I looked at my friend, fearing what he may do. How was it possible that he could be in two places at once?
“Stay where you are, and don’t come any closer!”
“Sally, I’m not going to hurt you,”
“We will see about that, not after the last two times you attacked me,”
“That wasn’t me! I don’t know who that other person was, but I need to see my wife, but I can’t look like this!”
“I saw you! You tried to kill me, Adam.”
“Sal, I’m telling you that wasn’t me!”
I looked at him for a long moment, and then when I looked into his eyes, I noticed his glasses were broken on one side and rigged with some tape. That was typical of my friend, always trying to find the cheapest method.
“What happened in that cave?”
“They took me, and they injected me with something, what I’m still trying to figure out exactly,”
“I am concerned; your skin is ashen, and your hand is green?”
Adam looked at his hand and then gulped.
“It is dead, I can barely move, and if you look, I’m afraid it may fall off,”
“Ewe,” I said.
“Thanks, Sal, real reassuring right now,”
“I’m sorry,” he said, walking over and picking up his wrecked hand. I didn’t want him to lose it, but I was afraid it might, in fact, rot off.
“I think I have something in my drawer downstairs that might be able to help,” I said, grabbing borax from one of my shelves. When I came back upstairs, Adam was still looking as if he were ready to cry. I didn’t blame him. He looked atrocious!
“Here, let me see your hand,” I put some Stop Rot on the point where it looked the worst, then spread some borax on the arm area.
“Thanks, Sal, and I’m sorry about attacking you even though it was my evil twin. You have no idea how much that saddens me to have you fear me.”
I felt a tear roll into my eye but pushed it back.
“It is okay, Adam.”
He stood as best he could and wrapped his arms around me. I held my breath for as long as possible, but he was crying.
“Adam, can you let me go?”
“I’m sorry, Sal, I’m just so miserable, and I don’t know what to do!”
“I know, hon, but um, you smell, like really bad,”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” he backed away, sitting back down. “I didn’t think about that; I can’t smell anything right now,”
“That creepy faceless guy had said he had a cure, but he wanted something from me. I’m still trying to figure out why he wanted me from Kodiak. It doesn’t make any sense,”
We sat and chatted most of the day, trying to work out a plan of action. We decided we would go back to the cave the next day to see if we could figure out our next steps; whether it was the right plan would remain to be seen.
That night I let Adam sleep on my dumpy couch, and when I went to bed, I ensured I locked my bedroom door. I didn’t want to take any chances if he went from Dr. Jekyll to Hyde.
My dreams were weird, and in them, I kept seeing Kodiak. I saw other creatures too- different things like Mothman, the Goat Man, Mermaids, and strange diabolical worms that had hammers for heads and created giant holes in the earth. They were toxic to the touch, and something in their toxin caused everything in their grasp to rot. In the same dream, I saw Kodiak again; he was on the road where I had originally found him. He was lying there, appearing dead, and I recalled I had touched him when he was moved into my basement for observation. I had touched his blood, and it was hallucinogenic. Somehow it created a telepathic connection to the dogman, Kodiak.
I woke out of a dead sleep. I knew now what was causing my friend to be ill. It was the toxin from the worms. Why on earth use that on him? Why use it at all?
I also knew now I could communicate with any of the cryptids directly. It wasn’t just one; it was all. I felt that the dream was sent to me by Kodiak. As ridiculous as it all sounded, and believe me, I was beginning to be the queen of silliness.
I got out of bed because I heard a loud bang. It had to be Adam; what on earth happened?
I went to the bottom of my steps and saw him lying on the floor, unable to move.
“What on earth happened?
“I was coming back from the bathroom when my leg stopped working,”
“Oh my gosh, here,” I helped him back to the couch.
“Sal, what are we going to do?”
“I’m going to make some coffee and then go back to the cave. You are staying here.”
“No, I have to help somehow,”
“Yeah, by staying put until I can find that cure!”
I put the remote to the television in his crippled hand and went to make coffee. After I sipped the coffee as best, I could try to build myself up to leave. I was scared of what else could happen, but I was prepared to fight if I had to.
“Sally, what about my look alike?”
“I’m on it; I will call Teri and see about getting her out of the house until I can get something for you,”
I picked up my phone and called her.
“Sally, my god, how are you? I apologize for Adam; I have no idea what came over him,”
“It is okay; that is sort of what I was calling about. I mean, where is Adam?”
“Oh, he is good as new, and all healed up. The doctor said he could go back to work and that it must have been a fluke.”
“So he isn’t home?”
“No, Sally, but I think you should stay away from him for a while. He hasn’t been quite himself since you both returned from your hiking trip. According to the doctor, I know he suffered brain damage and some memory loss. But you really should stay away from him.”
“Oh, I’m trying,” I said, looking at the real Adam rolling my eyes and pinching my nose because his smell was only getting worse.
“Well, that is good. I hope this can all be patched up soon. At least one thing is for certain, he is on the mend, and that is all I care about,”
“Yes, I agree, Teri.”
Once I got off the phone, I went to get dressed and got my things ready to go hunting for a Man without a Face.
The drive seemed longer than the last time. I was trying to be as mentally prepared as possible, but I was nervous. I was afraid that he would die if I didn’t find the cure for my friend. I would never forgive myself if he did.
After what seemed an eternity, I pulled into the trail and parked off to the side, same as last time. Only this time, I had my gun ready if I needed it. I was taking no chances.
When I got to the end of the trail after hiking it for nearly thirty minutes, I saw the now blocked-off cave entrance. My heart sunk into the pit of my stomach that I may not be able to find the cure. The second I thought that I felt the earth beneath me rumble.
“Holy shit,” I said, trying to steady myself.
I moved away from the mound of dirt in front of my feet and held onto a tree. I stood watching the earth move until the thing under the ground emerged, causing an eruption of several trees in the process. Once it emerged, I saw a gigantic Hammerhead Worm – it was just like my dream.
Only, in person, it was much more frightening, and when it directed its opening that is used as a mouth, I nearly fainted when I saw it was going for a squirrel. It missed at first and then, in one swoop of its elongated body, grabbed the tiny creature and secreted a very disgusting slime. The squirrel was dead before it knew it, thank god. I took a deep breath, now bracing myself for when it would take notice of me.
I heard a voice then, laughing, and I wished I had stayed home. There were two men – one in a mask, and the other appeared to be a guard. He, too, had a mask on, but you could still see part of his face. He looked younger, and I wondered if they may be related.
“Don’t move any closer,” said the man without a face.
He shot a bolt of electricity at the giant worm, and it fell beneath their feet.
The man without a face then removed his white mask to reveal his face. I nearly fell over when I saw him. It was Adam. Not the honest Adam, but he was the one who had stolen his likeness. I was more furious than anything.
His skin was no longer rotting, and his flesh no longer hung. It was as if he had somehow traded his body for Adam’s. I was more determined than ever to figure out what was going on with this guy.
I watched him for a time, and then I backed into the treeline so I wouldn’t be seen.
I still didn’t know what they wanted of me but now that I knew I could control the cryptids – that had to be one reason. Without me interfering, they could experiment on them anytime they wanted. I wasn’t going to let that happen.
I watched the Creepy Adam walk up to the worm and look at the side of it as if he were looking for something.
“Here, bag this. I have a swab; get as much on it as possible without touching it. We can test it at the lab and then make more ourselves,” he was saying.
I watched, horrified, as they began to inspect and cut into the worm. I know it seemed silly, but I almost felt bad for it.
I watched them, thinking of what I would do next when I saw it move. They didn’t see it move, but I did. The end of its body slowly moved, but the top half where the mouth remained still. This thing had to be thirty feet long, at least!
Then I got an idea. I closed my eyes and concentrated very hard. Perhaps if maybe, just maybe, I tried to communicate a message. Oh, and I know you think this is stupid; I did too- until it worked.
Thinking of what I wanted compared to what I needed to happen, I focused on communicating to the worm that it was in danger. As I found my focus, I heard a scream.
I opened my eyes, and the gigantic worm was now attacking the other guy. I heard him scream as the worm’s mouth attached itself to the guy’s chest and began releasing its digestive toxins. The Adam look-alike didn’t even try to save the guy. Instead, he ran straight for a door that led into the cave.
I followed him and managed to avoid getting eaten by the worm.
Once inside the cave, I could no longer see as it was pitch black. I slowed my pace a bit, trying to find my feet. I was afraid to turn on my flashlight, but I had no choice. I didn’t trust this man that had stolen my friend’s face.
I searched around, and then I bumped into something that moved.
I slowly turned around, and there was a giant creature that I couldn’t even describe as anything except it was something you would see in a nightmare.
Its teeth were large, and it had small eyes that glared in the dark. It had two horns on top of its head and was covered in coarse black fur. Could this be the infamous Goat Man? I had read it in Reddit chatrooms discussing it, but I had no idea it was real. It became very overwhelming until I noticed a tube connected to the creature. That asshole was using these cryptids for whatever gifts and talents they had for his reasons.
“Evil bastard,” I said to myself.
The Goat man-creature didn’t seem to notice me, and I guessed it was on some heavy drugs to keep it from attacking.
“You again!” I felt it before I heard it.
I was knocked over and flung into a pit of some kind, landing on a haystack.
The look-alike Adam was no longer growling at me in my presence but instead was very conniving. His eyes were like my friends, but they were cold and black. Tears welled up in my eyes as I had no way of controlling the large amount of emotion at the sight of him.
He paced around above me, laughing as though he knew a secret no one else knew. Then I saw them.
Not one but three hammerhead worms were now surrounding me.
“Have fun with that one.” he laughed, covering the pit with a metal top. I took a deep breath and looked around. There were three gigantic worms surrounding me slowly as though at any second they would pounce, and I’d have no way to stop. A gun wouldn’t stop these creatures, and right now, I had no idea where my belongings were. They had fallen when he pushed me, and I couldn’t see where they were.
I closed my eyes and tried to communicate with these creatures. This time, my telepathy went on empty brains. They didn’t seem to have the same ability, or I had hit my head too hard to harness mine.
I heard my heart now; it beat with a pulse of a drum thump thump thump.
They were inching closer to me by the second. Then something dawned on me. That worm that was outside still, maybe it could help me with these.
Through all my biology studies, I knew that these types of worms were cannibals. At least this big one better be!
Once again, I closed my eyes, and I tried to visualize the worms coming after the big one to let it know it needed to protect itself and me. Suddenly the three worms stopped and quickly moved towards the pit wall. They all huddled together as if they could see or hear something I could not.
Then there was a bang, like that Kool-Aid commercial where the Kool-Aid guy bursts through a wall, like, “HEY I’M HERE! That is pretty much what happened in this case, only it was a thirty-foot Hammerhead worm looking to eat some fellow worms.
I didn’t waste any time. As the giant worm was attacking the other worms, I made a run for it by going out the way he came in. I ran until I could see sunlight. I was on the other side of the cave and found myself back in the woods.
But I needed that damn cure!
I looked around for a way back in, undetected. Was I the dumbest human on the planet? Yes, yes, I was.
I found a way back in, but I had to crawl on the ground to get back in, so I didn’t use a flashlight this time. Instead, I used the only talent I had been given.
Closing my eyes, I envisioned every cryptid within a mile radius to come and help. Unfortunately, that only gave me a nymph and two troll-like creatures. When they saw me, they seemed to understand the assignment and went to work right away to help me. One of the troll-like beings could shift time, confusing any would-be person in the woods that they were not in the same spot that they began in. Many Missing 911 stories started this way. I would bet money on it.
I now knew he wouldn’t get far without confusion wherever the look-alike Adam was. The tiny nymph creature illuminated the darkness just enough to see the three of us. I looked at the troll-like creatures, nodding at me that they had done what was asked.
Now, it would be up to me to finish the rest. How that would be, I had no clue.
Fortunately for me, he had not gotten very far when I noticed him coming around a bend in the cave.
“Lost?” I yelled out to him.
“Didn’t I kill you three times already?”
“Nah, just attempted. I want the cure for my friend whose face you stole.”
“There isn’t a cure,”
“But you told me you had one if I would go and never come back,” I was getting extremely irritated.
“You are worth more dead than alive.” He approached me, and we stood face to face.
I didn’t flinch, not even a little, as I looked him dead in the eyes. “I know why you want me dead,” I began.
“Yes, it’s because of what I can do. It is what I did to you,”
“No, that isn’t why. It is a good guess, but we could use you to make clones if you died. The government would love to use you for its weaponry. So you see? Why would I ever let you have a cure?”
“It isn’t for me. I’ll help you; give me the damn cure for my friend and give him his face back!”
He began to shift. His face melted away, and all that he was – was a bag of flesh. I watched in shock as he shifted into another being- only this time it was my face!
“What are you?” I asked.
“No, you are not,”
While I watched him shift again, I realized he was now becoming an animal. He turned into Kodiak. I watched as he did this over and over again with multiple faces. I trembled because I knew what he was. I never believed the stories of those that lived beyond the forests and the trees. Native storytellers were forbidden to talk of them. They were the nightmares that woke you at night. They were the monsters under your bed, stealing sugar plums that danced in your head. They were the names of things not mentioned. Was that really what he was? A demon doing dark deeds in the night for evil, greed, and selfishness, shifting whenever he felt like it? He was taking on the body of whatever animal – even the human-animal to gain more power. He wanted to take me and make me part of his power. The man with no face wanted my soul.
“There is no cure for what you become, but your friend can heal himself. Just give me your blood, Sally, Give it all to me, and I’ll go. Your friend will be fine again- I’ll leave you for good.”
I shook my head at this demon. It was impossible. How could I go on knowing what he was using me for? How could I be sure that my blood would help cure my friend by giving it to this being?
I took a deep breath before I answered. I didn’t get to; the Hammerhead worm stole him from me in one swift gulp.
The cure and the problems all went with it. I stood, mouth open, bewildered at what this could mean as I watched the worm sucking and then regurgitating a flank of skin from its mouth, which was also the worm’s anus.
I watched as it disappeared deep into the earth, and a telepathic thank you was exchanged.
When I got home, I saw Adam sleeping on my couch.
I walked over to him and shook him gently.
“Sally!” he sat up in the bed.
“It’s a bit of a long story, but that man won’t be a problem anymore.”
“Did you get the cure?”
“Well, about that,”
“You didn’t get it,”
“What if I told you he said I’m the cure,”
“No idea what that means,”
“I think if you, um, drink my blood, it will fix you,”
“Oh, for fuck sake, Sal! I’m not drinking your blood.”
“I don’t know what to tell you. Do you think I want you going around drinking my blood? It is disgusting, but at least we don’t shit out of our mouths.”
Adam stood and stared blankly at his young friend. “What the hell are you talking about?”
I remembered the vial I had received in the mail the other day.
“Adam, I think I have the cure; it has been here all along.”
“What is now?”
“That vial I got in the mail. I think that is the cure for you. I am not even sure I know why he gave it to me. But who cares? Let me get it,”
“Isn’t it the stuff that makes you crazy?”
“Well, if you are already nuts, wouldn’t it make you sane?”
I handed him the vial, and he looked at it.
“Fuck, it bottoms up,”
Adam drank the solution, and then after about ten minutes, he sat back on the couch, unable to move.
“I think, I think I’m paralyzed.”
I nearly cried, but then his eyes started to get warmer. His skin began to reach its color back, and his hands healed before our eyes.
He smiled at me, and then he got up.
“Thank you, Sal; I love you. But I don’t think I can see you for a few months.”
I burst into hysterical laughter.
He hugged me, and I then took him home.
Teri was happy to see we were no longer trying to kill each other; I was delighted that this adventure was over.
I went home and ran a hot bath.
I sat in the tub, letting the bubble bath heat up my skin. When I opened my eyes, I realized I was hearing the thoughts of every creature around me for a mile or so. I opened my eyes and focused on my bath to block it out.
Finally, the sounds ceased, and I was able to relax.
It had been a long time since I had done that.
This Sally was taking a break from storytelling, kids.
Have a nice day.
See you soon.