Terror on Windigo Island tells a very funny story about Mike and his brother Tom camping out on a dark, windy island on a lake in Cordova, Alaska.
Click on the red button below to hear the author tell the story, or scroll down to read
By Michael R Dougherty
How can two teens be so dumb?
A light breeze tried to warn us as my brother Tom and I pushed our small rowboat from the rocky shore into the cold, murky waters of Odiak Lagoon in Cordova, Alaska.
Like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, we were two young teenage boys looking for adventure.
Oars in hand, we headed straight for a small deserted and heavily wooded island that would be our campground for the night and a place where our overactive imaginations would terrorize and humiliate us.
After a busy afternoon exploring the island, our evening found us roasting hot dogs over a crackling campfire and eating smores before crawling into our sleeping bags for a good night's sleep.
But as we lay there quietly contemplating the bright stars overhead, the wind began to rustle through the trees in the distance.
I wasn't paying any attention to the wind - but my brother was.
"Did you hear that?" asked Tom in a somewhat nervous voice. "Hear what?" I asked, still star gazing and only half paying attention.
Again the wind pushed through yonder trees.
"That!... Did you hear that?"came Tom's now fearful reply. "It's just the wind" I snapped.
But Tom's rich imagination had already filled him with fear. "It's not just the wind" demanded Tom as a strong breeze pressed closer. "It's coming" he said in a strange, whimpery voice.
Annoyed at Tom I mockingly sneered, "what's coming?"
Then I noticed the wind growing stronger as I waited for my brother's answer. "Do you remember that scary television show? Tom asked. "The one about "The Windigo?"
Just then the wind began a menacing dance across the tree tops all around us.
In an instant my memory transported me back to an evening in front of the family television and an episode of "The Outer Limits" where wide-eyed and frozen with fear, me, Tom and our sister Anna watched as an unseen monster, disguised as the wind, charged through the woods with dark purpose, leaving a trail of invisible death.
"I remember" I gasp. The alarm in my own voice surprised me.
The wind was definitely taunting us now.
It rushed at the trees, shaking branches, rattling leaves, and warning us of impending doom.
"The Windigo sounded just like that" said Tom in a fear-choked voice. "Yeah" was all I could manage as I listened to the now terrifying wind hiss and dart across the tree tops.
Then, in the dark moonlight, naked branches began to viciously reach out at us. "It's the Windigo" screamed Tom as he quickly pulled his sleeping bag over his head.
In a brief attempt to be a good big brother, I tried to relieve Tom's fear. "No it isn't the Windigo. That was just a TV show. There's no such thing as the Windigo." I said it, but I was so scared that I couldn't even make myself believe it now. For I too had fallen victim to the Windigo's terror as the evil, demented wind slashed through the trees all around us.
Snickering it's hideous snicker and screeching it's demonic screech. The Windigo now held us with a firm grip on our overactive imaginations.
From under the pathetic cover of his sleeping bag, I heard Tom's muffled scream, "it's here! The Windigo is here!"
I shot out of my sleeping bag and stood trembling, ready to meet my doom and possibly wet my pants at the terrifying hands of our invisible tormentor. "Let's get outa here" I yelled as the attacking wind hissed all around us.
Tom sprang from his sleeping bag and we broke camp at the speed of light, throwing sleeping bags, fishing poles, the campfire and anything else that looked remotely like ours into our small rowboat.
As we spun out of control, grabbing, throwing, crying and whimpering, the wind continued to dance it's evil dance from tree to tree, branch to branch and leaf to demon-possessed leaf.
Oh the evil, oh the terror - oh the stupidity.
"It's going to get us" shrieked Tom as the Windigo ripped at his back. Then through tear-filled eyes and in a complete state of terror I screamed and leaped forward, shoving our rowboat from the rocky beach and onto the dark water of Lake Eyak.
Tom ran after me, crying and screaming "Don't leave me" as he dove head-first into our boat.
Within seconds we plunged our oars into the water and began rowing so fast that you could have surfed in our wake. Our fear induced, out of breath, jet-propelled rowing took us farther and farther from the terror that had possessed every fiber of our teenage beings.
But with each stroke of our oars into the cold, dark water, we began to catch our breath and the terror that held us in it's grip began to subside.
Until our rowing stopped altogether.
Silently, in unison, we looked back at the outline of the now strangely peaceful, moonlit island we had narrowly escaped from just moments ago.
And there, in the silence of the night, the terrible truth occurred to us.
There was no such thing as the Windigo and we had acted like colossal, sniveling teenage idiots.
I took a deep breath and broke the embarrassing silence. :I don't believe what we just did." Then Tom slowly turned away from looking at the island and asked "do you remember that TV show? The one about the Windigo?"
I didn't say a word, because it occurred to me that the whole ordeal was my brother's fault. So I did what any normal teenage big brother would do. I gave my brother a really dirty look and sneered, "Tom, don't you ever do that to me again."
And there in the moonlight I saw the countenance of my brother's face turn almost Angelic with innocents as he mockingly proclaimed, "me? Uou were the one who said "Let's get out of here!"
I couldn't believe my ears. Tom was the one who brought up the whole Windigo thing in the first place. At that moment I wanted to throw him overboard, but I knew he couldn't swim a lick, and if he drowned I would probably get put on restriction.
So instead, I made my eyes turn into menacing slits and burned my stare straight into my brother's peepers as I growled in my best guttural, demonic voice impression, "shut up and row."
The look of fear returned to my brother's face as he carefully slid as far away from me as he could on the shared seat of our small rowboat.
And with that, we bid farewell to the island on that dark, windy night. We left it to the Windigo.
In the summer months that followed we returned to the island many times. Of course we did so only during the daytime and only when the wind wasn't blowing.
And never once, on any of our return visits, did either of us mention our night of blood-curdling terror at the hands of our invisible tormentor.
But my brother Tom and I both know that on windy, moonlit nights, the Windigo is still out there on that island in the middle of Lake Eyak in Cordova, Alaska. And it waits patiently for our return.
The Windigo waits, with dark, menacing purpose -
And I'm absolutely certain that it's really my brother Tom that it wants.
Get ready to laugh when you read author and humorist Michael R Dougherty's book "Humorous Stories from ALASKA... and beyond" a collection of funny short stories about his real life adventures growing up in Alaska.
"A super funny book that reminds us all of the foibles of growing up. Told with a great sense of humor." Bonnie Mutchler, Author
You'll love these funny short stories:
And you'll remember your days of growing up when Mike tells you about:
"Mike is an exceptional entertainer. His storytelling skills help his audience visualize Alaskan life, and his wholesome, welcoming style holds his audience's attention throughout. Great fun." John
Mike's book is guaranteed to make you smile - unless you're a sour old crabby dill pickle face. And if you are, then you really need Mike's book.
Here's to all those wonderful Alaska Memories
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