I grew up in a small town near Tulsa in Oklahoma. It was incredibly small — everyone knew each other and there was not much to do except drink and shoot things.
A couple of years ago, a group of friends and I decided to drive out deeper into the desert, towards an American Indian reservation. Pete, Jacob, Dan, Pat and I all grew up hearing stories of animals running as fast as cars and people disappearing after meeting one face to face. It was Dan’s idea to go find one that particular night.
The five of us got into Pete’s old Ford Windstar and drove down northwest to the reservation.
It was around 11:30 at night when we entered the border. I looked up through the windshield to find the moon — it wasn’t there. Jacob, Pat, and Dan sat in the backseat and they cracked some beer open and started drinking. About 25-30 minutes in, we all smelled something burning. I thought the engine was overheating, but Pete, who was also a mechanic, said it smelled more like burnt flesh than anything. We all got quiet and looked around. The sound of tire on asphalt rhythmically drilled into our ears. The smell disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. I said, “It must’ve been a skunk.” Everyone shrugged and agreed.
We drove farther into the reservation, passing telephone pole after telephone pole, small towns, and lots of empty fields. We were almost always the lone car on the road. I was dozing off when Jacob, sitting directly behind me kicked the seat and shouted, “What the FUCK?”
We all looked at him. He was pointing out the window to his right. A figure was standing on top of a hill about about 100 yards away from the road. It seemed to be looking down at us. A spine-tingling chill went down my spine when I saw it. “Holy shit, what is that?” I asked. No one had any idea. Pete slowed down to park on the side of the road so that he, too, could get a better look. We all got out of the vehicle, but the figure had disappeared.
I remember Pete asking where the figure had gone. No one had an answer, but Pat noticed a faint glow from a fire off to the side of the hill. He suggested that we go check it out. Dan felt scared, and honestly, I did too, but curiosity had taken hold over us. Pete whispered to me that he had a pistol with him, and that did give me a little bit of confidence and eased my fears. We walked back to the minivan and drove over to the hill.
Pete got out first. Dan said he wanted to stay in the car. The four of us got out — Pete, Jacob, Pat and me — and quietly walked up the hill. There was no fire. There was nothing. In fact, it seemed as if we had imagined the entire thing. But I looked down and saw footprints — animal footprints. “Guys, look!” I said. They examined the footprints and we concluded that it was either a coyote or some wild dog. Its footprints led down the hill and off into the plains. All of a sudden, we heard Dan scream. We all looked at each other and ran down the hill. I saw a figure standing by the minivan. As we got closer, it looked directly at us. It stood on two legs, mangled fur on its back, with human-like limbs, and an intense burning smell. I was petrified. Then I heard a shot. Pete had shot the figure. “You got him!” Pat shouted. The figure turned and bolted, but not before hitting the van with Dan inside. Pete shot at it one more time, hitting it in the shoulder. The retreating figure bellowed something deep and unearthly and disappeared into the darkness.
“Dan, are you okay?” Jacob shouted. No answer. We ran over to see Dan on the floor of the van with his hands over his head, shaking violently.
“Hey man, everything’s okay, you’re safe,” Pete said.
While Pete was talking to Dan, Jacob and I looked at the van. We both noticed there was no blood splattered on the side from the gunshot wound. We both looked at each other in fear. I looked to see where everyone else was. Pat was trying to get Dan off the floor. Pete had started the van and called us in. “Let’s get the fuck out of here,” he shouted. Jacob and I quickly entered the van and Pete stepped on the gas to head back to the road. Pat and Jacob questioned Dan as to what had happened. Dan started crying. He had been watching us climb the hill when he noticed movement off to the side of the van. He looked over to see nothing. He looked at our figures on top of the hill when something hit the van and shook it. “I could think of only one thing,” Dan said. “Skinwalker.”
Driving through the dirt and sand, Pete and I saw a figure standing by the road. It was that thing that had been watching Dan from before. “Oh fuck, oh fuck,” Pete said. Dan screamed. “We’re going to fucking die man, we’re going to fucking die tonight…” Pete decided to try and run the figure over, but as the headlamps neared it, the figure moved off to the side, as if it was trying to avoid light. As we approached the road, the figure closed in on us. Pete made a hard left and created a large dust cloud. We felt the wheels hit pavement and he really hit the pedal.
We were safe, or at least, that’s what we thought. Pete and I kept a lookout, watching the sideview and the rearview mirrors. Dan had his head in his hands, looking worse for wear. After a tense 10 minutes, Pete slowed down and Pat cracked open a “celebratory” beer. He handed each of us a can. I looked behind to grab the beers Pat was handing out, but that’s when the burning smell appeared. I looked outside to my left and I saw its eyes. It was following us. This thing was running after us on all fours. Pete sped up once again, as fast as the Windstar could go. It kept up with us for another 2, 3 miles when we saw headlights. It was then that the figure retreated and disappeared into the darkness again.
It didn’t come back for us the rest of the way, and we haven’t entered the reservation again.
We don’t really like to talk about it.