Will get buried, but here goes. I have a ton more stories, but this is always the one that disturbs me the most, for whatever reason.
Background; I grew up in the forest in a tiny house in the Appalachian mountains. Our house was more like a shack, and behind it was a large looming mountain. The nearest neighbors weren't far, but with woods in between, it sure seemed like it.
My parents were in a band and left once or twice a week from about 5pm to 2am to practice or go to a show. I was about twelve, my sister was six or seven. We passed the time by watching old VHS tapes or talking. One night my parents left and a torrential downpour started. If you know Tennessee you know that a flood can happen anytime, and I've had several pets drown from being outside.
We had a small closed-in porch, in which our mom's favorite dog, "Whiskers" (unfortunate name) was tied via a 20 foot chain wrapped around a tool box. We were poor, ok. Anyway this dog was doofy and about as useless as a guard toad, but he had a loud bark and my parents hope was that he would frighten intruders. He was quietly sleeping on the closed-in porch until the wind, which at that time was at a complete roar, caused the front door to come from its hinges.
Whiskers bolted off into the night. I yelled at my sister that I was going to get him, put on my dad's rubber mining boots, and ran out. I didn't get a flashlight because? I don't know. I was a dumb kid, I was terrified both for his safety in the rain, and the fact that if my parents found out their dog was missing I would've had the shit beaten out of me. Lightning lit up the side of the yard just enough for me to see him bolting down the bank and across the stream in the backyard, toward the mountain.
So I ran after him. The creek had a "bridge" aka a very thin wooden plank, I didn't even touch it but leapt over it, my adrenaline sky high. Now the lightning was gone and I could only hear Whiskers based on the dragging sound his chain made. Maybe thirty, forty seconds and I was already dripping with rain, not a dry spot on my entire body. So I ran up into the forest.
I lost the sound of Whiskers. I was in a panic at this point, with the rain and lost dog, and so I just kind of numbly scaled the slippery leaves and as I ran I called out and made kissy noises as you do for a dog when you're twelve. Then it seemed like a shadow fell. I don't know how else to describe it. I could see nothing, but the black suddenly got blacker.
And I realized something; I could smell extra well, thanks to the rain. It really makes things pungent. I smelled dead leaves, and I smelled wet dog, and dog urine, which was not surprising. I actually got hopeful at that point, because I knew he would be out trotting around marking his territory and maybe I could find him. But the extra-black seemed ominious, and I stopped calling or whistling. I felt anxious, like something else was in the forest. That's exactly the feeling I got, and I actually stopped dead to listen.
I couldn't hear anything, but from above me, the crest of the mountain, I smelled something. It smelled putrid. Rotten. Like a carcass that's been sitting in Southern Tennessee heat all day. I remember almost gagging, and my anxiety turned into true, actual fear. I knew how bears smelled, and how most animals smelled actually. This was not something organic in an "alive" sense.
I still couldn't hear any footsteps but I got the sense that something was moving toward me. It is a kind of vertigo if that makes sense, my body was not wanting to stay still at that point. I was frozen in terror, staring into nothing, smelling rot and feeling like I was being stalked. I've been stalked by a mountain lion before, and it felt almost exactly the same, except with an extra dose of piss your pants fear.
And then lightning flashed again, and I saw something impossible. The trees were lit up around me, but several feet in front of me there was a huge black void. It was pure pitch black. In my peripherals I could see really far around me, but in front it was just like someone had sharpied the entire forest out. Right then, I heard a dog barking, and Whiskers sort of appeared out of nowhere from my right, barking insanely and heading toward that dark spot.
The lightning went as fast as it had came, and my only thought was "now it saw us." Somehow I had the sense to dive down and pick up Whisker's long chain before he got too far, and I had to yank him away. Keep in mind it's still raining as loud as all holy fuck, so loud that I'm sure nobody else heard him barking but me and I was next to him, and I heard this guttural noise from the top of the mountain. It was like a growl, but more like a rumble. Almost an earthquake sound. It was deep and all my wet hair stood completely on end.
I remember taking off, and I thougth I'd have to drag the damn dog down the hill, but he seemed to agree with my decision. I have no clue to this day, one of the biggest mysteries, is how we got through all of that forest without slamming into a tree. Black vision, downhill at a 70 degree angle, slippery leaves. We were like superheroes there for a second. Superheroes who would have probably pissed our pants if we'd looked behind us. It's also incredible that me in my dad's big clunky boots was able to keep pace with a running dog, but that's how frightened we were. There was nothing but animal instinct there. We crossed the "bridge" and I ran across it this time, hearing my footsteps thunk loudly and thinking "oh fuck, that was loud" as though we were being chased.
We get back in the house. I chain the dog up. He's wet, shivering, looking very remorseful for his bad decision. I scrambled into getting a hammer and fixing the fucked up door the best I could. It was a shack like I said; our "lock" was a piece of wood and a nail in the middle. (like a door bar, but...tiny and useless)
I changed into some warm clothes and sat back down, too scared to say much. My sister was tired, and quiet, it was late. She wanted to put on a movie but I stopped her, because I still felt uneasy. We put the lights off--trust me, it's far less frightening this way, because if the lights are on and it's pitch black outside anyone can be watching you...anyway, we sat in the dark living room and looked out the picture window at the rainy yard. We didn't see anything, but there were flickers and shadows. Something was off. When the lightning appeared, there would be a mass either far or near, that didn't light up just right. I took a flashlight and shined it out the window and the same thing; it just ended. The beam was cut off, swallowed by black spots. Whiskers, usually the type of dog to bark his head off at the mere sight of a butterfly, was dead quiet. However our roosters all over the property (we had about 200) were crowing.
I had a superstition book as a younger kid that said if a rooster crowed at night "Death was near." As in physically manifested, medieval death. Since my dad was a cockfighter and a rooster expert I asked him, years before this incident, what a rooster crowing at night meant. His reply was almost as chilling (and doubly simple) "It means something is walking through them." If they were crowing and he was awake he'd go out with his gun and almost always bring back a mink or weasel or snake, so roosters seemed to have pretty good alarm systems. And this night, when it was darker than dark and the rain was pouring down in sheets you could hear them all crowing and crowing, constantly. I said nothing to my sister and she mercifully didn't know what the crowing meant.
My sister fell asleep and I stayed awake, staring out the window until my parents got home, complaining of wet dog smell and shooing me away to go sleep somewhere else. They asked what happened, I told them in about three words that Whiskers got loose and I caught him quickly. They saw the door and luckily didn't blame me for that, they blamed the storm.
I thought that was the end of it but there was just one more thing: the next day my dad was completely pissed off, yelling about "hooligans wandering around in the rain" (he has a pretty bad case of paranoia and thinks people are out to get him) I went out to see what had been destroyed, feeling that whatever it was, was probably due to the storm and not people. But he was angry because the bridge, the long flat panel of wood, was completly busted and splintered into pieces. Maybe a person could have smashed it, maaaaybe if they weighed 450 pounds, but the amount of splintered wood and gnawed edges seemed like it was from a sledgehammer or a freakishly large beaver with anger issues.
There were a ton of happenings in those woods, if anyone's interested in hearing more please say so!