Naked and Afraid

📅 Published on August 20, 2020

“Naked and Afraid”

Written by Jon Thomas
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 8.00/10. From 7 votes.
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Hiking has always been a hobby of mine. Every year I try to find new trails, seemingly untouched by man. I’ll travel across the globe in search of the best, most scenic views you can imagine. Bangladesh, Fiji, and the alpines are some of the greatest locations I’ve been to so far.

I arrived in Madagascar a few weeks ago with a group of fellow hiking enthusiasts. We were part of an online community of adventure seekers. Once a year, we would meet up in a new, remote area for a guided hike through a fairly untouched trail. We would camp out for a night or two, then hike up a mountain to a beautiful viewpoint.

Eager to explore the beauty of the African coast, we set out. The beginning was pretty straightforward. The trail moved through the woods, zig-zagging around rock formations and dense brush. You’d see the occasional snake off in the distance, but otherwise there wasn’t much for wildlife.

We began ascending the mountain in front of us and the trail grew steeper and steeper. The tour guide, a young local by the name of Daewon, began explaining the history of the trail as we climbed, simultaneously pointing out loose rocks and other obstacles to avoid. He said that there have only been a handful of hikers brave enough to make this trek which confused and worried us at the same time.

When asked why, he could hear the nervousness in our voice. He quickly reassured us that there was nothing to worry about, just some urban legends that the locals liked to use to scare tourists. He went on to explain that a few years ago, when the hit survival TV show “Naked and Afraid” was just getting started, they chose this mountain as a location for filming. The contestants were cast out into one of the more desolate and dangerous parts of the mountain.

They were dropped off wearing nothing and had to survive with just each other and their wits for 21 days. Around day 17, they were looking very promising. They had managed to find plenty of food throughout their stay, a small creek produced potable water and they built a strong shelter. During the night, with no warning signs present, the female contestant lost her mind. She turned on her partner and began viciously attacking him. She beat him to a bloody pulp, ultimately killing him. Then she turned on the film crew. They retreated, abandoning both of them.

We all looked at Daewon in horror, stopping in our tracks. He looked back and laughed, assuring us that it was only a story and there was no evidence that any of these events actually took place. He motioned for us to continue as he made his way up the steep trail.

The group came to a clearing and Daewon informed us that we would be setting up camp here. After the long climb we’d just completed, we were in serious need of some rest. We began setting up tents while our guide made his way into the woods to gather supplies to build a fire. Once our tents were set up, we gathered around the fire pit and waited. About 20 minutes passed before we began to grow curious of Daewon’s whereabouts

“Where do you think he went?” Billy asked.

He was the youngest one in the group at 20 years old and he’d only been a member for about 5 months. This was his first annual trip.

“I’m sure he’s just gone to grab some wood. He’ll be back soon,” I said.

I tried not to sound too worried, but something tells me there was a hint of unease in my voice. I wanted to believe what I was saying, but that terrifying story he’d told us a few hours before left me, and everyone else, on edge.

Another 20 minutes passed and we were beginning to worry. It was dark now, the mosquitoes were in full force and we didn’t have any fire. Tour guides don’t typically leave hikers for longer than a few minutes, and we were coming up on an hour without contact. We began calling his name, shouting into the darkness.

“Daewon!” Rita, one of the veteran members of the group shouted into the darkness. There was no reply. “DAEWON!” Her voice grew louder and more worried. Still, there was no reply.

“Where the hell did he go?” I heard James ask, his voice shrouded in anger. “He better not be out fuckin’ around. This ain’t funny…” He stood up and began rummaging through his backpack, removing a large LED flashlight.

James was your typical, salty sailor. A veteran of the Navy who found the act of hiking and the solitude of the trails to be a therapeutic relief to his violent symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Although he was perpetually angry, he proved to be a valuable member of the group and possessed a strong array of primitive survival skills.

“Well,” I started, my voice shaky with fear and nerves. “It’s getting dark. It would be pointless to search for him tonight. Might as well get some sleep and head out first thing in the morning.”

“Good thinking,” Billy agreed.

Rita and James seemed hesitant, but reluctantly agreed. We all knew that with only flashlights, we wouldn’t be able to do much. We would really only endanger ourselves by going out into those dark, unforgiving woods. Once everyone was in their tents and quieted down, it was only us and the sounds of the forest. I could hear deep bellows coming from the woods, crickets chirping in unison and cicadas stridulating.

On a normal hike, these sounds would put me to sleep almost instantly, but tonight the anxiety kept me up. My heart beat loud in my chest as I played through all the possible scenarios. What happened to Daewon? Did he get attacked by a tiger? Did he fall from a ledge and injure himself? The possibilities were endless, and I quickly realized that.

I heard footsteps falling next to my tent. I quickly jumped up and unzipped the front entrance.

“Daewon?” I said in nervous excitement as I popped my head out of the door.

“Afraid not,” I heard the familiar southern draw of James’ voice. “Only me. Gotta take a piss. Ya mind?” His flashlight shined brightly in my face.

“Oh… sorry,” I said, moving my head back into the tent and rezipping the entry door.

James’ footsteps moved further into the woodline, but he was still within earshot. I could hear his stream crackle against the dead leaves as he relieved himself. It suddenly stopped, and I heard a faint, muffled grunt.

There was a small amount of scurrying before a deafening silence fell. The cicadas stopped screeching, crickets were no longer chirping. Any sound of the forest was quickly and eerily silenced.

“James?” I shouted from inside my tent. “Everything alright out there?”

The voice that responded did not sound like James. It croaked and struggled to form a word before saying in a dry and raspy voice, “yep.” I quickly shot up out of my sleeping bag, grabbed the flashlight that sat next to me and bolted to Billy’s.

“Billy,” I said in a frantic whisper, shaking his tent to get his attention. “Billy, wake up! I think something happened to James.”

Billy didn’t respond. I began to unzip his tent when I noticed the front zipper was already open. I shined my flashlight into the darkness within to find the tent was empty.

“What the-” I began, but faded off.

I turned my gaze towards Rita’s tent and ran over.

“Rita!” I shouted, not even trying to muffle my panicked voice anymore. “Rita! Wake up! We have a situation!”

I opened the front zipper to her tent and shined the light in. It was also empty.

“What the hell is going on?” I asked myself aloud.

“Rita! Billy!” I called out into the quiet darkness, but there was no response. “James!” I shouted, still nothing.

I remembered the large machete I kept in my pack and sprinted back to my tent. When I arrived, I noticed my backpack and all of the other contents inside my tent were missing. Something didn’t seem right, it was so surreal. Suddenly, behind me a huge fire lit brightly in the center of the firepit, illuminating everything around me. Glowing eyes could be seen all above me, the treeline littered with the small yellow circles. Then, they pounced.

I awoke abruptly in my tent. The faint orange glow of the morning sun leaked in through the crack of the front screen.

“Oh Jesus, thank God!” I said, short of breath. “It was just a dream.”

I could hear, outside my tent, the sounds of 3 familiar voices. James, Rita and Billy were all gathered around the firepit, chit-chatting. I slowly emerged from my tent, still in a slight daze.

“And he joins the rest of the party!” Billy yelled sarcastically. “Thought we were going first thing in the morning?” He laughed before pointing to his watch. “It’s 10:30, man!”

Rita and James did not appear to see the hilarity in my late sleeping, both looking at me with both anger and disappointment.

“Now that the sleeping beauty has joined us, we can start searching for Daewon,” James said, pulling a small map out of his backpack. “We’re here,” he circled the small clearing on the map. “That’s 19 degrees, 36 minutes, 15 seconds South by 44 degrees, 52 minutes, 29 seconds East.”

We all looked at him dumbfounded. None of us had the land navigation skills needed to understand anything he just said. He continued, ignoring the obvious confusion painted on our faces.

“I say we fan out. There’s 4 of us, so each of us can go in a different direction. We meet back here in 4 hours.”

Luckily, we all had small GPS devices that we could use to find our way around the foreign terrain. Soon, we began our hike. I went North, Rita went West, Billy went East and James, South. It was disconcerting being so far away from everyone, but we had a goal. We needed to find Daewon.

I began moving up a small game trail, following it through a thickly wooded area. I had my machete with me, and quickly began slicing through the brush. This was worth the effort for two reasons. One, I could get through easier and, two, It helped to build a more obvious trail for me to find my way back. I continued, thrashing through the thickets and climbing up mossy rock.

I came upon a small creek bed. The creek was long dried out, but I could see distinct footprints in the sand. I began following the footprints, scanning my surroundings for any sign of Daewon, or whoever else may have been making the prints. It seemed odd to me that these footprints weren’t of hiking boots or shoes of any kind, they were bare footprints. Five toes could be seen at the front of the print, helping to guide me in the right direction.

As I trekked through the eerie forest, following the oddly bare footprints, I felt a strong sense of horror creep over my body. I felt eyes on the back of my neck, watching me with malicious intent. I heard a whisper float through the air and quickly whipped my head around to see there was nothing. Unease floated through my body as I turned back around and hesitantly continued up the path. I came around a small bend in the creek when I noticed something that sent chills down my spine.

There, in the distance, I saw her. A young lady, crouched down on the ground. She sat there, arms crossed over her knees, sobbing. I could see only her bare back, but it moved shakily as she let out each sob. I slowly approached.

“Hello?” I said through a shaky, fear-driven voice. “Are you alright?”

I had a bad feeling about this. This was the type of thing I saw in horror movies, right before the big scare. Still, I persisted forward, the overbearing boy-scout in me shone through the intense fear I felt.

“Ma’am?” I asked once more, slowly getting closer.

She continued sobbing, whispering something under her breath. I couldn’t quite make it out, but as I got within earshot, she began speaking louder.

“They’re dead,” she said through sobs. “They’re all dead.”

She continued repeating this over and over again, causing me to stop in my tracks.

“Who’s dead, ma’am?” I asked, swallowing fear as I spit the words out.

She stopped crying almost immediately and slowly began to rise up. Her back still faced me, but I felt like I could see the look on her face through the back of her head, a look of pure malice. Her body began jolting and writhing as she stood, arms outstretched to either side. She shook and moved her limbs into unnatural angles and I could hear bones cracking and snapping with each movement.

She suddenly went still, arms back down to her side as she stood, continuing to face away from me. She slowly began to turn her body to face me and as she did, I felt my face grow pale and my blood run cold. My heart sank, she was now facing me completely. Her eyes were completely red, blood red. Tears of blood ran down her face as her eyes locked onto me and grew narrow. A vicious smile stretched across her face, revealing jagged, blood-soaked teeth.

“THEY’RE ALL FUCKING DEAD!” She shrieked in an inhuman, almost demonic, voice. “AND I KILLED THEM!”

She moved towards me in an intense lunge, throwing her limbs around as if they weren’t under her control at all. I felt a shock of adrenaline jolt through my body and I quickly reacted, turning and running back the way I came.

I followed the narrow path I had carved out previously with my machete, hoping she would lose her footing and fall back some. She remained behind me, calling out profanities and repeating that phrase.

“They’re all dead,” she said, over and over again, laughing her evil laugh all the while chasing right behind me.

I began to wonder who she meant. My mind drifted away as I got lost in thought, and I found myself tumbling over a large root that stuck up out of the ground. The wind escaped my lungs as I hit the ground. I heard a demonic shriek coming from behind. With no time to get up, I reached down for my machete, removing it from the sheath around my waist.

I looked up to see the naked woman pounce off the large tree root and sail through the air, straight towards me. Blood continued running from her eyes and a strong foam had formed in the corners of her mouth. In an attempt to prepare for the worst, I closed my eyes and blindly pushed the machete out into the air in front of me. I felt a heavy weight bear down on my arm, followed by the putrid squish of the blade sinking into her flesh.

I had done it, she was impaled on the machete. She continued fighting for a moment, but stopped moving soon after. She looked down at her chest, the pure evil washed from her face and replaced by a pained look of suffering. Blood poured from the wound and spewed from her mouth as she tried to make one final shriek.

I shuffled to my feet quickly and ran back to camp. I ran quicker than I’ve ever run in my life, ignoring any thorn bushes that lined my path. I made it back and began wailing, attempting to call for the others to return. It was no use, though. I knew at that moment, when my calls went unanswered, exactly what that terrifying woman meant.

I heard a shrill screech come from the woodline and I knew it wasn’t over. I took off, running as fast and as far in the opposite direction as I possibly could. I’m still not sure how I escaped, but I can tell you this much for sure, I am never going back.

Rating: 8.00/10. From 7 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Jon Thomas
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Jon Thomas

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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