“Dammit!” Scott heard his friend Will shout from the other room. “Not again!” Scott was lounging on the couch and reading a magazine when Will stormed into the room. “That thief has stolen some more things!” Scott set down the magazine.
“You sure it’s not just raccoons or something?” Scott asked. “Sure of it!” Will replied, “Raccoons would of taken food or something; this guy just took some bottles of alcohol and other things that I don’t think any raccoon would want!”
Scott and Will were on a hunting trip in the forest, they were staying in a log cabin up near some mountains. Recently items have gone missing; bottles of wine or beer, books, sometimes even the pelt of the animal that they had killed. Scott wondered where this thief had come from, there wasn’t another log cabin for miles around and they hadn’t found or heard of anyone else camping nearby. Will was determined to get revenge.
“I’m going to get him!” Will shouted “He’ll pay!” He sat down next to Scott and opened a can of beer. “I’ll wait up all night if I have to!” Scott picked up his magazine and resumed reading it. “You do what you want; I prefer to get my sleep.”
* * *
Scott walked out of his room in the morning to see Will sitting on the couch holding his shotgun. “I almost had him!” He shouted “He was out back but he got away!” Scott yawned and sat down next to his friend. “Well, better luck next time I suppose.”
“Yeah, next time!” Will pulled something out from beside the couch and set it on the table. “Next time I’ll get ‘em!” Scott stared at the item on the table. “You really gonna try and catch him with a foothold trap?” He picked up the trap and inspected its tightly closed jaws.
“I’ve got six of ‘em! I’ll set them up around in a mile radius and I’ll catch that no good thief!” Will picked up another foothold trap from beside the couch proudly. “I won’t mark where they are so he doesn’t know, but I’ll show you so you don’t step on them.”
“Thanks.” Scott put the trap back on the table. It was a medium sized one, wouldn’t be strong enough to break a man’s bone in most circumstances but might break the skin or leave a bruise.
“What are you gonna do if you catch him?” Scott asked. Will replied “I don’t know, but I’ll make sure it’s clear to him that if he ever does it again then I’ll use this!” Will held up his shotgun proudly. “I’m going to set them up later today.”
* * *
A few days had passed after Will set up the traps, so far only a few animals had gotten trapped in the foothold traps. Will was sitting on the couch and trying to think of new ways to catch the thief; even with the traps around items were still going missing.
Scott opened the front door and walked in holding his rifle and something else. “Is this your thief?” He shouted and put something bloody on the table. Will walked in excited, but then was quickly disappointed. “Don’t do that! You know I’m serious about this!” Scott laughed. “The only thing you’re catching in those traps is animals, no humans.” He picked up the item that he had put on the table, it was a rabbit that had gotten caught and died.
“Hell maybe it is the rabbits, maybe they’re having parties with all the beer they steal.” Scott went into another room to store the carcass of the animal.
* * *
The next morning Scott was out checking the traps. The first trap had nothing. The second one had gone off but had caught nothing. The third looked like it was deliberately set off. The fourth had no luck either.
Scott was heading towards the spot with the fifth trap when he heard rustling. It was defiantly made by a living creature, and defiantly larger than a rabbit. He pointed the shotgun he had in front of him and approached carefully. Getting closer, he could tell it was human.
“くそ！ 痛い！” (Dammit! Ouch!)
Scott couldn’t understand what he was saying, but he knew that this was the culprit. He stepped out around a tree to see the thief caught in the trap by his right leg. The thief had his back to him so Scott could only see that he was wearing black pants, a black hoodie, and white gloves. Scott knew that this was the one who was stealing their things; but he felt sorry for him. He was trying to pry open the jaws but couldn’t get them open.
“Hey wait! Let me help-” Scott started towards him to help but the man held up his hand to stop him.
“まて。ぼくこれを得た。” (Wait, I got this.)
He continued to try and get the trap off. “Hey I’m sorry for putting the trap there but let me help-” Scott said but was yet again stopped.
“おまえまてよ！” (You wait!)
Scott stopped and watched him continue and try to get the trap off. He continued trying to pry it open, then gave up on that and tried another method. He lifted his left foot and stepped on a lever on the side of the jaws, pushing down hard. The jaws loosened and he slipped his wounded right foot out of it.
“ぼくの勝。” (I win.)
Then he faced Scott, Scott paused. Scott saw that he also had on a black and white stripped scarf, and an odd mask. The mask was half black and half white. The black side was blank but the white side had on it the shape of a glaring black eye and an indifferent mouth. Suddenly that face disappeared and on the black side of the mask a happy mouth and eye appeared.
“ 面白いゲーム。” (Amusing game.)
Scott was frozen in place, staring at that odd mask. The thief shook his injured foot a bit and flexed his hands, a dark black claw appeared out of each finger, then retracted back like a cat’s claw. Scott determined that this was not a human. He didn’t know what it was, some kind of demon or monster. It turned back to him.
“次回おまえあそぼ。” (Next time you play.)
Then it turned around and walked away with a limp. Scott just stared. A few minutes after it left, he regained mobility; he realized that he had dropped his gun in shock. Scott picked it up and slowly turned around to leave; forgetting to check the last trap. He didn’t believe in demons, nor did he believe in ghosts or monsters; and he didn’t want to start today. He decided that nothing had happened, and in the boredom of checking empty traps his mind had created something interesting.
* * *
The next morning Scott was sitting at the table with a cup of coffee. He felt terrible and had a horrible headache; what was worse is that he kept feeling like he was being watched. In the corners of his eyes he always thought he saw that face. That masked face with the joyful grin. Whenever he turned to look it went away or was replaced by something else.
“Again!” Will stomped into the room “The thief has stolen more things!”
“What!? What thief there is no thief I didn’t run into him!” Scott shouted out.
Will stared at him. “What?”
“Never mind . . . ” Scott took another sip of coffee. “Just ignore what I just said . . .”
“Well . . . He stole more things! This time I found some of the larger foothold traps missing along with other things!” Will went to get himself some coffee. Scott froze. He saw that the door to the next room was open, and someone was in there. He saw it walking around, inspecting things and looking around. It picked up a magazine and flipped through it, then it noticed him, it looked up at him and that half-face smiled and seemed to laugh at him.
“No . . . you’re not real . . . What are you doing here; you’re not real . . .” Scott whispered.
“Huh?” Will turned around and Scott looked at him. “There someone in there?” Will walked over and opened the door to the next room fully, revealing no one; just an empty room.
“No it was nothing . . . just thinking about something.” Scott said and tried to look as well adjusted as possible, even though he felt as if his mind was going crazy. He tried to calm himself by looking out the window at the trees and the few birds flying by.
Looking out at nature calmed him for a while, until he noticed something looking back. He saw it again; it was sitting in a tree and watching him. It was holding a bottle, probably one that it had stolen, and was staring at him; one leg on the tree branch it was on and one leg hanging down, it looked very comfortable. As if it was watching television. It seemed to laugh again and then it held up a large foothold trap; larger than the one that they had set.
Scott covered his face and told him that it wasn’t there. It was just his imagination. When he looked back up it was gone. He sighed a sigh of relief, telling himself that he was right and that it was all in his imagination.
Later Will went out to check the traps again. Scott was alone in the cabin. He felt that there was someone else there too, but he kept telling himself that he was just a little paranoid. He was sitting on the bed in his room and looking at the whitetail buck’s head that was mounted on the opposite wall. He was looking at the deer’s large antlers when he noticed that the door to the closet was ajar.
Scott got up to go inspect it. He saw something shine slightly inside it when light hit it, but the shine seemed familiar, and he didn’t want to touch it. He left the room and came back holding a rake to use to get to it, because he didn’t want to touch it himself.
Scott eyed the spot where he presumed that object was and poked it with the end of the rake. There was a loud clang of metal setting off and the end of the rake broke off; Scott screamed and fell back. He crawled away from the closet.
Scott thought it was that demon, but after a few minutes of staring at the closet with no movement he decided to go investigate. He opened up the closet wide and used the remaining part of the rake to pull out the object. It was a large foothold trap; the sharp jaws had been set off by the rake and were tightly gripping the broken end on the wooden handle.
“おまえびっくりした！ケケケ！” (You were surprised! *laughter*)
Scott jumped, it was that voice. It was in the house too; watching him.
* * *
It was a few days after Scott had found the set foothold trap in the closet. He still saw it everywhere, that demon. Will never seemed to notice it; it was quiet and stealthy. Even the previous day, it had just strolled into the room silently. Will was reading something at the table and it just walked right behind him and then out the other door. Scott was speechless each time he saw it, he still didn’t want to believe. He didn’t want to tell Will; Will would just think that he’s crazy. Scott could even hear it sometimes, laughing that laugh.
And yet he was the only one who seemed to notice how odd it was, Will just dismissed it as an animal outside. It seemed to be stealing less though, which was a plus side.
* * *
The next day Will was out hunting; Scott didn’t go with him because whenever he went out into the woods he always saw that demon watching him from a tree and smiling. Scott was just sitting on the couch and thinking to himself when he heard a door close. He stood up and walked over to see the door to the next room open slowly, and then stop when it was about three inches open. He walked over and opened the door, and saw the door to the next room open a little slowly in the same fashion; this was the room that had a dead rabbit that had been killed in a trap in it. He walked towards the door and opened it, he saw that the rabbit was gone; the only evidence that showed that it had previously been there was a blood stain.
The door behind Scott closed, and he turned out to open it. When he exited he saw that the door to his room was open, and then it slammed shut. Scott ran towards the door and burst into the room, then screamed.
Scott was looking at the large Whitetail buck head mounted on the other wall. It had been tampered with, a lot. The fake eyes had been pulled out, and blood had been poured into the sockets. Its mouth was smeared in blood and a large smile had been shaped onto its cheeks with blood. The carcass of the rabbit was on the floor underneath the deer head, it was slashed open. Underneath the deer head on the wall written in blood was:
The smell was awful, Scott turned around to leave and saw that the door had been shut behind him.
Scott heard laughter from behind the door, he tried to open it but it wouldn’t open. The laughter continued, sounding more deranged by the second. Finally he heard it fade away, and he opened the door. When he stepped outside he heard it again, and he looked towards the front door. There he saw it; it was leaning against the front door and laughing at him.
Scott ran grabbed his shotgun and ran towards it, he decided that he was fed up with it. The demon opened the door and stepped outside. Scott ran up to it and it slammed the door in his face, laughing.
Scott grew angrier and opened the door to see it running into the woods. He chased it, and pretty soon they were near the spot where the second trap was set; Scott tripped and fell right on the spot where the trap was previously set.
Scott realized mid fall where he was and cringed, ready to feel the trap snap him, but it didn’t. He got up confused, and when he looked down he saw that the trap was gone. He let out a sigh of relief.
Scott looked up and saw the demon standing before him and laughing. He got up and resumed the chase, it turned and ran. Pretty soon he lost sight of it, but he continued anyway. Then there was a small clearing, and a tree a few meters away. It was standing underneath the tree, arms crossed and leaning against the trunk. It was still smiling, but the smile was no longer on the black side of the mask, but now on the white side. It stared at him laughing in a different fashion; instead of playful it seemed malicious.
Scott ran towards it, shotgun pointed forward, when something snapped his foot and he fell; dropping the gun. It laughed at him. Pain shot up Scott’s leg and he looked down to see that he had stepped in a foothold trap; the one that was formally set elsewhere.
“今度はお前の番!” (Your turn!)
It laughed, and Scott saw that he had a clear shot. He reached forward to grab his gun, but then the demon stepped forward and picked it up.
“だめ！ Play the game right like I did!” (No!)
Scott stared at it in disbelief. “You can speak English?!”
“はい～! Of course I can! ケケケ！” (Yes~! [ . . . ] *laughter*)
It replied, laughing.
“I played the game right, now it’s your turn! ケケケ！ I won the game, will you?”
“Hey this isn’t funny!” Scott shouted and started trying to get the trap off of his leg. “What are you!? Get me out of this!” He started trying to push down the levers on the side of the jaws. Meanwhile the demon climbed up the tree and reclined on a branch, it reached up to another branch and Scott saw that it had stored a few items that it had stolen up there. It grabbed a bottle of wine and a glass, still watching him.
“I like you, you actually play the game! Most humans I meet; おもしろくない人たち! But you’re actually playing, I like that. ケケケ！” ([ . . . ] Boring people! [ . . . ] *laughter*)
It poured itself a glass of wine and watched him struggle out of the trap. Scott succeeded in pushing down the lever and freeing his leg. He got up slowly and glared at the demon.
“I played your game, now play mine!” He ran forward to grab his gun, when something much larger caught his other leg. He screamed and fell down, his leg now bleeding heavily.
Scott’s leg had been caught in a large, toothed jaw foothold trap. This one was truly worthy for the name ‘bear trap.’ He was frozen on the ground, pain coursing through his body.
“ケケケ! Level two! ケケケ！ ”
The demon laughed hysterically, then drank some more wine; watching Scott bleed out. As Scott lied there dying, he could see around him many more foothold traps set. Most of them were the small ones that they had set, some were ones that it had stolen from the cabin. He saw two more large bear traps set near him. Scott tried weakly to reach down and free his leg, even though he knew it was hopeless. He only succeeded in getting his arm stuck in a smaller trap. Scott saw blood gushing from his leg, and the last thing he heard was the demon laughing.
“ケケケ! He lost the game!”
* * *
Will was getting worried. It was dark, and when he arrived back at the cabin Scott was gone. He had noticed Scott acting strangely lately and was worried. Will had found the large mess in his room, wondering what had brought his friend to do such a thing.
Will decided to go out and investigate, even though it was dark. He was walking along when he heard something in the distance, it sounded like mad laughter. He ran towards the sound and saw someone in a tree, and he saw Scott lying on the ground. On his forehead was carved “失敗した” (Failed).
The one in the tree grew hysterical.
“Player two arrives! ケケケ! ”
It shouted and let out an insane laugh. Will ran forward to get to Scott, and then he saw that Scott’s leg was caught in a large bear trap, and there were other traps scattered all around. He realized too late; his foot got trapped in a smaller trap and he fell face first into a large bear trap.
The demon continued laughing.
“They both lost! Game over! ケケケ! Game over!”