Many years had passed since Nick ventured into the Black Hills. It wasn’t from a lack of adventure but from a sheer sense of terror. What he had seen that night still haunted him. Even he wasn’t sure what it was, but in the back of his mind, he knew it was real. The dreams kept him up at night and the scenery of pine trees everywhere he looked reminded him of that day.
Nick had many friends that ventured up the canyon every week. Everyone asked him to join but he never took a single one of them up on the offer. The canyon that held the horror that no one knew about. Behind that waterfall stood something so terrifying even Nick couldn’t explain it. He told so many people that it almost became a crying wolf scenario. Roughlock Falls is where reality became a nightmare. This beautiful tourist trap, bringing thousands and thousands of people, showing natures beauty also held….”him”.
“Him”, doesn’t have a name. “Him”, isn’t even real to most of the population. It’s a bad scifi movie or even a worse, a damn sequel. Nick understood he’d have to go back. There wasn’t an option. He’d have to face his demon and expose “him” to all of the doubters and critics. How would he coax the beast out? What had he done last time that brought it to “him”. Nick pondered for many nights why the creature presented itself at the falls. He remembered he got out of his car and walked down the path.The same routine any ordinary tourist or local had done for years on end. Why him?
Nick got into his beat up 1989 Honda Civic and drove to Spearfish. Realizing on his way there this might be the end. He thought to himself, “Crap, what if I die and no one ever knows?”. If this was the end for him, he was coming to terms with it rather harshly. He didn’t want to die and who’s to blame him for feeling that way. He pulled into Spearfish Canyon and stopped in a parking lot, not even a mile in. Nick sat there for what seemed like a lifetime to him, but in reality had only been ten minutes. Going over his first encounter with the beast and thinking what he could do different this time. He had somewhere around ten miles to come to terms with what he was about to do. Bring “him” out of hiding.
Nick pulled out of the parking lot and headed up the canyon, every turn brought a memory, every straight away brought a new idea. He began thinking what was in his car. What weapon he had that could defend himself against the creature. In case of an attack, all he could find was a half used bottle of Axe spray and a frolfing disc, both completely useless to him. The only proof he had from the first encounter was the scar on his calf. A vivid reminder of what was awaiting him. Where “he” had bit Nick and tried to bring him back to his cave. His cave….hidden behind the waterfall.
Nick made the turn off onto Roughlock Falls Road. It was about a mile stretch of dirt road until he would get to the parking lot of the falls. In his mind everything would be less creepy if it wasn’t in the heart of the Black Hills and if this pot holed road would happen to be paved. Every minute, deeper into the hills seemed to get darker and a fear came over him, making all his hairs stand up.
As he drove, he could hear the creek flowing off to his left, getting stronger as he drove closer. Finally, he drew upon the parking lot. He saw two other cars parked and night was looming in. As he got out of his car he grabbed the Axe spray bottle, not because he thought it could be useful, but because he figured better to have something than to have nothing. He walked across the bridge at the top of the falls and peaked over the ledge. Looking straight down into the crashing water, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Possibly red blood flowing down the creek, scratches along the walls or hair pieces stuck in the shrubs around the opening of the falls. Nick walked back across the bridge and down the path to the bottom of the falls. As he was walking he passed one couple that was heading back up the path, hoping to himself, it was to their car and driving out of there as fast as possible.
Once he got to the bottom he began to cross the small wooden bridge that went over the stream where he could walk up to the heart of the falls. He stopped in the middle of the bridge and looked around. Nick was scouting for escape routes. He saw a dirt path heading down the stream. He thought to himself, “Where does that path lead to? Is it a good escape or is it another trap?” The path wasn’t there the last time he was here. He walked down the path, roughly one hundred yards to see where it went. As far as he could tell it continued on as far as the eye could see, most likely back to the lodge. He obviously wasn’t sure but had a good idea this was a safe route if needed.
Nick found his way back up the path toward the bridge, where he headed towards the base of the waterfall. He passed the second couple and smiled as he walked by. Smiling out of a sense of obligation, not because he was happy to be there. He knew why he was there and shortly what was to become of himself. He put his hand along the wooden rail that went up the path towards the waterfall. Step after step was like trying to walk through quicksand. Feeling himself being dragged down as he got closer. Finally, he reached the base, looking at the water smash against the rocks, the mist floated into the air and the rushing stream led down past his feet. Nick always loved water. He smiled at the thought of it and then he heard a howl.
Once Nick heard the howl he became completely self aware. It was almost a “tunnel vision-like” feeling that fell over him. The water rushing beside him, tree branches blowing in the wind, creaking wood on the bridge and small insignificant fish popping out of the water. Standing at the end of the walkway with the waterfall, or better put, “his” home, nearly fifty feet in front of him.
Nick closed his eyes, took a deep breath and visualized himself ending his nightmare. The haunting that has kept him up for countless nights. He opened his eyes back up and leaped over the wooden guard rail. Splashing down into the ice cold water and making a B-line for the mouth of the cave. Each step giving himself confidence knowing there was no turning back now. Standing at the opening, water crashing down and splashing everywhere around him, he reached into his pocket hoping there was something he could use. Sitting in the bottom of his pocket his finger tips touched a lighter. A lighter to anyone would seem utterly useless surrounded by water. A lighter combined with an Axe bottle…he knew he had a weapon.
Grabbing the lighter and sparking a flame he grabbed the Axe bottle and sprayed. A burst of fire came scorching out, erupting light everywhere and two red eyes lit up from behind the waterfall. Nick jumped back as the Werewolf came bursting out behind the falls. Nick fell back into the water looking straight up into the cold, red and heartless eyes of the creature. The Werewolf’s heavy breath blew the saliva off his dagger-like fangs, as he growled ferociously at Nick. Laying in the water, he reached his hand down into the dirt-like sand, threw it up into the werewolf’s eyes and darted off down the stream.
Nick ducked under the wooden bridge, behind a post, waiting to hear the Werewolf coming down the water. He began to hear splashing around him. A giant thud struck above Nick’s head. The Werewolf was standing directly above him on top of the bridge. He could hear him sniffing for his scent and waiting for Nick to make a single peep. Nick looked up through the crack in the bridge and saw one of his feet. He lit his lighter and saw the Werewolf move his foot and look down directly at him through the crack in the wood. Nick let loose another burst from the bottle and singed the wolf’s face and set the bridge ablaze. A vicious howl lit up the entire canyon. Echoing off the walls and reaching all the way inside of Nick. He jumped out from underneath the bridge and headed down the dirt path he had scouted earlier.
Running as fast as he possibly could, he stopped for a brief second, looked back and saw the Werewolf dive into the stream to put the flame out that was engulfing his face. A split second later, the Werewolf looked up and directly into Nick’s eyes. The battle was far from over…
As Nick was stepping out from behind the waterfall to face, what he thought was his impending doom, he saw a glass bottle. He grabbed it and smashed it against a rock. The Werewolf snarled and howled at him. Nick only had one spray left from his can and knew he had to use it at just the right moment. Timing has to be everything, he thought to himself. He stepped back into the cave. Taking a deep breath, giving a big Hail Mary, he began running as fast as he could and burst through the waterfall. Jumping as high as he could in the air, he saw the Werewolf leap up towards him. With the broken bottle in his hand he collided with the wolf and cut him on the shoulder. The wolf let out a howl in pain. The Werewolf exacted his revenge and slashed at Nick’s back, tearing open the back of his shirt.
Nick crashed into the water and lost his glass bottle. Splashing everywhere and looking for it in the water, he knew this was it, if he couldn’t find it, there was no way he could survive. He looked back to see where the wolf was, but it was so dark it was hard to tell. He started running down the river and heard a clink. His bottle was floating down the stream hitting every rock along the way. He chased after it splashing through the water, making it abundantly clear where he was. It was only a matter of time before the wolf found him. Nick finally found the bottle. As soon as he grabbed it he was tackled from the side. The Werewolf sunk his fangs into Nick’s arm and threw him out of the water and against a tree. Nick was still holding the bottle in his hand, but he was groggy from being slammed into the tree.
He sat up and tried to focus his eyes. Gathering his thoughts he focused in on the the wolf jumping out of the water and directly at him. Nick waited until the wolf’s claws were directly in front of him and then pushed himself out of the way.
The Werewolf smashed into the tree and hit the dirt. Nick stood up and was actually looking down at the wolf this time. He grabbed his can and lighter and threw out a flame directly at the wolf. The flame hit the wolf from top to bottom. He started backing up into the bushes. Slashing left and right trying to put the fire out that was engulfing him. The fire began to catch the shrubs and trees all around them, both on fire. This was the time. Nick had to kill the wolf now. He took the bottle that was in his hand and lunged at the wolf. Stabbing the wolf directly in the heart, he howled, throwing Nick off into the water.
Nick was floating down the stream. The trees that surrounded the wolf were covered in fire. He saw the wolf fall back into the flames and knew he had conquered his demon. The demon, the thing, the creature that had haunted him for so many years. It was finally over. He continued floating looking at the stars and smiling. Knowing deep down that everything was going to be all right. Nick looked at his arm, which seemed to be hurting more than it should, and saw the bite mark turning black. He felt the wolf venom begin to surge through his veins….he looked back towards the sky and his eyes turned yellow.