Dark Sleep is a scary story about three girls who spend the weekend in a cabin in the woods and learn about a creepy urban legend.
Samantha had two best friends named Jenny and Amber. Her father was taking her on a weekend vacation and she invited them to come along. Her family owned a cabin in the woods and on Friday evening, her father drove the girls up there.
“See that lake?” asked Samantha when they arrived. “That’s Lake Samantha. My dad grew up here. He loved it so much, he named me after it.”
That night, after they had unpacked their things, the three girls sat around and thought of ways to amuse themselves.
“Does anyone have any spooky stories?” asked Amber.
“I have one,” said Jenny. “It’s a true story, too. It happened to a friend of a friend mine. She was babysitting these two little kids one night. She’s sitting in the dark by herself watching TV and the phone rings. She goes over and answers it and hears a voice on the other end breathing really heavy and it says, Have you checked on the children?”
“Jenny, come on!” Amber interrupted. “Everybody’s heard that one. That’s the lamest scary story ever! Does anyone else have a story? One that’s actually true?”
“I know one,” Samantha said. “About 10 minutes hike from here, there’s an old broken-down house. We passed it on the way up here. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, tucked away off a narrow little side-road. A long time ago, a man lived there. His family were really wealthy and they owned hundreds of acres of land around here.
This man met a simple country girl from a simple country town and they fell in love. His family wasn’t too happy about it. They didn’t think the girl was good enough for him, but he ignored them. He was an independent type of guy and he went off and built a little house on a chunk of their land, out in the middle of nowhere.
He married this girl and everything was wonderful. They had a daughter and eventually they had a son. This is where the story starts to go bad. Their son was sick. Not physically but mentally. He was sick in the head. He wasn’t mentally disabled or anything. He was just a little off.
By the time he was nine years old, he became too much for his parents to handle, throwing temper tantrums, erratic sleeping patterns, disappearing into the woods and hiding, that kind of thing.
Not knowing what to do about his son, the man turned to his family for help.
His parents had the boy taken away. They sent him to a place deep in the woods. It wasn’t an insane asylum, but it catered to people with special needs, if you know what I mean. His parents thought it was for the best.
Over time, the family got used to not having him around. They gradually stopped visiting him. They functioned as if they had never even had a son and everything went back to being wonderful again.
Eight years later, the boy, who was about 16 or 17 at this time, managed to escape from the hospital. The staff did a search, but he was nowhere to be found. His family was notified and they were devastated. They were worried for his safety. He had been alone in the wilderness for weeks and he was probably dead.
But the boy wasn’t dead. One night, he found his way back home. He crept into his house and, one by one, he slaughtered his entire family… His father, his mother, his sister… All of them chopped to pieces.
With the blood still dripping from his axe, he disappeared into the woods. When the grisly remains of his family were discovered a few days later, the townsfolk in the surrounding area were horrified. The police tried to find the boy, but it was no use. To this day he has never been found.
Since then, every year, around harvest time, people have started to go missing. And in their place, a corn-husk doll would be left behind. Legend has it, the boy still roams the woods around these parts.
The surrounding towns have bought into the legend and they hang dolls by their front door for protection. They say if the boy sees a doll hanging from the door of a house, he will pass that house by and leave the residents in peace. Nobody knows if it’s true or not, but there’s a doll hanging from the door of every house in town.
“That’s so creepy!” cried Jenny. “Do you have a doll on your door?”
“Of course,” said Samantha. “My Dad says he doesn’t believe the legend, but we hung one just in case.”
“I think I just soiled my underwear,” said Amber.
“Apparently, the house is still haunted by the ghosts of his murdered family, and if you go up there late at night, you can hear the whole thing take place all over again.”
“Do you think we could go up there?” Jenny asked.
“Sure,” said Samantha. “But tomorrow, during daylight. There’s no sense in tempting fate.”
That night, the girls slept in the same room and huddled together, trying to pretend they weren’t frightened by the story and expecting to hear something tapping at the window at any moment.
The next morning, Samantha’s father made them all a big breakfast and they went down to the lake for a swim. Around noon, they decided to make the trip up to the old haunted house.
When they got there, the girls sensed an eerie presence in the old, dilapidated place. It was enough to make their skin crawl. They explored the ruins of the old house, peeking into corners and sifting through the rubble.
After a while, Samantha spotted something half-buried in the dirt. It was some sort of book. She dug it out and dusted it off. The girls gathered around as she opened it and began to flip through the yellowed pages.
“It’s like a diary or something,” said Samantha.
“Maybe it’s his diary…” Jenny whispered.
“Whose diary?” asked Amber.
“The guy…” said Jenny. “The guy that killed his family.”
Samantha read the diary aloud as the others listened.
“There’s a dedication inscribed inside the cover,” she said. “It reads: To my family who I love and cherish and who will always be with me.”
“September 5th, 1987. It has been hard alone. All they had to do was talk to me. They could not talk to me. I hear their voices late at night sometimes. I hear their screams. It is cold and dark. I needed love. They did not love me. The medicines are gone. I am free, free from all of them. If they could not love me, they had to go. Dark sleep for everyone. I hear their voices still. Always screaming.”
“December 4th, 1987. They have stopped looking for me. It is OK for me now. I live in the forest. I chase down the animals and put them in dark sleep. Just like Mom and Dad and Sis. I visit my old house at night. I listen to the voices. At least they talk to me now.”
“October 3rd, 1995. I left the forest years ago and moved to a small town nearby. Nobody recognises me. No one knows who I am. I hear people telling my story sometimes. It makes me laugh inside. They all fear me. I still come to the forest sometimes. I spend the nights in my old house. Mom and Dad still talk to me. They say they are very proud of me.”
“November 2nd, 1998. Life has been good. I found a job. I bought a house. I met a girl. She is very quiet and pretty. Sometimes I bring her to the forest. She likes it. I let Mom and Dad see her. They like her.”
“July 1st, 2000. Today is a great day. I have a baby now. I am so happy. Mom and Dad are grandparents now. My wife isn’t doing so well, though. It was hard for her. She might not make it. Maybe she will go in dark sleep. I am happy now.”
“August, 13th 2010. I am so proud of my child. She is just like me. Except she is much smarter. She has no problems. She doesn’t hear the voices. She goes to school and has lots of friends. Not like me. Sometimes I take her to the woods. I love her so much. I named her after the lake. Samantha.”
For a few moments after Samantha stopped reading, there was a stunned silence.
“What the heck?” cried Jenny.
“Samantha, is this some sort of joke?” Amber asked nervously. “It isn’t funny.”
“This… This can’t be true!” Samantha whispered. “It couldn’t possibly be…”
Just then, they heard the sound of twigs snapping behind them. When they turned around, they saw Samantha’s father standing there. There was a strange, pained look on his face and he was holding an axe in his hands.
“You weren’t supposed to find that,” he muttered. “There’s no other way now. Dark sleep for everyone.”
“No Dad!” Samantha screamed. “NO! NO! NO! NO!”
When Samantha’s father had finished chopping up the bodies, he put the pieces in large plastic bags and buried them deep in the woods… so deep that no one would ever find them… Now they could be together forever…
“I’ll watch over you now,” he mumbled as he patted down the earth with his shovel. “You may not understand now, but you will in time. This is the only way for us to be together. Dark sleep forever, we all stay together.”