Submitted by girl_from_the_crypt t3_103yryr in nosleep

I think the mood I’m in today can be described as strained optimism. My brother has somehow managed to get some locals from the town over interested in coming by for a job interview, so there's a chance we're gonna have some more hires soon.

We went to talk to the Bannik last night. Cas was super nervous, but when the spirit proved to be supportive, he was pleasantly surprised. This time, the little old humanoid was even outgoing enough to show himself. He’s quite the droll sight, what with his wide mouth and the long beard that he stumbles over every time he gets up.

After introducing my little brother, we sat down together, the Bannik crossing his skinny legs on one of the benches. I cleared my throat, speaking up in what I hoped to be a steady and open tone. “I’ll be frank. We’re here because there’s something we need your help with. So before we ask for it; is there anything we can do for you?”

The old man grinned and shook his head. When he spoke, Cas and I had to concentrate to make out the words. ”You have been keeping me perfectly content in these four walls, my dear.”

“That’s good to hear. Now, I’ve been faced with a bit of a problem lately…"

"I know all about the issue already. A mutual friend of ours told me everything about it when he came to bathe last night."

"You don't mean the—"

"The wood-demon, oh yes."

"I wouldn't exactly call the Leshy a friend. So, is there anything you can tell us?"

"Someone's been playing you false," the spirit replied, idly combing his beard with his fingers. "That much you must know by now."

"Yeah, we figured," Casimir remarked glumly. "Can you tell us who?"

"Not exactly, I'm afraid. I only see bits and pieces of the future, not full visions, and not of the presence. But I do have something to share with you."

I leaned forward. "Honestly, I'm glad for any advice whatsoever right now."

"Oh yeah, we're desperate," Cas added, nodding eagerly.

"Go to the old black mill. You'll find answers there."

I froze up like someone had poured a bucket of icy water over me.

"The black mill?" Cas repeated, eyes darting from the spirit to me. "Isn't that where Jacek used to live?"

"I don't want to talk about Jacek!" I hissed.

The Bannik let out a wheezing laugh that quickly turned into a coughing fit. "I'm aware that something happened at the mill, Fiona. You wouldn't believe how many visions I had of you at the time. I don't need to know the details to understand that you made a major fool of yourself. You acted like that sixth sense I presented you with was taking a vacation, along with all your other higher faculties."

I could feel the heat rising to my cheeks. "I don't want to talk about Jacek," I reiterated with stern emphasis.

"Well, you'll simply have to, if you want to secure these woods. And doesn't the Leshy have your word on that?" The old man cocked his head. "Remind me what he'll do if you don't follow through."

Here it comes. The promise I made to the wood-demon. No use in keeping it to myself anymore.

"I have until the end of the twelve nights between the years to fix this mess. If after that another unauthorized trespasser makes their way into the forest somehow, the Leshy…" My voice trailed off as I lifted my head to meet the spirit's gaze. "He'll have me. I guess he'll drag me to hell or wherever his leafy ass is from and I'd have to be his servant for all eternity. Or he'll eat me, like he did the other guy." I felt weirdly disconnected from these possible outcomes when I listed them to my brother.

"Why the fuck would you tell him he could do that?" Casimir sounded incredulous.

"He saved my life! He'd have gobbled me up on the spot if I had denied him!"

"I know you're worried, wench. But let me assure you; the Leshy does not want you to fail. And he'd take no pleasure in punishing you," the Bannik chimed in.

"I don't know about that," I muttered.

"Take my word for it. I can't tell you why, but he needs you to succeed."

We said our goodbyes on that note, concluding that we would head for the black mill the next morning.

The black mill used to be a relatively safe place back when Jacek was living there. Now that it's abandoned, though, there's bound to be some unpleasant creatures squatting inside. I normally go into the woods unarmed—weapons are an unnecessary provocation—but today, I'd decided that both Cas and I would be taking handguns and cleansing salt. We were walking side by side in silence, any attempts on my end to strike up a conversation remaining unsuccessful. When I finally asked him why he was giving me the cold shoulder, he merely grumbled something about me digging my own grave by submitting myself to the wood-demon.

"What was I supposed to do?" I demanded. "Hey, I'll be fine. I'll fix this, the Leshy will be happy, and everything is going to be just perfect." I patted him on the shoulder a little too hard, and we continued on our way, sloshing through the snow.

The twin lakes looked so peaceful. They had frozen over completely sometime during the last few days, a thick layer of ice having congealed them to shining, stiff mirrors. I could have mentioned the gristmill already when I recounted Cas' encounter with the mavka, but I really didn't want to think about that place.

The old mill is a decrepit ruin by the side of the smaller twin lake. Technically, it has never truly worked, not by natural means—there was no stream around that flowed strongly or quickly enough to turn the water wheel. When Jacek had been living here, the mill had nevertheless been in constant use. When we laid eyes on it today, it rather made the impression of a structure built to rot; a place that had never seen life before and never would. Its black walls and roof were riddled with holes and blades were missing from the water wheel which was hovering a few feet above the frozen surface of the lake.

"Man, this place is giving me the creeps," Cas murmured. "It's changed a lot, hasn't it. Did you ever hear from Jacek again after… you know, the thing?"

"No. And I don't wanna talk about Jacek."

"You keep saying that," my brother grunted. "So you fucked up, what's the big deal?"

"I'm not you. I didn't make a habit of it," I shot back, and Cas threw me an irritated glance. Before he could respond however, a howl sliced through the winter air, disrupting the relative silence. We both stopped in our tracks. It had undoubtedly come from the old gristmill.

"Oh dear God," Casimir muttered, instinctively reaching for my hand. I allowed him to grasp it, drawing myself up and puffing my chest out, summoning my courage. Suddenly, it was as though we were kids again; two solitary figures, soft and vulnerable before the ominous structure looming above us.

Casimir and I slowly proceeded towards the building. Despite its state, the black paint on the walls was clinging to them as strongly as ever. Rounding the corner, we found that most of the windows had been smashed in. Even more unsettling were the scratchmarks around the frames. They couldn’t have possibly been made by an animal. Judging from how high up they were, the creature must have stood at easily the same height as my brother. I had to let go of Casimir’s hand for a second to wipe off the sweat lacing my palm. We slowly made our way over to the front door, finding it barred.

“Guess the window will do,” I mumbled.

“Can’t we figure out what’s been howling in there before we go inside?”

“And how do we do that?” I retorted, walking up the closest window and starting to pluck away the glass shards that were protruding from the frame like teeth. I was nearly done when another one of those hair-raising wails rang out from the inside. Casimir jumped, and I admittedly almost suffered a heart attack myself, but I hid my unease, every bit the big sister. I slowly maneuvered my body and dress through the relatively small opening before gesturing to Casimir that it was safe to follow. Not much was left of what had once been Jacek's furniture. The charred remains of an armchair and a table told a story of smoke and fire. Big, dark spots on the walls indicated the places where the flames had been licking at them.

“What happened here?” Casimir whispered.

“Jacek was angry when he went away. He probably went pyro on his things,” I explained. “The building itself can’t be destroyed entirely; that’s probably the only reason it’s still standing.”

“Is that something he’d do?”

“Absolutely. Come on, there’s gotta be more.”

We started poking around the rubble, moving about as quietly as possible, knowing very well that we were not alone. We kept nervously glancing over at the broken-down staircase in the corner that led up to the second floor. Half of it was caved in, presumably because of the fire, so we wouldn’t be able to access the upper story of the mill. Occasionally, we'd hear the floorboards creaking above us; the sound of someone or something pacing to and fro. Each little noise sent a surge of fear through our bodies, but we kept our mouths shut, masterfully managing to stifle gasps and startled screams.

It was Cas who found the trail camera. He picked it out of a dusty pile of burnt "something or other" in the corner. It was broken for sure, contorted and covered in scratches and alarmingly deep teeth marks. It had nearly been bitten in half. Something must have torn it off wherever it had been mounted; most likely the same creature that had taken up residence on the upper floor.

"Shit," I whispered, giving my brother an approving nod. "That's gotta be it!"

"You sure? It's, like, super banged up; I don't think we can get any footage from it."

"We don't have to!" I said breathily. "What, do you think I put up trail cams around the woods? Hell no. Whoever did this has got to be the snitch, and this is probably not even the only cam! We'll show this to the employees, look for other cams; we can really do something with this!"

"Okay." An enthusiastic smile of pride began to spread on my brother's face. "Okay, cool! What now?"

I frowned, pointing at the staircase. "Let's bail."

I didn't have to tell him twice. Casimir headed straight for the window, squeezing through and beckoning for me to join him on the other side. Of course, my retreat was, as per usual, a little slower than his. Struggling with my skirt, I tried to duck through the opening when my stupid fucking cape got caught inside. Groaning, I leaned back to discover that it had somehow gotten snagged up on a rusty old nail sticking out of the wall. I started tugging on it, but that didn't work with the glove on, so I had to pull it off first.

"Hurry!" Cas hissed.

"Jacek's house kinda doesn't want me to leave, I think," I answered, forcefully tugging on the fabric. Finally, it tore, and I was sent tumbling out the window, cutting myself on either the nail or a glass shard in the process. I cursed under my breath, but the thump of my fall had not gone unnoticed.

The same howl we'd heard before pierced the air. Floorboards started creaking and cracking inside the mill, accompanied by the sound of fast, heavy footfalls dashing down the broken stairs.

"Oh shit! Okay, go, go, go! Don't look back!" I yelled, pushing my brother forth as we began staggering through the snow, back into the direction we'd come from. Casimir tossed me the busted camera as he got out his handgun.

Another howl, then the sound of wood splintering. This fucking thing was following us. Cas was smart enough not to use his weapon right away. There was still a chance we could lose this beast—whatever it was—among the trees.

Things were starting to look dire, though. Soon enough, we could hear it running up behind us, panting and growling. Both my brother and I were starting to grow slower, our breaths coming out shallow and ragged. Casimir was red-faced and wild-eyed, struggling to resist the urge to look over his shoulder. "It's catching up!" he cried out.

"Keep going! We can make it!" We totally couldn't. Not at that rate.

Another blood-curdling howl, then, strangely enough, a bark.

I recognized that sound. I came to a skittering halt, and so did the creature. Casimir had stopped a few feet ahead of me, screaming at me what the hell I was doing.

"Don't shoot!" I warned him, raising my hands. "It's okay! I think… I think this is kind of a misunderstanding."

Slowly, I turned to face the entity, letting out a soft gasp upon laying eyes on it. It was a black, shaggy wolfdog the size of a man. One of its eyes was missing, as was part of its ear. It was only skin and bones, and it reeked like a whole-ass sewer.

"Hey, I know you," I said softly, taking a hesitant step towards it. "Do you remember me?"

The dog sat down in the snow, lowering its dripping snout and proceeding to press it to my neck, sniffing fiercely. I stood still as a statue, my eyes shut, trying to ignore my mounting panic. The beast could rip my throat out right then and there, but deep down, I knew it wouldn't. Finally, it drew away, huffing as it got to its feet—or rather paws and turned to trot off.

"Wait! Ain't you starving?" I called after it. "I have food at home, I could—"

The dog ignored me, walking away with its head held high. I pressed my lips together, feeling the sting of rejection.

"I thought Jacek took his dog with him when he left," I remarked.

Casimir just looked at me in pure bewilderment. "That's what that was?"

"It's waiting for its master."

"Oh." My brother gazed after the creature. "Am I supposed to be relieved now?"

"Ten years. It's been ten years and that dog's still waiting for him." I sighed. "You think it'll let me feed it? Did it seem angry to you? 'Cause I think it's still angry at me."

Cas shrugged. "I'd sure be mad. You're the reason its human up and left, aren't you? Wait, was Jacek human?"

"I don't want to talk about Jacek. Let's just go home."


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15



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SignificantSampleX t1_j31rznz wrote

I want a t-shirt that says, "I don't want to talk about Jacek." You might need to talk about him, though.


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j31vy39 wrote

Hahaha I want—

Ok no, not gonna make that joke.

I will. I know I have to. It'd be dumb not to at this point, but it's just...

I don't want to talk about Jacek.


RobynFitcher t1_j321uo3 wrote

Maybe start by talking about the waiting dog.


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j32jmw7 wrote

There's not much to say about it, I believe. I actually didn't think the dog would wait for his master. It's, like, not a regular pet


Emerald24111 t1_j3dr2r0 wrote

Yeah but what parts of your woods are completely normal?


TadpoleOfDoom t1_j32gmkb wrote

"First rule about Jacek: nobody talks about Jacek. Second rule about Jacek: nobody talks about Jacek."


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j32of08 wrote

Okay I'm probably the last person on earth to remember Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me, but We're not gonna talk about Jacek. We're not gonna talk about Jacek at all, in fact, we're gonna leave him out of this...


SignificantSampleX t1_j33qpfe wrote

Bwahahahahahaha! Nope! I'm right there with you. I still enjoy giggling over the extremely protracted intro for Twin Peaks.


PocahontasBarbie t1_j320f5o wrote

Please go feed the puppers. Food goes a long way with building and fixing relationships with humans, animals and pretty much everything else. It's gonna be a good day since it started with an update from you. Even with over a foot of snow. Have a great day abd stay warm hun.


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j320ucp wrote

Lol we got lots of snowfall too atm. And thanks, you're really sweet!

As for the dog, I'd be happy to feed him, but he seemed pretty opposed to the idea. He's definitely holding a grudge. But hey, I'll see how this goes, maybe I can get him to come around. I'll just go over there again when I've got time. He'll probably prefer it over hunting.


MotherofPuppos t1_j32hw7n wrote

Just leave some food out for him and scamper. I’m sure he’ll eventually grow to accept you as the bringer of sustenance.

But who just leaves their dog?? Girl, you can do better. Leshy and the bannik get it.

ETA: could this be an elaborate plot by cas, the bannik and leshy to make you get over jacek? Only half joking.


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j32nxsv wrote

I'll do that, but I don't rightly know if I want that thing to be affectionate with me. I know its origins, and while I do have sympathy for the pup, I don't wanna be its mom.

Bringer of sustenance is an acceptable role.

Well, the dog isn't exactly a lap dog either. It's wild. I guess it got KIND of attached to Jacek? Dunno. Jacek's heartless anyways.

But ofc I can do better. I can do, like, a lot of people. And hey, I'm over him! I'm totally over him.

I swear.


MotherofPuppos t1_j32q8z5 wrote

Yeah, despite my username, I’m not telling you to take a dog that’s basically been feral for a decade and put it in a sweater 😂


PandaBennington t1_j32rc7f wrote

"I swear."

That's why we don't talk about Jacek. 🤣


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j32sr87 wrote

Huh? Wdym? Sorry but I'm dense


PandaBennington t1_j32swbg wrote

You're not over Jacek.


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j32uf0r wrote

Dude like I SO am. For real.


PandaBennington t1_j32vpxk wrote

We won't talk about it. 😉


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j3323jw wrote

We don't have to! There's nothing TO talk about because I'm OVER him. Seriously.


Dragonfly21804 t1_j339cht wrote

Random question but is Jacek human? I'm thinking no, but I'm not sure.


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j339o6z wrote

Depends on how loosely you're willing to define that.


PandaBennington t1_j33pf6q wrote

I'm guessing he's a God.. but if he is I can't quite pin down which one since well.. we don't talk about Jacek. Lol


eCrustyJustice t1_j31ubau wrote

I know this is a stressful time for you, but I appreciate your public warnings. I can't get enough of your exploits.


S4njay t1_j31xhug wrote

Ah, a new update from you again! These things make my day... or night, as I'm reading this in the night right now.

Anyways, luckily the dog wasn't out to hurt you!


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j31z3kl wrote

Glad to hear it! Thankee kindly :)

Yeah well, I'm surprised. He's got a reason not to like me. But I guess he spared me for old times' sake


Fabulous_Signature98 t1_j32q5b2 wrote

Throwing off Dark Tower vibes with that “thankee” - if you say there are lobstrocities in your lakes, yikes!!


PenguinMama92 t1_j32gfd2 wrote

I am so obsessed with learning about your estate and woods and the creatures there. I can't wait to learn more! You seem to have done (and continue to do) an amazing job taking care of everything. It must be hard but it also shows how much you must love it. At least in some aspect. I will be (in)patiently waiting for the next installment 😍❤️😄


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j32keic wrote

Awh well aren't you a charmer! Feels nice to be appreciated. And no, you're right, I totally love it!!


Tytticus t1_j33ebw3 wrote

Fiona, the more you say you don't want to talk about Jacek, the more I think you really need to talk about Jacek. For your own sake (and def not because we want all the gossip!)


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j33eud5 wrote

Fine! I WILL, I WILL talk about Jacek, and you'll get your gossip. Haha I get it tbh ;)


Aura72 t1_j32277s wrote

Does the dog already have a name, or is it just "Jacek's dog"? :))


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j32k8i8 wrote

It did have a name, but I can't remember. Something silly like Cake or Gumdrop or something


Ravenamore t1_j328mf3 wrote

So, is Jacek's dog a cù sith? Or is it a grim?


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j32k9y7 wrote

Neither. But good guesses


C0nstructer t1_j33nav1 wrote

..Probably not Black Shuck either, I'd wager?


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j33tu5b wrote

Like in Harry Potter?


C0nstructer t1_j34vw89 wrote

Ehh, something similar but not exact. The 'Grim' mentioned above is, as far as I can tell, a black dog that shows up and is sometimes seen as a bad omen of things to come, but not always, and is sometimes quite companionable.


LikeThemPies t1_j32lvpa wrote

Just to be clear... you *don't* want to talk about Jacek?


rush_liao t1_j34kkzl wrote

Thank you for the update, It felt kinda nice that the Bannik and Leshy have high hopes and think of you highly. Its kind of a (scary) support system, they want you to succeed, maybe good things will come after this. To be honest I didn’t know anything about Cryptids and never heard of it also, until I came across of your post, I learned a lot from your stories, its not easy but still you keep us updated. I hope by telling us your story serves as an outlet of your frustration and exhaustion from what you are doing right now. Wish we could do something to help you with your struggle. Keep warm and take good care of yourself.


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j34lc1n wrote

Aww hunny! That's so nice of you, but I assure you, I appreciate the casual conversation very much, so that's totally a kind of help! It's true that I'm beyond stressed, but I think I'll manage. What the Bannik said did give me some hope too


lauraD1309 t1_j32yf9y wrote

I absolutely love your updates. Yes, please feed the puppers. He could make a great protector or even a a guard dog for patrolling. I hope you find something on that trail cam.


knotsbygordium t1_j3405lu wrote

He was left behind. But he is helping defend the forest. He might not merely be attached to his old owner.


megaramama t1_j351vb6 wrote

Always relieved to hear updates from you. Always hoping for your safety in the woods. Everyone’s talking about the dog but I’d love to know what’s on the trail cam!


modvavet t1_j352cha wrote

I don't know whether it would be okay, but perhaps you might drop something tasty through the window for the pupper on occasion?

Who knows. It may be angry, but it might warm up to you!


Writerhowell t1_j367h8c wrote

I'm thinking that Jacek might be the one who's leaked this information online, possibly out of revenge. Do you think that's likely? Would you recognise him if he was in disguise as one of your security team?

You know, you and your brother going to the mill reminded me of the story 'The Mill on the Floss'. I haven't read it, but I saw an adaptation of it a few months ago. I hope you have a happier ending than the characters, though.


Nature_Dweller t1_j359vmu wrote

Interesting. I know you don't want to talk about Jacek but you may need to, to get it out of your system. Have you tried therapy? Is he why you wear that dress?


[deleted] t1_j364q08 wrote

Did the trail cam have a sim card with an auto-upload to cloud storage? You might be able to recover some footage from online...


LCyfer t1_j36uaeq wrote

So did Jacek curse you to eternally wear your wedding dress when he left? I know you don't want to talk about him...but I'm dying to know! Can one of the cryptids help you reverse the curse? Cause that can't be comfy!


ThinkCabinet t1_j373g2i wrote

We don't talk about Jacek, no no nooo, Not a word about Jacek


Whammytap t1_j37s5j6 wrote

Can I send your Bannik a bar of nice soap for being such a mensch?


Eppstore t1_j3be6be wrote

Would letting the dog take a sniff at the camera work? He could lead you to the employee who planted them. Might have to find another cam for it though, since the old one probably has no smell from the employee anymore.


Cool-Voice-118 t1_j33uea2 wrote

Hello. I know that most of us out here in the world lack the understanding and the knowledge necessary to be of any real help to you; but is there anything we can do to help you? Maybe I am crazy, but I genuinely believe in things like banniks, leshies, etc; while knowing very little beyond basic folklore. You are dealing a lot.


MizzCroft t1_j36cs04 wrote

Awww doggo. I wish I could free you from that dress. As for the cams.. Good! Good detective work!


karmadovernater t1_j38z2h3 wrote

I'd want to feed the big skinny furbaby too. Awe, its so sad he's waiting. Waiting for nothing I bet. He'll think and feel better with a tummy full.


DevilMan17dedZ t1_j3f7rfd wrote

I'm prably playing the devil's advocate here... but, I'm thinking your ex ol' 'man' might have some shit to do with this whole situation. You're gonna have to talk about the asswipe eventually... Who knows? Maybe doing so could bring some clarity to some of the nonsense that's been happening in your corner of the world..?

Edit: a word


girl_from_the_crypt OP t1_j3fdsk2 wrote

Jacek's not an asswipe. Not entirely, just like 65%. I don't get close with just any crapper, and Jacek and I used be... real close.

Yeah don't worry, I'm cool talking about him. It'll help, I think.


DevilMan17dedZ t1_j3fjhh2 wrote

I think you're absolutely correct. I get that yous twos were closer than Star Trek an Uranus.. I personally might, or might not, have a sore spot when it comes to someone I lost.. or maybe it was cuz I fucked up an pushed her away from me too far. It's quite possible we all have a Jacek in our lives at one time or another. Just saying, from personal perspective, eventually talking about shit kinda helped. Doesn't hurt as bad as it used to. My bad, just for armchair counseling where it's probably not wanted. Trying to help is all.


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yourexsbestie t1_j609chg wrote

Jacek is an a$$hole for abandoning such a loyal beast