On All Hallows Eve the Matheson family went camping. After assembling the tent, they left to go on a hike. They were a few hours from their campsite and a storm suddenly blew up. The wind and driving rain enveloped them in a harmattan of disorientation.
Trying to retrace steps back to the campsite became a fool’s errand. They became lost in the weald. Since they had convinced themselves that they were experienced hikers, they knew once they were lost it was best to stay put— settle down and wait for rescue. It was the smart move to make.
Blackness fell. As they were preparing for slumber, they unexpectedly heard a noise coming from the trees.
“Who’s there?” Mom queried. Her question went without an answer…
More rustling could be heard. But once more, when they called out, nothing.
“Maybe it’s someone who can’t speak,” suggested the daughter. So, Mr. Matheson bayed, “Is there anyone there? Just whistle once for no and twice for yes, OK?”
There were two whistles.
“You were right,” dad said to his daughter. “There is someone out there…”
“Are you here to rescue us?” shouted the mom.
Two whistles are heard.
“Are you lost like us?”
“Do you live out here in the woods…?”
“Let me try,” said the son. “Are you a boy?”
“Are you a girl?”
They all look at each other expecting an answer, an explanation of some sort.
Thinking the person within the black was being funny, the son questioned: “Are you human…?”
Fear replaced blackness as the new scent.
“Are you a-a-alone?” mom cried out.
All the color drained from the Matheson’s faces. The next question was asked carefully—as if the answer was already known. Besides, safety at day’s end could be found within cowardice, could it not?
“How m-m-many of you are there?”
Hundreds maybe thousands of whistles could be heard bouncing off the trees, out from the dark. From everywhere, from nowhere. Silence…it fell upon the whole woods thereafter.