There’s Something Strange Lurking In The Marsh Behind Our Houses, And Now Nothing Will Ever Be The Same

I don’t know who cried first. We must have started all at once, and soon we couldn’t control our hysterical sobbing. It was like all the shock and horror we’d been holding in suddenly came gushing out. The nurses had to come in and sedate us, it was that bad.

When I woke up, I was back in my own hospital room, alone.

“Mom,” I cried, “Mom, where are you?!”

A nurse came in. She must have heard me from the hallway.

“Where’s my mom?” I asked.

“I believe she had to go to work,” said the nurse. “I can call her to check if you want.”

“No, it’s fine,” I said. Of course, my mom still had work. Life had to go on. It’s not like the world stopped turning just because someone ripped my leg off.

“Can I get you anything?” asked the nurse, still trying to be helpful. “Some water maybe?”

“No thanks,” I said. There was already a water bottle on the nightstand, but I don’t think she noticed. Then I remembered why I’d been unconscious in the first place. “How’s Brittany doing?” I asked. I almost said, ‘Is she okay?’ but realized what stupid question that would be.

The nurse looked puzzled. “Brittany… ?”

There were probably multiple Brittanies and/or Britneys in the hospital.

“Brittany Smyth,” I clarified. “She’s here, isn’t she? I literally just saw her get here in an ambulance.”

The nurse looked unsure. “Well, the hospital has a confidentiality policy, so I don’t think we can disclose that information…”

“I don’t give a fuck,” I yelled. “I just want to know if she’s okay!”

Maybe I was overreacting, but I think I had a right to. For all I knew, one of my best friends could’ve been dead.

At least the nurse seemed to understand.

“If her parents are here, I’ll see if I can get them to consent,” she said.

“Thank you,” I told her. “For real.” I took a deep breath, finally able to relax again.

The nurse smiled briefly and went back to her rounds.

Sure enough, Brittany’s parents were cool about it, and the nurse came back later with Brittany’s mom.
“Hey, Nina,” said Mrs. Smyth. She tried to smile, but it looked like her face was strained from hours of crying. I didn’t blame her. She tried not to cry again as she told me what happened, but the tears couldn’t be stopped.

I wasn’t surprised to hear the same thing had happened to Brittany, except she’d woken up with both her face and hair missing. Whoever did this to her, they also cut her scalp off. Tears started pouring from my eyes again, and my face was too numb to move.

“Is she going to be okay?” I could barely get the words out.

“She’s in surgery now,” Brittany’s mom went on. “All we can do is pray.”

That didn’t sound like it would help at all, but I didn’t say that out loud.

Instead, we talked for a while, mostly about school and track, anything to keep things at least somewhat normal. After a while, Brittany’s mom went back to see if there were any updates with the surgery. She said she’d keep me posted.

For the next three days, I didn’t see Ashleigh or Jenna. We ate our meals in our own rooms, and we didn’t meet in the day room again – probably because we were afraid it would trigger another episode. All those emotions were getting to be too much for us.

Then, finally, Brittany’s mom visited my room one morning to update me on what was going on. Brittany had already been through two surgeries, mostly to cleanse the wounds and get rid of infected tissue. Like me, she’d been having issues with sepsis, and they nearly lost her a few times. I couldn’t even imagine how her mom must have felt through all that. All I could do was nod my head and listen.

“Will the doctors be able to…?” I started to ask, but I didn’t want to say fix her face.

“After she heals up a bit, we’ll get a consult from a plastic surgeon,” said Brittany’s mom. She made a painful sound, almost like a laugh. “It’s kind of funny, Brit used to joke about wanting plastic surgery. She’d say, ‘Oh, my nose isn’t straight enough, I need a nose job,’ or, ‘I should get lip filler’ like what’s-her-face on TV. Of course, I always told her, ‘Honey, you don’t need it, you’re beautiful.’”

I nodded in agreement. Her mom wasn’t just saying that because moms are supposed to. Brittany was one of the prettiest girls in our whole school. I guess if Brittany wasn’t safe from the negative self-talk, then none of us are.

Still, you couldn’t ignore the irony. Even though plastic surgery is supposedly every girl’s dream, I bet she never would’ve wanted to end up getting it like this.

“Anyway,” said Brittany’s mom, “she’s healing up pretty well. The doctors said you can see her if you want.”

“Of course,” I said.

Brittany’s mom walked me down to her room while a nurse pushed me in a wheelchair again. Ashleigh and Jenna were there too. Since Ashleigh was just missing an arm, she could walk on her own, as long as she wore those ugly no-slip hospital socks. Jenna and I still had to park our sad-looking new rides at the foot of the bed.

When we got a look at Brittany, I think we all wanted to cry again. I know I did. By now, it was too late to feel any emotion, though. We were way past that, totally numb. All we could do was try not to stare too rudely.

She had a white, mask-like bandage over her whole face, and more bandages wrapped all the way around her head. There were patches of cotton-y cloth where her ears used to be, and a sinking space between her eyes that should’ve been her nose. And of course her long blonde hair, which used to reach all the way down her back, was gone.

The worst parts, though, were her eyes and mouth. Her eyelids were missing, and her eyes just stared forward, looking permanently terrified. There was a mouth-hole in the mask too, and her lips were gone. We could see her teeth all the way to the gums.

“Hey, guys,” said Brittany. She could barely talk. I was surprised she could even speak at all.

“Hey,” we all said weakly.

A nurse sat quietly at the bedside with an eye-dropper, wetting Brittany’s eyes with artificial tears every few seconds.

“I can’t really talk a lot,” she struggled to say through her open mouth. “It hurts.”

“It’s okay,” we took turns saying. “Don’t worry. We understand.”

“Can you even hear?” asked Ashleigh.

“Not good,” Brittany said, straining. She looked at her mom and made a writing motion with her hand.

“Of course,” her mom said, and grabbed a notepad and pen out of her purse. She handed them to Brittany.

At least her hands were unhurt, so Brittany had no problem writing her words down instead. When she was done, she tore the single page off and handed it to her mom.

Where’s my phone?” Brittany’s mom read out loud. “It would be easier if I could just text everyone.” She looked at the nurse. “Is it okay if she uses her phone? Unless the signals might interfere with the other machines, or whatever …”

“No, it should be fine,” said the nurse.

Oh yeah, I remembered. Our phones. They still exist. I’d managed to go three days without barely even looking at it (crazy, I know!), mostly because the hospital reception sucks. All my apps kept crashing, even Facebook, either that or they’d take forever to load, so it almost wasn’t worth the trouble. Besides, I was on so many painkillers that I slept like 80% of the time, and the great thing about being unconscious is that you can’t actually get bored.

“Your phone’s in your purse, isn’t it?” Brittany’s mom asked her.

Brittany nodded.

Her mom reached into her purse and dug around for it. Normally, that would be a girl’s worst nightmare, but that was before our lives had turned out worse than any nightmare could ever be. Plus, Brittany was a total straight-A, straight-edge honor student. She had nothing to hide. She also must have kept her purse pretty well organized, because it only took a few seconds for her mom to find the phone.

“Here, sweetie,” she said, handing it to Brittany.

Then the nurse said quietly, “Just so you know, I’m going to have to change the bandages soon. Now, you guys can stay if you want…”

Brittany quickly shook her head, and I understood why. I love my friends, but wouldn’t want them seeing my face without any skin either. Instead, we all went back to our own rooms.

Not long afterward, Brittany added us all to one group chat. We texted back and forth about a lot of the same things I’d talked about with Jenna and Ashleigh – mostly how insanely scary this whole thing was, and how we still had no idea who or what was doing this to us. Brittany was just as confused and terrified as we were when this all started. I didn’t even want to mention the lights – but I just had a weird feeling that I should, so I did.

Sure enough, Brittany knew exactly what I was talking about. She texted back right away.

Brittany: Yeah that’s methane.

Ashleigh: u mean like a meth lab??? Lmao

Brittany: Haha, no. It’s some kind of chemical reaction that rises out of swamps or whatever.

Jenna: wow someone was paying attention in science class. Lol nerd😝

Brittany: Whatevs, bitch, you just wait til I get into an ivy league school and you don’t.

Ashleigh: bahahahaha yah try getting into harverd with no face 😂😂😂

Brittany: Fuck yeah, bruh, I’m ‘disabled’ now, I’ll get special treatment.

Jenna: lololololooll 😅😅😅

Me: guys! Focus!! Srsly

Ashleigh: lol sry

Me: @Brittany did you see the lights or not???

( . . . )

Brittany: Yeah

( . . . )

Brittany: But if I tell you what all I saw, you guys won’t believe me.

Me: just tell us, no one’s judging.

( . . . )

Brittany: Fine.

( . . . )
( . . . )

Brittany: I woke up in the middle of the night. At least, I THINK that’s what happened. My eyes opened, but not the way they’re supposed to. I was standing in the kitchen, and that light over the oven vent was on, but other than that, it was dark. The clock on the oven said 3-something, but my eyes were watering, so it looked blurry. But it gets weirder …

My eyelids weren’t opening on their own. They were PEELED DOWN. Something was peeling my skin off my face!! It slowly came off like a mask, except underneath my skin it was all bloody and veiny, and … yeah. Gross, I know. You’re probably going to say it was a dream, and normally I’d believe you.

Except, you can’t feel anything in a dream. I FUCKING FELT IT. I felt my skin being ripped away from my muscle, AND IT FELT LIKE HELL!!! No person should ever have to feel pain like that, I thought I was going to die! I WANTED to die! And I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t even move. Tears and blood were streaming right down my eyes because I had no eyelids to keep them in. And when the skin came off all the way, my own hands held it in front of me. MY OWN FUCKING HANDS, AND I WASN’T EVEN MOVING THEM, AND THEY WERE PULLING MY FACE OFF!!

Then my legs moved on their own too. They walked to the kitchen counter, and I felt them stepping in my own warm blood on the floor. I felt everything, but I had no control over my own body.

And yeah .. my hands put my face down on the kitchen counter, like that was totally normal. And my mom’s sharpest steak knife was already on the counter, covered in blood, so I guess that’s what was used to make the cuts around my face. And then my hands, still moving on their own, picked up the knife and held it above my head.

I couldn’t see what was happening, but I felt it. The knife cut across my hairline, then below my ears, then around the back of my head. It was cutting my scalp and ears off in one slice. The dark blood poured down over my eyes like a curtain. It stung like a bitch, but that was the LEAST painful thing happening.

And then … my own hands cut my whole scalp and my ears off on a single piece of skin. They held the whole thing in front of my eyes, and it looked like a wig except it was dripping with blood. The knife fell to the floor, and my feet walked over to the counter. My hands placed my hair next to the skin from my face, and then my feet turned away. My legs started walking to the sliding glass door, the one that opens out onto the patio. And I saw, on the glass .. it was so horrible, I just can’t even …

I saw my reflection. No skin on my face, no hair, no ears, nose or lips. I was just a blood-covered skull with huge staring eyes. I looked hideous. I seriously hoped I wouldn’t survive. But it looks like I did, unfortunately.

Anyway, my hand opened the sliding door, then the screen door, and my legs walked back to the kitchen counter. My hands picked up my hair and face, and my legs walked me back to the screen door and outside onto the patio.

The moon was out, so I could see pretty clearly. At first I just stood there, still unable to move. Then I heard some rustling in the bushes next to me. There were already tears in my eyes, but now they were pouring. Something was moving towards me. A dark shape stepped onto the patio. I wanted to scream and run away, and I would’ve if I’d been able to.

But yeah, something was there. Whatever that thing was, it was human-shaped. Except, one of its hands was normal(ish)-looking, but the other one had these long, twisted fingers that touched the ground. It was limping toward me, and the smell .. it smelled like roadkill, and dirt, and shit. It smelled like death. And its head was just a dark shape, but I could tell .. It had no face, no hair, no ears, none of that. And that’s when I knew. It wanted mine. And at first I thought it had no eyes, until it looked directly at me. They had no eyelids either, with huge black pupils that took up almost the entire eye, and the eye-whites were stained yellowish-brown and muddy, but I could tell.. They were human eyes. Or at least, they used to be. And they looked sad, and old … So old.

Then its normal-sized, shriveled-up hand reached out. My own hands gave it my face and hair, and the thing took it and disappeared behind the bushes again.

And my feet, still moving on their own, walked back into the house. My hands pulled the door shut and locked it. As my feet walked out of the kitchen, I HOPED my hands would grab the knife and stab me to death. I just wanted it to be over. But no, my feet took me up the stairs, back into my room. My body climbed back into bed. And just like that, I woke up the next morning all covered in my own blood. I could finally scream, and I screamed so loud it woke up my mom. So then she called 911, and yeah .. Here I am.

So yeah, you guys are probably laughing your asses off by now. You must think I’m seriously insane because there’s no way any of that could’ve happened.

But it doesn’t matter if you believe me or not. IT HAPPENED, to all of us.

I’m just the only one who saw it.

I sat for a while, staring at my phone and thinking, What the fuck did I just read?!

If Brittany wasn’t just making this up to fuck with us, that could only mean: 1), she was seeing things and/or hearing voices, and that made her literally insane enough to cut her own face off; or 2), there really was some monster thing out there, and my life just turned into the kind of horror movie I’d never even want to watch.

The only good thing was, we weren’t alone in this. As long as we had each other’s backs, I thought, there’d be a better chance that we’d survive. So, as crazy as Brittany’s story sounded, it was the best explanation we had for what was happening. And we had to believe her – because if we didn’t, no one ever would.

I texted the group back.

Me: @Brittany , I believe you.

( . . . )

Jenna: are you SURE it wasn’t a dream???

Brittany: I swear on my life, it was real.

( . . . )

Ashleigh: wait im not done readding yet!!!

Brittany: Lmao … take your time.

( . . . )
( . . . )

Ashleigh: wtf did I just read????!!!??

Jenna: its called a text, Ash

Ashleigh: yah I know! I just cant beleive it.

Me: it’s not like we have a better explanation. I’m with Brit on this

Jenna: I mean yeah it kind of is all we have to go by. Maybe 2 weeks ago I would’ve called you crazy but everythings so fucked up now, it makes no difference to me

Ashleigh: @Brittany r u sure it was a regular person tho?

Me: @Ashleigh you mean a regular person that steals peoples faces? Lmao

Ashleigh: no like u said it looked human, but what if it was sumthing else?

Jenna: lol what, like an alien? 😅😅

Ashleigh: im just sayin!!

Me: I guess it could be anything .. @Brittany did you see anything else, anything that could give us some clue what it was?? Besides that weird hand or whatever

Brittany: Well … sort of .. but it sounds stupid.

Me: Come on, just say it!!

Brittany: Geez, fine! … One of its feet was pink.

( . . . )

Brittany: I figured it was a fungus from the marsh or something? But I don’t think there are any pink funguses.

( . . . )

Brittany: fungi*

Me: Wait … like GLOWING pink???

Brittany: Yeah

( . . . )

Me: holy shit …

I pulled the covers away from my foot and turned the lamp off. Sure enough, every other toe was glowing neon pink. The glow-in-the-dark nail polish worked. I took a picture of it with my phone, and sent the photo to the group text.

Me: Did it look like this???

( . . . )

Brittany: Shit … yeah, it did. Same pattern and everything … I’m guessing you did your toe nails the night before it happened?

Me: yep 😕

Jenna: wow that’s freaky …

Ashleigh: I love yur nails tho! Lol

Jenna: lmao

Me: thanks … 😒

Brittany: But yeah. I guess we all know what that means …

Ashleigh: it stole her nail polish?

Brittany: It stole her LEG.

Jenna: oh shit …

Brittany: Yeah, the same thing that stole my face, it stole Ash’s arm, and Jenna’s leg, and Nina’s leg too.

Ashleigh: omfg 😱

Me: ok, so we solved the mystery, sort of, except we still don’t know wtf this thing is

Just then, the nurse opened the door to my room. I almost literally pissed myself.

“Just checking in,” said the nurse. “How’s everything going?”

“Um, I’m good, everything’s good,” I lied.

“Would you like something to help you sleep?”

“Sure, that’d be great.” With all the thoughts screaming in my head, I’d rather just shut down. “But could you maybe help me get to the bathroom first?”

“Yeah, of course.”

When I was done, the nurse helped me back into bed. Then she brought me a pill and a plastic cup of water, which I gladly took.
Then she switched off all the lights and left, and I fell asleep soon afterward.

I woke up the next morning and reached for my phone. It seemed like we’d all fallen asleep at the same time, because there were no new messages in the group text. Me and Brittany checked in when we woke up, but that was it.

The rest of the morning pretty much went on as usual. I watched whatever crap was on the 500 channels on TV, and a nurse brought me breakfast. At this point I was able to eat full meals again without feeling sick, so I didn’t need the protein shake. When I was done I picked up my phone. It had one unread message in the group chat. I opened it.

Jenna: guys … I don’t know how to say this.

Me: why, what is it???

Jenna: you know how Ash’s room was right next to mine?

Me: … yeah … ?

Jenna: well .. a bunch of doctors rushed to her room last night. I heard them say she was unresponsive or whatever. Something about neck crosis(sp?)

Brittany: Necrosis, I think.

Me: there you are lol

Brittany: Yeah, I had to get my eyedrops in.

Me: np

Jenna: you guys

Brittany: Sorry, go on …

( . . . )
( . . . )

Jenna: we lost Ashleigh

No one typed anything for a while. I just sat there frozen. Then I put my phone down, and I couldn’t stop the tears. I turned around and cried and screamed into my pillow, for I-don’t-know-how long. At some point I fell asleep, not because I was tired, but because my mind had to turn itself off again. I didn’t even need a pill this time.

When I woke up, it was already nighttime. They’d left my dinner on a tray near my bed, but I didn’t touch it. I finally sat up, and picked up my phone again. No one had typed a thing since we got the news from Jenna. I took a deep breath and went first.

Me: … guys .. ?

Nothing for a minute. Then, someone started typing.

Brittany: How’s everyone holding up?

( . . . )

Jenna: idk .. I’ve been crying like the whole time

Me: same.

Brittany: Yeah, I cried for the first time in months.

Jenna: wait really?? Dude I cry at least like once a week

Me: I cry after I do my math homework 😪

Brittany: I don’t know, these past few years I just haven’t done it as much.

Jenna: youre probably lucky then

Brittany: I don’t know, maybe. But anyway, there’s something you guys need to know.

Jenna: ???

Me: what is it??

Brittany: One sec …

( . . . )

Brittany: Here, read these.

She sent two different links in the message. I opened the first one.

It took me to some scientific article that explained how, in Europe, all these dead bodies were buried in bogs thousands of years ago and didn’t decompose as much. It showed pictures of some of them, and I thought they kind of looked like raisins. I guess it’s the same kind of thing, except with people instead of fruit.

Even weirder, scientists were just now starting to discover that most of the bodies didn’t just sink in the mud. They were killed, violently, and put there on purpose. The experts think it’s because they were being punished for crimes, like the red-headed girl who supposedly hooked up with a married man. Stuff like that.

Still, all the bodies in the article were found in Europe. It didn’t say anything about America, probably because the European ones go all the way back to 300 A.D. or whatever. Was there anyone living around here in the year 300? Native Americans, I’d assume, but they’d have to be really Native Americans. I mean how far back do they even go? And what about before that? There couldn’t have just been no one here. There had to be someone here.

Obviously, thinking about this kind of stuff is more Brittany’s thing, so I decided I’d leave it to her to work it out. Instead, I opened the second link.

It took me to one of those sketchy DIY blog post things, all words and no pictures – the kind you’d cite in a school paper because the teacher said you had to have x amount of sources, and you ran out of totally legit ones. Just looking at it made me yawn, but it didn’t take me too long to read. It said (and I’m writing it word-for-word, in case the page gets deleted.)

The Dowlin Marsh Casualties

DISCLAIMER: All claims made in the following article are purely conjecture, and not intended to be used in place of forensic evidence concerning any crime or illegal act committed in the past, present, or future.

The Dowlin Marsh is an area of roughly 5 square acres located on unincorporated land in Northern Illinois, about 50 miles west of Chicago. It has been the questionable site of several bizarre incidents dating back to the 18th century, none of which have yet been resolved. The following cases are the only ones supported by written historical record that have yet been discovered. It is possible there have been other victims whose identities remain unknown.

The known victims have all been females reportedly between 12 and 15 years of age. Their identities are as follows, in chronological order:

1796 – Evangeline de Sauveterre, age 13:
In the time before Illinois had been granted statehood, a French trader named Jean-Paul de Sauveterre lived on the territory with his wife Agathe and daughter Evangeline. According to Jean-Paul’s journal entries, one morning (debatably between August and September, due to the compromised quality of the manuscript) he and his wife awoke to find Evangeline was missing. Her footprints were still visible on the ground, due to heavy rains, and seemed to lead directly to the yet-unnamed marsh. Upon searching the area, Jean-Paul found one of Evangeline’s hair ribbons caught on a reed. No other traces of the girl have since been found.

1832 – Beatrice Dowlin, age 12:
Beatrice’s father, Elias Dowlin, was a wealthy landowner who gave his name to the marsh, as it existed on his property at the time. On the morning of September 28th, he woke to the sound of his daughter’s screams, according to his personal account. He went into Beatrice’s bedroom and found her in “a ghastly state”, and goes on to describe her condition in detail: “her scalp was entirely cut off, showing the bloodied red flesh beneath. Bea was in excruciating pain, and could not hear my voice above the sound of her own cries. I sent for the doctor, who was equally taken aback by the gravity of Bea’s injury. Although he attended to her as best he could, she succumbed to incurable fever and infection. My only daughter perished within that day.”

The tragic incident also occurred during a time of intense conflict between the new state of Illinois and Chief Blackhawk of the Sauk tribe. Dowlin believed, with no supporting evidence, that the Sauk had entered his home and taken his daughter’s scalp. He readily joined the fight, and took part in the massacre that killed an estimated 850 men, women, and children of the Sauk tribe. Still, no proof was ever found that the Sauk, nor any member of any Native American tribe, were responsible for the death of Beatrice Dowlin.

1899 – Gloria Goodwin, age 14:
At some point in mid-October of that year, Gloria Goodwin reportedly ran away from home. She had made plans to elope with her much older boyfriend, 20-year-old Stanley Zeller. According to Zeller’s statement, the two had agreed to meet by Dowlin Marsh at sundown, but Gloria never showed. Weeks later, a local farmer by the name of Merrill Dailey found Gloria’s remains in the marsh while deer-hunting. Gloria had been dead long enough to reach an advanced stage of decay, although the forensic technology at the time was limited. The coroner determined that the skin and muscle of her left arm had been deliberately removed, which indicated foul play. Zeller, already the primary suspect, was found guilty and given the death penalty. He was executed by the electric chair in January of 1902.

1928 – Laura Wollstone, age 15:
Laura was home-schooled her parents, John and Martha Wollstone. The family lived in close proximity to the Marsh, and Laura would often take long walks around the area. Her medical records seem to suggest she was mentally ill, or “feeble-minded”, but no formal diagnosis was ever made. Her doctor did note that she expressed an interest in dancing as an art form. She cut her own hair short and often talked of moving to Chicago to be a showgirl. Her parents, who were strict Protestants, disapproved, and refused to take her to the city for lessons. This must have understandably upset Laura, to the point that she could have been at risk for self-injury. According to the police report, on October 2nd, shortly after midnight, Laura’s parents found her on the kitchen floor. She was kneeling in a pool of her own blood, in the process of severing her right leg with a butcher’s knife. Her father stated in the report that Laura’s face was “unflinching and petrified, as if possessed by demonic powers.” Laura was taken to a hospital, and then to a state sanitarium, where she died within a week. Cause-of-death was not stated in the coroner’s report.

1944 – Dolores Cambrey, age 14:
This is the most recent of the known Dowlin Marsh casualties. The Cambrey family lived less than a mile from the marsh, and were in fact neighbors to the Wollstones. Dolores and her sister Dawn, age 7, often played outside near the marsh. On September 18th, 1944, Dolores was reported missing by her parents, Patrick and Joan Cambrey. The police report stated that Dolores disappeared during the night for no probable reason, and left no clues behind as to her whereabouts. The deadbolt to the kitchen door was unlocked, even though the Cambreys kept it locked every night, which seemed to suggest Dolores had exited through that same door. Still, the police found no evidence of foul play.

The police did note, however, that when they questioned Dawn, the girl claimed to have seen bright lights over the marsh on several occasions. A thorough search was conducted over the area, but the police found no traces of Dolores or any other victims. Instead, Dawn’s observations were dismissed as those of an over-imaginative child. Ultimately, the police determined that Dolores had run away from home, and the department made minimal effort to pursue the case further.

Dawn Cambrey kept silent about her sister’s disappearance for most of her life, until she grew older and terminally ill. On occasion, she’d tell close family members about the lights she allegedly saw. She also recalled the night her sister disappeared, she’d been awake. She described seeing Dolores leave through the kitchen door, and walk slowly across the field, “like someone was calling her, but there were no voices to be heard.” Dawn was, of course, experiencing dementia, so the legitimacy of her narrative was questionable.

At present:
It is worth noting that the farmland surrounding Dowlin Marsh has been developed as a residential area since the early 1980s. No new homes were built in the immediate vicinity of the marsh, however, until construction began on the Meadow Creek subdivision and Westridge Middle School in 2010. Fortunately, no new incidents have been reported as of yet, and no resident of the subdivision nor the surrounding properties has complained of any unusual activity related to the Dowlin Marsh since 1944.

Until now, I thought.

I closed the link on my phone and went back to the group chat.

Me: finished reading

Brittany: Any thoughts?

Me: the first article was interesting, the 2nd one kinda looked fake tho

Jenna: finished too. @Nina yah thats what I thought

Brittany: Well yeah, you’d have to go back and fact-check it to make sure those historical documents are real, and not just shit made up by some troll who needs a new hobby.

Jenna: lol

Brittany: If you think about it though, if all those cases actually happened and are somehow connected .. Maybe we’d have a chance of finding out why this happened to us.

Jenna: do we even WANT to know, tho? I mean we already told the cops what we saw, its their job to work it out, not us

Brittany: But what if they can’t figure it out? We can’t just go our whole lives not knowing what happened!

Jenna: tbh, I really don’t care. I just want to heal up and move on with my life, and not think about this ever again. Whatever shit happened in that marsh, its someone elses problem. I don’t even wanna know!

Brittany: Understandable. @Nina what about you?

I thought for a moment. Jenna did have a point. It’s not like this was a Scooby Doo episode where we’d catch the villain in the end, and then everything would go back to normal. No matter what happened, we’d be dealing with this injuries for the rest of our lives. Nothing would ever be the same again.

Still, if there really was something going on – supernatural or otherwise – for all those years, would we even be safe? What if it came after us again? Or what if it did the same thing to more people in the future? Even if we couldn’t change what happened to us, maybe we could stop it from happening to someone else. That counts for something.

Me: @Brittany I’m with you on this. I want to find out what happened

( . . . )

Brittany: Okay.

( . . . )

Brittany: @Nina from now on if we want to talk about this, just message me directly. No more crazy talk in the group chat, haha😉

Me: sure

Jenna: lol works for me 😛

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