SpiritHoods: The Long Lost

📅 Published on November 25, 2020

“SpiritHoods: The Long Lost”

Written by Micah Edwards
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com 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

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 14 minutes

Rating: 8.83/10. From 6 votes.
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Brenna had been preparing for this fight for months. She had thought she was ready, convinced herself that she could handle it. Now, as the last few miles ticked by on her car’s odometer, the leaden weight sitting in her stomach told her otherwise.

She thought about turning around, although she knew that wasn’t really an option. If she skipped family Thanksgiving, then things would really blow up. Besides, she liked her family. She was looking forward to seeing them. College was great in a lot of ways, but it wasn’t home. Her friends cared about her, but they didn’t offer the unconditional love that her parents did.

Unconditional love. Brenna focused on that. Her father absolutely did love her. He was always there for her, his gruff macho exterior melting away whenever she needed comfort or caring. He loved her and was proud of her, and had never hesitated to tell her that. He’d get over this.

Brenna’s car jounced up and down as she turned onto the long, rutted country driveway leading to her parents’ house. The woods pressed in tightly around her, the trees bursting with fall’s fiery colors. She could feel college slipping away. Out here, the city shrank into memory. The country was a different world. Her father’s world.

The house came into view, a bold robin’s egg blue against the reds and oranges of the woods. Brenna parked her car and waited for what she knew was coming. Seconds later, twin thumps sounded against the door of her car as shaggy faces shoved themselves up against her window.

“Rebel! Moose! Get down!” came a deep bellow from the front door of the house, and the dogs leapt away, wagging their tails excitedly as they ran in circles. Brenna grinned at the familiarity of it all. It was good to be home.

She put on her face mask and stepped out of the car, hands out to pet each dog and to stop them from bowling her over with their enthusiasm. They shoved happily against her, tongues licking and tails thrashing back and forth, beating her about the legs. With effort, she made her way through the fur tornado and up the steps of the front porch.

“Good to see you home, baby girl,” said her father, picking her up in an enveloping hug. He frowned as he put her down. “You’re wearing one of those stupid masks? You think your mom and I picked up diseases way out here?”

Brenna sighed. “It’s to protect you, dad,” she said. “I’m sure you and mom are fine out here in the woods, but I’ve been sharing a dorm bathroom with eleven other girls, and I promise you they are not all taking reasonable precautions.”

“I hope you’re not gonna wear that thing the entire time you’re home.”

“Only while I’m awake.”

“Haha, very funny. I want to be able to see you smile, that’s all. Is that so wrong?”

“I took a test before I came out here today. They’ll get me the results tomorrow or the day after. Once they tell me I’m clear, no more mask.”

“Good. I was wondering how you were planning on eating dinner with us with a mask on. I thought your mother and I were going to have to eat that Thanksgiving turkey all by ourselves.”

Brenna braced herself. “Well…you’re going to have to anyway.”

Her father scowled quizzically. “What does that mean?”

“I’ve decided to become a vegetarian, dad.”

Thunder built on his brow. “Since when?”

“Since about three months ago.”

“What put that hare-brained notion into your head?”

“It’s not hare-brained! It’s better for the environment and better for the world in general. Which, if you haven’t noticed, could use a bit of help right now.”

“Marie!” her father shouted over his shoulder into the house. “Do you know what your daughter’s done?”

“I know,” her mother’s voice drifted out. “Hi, Brenna. Welcome home!”

“But did you hear what she said?”

“I heard. That’s why I said ‘I know.’ Are you going to let her into the house or just leave her on the porch for the entire week?”

Brenna’s mother appeared in the hallway behind her father, barely visible past his bulk. Despite the difference in their sizes, he moved aside at a gentle touch from her hand, stepping backward to allow her past to hug her daughter.

“Hi, baby. Come on in. Don’t mind your father.”

“She’d better mind me,” he grumbled, closing the door behind them. “‘Don’t mind him.’ In my house!”

“Need me to set the table for dinner, Mom?”

“No, I’ve already got it. You just come sit down. Have you been eating okay at college?”

“Clearly not,” her father muttered. “What with being a vegetarian and all. Hasn’t had protein in three months.”

“I’m doing fine, MOM, thank you for asking,” Brenna said pointedly. “The dining halls have plenty of options.”

“And that’s another thing,” her father broke in again. “What are you going to eat while you’re here? You can’t expect your mother to make a separate meal for you every time. Especially not after springing this on her like this. She made a dinner for you and—”

“I made a vegetarian meal for her, Boris,” Marie said.

“I—you—what? How? You knew about this?”

“She told me months ago.”

Brenna looked shamefaced as her father wheeled to look at her, his expression wounded.

“But you couldn’t tell me? Poor old country dad doesn’t have the sophistication to handle a revelation like this, huh? No, he wouldn’t be able to wrap his old-fashioned stupid brain around it, and there’d be a big fight. Better to just put it off, right?”

“Dear,” said Marie. “Assuming that’s her argument, you’re really sort of proving her point right now.”

Boris sputtered, tried out a few more words, and fell silent. After a second, he broke into a big laugh.

“I suppose I am. Fine, so I’m set in my ways. They’re not such bad ways, are they?”

“They’re your ways, and I love you just the way you are,” Brenna said, giving her father a hug. He wrapped an arm around her and shook his head ruefully.

“A vegetarian. After all the time I spent teaching you to hunt, too. I suppose that’s off the table now, too?”

Brenna nodded. “Afraid so.”

“Is that what this is really about? Did you give up eating meat just so that you wouldn’t have to get up before dawn and go sit in a tree stand with your old man anymore?”

“Don’t be silly, dad,” Brenna told him. “I went to college to get away from that.”

Her father laughed again, easily this time. Brenna felt herself relax. She’d told herself all along that it would be fine once he got past the initial shock, but it was still a relief to see it happening. She knew that she was still in for a lot of pointed comments for a long time to come, but that was fine. She and her father had always needled each other for all sorts of reasons. This would just be one more thing in his arsenal, with no real malice behind it.

“All right, let’s see what meal magic your mother has whipped up. If anyone can make a meal without nothing but sides, it’s her.”

Brenna rolled her eyes. “Oh my God, Dad, you’re like a parody of a straw man argument right now. Is that what you’ve got going on under here? Are you all straw?” She poked him in his belly.

“Show some respect,” he said, lightly smacking her hand away. “That’s a hunter’s paunch, that is. Shows my prowess. I can get enough food to feed my family and have seconds, too.”

“We can all do that these days, Dad. It’s called DoorDash.”

“Sit down, both of you, or you’ll both be experiencing the joys of outdoor living and scavenging for food firsthand.” Marie pointed at the chairs. Brenna and her father sat down as ordered, both grinning.

“Mom, are you sure I can’t help you with anything?”

“No, you’re fine. You’re on cleanup, though—unless I hear your father make one single crack about vegetarianism during the meal, in which case, he’s doing the dishes.”

As Brenna opened her mouth, her mother continued, “It doesn’t count if you bait him into it.”

Brenna closed her mouth again. Her father made a face at her, and she stuck her tongue out at him. Then the food was before them, and they were all too busy passing plates and tasting dishes to say much.

After the meal, Brenna was in the kitchen washing the plates when she heard her father’s heavy tread behind her.

“You sure I can’t talk you into coming out hunting with me tomorrow?” he asked.

Brenna thought of the bleary wakeup, of the hours of sitting still, of the cold air slowly working its way through her layers of clothes, and shook her head. “Sorry, too vegetarian now.”

Her father grinned. “You never were that into it. Well, I’m going out in the morning if you change your mind.”

“Oh! I have a present for you, to take with you tomorrow. Wait here, I’ll go get it from the car.” She tossed the damp dishcloth at her father and hurried out of the room.

“If this is just a trick to get me to do the dishes, it won’t work!” he called after her. He was already picking up the nearest plate to dry it, though.

Brenna returned a few moments later, a large wrapped box in her hands. “Here. Happy birthday.”

“My birthday’s not for a month,” he protested, taking the gift.

“Yeah, but you need this for when you’re sitting around outside freezing your tail off, so you’re getting it early.”

Boris stripped away the paper and opened up the box beneath. Inside was a mass of grey and brown fur, so thick and silky that it looked alive.

“What is this?” he asked, pulling it out of the box and shaking it free. The fur unfolded, revealing itself to be a coat large enough to cover Boris’s bulk. It felt warm and luxurious in his hands. His fingers sank in, getting lost in the folds.

“It’s a coat to keep you warm,” Brenna said. It seemed admirably suited to that purpose. Even having been sitting out in the car for the evening, it was already warm. The thick material trapped all available heat, keeping it close.

“Try it on, honey,” Marie called from the kitchen doorway. “Let’s see how it fits.”

The garment fit beautifully, the thick fur wrapping comfortably around him. Boris smiled as he put it on, feeling like a Viking. The coat even had a hood, large enough to enclose his head in a little bubble of warmth but light enough to sit comfortably.

Boris turned back and forth, showing off his coat. “How do I look?”

“Amazing! I’m so glad it fits.”

“It’s fantastic.” He slid the coat off, marveling again at the softness of its material. “What is this made out of?”

“Fur? I dunno.” Brenna shrugged, her eyes shifting sideways. “I got it online, a site called SpiritHoods. They’ve got coats, blankets, all sorts of stuff on their site.”

“Wolf, maybe?” Boris ran his hands over the coat again. “It’s the right colors, anyway. Could be.”

He looked up suddenly. “How does this fit in with you being a vegetarian? Aren’t you supposed to be throwing paint on people who wear fur?”

“No one does that, Dad! I just wanted you to be warm. If you don’t like it—”

He grinned. “I love it and you know it. It’s perfect. Come here.” He pulled her in for a hug. Brenna returned it gladly, but past her father she could see her mother raising an eyebrow from the doorway. Brenna shook her head slightly, and her mother shrugged.

Later, out of Boris’s earshot, Marie asked her daughter, “So, you’re not going to tell him?”

“I was going to. And I mean, I didn’t exactly lie to him. Fake fur is still fur, it’s just…no one had to skin an animal for it. He loves the way it looks and feels, you saw him.”

“I did,” Marie agreed. “And it really is beautiful.”

“I know! Plus they donate part of every sale to help save endangered animals and habitats, so it’s like twice as good as actual fur when you think about it like that.”

“But you think your father might not think about it like that?”

“No, it’s just—I already had the vegetarian fight with him today. I didn’t want to get right back into it. I’ll tell him when he gets back tomorrow! Once he’s worn it for a day, he’ll have to admit how good it is.”

“I think he’s pretty sold on it already,” said Marie. “But it’s your gift! You do it your way.”

“Thank you, Mom. And thanks for not ratting me out.”

Boris, meanwhile, was several rooms away in front of the computer. He wanted to know more about the coat. What had Brenna said the site was called, SpiritHoods? He typed it into the search bar and hit enter.

“Did you mean: spirit hood?” asked the search engine, displaying results for what Boris had accidentally typed: spirit hiid. Boris snorted and moved the cursor to click on the corrected result, when his attention was caught by one of the top results. It was a YouTube video titled “spirits hidden around us – connect to nature.” The still showed a hunter crouched down in tall grass, translucent wolves hunkered down around him. Despite himself, Boris was intrigued. He clicked on the video.

“We’re all part of the circle of life,” the video began. The narrator was outside, standing in a forest clearing at night. The scene was lit by a bright moon. The speaker’s camo seemed to fade in and out of the dappled shadows. “Everything is made from everything else. What we wear, what we eat, what we are. Matter’s form is impermanent, but the energy that imbues it never goes away. And there are ways you can tap into it.”

Boris’s cursor was moving toward the X when the narrator continued, “Now, a lot of you are already shaking your head and getting ready to close this. So let me prove it to you. Find something near you that used to be alive. A wooden desk, a cotton shirt, a leather jacket, anything. Now, what you want to do is draw this pattern on your hand.”

A symbol came up on the screen, a circle broken by several bent lines and underscored with three dots.

“The order matters, so listen to my instructions and draw it as I say. If nothing happens, either I’m a crackpot or you can’t follow simple directions. Either way, you’ve lost nothing but a couple of minutes. But if you do it right—well, let’s just do the directions and you’ll see.”

Boris looked around to make sure he was alone, then took a black marker from the desk drawer in front of him. Following along with the video, he laid down the base of the three dots, stretching from his wrist to his pinky. The rest of the drawing hopped around, an arc of the circle here, a line there, never a whole shape at once until everything came together at the end—and then suddenly it was done, all of the disparate pieces united in a glorious whole.

Boris compared the drawing on his hand to the image on the screen and nodded critically. They looked the same.

“Now touch the object you want to connect with,” the man in the video said, and Boris placed his left hand lightly on the oak desk in front of him. Strength suffused him, a feeling of power and solidity. He could feel the desk, the chair, even the floor under his feet as if they were all distant parts of his body. He was part of the room, of the house, aware of its small shifts and signals. He lifted his hand in wonder, feeling the air currents shift around his fingers. It was an amazing sense of connection.

Boris returned his attention to the video, and was surprised to find that it had stopped. Making an effort, he drew himself back in, releasing his awareness of the house in order to regain full control of his body. When he pressed play, the video restarted from the beginning, and Boris impatiently skipped ahead to where he had left off.

“That’s something else, huh?” asked the narrator, grinning. “Now, those of you who touched something wood, you probably had to skip back in the video. Trees feel slowly. Older the tree, truer that is. You can learn to dip into that without losing yourself entirely. It’s just a matter of practice.

“Animal products: how’s your sense of smell? Most animals smell better than we do. With their noses, I mean. Ears, eyes, too. You’re not going to get the full package off of everything, but experiment and you’ll find that everything’s got something to offer.”

“Boris?” Marie was in the doorway, looking sleepy. Boris paused the video guiltily. “You coming to bed?”

Boris checked the computer clock and was shocked to find that it was past midnight. He had lost hours sitting in the sensations from the oak desk, simply being a part of everything around him.

“Lost track of time,” he offered. “Thanks for coming to get me. I’ve got to be up in a few hours.”

He rose slowly, still feeling the serenity that had suffused him. This was an amazing power he had stumbled across. He couldn’t wait to try it out tomorrow in nature.

The sky had not yet begun to lighten when Boris parked his truck and made his way quietly through the woods to his tree stand. He clambered up the ladder and hunkered down to wait, wrapped warmly in his new fur coat. With ears pricked and eyes skimming through the shadowed forest in search of any movement, Boris searched for his prey.

Small sounds teased him, speaking of creatures moving out past the range of his limited human vision. Boris thought of the pattern on his left hand and smiled. He had a new secret weapon.

He gripped the coat with his left hand, waiting for a rush of sensations, but nothing happened. Boris frowned, moving his hand higher and trying again, but still nothing changed.

When he opened his hand to examine the pattern, Boris immediately saw the issue. The marker had partially worn off overnight, leaving the pattern disconnected and broken. He patted his pockets, but had nothing to write with.

An iced-over puddle of mud glinted from the forest floor below. Boris climbed back down, broke the ice and scooped a stick through the thick mud underneath. Painting carefully he refreshed the marks of the pattern, arc to line, line to arc.

He shook his hand to dry it in the chill night air, then blew on it. When he judged the marks dry enough, he again touched his hand to his coat. This time, he could feel something stirring. The forest brightened around him as his eyes took in more light. Sounds rose into sharper focus. He could smell something on the air, a scent of prey, but as he turned to face it everything faded again.

As soon as Boris had released his hold on his coat, the connection had faded. Frustrated, he tried to think of a solution. He wasn’t going to be able to do much hunting one-handed, especially if he had to keep his mind on gripping his coat the entire time. He needed something that would stay in constant contact, automatically maintaining the connection.

Suddenly the answer struck him: the back of his neck. There were no layers between it and the coat, and with the hood up, it would remain in contact. Wishing for a mirror, he dipped the stick in the mud again and began to draw, his left hand held before him for a visual reference.

At the final line the tip of the stick snapped. Boris winced as the sharp edge dragged across his skin, stinging as he completed the pattern. With no way to check his work, he held his breath and hoped for the best as he pulled the hood up over his head. He knew immediately that he had drawn the pattern correctly. Just as immediately, he knew that something was very wrong.

The fur was acrylic, pressed from petroleum and catalyzed into a polymer, but far, far back it too had once been alive. As the man had said in the video, everything was made from everything else. Each drop of oil had once been part of a living thing, and the pattern dutifully drew these forth, connecting them with Boris.

They came in a massive flood, thousands of minds all mixed together, rushing into Boris in a cacophony of conflicting desires. Some had been hunters, and his vision and hearing sharpened as they fought their way to the fore. Others had been prey, filling his nose with information about nearby food and distant predators. They stampeded around and around in his head, a welter of claws, scales, feathers and teeth, drowning Boris’s thoughts in a desperate sea of needs.

Boris thrashed and flailed, guttural noises escaping his throat as his hands clawed at the ground. The coat stayed on, though, tiny tendrils reaching from the hood to the nape of his neck, sneaking under his skin through the symbol where the stick had scratched him. They reached inside, melding seamlessly with his body even as the wave of consciousnesses roared through his mind, slowly tearing the scrape on his neck wider and wider to allow more of the coat in.

Even as Boris’s body started to bubble, the thoughts slowly calmed and coalesced. They began to settle on generalities that most could agree on. Hunt. Eat. Flee. Rut. Fight. Kill. Boris’s back split open as the fibers of the coat wormed their way inside, growing through his body to blend with his flesh. He opened his mouth to scream, but the sound that emerged from his changing throat was a frightening primal snarl. His mouth stretched and shifted, the sound becoming deeper and more menacing as it went.

Run. Feast. Grow. Simple biological imperatives pressed their way to the front. Boris rose up from the ground, panting. He had been a large man before, but now he loomed, a creature standing eight feet tall or more, heavily furred, eyes large and predatory. His jaw snapped open and closed, tasting the early morning air. Eyes opened along his neck and sides, providing overlapping views of the world around him. A thick tail swished angrily at his back, urging him forward.

The thing that had been Boris breathed deeply, tongue licking at sharp teeth. The transformation had stripped his body of resources, cannibalizing itself to build new muscles, organs, limbs in the images of what it had lost. Feed. Eat. Consume. These thoughts drove him, forcing all others out of his mind. He needed to eat like he needed to breathe. Fortunately, he was now extremely well equipped to provide.

The deer had fled; he could smell the sharp scent of their fear. He could chase them, but there was another smell, closer, easier. He smelled diesel and rubber, tobacco and deodorant. And beneath it all, red meat. Hot, fresh, delicious meat.

He breathed in again, the air roaring into his lungs. Two mixed scents. Two creatures. Half a mile or less.

He dropped to all six legs and began to lope toward them, an easy stride that silently ate up the ground. He’d be on them before they knew he was there. Saliva ran from his jaws in anticipation. And after that? He could already smell more beyond them.

The creature bared its teeth savagely. Hunting season had begun.

Rating: 8.83/10. From 6 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Micah Edwards
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Micah Edwards


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com 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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