SkepticNoMore
My names Jessica, I live in Scotland, U.K. I won't say exactly where but it's pretty rural. I've lived here my whole life and never spent more than my UNI years away. Born and raised highland country girl for 29 years and counting. 

I'd never had any spooky supernatural experiences or creepy ghost stories, as my username suggests, I wasn't a believer in any of that. I'm no stranger to the woods or the glens. I camp, hike and swim in nature for fun. Even when I'm at home I like to chill out on the porch on my phone. I always felt so comfortable in nature. I suppose it helps knowing that the U.K has no really dangerous animals and the fact I live a good jaunt away from even the smallest town, so no people to worry about either. It was completely private and secluded, just how I like it. 

But a few days ago I had an encounter and honestly I'm not really sure what happened, I've told a few close friends, one of which encouraged me to submit my story here, she says it'll help me come to terms with it. I hope she's right. Well, here goes. 

Despite the stereotypes about the Scottish highlands we fo actually get summer here and it can get really hot and sunny on the right day. It was that sort of day and I figured I'd go to the small lake about 40 minutes from my house and take a dip. The walk there was just like every other time, woods, field, hill, more woods then a clearing and the lake. It's my little slice of heaven, it's so beautiful. The water trickles down from higher up so it's really clear, honestly it looks like something out of a fancy commercial. 

I threw off my clothes just down to my swimming suit and jumped in, the lakes about the width of an average canal for reference and deep enough that I can only just touch the bottom on my tiptoes. Though granted I'm not the tallest lass. 

I swam for a while and just enjoyed cooling off, for the record it was about half eleven in the morning, and that's when the first weird thing happened. A loud ruckus in the bushes made me jump as all of a sudden three deer came tearing through, jumped through a shallower part of the water and off into the other side of the woods, the way I'd come up from. 

Now, this is really really strange. I'm not quiet when I swim, I splash around and typically sing to myself if I'm in the mood, which I was. The deer around here aren't used to humans so they avoid coming anywhere near you, I'd only ever seen a few fron miles away through my whole life. So for them to run towards my noisy self without giving me even a glance was really off. In hindsight I know now why they were running so blindly but... we'll get to that.

I was a little uneasy after that, I knew that rationally they were probably just in season or something but it just didn't sit right with me. After a few more minutes I got out of the water and decided I'd walk back home. Usually I towel off by the river, get re-dressed and then head off but this time I just didn't want to hang around there any longer than I already had. 

I threw on my shirt and trousers as quickly as I could and made a move back down the way I'd come and the deer had gone. Yes I was still soaking wet, I'd just figured the warm weather would dry me off but I'd made one really stupid mistake. Thanks to not wanting to faff around trying the laces I'd left my boots in my bag and opted to walk home barefoot. 

Heading back the woods seemed very strange, birds were very vocal, bugs were buzzing like mad and I kept catching glimpses of wild rabbits. Everything was heading away, downwards, downwind, and in quite a hurry. Just like the deer had been. 

I was getting more and more freaked out, which is very out of character for me. I'd picked up my pace from a casual walk to just shy of a jog. I found myself looking around frantically, as if I was trying to spot something. Though I had no idea what. I can't say I had some feeling of being watched or stalked, just like I was... unwelcome. In the wrong place kinda thing. 

Thanks to the animals going nuts, mainly the birds up in the branches, I couldn't hear much of anything else. Thats why it took me so off guard. I was looking around like I had been for nearly ten minutes but this time, as I swung my eyes to the right I saw something new. I saw a figure, quite clearly, it was keeping pace with me. Shadowing me and staring straight at me. 

I'm still not 100% sure what it looked like. It was very slender, had a thin layer of stark white hair and moved with in a smooth but loping manner. I know it's head was turned to face me but as strange as it sounds I have no clue what its face looked like. It's like I saw it any my eyes just slipped off it. Like I instinctive averted my gaze to the trees and bushes. 

My heart skipped a beat and I almost tripped over myself in sheer shock. I can't quite remember my thought process but it was something along the lines of "what is that? How long has it been keeping up with me? What does it want? What should I do?" All at once. Some trees came between me and the thing I'd glimpsed and I just stopped dead. 

Every fiber of my body was screaming like alarm bells that I was in danger, but not to run. I don't know why but my immediate thought was to climb the nearest tree and take it from there. In equal measure I both wanted to see it again to figure out what the hell it was, but also, to never set eyes on it again. My whole body was shaken to the core, I felt sick and dizzy trying to wrap my head around it. As strange as it sounds, when I'd seen it for that split second I felt... offended. Like, subconsciously, deep down I was genuinely disgusted that this thing was there. That it actually existed, so close I could see the bushes being pushed down as it clambered through them. 

My messed up state aside I made it up the tree and tried to catch my breath on a decently large branch. I had to sit on the larger part and balance myself by using my feet to press against the other part of the trunk, it was one of those trees that grows into a kind of Y shape. 

For a few moments I sat there, slowly scanning the forest floor below, looking for anything. It was dead silent now. All the freaked out animals had booked it far away. It was just me, my tree, my pounding heart and the consuming fear that it was still around. I didn't know if I just hadn't heard it approach because of the birds or if it was just that silent. The idea only made me feel even more queasy. 

After what felt like ages I spotted the slightest rustle in a patch of bushes and then I heard it. Breathing. Or, maybe sniffing. It was dog like, but very quiet. It almost seemed to be coming from all around me. Then the bushes rustled again and it stopped. 

I was petrified, staying as still as I could and desperately listening out for anything at all, stuck up that damned tree. 

Now this is where my haste in leaving the river came back to mess with me. I felt something on my right foot. Something small, barely even noticeable at first. But then another, and another and more and more. Like little tiny touches, super light but moving. I tilted my head to see, only to realise the cause. It was ants. Tiny  black specs pouring out of little holes in the bark and towards my feet. 

Thankfully the ants here in the U.K don't tend to be the biting or stinging sort, I almost wish they had of been in retrospect. It would've been easier to ignore. No, these little guys did something far worse. They tickled. At first they were just about noticable but as more and more climbed onto my feet it quickly became unbearable. You'd think when you're scared to death you'd be able to ignore something so silly, hell normally I'm not even a ticklish person, but my senses were heighten to the max. Paranoid about this thing that was still down in the woods somewhere. 

Just as I was going to pull my feet away and relocate how I was sitting, I saw it again. It just strolled out brazenly into the open. It head held high, sniffing the air again. My eyes tried to move off of it from sheer reflex but this time I forced myself to look at it. It was huge, hunched over it still stood taller than anyone I'd ever met. Long, boney arms resting on the ground like a gorilla. A visible spine pushing against the patchy white fur. It's face though... I've never seen anything like it. I can't even think of an animal to compare it to. I guess the best I could say would be like a very, and I mean VERY malnourished cow. It had no horns and large, pointed ears like a canine. But the facial structure was just pure disfigurement. 

That's when I noticed several things all at once. It's mouth was slightly open, drooling and lined with mismatched, jagged teeth. It's nostrils were bloodied, with one completely collapsed, and finally, it was looking straight at me. Here's the thing though, it was blind. It had these sickly, puss filled, milky eyes. It was looking straight at me, sniffing but had no idea I was a few meters away. I could've spat and probably hit it. 

I tried to stay as still as humanly possible, staring at this abomination, the ants however had different plans. When I say they were covering my feet I mean it. I was having to balance myself by pressing just my toes against the bark, like I said earlier, I'm not a tall girl, and this meant they were all over the undersides of my poor feet. 

I couldn't even move a hand to cover my mouth with how I was balancing. It was insane. I was staring down this completely unnatural thing and all I could do was try not to giggle. I tried to move one foot away but the second I so much as knocked a leafy branch the creatures ears twitches and its head snapped to where the sound came from. Putting my foot back however only seemed to shake the bark and cause even more ants to come exploring. 

The creature was coming closer, slowly walking towards the tree, sniffing so loudly it was almost wheezing. It reached the bottom of the tree and lifted its head up. Then came its first arm. It was so long it almost reached where I was immediately. I saw it's hand, a gnarled mess of curved claws jutting out of knuckles. Almost like that of a sloth. It's claws sunk into the bark like it was nothing, then, it reared up and from what I can tell, prepared to climb. 

I was weighing up my options, should I jump out of the tree and make a run for it? But there was no way I'd outrun this thing and from this high up I'd probably break my ankle and then I'd be really done for. My other option seemed to be staying still and hoping it somehow missed me, but I knew from so close it'd likely manage to get my sent, then, ever present were my little tormentors.

Just as I thought I was going to either pass out or let a few giggles slip past my trembling lips something no short of a miracle happened. In the distance a sound rang our, it was quiet but in such silence it could still be heard. It was a car door slamming shut. 

The creatures whole body twisted and it tore off into the woods at a terrifying speed, it even ripped a fist sized hole in the tree where it's claws had been. No sooner did I have the chance I snatched my feet from the ants and covered my mouth to let out a mixture of long repressed hysterics, both laughing and crying. I climbed down the tree with less care than I should have, cutting my palm on some of the broken bark on my way down. 

Once I was on sky's ground I shook the remaining ants off and made a B-line for home. I desperately wanted to run but I knew I couldn't risk making a sound. Though jumpy and paranoid I closed the distance and got out of the woods and into my house. I was even careful to shut the door quietly. Afterall that slamming car door sounded like it was ages away, and my house was only about ten minutes from where I'd just hidden from it.

I haven't seen it since, though I have hardly been outside since too. The few close friends I've told all believe me, thankfully they know I'm not the sort to joke about and prank people. I don't know what happened with that car and whatever poor person was getting in or out, I hope they're okay. I also must admit that I'm kind of worried about cutting my hand on the bark, what of that thing gets my scent from it? Maybe I'm just still too shaken from it all. 

Well, that's my story. I think writing it out has helped a little, even if reliving it has left me feeling quite jittery. Stay safe everyone and, well, I know it sounds cliche but I really mean it. Be careful in the woods, it doesn't matter what's "supposed" to live there, nature doesn't play by our rules and there are things we don't know still out there. This has cemented it for me, there really is no such thing as a "safe" forest.
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