Have a nice day: An image too disturbing to shake
The cameras were set up, and it was time to retire. The little raccoons would be out after dark. She was hoping to get good footage of them. Their habits had changed so drastically in the past few days, she was anxious to get overnight footage recorded and find out what was going on with them.
They had gone from happy little orphans living in a den below the hollow tree in her back yard to a trio of shivering arboreal skeletons. They refused to come out of the tree to forage on the ground. She had to feed them baby food out of a spoon.
They were so skittish that it was becoming increasingly difficult for her to get close enough to actually feed them. She was concerned that her little cubs would die if the mystery as to why they had suddenly become so afraid to leave the highest branches of the tree was not soon solved.
Midnight came and she went to bed, thinking that in the morning there would be some ordinary predator footage, maybe a fox or a coyote. It would be easy to set a humane trap and have the game warden take it off her property. Hopefully then the babies would resume their normal behavior.
She slept well, but awoke feeling vaguely disturbed, as if she’d had a bad dream but couldn‘t remember it. The feeling was quickly forgotten and footage from the night before became the focus of her attention.
While waiting for the files from the cameras to download into her computer, she went out to the tree to see if the babies could be coaxed into eating something. They looked worse than ever, barely able to hold on to the branches and mewling pitifully. They were so hungry, but were too afraid to climb down to be fed. It was becoming unbearable to watch them starve to death while she could do nothing about it.
Inside at the computer, she started reviewing the eight or so hours of recorded data. Night-vision lenses on the camera produced a weird photo-negative look, the cub’s eyes were visible, and the little bunch huddled together as high up as could safely be climbed without bending or breaking branches. She scrolled through, not having eight hours to wait for the appearance of whatever was hunting them, certain she would soon see an image of the culprit below the tree.
Four hours from the time the camera was turned on, the babies began crying out pitifully and scrabbling higher to find safety in the tree. Nothing was visible from any of the four cameras she had situated on the property. She slowed the file down and went through it frame by frame. Thirty-six frames in after the initial terror reaction, she finally saw what was making them scream out in fear, because she did the same thing.
In 20 years of amateur wildlife observation, she had never seen anything like it. It was unreal in every way and thoughts of a hoax were immediate. The color of the creature wasn’t discernible because of the quality of the night lens. It looked to be smooth-skinned and was completely hairless and naked. It walked upright on two legs and had a very large head.
What it appeared to be was a tiny full-grown man, the size of a toddler, with a grossly misshapen head and jaw. She knew this was impossible, and yet was looking right at it. As the frame by frame continued, she became more horrified and the vague feeling of dread she woke up with returned full force.
The minuscule little monster circled the tree and began to claw at the trunk, making the poor babies scream louder. He turned suddenly, as if he had heard a noise, and ran straight for the camera she had set up behind the tree. The first full-on shot of the face of the creature made her break into a cold sweat. The misshapen jaw was crowded with needle-like teeth and the pupils of the eyes were elongated.
The tiny beast leered directly into the camera lens and snapped the horrible jaws together. His gory smile made the display even more sickening. He acted as if he knew exactly what the camera was and continued to clack the terrible teeth and mug for the lens.