The Many Morbid Tales of Spookinite Valley
Spider of the Foothills
Written by Benjamin Fouché
I had once spent a night travelling in the shadow of such persisting fear. It was the kind of fear that sluggishly, but inexorably, draws nearer. The kind of fear that remains obscured and hunts unseen. The kind of fear that watches its victim at its own leisure. Indeed, it is cunning, and perhaps that is why so many fellow travelers have never journeyed beyond the wooded foothills. Fortunately, I did evade whatever resides in them. I am still forever grateful to this day; however, I narrowly escaped its wrath. For had I not, I dread to imagine what might’ve become of me.
The horror all began when twilight ceased. The wind that shook all of the surrounding brush conveyed a disquieting whistle. The Mountain Maples, which were scattered along the underbrush bordering the path, shuddered in the gale. The towering Red Pines rocked back and forth, knocking against one another while the prickly limbs of the Black Spruces swayed in the gusts. The sliver of moon was barely luminous, making my environment all the more darkened.
The mountainous landscape of Vermont can be a beautiful place; alas, during the hours yonder dusk, it can also be a wilderness full of preternatural menace. While the mare I rode upon trotted forward, we both heard a blaring howl. I say ‘we’ because even she paused a moment, seeming a little fearful. Now, being a habitual traveler that has encountered many different wild animals, I can easily distinguish a wolf’s cry from something unnatural. What I heard was not the wail of a wolf, but a wail of something borne from pure malevolence.
I continued on, and my unease endured. There were many more unearthly whines and bellows resounding over the hillsides and hollows. What disconcerted my soul most about the sounds was that they seemed closer every time. I was convinced that whatever it was had been watching me. Hurrying onwards, into the gloom, I began hearing the movements of hordes of feet behind me. Dismayed, I turned my head to see a shadowy monstrosity dart into the woodlands.
It was all too sudden for me to discern what it was, but the brief sight of the creature reminded me of an enormous spider. By now, my mare dashed deeper into the forest, for she knew what was stalking us. All at once, we again heard the ear-piercing shriek. The abhorrent nightstalker advanced closer. Riding below the overhanging tree limbs, I heard branches snap, leaves crunch, bushes rustle: the thing was, by now, on the hunt.
We galloped through many ravines while being chased by that arachnid. Unfortunately, we were only amidst the beginning of the stretch of foothills. The creature ravaged everything in its path. However, in a few more seconds, it disappeared altogether. I was slightly relieved, but certain that it would return. As we found our way back to the main path, we made haste farther on. Shortly after this, the thin crescent moon was swallowed by the clouds.
I could scarcely perceive which way was which, so I quickly lit my lamp to regain my bearings. For a while, the woods were very hushed. My mare carefully trod farther into the hillocks. Moments later, we heard the dreaded scuttling of the abomination. Hastening my horse, I held on tightly while she galloped through the thickets. And yet again, the monstrous spider crawled after us, crashing through the underbrush. By now, I knew we were almost to the end of the woods, for I noticed the trees were thinning out. However, the horrid thing would give up to no end. I turned my head, for only a moment, to finally get a glimpse of the hideous being: it was coated in a dark, grayish fur with five small, black, lustrous eyes.
Its eight legs thudded against the pathway. While it stared upon me, it unleashed a scream. My heart stopped and my eyes widened. I stared into its eyes and I knew its only desire was to feast on my flesh and bones. Thankfully, however, my mare continued at a full gallop and we rushed through the last bit of overgrowth. On to the meadows, we plunged far away from that odious valley of terror. And nevermore do I travel through those pernicious lands. For I know indeed what lingers in the dale’s darkness: the spider of the foothills.
© Spookinite.com - All text, music and photographs by Benjamin A. Fouché | Music: "The Spidress's Fall" by Morbus Tenebris