Episode 1: Wendigo?

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Day 1:


It’s been a few days since I last recorded, to be honest after the last time I really didn’t know what to do next. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep digging or just turn everything over to the authorities and wash my hands of it all. So I did what any girl in my position would do, I called my best friend. Allison informed me that I was being a ridiculous little scaredy cat and that if I wasn’t going to follow up than she was. Needless to say she is now on her way here even as we speak and will be staying with me until further notice. In case you were wondering yes that was your warning, I’m sure it won’t be long before she hijacks this recorder from me, so If this is the last time you hear from me, I’m sorry, and godspeed.


Day 1 cont:


So, what am I supposed to do again? Just talk into this recorder? (Tess mumbling in the background)

About what?

(Tess: Anything?!)

About me?

(Tess: Oh My God!)

Okay, okay, I’ll start! Geez…
Hey guys! Or girls! Or whoever is listening to me out there. My name is Allison, also known as Allise. If you really want to annoy me, which Tess likes to do on a regular basis, you can call me Alli. But, don’t, because I am NOT an alleyway!!!
Anyway, let’s move on, shall we? My story begins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I was born. I lived there for about 2 years and then was yanked away with my baby brother by my father to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Unfortunately, my parent’s marriage wasn’t as happy and joyful as they tried to make little Allison believe.
But, we made it work and we are still there to this day. I’m currently working my way through college and a part-time job in a coffee shop. Once I get through college though, I really want to focus my attention on the world of literature. You see, I love books. I always have, for as long as I can remember. It’s one thing that my father and I have a similar taste in. He’s a bookbinder which didn’t seem like much of a career but, he made it work surprisingly well. When I was little, he would always take me on his little adventures to go repair damaged volumes. He works on all sorts of stuff: classics, textbooks, and my personal favorite, history books.
Thinking back on it now, I think that’s what drew me and Tess together as friends. I love writing and books, she loves history…it just kind of worked. Of course, we have other things in common but, those two things really held us together. I still remember the first time I had her over at my house and she nearly died when she saw all of the history books my dad had that he was in the process of “healing” as he called it.
And now, here we are, in this stuffy, incredibly unorganized little room. Not gonna lie, I can see why she needs my help. The amount of *sneezes* papers and documents that are in here is ridiculous! But, like the good friend that I am, I volunteered to help this crazy history geek. I’m curious to see what we can find out about this weird little town. I think the first thing I need to do is attempt to organize some of this. Stop looking at me like that, Tess, you know how important it is for me to have things organized!


*tape recorder swaps hands*

Tess: Then stop talking about yourself and be useful why don’t you?

oi I swear that girl will be the death of me.

(Allison: Shut up!)

Anyway… So obviously you have met Alleyway now.

*irritated grunt and papers shuffling*

regardless, I really am grateful that she came up to be with me. This room is pretty creepy when you are all alone. I wish my boyfriend could have come too but he’s to busy “working”. I think he will be up in a few weeks or so, I hope. There are some seriously massive boxes that I am pretty sure are filled with lead, that I intend to have him get down for me when he gets here. Until then we will just go through all the readily accessible documents.

(Allison: Tess look at this!)

what’s up?


Allison:  Did you know about this huge fire, “Las Conchas”


Tess:  Oh yeah, that actually wasn’t even the worst one. The “Cerro Grande” fire was way worse it actually ruined a bunch of homes and stuff. Plus I heard rumors that the lab set that one themselves, Just a conspiracy I’m sure. I remember when my grandparents had to evacuate and came to stay with us for a little bit, though. That was a fun impromptu visit even if it wasn’t under the best circumstances.


Allison: Well apparently your grandpa wanted to remember the Las Conchas one for some reason, this whole envelope is full of newspaper clippings and stuff about it.  Check this one out,

By HELEN OLIFF | Published: JULY 6, 2011

On the heels of the Wallow Fire threatening Arizona tribes, the Las Conchas Fire left the Santa Clara Indian Reservation in a state of emergency. The Las Conchas wildfire burned over 120,000 acres last week. The Governor of Santa Clara Pueblo said they’ve had wildfires before but this one is “unlike anything they have ever seen” – it spread so fast.  He declared a state of emergency, and the Governor of the State of New Mexico is expected to follow suit.

The largest in New Mexico history, the Las Conchas fire destroyed thousands of acres of land on the Santa Clara Indian Reservation. This included forested land, some cultural and historical sites, and about 6,000 acres of watershed, which will affect drinking water, water for livestock, and water for crops. Long-term, Santa Clara will have to deal with contaminated runoff, and the Governor of Santa Clara sees major flooding as an oncoming risk due to the loss of forestation in the canyon.

In addition to the loss of acreage and natural resources, the Las Conchas fire was personally devastating to the people of Santa Clara, who are mourning the loss of sacred land.


Tess: wow I never realized that it did so much damage to the native peoples land..


Pause and paper shuffles


Allison: Hey Tess, what’s a Wendigo?


Tess: I think it’s a Native American monster story, why?


Allison: I found these handwritten pages that your Grandpa has titled “Wendigo”


Tess: Let me see.


July 4, 2011


This is the first day of being back in Los Alamos after the evacuation was lifted. I enjoyed my time with family but I have heard many strange mumbling of events since I have been gone. I was beginning to be very anxious to arrive home and find out more. My friend and source from the Fire Department claim one of his crew has a very interesting story to tell me. Tomorrow I will search him out and start figuring out what has gone on during my absence.


July 5, 2011


This day was an exhausting one. I tracked down the fireman who I shall call Brian for the remainder of this retelling for his and my own safety. Apparently, he had been among the first responders when the Las Conchas fire broke out on June 26 and spent many hours attempting to fight it back. Unfortunately, by June 30th, he was injured so gravely that he was in the hospital until yesterday. The accident that caused his hospital stint is the one that he wanted to speak to me about. He warned me that it would make him sound crazy. He made me promise not to turn him into the mental hospital. He begged me not too, in fact.  Here is what he had to tell me:


“On the morning of the 30th, we had gotten the news that the fire had spread to over 100,000 acres and very little had been contained still. We went to the fire line very near to the Santa Clara Pueblo border. I was working with the foam, and our line was spread out pretty good. I must have gone farther than I should have because before I knew it I was out of sight and earshot of my team. I tried my radio which I realized then had gone unusually quiet. I called a few times to no avail. The dang thing was dead. I was ready to turn back when I heard what sounded like footsteps coming toward me. I assumed I was closer to the team then I realized since there weren’t supposed to be any civilians out there. So I kept working until the hose started acting up. It was coming out in spurts. Eventually, it wasn’t coming out at all. I tried messing with the hose to see if it had gotten kinked somehow. When this didn’t work I called out to the team, but there was no response. I must have gone farther than I thought.

I remember when I had been training I always had this fear that I would get lost while I was working the fire line. But my buddy Joe always told me if I ever got turned around just follow the hose. That thought always got me through so it’s what I did then.  I followed it back about 8 feet then stopped in my tracks. I saw then why the foam wasn’t coming out. The hose had been severed, cut straight through. I picked it up in disbelief, I had never seen anything cut these hoses before, let alone cleanly through as if it was paper. I never even felt a tug, and the other end of the hose was nowhere to be seen. I had just lost my lifeline. I was beginning to panic at that point. I looked around in a full circle, desperately trying to find a landmark that looked familiar, but I couldn’t see very far, the smoke was so thick. I realized then that the wind must have shifted. The fire was getting dangerously close to my position and I had nothing to combat it with. I was fully panicking now and I decided to just move away in any direction that wasn’t clearly fire laden. I started walking in what I hoped was the right direction when I heard those footsteps again. I turned to look over my shoulder, feeling relief rushing through me. I thought I was saved but, there was no one there. I distinctly remember the chills that flew over my sweat soaked body, despite the heat of the fire. A pit formed in my stomach and I bit back a scream. The footsteps were coming closer and I could hear just how heavy they were and there was a dragging sound too, that I hadn’t noticed earlier. I knew it wasn’t anyone from the crew, but there shouldn’t have been anyone other than us here. I called out to the person. “hello, are you injured? I am with the fire department, I can help”  I don’t know what I intended to do to help. I was more useless than I had ever been in that moment. Regardless, there was no response except for the steps to stop. I heard branches breaking, the fire was getting closer, I needed to run. So I did. I ran in the only direction that looked safer to me. I only got about 20 feet away before I saw the red-orange glow of the firewall. I chose badly in my panicked state and now I knew I wouldn’t be making it out of here alive. I imagined my poor crew mates finding my charred lifeless body and I’m not ashamed to admit I began to cry.


That’s when I saw two specks of light glowing a vibrant yellow, at a height that didn’t make sense. They were hanging there about 8 feet off the ground, and every few seconds they winked out simultaneously before reigniting. Like eyes, blinking. As I stared I began to see an outline around those eyes. A huge creature like I had never seen before. It had to be around 9 feet tall and stood on two legs. It was painfully thin and covered in short coarse fur. it looked as if it hadn’t eaten in years. I realized that what I initially took as tree branches next to its head were actually antlers. Like a buck has. Huge 6 point antlers were sticking out from its head, giving the thing at least 2 more feet of height. Its arms were as long as its body and dragged on the ground coming to an end in huge hands that had 5 foot long claws each finger. This thing is what I had been hearing. I screamed, long and loud, but the roaring of the fire or of my head drowned it out. That thing came so close to me I could smell it. A disgusting rotting stench oozed from it’s very being. It grabbed me with one long taloned hand around my waist and I felt a searing pain on the length of my back. That’s when I passed out.


When I woke up I was in the hospital. My fire chief was at my bedside and he was waiting for me to wake up so I could tell him what had happened. I forced him to tell me how they found me first. I was desperate to hear that he or one of the crew had seen that thing too. I was disappointed and confused to hear that he claimed that after searching briefly for me one of the guys had gone to the truck to call for backup. That’s when they found me about 30 feet from the fire truck. Just laying face down on the ground and covered in my own blood from the wound on my back. Except I wasn’t bleeding by the time they found me. He claims that when they tore my clothes off to tend to the wound It was cauterized. He was obviously confused about how that could have happened. Unfortunately, I didn’t know. I told him everything I just told you, and of course, he didn’t believe me. At least he was polite about it, but I know he thinks I just got too close to the fire and suffered from heat stroke and smoke inhalation. He thinks I stabbed my back on a particularly sharp tree branch and somehow got close enough to the fire that it cauterized my wound. Maybe that’s all that did happen. For my own sanity, I think that’s what I will choose to believe. There’s just one part I can’t reconcile in my own head. When the doctor told me his report he told me the cut was about a foot long and so cleanly cut it looked as though a surgeon had done it, with a very very sharp blade. The cauterization is a problem too. The doctor said I had no burn marks anywhere else on my back.


July 6, 2011


Today I made it a point to find out more about the beast that Brian explained. I went to the library and did research on local wildlife species. Nothing matched what he described, not even close. I felt like it sounded too fantastic and mythical like some kind of monster parents tell their kids about. I took a shot and paid my friend John a visit. I asked him if this monsters description matched anything he had ever heard of. To my surprise, he claimed that it sounded like an old native American monster called “Wendigo”. He wasn’t able to tell me more than that but he pointed me in the right direction. Tomorrow I will be paying the Santa Clara Pueblo a visit.


July 8, 2011


Yesterday I spent the day on the pueblo. I was told to find a Mr. Trujillo, of course, there are many but I will not give away his full name. Once I arrived at his home and the small talk and introductions were exchanged I told him I was there to find out about the Wendigo. His face paled as soon as the word left my mouth and angry fear flashed into his eyes. I thought he was going to kick me out, but he didn’t. To my surprise, he asked me to sit down. He then told me the story of the Wendigo. He says that his people and many other Native American tribes have long believed that a Wendigo is a bloodthirsty creature that is created from great starvation. He said that in the early days of most tribes the winters were exceptionally hard to deal with, and the food was so scarce that eventually someone would crack and turn to devour their own kind. This act of cannibalism turned them slowly into monsters that over time became less and less human even in appearance. Creating monsters that often were seen with many extreme mutations including antlers, and long talon-like claws. One consistent though was the extreme thinness as though they never eat and the fact that they only come in winter. He says this is their punishment, to be forever starving and hungering for flesh in the winter months when food is not easy to find.


I, of course, do not believe in this lore, I am a man of science. There are no monsters in this world aside from humankind. However It sounded close to what Brian had explained, so I told Mr. Trujillo of what Brian claimed to have experienced. He listened in rapt attention but at the end, he looked stunned and confused. The man shook his head and claimed that I must be mistaken. Upon asking if this thing was a Wendigo or not he stayed quiet for some time. Finally, he nodded and explained that, indeed, everything I described sounded like the Wendigo aside from the fact that it was not winter. He claimed that it was possible that its sacred home was one that was burned in the fire, so it was quite possible that it was active even now. I asked him what I was mistaken on then. In response he said. “Wendigo tear men apart and eat them. They do not save them”.  


I left him then and came home. I cannot explain what Brian experienced other than perhaps a very vivid waking dream brought on by the stress of the moment. He must have been saved by someone though. Who that person was I do not know, but I can say for certain that it was not a Wendigo.

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