The Ruins on the Loch

📅 Published on January 18, 2021

“The Ruins on the Loch”

Written by Michael Whitehouse
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 — 16 minutes

Rating: 9.33/10. From 3 votes.
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It was a favorite spot of mine. I would happily sit by the clear water and look out to the surrounding hills as the sun peeked out from behind them. Each summer had been bliss there, but by then that bliss had turned to terror.

For the previous three summers, I had solo camped near a copse of trees on a small patch of wild grass that was sheltered from the Scottish wind by rocky outcrops. I made sure the campsite was within walking distance of the loch shore. Too close to the water and I would be pestered by the infamous Highland midges, similar to mosquitoes but vaster in number. The insects were drawn to the water and any mammal walking through the tall grass that surrounded it. And they seemed to love my blood. Camping away from the water kept them at bay to a degree, though some of them always managed to find me. I wish that all I had encountered out there in the wilderness was those tiny insects, but what I disturbed was much larger than that.

I was a decently seasoned camper by that time. Not a Ray Mears type living off of the environment around me, but I could happily wild camp in Scotland for a week at a time and generally keep myself safe and healthy. What I loved about this specific region was the variety of life. Deer poking their cautious noses out of large patches of woodland, eagles and buzzards overhead, and fish enjoying the clear water of the loch and the streams that fed it.

Each year, a thought occurred to me as I sat by the loch watching the sun set: I wonder what’s on that island.

There was indeed an island sitting in the middle of the still water of the loch. It was close enough to swim to, but I knew better than to trust the dead calm of surface water. Deadly currents could always pull you down underneath. But I was enticed by that island, and if I had brought a small inflatable dinghy with me, I would have headed out to it to explore. You see, the island had a structure on it. I could see what looked like crumbling walls covered by dead grass and reeds, obscured further by a single large sycamore tree that shaded it from the sun. Scotland is populated by ancient relics and ruins from its past, and I was always curious about who had built such things. Despite my curiosity, however, I could never make it safely across to the island in the loch, at least, not until my fourth summer camping there.

This time, I wanted to have a project while I stayed in the area for a few days. A few months before I was setting off, the thought of the island seeped into my mind, and from that moment on I knew what my project would be – I would build a raft. As a kid, I had built a few rafts with friends, some of them faring better than expected. In fact, it was those long summers out in the countryside that cemented my love of camping. Nonetheless, I could not take the risk that the raft would break apart on the water, so I researched it carefully, and also brought a small life jacket in my pack.

It took me two days to build the raft. I will not bore you with the details – mainly cutting down the correct type of wood, binding it together with paracord in such a way that the raft would stay together as it moved across the surface of the water. For a paddle, I knew my woodworking skills were not good enough, and so I brought one with me.

On the third day, early in the morning, I decided to try the raft out. It worked well enough, although it veered slightly to the left as I paddled, and so I had to correct for that. I was confident I could now make it to the island on the loch, and so I paddled my raft carefully towards it. As I neared the island, I could see the ruins in greater detail. The walls were an unusual dark brown color, and I could not identify the stone that had been used in its construction.

Reaching the island, I stepped off my raft and pulled it up onto a dirt embankment so it did not drift away. Other than the crumbling ruins, there was nothing overtly unusual about the island, though as I moved towards the ruined wall, I felt compelled to look over my shoulder back across the water to where I would usually sit by the loch. There was a compulsion to head back there. I wish I had listened to it.

The stone wall before me was just above head height. I could not see over it, and as I followed the wall I realized that it was actually part of a square structure. The surface of the stone was worn by the elements and, even in the sun, damp to the touch. In fact, it was more than damp; it was sticky, like gloss paint not yet set. Excitement began to grow in the pit of my stomach. If there was no obvious way into the structure, then the ruins were either designed with a hidden entrance or to store something inside. I remembered being eight years old with my grandfather, combing a beach with a metal detector. We did not find any treasure, but each time we heard that beep letting us know something was beneath our feet, the anticipation was intoxicating – worth it, despite us uncovering nothing but bottle caps and a piece of scrap metal.

Reaching up, I could just about touch the top of the wall. I then pulled myself upward, scrambling up the side with my feet. The damp brown stonework rubbed off on my clothes and, as it did so, I noticed a strange smell. It was not a bad smell, per se, but a musty, earthy scent that clung to my clothes. It smelled old, organic but not rotten. Once I was on top of the wall, I realized that the structure had a roof. It was a large perfect square, covered by a thick layer of deep green moss. A little disappointed that I could not see inside, I ran my hand over the moss-covered roof as I sat on the edge of the wall.

Then, I heard a strange sound. Though I was surrounded by the loch, the water was still, at least on the surface. Inside the stone square, however, I could hear the unmistakable sound of running water, and it was accompanied by something else. An intermittent clanking noise reminded me of chisel on stone. So mystified by the sound was I that I leaned too far across the roof, putting my ear to the mossy growth that obscured the stonework. Instantly, I knew my mistake, my blood ran cold as the roof caved in on itself and I fell inward.

I must have hit my head during the fall, because I have no memory of the next five hours. I woke to a sharp pain in my side. A piece of rock was cutting into my ribs as I lay on top of it, my arm twisted behind my head at an unnatural angle. Pulling myself up, I was relieved that my arm was not broken, but I could feel that I had badly injured the tendon and muscles.

Looking up, I expected to see the sky above me through the hole I had made in the roof. Two things shocked me at that moment. The first was that I had fallen into some sort of underground structure, with the roof at least 30 feet above me. The second revelation was that there was no hole in the roof as evidence for my fall. I could not understand how that could be. As I stood on uneven rock fragments that shifted under my weight echoing into the darkness, my dazed mind began to clear away some of the mental fog from the fall.

How am I able to see?

I should not have been able to; after all, the only light source should have been the sun above, but that had been blotted out as the roof had somehow closed over, sealing me inside. The interior of the structure was somehow phosphorescent. Looking up the shaft to the roof, I could see that the walls were covered in a thick material that appeared to me to be a cross between moss and seaweed. Reaching over to the nearest wall, I could feel it. It had the softness of moss, but strange reed-like strands grew out from it, like the lifeless tentacles of a dead squid hanging loose. Stranger still, the moss-like material glowed with a dull internal light. It reminded me of the glow in the dark toys I used to play with when I was a child. But this glow did not bring a warm, happy feeling to me. There was something about it that was unnatural. When I squinted my eyes, I was certain that it was pulsing at an extremely high frequency, much like a fluorescent light. It was giving me the same kind of headache, that was for sure.

Looking around me, I now noticed the blood dripping from my head. I was lucky to be alive, but, knowing a thing or two about how debilitating a head injury could be, I knew I had to get out of there quickly and then back to civilization. Pulling at the moss-like growths on the walls, my hands slipped as I tried to get a proper feel for the stone underneath. By then it was not just the glowing growths that unnerved me, but the stone walls themselves. I managed to climb a few feet, but the stone underneath was moving somehow. It was as though the stone walls were made of small boulders, too easily dislodged if not for the moss that now knitted it together.

The path upward was too difficult, and so I descended to see if the opposite wall was a better option. That was when I saw the circles on the floor. It was difficult to see exactly what they were in the dim green light, but surrounding the circumference of the chamber floor were evenly spaced circles carved into stone. Each one was about 20 centimeters across, and they were striking to look at, as they were made of a shiny black material that looked like polished volcanic rock.

The chamber was clearly unusual. Whatever it was originally had mostly been covered by the strange moss, and I began to fear that I would become a permanent resident of the structure – weird circles, moss, and me; relics to be found by someone just as lucky.

The rocky fragments beneath my feet shifted as I moved to the other side of the chamber, and I felt a sense of great relief when I saw something that looked like a ladder. It was of stone construction, carved out of the rock, but had a number of slats leading upwards that were clearly meant for climbing.

Thank God, I remember thinking. I’m not going to die in here.

‘We all die here’, a voice whispered in the darkness.

I have never felt so afraid in my life. I was not alone; someone else was inside the chamber with me. But where? It was not that large, measuring only a few meters across.

‘He… Hello?’ I said, my voice still groggy.

‘Leave here,’ answered the voice. ‘Or you will join us.’

I did not have to be asked twice. Reaching up, I grabbed hold of the stone ladder and began my climb. As I did so, I could hear something moving. It was underpinned by a seemingly organic slithering sound, and yet, it sounded unnatural and abhorrent to me, the way it reverberated in that chamber. Then I felt something vibrate from within the space, like the distant sound of a bell, yet so low in pitch that it was almost inaudible. The vibration climbed up the stone of the ladder, and I found myself looking down to the floor beneath me. Something moved down there, its outline made visible by the glowing moss.

Whatever it was, it was climbing up the ladder towards me. A cold terror took me, and I began scrambling up the stone. Inch by inch as my hands grasped furiously at the moss-covered ladder, I made my way up towards the roof. And as I moved with increasing desperation, so too did the thing below me. More than once I glanced down and saw it arching back to look up towards me, its body contorting in a strange inhuman manner. The weak glow of the moss around me was enough to only hint at the thing’s shape and construction. It made no sound.

When I was less than a few feet from the roof, I began to panic as the realization that it had closed over after my fall reasserted itself. The thing on the ladder was now just a few rungs below me, it reached out its hand, if it can be called such a thing, and swiped at my foot. I moved out of the way swiftly, but the next attack would surely land home. Grasping the moss-covered ladder with one hand, I reached out with the other and touched the roof above me. It felt soft. I realized then that the roof itself was not made of stone, but rather constructed of the moss that had somehow grown enough since my fall to seal me inside.

I pulled at it as the creature beneath me moved within an inch of my leg. The moss gave way in my hands and, blindly flailing, my fingertips finally broke through to the upper edge of the ruined walls. Sunlight reached inside and gave me a route to escape. With every fiber in my being, I pulled myself up onto the stony wall through a thick ring of moss and then fell over the other side, landing on a small mound of grass and rock. The pain coursed through me, but the panic and fear that had now taken hold overrode any sensation.

My lungs now felt as though they were on fire and I stumbled across that small island towards my raft. Once there, I fell into it, and pushed off with the paddle I had left there. It was not until I was halfway across the still surface towards the shore that I turned to look once more at the island on the loch. It was as it had appeared before. I tried to calm my breathing at that point, hoping that whatever abomination had pursued me up the stone ladder was confined to the boundaries of the ruins. But my hopes were immediately dashed. Something approximating a head poked up out of the roof and stared at me as I scrambled onto the shore of the Loch.

At that moment I then heard a loud splash of water, clear and ringing. I had only taken my eyes off of the island for a moment, but I was now certain that the thing in the ruins dove into the water after me. In my panic, I abandoned the raft, holding onto the paddle in the vain hope that it would protect me from whatever was following. I rushed as best I could through long grass, reeds, and rocky pools, until I reached the outline of nearby woodland where my tent was pitched.

Looking up at the sky, the sun was now waning. It would take me at least two hours to hike back to my car, and so I grabbed my keys, and some water, while holding my paddle for dear life, and left everything else behind. I was already exhausted from the chase, but all I could do was keep moving forward. I had no idea what that creature would do if it found me, and I was not in the mood to find out.

About thirty minutes into my hike, I first heard it. I was on an overgrown dirt path that weaved through a large patch of woodland. Sound does strange things in the forest. It ricochets off of the trees, making it almost impossible to tell at times where a noise is coming from. This noise was unlike anything I had heard before. It was like a mass of wet paper striking the ground rhythmically. There was no mistaking what the noise was: footsteps, if it could be considered that the creature in the ruins had such a thing as feet.

At first, I continued forward in the direction of my car, which was now still an hour and a half away, but that wet sound shifted then changed as though the appendages used to walk themselves were altering in shape with each stride. Worse, I had no idea where the noise was coming from. In one moment it sounded as though it was behind me, and then in another just in front. Was I running to safety or was I running to my doom?

In the panic, I made the only decision that I could. The noise was almost upon me, and so I had to hide. I left the path and headed through a thick network of pine trees. The branches were so close together that they caught on my clothes and skin. If there was any hope of moving in that direction without giving away my position due to the snapping branches, it was an unlikely one. The thick wet footsteps continued, and I was certain that wherever they were coming from, they were nearing.

It was then that I heard a babbling stream whisper through the trees like a voice calling me home. I followed the sound and knew that it promised at least a chance. Perhaps the thing following me was like an animal, using my scent. If I could cover myself in water then rush off on the other side, it might mask my scent for long enough to make my escape.

When I reached a small clearing, I saw the stream weaving its way in and out of the trees. It was deep enough for me to wade through, and so I jumped into the freezing water immersing myself in it for a moment. Even in the summer, the Scottish waters are cold, and the shock to my body brought both discomfort and a newfound energy. I crouched down and dunked my head beneath the surface for a moment. When I raised my head out of the water, my vision was blurred as it drained away in front of my eyes. But despite the world appearing temporarily distorted, there was one thing I could be sure of: something was standing next to the stream. It was considering me. I glanced at it for a second and could see what I can only describe as long strands of dark green moss and tangled reeds, or were they limbs?

The creature then leaped into the water with me, and before I had a chance to defend myself, something reached out and covered my face. The damned thing was holding my mouth open with two curved pincers that felt like long overgrown human nails. Then the wet darkness took me. I struggled to breathe as a long protrusion of moss thrust itself forward, penetrating my mouth and pushed down my throat. I could feel my throat bulge as it made its way down inside of me, and felt a bend in the thing, like a large knuckle.

The cold water splashed as I struggled and flailed. I reached down beneath the surface for some hope that I could stay my execution, only to find that my paddle had long since abandoned me downstream. The pincers now pulled back with greater force around my mouth. My jaw cracked with blinding pain as it began to give way to the force, while the thick limb of moss burrowed its way further down into my insides. Whether it can be considered good luck or not, I cannot say, but when one of the pincers pulled back too far, it sliced open the side of my mouth, and so the pincer slipped backwards away from my face, losing its grip. With my jaw now my own, I did the only thing I could do. I bit down, hard.

I heard no scream. No groan of pain. The thing of moss slipped back into the woods and vanished, taking with it the horrid appendage that had been forced down my throat. Pulling myself up to the side of the water, I dragged my shaking body to the root of a tall tree and then sat with my back to its trunk. The inside of my mouth was covered in green fibers that I can only describe as hairs. I could taste blood in the back of my throat, but when I spat on the ground next to me, I was shocked to see a dark green liquid drip from my mouth. It tasted of nothing. No bitterness. No pungent smell. Whatever the liquid was, it was neither cold nor hot; it did not even feel wet. If I had not cut my throat and spat it out, I would have had no idea it was there.

Twilight was now coming, and I began to shiver. I had to make it back to my car, my life depended on it. Wandering back towards the path, I moved along it once more. As the sky grew dim above, I glanced over my shoulder more than once. Even though I could hear no wet footfalls as before, I had the strange feeling that I was not alone. That the thing from the ruins was following silently, no more out of place than a breeze through the canopy above.

I felt tired. Walking along the path I blinked once. With the second blink, my eyes closed for a moment as I continued moving forward. On the third or fourth blink, I opened my eyes and recoiled in utter horror. I was no longer on the woodland path. Instead, I was staring at something. An opening in the ground that contained nothing but a black void. The night sky was above me, and in the utter darkness, I could only see the faint outline of what lay before me. Then, something faint from within. A green glow that now brightly pulsed for a moment.

Unable to control my movements, I fell forward. As my body collapsed into the glowing void in front of me, I felt a rush of air and finally knew where I was. I had somehow lost consciousness and wandered and swam to the ruins on the loch. Expecting to feel a solid crunch as my body impacted on the loose stones that populated the floor, I instead came to a rest slowly. Arm-like masses of moss held me in their embrace from the walls. Gently, they passed me down to the bottom of the ruins and sat me on the ground.

‘I told you to leave’, said a voice.

I tried to reason with it, tell it that I could no more control my body than a car could resist the turn of a driver’s wheel. The voice replied: ‘It does not matter. We all die here.’

The green phosphorescence of the place then lit up like it had never before. I could see around me. I sat at the center of the ruins. The ground was not made of loose stone as I had thought. Bright pulsing rays of green light illuminated its true construction: a foundation of broken bones, some animal, some human. The moss-like material that covered the walls now writhed, shaking like an undulating sea. In places, they drew back, revealing something loose underneath.

It was then that I felt a release from whatever controlled me. Perhaps whatever had infected my body had not been administered in the full dose. That biting down on the creature’s appendage had disturbed it before it finished the job. First, I felt my hands fill with pins and needles like the circulation was returning to them. Then my feet came under my control. I stood up and watched as the moss around me continued to quiver and convulse.

Instinctively, I reached out for the stone ladder that had been my escape before, pulling myself up to the roof of the ruins one rung at a time. I thought that if only I could escape, then perhaps I could put this madness behind me. As I reached the top of the ladder, I held my hand out to grab at moss that had once again closed over, sealing me in. But as I did so, something came forth from the wall next to me. Something that glistened and watched. Black eyes and white skin pulsed and wriggled as though creatures stirred beneath it. It was either the approximation of a human face or what remained of some poor fool who had entered the ruins before me.

‘We all die here,’ it said. And I fell.

I woke to the sound of birds singing. The morning had come, and with it the animals that populated the Scottish countryside. I was on the Loch shore, the island and its ruins sleeping peacefully on the other side of the water. I muttered to myself that I must have escaped and made it to the shore, but there was no memory of that for me. Body bruised and aching, I made my way out of the woods. This time, I was allowed to leave.

It has been one year since my visit to the ruins on the loch. I think of it nearly every day. What was the purpose of that structure? Sometimes I believe it was built to contain the strange life – if it was indeed alive – that I encountered. In other moments, I speculate that whatever resides there, found that place. Perhaps it wants to be left alone, or perhaps it lurks out of sight and will continue to infect those who enter its foul nest.

When I quiet my mind, I can still hear it. ‘We all die here’. I like to think that I bucked that trend. That I faced what was there and made my escape. In my darker moments, however, when I hear those voices in my head calling to me, I do wonder if I am forever changed for a purpose. And this opens up the darkest consideration of all: That I may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, sent out into the world – a facsimile of who I was, carrying with me a putrid, undying seed.

Rating: 9.33/10. From 3 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Michael Whitehouse
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Michael Whitehouse


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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