Knocking at my Door

Knocking at my Door

A Story by HadesRising

In April of 1925, the “knocking” began. People, especially those nearest to and in the deep forests of the county

This story comes from my Grandmother, who was told it by her father, Neil Franklin, who used to be a Nonoocoo County deputy.

In April of 1925, the “knocking” began. People, especially those nearest to and in the deep forests of the county, began to hear someone knocking at their doors at odd hours of the night. Some of those people reported the odd activities, but nothing was or could be done about it. Telephones weren’t common this far out, and the people reporting the knocking lived in forest cabins and the like, far out of normal patrols for the deputies.

Then, people started disappearing. My grandmother was never sure who vanished first, but the first one Neil told her about was Ronald Flynn, a local hunter and trapper. A local butcher got a hold of the sheriff when Flynn didn’t show up for his weekly supplies from the butcher. Neil and his partner were sent down to talk with the butcher the next morning.

The butcher was pretty anxious about the whole thing, from what I’ve been told. Flynn didn’t keep much in the way of supplies at his cabin, didn’t want bears or something, so he would be nearly out of everything but meat he’d hunted by now. The butcher wanted them to check out the cabin to make sure he wasn’t hurt or something. They agreed, but had the butcher accompany them and show them the way to cabin. The hike took over an hour from the closest road, narrow deer trails the only path they could take. The forest was a bit empty, but otherwise fairly normal, with birds calling and insects buzzing about. When they found the cabin, at first nothing seemed out of place.

The cabin was rough cut logs, maybe ten feet to a side, with a single window and two doors; one in front, the other in the back. The front door was shut tight as the trio approached it, and wouldn’t budge when they tried to open it, apparently locked. The window was shuttered for a storm, but the back door was wide open.

The cabin’s interior was mostly undisturbed, only a plate with moldy food at the table and a pushed back chair breaking the cleanliness of the small room. It looked like he had just walked off in the middle of dinner. Counting the cans of food left, they were able to figure out he had been gone three days or so, and then they realized something else. His boots and coat were set next to the front door, and the butcher said he only had one of each.

The whole situation had an eerie feel to it, like they had been watched the whole time they searched the cabin. Neil and the others decided to leave the cabin and get back to town as quickly as they could. The report of Flynn’s disappearance took Neil and his partner the rest of the day to make, as each time they reread the report, it sounded crazy. Finally, they made bullet points of the facts and called it quits.

Flynn was the first, but by no means the last vanished woodsman. Over the next few weeks, Neil and the other deputies dealt with reports of a dozen other people in the area. Always with the same scene, like they had simply gotten up and wandered into the forest without any outdoors clothes. The sheriff plotted where the people had vanished from on a map of the county and tried to figure out where they could have gone. No one liked what was in the center of the circle the points made, Hoover’s Mill.

After the last logging camp and mill closed in 1923, the county was left with over a dozen empty sites, and nothing to do with them. Vagrants, tramps and bums would often use the camp bunkhouses as flop houses, even after the railroads stopped running regularly through the region. One of the deputies’ duties was to patrol the crumbling camps and chase off any squatters on the premise.

However, there was one place that they really didn’t like to go to: Hoover’s Mill. Hoover’s was the first mill to close, being the deepest into the woods, and the hardest to reach by truck. A winding dirt track, narrow enough to scrape the paint on an automobile, was the only access to the mill. The mill itself was in a clearing by one of the myriad small creeks in the region to power its saws, and to transport the logs from upriver to it. According to my grandmother, the place just had an off feeling about it, like someone was watching you from the forest’s edge. Thankfully for the deputies, even the most desperate people thought twice about trying to stay in Hoover’s Mill.

With nothing else to go on, the sheriff got a group of deputies and some townsfolk to check out the old mill. They decided to go in the morning, so they had as much light as possible. No one wanted to be anywhere near the mill when dusk came. Every man came armed with whatever weapons he owned that morning, and the group slowly walked down the overgrown path to Hoover’s Mill.

My grandmother would always emphasize that unlike the walk to Flynn’s cabin, the forest around Hoover’s Mill was silent as the tomb, no birds chirping, and nothing moving among the trees. Two men turned back before getting to the Mill, citing nerves. Every man who stayed was on edge the whole way down the path, their guns swinging wildly at noises only they heard.

When they finally reached the dilapidated Mill, the exterior wasn’t wrong at all. Just a handful of buildings falling apart along the clearing’s edge, and the peeling façade of the main mill. The men split up to check the outbuildings, but no one found anything but rusted tools and rotting bunks. That only left the Mill itself. By now the men were feeling a little better, having found nothing disturbing in the outbuildings, so they walked to the front entrance of the mill with at least some confidence. That immediately changed when they found the chain binding the door shut had been cut, from the lack of rust, recently.

The Mill’s interior was wrong, somehow. That’s what Neil told my grandmother and that’s what she told me. He described it as counting how many pennies you have, and each time ending up with a different number without adding any or taking any away. Beams of light streamed in through gaps in the boards of the walls, giving the men a dim gloom to see in. Rusted equipment was strewn about the floor, making the men carefully step over and around them as they went deeper inside. If the forest was quiet, the Mill seemed to absorb sound, making the men’s voices small and tinny, even to their own ears. They were so perturbed by the place, that Neil nearly tripped over the first body.

Neil had nearly tripped over a leg. Sitting against one of the massive saws was the remains of someone, though no matter how close Neil looked at it, he couldn’t figure out who they were. Not because they were rotting, or because the body was damaged. He couldn’t even say if the person wasn’t one of the missing people. As the other men gathered around the body after Neil called out to them, they all agreed that they couldn’t identify the body, but none could figure out why. They could describe the face well enough, white man in his thirties, brown beard and balding, but the face rung no bells to any of them. Even the men who knew some of the missing people couldn’t say if it was one of them or not.

They fanned out, and soon found more bodies. Some were men, other were women, and the bodies ranthe gambit in race and age, but no one could tell who was who. Worse none could determine how they had died, even the young doctor from New York, Emerson. It was like they had simply sat down and never gotten back up. The men determined they were the only things living in the building and quickly left the discomforting interior of the Mill.

Outside they began to argue what to do with the unidentifiable bodies. Some, among them the doctor, wanted to haul them back to town to see if anyone could figure out their identities, while others wanted to simply burn the whole Mill to the ground and end this nightmare place once and for all. The sheriff and almost all his deputies stood with this group, and finally the others relented to what was quickly becoming inevitable.

The men gathered dry wood and tinder from around the clearing until they had a sizable pile in front of the Mill. They created some rough torches and threw them into the Mill before lighting the main pile alight. Not a word was said in eulogy of the corpses found inside, since if they weren’t sure if they even knew the people, what could they say? The fire raged through the Mill for hours, but never spread to the surrounding trees, and never seemed to smoke despite the paints and chemicals that must have been inside. Finally, the fire began to wane as the afternoon sun was getting low, and the men hurried away from this twisted place, hoping to never see it again.

Most of the men who had been there moved away from Nonoocoo county after that, but Neil stayed with a few of the others, including the doctor from New York, Emerson. He told my grandmother this story when she was young to keep her out of the forest, but my grandmother has a continuation to the story.

Neil passed away in 1952, but she didn’t forget the tale even after he was gone. So, in 1958, when people started reporting odd knocking at all times of the day to the sheriff, she started warning people about what had happened in April 1925, though few believed her. When the first people disappeared, people began to remember my grandmother’s warning, and some started to panic. They started calling at all hours of the day to her home and demanding answers she didn’t have. A town meeting was called at Hyde’s Parish for my grandmother and anyone else from that first occurrence of “knocking” could try to explain what was going on.

It was my grandmother and Emerson, now the county’s eldest doctor, to explain best they could. She told everyone assembled the story her father had terrified her with as a child with and Emerson filled in some blanks as was needed. After they spoke, and couldn’t answer where the knocking came from, the Sheriff gathered a dozen men, including my grandfather, to check out the clearing where Hoover’s Mill once was in the morning.

My grandmother never really found out what the men found out in the clearing, just that there were bodies in the footprint of Hoover’s Mill. All that was left of the place was its cracked and eroded foundations, but every body laid neatly within those bounds. Again, no one could identify the corpses, despite being able to describe them. This time however, the men brought the bodies back in the bed of their trucks, to see if anyone could identify them. My grandfather hoped that the problem was the clearing, not the bodies themselves.

This was not to be. Every person who looked at the corpses was able to describe them, but even those closest to the missing couldn’t positively identify them. They bodies were buried in a long row of graves with a single headstone listing the people who had gone missing sat in the middle.

An odd tradition began after the “knocking” of 1958. Every house, no matter how small or run down, had either a doorbell installed, or a bell installed next to the door. No one knocked anymore, under any circumstances. People new to the area were given a story of a killer who knocked to lure people out of their homes to explain the odd custom. So, when in 1983, the “knocking” started again, no one vanished into the forest. Instead, the Sheriff was called, and he gathered his deputies and duly went down the ever more overgrown path to Hoover’s Mill. They found people they guessed were transients, since no people had been reported missing locally. These people were gathered up and buried next to the other unknown people the “knocking” and the Mill had taken.

I told you this story to tell you another, more pressing one. I’m house sitting for my parents while they’re out of state, and someone’s been knocking at my door for the last hour.

© 2019 HadesRising

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This actually made me look outside lol

Posted 3 Days Ago

Why you write so dark? You writhing is scary scary scary man.

Posted 6 Days Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on July 12, 2019
Last Updated on July 12, 2019
Tags: Horror supernatural scary



London, United Kingdom

The cruelty wrought between lines of despair is but one with my own labored heart Favorite Poets/Writers Dani Filth, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Tolkien, more..