I don’t have a lot of time to write this. It’s not important who I am. The only thing that’s important right now is that I tell you this story. I only have a quick break from dealing with the regular inter-universal portal traveling creatures from the most bizarre and alien environments. By some unearthly combination of mysterious circumstances have I ended up here, in a cave, in the mountains of Virginia, staring at the skeleton of a hellish monster. This… thing had enormous wings, and a humanlike body which stretched about 10 feet long. It’s mouth was wide and gaping, with hundreds of thin needle-like teeth.
But the strangest thing about this discovery; there was what looked to be a knife made from a deer antler sticking right through the creature’s skull, having been thrust directly through the center of the forehead. In addition to this, there was a small, 6in x 4in rustic brown leather-bound wallet, or book, lying about 10 feet from the creature. Curiously, I walked over to investigate the strange finding; not stranger than the skeleton, I’ll admit, but strange because that means I have not been the first to see this creature.
I picked up the seemingly-ancient object and opened it. Upon reading the small, cursive English on its antique pages, I realized this was a journal… the journal of the man who hunted the creature that lies deceased before me. Here’s what it read:
The 31st of October, 1899.
Here I am, sitting alone in front of a campfire, composing what will likely be my last words written. My surroundings are drowned in impossible darkness, the palest glimmer of moonlight delivering only a hint of the cold, malicious wild lying just beyond the light of my fire. The only sound to be heard is a soft breeze blowing the crispy autumn leaves into a gentle dance. Where I’m from, the only people foolish enough to venture into these woods alone at night grant the evil of this world permission to haunt their very existence, if they are so lucky to survive.
My grandfather told me about it; about the terror that awaits those who venture into the Shenandoah wilderness on the night that the witches hold most sacred, about the creature that awaits the most curious and foolhardy of townsfolk. The only of those in my small Virginia town who have so impulsively pursued a glimpse of this creature… well, their bodies were later discovered. The strangest part is that none of them appear to have sustained any life threatening injuries, and their bodies… their bodies are completely drained of blood. Whatever demon drained the life from these people is still out there. My grandfather shot it in 1858, but to this day it hunts and kills the residents of Appalachia.
My grandfather was a hardened, bloodyfisted Irishman who immigrated to the states in 1851, to escape a great famine plaguing his home nation. Upon arrival, he used what little money he had to start his own business as a butcher. Quite successful in his early years, he was well known around the local towns.
In 1854, he bought a small piece of land outside of town at the base of Mount Sowen, where he built a barn for his animals and a small cabin for he and my grandmother to live in. Soon after moving in, they had a son; my father. During the night, my grandfather would keep his animals inside the barn to protect them from potential predators and thieves. However, in the late summer of his eighth year as a butcher in the states, a heavy windstorm damaged his barn to the point that it became unusable.
Due to this, his animals were forced to remain outdoors within a small fenced-in perimeter for the months of September through November, while my grandfather worked to repair the barn. Townspeople had warned him against keeping his animals outside this time of year, and cited local folklore describing a devilish creature which haunts the mountain on Halloween. Being a realist, my grandfather regarded such stories as nothing more than superstitious hogwash invented by simple-minded gabhdán (an Irish term for “gullible”).
He purchased a few dogs to protect the animals, and to alert him if any predators or thieves were to wander onto his property. On the night of Halloween, 1858, he and my grandmother awoke to the sound of his dogs snarling and barking ferociously in the yard. My grandmother ran to my father’s room to comfort and protect him. My grandfather jumped out of bed, lit an oil lantern, grabbed his hunting rifle and made his way to the door. Entering into the main living room, his shirt snagged on a splintered board in the doorway, causing him to stumble and drop his rifle on the floor. Chaos continued to erupt in the yard as he worked to free his shirt. He finally broke free and picked up his rifle, but upon opening the front door, he heard the sounds of his dogs whimpering in pain before growing silent.
At this point, he was furious. He frowned angrily, gripped his rifle tightly, and started running toward the yard. As he turned the rear corner of his cabin, in the bright light of the full moon he saw several of his animals, including his dogs, lying lifeless in the center of the yard. A remaining 3 chickens and 1 pig cowered behind the still-damaged barn. He immediately suspected that a bear had mauled his animals, as the dogs would have likely scared off a mountain lion, and a pack of coyotes would not have been so quick in their execution of such a heinous crime.
He scanned the yard and the surrounding woods for any sign indicating that the culprit was still near. When he saw nothing, he quickly made his way over to his slaughtered livelihood. As he tilted the lantern downward toward the lifeless bodies, he noticed that something was… off. Something was missing. None of these animals appeared to have any injuries or noticeable signs of having been attacked. There were no lacerations, and no blood.
In a panic, he quickly stood to his feet and pointed his rifle toward the treeline behind his property. As he did this, he saw something standing just outside of the moonlight. His lantern barely illuminated two large eyes staring back at him from just behind the fence. He stared, terrified and angry, into the piercing eyes before him.
My grandfather yelled at the creature in an attempt to scare it off. The creature then let out a bellowing roar, lifted into the air, and began flying quickly toward my grandfather. As the creature drew closer it entered into the moonlight, which now illuminated its hideous form. It was a massive winged humanoid straight from the pits of hell. Its devilish wings stretched across the yard from fence to fence. Fearing for his life, my grandfather raised his rifle toward the creature and fired a round. The projectile impacted the creature, and it collapsed into the yard. The most terrifying, otherworldly scream erupted from the demon, causing the ground to tremble violently and all remaining leaves to be ripped from their branches. This prompted my grandfather to drop his rifle and run into the house.
All night, he and his family lie awake in their cabin, each clutching the other in terror. Into the early morning, they could still hear the creature outside, screams echoing through the mountain. After sunrise, my grandfather approached his dead livestock to get a better look. He confirmed that there was indeed no visible blood or other injuries. He picked up one of the chickens, shook it to ensure that it was dead, then in an effort to figure out what was going on, plunged a knife into the animal and began gutting it. Upon doing this, he realized that the animal had no blood inside it’s body. Confused and increasingly irate, he aggressively cut into the other five chickens, two pigs, and one cow that had been killed, to realize they had all met the same mysterious fate.
That year, they sold their land and moved away from the mountains. They had a difficult time rebuilding themselves financially, but were able to make ends meet. He never forgot about that night, and never forgave that creature for making life so hard for his family.
He told me this story when I turned 18. I am now 25, and my grandfather‘s body was found last year, November 1st, 1898. It was lying at the mouth of a cave, drained of blood. He had gone searching for the creature exactly four decades after his encounter, in one last spirited attempt to settle the score. His pride got the better of him. He knew he could wound the creature, and he wanted to end its life before he withered in his old age. His intentions had failed, but I would not fail his legacy.
I felt a beckoning in my soul to find the creature, to honor my grandfather’s memory, to fulfill his legacy by finally putting an end to this creature’s existence. I CANNOT allow this creature to accompany humanity into the 20th century.
I needed to do some research on the creature to know what I was going to be up against. Being that I am a county sheriff’s deputy, I had access to all police reports submitted to our office. I started digging through our office library, and came across a thick folder entitled, “Unsolved Halloween Occurrences”.
I eagerly placed the folder on a table, flipped it open, and began to examine its contents. They seemed to be in chronological order, starting with what looked to be ancient drawings on animal skin. Beside this was a document written in 1836 by a professor at the University of Virginia. This document claimed to translate the drawings from early Native American symbolism to modern English. The translation went as follows.
“When the air becomes cold
And the trees shed their skin
The depths of the mother
Birth a great evil
To slaughter our people
Without spilling blood
To drain us of life
Without inflicting injury
To defy the natural order
Beware the mountain darkness
Beware the devil of blood.”
Other documents included reports from early European settlers, reports of criminal damages by local townsfolk, and even a document written by United States President Thomas Jefferson. This last document was an executive order establishing a mandatory curfew of 1 hour before sundown during the months of September through November, for all residents living near the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia.
Since 1742, there have been 53 reported human deaths, hundreds of reported animal deaths (both livestock and wild), and 14 eyewitnesses who survived an encounter. Each of the eyewitness reports described a large, 8-10 feet long humanoid bat-like creature with leathery black skin stretched tightly over its skeletal frame, and a large mouth containing hundreds of needle-like teeth. This creature, nicknamed the “The Blood Devil”, only appears on Halloween night. Aside from my grandfather, the only people to have seen the creature and survive were in groups of two or more. According to the reports, it seems that the creature is not keen on being seen by people in groups, and in such a scenario attempts to flee without conflict. On the other hand, those who are killed by the creature are found drained of blood, in the same location as my grandfather; the mouth of Hell’s Cave on Mount Sowen.
Here’s what I had so far:
1.) The Blood Devil stays on the mountain, and only kills those who are alone in the mountains of Virginia on the night of Halloween, outside of a reliable shelter.
2.) The creature is not invincible; the bullet from my grandfather’s rifle had to have done some damage, as it brought the creature to the ground.
3.) The only way to take this thing out is by confronting it directly, which means I have to go alone.
So I started devising a plot. I would set up a series of bells and strings throughout the trees surrounding Hell’s cave, to ensure that I always know the creature’s location. The brilliant invention of the electric torch had been gifted to the police forces of Virginia, after a British inventor had engineered the device early this year. I would use the two I had been issued, in addition to a torch of fire, to ensure consistent visibility of the creature. Before sundown on Halloween, I would set up one of the electric torches at the cave entrance, such that any creature escaping the cave will trip the power switch and prompt the light to come on. This will signal me that the creature is coming, and allow me to see the devil as it emerges from the depths. I would stage a keg of gunpowder near the cave’s entrance, that I may ignite with a bullet from my rifle.
I would carry with me my 0.44 caliber Remington Model 1890 service revolver, my 0.38 caliber Winchester Model 1894 hunting rifle, and a hunting knife my grandfather carved from a deer antler and had given to me the month before he died. I would also carry extra ammunition, matches, a few food rations, and a bottle of water. I would set up camp with a perfect view of the cave entrance down-mountain. My campfire would be blind from the mouth of the cave, though I would have a perfect shot at the creature with my rifle. My grandfather went into these woods blind, without a plan, only his rifle and the rage of one hundred Vikings. The creature will emerge this Halloween, blind of my plan.
I now sit here, in the dark of the forest, armed and ready to kill this demon. My destiny lies in the elimination of this creature. My days spent policing my small Virginia county have gifted me the physical and mental fortitude to complete such a task. That said, I have always enjoyed writing. While about 80% of our population can read and write, only about 10% can do it well. I have, in fact, completed a degree in English from the University of Virginia. Why I chose not to pursue a career in authorship or academia is a discussion for another time, if I come out of this alive.
I apologize for any incoherent ramblings which may appear on the page. I am growing increasingly anxious as my time approaches. I think my reason for writing this is to say, I bid farewell to the world with the sincere hope that someone finds this journal, so that my story may be told. If you find this, please share my story, and my warning about the creature that lurks in Shenandoah. If my plan fails me, I have failed humanity. May the Devil of Blood die tonight.
The electric torch at the mouth of the cave has just lit up. I can now see the silhouette of a massive winged creature. I notice a large hole in its left wing where the light is shining through. Now is the time.
End Journal Entry
You see, I don’t believe this to be the only creature of its kind. On the contrary, I believe this to be a single member of an intelligent species which occupies a reality running parallel to our own. You know, in a different universe. Anyway, there’s no time to get into that now, as I have much more work to do.
To close this out, it seems that J. Quinn has succeeded in his plan, though a few questions remain… Who is J. Quinn? Did he survive? If not, where is his body? Did he have any descendants? I will update soon. Until next time…