Local Legends
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Let me tell you about the Goatman, children.

Baby Bone Bridge, Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin.

The old stone bridge is decrepit, nearly falling apart. The only people who come out here nowadays are foolish urban explorers, hunters, or spooks from Site 87. Ever since the dam was built in the 1940s, no water flows under the bridge. It is an excellent place for creatures to hide.

The Goatman hides under this bridge, cursing and chewing on a horror magazine. His hourglass-shaped pupils looked in the general direction of Sloth's Pit. "There's never anything about me anymore. It's all "Slenderman" this or "Paperboy" that or "Jeff The Killer strikes again!" He groaned. "I miss the old days."

And what do you know of the old days, eh, Capricorn? You weren't even there when Sloth's manor sank into the ground! A low, humming voice sounded around the Goatman. This sarcastic presence was known as the Sloth's Pit Hum, but it had several other names; the Chippewa Indian tribe called it "The Whispers of The Earth". The Goatman preferred to call it "Humbug". He particularly enjoyed that word, even if Humbug didn't.

"I would tell you to bite me, Humbug, but you're not corporeal. So just… go away." The Goatman took out an old corncob pipe and began smoking it; nasty habit, but hey, if you're immortal, you can afford to screw up your body.

You hear what they did to Sinning Jessie? asked the Hum. Calling her Singing Jessie now. They're trying to make her kid-friendly.

The Goatman nearly spat out his pipe. "How the Hell can you make a tale about a prostitute cutting off men's penises and literally eating them kid-friendly?"

Better her than us, eh? You're being kept around by cryptozoology nuts. The Hum chuckled. And me? The Plastic Fanatics still haven't explained what I am, and hopefully never will.

"Well, I ain't gonna tell 'em, Humbug. I don't want to be locked up in some white room where they take away my pipe." He looked at the old corncob pipe and sighed wistfully.

Anyway, Goatboy, thought you ought to know there are some teens camping in the woods tonight. Guess what they're up to?

The Goatman's ears perked up at this; he almost seemed interested. "Ghost stories, premarital sex and underage drinking?"

Just stories and sex, actually. The fat kid couldn't get any booze; the bitch at the gas station saw right through his fake ID. The Hum almost sounded like it was grinning. Well? C'mon, Capricorn. For old time's sake?

"Bah," said the Goatman, standing up and grinning. "Fine. But there had better be s'mores! I love those things."

I wonder what they taste like.

Once, there was a young couple who became pregnant out of wedlock. Ashamed, their families cast them out of their houses, and forced them to live in the streets. Their punishment did not end here, however. For their sin, Satan himself brought one of his generals out of the depths of Hell to punish the two: he took the form of a tall, handsome stranger, who looked like anyone else… except for his cloven hooves. This, children, was the Goatman.

The four unwary campers did, indeed, have s'mores. The camping party was made up of two buxom high-school girls, Jessica and Catherine; one fat man, Johnny, who they brought along despite his failure to get the booze; and one very, very lucky man, Tyler. Or at least… he would be lucky before the end of the night.

"Okay, so." Tyler grinned at the three others with him. "It's starting to get dark. You know what that means, right?" He threw open his arms. "Ghost stories!" Johnny looked at his bag, which had all three volumes of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark in it; hopefully, none of them had read those too carefully.

"I… I'll go first, I guess." He reached to his bag, and suddenly turned his head sharply; he could've sworn he heard somebody whisper a single word next to his ear.

That word was Goatman.

Johnny remembered an article he had read for Journalism class about a half-man, half-goat creature supposedly from hell, and instead of telling the tale of "Wait 'til Martin Comes" again, he started weaving a thread about the hellish Goatman.

First, the Goatman found the husband, and lured him out to an unnamed bridge in the woods under the pretense of giving him a loan of money. The husband accepted, and the Goatman showed its true form, a demonic creature with glowing red eyes, gigantic horns, and of course, the head of a goat. The Goatman tore out his throat and threw him in the riverbed, which he then nailed the husband to by his hands, feet, and scrotum.

Behind a thicket of bushes, the Goatman grinned. "Oooh, I love it when they think I'm a demon; it makes me look so neat!" Indeed, as he spoke, his eyes turned a glowing shade of red, his horns grew curlier, and his teeth grew sharper.

The Hum muttered something about him being "horny"; the Goatman ignored it, watching the campfire. "Um, Humbug?"


"Thanks for helping me with this. It's been a while since I've been scaring… forgot how fun it was."

Don't thank me until you've actually made them shit their pants. Oooh, he's getting to the climax!

The Goatman then finds the grieving widow, and tells her he's seen the husband. He leads her out to the bridge, and shows her the corpse in the water. Overcome with grief, she falls to her knees and sobs uncontrollably, while the Goatman briefly consoles her. "There, there," he says. "You'll be joining him soon."

He then throws her off the bridge, and she drowns in the river.

Johnny was enjoying this far too much. Cate and Jess were staring at him wide-eyed, and he was pretty sure Tyler was just eating the s'more as a way to keep his mouth full and prevent himself from screaming. Finally, he reached the end. "And then… as she stood at the edge of the bridge… the Goatman jumped out and said-"

"Why, hello my pretty," said a baritone voice from the woods. "Welcome Home."

The foursome screamed, and turned at the sight of… a guy in a rather unimpressive Goatman costume. The eyes were good, but the horns were way too much; the fur was way too clean for something that had supposedly lived out in the woods. And what kind of fucking goat had teeth like that?

Instead of running away and screaming, they all laughed, except for Johnny. The Goatman blinked.

"What on Earth is so funny? Run! Run for your lives!" He raised up his arms and made a pathetic attempt at roaring, causing them to just laugh more.

"Oh god, Johnny! You should've had him get a better costume!" Jessica elbowed him in his fat and laughed. "If you were going to try and scare us, at least have him look real!"

Johnny simply stared dumbstruck. He hadn't thought to tell the Goatman's story until he had come out here; there was no time to arrange a prank like this. Which meant…

"Um, guys? I… I didn't tell anyone to come out here…" Johnny looked at the Goatman's teeth with widening eyes; the rest of the campers fell silent. Johnny screamed broke off into a sprint as best he could, running as far away from the camp as possible before collapsing.

The rest of the campers stared at the Goatman, who cleared his throat, put in his pipe, and said "Boo."

The campers were back in their truck and had driven away within 2 minutes of this, leaving all of their supplies behind. Laughing, the Goatman picked up a discarded s'more and bit into it; it was a good night.

Finally, the Goatman recovers the wife from the river, and tears open her womb, recovering the still-living fetus. He raises it as his own, and it lives on as another Goatman. Never a Goatwoman, but a Goatman always.

The Goatman walked back to the bridge, smoking his pipe and looking around mournfully. Long ago, he had been king of this forest, like his father before him and his grandfather before his father. He had struck fear into those who were having a child out of wedlock, and had been the main reason all feared the woods.

Now, people weren't afraid to get pregnant anymore. There were condoms and abortions and Planned Parenthood, and none feared him. If they told stories about him at all, it was him as an axe-wielding lunatic or a cryptozoological freak, not something to be truly feared.

Are you all right, Capricorn? the Hum inquired. You seem somewhat… distracted.

"I'm getting old, Humbug," moaned the Goatman as he leaned against an aging pine. "Going on 80 years now… I'm stagnating."

There, there, Capricorn, said the Hum. Stories will still be told about you.

"Derivative stories, yes. But the original tale is lost." Goatman lit up his pipe again. "Why can't I be like one of these new terrors? These… 'creepypastas'? They're what scare people now. Short snippets, transported around electronically, not long, winding threads spun around the fireplace."

Capricorn, (the Goatman hated that nickname) Those children you scared will be spreading your tale throughout the town. Even if they are not believed, you will be known. Is that not enough?

The Goatman sniffed, standing up straight. "I suppose it is. For now."

The Goatman walked off towards the bridge, guided only by the light of the moon and the stars.


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