• Let me set the scene.

    I was hanging out with some of my old friends on the Rez. The Nisqually Indian Reservation, to be precise. Jacob, Missy, Josh, and I decided to get some cheap beer and go for a little camping trip. We went somewhere along Powell Creek, I just remember we walked for a long time before we found a good spot. We’re stoners, you see. I don’t drink, but I definitely smoke the green. We wanted to be secluded enough to smoke a lot of weed. Also, Jacob and Josh have always been rowdy loud drunks, so we didn’t want to pester anyone with their bullshit.

    So, we set up camp. The boys insist on being the ones to build a fire, I presume to feel like manlier men. We get some hot dogs in our bellies, and the alcohol begins to flow. I relent and have one beer—see, I’m a big ole b***h, and give in to peer pressure pretty easily. I nurse the one beer all night.

    Halfway through my beer, after more than enough shitty “rap battles” between Josh and Jacob, I needed to race like a piss horse. I also wanted a break from all that noise. Going somewhere to pee was a valid excuse to get some peace, while also satisfying a biological need.

    I walked a little way down a trail, then turned off into the bushes. I had my Doc Martens and thick clothing, so trudging through the undergrowth was no problem. I stepped over a few branches along the way. I probably sounded like a visually-impaired elephant, stomping through all that s**t. I intentionally made noise as I went to scare off any bears that might’ve been hanging out.

    Finally, when I could barely hear the commotion at the campsite, I popped a squat. I didn’t bring a flashlight or anything with me. Don’t ask why. I don’t know why I didn’t. I could see where I was going fine enough, dimly lit by a large moon and the distant fire. Visibility was low, but I could kind of see. I just didn’t expect to hear what I did.

    Now, not to insinuate expertise, but I know what the animals around the Pacific Northwest sound like. I’ve been in the woods my whole life. I’ve encountered bears, elk, deer, cougars, damn near every large animal here. I’ve had more than enough close counters.

    I heard something I couldn’t identify.

    Mind you, this is mid-flow. I’m squatting there, in close to solid darkness, pants around my knees, bare-assed. And I heard something big start moving around, behind me on the left. (I was facing the campsite, so this would’ve been from further back in the woods.)

    At first, maybe because I’m buzzed and had that keef-coated joint, I didn’t panic. I thought, “Probably an elk or something.” A bear would’ve been scared away by the noises I was making, and cougars are totally silent. It kept moving like it was circling where I was. I kept listening. The footfalls were heavy. Certainly too heavy to be a deer. They were slow. As they went down, I could hear large amounts of forest being crushed underfoot. That broad of a footfall could not have come from something with hooves. I then had a startling thought: “Some dude is out there watching me pee in the dark.” Fear begins setting in.

    I clean myself with the products from my hoodie pocket and yank my pants up faster than I ever have. The exact moment I dart up, I hear more of the heavy footsteps. This time, instead of slowly moving around me, it sounded like they rapidly darted in my direction before stopping. I could hear branches break, both under its steps and from trees it must’ve brushed past.

    At this point, I’m thinking, “Oh ********, oh ********, oh ********” on repeat.

    I could hear it come towards me, this time behind me on the right, but it stopped.

    Nothing was moving. I froze. No birds, no animals, just the silence of the forest. I don’t know if my friends were still -finger quotes- “rapping” but I couldn’t hear a goddamn thing. It felt like time was frozen. I was still facing the campsite, but my vision was focused out of the right corners of my eyes, from where I had heard it last.

    I must’ve been driven by adrenaline at this point. I can honestly say I’ve never been more afraid. This was the deepest sense of dread, something primal, like what a mouse must feel like when it’s cornered between a rock and a hungry cat.

    I couldn’t see anything. I tried my best to slow my breathing, which was shaky by now. My whole body was shaking. I thought about how I would get torn to shreds by some dude or maybe rabid animal, here in the woods, while everyone else drunk themselves into a coma. I wanted to run. I wanted to run so ******** badly. In a state of lucid panic, I knew that if I ran, I’d be an open target. I’d look like prey to a predator. If it were a human, running might entice them to chase, or maybe shoot me. No. I did something my dad conditioned into me: aggressively yell to scare off predators or let someone know you won’t go down without a fight. I did, after all, have a large hunting knife on my belt.

    The next few things happened over a period of mere seconds. It felt like hours. But it really was so quick. It’s hard for me to fathom what happened. With my hand on my knife’s handle, I turned my torso to the right (while keeping my feet firmly planted facing back where I came), and I ********’ BELLOWED. I’m a professionally trained vocalist, I know how to make my voice really goddamn loud. I yelled, as loud as I could, something along the lines of “I’LL ******** KILL YOU! GO AWAY!”

    Immediately after I finished my threat into the darkness, I heard… I don’t know what the hell it was. The closest thing I can relate it to is the noise my dad made when he played chase with me as a child. He’d pretend to be a tickle-monster and chase me around the house. When he did this, he’d make a playful sort of grunt-growl.

    Like, imagine the sounds, “Hooh, hooh,” but in a low deep tone, half-growling, half-clearing your throat. That’s the only way I can describe it. Just two of those grunt-things.

    That, my friends, is when ya gurl got the ******** out of there. I leaped back to the main trail like a gazelle on steroids. I heard more of its trudging behind me, I most definitely did not turn back or stop to think about anything from that point on. I ran back to the campsite faster than any superhero. My chest was on fire. My heart was beating so fast that the only thing I could hear was my pulse.

    I got back to camp, and my friends were obviously freaked out. I remember Missy putting her hand on my shoulder. By that point, I was hyperventilating, and I passed out. Fell forwards right onto poor Missy. It’s a good thing she’s strong.

    I came to a little while later, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. I was laid on an outdoor recliner, surrounded by my friends. I told them the whole story, still shaking like a leaf. Jacob said it was probably a bear, I said I’d never heard a bear sound like it had a tone or a voice. I tried to mimic the sound for them. Jacob said it could’ve been hurt so maybe that’s why it sounded funny, but he didn’t seem so sure. Josh said Bigfoot, Missy agreed with that.

    I don’t know what to believe. We all grew up with Sasquatch stories, being in the Pacific Northwest. As young as I can remember, I was told not to wander off too far into the forest, because the “hairy man” will steal you away. I believe in Bigfoot as much as I believe in Santa Claus, and I don’t even celebrate Christmas.

    My theory is that it was just some creep out there. I mean, whatever it was, it definitely watched me pee. After all, this area of Washington State has a high rate of serial killers. That’s not to say that anyone with a urine fetish is a serial killer! I’m not a fan personally, but different strokes for different folks. (I see you, that one creepypasta author, who has your characters pissing their pants in every.goddamn.story. Y’all know the one.)

    It just… it didn’t sound very human. As I said, it sounded sort of like the sound my dad would make while pretending to be a monster. But it had way more… growl to it. And it was so low-pitched. I know some people are capable of having their voice go extremely low, but… that was something extraordinarily low. Inhumanly low, with an animalistic growl beneath. Eerily similar to a sound that could be made by a human, but… it doesn’t seem possible.

    Who knows, maybe I’m crazy. Maybe it was a weirdo in the woods. Maybe it was a Bigfoot. Maybe it was aliens. Maybe it was a combination of those.

    I just know that I really don’t know. I can tell you that it wasn’t anything I am even remotely familiar with. I’m very familiar with the animals around here, but that was something I have never experienced before.

    I still go camping, of course. It didn’t scare me from the woods. I definitely bring a gun with me when I camp now, though. Just in case.