Skinwalkers
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May 10, 2004:

I'm outside the Anasazi ruins at Chilchinbito, where I'm told the skinwalkers dwell. The Navajo speak only of them in whispers, but I found an old woman who was willing to tell me just a bit about them, so I am prepared, both for the physical challenges and the usual stresses on my sanity. Naturally, their appearance is horrifying (no facial features) and they would kill me as soon as look at me. They can also run as fast as a car and shapeshift. Just once, I would like to meet something beautiful that tries to kill me, but I suspect that's asking far too much. In any event, I will be going through a third story window that I didn't detect any signs of activity from.

My research on cryptid sightings in the area suggests that the skinwalkers are a seperate offshoot of humanity, most likely (in my opinion) warped from the foul variety of magic they use. They are about the size of a child, but whithered and pale. Their eyes are deep red and sunken, the mouth is a gaping hole that never closes, and the ears are simple holes in the side of the head. Their forelimbs are approximately twice as long as they would normally be and are correspondingly limber, allowing skinwalkers to manuever easily in the ruins. The skeletal structure of the forelimbs appears to be similar to that of a gibbon's, with the important difference of one extra joint.

Since I expect hostility, I am carrying a standard revolver with the bullets dipped in white ash. I would prefer more technologically advanced weaponry but can't afford the chance that the skinwalkers would loot it from my dead body.

Later:

Currently in room with Anasazi artifacts. Very little time to write. Grabbing as many things that could tell me about fall of civilization as possible.

May 13, 2004:

They were definitely hostile. As soon as I had finished bagging the last tablet, they came running in, leaping from floor to wall to ceiling like evil humanoid frogs. No idea how they did it, either. The bodies of skinwalkers I've examined show no adaptations that could be used to such an effect. Magic of some sort, I suppose.

I shot two dead and wounded another in the chest. After that, they ran away as quickly as possible. Thought that was the end of it, but (of course) it wasn't. A few minutes later, while I was gathering blood for DNA testing, one- just one- approached. I bade it not to enter the room, for I was armed with bullets dipped in white ash. "Thank you," was the only thing it said- in Navajo, of course, but when you're as old and well-traveled as I am, you learn more than a few languages.

The voice still gives me nightmares, as does the mental blast that came after. I had known that these… things… took the shape of children, but I did not know what both the voice the blast revealed to me- that they were children, children that by all rights should be at rest. But they can't rest. They were killed by witches, and so their spirits became witches too. Their suffering, I think, is the worst I have ever seen, for they do not enjoy what they do, but they are driven by ancient spells and curses to inflict pain, horror, and suffering on others anyway.

It was straining at the end of its story, trying by an act of millennia old willpower not to tear me to quivering bits. I saw the plea in its eyes, begging me to put it out of its misery.

So I did. I could have sworn it smiled and laughed as I shot it.

I'm tired now. I think I'll go to bed.

— Peristrixalo, member of the Hand


Librarian Notes: The DNA sample Peri brought back was indeed mutant human. Tests demonstrated that it apparently exists both in our plane and another, and so requires ritualistic objects to be damaged. This applies to the dead bodies as well.

Translation of the tablets is currently in progress, but what we have deciphered so far suggests that skinwalkers began to multiple exponentially until the Anasazi performed a ritual that apparently destroyed most of the skinwalkers and partially cut them off from reality, but at the cost of the Anasazi civilization.

Peri returned to the location several weeks later and found it abandoned. The dead skinwalker bodies were gone, as was any sign of a struggle. Analysis of the site indicates a recent spatial disturbance.

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