It was a frigid night with the January air biting at the faces of anyone daring to venture outside. The new year had just rolled in, and a select few Northerners would celebrate by braving the elements in order to go out to one of Minnesota's many lakes to launch off fireworks; far from the eyes of local law enforcement. One such example was a group of high schoolers from the town of Tofte about fifty minutes East. They rented a cabin on Silver Island Lake, just far enough removed to where there were not many other visitors to the lake; so they were breaking a few more laws than just launching off illegal fireworks. The time was late, and most of the group had since passed out from too much drinking. Several of the members however were still raring to go and set off more fireworks.
"Come on! Grab one of the big ones!" Calvin shouted to Greg from his spot out on the ice, just off shore. He took a swig from a half empty bottle of cheap whiskey. "NO! The BIG one, dumbass! Yeah! That one."
"Then you grab 'em, if you are gonna be so damn picky!" Greg called back, sounding agitated as he carried an armful of fireworks from the large van that the teens drove up in. Huffing as he walked, his jacket was unzipped and a bit of sweat was on his forehead despite the temperature being slightly above zero. He passed by the girls who were sitting on a nearby dock on his way out on to the ice, and they took their own turn teasing him about having bad taste. Grumbling, Greg got to a good spot and set up the fireworks, and with the fuse sparking, retreated to a safe spot near the others at the dock. In a jet of fire, the explosive rocketed skyward with a scream, and blew up in a brilliant shower of sparks at its zenith.
"You jackass! Why'd you pick one of the loud ones!?" Melissa shouted at him as she covered one of her ears. Greg swore at them as he went and grabbed one of the other fireworks that he had brought down on the last trip to the van. Grumbling louder, Greg set up the new firework, and once again retreated to the dock.
The rocket and its accompanying scream shot off and exploded, eliciting yet another curse from Melissa. "Stop picking ones like that!"
"I swear that wasn't a screamer, so get off my case Missy!" Greg snapped back.
"And didn't it sound a little off anyway?" Casey chimed in. Shortly there after another scream sounded out, only this time there was no rocket flying into the air. The teens looked between each other and the direction the scream came from with a dumbfounded look on their faces.
"I think It came from over there!" Calvin shouted, pointing at the other side of the lake, just a couple hundred yards away. He took another swig from his bottle before pushing himself up off the ice with a grunt and a bit of struggle. Looking just a bit less than stable on the ice in his current state, he looked at the others before looking back to the other side of the lake.
"Anybody got a flashlight?" he asked, starting to walk toward the other side of the lake "Let's go check it out!"
"I mean, yeah, I got a light," Greg said reluctantly as he pulled out a small flashlight he had used to pick fireworks. "But dude, I seriously don't think its a good idea. What if it's something bad?"
"Oh don't be such a pussy, Greg," Melissa said as she moved to join Calvin. "It'll be fun, just like one of those horror movies. And since Tyler is asleep in the cabin, we don't have to worry about the black guy dying first."
"You know that just means it could be any of us in that case, right?" Greg replied as he joined the others, though he clearly looked like he was ready to split and head back to the cabin.
"Hey man, don't worry about it. There's four of us so that means we got the advantage, right?" Calvin said, reaching an arm over Greg's shoulder and pulling him close in a rough squeeze. He wispered to the other teen with a bit of a devilish grin on his face
"Besides, you won't get any tonight unless you show off to the ladies, yannow?" He chuckled deviously and let Greg go, giving him a friendly punch on the shoulder and grabbing the flashlight, turning it on so he had a clearer view of what was ahead as the group crunched their way closer to the shoreline.
Greg was once again grumbling, but piped down as he fell in line and waved Casey to come along. Melissa was dexterously making her way across the ice ahead of the others, making a show of some skill with her balance. The wind picked up slightly as they passed across the open ice, but died down again soon enough as they got close to the other side. Upward from the frozen bank was another cabin, sitting about a hundred feet inland under a dense copse of spruce and ash trees. Only a couple shafts of moonlight made it through to the cabin between the naked, closely grown branches of the ash trees. As far as the group could tell, nothing seemed overly out of the ordinary, save for the fact that it appeared the front door sat slightly ajar.
"Well, Cal? Doesn't look like there are any bodies out on the lawn, wanna break into the cabin, too?" Greg whispered to the larger teen as they reached the shore. Melissa was already moving up towards the treeline.
Calvin surveyed the situation, which was slightly askew due to the fact that he had imbibed quite a lot of alcohol, but, his impaired mind found nothing terribly amiss, and, Melissa was already making her way closer.
"We might as well go check it out. If we're lucky, we might become heroes!" he chuckled, following after his Girlfriend dutifully. making his way up onto the shore and coming under the cover of the leafless canopy.
Once Melissa got to the front steps that led up to the door, she spun on her heel and gave Calvin a smile before bumping against him lightly. "Hey Greg, you go open the door, it'd be pretty cool of you, right Casey?" she called out, giving Greg a wink, and then turning and giving Calvin a wink with entirely different implications.
"If it'll get you guys off my back, fine," Greg said back, though he seemed to straighten and square his shoulders subconsciously as he thought of looking good in front of Casey. He made his way up confidently to the half opened door, but just as he was about to reach for the handle to open it more the sound of running footsteps could be heard. From behind him, Melissa rushed forward and slammed into Greg's back, propelling him through the opening with a crash. Melissa was doubled over laughing as she stood just outside.
"Sorry, figured I'd speed things along," she said as her laughter died down. Greg groaned out a curse directed at her as he regained his senses. The inside of the cabin was ink black, and his eyes were taking their time adjusting to what little light there was. Looking around, he was having a hard time seeing anything, much less some axe murderer. When his eyes finally did adjust, he thought he could make someone out. Only thing was that what he was seeing was supporting what he was warning the others about on the way over. Just at the edge of the light allowed in by the now open door was a hand; only the hand was laying at a sickening angle relative to the rest of the arm it was attached to, and he thought he could make out blood.
Greg was stammering, unable to get words out as he began to crawl backwards towards the door, unable to take his eyes off the body.
"What are you stammering about ya big baby?" Calvin asked Greg, pushing the door open as he looked back at Melissa, Giving her a bit of a suggestive wink in response to her earlier wink. He shined the flashlight upward, as he finally looked into the cabin, just in time for the scene before them to become fully illuminated. It truly was something straight from a horror movie, with the body that Greg started to make out being just the tip of the gory ice berg. There was not one, but two bodies in the room, as suggested by the two screams. It looked as though a wild animal had gotten in. The body closest to the door, a man, had a savage gash across his throat and chest, and was laying in a position that suggested he was attacked soon after opening the door to the cabin. The second body, a woman, was in much worse condition, looking like powerful jaws had torn into her back; evidenced by her laying in in a doorway that led to the kitchen, and presumably a back door out.
It was a stomach churning scene, and Greg expelled the contents he had drank earlier that night. He couldn't bear to look, but for Calvin and Melissa looking in it got worse. From the doorway the woman was laying in, a bony, clawed hand reached around a grabbed the frame; blood looked to be dripping from its digits. Alerted by the noise, the cause of the carnage had come back to the entrance after hunting around inside for more victims. As the rest of its form came into the light, its form was truly terrifying. Its head was an old, cracked coyote skull, with bit of muscle still connecting the jaw to the skull, and a thick mane of dark gray hair poured down its back; more blood was dripping from its jaws, matting the mane. From inside the empty socket where an eye should have been, there was just a distant, unnerving light that cast around looking for the source. It settled on Calvin, and the hollow eye would feel like it was burrowing into the back of the teen's mind.
Calvin's demeanor changed in an instant. it went from Headstrong and Cocksure, to completely beyond his wits as if he had never felt brave a second in his life. He began shaking, trembling in terror, and then he dropped the flashlight, unable to keep a hold on it. Before he knew what was going on, the football star found himself screaming, turning tail and running back out the door, knocking into what felt like people, but he couldn't tell, his vision was a blur, mind in a haze as he ran for his life and could neither care nor think of anyone else.
As the flashlight fell to the ground, it bounced a number of times, each bounce sending the room back into darkness before illuminating it again. Each frame of vision showed the beast emerging from the doorway, which it easily filled. It looked to completely block the eight foot by four foot opening, its clawed hand tearing the frame it had grasped and a clawed foot began to crush the woman on the ground. Greg, who finally found the ability to move, followed after Calvin, and having enough sense to pull the door shut behind him as he left.
Melissa on the other hand was at a disadvantage, while she wanted to run as well, she was stunned by Calvin bowling her over, and just as she tried to get up Greg tripped over her as well. As he ran, he didn't know what he tripped over, but quickly grabbed Casey who hadn't seen the beast and started pulling her back across the lake.
Regaining the breath that had been knocked out of her, Melissa scrambled to get up, and in doing so looked back at the cabin. The Thing was standing in the window, and locked eyes with her. She felt cold; colder than any Minnesotan winter. She could feel a tear begin to run down her cheek as she tried not to fall while running onto the ice, but her panic had taken away the grace that she had when first crossing the lake; she fell, hard. While pulling herself back up, moving at a half crawl, she got another glimpse of the cabin, but she couldn't see the monster.