Note: One rainy night, I was the victim of a “ding dong ditch.” As I grumpily looked across the front yard of my parent’s house, I noticed a mysterious package on the steps. It had been weeks since my friend, who loves his anonymity, dragged me into the woods to try to find bigfoot. I confess that I thought he was crazy, and then he almost choked to death on a granola bar. After that night, I avoided my friend for a few weeks, even before the quarantine. But I’m sorry to report that the package contained my friend’s field notebook. There was a note to me in there, asking me to present the final passages in the notebook to you. I have faithfully carried out his final charges, now all that remains is what you do with it.
If you are receiving this correspondence, dear editor, I am afraid that the inevitable has happened. Like Icarus, I have moved too close to the proverbial sun. The powers that be have noticed my work and have decided to silence me. Who is it that reported me? The foolish professor who pretended that I was not onto the truth? Or perhaps my anonymity in our correspondences was not as ironclad as I once thought. Do not fear for yourself or feel wracked by guilt because of my fate. You have faithfully submitted my work to the world, but cleverly disguised it in a fiction magazine. I cannot think of a more intelligent way to present my work, and undoubtedly many minds were opened because of your diligence. What follows is a succinct account of what happened, before my light was snuffed out.
There is no doubt in my mind that I saw sasquatch on that fateful night in the woods. I haven’t been able to get back in since. The university shutdown has not only affected my course, it has affected my life’s mission. In the weeks following my third message to you, dear editor, I began to get the sense that I was being followed. I felt watched while I walked around campus. When I went home for spring break, I noticed nondescript black cars, always seeming to follow me.
To break up the monotony of quarantine, I went on small walks in the woods. I was hiking for a while, in order to train for my next attempt to capture evidence of the creature of College Woods. In a normally tranquil section of forest, I became keenly aware that I was not alone. I tried to act nonchalant, as if I didn’t realize that there was someone else around. I discreetly searched the undergrowth, as I so often did in search of my favorite hairy cryptid. And as I continued walking, I continued my searching, aware that someone could see me even though I could not see them.
When I rounded a bend in the woods, I saw them. Two tall men, dressed in hiking pants and boots. They eyed me in an unfriendly manner. I knew I was in trouble immediately. I considered making a break for it, but I was frozen with fear. The two men started walking toward me with a purpose.
“We’re going to need to see your phone and your field notes,” the first man said.
“You’re not in trouble, we just need your materials,” the second one added.
At this point, I knew that all of my work was true. I couldn’t lose it all now. I sprinted into the woods, off the trail. The two men took off after me. I knew these woods; they were near my mother’s house and I hiked here often. The men were quick but were still struggling to keep up. I heard one of them stumble and fall, but I didn’t dare turn around. I darted in between trees and did everything I could to leave them behind.
I eventually regained the trail. It was close to dusk and the shadows fell long across the path. I knew that the men were still out there, but I couldn’t hear them. My adrenaline was surging through my veins as I cautiously but quickly approached the edge of the forest. In the parking area, there was a black SUV with tinted windows parked next to my car. That’s when I knew that I wouldn’t be safe leaving here.
I followed the wood line for what felt like hours, until I reached an area close to my house. I sneaked slowly through the neighborhood and peeked into my yard from the neighbor’s. The coast seemed clear, so I ran into the house. Nobody was home.
I knew what would be following close behind me so I lost no time. I grabbed my emergency bag, which was planning for this eventuality that I knew would come. I then grabbed a box, addressed it to my colleague, hastily wrote him a note, and sealed my research notes inside. This is where the story ends, with me on the run in a shutdown nation. My notes and research in the hands of another, but the truth firmly in the hearts of my loyal readers. I am not lost.
Until we can correspond again, dear editor, be assured that I will continue to seek the truth.