I'm not alone in my encounters along the Red River where our reservation is located (Highway 204 meets Highway 75). I wrote a story once about it, which I called "The Ancient Trail." It's about what I'm going tell you.
Some years back (I don't know how far back this would go), as a child, there was this black, smashed-up old car in the woods. Scatched on one of the doors is a picture of what looks like a wolf or fox head with menacing eyes and an evil-like grin. I asked the Elders about it, and they don't say a thing about this black car in the woods. So my guess is this, sometime in the past, several people were partying at that very spot. During the night something happened, something terrible. This black, rusting car is all that remains, and the etching on the door serves as a warning. A warning to what, I've often wondered.
There is this old grave along the river, too, at the base of a tall pine tree, and it's easy to find because it's the only pine tree along the riverside. The Elders don't say anything about it, but it is there as some relatives and I went to check it out one summer day. It's true, there is a grave there, so we said our farewells and left the site in peace.
1981: A few years later as I grew up along the riverside fishing, I'd forgotten all about what my elders said. Though it was not much to go on, I continued to fish along the riverbank. One day during sundown, I got attacked by a large buck or elk. I didn't get quite a good look, being hit from the side and launched into the river. I surfaced and grabbed onto a downed tree and hung on to avoid being swept away by the river's current. I looked at the shore where the path is and tried to get a good look. I saw the backside of said buck when it too was suddenly pounced upon by a large, dark thing.
The animal let out a loud bellow as it was being attacked. Breaking free, the buck ran off down the path. I just hung onto the tree in the river and just watched. The dark animal turned to pursue the buck and then stopped a moment and turned toward me. Not making a sound, despite being very cold from the rushing water, I'd swear it smiled at me an then darted off. I stayed there hanging on for I don't know how long before finding the courage to swim to shore and go home. Later on I made a drawing of what I saw and afterward gave it the name, "Mu."
1990: Time passed and some log cabins were made out in the woods for summer camping. Being all excited, we got to go see the cabins for ourselves. We helped patch up the walls with clay, and later on got to enjoy some stories around the campfire while we had our lunch. These cabins would become a shelter for my uncle and his friends as one summer, while out hunting for deer and moose meat, one night (according to uncle) something had taken place out here in the woods by these very cabins.
Their racks were destroyed and one of the deer they shot and hung was missing. Something came during the night and partly rummaged through their things. They took what they had and left the cabins. To this day, no one goes to them anymore.
Being curious of the story my uncle told, I ventured out there on my own one winter to take a look for myself. The cabins are indeed still there, only now they are in terrible shape an in need of repair.
1998: More seasons pass and my other relatives and their pals take it as some child fantasy trying to be made real. What about the black car in the woods, the pine grave, the cabins? I tell them and they just ignore it all. Even my older brother doesn't believe it. During a fishing trip to the river near the bridge to town, we set up a campfire to do some night fishing. And listening to some tunes on the stereo at a high volume we talked and shared stories.
My older brother came running back and yelled to us to turn off the stereo and listen. He was out gathering more firewood with the family dog. While out in the woods gathering wood, he said he heard a strange howl-like moan out in the darkness close by. We sat, and all we could hear was the fire crackling as it burned. I looked around and no one said a word. The dog was looking into the dark beyond our fire's light as if staring at something. This was the last night we stayed to night fish along the riverbank.
2005: A few years pass and while out scouting for a place to fish, I happened upon a large paw print in the mud, and there was a regular dog print beside it. Placing my hand next to it, I'd say the paw print was almost the same size. There are no wolves around here, and there are no dogs that could leave a print of that size in the mud. So I took the photo to have it looked at, and so far I've gotten replies saying that it belongs to a large Timber wolf.
2009: Just this summer alone, some of the dogs can be heard barking toward the dike and the river. People say it's just deer walking past; others said they saw the dogs chasing something across some people's yards. Some tall, dark thing that moves quite fast, but making little or no sound as it is being chased by the dogs. I know some in the town know what I am taking about, but sometimes they ignore it as just an old saying.
Having enough of not being heard, I should check it out one night with a flash camera or with a camcorder and see what I find out in the darkness. Or try grab ahold of it and let it take me along with it, tired of being a normal person.