This happened 3 years ago when I was 12. My best friend and I had incredibly active imaginations, and the woods behind his house were the perfect playground. His family owned 3 acres of land in Decatur, Texas, and his house sat on the very front of their property. Their backyard had a creek and a deep drainage ditch running through it, the ditch perpendicular to the creek. The creek made a 90 degree turn in their yard, pointing away from the house, and a 15 foot cliff overlooked the bend. I'll call my friend Joe for anonymity's sake.
Joe and I would play in the ditch rain and shine with his airsoft rifles, pretending to be World War 1 soldiers, Indiana Jones, and space troopers conquering an alien world.
We would follow the creek back into their property, deep into the woods.
Joe's parents never had an issue with this because we knew the woods like the back of our hands and Joe had a walkie-talkie he used to talk to his parents. We would play in the woods all the way until the barbwire fence that served as the property line. Those woods were our second home, and we would camp in them almost every time I would spend the night.
One summer day, I was having a sleepover at Joe's house and we were planning on camping in the woods. We were super excited for the night because Joe's parents were letting us set up our tent across the creek back in the tree line. We were never allowed to do this before, because there were bobcats and coyotes in the woods, and his parents were afraid that we could get hurt.
This day was particularly mild for a Texas summer day, and we spent the whole day outside, playing in the woods. We had eaten dinner and got our tent set up and ready to go, but we still had a couple hours left of sunlight, and we planned on spending them all in the woods playing. Around 8:45 PM the sun started to set, and since we were back at the property line, we decided to head back.
It usually took us about 15 minutes to walk back to the creek, but we took much longer because we had never been in the woods at night before.
Before long it was dark outside, and we began to realize our mistake. We stumbled through the woods, tripping over tree roots, our airsoft rifles, and thorn bushes. We were about 100 yards from our tent and crossing the creek when we heard a sound. We stopped in the water, listening. The only sounds were crickets chirping, frogs croaking, and water trickling over stones. I suddenly realized I was shivering, even though it was still 90 degrees and incredibly humid. Something just felt off and I couldn't put my finger on it.
As Joe and started to walk towards the shore on the other side of creek, we heard a scream. I started shivering again and Joe stared at me. We knew what bobcat screams sounded like, but this sound was like nothing else we had heard before. It was both high-pitched and deep and throaty at the same time, but the worst part was that it was close.
Very close. Joe looked at me and said, "I'm scared. Let's run to the tent, I can see it over there." I nodded, and we started to sprint through the dark woods.
As we were breaking through a bush, we heard something big splashing in the creek, and another blood-curdling scream cut through the still night air. The sound startled me, and I lost my footing on a tree root. I crashed to the ground, smacking my shin on a rock. Joe kept running, not realizing that I had fallen. I sat up and saw something that I will never forget.
A dog was looking at me through a bush. At first I thought it was a coyote, until I realized that its eyes were bright yellow and it was the size of a small horse.
I started to crawl backwards, keeping eye contact with the beast the whole time. I stared into those bright, intelligent eyes and I could tell that it was amused by my show of fear. I slowly stood up, and kept backing up, absolutely terrified. The creature chuffed, turned around, and disappeared into the brush. I immediately turned around and sprinted to the tent, scared to my core.
Joe and I sat in the tent and sobbed for close to an hour before working up the courage to run 50 yards up the hill to his house. I don't know how, but we fell asleep that night, and I remember getting up to get a glass of water and hearing that haunting scream again.
Joe still lives in that house and every once in a while he hears strange sounds and sees strange things. A few months ago he and his father found a dead buck in the creek. It had been shredded to pieces, and there's no way a cougar or a coyote pack did it; the poor thing had been torn apart.
The most disturbing part of the spectacle was that something had taken a massive bite out of the deer's chest, devouring the heart. Every time I go back into those woods I get chills and Joe and I always triple check that all of the doors and windows are locked before going to sleep. That wasn't the last time I had a run-in with a skinwalker, but that's a story for another time. I hope that I never see one of those monsters again, and I truly hope that you never have to experience what I did that night in the woods.