Rabbits in the Creek

This creepy pasta story was written/posted on June 1, 2014. Someone on a Youtube rabbit video mentioned it, and you know what that means. Search it out, and mangle!

Here we go!


😩CP: I’m writing this because my family won’t talk about it anymore. I’m the only one who can’t seem to forget.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Just because they won't talk about it doesn't mean they've forgotten. But I can see why talking about it too much could annoy them.

😩CP: I was raised on the outskirts of Preston, a small town in southern Idaho with a population of around 5,000. My more immediate community was an isolated, dead-end dirt road called Bear Creek. Less than twenty families lived on the Bear Creek. I didn’t mind being so isolated. I grew up in the comfort of wide fields and close neighbors that only rural people know.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Okay, I'm not sure how that matters except for the "Creek" in the title.

😩CP: We were a Mormon community. Very church centered. Very community centered. All the young girls, myself included, were part of the Young Women’s group. And all of the boys were members of the local Boy Scout troop (which doubled as a church group in our area). We had 4th of July parties at the local ballpark and swam in the nearby reservoir. It was a good, quiet community.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Sounds like the sort of community I would like.

😩CP: My house, a 92 year old farmhouse built by my great-great-grandfather, was situated on a small hill surrounded by a wide grass field on one side, and a snaking dirt road on the other. Across the road was the creek bottoms. Southern Idaho is categorized in a desert climate, so not much grows outside of the irrigated fields besides sage brush and burrs. The creek bottoms were the exception. The creek fed the growth of a thick tangle of pussy-willow bushes. In the late fall we used to go down into the bottoms and pick the white, cottony pussy- willow seeds to decorate the fences of our driveway.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Wait, what? Pussywillows are out in spring, not fall.

😩CP: Being so isolated, it wasn’t uncommon for animals to come down from the mountains. We had a female moose who brought her calf down and lived in our orchard every winter. And the occasional lion wasn’t unheard of either.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: That would be mountain lion, or cougar, not the standard lion that comes to mind when the word is heard.

Moose calve in the spring. But the calf will stay with the mother until the next time she calves.

Wildlife can and does come into the big city, too.

😩CP: The summer when I turned eight (I remember because it was the same year as my baptism), a smaller mountain lion was spotted several times in our area. We weren’t worried. The big cats stayed away from the farms and usually moved on when the area didn’t yield enough food.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: But small cougars can grow, and can become dangerous, to humans as well as other animals. So I would worry.

😩CP: The same summer my neighbor, Payton, was working on his Eagle Scout project. He loved National Geographic, and thought it would be pretty cool to try putting together a National Geographic submission on our little creek bottoms. The young lion that happened to be in our area at the same time made him especially excited. He decided he wanted to try and get pictures of the lion and e-mailed the National Geographic team for advice.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Payton? Of all the names, and at the time this was posted, you picked Payton for this character? It's just a very eerie name coincidence. By now anyone who knows anything about the Slender Man stabbing on May 31, 2014, would understand what I'm getting at.

😩CP: They recommended setting up an automatic camera that takes shots every couple of seconds in an area the lion was known to visit. They also recommended setting some kind of bait so the lion was more likely to come by. No one in the creek liked the idea of live bait or carrion, so we came up with a different kind of bait.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: I was just going to theorize that the cougar cub made a rabbit kill and it got caught on camera.

😩CP: We decided to set up an audio recording of a dying rabbit and play it on a loop through a set of speakers hidden in the willows.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Where would you even get such a recording? There are some rabbits screaming in terror on Youtube because they aren't used to being handled or they feel very insecure in the grasp of certain people. there are also Youtube videos of frightened cottontails caught and set free. But those also have human sounds in the background.

You don't need to go through all that for bait, just set some dog food out there, or a large carcass of some kind.

😩CP: I remember when everyone was down in the bottoms testing the speakers, and I heard the noise for the first time. The sound of a dying rabbit is horrible. It’s been described as being almost identical to the sound of a screaming child. If you’ve never heard it yourself, there’s plenty of recordings available online. It’s worth a listen.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: The european or domestic rabbit's scream is different from the wild hares (jackrabbits) or cottontails of North America. But it is not quite like a child's scream, nor is it always caused by dying or pain. Rabbits will do this when terrified too, even when no actual harm is being done to them. But when a domestic rabbit does this, it is alarming and should be heeded.

Here is a video about rabbit sounds.

😩CP: The camera was set up. The speakers were set up. Everything was perfect. Payton explained that he would allow the camera and recording to play uninterrupted for a week, and then he would go check on it. This would give time for our scent to fade from the bottoms and encourage the lion to come closer.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: I don't think a constant loop of an animal distress call is the best bait. You'd have better luck with a carcass.

😩CP: At first I was worried about the noise. It was a truly horrible noise, and our house was the closest to the set-up point in the bottoms. My father assured me that the noise wouldn’t reach as far as our house, and I was relieved when we arrived home that night and he was correct. The bottoms were far enough away that I couldn’t hear anything.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Plus, cranking it up would be unrealistic.

😩CP: I remember Payton the next day at church. He was fidgety and excited to check on the equipment. But he had to wait a week, which everybody kept reminding him. He couldn’t risk going down too early and scaring the lion away for good.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: The cougar wouldn't be all that timid if you just put meet out for it.

😩CP: That night I woke up to an awful noise. I sat ram-rod straight in my bed with my eyes wide in the dark, hands clutched so hard my palms bore the indent of my fingernails for hours after. I knew that noise. It was the recording of the rabbit. It sounded faint, and far off, like it really could have been coming from the bottoms. But that was impossible. Because the recording had been going all night the previous day and I hadn’t heard a thing.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Then your cougar has probably caught a domestic rabbit that was let loose in the wild, and you're hearing the result of that. Or the rabbit is caught in a trap within hearing range. The sound is no worse than a cat fight, and I've been awakened by those, too, and it's no fun.

😩CP: I didn’t sleep that night. I was too scared to get out of bed and wake my parents. The recording played over and over again. I had the loop memorized.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Then some sick prankster is behind it, or else you were dreaming.

😩CP: In the morning I stumbled into the kitchen for breakfast. My mom and dad were sitting at the kitchen table. They too had dark rings under their eyes. I hadn’t been the only one who’d heard it.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: So, you have some sick joker in your community.

😩CP: Mom was convinced that the equipment must have been broken. She wanted to go down into the bottoms to check it out. Dad refused. He was a kind, gentle man and didn’t want to stir up any unnecessary drama. He was sure there had been a strong wind last night, and the wind was carrying the noise farther than it’s natural reach. He told us to listen. We did. He was right, we couldn’t hear it now.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Hmm, that actually might explain it, except that a domestic rabbit scream in reality is probably no louder than a cat scream, if that. Those on the video didn't seem to be drowning out any other noise, not even normal human conversation.

😩CP: We forgot about it and went about our daily goings.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Hmm okay...

😩CP: The next night, it happened again. I stayed up in bed with my back to the wall. The screaming was even louder than before. But this time something was different. It was lower pitched than I remember. And parts of the loop were slowed down, as if the recording were warped in places. At times the loop did not loop naturally, and instead picked up at a random place in the middle.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: So we're right back to you have a sick joker among you.

😩CP: My mom didn’t mention anything at the breakfast table. But both her and my dad seemed tense.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: *Sigh*

😩CP: The third night I mustered the courage to stand beside my bedroom window and look out into the yard. For a moment I stood, rooted to the spot, my hands shaking no matter how hard I clenched them. The noise sidled in through the cracks in the window. I watched the outline of the trees in the yard. Perfectly still. Not even the slightest breeze stirred their branches.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: So, that could possibly eliminate Slender Man as the culprit, but I'm not going to...

😩CP: My mom announced that she would be going to visit her sisters in town the next day, and would probably spend the night there. She invited me to come along, but I was a daddy’s girl at heart and chose to stay at the farm. I took mom’s place beside dad in their bed that night but even that didn’t help. I don’t think my dad was asleep either, for he was unnaturally still the whole night.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Okay, so I guess you're an only child or you'd bunk in with a sibling instead. Oh well whatever.

😩CP: We began to hear the noise during the day too. I was drawing with chalk on the sidewalk when it happened. My shoulders tensed and the hairs on the back of my neck prickled. There was only one scream. A short, high pitched one. And then the recording fell silent. It happened again several times throughout the day, but never the whole loop. Just clips from it.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah, hey, village sicko! Come forth and show yourself, now!

😩CP: Later that evening Payton’s dad came up the driveway on his 4-wheeler. He said he was looking for their dog, a sweet yellow lab who had been missing since that morning. Dad said he was sorry, and that we hadn’t seen her. I stared at him, silently begging him to mention the recording. But he didn’t. He was a quiet man after all. He didn’t want to bring up any unnecessary drama.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Well, if you're going to hear a dog being terrified or killed, I guarantee you that would be very loud and sound much worse still.

😩CP: Mom stayed away the whole week. Dad and I didn’t sleep. By Saturday the screaming could be heard constantly, though it seemed to have deviated from the familiar loop entirely. I didn’t recognize any of it. Sometimes the screams were thin and long, other times they were hardly more than growls.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: So now you probably got your cougar and it's starting to menace the community.

😩CP: Once, while my dad had been heating up meat loaf for lunch, the noise rose into such a rancorous din that he dropped the plate and it shattered. I pressed my hands over my ears where I sat at the table and squeezed my eyes shut, but it didn’t help. The noise forced its way in through the cracks of my fingers and pinched my throat and rattled in my ribcage. The din lasted for a whole minute, then fell silent.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Nothing but maybe a rock concert or jet engine is quite that loud.

😩CP: Dad was shaking. That was the last we heard of the noise that day.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Because even stupid pranksters need to take a break...

😩CP: Payton came by Saturday evening to ask permission to cross our road to collect the equipment. He was so excited. I watched him disappear into the creek bottoms with a sense of tired relief. After the equipment was gone, it would all stop. I couldn’t wait to get a full nights sleep.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah okay. We're nearly there, right?

😩CP: Not a minute later I spotted Payton coming back up from the creek. I was confused. It had taken us much longer to set up the camera and speakers, so I’d only assumed it would take just as long to collect them. My breath stilled when Payton came closer. He didn’t look right. His eyes were wide and his face pale. Something wet dribbled from his chin and onto his shirt; I later realized it was vomit. My dad caught him before he fell and demanded to know what had happened.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: I'm guessing the dog got killed by the cougar, and Payton saw the remains.

😩CP: Payton couldn’t speak. He just cried.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: *Sigh*

😩CP: We called his dad. I looked after Payton as both my dad and his dad went into the bottoms. They were gone a long time. When they returned, their faces were grim. And they smelled funny.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Funny, or gross? As in blood and guts, right?

😩CP: I noticed red on my dad’s hands.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Correct on the blood...

😩CP: I asked what was wrong but they brushed right passed me and immediately called the police.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Mad cougar alert.

😩CP: Nobody would tell me what had happened.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Well when you find out, let me know.

😩CP: I sat on the couch as a blur of neighbors and police officers swirled around me. At one point an officer placed something on the kitchen table and left. I looked into the kitchen curiously. It was the camera from the bottoms.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Oh yay... And somehow it will have recorded a bunch of carnage.

😩CP: I wish I hadn’t looked.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah I'm sure you do. On with it.

😩CP: The camera was a little banged up. Tiny scratches and dents covered the plastic casing. When I lifted it my hands stuck to the plastic. Something tacky and odorous covered the screen, but it turned on fine.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: So something struggled for its life right on top of the camera...

😩CP: The first set of photos were normal. Just the pussy-willows cast green in the glow of the night setting.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Not unless this was in spring time, and you implied it was autumn.

😩CP: As I continued to click through them they quickly became strange. At one point the camera angle changed, as if the camera had been knocked from its post. Grass now obscured most of the frame. Flecks of red appeared on the lens and remained for the rest of the sets. One photo made me pause.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Because your cougar got into it...

😩CP: There was a figure in this one. Or half of a figure as most of the upper torso hadn’t made it into the frame. I thought it could be human. But it didn’t look like it should be standing upright. It’s legs were twisted, like an animal, and it seemed to be having difficulty supporting itself in an upright position. Beside the legs a long, thin arm hung. Whatever it was must have been stooped over, for its fingertips hung below its crooked knees.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Sounds a bit like The Rake to me.

😩CP: The next set was different. It was as if the camera had been picked up, and was now being held. The first photo was of the bottoms at night. The next startled me. I had to look closely before deciding what it was. A rabbit had been laid in the bushes, but its ears and most of its scalp had been peeled away. The next was of the same rabbit, but a thin, dark hand was holding it up against the sky. It’s limp body hung like something from a nightmare.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: I'm still guessing The Rake is behind this.

😩CP: In the following photos more rabbits joined the one, each with their ears and scalp removed. Then a cat. Then more cats. Then a dog, the yellow lab. Then the lion.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Oh, so the rake took on a cougar, eh? Well, I'll just have to be prepared to give him a heck of a drubbing if he gets in my way.

😩CP: The following photo was of seven rabbits, three cats, one dog, and the lion all laid out in a row facing the same way. Their arms and legs had been arranged as if they were marching. Like some parade. All of their scalps had been removed and tiny white glints of their skulls could be seen.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: So this rake drip is trying to send some kind of a message... Or not. It's just trying to make you think there's something to the layout of all its prey. *Rolling eyes* Not scaring me.

😩CP: The last photo was overly bright. Like the photo had been taken too close with the flash on. An eye dominated the frame, but it was yellowed and crusty, and had a bar pupil like a horse. In the bottom corner the edge of a mouth could be seen. No lips. Just teeth. Sharp and little, with wide gaps of red gum between them. I wish I hadn’t looked.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah what an ugly cuss. But not scaring me.

😩CP: I heard my dad talking to the police outside. They said the speakers had malfunctioned. The recording had only played the first night.

🧝‍♀️🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: So this rake can completely mimic a looped recording of a rabbit scream, and mimic a slowed down recording, and the sound of bits and pieces of a recording, eh?

And that's it.


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