The Jabo

I grew up in a small community in Louisiana right on the river. We had many old wives’ tales, ghost stories and the occasional boogeyman. The tale that always fascinated me the most was the story of The Jabo.

The legend goes that a man named Benjamin Jabo, a veteran of the Civil War, lived in the expansive forest that surrounded our community. He stayed to himself and never really ventured into town, preferring to live off the land.

One winter, several people started going missing in the woods. A search party was formed, and they set out to look for the missing people. On the way, they decided to go out and check on Benjamin Jabo and tell him of the disappearances. When they reached his shack, they were invited inside where Benjamin was cooking a big pot of stew over the fire. “Well Ben, we were just comin’ to check on ya and let ya know ‘bout all them people that’s goin’ missing lately,” one of the men said. “Well, thank ya kindly boys, y’all find anything yet?” Ben asked. 

“No sir, and we been looking all damn day. I don’t rightly think we’re gonna find much if we find anything at all.” “I reckon a cougar got ‘em, its been a tough winter and I wouldn’t put it past a starving animal to go after anything that moves.” “Y’all have been out all day and I’m sure y’all ain’t had lunch, why don’t y’all sit a spell? I got plenty of stew.” Ben offered. So, all the men sat with old Ben Jabo in his shack and ate and ate and ate until all the stew was gone. “Why Ben,” the leader of the party said, “this is some of the best stew I ever had! What’s in it?” “Oh, just some squirrel and some plants from the forest,” Ben replied.

One of the men went outside to relieve himself and, on the way back in, saw that the door to the smokehouse was slightly ajar. As he went over to close it, he got a good look in the door. Inside were bones and a few slop buckets of viscous red fluid and internal organs. Now none of this was out of the ordinary or even mildly concerning as it was winter, and you couldn’t very well leave it out without attracting predators. But what really chilled him to the bone was the three human ribcages on hooks hanging from the ceiling.

He ran out as fast as he could and threw up. And that’s when it hit him, Old Ben had been having a hard winter and had resorted to hunting humans. And eating them. He ran in the shack and cried, “It’s him! He’s- he’s been EATING the missing people!” There was a brief scuffle, and the men carried Ben Jabo back to town to stand trial. Benjamin Jabo had gone crazy from isolation and PTSD. When he started having a hard time finding food, he resorted to hunting people from the community and eating them. He was found guilty and was hanged the next day. They took his body back to the shack and burned the whole place to the ground.

And so, the legend of the Jabo was born. Every child in our town has heard the story at least once, and it’s said when anyone goes missing that the Jabo got them.

I felt sorry for the man in a way. He was alone with no one to turn to. Sometimes, I liked to think that, if I had been alive then, that I could have been his friend and none of that would’ve happened. Through a lot of hard work and A LOT of saving, I had enough money to buy the parcel of land that the story supposedly took place on and decided to camp out there over the weekend. I invited a few people that I work with who are into the paranormal, and they jumped at the opportunity to be the first to investigate the place. I was glad of the company because even though I loved the legend; I was scared shitless about what we might see.

As we made camp, Bill and Frank were setting up equipment to catch any signs of the Jabo or other strange things we might see. “Holy shit,” Sally said as they finished pitching the tent, “did y’all ever think that we’d get the chance to investigate this place? Let alone be the very first ones.” “No, this is like a dream come true,” Bill replied, “hunting the Jabo.”

As night fell, we had a great time breaking some cold beer and swapping ghost stories. They decided it was time for them to start their ghost hunt, and I bid them goodnight as I got into my tent and drifted off to sleep.

As I slept, I had horrible nightmares about the Jabo. He was a mountain of a creature with pale blue skin and soulless black pits where his eyes should be. He was chasing us, and he moved quick as lightning through the shadows surrounding us in the dying firelight. I watched in horror as he grabbed frank and ripped his throat out with his razor-sharp teeth, blood gushing out of the wound at a sickening pace. As we ran, Sally stumbled and fell, and he was on her in a blink. He was strangling her and, when she tried to push him off, started biting chunks of flesh off her arms, splintering bone as he went. Bill and I ran back to camp and as I opened the car door, I realized I couldn’t hear Bill behind me. I turned, and he was just standing there staring. Blood ran from the corner of his mouth as he sank to the ground and exposed the gaping meaty hole in his back. The Jabo stood behind him, holding Bill’s heart in his hand.

When I woke up, I stepped out of my tent and into the bright morning light. I realized I was alone. I checked the tents, the car and the woods, but Frank, Bill, and Sally were nowhere to be found. As I returned to camp to pack up and go get help, I saw him. The Jabo stood by my tent. He looked just like I had dreamed, his impossibly tall frame dwarfing my 6’2” form. As I opened my mouth to scream, the Jabo spoke. “There is no need for that. No one would hear you anyway.” “Why did you kill them?!” I screamed at him. He shook his head and smiled, “I didn’t kill anyone,” he stated. And with that, he was gone.

I stared with disbelief at the spot where he had stood. What did he mean, he didn’t kill anyone? If that was true, where were they? I headed to the car but stopped in my tracks when I saw Bill’s camera lying on the ground. It was dead, so I took it to the car and plugged it in. When it came back on, I saw there was video footage from last night. 

The first bit that I watched was part of the ghost hunting that was done last night. Then, there was movement in the corner of the screen and that’s when the screaming started. It was exactly how I had dreamt it. Down to every detail except… Bill. When he hit the ground, the camera tumbled out of his hand and faced the night sky. I caught my breath as the camera focused on the creature as it leaned over it, eating Bill’s heart. I let out a sob as I realized what was happening. I recognized the features instantly because they were my own. I guess that was why I always felt pity for Benjamin Jabo; we were one and the same. We knew what we were doing was wrong but, sitting there watching the video of me eating my friend’s heart, my mouth started to water.

Written by Kennis0505
Category: Horror Stories

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