Jordan started his motorcycle and drove to the first of the mine trailings, where his great-great grandfather had once sought his fortunes. Rotted wood framed an opening of a square hole in the mountain.

Jordan was tall, over 6', and had to crawl to enter the century old mine shaft. Inside, he found some rusty tin cans and an old steel pick. Eight feet in, the tunnel was collapsed, though Jordan could tell that the shaft had once been much deeper.

There was a musty smell of decay and dampness, and Jordan wondered if something had died beyond the cave-in. Jordan took the pick as a souvenir, and returned to his motorcycle.

The second mine shaft had a slightly larger opening, and Jordan could see ten yards into the tunnel before it turned. The tunnel seemed to be carved from solid stone, and there were no rotting wood supports. Jordan stooped to enter, and followed the tunnel back to where it turned. He heard a rumbling growl as he turned the corner, and saw a massive pile of brown fur rolling on the floor and the massive creature started to rise.

Jordan crawled and sprinted out of the mine opening, and was on his motorcycle speeding away seconds later. His heart didn't stop pounding in his chest until he saw the cabin in front of him, and looked over his shoulder to see he wasn't being followed.

After a few deep breaths, his mind made sense of what he had stumbled on. He hoped that was the same bear that had kept him awake last night.

'Serves ya right, bastard.' Jordan thought. 'You wake me up at night, I wake you up during the day.'

Jordan was curious to see the inside of his grandfather's mine, but wasn't about to fight a bear in its den for the right.

He spent the rest of the day exploring on foot. He found the rotted remains of an old sluice box setup down by the creek, and what must have been the original cabin that the miners had lived in. Rotted and aged wood fragments pilled up around a loose stone foundation. It was bigger than the cabin Uncle Ira had built or restored, and seemed to have a cellar, which had filled up with debris.

Jordan worked on clearing wood and dirt out of the old pit until his stomach started complaining. He took a break for lunch, then cleared the rest of the approximately 12'x10' hole. The walls were lined with stone blocks, and Jordan found several old mining artifacts, including a gold pan and some glass jars in surprisingly good condition.

The land was filled with test holes, some of which went several yards into the mountain, but Jordan didn't want to risk running into anymore bears, and stayed out.

Dinner was once again freeze dried stew with Gatorade. Jordan took a dip in the pond before the sun set, and then sat on the wood floor in front of his fireplace to warm up and dry off.

Jordan estimated that he had hiked over three miles that day. His legs were aching and he was exhausted. With a warm fire and a full stomach Jordan turned off the light and climbed into his sleeping bag early.

***

The banging started around midnight. Grunts and howls echoed through the woods around the tiny cabin, punctuated by the occasional scream. Jordan's first thought was that a bear and a pack of coyotes we're partying with a mountain lion, but that made no sense. His heart pounding, Jordan put his hand on the pistol and carried it to the window where he threw open the shutters and shone his flashlight outside.

A huge, barrel chested figure stood just a few yards away. Jordan's first thought was that this is the biggest man he had ever seen. Then he saw that the man was covered in fur, and it wasn't a coat. He saw a flaccid cock hanging down through thick Brown fur that coated his arms, chest and legs.

Black deep set eyes spun into Jordan's flashlight beam. The man's mouth opened showing decidedly nonhuman, long canines. A deep animalistic roar rumbled forth from the creature in a hand reached for the window where Jordan stood watching.

A reflex caused Jordan to yank the shutter closed and slammed wooden latch as a heavy fist smashed against the wooden planks.

For just a moment Jordan thought the hand would smash through, but the creature was not focused on that window. The bangs continued all the way around the cabin on each of the walls. It was the middle of the night but Jordan's heart was racing and he knew he would not get any more sleep. He sat with his flashlight on, clutching his pistol, and struggling to calm himself.

Jordan cowered by the fireplace until the banging ceased. Once his heart settled, his first thought was of his uncle's books on Bigfoot. He opened first one, then the other. They had been published in the 1960s, and contained more legend and rough sketches than any real information.

Outside, the screams returned followed by howls and grunts. It sounded like there was more than one and possibly a whole tribe. Suddenly his uncle's injuries and the stories of the danger of this land made more sense. He wondered if his grandfather had killed one, and his mining partner had been killed in retaliation.

Jordan marveled at the realization that Bigfoot is real. He thought back to the mineshaft and the animal within. He had found the lair of the mythical creature.

Jordan heard a crash that sounded like metal twisting and plastic breaking. The grunting and screaming sounds moved off to a distance and finally quieted. Jordan fell asleep on the floor in front of the fireplace.

***

His neck and back hurt and he was freezing when he awoke before sunrise the following morning. He rose stiffly and added kindling and some logs to the fire to get it roaring again before climbing into his sleeping bag and relaxing on his bed roll.

Jordan was in and out of sleep until the sun beams once again woke him. He had terrible nightmares all night about giants crushing his cabin and him with it.

Realizing that it was not a dream Jordan opened the cabin door slowly and looked outside. His motorcycle was gone. Stepping outside he found it 20 yards up the hill thrown like a toy against a tree. The handlebars were bent, the seat ripped, and some plastic trim was broken, but Jordan thought it was probably still rideable.

There was a distinct musky smell in the air, reminiscent of wild animals but like nothing Jordan had ever smelled before.

Looking at the land with new eyes, Jordan saw signs everywhere that someone not human had been living there. In several places young trees had been bent to the ground, almost as though to make a rough shelter.

Rocks were stacked in precarious piles that were obviously the work of a sentient animal. Bark was ripped off of trees in places, but that may have been the work of elk or moose.

Jordan ate a light breakfast, packed his belongings and was ready to leave by mid morning. He didn't feel safe alone in the woods, and was worried what another night might bring. Part of him wanted to stay, but he needed information, and some different supplies if he was going to stay.

The trail out of the woods that Jordan had used to arrive had been altered. Small trees were uprooted and laid across the path. His motorcycle was able to drive over most of them, but it took him much longer to get out of the woods and back onto the dirt road he had used to get here.

Jordan breathed a sigh of relief as his motorcycle once again reached a paved road and he sped up to 40 miles per hour.

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bybobalous© 48 comments/ 92320 views/ 355 favorites

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