My Grandfather used to tell me stories about the land we live on. People come here every year, to hike, ski, and explore the vast, snow covered mountains, and every year a few of those people are claimed by this land. Grandfather told me that when people die in these mountains, they don’t stay dead. Their bodies are never found, just reported dead after they’ve been missing long enough for the cold to get them. The reason for that, according to the stories, is the Wind Whisperers. Anyone who dies on this mountain turns into a Wind Whisperer, an empty shell walking the land looking for some unfortunate soul to claim in hopes that it brings their soul back.
My Grandfather told me that late at night out in the mountains you can hear their whispers, you can hear their cries, their screams. If you hear one, you’re in danger, and it may already be too late for you to run. Growing up I always thought that this was just some scare tactic to get me to stay inside once the sun went down and keep me out of trouble. I never believed the Wind Whisperers existed, but I never left the house late at night alone, so I guess it worked. Every year I read about the people who have gone missing, and how their bodies were never found, and every time I think of the Wind Whisperers. I’d shake it off and go about my day, but something happened to me recently, something I know the answer to, but maybe I’m just too scared to admit it.
Last week I had a rare day off and decided I’d take the snowmobile out for a spin and take some photos of the town from up on one of the ridges. I had some things to do in town early in the morning so I had to set out around 3:00 and I headed straight up the mountain. I got to a point where the brush was too thick for me to drive through so I set out the rest of the way on foot. I reached the ridge after about an hour and spent some time up there admiring the view and taking some pictures. After a little bit more time up there I headed back down to my snowmobile and this is where I fucked up. On my way down I got a little too confident in my abilities to operate the snowmobile and I crashed it. I remember hitting the snowbank and losing control and blacking out.
When I woke up I could hardly feel my fingers and toes, I wasn’t out for too long, the cold hadn’t claimed me yet. I got up and looked around for my snowmobile and when I found it I couldn’t get the damn thing to fire up again. I could walk back down, but my house was about an hour on foot, and the snow was coming down. As I started my walk, I heard something that I had hoped to never hear in my life, and it sent a chill down my spine that was colder than the snow beneath my feet. I could hear whispering, from every direction. I could hear the cries of the lost souls, I could hear their pleas for help. I looked all around me, hoping someone would come out of the brush and and save me. That’s when I saw them. Corpses with hallowed out eyes, walking towards me with their numb limbs. Their mouths weren’t moving, but the whispering grew louder and louder.
I ran as fast as I could in the snow, I ran down the mountain not stopping to look back behind me, not even stopping to take a breath. You may never know the fear of running away from something like this, something you never thought was possible. When I made it to my house I fumbled in my pockets for my keys, and I slammed my door shut behind me without looking to see what could have been outside. The whispers grew quieter and quieter as the night went on, but I sat here on my floor clutching my rifle in my hands until the sun came up the next morning.
Once I had finally reclaimed my breath I thought to myself that maybe I had hit my head and imagined the whole thing. Maybe the cold just got to me. That is until I went outside and noticed my tracks in the snow, and all the ones following them.
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