One calm, cool day in the middle of Autumn, a woman got up early to cook breakfast for her husband and two sons. After they had eaten, the father announced that he was taking his eldest son hiking in the woods behind their house. They also planned to do some fishing in the river that flowed through the heart of the dense forest.
The youngest boy wanted to go too, but his father said he was still too young to accompany them . Instead, he told him he would have to stay behind and help his mother in the kitchen. The boy was very disappointed but he obeyed his father and did not complain.
The young boy stood with his mother at the back door as they watched the father and eldest son set off on their trip, carrying their fishing gear on their shoulders. They walked down the garden path and disappeared into the trees.
Later that day, the wife asked her youngest son to help her prepare the dinner. She told him she wanted to have a hearty meal prepared for the others because they would be hungry when they came back.
When the dinner was finally cooked, she sent her son upstairs to wash his hands and waited for the rest of her family to arrive.
After a while, she began to become worried. Her husband and son had still not returned and it was getting late. She hadn’t heard so much as a word from them since they left that morning. The dinner was getting cold and they should have been home hours ago.
After waiting for another hour, the woman decided to go out and look for them. She went next door and asked her neighbor to take care of the house while she was gone and look after her youngest son. She didn't know him that well, as he just moved in a month ago, but she was friendly enough with him to ask in this situation.
The man who lived next door smiled and told her that he would be happy to help her out. Then, the mother took a flashlight with her and set out in search of her missing family members. The neighbor and the youngest son stood at the back door, watching as the mother walked down the garden path and disappeared into the woods.
By now, it was almost nighttime and the forest was completely dark. She trudged through the undergrowth and the densely-packed trees, calling out their names, but there was no reply. She shone her flashlight this way and that, but could find no trace of them.
After some time, she came to the river and was surprised to find her husband’s fishing gear lying unattended on the bank. The fishing rod was propped up on sticks and the line was trailing in the water. It was as if her husband and eldest son had suddenly disappeared and left everything behind.
The woman picked up the fishing rod and began reeling it in. It was hard work because there was something heavy on the other end of the line. After struggling for a while, she finally managed to land whatever had been hooked on the line. In complete darkness, she pulled it onto the bank, then picked up her flashlight to see what it was.
When the woman switched on the flashlight, she was horrified by what she saw in the beam. There, lying on the bank of the river were the bodies of her husband and her eldest son. They had been tied together and the heavy duty hook was stuck in her husband’s mouth.
Both of their faces were bloody and bruised. It was obvious that they had been murdered. Their bodies had been sliced open with a knife and they had been gutted like fish. It was a horrible sight and the woman almost collapsed from the shock.
Frightened out of her wits, the poor mother realized that whoever had killed her husband and son was probably still on the loose in the woods. She ran frantically through the forest, crashing through the trees and branches, not daring to stop for a second, until she reached the safety of her house.
As she ran up the garden path, she saw her youngest son peering out of the upstairs window. He stared at her, his eyes wide open and his face pale and frightened.
She pounded on the back door with her fists and eventually, her neighbor opened it and greeted her with surprise. The woman rushed into the kitchen and fell to her knees, exhausted. Trying to catch her breath, she told her neighbor how she had discovered the dead bodies of her husband and eldest son in the woods. Tears were streaming down her face and she was hysterical.
The neighbor tried to calm her down and then told her he was going next door to call the police. When the neighbor left, the woman composed herself, then went upstairs to break the tragic news to her youngest son. She was dreading the thought of telling him that his father and brother were dead.
When the woman opened her son’s bedroom door, she screamed in horror at the terrible scene she found.
There, on the bed, surrounded by a pool of blood, lay her son’s decapitated body. There was a blood-stained knife on the pillow. His severed head sat on the windowsill, staring out the window with sightless eyes.
The devastated woman called the police, but when they arrived, they found that the house next door was deserted and the neighbor was already gone. For days, they searched the woods but they never found any trace of him.