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Camping Trip Gone Wrong

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

You and your three closest friends decide to go camping. You arrive and set up camp nearly three miles away from where you left your car. Late that evening, as you sit around the campfire roasting marshmallows, one of your friends reveals a deep dark secret that turns what was to be a fun weekend into one of the scariest weekends of your life.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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169 Responses to Camping Trip Gone Wrong

  1. marydelta says:

    We had decided that we would try cooking with cast iron over an open fire. Frances was in charge of the stew meat, I would do the potatoes and veggies, and the other two, who were lovable but useless, brought booze and s’mores stuff.

    I hadn’t seen Frances in months, not since she’d left on her journey to “find herself.” She was always doing stuff like that… maybe someday, it would stick.

    Frances browned the meat in the pot that was nestled in the ashes. We’d all volunteered in the kitchen at the historic fort when the kids were in fourth grade, and we knew what we were doing. Kim poured us a bunch of boxed wine. Christina kept popping marshmallows into her mouth. I added the veggies to the stew, and we drank while it simmered.

    It’s amazing how much boxed wine you can consume when you’re waiting for stew to be ready. By the time we dug in, we were beyond tipsy. So when Frances started talking, we were in a haze…

    “Masha. You know I’ve always loved your husband.”

    “Yes. Thank goodness we all got through that.”

    “I didn’t, not really.”

    “Huh? What do you mean? We all went to counseling about it…”

    “Yeah, well… he never stopped loving me, either. Not until a few months ago. I’m not sure what happened, but I just wanted to be honest with you.”

    I kinda noticed something, but hadn’t really paid attention… the wine and all… Frances hadn’t been eating the stew. Just drinking. Steadily.

    “Masha. He made me give up something precious to me. I’m so sorry that I couldn’t figure out how to tell you sooner…”

    Dunno why, but I looked at the stew. It tasted like goat, maybe wild game…

    “He told me the baby inside of me wasn’t his.”

    I stopped eating the stew. Needless to say, we never got to the s’mores.

  2. mommywrites says:

    It had been an intensely long and busy week and I was ecstatic to say “yes” to a weekend of camping with my three best pals. I was packed and ready to go, with enough bug spray to repel the entire Amazon, when Mags and the girls pulled up to my house. “Lyla!” all three exclaimed as I twisted the key in my lock and leaped into the backseat of the convertible. “Let’s ride!” I shouted with a whoop as we pulled out, quickly leaving the city’s roar behind us, exchanging it for the country’s lullaby. Bridgette, my truest friend and mastermind behind out weekend getaway, led us in chorus after chorus of old children’s songs long forgotten. In three hours’ time we arrived at a heavily wooded, and fully secluded, area where Mags parked her precious car off a beaten path and killed the engine. We all sat very still, surveying our surroundings with great timidity. All except for Bridgette, who excitedly bound from the car and exclaimed “isn’t it marvelous?!” as she twirled around. “Um, Bridge…there’s no one around for miles and there’s no campground,” Tawny observed. “That’s he best part! Come on! Grab your gear, guys! We still have a three mile hike before we reach out campsite!” With even greater doubt than before, we each grabbed our packs and followed our fearless (and crazy) leader into the woods. In spite of the heat and bugs, we managed to joke our way through the hike and reached camp before we knew it. “This is it! Here’s where we will pitch the tent and over here we’ll build our fire and…” Bridgette’s voice was soon tuned out by our shock as we observed our “campsite”, which was a tiny clearing with poison ivy surrounding every inch of it. We grudgingly set up camp while Bridgette talked non-stop about various customers she encountered this week at the bank where she works. One hour before sundown, we finally sat down to a hearty meal and were roasting marshmallows on the fire when Bridgette’s eyes suddenly turned dark and serious. “There’s a reason I asked you guys out here.” All eyes turned to hers as she continued. “You all know someone robbed my bank two weeks ago, right?” We all nod. “They still haven’t found the thieves, but they will. I’m certain of it.” We exchange looks and I ask “how can you be sure? They’re probably long gone by now.” She shakes her head. “No. They’re still in the area. In fact, I’m looking at the right now.” We sit very still, processing her words and then we all burst into laughter. “I’m dead serious,” she states. “The police have all the evidence they need to convict you. Or at least they will, if you don’t help me dig up the money and disappear.” The next thing I know, I’m staring down the barrel of a gun and my best friend is holding the trigger.

    Liz Morquecho-short story

  3. indy55ainge says:

    I savoured a masterfully browned marshmallow. Frogs croaked and various nocturnal bugs sang, serenading our campfire evening.

    “Do you guys believe in reincarnation?” Questioned Jack.

    I snorted. First, I’m not a guy and neither is Grace . But that didn’t matter around Jack. We were all just good friends. No hang ups allowed.

    “Seriously,” Jack said.

    Looking up from the mesmerizing flicker of the fire, I noticed Jack’s intense expression. The insects and frogs hushed as a chill wind circled our camp.

    “No,” I answered. Beside me, Grace shivered and shook her head in response.

    Jack stood, pacing across from the log that Grace and I sat, the fire separating us.

    “I didn’t either, really,” Jack began, “until I met Elizabeth Brighton” He grinned, then continued. “I scared her so much she ran right off the set of her show.”

    Jack stopped pacing, the fire reflecting, making his eyes glow an evil red. “She’d never had such a strong reading and wanted to have me arrested, get this, for future crimes.” He laughed.

    “Wait,” I said, remembering a news article from a few days ago. “Lizzy Brighton? That TV woman? She was murdered the other day.”

    Jack stepped closer, almost in the fire. “I couldn’t let my secret out yet. She knew, sensed, too much.”

    “Stop!” Grace screamed, jumping up. “You’re scaring me. This is crazy.”

    Jack moved faster than lightening through the fire! I saw the flash of metal. Grace’s renewed screaming stopped abruptly, her throat cut nearly to decapitation. On the ground, Sarah lay still, her dulled eyes not reflecting the fire. Over her body, Jack handled his knife, violating her horrifically.

    Numbed beyond speech, I kicked the hot embers and burning wood at Jack, catching his clothing on fire.

    grinding in anger and pain, Jack turned, lunging at me. I jumped back, tripping over the log where Grace and I had sat toasting marshmallows. A flaming torch now, Jack stumbled over the log. His eyes no longer reflected the fire, they were fire. As he fell, the knife slashed across my arm, stinging as the flesh parted.

    Heedless of the pain, I hurried out of reach of the knife and the flames. I couldn’t turn away. The stench engulfed me in a way that I knew could never be washed away.

    • philNthe_____ says:

      You forgot to change one of the Sarah’s to Grace in your story, since you know, you like totes ripped off the last persons story and what not.

  4. Icabu says:

    I savored a masterfully browned marshmallow, thoroughly enjoying the late-week camping escape with two best friends. Frogs croaked and various nocturnal bugs sang, serenading our campfire evening.

    “Do you guys believe in reincarnation?”

    I snorted. First, I’m not a guy and neither is Sarah. But that didn’t matter around Tom. We were all just good friends. No hang-ups allowed.

    “Seriously,” Tom said.

    Looking up from the mesmerizing flicker of the fire, I noticed Tom’s intense expression. The insects and frogs hushed as a chill wind circled our encampment.

    “No,” I answered. Beside me, Sarah shivered and shook her head in response.

    Tom stood, pacing across from the log that Sarah and I sat, the fire separating us.

    “I didn’t either, really,” Tom began, “until I met Elizabeth Brighton, the Medium.” He grinned, then continued. “I scared her so much she ran right off the set of her show.”

    Tom stopped pacing, the fire reflecting, making his eyes glow an evil red. “She’d never had such a strong reading and wanted to have me arrested, get this, for future crimes.” He laughed.

    “Wait,” I said, remembering a news article from a few days ago. “Lizzy Brighton? That TV hocus-pocus woman? She was murdered the other day.”

    Tom stepped closer, almost in the fire. “I couldn’t let my secret out yet. She knew, sensed, too much.”

    “Stop!” Sarah screamed, jumping up. “You’re scaring me. This is crazy.”

    Tom moved faster than lightening – through the fire? I saw the flash of metal before it registered. Sarah’s renewed screaming stopped abruptly, her throat cut nearly to decapitation. On the ground, Sarah lay still, her dulled eyes not reflecting the fire. Over her body, Tom wielded his knife, violating her horrifically.

    Numbed beyond speech, I kicked the hot embers and burning wood at Tom, catching his clothing on fire.

    Screeching in anger and pain, Tom turned, lunging at me. I jumped back, tripping over the log where Sarah and I had sat toasting marshmallows. A flaming torch now, Tom stumbled over the log. His eyes no longer reflected the fire – they were fire. As he fell, the knife slashed across my arm, stinging as the flesh parted.

    Heedless of the pain, I scampered out of reach – of the knife and the flames. The pop and hiss gagged me but I couldn’t turn away. The stench engulfed me in a way that I knew could never be washed away.

    Would anyone else believe that Jackson Thomas Rypken was Jack The Ripper incarnate? I now believed.

  5. sydneybear says:

    The day has finally come. I’m turning 18 along with my three closest friends. The four of us are inseparable. Zack is my best friend that I have known since we were toddlers. Then there is Flora, she moved here when she was 9. The last to join our little group was Deigo that moved here to live with his Grandparents after his parents were killed when he was 16.

    We all live in a small town of 2700 people so there are not too many kids our age, but that is not why we are so close. We all share the same birthday and a big secret. You see, our town is quite unusual. We have one of the largest wolf packs in North America.

    Tonight at midnight all four of us will be 18 and will do our first change. We park the car at the end of a dirt road and continue on foot to our spot nearly three miles into the woods. We set up the tents and get a fire going just in time as it is getting dark. We all sit around the campfire. The atmosphere is electric. We are all just bubbling with anticipation. Zack passed a bag of marshmallows around for our roasting marshmallow contest that we have at every camp out.

    As we always do, we eat too many marshmallows and as always Flora wins the marshmallow competition. We all lay back and start telling scary stories. Deigo pipes up and says that he has the best scary story ever. We all sit up and look at him because he is usually the quiet one and never joins in telling stories.

    “I have been waiting for this moment to share with you how my parents died. I told you that they died in a car crash, but that is not 100% true. We were on our way to visit my Uncle and we got lost. We ended up going down a dirt road. We lost cell coverage so my Dad got out to see if he could get higher to get service. He was gone about 20 minutes when we hear him yell “Start the car!” as he is running toward us in the car. My Mom jumped into the driver seat to start the car, but the keys where not in the ignition. Dad had them. We look out the windshield and see a dark blur jump out of the woods and attack my Dad. I can still hear his screams. My Mom got out of the car and pulled my sister and me out of the back seat. We start running, but my Sister tripped on a branch. My mom turned back to help her, but as she was lifting my sister up, I see the creatures that killed my father. One grabbed my sister from my Mom’s arms as the other knocked my Mom to the ground. You see, it was not a wild animal that killed them, but it was one of YOUR KIND. Flora’s brother Daniel and Casey’s sister Meagan that killed them. It was that day that I vowed to make them suffer that way that I did by killing their siblings. I’m sorry Zack, but you are collateral damage.” With that he pulled out a gun and shot Zack right between the eyes.

    Flora and I jump up and start running for the car. I hear another shot and scream. Flora was just shot. I have to get to the car. I’m the last one. As I get close the car I can feel the change coming on. With one more stride I change into a jet black wolf. I can see the car just as I feel this intense pain in my side. I slide to a stop just inches from the car. Deigo stands there above me.

    “I must admit you are a beautiful creature after your change, but I must say Goodbye.” He raising his hand and shoots me again, but this time in the heart. I can feel myself changing back as my heart takes it last beat.

  6. vrneal30 says:

    “I met someone when I first moved to Los Angeles.” Erica said softly.
    I paused in the middle of chewing on my ‘smore sandwich’ and stared at her over the flames of the fantastic fire. I didn’t like the tone in her voice. Erica had just moved to Los Angeles, California only two weeks ago, and had put together this trip with the rest of us upon visiting before she returned back home.
    “Like who?” Eboni finally asked, not even looking at Erica. Neither was Jayce, who sat trying to get his cell phone to receive reception through the trees.
    I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She gazed at me through those flames with a strange smile on her face. “Vivian, you might like this.”
    “And why would I like it?” I asked immediately, not missing the fact that she’d singled me out as well as watched me closely.
    “‘Cause you’re the one with that ‘horror mentality’, aren’t you?”
    “What are you trying to say Erica?” I demanded. Our other friends weren’t paying attention to this exchange that we were having.
    “I’m not trying to say anything, I’m saying that I met someone in Los Angeles.”
    “What about him or her?” Eboni finally looked at Erica with a grin on her face.
    “Him.” Erica glanced at her briefly before focusing back on me. “I met this guy while on my career-hunting journey. He owns a lot of businesses in California.” Our eyes stayed connected the entire time that she spoke, and a chill went over my skin at the way that her eyes glowed from where she sat. She was on the other side of me, clearly at least ten or fifteen feet away from me, yet I saw the gleam of the fire in her eyes. “He wanted me to pass a message along to you, seeing as he is your biggest fan and all.”
    My biggest fan? She was beginning to terrify me and I stood. Without a word, she stood along with me…at the exact time that I stood. “What are you talking about?” It was a whisper from my throat, a croak in my own ears.
    “He says you did a wonderful job on the book, and he cannot wait to see it being introduced into the world.”
    My book? Was she talking about the book that I’d been writing for years and was finally finished and now trying to get public? “Who?” I had to get my thoughts together! “Who is he, Erica?”
    “You know who he is.” Her lips spread wider, and it freaked me out. I started to walk away from them.
    “Who are you talking about?” Eboni stood too, looking from Erica to me. Jayce hadn’t looked up from his phone.
    She said his name, the true name of the main character in my book. She said his full name, something I had never told anyone because I’d only come up with his actual full name after I’d revised it and began prepping it for publication. No one knew my character’s true name.
    No one knew what my character was.
    “How do you know his name?” I asked.
    “Because I met him, Vivian. I met your character, who isn’t a character at all. Did you really believe that you could single-handedly conjure one of the most dangerous beings that ever walked on this earth all by your little lonesome…”

  7. Sombra177 says:

    “Truth or Dare?” Ann asked Julian with a big grin on her face. Julian thought for a moment, then decided, “Dare.”
    Still grinning, Ann told him the dare. “I dare you, to drink this entire bottle of whiskey, and then, kiss me.” Julian was taken aback with this dare, but Ann and Davi urged him on. Julian shrugged and did it. He drank down the whiskey, all of it, and slurred, “Dr-drunken, haaa, ha… Da-ann…” Happily, the drunken teen kissed Ann on the cheek without a second thought. “Mouth!” she demanded. Julian grinned and did so. The two were interlocked for a moment, kissing happily. Davi, though, was grossed out. “Ewww, quit it!” Davi pleaded. The two left the kiss, but were still smiling smugly. “Let’s tell scary stories,” Davi started. Instantly, Julian seemed out of his drunken trance. “No,” he said grimly. “I need to tell you guys a… secret.”
    Davi and Ann seemed interested. “You know the killer on fifth street?” Julian asked. Davi and Ann nodded simultaneously. “Well…” Julian’s cracked lips formed a smile. “It’s me.” Julian whipped out a knife and pinned Davi to a tree, instantly slitting her throat. He didn’t do it so hard as to kill her, but enough to keep her from speaking. Then, he sliced open her stomach, letting her insides spill out into his open mouth. Happily, the sadistic teen raped her, cutting circles on her ass. Davi looked down at Julian helplessly, whilst Ann was gaping at it all and hiding inside a tent. Julian stabbed Davi’s heart multiple times, leaving the helpless girl dead, and raped her body. Julian got up, still wanting more. He peeked into the tent, finding Ann. Smirking, he sliced her feet, disabling her from moving. He also slitted her throat just to the point where she couldn’t talk, but this time did something a bit different. He sliced a “J” into her forehead and kissed her so much their mouths were both sore. After kissing, Julian smiled and cut off her vagina, then sucking on the piece right in front of Ann. He was done with it, and threw it to the side. Next, he sliced off the skin from her legs, making her bleed viciously. He licked one right then and there, and brushed his tongue on her cheek. Finally, he stabbed both of her eyes, then put an end to her life by stabbing her many times in the heart. “It’s done,” he smiled. The smirk faded when he heard a siren. “Later, babe,” Julian kissed Ann’s cold cheek, and then escaped into the forest.

  8. Shane says:

    Most of it is a lie. I lie about who I am to convince myself I’m who I want to be. There is a very seductive and empty satisfaction that comes from knowing someone truly likes the person you created. Sometimes I twist and fold so much I can literally smell pretzels, but people love pretzels.

    Here comes Marissa college friend of 12 or so years.

    “Camping this weekend Nicole?! You have plans?”
    “I do now!” I respond. Then Marissa and share an intentionally cheesy high five to seal the deal.
    “Perfect! Sean is adamant that we head so some amazing camp site he hiked across a few weeks ago, it’s a few miles off the road so we’ll have to carry our gear. I know what you are thinking, how authentic and hardcore!” She smiles and laughs as I mirror her enthusiasm with expert precision.

    “This will be awesome! Just the three of us?”
    “Yeah just us, apparently Sean has something planned he is really excited about and wants just us three”

    So there I go again! The truth: I hate hiking. Why would I have any interest in walking up a dirty hill? For what? I’m a move with intention kinda gal and I just don’t see the reason. Sad part is I have this feeling that good people like to hike.
    ‘Hi I’m Kari, I’m a Doctor/Pulitzer prize winning author and love to hike’ is typically how that goes right? Who doesn’t like to hike? Drug dealers. (who abuse their wives)

    The moment arrives. I have a backpack full of clothes, camping gear, and resentment I’m ready to haul three miles into the (dirty) forest.

    “Okay guys” Sean says, “we have about an two hours of daylight left, plenty of time to get to the site.. you will DIE! It’s so great, I think I’m, the first to really find it.”

    “Not sure I want to know the answer to this but, do we need some kind of permit to camp in the woods wherever we feel like it?” Marissa asks.
    “Yes.” Sean says, “Yes you do”
    “Should I ask if we have the permit?” Marissa said.
    “Hmm, no, no you shouldn’t” Said Sean.
    I chime in, “Marissa we’ve been friends with Sean for like ten years you should know the show by now, let’s roll the legal dice and get the site! I brought barbeque!”
    Looks like that was all that needed to be said. We started off on our adventure. I was actually feeling pretty good about it, fresh air, and nice scenery.

    Okay been a few minutes, feeling a bit tired.

    Wow we are still going, this hill is steep!

    How much does my pack weigh?!

    Why do I have dirt on my knee? How does this happen?

    Oh look Marissa wants to take a picture now that my bangs are sweating into my forehead, how thoughtful of her.

    Maybe if I drink all my water I’ll have less to carry

    I hope there is a gorgeous view of something soon so I can make an excuse to stop

    “And here it is!” Andy said with zeal! “How great is this?! Flat, even land, right near the river and far enough away from everyone that we are for the first time legitimately camping! Man and woman in the wild!”
    “Yeah Sean this is pretty sweet! Good call!” Marissa seemed enthused
    “So have you guessed what the surprise is?” Sean asked us
    We both stare blankly.
    “Well ladies, The other reason this site is so awesome is because it’s a central point to two of the best hikes in the area, tomorrow we head to Haler’s Cliff and circle back around to Olsen River, ending up… Bam! Right here!”
    “And how long is the hike tomorrow?” I ask, hiding my concern.

    “I think sixteen miles total from here” Sean says.

    “Sean this is great! I’m stoked!” Marissa shares a cheesy high five with Sean but I’m not so sure the cheesiness was intentional this time.

    Great! I was looking forward to relaxing and drinking a bit. How did this happen to me? I have to think of something. There is no way I am going hiking, but I need to be the kind of person who likes hiking… think! How do I get out of this?!
    “I wasn’t planning on telling you this now, but I think this trip is a good place to let you know.”

    Marissa and Sean can feel the concern in my voice, I know I had them.

    “Hiking sounds great but I think it’s best if I take it easy and relax at the camp this weekend. I’m pregnant.”

    Their jaws drop. They believe me. I smell pretzels and feel safe.

  9. jedidiah says:

    im new at this so il like comment.i hope to write someday and a friend suggested this group.i find that i chicken out everytime i open this page but im just going to give this a try.

    boarding school had been very interesting. i loved the freedom and all but in my six years i avoided doing anything for which my parents would be disappointed.we had written most of our exams and were due home the next weekend.my parents came to pick my things with my brother.
    ‘sis do you remember my birthday is the friday of next week.’
    ‘of course i cant forget and be sure i wont miss it for the world.’
    ‘promise?’
    ‘i cross my heart’.
    we had held each other like it was the last time we would see ourselves. i saw them off to the car and on my way back i saw lydia my best friend.’june i need a sec’.i stopped and turned.we are going camping and i was wondering if you’d come. i gave it just a brief thought and agreed.lydia was the opposite of me, fun loving.so i thought to myself i could never have this chance again. that friday we packed our things in lydia’s boyfriend mac’s old beat up van and dave was with us.parking about three miles we moved our supply to our camping spot.while the guys were setting up camp we sat to roast the marsh mallows. i was enjoying the cool breeze.the stars were so bright i could only sigh with contentment.
    ‘do you know this place is said to be haunted by gazula’. mac’s said as they returned.
    ‘what?’ we asked in unison.
    its a creature that eats people.
    i could feel the hairs on my neck standing erect. almost immediately we heard a strang noise and the bush swaying. we took to our heels.
    dave bumped into lydia and she fell flat on her face but no body could stop.we ran in different directions. as we cleared th bush we heard a blood cuddling cry and realized it had gotten lydia since she was missing but by now we were truly lost.
    my parents. my brother’ birthday. those were my only thoughts.

    • Shane says:

      I love that you decided to take the leap and post on this site! I posted for the first time today too and It’s a bit terrifying. Welcome to the arena.

      What I liked about your piece:
      descriptions like “hair on my neck standing up” and “swaying brush” are excellent visuals that really throw your reader into the fray.

      What could be improved:
      For much of the story I felt as though I was observing this story, I didn’t feel apart of it. You write in a very direct way and I followed the action easily. It would be great to take this story as an outline and for every written event like,

      “on my way back i saw lydia my best friend.’june i need a sec’.i stopped and turned.we are going camping and i was wondering if you’d come. i gave it just a brief thought and agreed”

      While this moves the story along, I think more effort can be paid to the details of the invitation and maybe even some foreshadowing of the creature that shows up later. I feel this would engage the reader more

      Hope that was helpful! Keep it up!

  10. Morgihowler says:

    I loved camping when I was a child. We used to go camping all the time in the holidays, me and my family, sitting round a campfire, huddled up in sleeping bags. I guess when my parents died, I felt I had to try recreate that one more time. But my family holidays never went like this one did.

    “Are you sure it’s a good idea to park this far away from the site?” Lindsay asked as we trudged through a muddy field in near pitch black. I clicked on my torch, a beam of light illuminating the path ahead.
    “Don’t worry about it. I know this place like the back of my hand.” I replied, reflecting on my childhood holidays here.
    After a lot longer than I had anticipated, we arrived at the field. It was strangely empty for a lovely summer night.
    “Ok, guys. Lets get the tent set up.” I ordered. “I think…here.” I pointed my torch at a small corner of the field, hidden almost from view by a large, hanging tree.
    “Good idea.” Sophie nodded. “If it rains tonight, the tree should keep us a least a little dry.”
    “Yeah,” I agreed. “But there’s also a massive lake just behind it, really pretty in the mornings.”
    “A lake?” Sam looked up from untangling the tent pegs. “Did you say there’s a lake?”
    “Umm, yeah. Why?” Sam seemed a little on edge. Unusual for him, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time.
    “No reason.” He turned back to the pegs. “No reason at all.” Sam muttered.

    Finally, the tent was set up and the campfire ablaze. The four of us sat just at the entrance of the tent, holding marshmallows and toast over the dancing flames.
    “Ok, no campfire is complete without a few scary stories. Who wants to tell some ghost stories?”Sophie asked eagerly. Lindsay stood up, dusting ash off her trousers.
    “No way. If we’re on to ghost stories, I’m going to bed.” We let Lindsay walk into the tent, accompanied by a torch.
    “Ok Sam, you start.” Sophie handed him the other torch, and he lit up his face.
    “The scariest thing about my story is that it’s true.” He began.
    “Oh please.” I said, snatching the torch off him. “Everyone starts a story off like that.” He pulled the torch back and continued.
    “It started when he was just a child. His brother was tragically killed on a camping trip, the circumstances unknown to anyone. It was suspected that nearby campers had attacked him, under the assumption that he was a wild animal. The boy swore he would get revenge.
    Years later, his friends arranged a camping trip. The now adult man had almost forgotten about his revenge. But this was the perfect opportunity to seek it.” Suddenly, Sam produced a knife from his inside pocket. Sophie and I leaped to our feet, the blade reflecting the flames, dancing demons in the darkness. “Stay still.” Sam hissed as I made for the tent. Ignoring his threatening tone, I fumbled with the zipped door of the tent. “I said, stay STILL!” He raged, slicing the knife down on my wrist. Blood poured through my fingers, as I screamed in agony. “Are you going to do as I say?” He held the knife up to my neck, too close for comfort. I gingerly nodded, and he lowered the blade slightly, still coated in my dripping blood.
    In a flash, Sam was on the ground, the positions reversed. Sophie held his hands back, pulling the knife from his grasp. Using her newly found strength, she yanked him up, discarding the knife on the floor. I unzipped the tent, still clutching my wrist, as Sophie shoved Sam onto the floor of the tent. The tent was zipped up in an instant.
    “Call the police!” Sophie yelled as she held the zip down. A childhood memory suddenly flashed in my mind.
    “I can’t! There’s no signal for at least five miles!” As quickly as the trip had turned, it fell silent. Sam was no longer trying to get out of the tent. Sophie looked as confused as I was. It hit us both at the same instant.
    “Lindsay.” We whispered in unison. A blood curdling scream rose from the tent.

  11. randi100 says:

    I live in the city. I love the city. I love the cabs, the stores, the noise, everything. My two best friends live in the city too but they had this stupid idea to go camping. Camping! In the woods! With bugs and who knows what else. They practically had to kidnap me to get me to go and they would only let me take one bag. I had to leave two suitcases behind.
    I don’t want to go. My idea of roughing it is not having room service.
    They promised me roasted marshmallows. That sweetened the deal ever so slightly.
    My friends set up camp while I picked dirt and leaves out of my new amazing “Camping sandals”. I had to have them. They were purple and sparkly. Doesn’t every girl have “camping sandals?”
    After they set up they started a fire so I could get my roasted marshmallows.
    While they were roasting ( I like mine charred and black), we started talking. Just chatting about the everyday stuff, work, shopping, men, shopping and so on.
    Out of nowhere Ashlynn starts crying. Not tiny tears but huge tears, her body was shaking from all the crying. She proceeds to tell us that she thinks she’s going to go to jail for fraud and embezzlement.
    Holy crap! Why was she telling us this now?
    “The story is long” she said. ” But the short version is that I have been stealing from the company and I think that they have caught onto me.”
    With that we began to hear sirens in the distance.
    The police cars pulled up with weapons drawn!
    I dropped my beloved marshmallows in the dirt, damn!
    “Get on the ground and put your hands behind your back!” The police yelled.
    They came over and cuffed us all!
    Ashlynn yelled though her tears and fear “It’s me you want, I’m Ashlynn Blakely” “It was me”
    They took the cuffs off of me and Stephanie but they took Ashlynn away.
    We grabbed all of our camping gear, through it in the car and me Ashlynn at the police station.
    I have never been so scared in my life.
    Good thing Ashlynn’s daddy is a lawyer, she’s going to need one.

  12. abby9.10.11.k says:

    You can hate this or not I would like to know your thoughts, this is my first time doing something like this but I would really live to become a writer. I’m showing my work to strangers but I’m too afraid to share with my own friends and family, is that normal…. Or am I just chicken? Anyway I hope you like my idea.

    It was me, my boyfriend Ianto, my best friend Alice and her boyfriend Jack. I had invited them to brave the elements with me for a weekend getaway. We were camping about 3 maybe 4 miles away from the road where we had left the car, a light blue minivan that belonged to Alice. It wasn’t the best van but I works.
    Alice and I have been friends since the first day at the academy. We are now FBI agents. I was partnered up with Ianto who is my work partner and my partner in the night, if you know what I mean. But when the burrow found out they partnered me with Alice. Alice was first partnered up with some girl who didn’t like her very much. Then there’s Jack. I don’t know much about him but if Alice likes him than I guess I have to trust her judge of character.
    We were all sitting around the camp fire, laughing and just having a great time. The sight was just breath taking! From the way that the leaves on the trees swayed to the embers and flames of the fire dancing, it was just, wow. The noises coming from the forest within were like nothing I had ever herd before. The fire crackled and popped. The heat from the flames was soothing. I looked up to the sky and it was just brilliant.
    Everyone was laughing expect for Jack who looked not too happy to be out here.
    “hay, Jack, why so grumpy?” I asked jokingly.
    I guess I said something that must have pissed him off because he cleared his throat and stood. He had a look on his face that suggested that I was about to get a face full of fist.
    “While you guys were all laughing and having a jolly old time, I was thinking about more” he paused “important things.” I got a bad feeling about what he had just said in the pit of my gut.
    “Like what Babe?” asked Alice.
    “Things like, do I want to kill Ianto now or make him watch as I do things to his lady and mine.”
    “What?” Ianto said.
    Jack took out a switch blade from his pockets, flipped it open and came up behind Ianto. He placed it on his neck.
    “What are you going to do to us?” I said realizing that this was no joke.
    Jack smiled and said “Spoilers!”

    • mike91848 says:

      I like your story, the setup is great and the ending leaves us wanting more. I have some thoughts about your writing but this is not the place to give an in depth critique. I write short stories and post on Fan Fiction under the same name shown here. If you want you can contact me there. I’m a writer that is learning the craft as I write, just like you! Keep writing and show your work to your family!

      • abby9.10.11.k says:

        Thanks… I would show my family but I’m still in high school and according to them this is just a faze but I have been writing short stories since I was in 3rd grade my longest was about 15 pages.

  13. assaultymcnulty says:

    I’m pretty sure we were all the thinking the same thing. I mean at least I know Danny and I were. Becca was hot but on the other hand, so much like us guys. I know Danny was with her more than a few times and I’m not sure if he was aware that Becca and I hooked up regularly. I’m not sure how he would take it. He talks about her often but he’s never really suggested any true liking for her. I suppose the scene could be misconstrued as a fantasy setting if one were looking in from the outside and had their mind in the gutter. Three close friends on a camping trip, two men and a woman alone in the woods and horny but maybe I was just speaking for myself. Becca had been leading on to say she wanted to talk to us about something that she needed to get off her chest. After we got our camp set up a good three miles from the car and the isolation of our position set in deep. We huddled around the fire to keep warm and safe from the sounds that you don’t hear in the city. Becca sat in the middle of us and waited for the right moment to reveal her secret.
    “I just wanted you both to know that I’ve shared my love with both of you and….” she said.
    Danny’s eyes widened as big as plates, it was apparent that he wasn’t aware. His teeth clenched and his face stiffened with anger. Danny moved away, feeling betrayed. Becca paused and then slowly continued on.
    “I feel compelled to further let you know, that I haven’t always been Becca. My birth name was Charles Michael Wexford.”
    Danny and I nearly jumped out of our skin, spitting and wiggling out the heebies jeebies. Needless to say it was quite a run three miles back to the car through the darkness.

  14. kimmie48 says:

    What You Don’t Know May Kill You

    WHOOSH!! The logs were instantly engulfed with a flash of red and blue flames that sent fire tendrils high into the air. Barbara—the shy and uncertain one of the group—jumps back and almost trips over her backpack. While me and Becky giggle slightly at her mishap.

    “Wow, you put way too much kerosene on that Kay!”

    “I did not.” Kay snaps back. ”This is not my first campfire girl.”

    “O.K. … gosh!” “Go get all bent out of shape why don’t you.”

    Becky tosses a bag of marshmallows to me.

    “Someone remembered, alright!” Tearing open the bag in a mad rush to skewer on the soon to be a blob of black and white sweetness.

    All four of us settle down around the fire. The warmth of the flames gently toasting the front of us whiles the cool night air and dampness of the woods chilled our backs. The two temperatures mix making for a comfortable and confessing atmosphere.

    Kay was sitting still starring into the hypnotic dancing flames. Her eyes wide and seemingly deep in thought.

    “Girl you are sooo, mysterious, what in the world is on your mind?” asked Becky.

    Kay doesn’t reply.

    “What’s the matter?” “Dang girl, your all serious and stuff!” “Are you alright?”

    “No,” Her head shot straight up and look directly at them, “I’m not alright” “I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist.” “I thought they could help me but…..”

    “Help what? I said. “What do you mean?”

    “Pfff,girl, your kind of creepy right now…know what I’m saying?” spouts Becky.

    “I have a problem. I …I … know who’s been poisoning all those people, the ones you’ve heard about in the news.”

    “WHAT!” “The Poison Prowler!” “You know who it is?” I shouted.

    “It’s me.” Kay says with a half-cocked smile on her face.

    Then she stands up and grabs the bag of marshmallows. She moves towards us smiling about her accomplished deed.

    “I’ve laced these with arsenic.” said without any feeling.

    I dialed 911 on my cell phone sneakily in my sweater pocket.

    “The car is three miles away, so don’t even think about running.” Kay states.

    Barbara immediately grabs Kay and struggles with her while the rest of us stand in astonishment. She finally overcomes her and ties her up.

    “You are one freaky girl Kay and I feel for you.” said Brenda.

    Right at that moment the police show up and we explained everything. They take Kay off in the police car and we are relieved but start to feel queasy. Luckily, burning the marshmallows seemed to burn off most of the poison so we recovered quickly.

    “Can you believe what just happened here?” I said.

    “Well, I guess it just goes to show that you never really know someone.” Brenda states.

    “Yea, I guess so Brenda.” said Becky.

    I could almost hear the eerie music playing as we found ourselves in a soap opera stare down, looking one at another very carefully.

  15. kevinbalboa says:

    The three friends sit around a campfire telling funny camp stories but the mood was about become dark
    One of the friends tells his story
    “this place is said to be haunted by a great beast. I heard a man camped here years ago. One night he spends a night in the cabin down that way . anyway the next day a sheriff went to check the cabin because the man’s wife reported him to be missing.
    As the sheriff approached the cabin he noticed that the door looked partially open and he began to smell something rotten as if something had decayed
    He opened the door and in a large room lied a badly decomposed body. As the sheriff examined the body he began to speculate that someone or something was trying to eat him
    Another friend shievering began to panic “ oh my god let’s get out of here.
    “oh don’t worry we catch it if we can let’s set up for dinner.
    With the joy sapped out of them they nervously looked at the forest and wondered if there really was some beast. The nightmare that was to consume their weekend had just

    • kevinbalboa says:

      Hi guys my name is Kevin Costakes. Writing has never been easy for me as one can tell, but I am determined to write good how long it takes. With my generation so focused on iphones and text messaging, I strive whenever possible to go above that. I believe in some ways like math and science good writing skills are in high demand. anyway have a good one everyone

      • You’ve come to the right place, Kevin.

        Good luck and I hope you enjoy the prompts and become a solid member of our writing community here at Writer’s Digest.

        Brian
        Online Editor

      • kimmie48 says:

        Hi Kevin, I use to be the same way, Writing used to be a chore for me when I was younger, but something happened one day in an English Comp 2 class, and I discovered that I absolutely love it! I need LOTS of practice, but so glad to come across this website that offers so many resources.
        Good luck to you ……. keep on writing!!
        Take care,
        Kim

        • kevinbalboa says:

          thank you I appreciate it.

          • Winfilda says:

            Hi Kevin I am glad you asked, how long it would take for one to start writing good, because i joined the website recently and have submitted two prompts and still have that question – Lets just keep writing, i am sure we will get there.

            Take and Good luck

  16. Rosalie Mac P says:

    The Water’s Edge
    “Okay, okay, rick!” I said to Rick, who appeared unusually moody tonight. With the fire crackling merrily at our feet as we all sat around it. Rick began his tale.
    “It is about is Joe,” he said.
    “Joe? Who is Joe?” James asked, eying Rick with an expression that stated, “This better not bore me.”
    “Joe Bailey,” said Rick, “he boy some folks said drowned somewhere nearly in near in the Glades.”
    ”Oh yeah, the little brat who always had his nose glued to a computer screen”. I said. “It was said that he fell into the lake and a gator grabbed and took him under.”
    “Yeah, that’s it’. James said to Rick’s solemn nod.
    “What really happens is a mystery.” Rick said. “I was there when it happened, and I don’t know if what I saw was really and an illusion. What I do know is that Joe was the suggested too some bad bullying before what happened to him.”
    “That night after the camp had settled down to sleep. Ed Brimless, Rodger Stover, Richard Peters,
    and Emma Jackson, woke Joe and dragged his down to the water. They heard that Joe was afraid of water and never learned to swim. Joe also had a thing for Emma. She thought of him as sweet and liked that he always bought her lunch. However, Rodger saw Joe as a bugging prep because of Joe was always hanging around Emma’s house.
    Anyway, by time I got the lake the horror had begun. Rodger and Ed were taking turns dumping Joe is the water. Man, was it ever black out there. The moon was hidden and the water the pitch color of the water had small riddles on its surface, which let you know it was real. Were the action was taking place, water was no deeper than four feet, but given that way Joe screams and fought them the water might as well been the middle of the Atlanta Ocean. I tried to stop them but they left him and grabbed me with intent to do the same. Richard and Emma sat the ground laughing witlessly.
    Joe was small and the water came up just above his shoulders. He cried horribly, but he managed to get to the water’s edge, and just as he reach it. It happened; a thing leapt out the water a grabbed Joe from head to torso and pulled him under the water before anyone could react.
    Stunned, Rodger and Ed released me, Richard and Emma sat ridges and aghast. I think it was Emma’s whom screams broke our horrified silence. Joe was gone. Nothing was gong to save him. Acceptance can make men strangers to themselves. Because, it was the thing from the water that haunted me. Except for its head that was elongated and square shaped, the thing’s teeth were longer than any gator I have never seen. The thing’s from neck to foot was 20 feet long and shaped like a hulking man. It had scaly skin the green moss skin. It had huge three fingered claws and toes.
    When the panic worn off. In fear, we all agreed that we would tell the authorities that it was a gator. However, that thing, the monster has haunted me all these years. “
    Rick went silence. For a few minutes, we stared into the fire. Its warmth dimmed by the chill of Rick tale. Finally.
    “Wow man. Did you start on the weed before we picked you up?” I said.
    Rick looked at James and then me. The horror of that night seemed to cling to the firelight reflected in his eyes. James and I stared at him, and then James who had the worst poker face broke put in laughter and I too laughed. Against his will, Rick joined us but his eyes were filled with pain and something else, something beyond fear, or beyond regret or even sadness. We fell to silence. Soon we fell asleep. My last thought was that my friend who had just lost his wife was now bordering on a psychotic break.
    Morning came in the midst of harsh manic screams. James and I jumped from our sleeping bags to see a chalky shinned Rick desperately trying to remove a small skeleton hand grasping tight to him jacket. The hand held on as if glued there. It ended at a ragged edge of about the elbow joint. Adding to the horror of it appearance was the two sets of feet leading from to and the water. One set was that of a huge three-toed creature and the other was that a small child of perhaps ten years of age.

  17. Rosalie Mac P says:

    The Water’s Edge

    “Okay, okay, rick!” I said to Rick, who appeared unusually moody tonight. With the fire crackling merrily at our feet as we all sat around it. Rick began his tale.

    “It is about is Joe,” he said.

    “Joe? Who is Joe?” James asked, eying Rick with an expression that stated, “This better not bore me.”

    “Joe Bailey,” said Rick, “he boy some folks said drowned somewhere nearly in near in the Glades.”

    ”Oh yeah, the little brat who always had his nose glued to a computer screen”. I said. “It was said that he fell into the lake and a gator grabbed and took him under.”

    “Yeah, that’s it’. James said to Rick’s solemn nod.

    “What really happens is a mystery.” Rick said. “I was there when it happened, and I don’t know if what I saw was really and an illusion. What I do know is that Joe was the suggested too some bad bullying before what happened to him.”

    “That night after the camp had settled down to sleep. Ed Brimless, Rodger Stover, Richard Peters,

    and Emma Jackson, woke Joe and dragged his down to the water. They heard that Joe was afraid of water and never learned to swim. Joe also had a thing for Emma. She thought of him as sweet and liked that he always bought her lunch. However, Rodger saw Joe as a bugging prep because of Joe was always hanging around Emma’s house.

    Anyway, by time I got the lake the horror had begun. Rodger and Ed were taking turns dumping Joe is the water. Man, was it ever black out there. The moon was hidden and the water the pitch color of the water had small riddles on its surface, which let you know it was real. Were the action was taking place, water was no deeper than four feet, but given that way Joe screams and fought them the water might as well been the middle of the Atlanta Ocean. I tried to stop them but they left him and grabbed me with intent to do the same. Richard and Emma sat the ground laughing witlessly.

    Joe was small and the water came up just above his shoulders. He cried horribly, but he managed to get to the water’s edge, and just as he reach it. It happened; a thing leapt out the water a grabbed Joe from head to torso and pulled him under the water before anyone could react.

    Stunned, Rodger and Ed released me, Richard and Emma sat ridges and aghast. I think it was Emma’s whom screams broke our horrified silence. Joe was gone. Nothing was gong to save him. Acceptance can make men strangers to themselves. Because, it was the thing from the water that haunted me. Except for its head that was elongated and square shaped, the thing’s teeth were longer than any gator I have never seen. The thing’s from neck to foot was 20 feet long and shaped like a hulking man. It had scaly skin the green moss skin. It had huge three fingered claws and toes.
    When the panic worn off. In fear, we all agreed that we would tell the authorities that it was a gator. However, that thing, the monster has haunted me all these years.“

    Rick went silence. For a few minutes, we stared into the fire. Its warmth dimmed by the chill of Rick tale. Finally.
    “Wow man. Did you start on the weed before we picked you up?” I said.

    Rick looked at James and then me. The horror of that night seemed to cling to the firelight reflected in his eyes. James and I stared at him, and then James who had the worst poker face broke put in laughter and I too laughed. Against his will, Rick joined us but his eyes were filled with pain and something else, something beyond fear, or beyond regret or even sadness. We fell to silence. Soon we fell asleep. My last thought was that my friend who had just lost his wife was now bordering on a psychotic break.

    Morning came in the midst of harsh manic screams. James and I jumped from our sleeping bags to see a chalky shinned Rick desperately trying to remove a small skeleton hand grasping tight to him jacket. The hand held on as if glued there. It ended at a ragged edge of about the elbow joint. Adding to the horror of it appearance was the two sets of feet leading from to and the water. One set was that of a huge three-toed creature and the other was that a small child of perhaps ten years of age.

  18. abagado says:

    Dennis, Mike and I had not seen each other for many years. All of us were back in town for a week or so over the fourth of July to see our families so we had arranged an overnight camping outing at the state park.

    Dennis had followed his dream of being a stormchaser. He had gotten his degree in meteorology and went off to the University of Wisconsin for his masters. There he fell in love and married and then it was off to Washington, D.C. to work for the government predicting violent weather. It was the natural culmination to the many stormy days we rode around the countryside searchung for tornadoes in his 1963 Chevy.

    I had taken a different path. I hated math, or rather, my brain was not wired for it. I could do it if I must but I could never see trigonometry’s connection to real life. So in college I took what I liked and ended up with a degree in modern European history. It was good for several things including conversation at cocktail parties and law school. And that is where I went and then became a lawyer. It had been fifteen years since I passed the bar exam and entered private practice. I was different, more serious and sometimes ruthless in conversation. Law school had done its job turning me into an ass half the time.

    Mike was still Mike. He had never grown up. He was a stoner in high school and graduated dead last in our class. I well remember that our geometry teacher passed Mike with a D— so he would not have to see him again. Mike was the funnest and funniest person to be around. Even all these many years later he was the same Mike. He was Peter Pan; he had never grown up.

    We talked of our families and children. Mike was divorced and lived alone in a small trailer near Bradenton, Florida. He seemed dejected this evening so we just let him talk as we sat around the campfire. He talked of a strange illness he had contracted. For several years the doctors could not identify the cause of his variety of excruciating symptoms. Mike felt he had rounded the corner once the doctors had figured out what was wrong with him. He said they were able to control the disease with medicine and rest. With that Mike said it was well past his bedtime. He crawled into the tent and silence fell on our party. Not long thereafter Dennis and I crawled into our sleepings bag and fell asleep. My sleep was riddled with a disjointed group of dreams of our high school exploits. The last was the one we have all had where one approaches a cliff and falls. The three of us were in Dennis’ car headed full speed toward a staggering dropoff.They say if you hit the bottom you die, unless you wake up first. I woke in a jolt breathless and sweating .It was 5 a.m. and the sun was beginning to rise, even to shed light into our tent. Dennis was snoring, as he always had. I turned to look at Mike. He was at peace and silent.

    The ambulance arrived about 20 minutes later. The EMTs had tried to revive him. They hasd even resorted to the electric paddles. Dennis and I had tried what we thought was CPR. But it was too late. Mike would not be returning to Florida, ever.

  19. nelleg says:

    Sheila knew there would be consequences for their ‘little getaway’ but she didn’t care. Cause and effect was not one her strong suits at least when it comes to what happens when she doesn’t follow the rules. Two weeks in that hell hole and she needed an escape. She knew that there was no real escape just a few hours before she and her friends were found.
    “I can’t believe we are doing this. We are going to get in so much trouble.” Sheila could hear the hidden excitement in Ashlynn’s voice. Ashlynn was a type A personality but secretly had a desire to break the rules. It’s probably why they became friends, so Sheila could be the bad influence Ashlynn needed. It was Ashlynn’s parents that put her in rehab, when they found the speed in her bag. She couldn’t stand the thought of disappointing her parents.
    “Calm down Ash, just relax and enjoy the time without nagging.” Sheila smiled as her new friend Katie said exactly what Sheila was thinking. Katie had been admitted to Sunny Valley Rehab the same day as her. They hit it off right away. They had a shared sense of causing havoc for the counselors. Katie was always going on about the rise of anarchy and the need for chaos. Sheila thought the idea of adults losing all sense of control was a wonderful idea.
    The trio quickly set up their make shift camp including a fire. They sat around the glow of the amber blaze eating the candy bars that Katie stole from Master Alexandra’s office. Master Alexandra was the head of the program and would confiscate any treats that the parents would send. She would use the excuse that “you can’t replace one habit for another, over indulging in chocolate is just a reflection of the addictive nature that landed you here in the first place.”
    Ashlynn nibbled on her Heath bar like a little mouse while her eyes darted back and forth. “I wonder how long it will take until they find us.”
    “Don’t worry about that right now, they will find us when they find us. We’ll be in just as much trouble if they find us in five minutes or the morning. Just breathe and take in our temporary freedom.” Sheila was laying on her back staring at he bright stars in Orion’s Belt.
    “Carl and Master Alexandra is going to freak on us, we should have never done this. My parents are going to be really disappointed in me. What was I thinking?” Ashlynn was now pacing back and forth mumbling all the excuses she was going to try when they were discovered.
    “SHUT UP! You don’t have to worry about Carl and Master Alexandra.” Katie shouted at her panicked companion.
    “What do you mean?” Sheila asked alarmed.
    “They’re dead. The rise anarchy has started. I created the catalyst for the chaos we talked about.” Katie confessed.
    “WHAT?!” Sheila and Ashlynn shouted in unison.

  20. slayerdan says:

    Its over on words, rare for me as I try to stay at least near 500, but such is life. I love the idea way more than the way it came out, but it would take 2000 words to do it justice. Just an alternate reality possibility. enjoy.

    The fire roared high as embers floated away and winked from existence, like dying fireflies. Larry stood, transfixed as the heat reddened his face to match his coarse, curly hair. He looked at the three brothers sitting around the fire on tree stumps. He could envision shoving his violin down each of their throats, one after the other.

    Moses, Moe to just about everyone, saw himself as some big time entertainer and had serious delusions of Hollywood. He was on and on about some deal with Ted Healy back in town. His signature Cuban cigar attached to his lip like a baby clinging to a nipple. The other two, Jerome and Sam, sat wide eyed and slack jawed, listening to Moe and his plans of grandeur. Larry hated him most of all. “No one slaps me and gets away with it,” he whispered, the words lost to the fire.

    Jerome, Curly to his friends, had complained the entire walk from the car about his bad leg hurting and how far out they were. Despite the cool evening air, he was constantly rubbing the sweat from his bald head and making goofy faces. Larry didn’t hate him as he did Moe, but his blind devotion to his brother sickened him. He had to go to.
    Sam was a taller, dumber version of Moe. He looked like God had made his face from clay but lost interest while only half done. He was a nice guy, same as Curly. And just as dumb.

    Larry stood, staring at him and the other two brothers. ”What an ugly trio,” he said loudly, followed by some momentary reflex laughing.

    “Whaddya laughing at, porcupine?” Moe asked in that distinctive voice, cigar continuing to match the movements of his lips.

    “Yeah,” Curly followed,” why did ya bring us way out here anyway?” he asked, his brow furrowed as he wiped his head more.

    Larry turned and walked a few paces behind him and picked up a violin and a two by four piece of wood. He dropped the wood at his feet as he nestled the violin under his chin.

    “What is this puddinhead?” Moe hopped up. “ Music in the woods while the animals are in the city I guess?” he said in that tone Larry hated.

    “Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk,” Curly followed, ever the obedient dog to Moe as he made a machine gun motion with his hands.

    “Why don’t you drop the violin and play the board?” Sam asked, his face squeezed together as he too laughed.

    Larry dropped the violin as Sam, Shemp to his friends, requested. “Im gonna kill youz guys. Here. Tonight.” He picked up the board and took a swing at Moe.

    Moe stepped backwards and tripped over the feet of Shemp as the board whizzed by. His hand fell near the fire as he hit the ground. He rolled over and started pawing at the flames with his other hand. Curly rolled off the back of his stump, afraid but laughing at Moe. Shemp jumped up and went to run but tripped over some roots and fell face first in the grass.

    Larry stood, the board in his hand, the brothers Howard on the ground before him. He felt himself start to laugh. He hadn’t touched one of them, yet all three were on the ground before him.

    “What a bunch of stooges you all are!” he yelled. “I came here to kill you all, and all I can do is laugh at your buffoonery!” he followed as he dropped the board. All four took turns looking at eachother.

    The next morning found the four of them walking back to the car, Curly still complaining about his leg.They found the car where they had left it, hopped in and headed to Ted Healy and the studio.

  21. droohi says:

    I was working on the tent. Stupid nail! Am I hitting stone underground? I wondered sweating. Jason was done with his tent, Mike was skinning chicken. What’s the point of catching alive chicken, I fail to understand. Or maybe I was disgusted, I don’t know. Mike was watching my indignation; he whistled and winked at Jason as I looked up. They both burst into laughter when I looked up.
    There was a time I wanted an out! I reminded myself. Well, now they’re just egocentric, but back then, they were walking down the serial killer’s aisle. Jason and Mike were childhood friends, I met them when I became Mike’s neighbor; back in High School, forty years ago at height of youth. Both were in basketball team, vicious and sadistic. I was their patsy for petty stuff. They were on the ‘animal slaughter’ stage when we met. But something changed in summer of senior year. I don’t know what. They were both eyeing the same girl for a while then, cracking sadistic jokes in senior year spring, their conversations reminded me of Dracula.
    But that summer, I went for an internship to New York, I wanted to be a journalist and I hated my new school. When I came back, it all suddenly changed. I was suddenly not the patsy and they were suddenly not too big of bullies. High school became much better after that. You know how friends always regroup in their thirties; our wives, children, eventually grand children; one big happy bundle of joy. I became an editor, Jason became banker and Mike became lawyer. Our friendship; amalgam of contacts, diplomacy and intimacy.
    Still, after all these years, I feel like an outsider, as if I am not in on joke. I married the girl they were so obsessed with; right after college. I wouldn’t have noticed her if it wasn’t for senior year. When I came from New York, rehabilitated my social circle, I found her to be lovely. We dated for almost five years before getting married.
    “Hey! Need help?” Jason’s voice brought me back to reality. “Screw it; I am sleeping in Mike’s camp!” I announced. “By all means” Mike threw a beer towards me. I sat down beside him on a rock and Jason settled on the other side. “What were you thinking?” Jason asked. “How much you sick perverts loved my wife in high school” I chuckled. They looked at each other and then at me. Damn it! That same feeling again!
    “It took you forty years to bring that up?” Mike looked at me in the eye.
    “Bring what up?” I asked.
    “How come we took such interest in you in high school” Jason asked.
    ‘Remember our preying of animals?’ Mike asked me. I blinked at him blindly.
    ‘Well, that summer you wife initiated us into the world of human preying ’. Mike just said it.
    ‘And then we all decided that you will be our’ he leaned towards me, ‘patsy forever.’

    • mike91848 says:

      The patsy gets the news forty years later! I like your story. I notice that you never named your protagonist. But it works with him being the ‘patsy’. I would love to know his reaction to the news. I wonder how he’ll confront his wife? Or maybe he’ll never make it home now that they told him. Cliffhanger! Good writing.

  22. 3mag5num7 says:

    “Yeah. Yeah, guy was a dick.” Grayson rubbed at his stubble.

    Rob chewed his lip and nodded jerkily.

    Torver grunted.

    Mercer exhaled and took a drink. The silence stretched out. It stretched until the only sound was the silent tearing apart of their peace of mind and the tearing grated mutely until no one could think of anything but that deafening tearing.

    Mercer smiled. “So what the hell is up with Parrish?”

    Rob blinked and squinted, his eyes flickering wildly. Comprehension dawned. “She’s cool.”

    “Cool? She’s been around for, like, six years and now she’s cool? She’s one of the guys, man.”

    Rob dragged the toe of his sneaker through the dirt, building a little pile of dry earth and dead pine needles. “Yeah, she’s cool. She’s one of the guys, none of that catty girl bullshit.”

    Torver nodded. “That’s actually really solid.”

    Rob smiled at his little mound of earth. “Yeah.”

    The silence crept back between them, sooner this time. Each of them pulled at it, fraying the edges in nerve-numbed fingers. When the edges they held unraveled, they tugged at the silence for more to fray.

    Grayon bounced to his feet. “I’m gonna build the fire back up.” He picked up a leafy branch from the firewood pile and jerked it down over his thigh. It snapped in half. He picked up another branch, this one slid down the side of his thigh and jabbed at his knee. He shifted his grip and broke the branch the second time. Grayson scooped up another branch.

    Rob toed the dirt.

    Torver rubbed at his nose.

    Mercer laced his fingers together, rolled his shoulders, and stretched his arms high over his head. “Who wants another beer?”

    Everyone muttered assent and Mercer ducked into the tent, coming back out with two beers, crossed at the neck, in each hand. The bottle opener arced back and forth over the sullen fire. A branch snapped in the flames. A soft breeze, little more than a breathy exhale, drifted across their clearing. Torver grabbed a handful of leaves off the ground, lit the tips in the fire, and let them stagger and spin like drunken firebombers wobbling around town square.

    “Yeah. Guy was a dick.”

  23. Ross says:

    “If you could fly you wouldn’t need to be invisible.”

    It was an indignant line often repeated. In our group many an hour have been wasted debating which superpower is better. Well, that depends on your definition of waste.

    “Invisibility has its perks.” I defended the power for the countless time.

    “What? Tell me, Rosa, what are those perks?” Brendon threw a stick into the campfire. He was getting worked up, as he often did, but rarely did he yell at me. Silas and Ray raised their eyebrows, both surprised by how he spoke. Brendon, too, noticed this and threw an apologetic glance my way.

    “He’s just sore ‘cause all the marshmallows are gone.” Ray joked.

    “Telekinesis or the ability to generate lava?” Silas, deceptively sensitive to his environment, broke the tension with another question.

    “Lava!” I shouted.

    “Ugh. Neither.” Ray scowled, “Telekinesis is boring and lava doesn’t get you anywhere. What can you really do with it?”

    “Melt things.” Brendon nodded, eager to agree with me.

    “Blow stuff up, probably.” I said.

    “Uh uh. Just melt things. It’s just really hot.” Ray ran pale, thin fingers threw her hair in frustration.

    “Fly with wings or without?” I asked.

    “With. I’d want to be able to hide them, not just under a coat, but to have them, I dunno, sprout?” Silas slid across the log to evade smoke from the readily dying fire.

    “Yes. I want sprouting wings.” Ray exchanged a playful look with Silas clearly thinking this was dumb. “Where is Mark?”

    “He’s not coming. He hates us.” I had never understood why Mark spent time with us. We enjoyed his company, well, I did, but he never seemed to like us.

    “Aww, Rosa, Mark loves us. He just doesn’t know it yet.” Wind pushed smoke Brendon’s way nudging him down the log. “Someone should get more wood.”

    “No one goes alone!” Ray shouted. “That’s gives them the perfect opportunity to take us out.”

    “Who’s taking us out?”

    “And why are they doing this?”

    Silas rolled his eyes at Brendon and me, “They’re always trying to take us out.”

    “We’re too strong together. Together we can beat them.” Excitedly grabbing Silas’ arm as she spoke, Ray jumped from her seat, “Let’s all get firewood!”

    “To the firewood place!” Smiling, I shoved a fist to the sky in triumph.

    “Forest.” Brendon corrected.

    “To the forest.” We marched on, away from the tents.

    “Unless their plan isn’t to take us out one by one, but to get us vulnerable, out in the open and kill us in one clean sweep.”

    “We’re already out in the open, Brendon, they would have done it already.” Ray answered slipping her shoes on and running to catch up with us.

    “I still want to know who ‘they’ are.”

    “We may never know.”

    “Do you know, Ray?” She answered me with a weary look. “Silas, do you?” He shrugged. “I’m beginning to think you two are just making this up. You don’t even know their intentions for us, do you?”

    “Obviously, our superpowers are just waiting to be activated and they know that.” Ray gathered a few sticks in her arms, gesturing with them as she spoke, “They want to capture us before that happens.”

    “Then they’ll study us and see what it takes to bring our powers out, and when that happens they’ll use us as weapons against their enemies.” Silas jumped on Ray’s theory. He took the sticks from Ray’s arms in some misguided, but sweet, attempt at chivalry.

    “Obviously that will totally happen.”

    • smallster21 says:

      I think Ray needs to reassess how much fun telekinesis could be! I’m thinking Mickey Mouse from Fantasia with brooms. I enjoyed the dialogue. It was cute. I was just a little confused about what exactly happened at the end. Who said the last line?

      Mind reading in my opinion would be the ultimate weapon. You would always know what the enemy is thinking. And, I would always know what goes on in my boyfriend’s head, which actually might be traumatizing…“boobs, beer, boobs, sports, wonder if Toni thinks I look fat, maybe I should work out, maybe she should too, her ass is getting big, damnit she hid the twinkies from me, fine I’ll hide her stash of pop rocks, wonder how much longer her bastard dog is going to live, if I paid for it wonder if she’d get a boob job, boobs, beer…”

  24. mike91848 says:

    “Anniversary”

    Our campfire was ablaze at our usual campsite on Sierra Mountain. I pitched my tent while my three best friends gathered more firewood from the forest. That gave me time to steal their cell phones.

    Mike prepared the marshmallows for roasting while Jack and Gary setup the other tents; our normal routine, one weekend a month. I killed my wife one year ago today, right here in fact, thanks to my buddies. Tonight I’ll tell them. She cheated on me, first with Gary then Jack. Mike knew, but never told me. I followed them, took pictures, and planted a bug. Alice is buried less than a hundred yards from our campsite. Sort of poetic I think.

    Later as we ate roasted marshmallows I pulled out my 9 mil, shot Gary in the calf and Jack in the thigh. Mike screamed so I pointed my semi at him. Gary and Jack were in shock. I laughed and placed my recorder on the ground, I pressed play. They listened to themselves. Now they knew. I tossed tourniquets to both bleeders.

    “Paul, what the hell?” Mike eked out with chopped breath. “Please…”

    “Shut up.” They gaped, their faces ashen. “The bullshit is over. I killed Alice, she’s right up there.” I pointed. They looked.

    “Paul, I, I’m sorry, I…” Jack looked at my face and shut up. I put a thick plastic zip tie on Mike’s wrists behind his back and shoved him down by the fire.

    “I’m going to give you two a chance,” my semi pointed to Gary then Jack. “I set timers on explosives in your homes. Your families are sleeping about now, I imagine.” Their expressions changed from hopeful to despair instantly. “Mike stays here.”

    “I don’t understand, how do we…” Gary sputtered then flinched when I took aim at his head.

    “It’s simple. You have eight hours to get to the highway. I buried a box with a cell phone fifty yards this side of the road by the boulder. It’s three miles to the fire road then 13 more to the box; better hurry. The timers are set to go off,” I checked my watch, ”in eight hours and 22 minutes actually. By the way, I pulled the fuses on my SUV, don’t waste your time there. Start walking!”

    The moon arced across the sky as time passed. “Mike.” He looked at me with desperation. “It’s been about eight hours or so. Guess what?” I smirked.

    “What…?” He gasped.

    “The box is rigged with explosives, not their homes.” I laughed. “We’ll hear the explosion.” There’s a walkie-talkie near the box, I held mine up. Guess what happens then?” He cringed as I raised my gun. “Your turn!”

    I give them hope then take it back. It’s cheating. I know.

    Mike cried. My walkie-talkie came alive with the sounds of the explosion. I paused to savor the moment. I put a bullet in Mike’s head.

    “Happy anniversary, Alice.” I put the 9 mil to my temple…

  25. Suzanne says:

    Sitting at the campfire, holding my marshmallow out to the flickering fire in front of me, I sighed in pure delight. My muscles letting me know that they’re there from the four-hour canoe trip to the back of the almost deserted lake. Mid-September and most of the campers were gone. A perfect day for bonding with my three best friends: Hal, Bob and John.

    Bob, John and I had been friends since grade 1. Hal joined us later, in junior high, after his parents had been killed in a house fire.

    We’d formed strong bonds camping, playing football, squabbling, fist fighting, getting into trouble, and sharing detention together. I think you get the picture. First we were the three musketeers, later on the four musketeers – or were we the four horsemen of the Apocalypse? Our parents and teachers would say the latter.

    I looked at the two canoes on the beach.

    I sighed again as my marshmallow turned brown. I eased it off the stick and put the gooey mess in my mouth.

    Just as I was about to give another sigh of pure pleasure, I saw Hal grab a piece of dry brush he’d stacked close to the fire earlier in the evening. “Hal”, I’d said, “what’s this for?”

    “It’s for later,” was all he would say.

    So, we all laughed it off. Close friends do that, you know. Maybe a super huge bonfire, I thought. Something to really liven things up.

    Hal thrust the tinder dry brush into the fire. It blazed immediately. Brandishing it above his head, Hal shouted, “Latter’s here. I killed my parents. Tonight I’m going to kill you and watch you die the same way I did with my parents.”

    I started to reason with him. Bob and John sat there silent as the grave.

    Hal run around the campfire, the blazing brush in his hand like a torch.

    Forget reasoning, adrenaline kicked in big time. I jumped up, running to the lake, to the canoes. I heard screams behind me. I didn’t dare take the time to look back at the emerging carnage behind me.

    I jumped into the canoe, grabbed a paddle heading straight out to deep water, to escape.

    I felt someone else bound into the canoe. Was it Hal come to finish me off? Or was it Bob or John? Not daring to look back, I had no way of knowing. Then I felt a swift surge of power as the person behind me stroked hard in time with my strokes. Must be friend.

    Hours later, John and I woke the outfitters banging on the door.

    A search found Bob face down hand outstretched to the canoe.

    Hal?

    It’s been two years since that night. I still look over my shoulder expecting to see Hal where I least expect him.

  26. phfed says:

    War dropped the bombshell while we were standin’ around one of the flaming vents, roasting some souls of the damned.
    ” Whadda ya mean Satan’s calling it quits? Is he even able to do that? ” Famine said between mouthfuls.
    ” Hey, he’s the boss. He can do whatever he wants, ” shrugged War. I shook my head. the weekend had started out well, just four guys ridin’ their horses, tryin’ to get away from it all. The lakes of fire and brimstone were postcard worthy and the lost souls milling about made it all the more perfect. Then things went to crap as the horses came up lame. Turns out all that brimstone is hard on the feet. Anyways, I just look at my nag the wrong way and it’s a five hundred shekel vet bill. So we ended up hikin’ the rest of the way. Hey, you try schleppin’ that big ass scythe around. I looked over at Conquest and could just about smell the rubber burnin’ before he blurted,
    ” But what about us? Who’s gonna sign the paycheques? ”
    ” Don’t worry, ” said War, ” Satan is coming here to explain. Any minute now. ” On cue, a great gout of flame erupted from the vent and Satan rose in all his glory. A fiery red menace twenty cubits tall, horns devilishly long and sharp, he held his forked tail in one hand, trident in the other.
    ” It is I, Lucifer, Lord of the Underworld. Tormentor of… oh what’s the use? ” Satan shrank to his normal size of six and a half cubits, horns mere stubs and shuffled out of the fire.
    ” I take it Myron has told you I’m retiring? ” That Satan, always using our first names.
    ” Why Boss? You love doing the pain, torture, damnation thing. It’s what you do, ” Conquest was on the verge of freakin’ out.
    ” You know, Frank, I’m just so tired. I don’t see the point of all this anymore. ” Satan motioned with his trident and waves of the damned recoiled in terror.
    ” Oops, sorry guys. No, really, ” he called out, embarrassed. Then back to us: ” You guys have served me well all these years, and ah, I’ve arranged a very generous severance package… ”
    The cold hand of realization slapped me in the face, and I shot him a sidelong glance,
    ” whatchu talkin’ ’bout Satan? Are we bein’ made redundant? ”
    ” No, no, no. Well, OK. Yeah you are. ”
    ” You can’t do this to me, I got mouths to feed at home, ” cried Famine. Satan puffed out, well on his way to fifteen cubits, horns startin’ to curl.
    ” Oh, who am I kidding? ” he deflated again, ” I can’t do this anymore. I have to do what’s right for me but I think you’ll be happy with what I’ve arranged. ” He stabbed the trident into the ground. The brimstone, my pals, and the suffering multitudes disappeared. I found myself behind a counter in a bland office, facing a long lineup of bored lookin’ people. ‘ Department of Motor Vehicles ‘ in big letters on the back wall. I smiled and crooked a finger to the next victim in line. I could still make people wish they were dead.

  27. TD_Memm says:

    We were as cut-off form the world as I had ever been. I’m embarrassed to say that was only three miles from our car and the park parking lot. I grew up a city boy with city friends. The urge to “get away from it all” never occurred to any of us. It wasn’t in our DNA. So it wasn’t necessarily a comfortable feeling to go camping. There were four of us out there: the Glover twins, Doug and Kirk, Mitch McKenzie and myself. The trip was Mitch’s idea. I believed it to be a way to get out from under the eyes of our parents in order to drink freely; maybe smoke some pot. It wasn’t unheard of for high school seniors.

    I don’t know why we had to park three miles away from our campsite for a start. Mitch told us it would do some good to experience nature and I suppose that was his way of ensuring it would happen. The Glovers weren’t big talkers; they were just big. That was why I liked them. It was nice to have two football-types palling around (not that I was using them) for certain situations. They mostly kept to themselves unless spoken to.

    “Did I tell you guys what happened Wednesday?” Mitch asked as he put a marshmallow on the end of the tree branch he found. I knew neither Doug or Kirk would be first responders. They worked on whittling sticks while I joined the conversation.

    “With Courtney?” I asked. I already heard the story but Mitch was excited.

    “Yeah, she and I are going out next week.”

    “Wonderful,” I put a marshmallow in my mouth. Mitch liked Courtney Miller for quite some time but he didn’t know I made-out with her at a friend’s party two weeks earlier.

    “Seriously,” he nodded. “What do you think of her?”

    “Don’t know much about her,” I lied through a mouthful. “But she seems cool enough.”

    “Right, right,” he smiled. The Glover twins nodded as well. “Do you want to hear a secret about this place, Tom?” Mitch asked. “It’s really cool.” I didn’t answer, Mitch kept talking. “There was a guy in the news, a kid from Fulton High. He went missing like a month ago. They say he might have been taken out here.”

    “That’s not really a secret,” I pointed out.

    “Yeah, right,” Mitch confirmed. “That’s not the secret though. The secret is that I know where it is. Because I put it there.”

    The joke wasn’t funny because it wasn’t a joke at all. Doug and Kirk rose to their feet and turned in my direction. They grabbed me by my arms. Struggling was a struggle of ill-result.

    “And I know about you and Courtney,” Mitch said, much more viciously. “C’mon, Tom. Let’s go see where I put the bodies.”

  28. MKaylee says:

    Sarah ran for everything she was worth. Her lungs felt too constricted and the cut on her arm wouldn’t stop bleeding. The wind had picked up just as she came out of the tree line, her heart ready to burst. She raced for the car and fumbled with the key she held in her hand. She was frightened. He was after her. He was going to kill her!
    ***
    Sitting around the campfire the girls roasted their marshmallows. It was a clear summer night and Megan turned to Sarah and said, “Let’s tell scary stories!” She could hardly contain herself as she grabbed the flashlight and held it under her chin. The light gushed from its end covering her face with the golden light. She giggled and started in on what she thought was a scary story.
    After a few minutes Taylor’s laughter pierced the night air as she said, “That’s not even scary Sarah!”
    Taylor grabbed the flashlight from Sarah and began a story she had heard from her older brother.
    “It was a Halloween night—“before she could go any further there came a rustle from behind her and she jumped a mile high tossing the flashlight on the ground. She ran over to sit between Megan and Sarah for safety. They all laughed when they realized the coast was clear but a few moments later they heard it again. Sarah grabbed the light once more and stood so she could see more clearly into the night. When the girls behind her stopped giggling Sarah stepped closer to the direction the sound had came from.
    “What do you think it is Taylor?” Megan’s voice was small and it sounded out of place for the usually loud and outgoing girl.
    “I don’t know but it doesn’t sound normal.” Taylor replied.
    It came at Sarah before she knew what hit her. She pushed her arm against the object to try and protect herself, but something sliced her arm causing her to buckle underneath the pain of it. It was a man who had hit her and the thing that sliced her was a knife. She watched it fall from his hand as if he were scared by his actions. She heard Taylor scream but not for long. The man came out of his daze and pushed Sarah to the ground. When she tried to get to her friends she saw the other man slice Taylor’s throat. When Sarah’s attacker tried to get on top of Sarah, she fought him off and erupted into a run. She knew it was three miles to the car but she also knew she was the fastest runner in her school. She heard the man behind her and she ran harder. She didn’t want to die. She heard Megan scream her name but she couldn’t do anything to help her. She ran for the car brushing past branches and thorns that sliced into her skin. She had to get out of there.
    ***
    Finally the key fit into the hole and Sarah dived into its safety. She locked the door just as the man entered the open lot where the car sat. He saw her and she knew he was going to kill her. Pushing the key into the ignition she put the car into drive and heard the tires burn as she fled the forest.
    ***
    It would be just a few short days later that the bodies of her best friends would be found and a few more before two men would be captured for their murders. Sarah never was the same after that night having been emitted into the hospital from the trauma. She asked the officers over and over again, “Why were Taylor’s brothers trying to kill me?”

  29. MKaylee says:

    Sarah ran for everything she was worth. Her lungs felt constricted and the cut on her arm wouldn’t stop bleeding. The wind had picked up just as she came out of the tree line, her heart ready to burst. She raced for the car and fumbled with the key she held in her hand. She was frightened. He was after her. He was going to kill her!
    ***
    Sitting around the campfire the girls roasted their marshmallows. It was a clear summer night and Megan turned to Sarah and said, “Let’s tell scary stories!” She could hardly contain herself as she grabbed the flashlight and held it under her chin. The light gushed from its end covering her face with the golden light. She giggled and started in on what she thought was a scary story.
    After a few minutes Taylor’s laughter pierced the night air as she said, “That’s not even scary Sarah!”
    Taylor grabbed the flashlight from Sarah and began a story she had heard from her older brother.
    “It was a Halloween night—“before she could go any further there came a rustle from behind her and she jumped a mile high tossing the flashlight on the ground. She ran over to sit between Megan and Sarah for safety. They all laughed when they realized the coast was clear but a few moments later they heard it again. Sarah grabbed the light once more and stood so she could see more clearly into the night. When the girls behind her stopped giggling Sarah stepped closer to the direction the sound had came from.
    “What do you think it is Taylor?” Megan’s voice was small and it sounded out of place for the usually loud and outgoing girl.
    “I don’t know but it doesn’t sound normal.” Taylor replied.
    It came at Sarah before she knew what hit her. She pushed her arm against the object to try and protect herself, but something sliced her arm causing her to buckle underneath the pain of it. It was a man who had hit her and the thing that sliced her was a knife. She watched it fall from his hand as if he were scared by his actions. She heard Taylor scream but not for long. The man came out of his daze and pushed Sarah to the ground. When she tried to get to her friends she saw the other man slice Taylor’s throat. When Sarah’s attacker tried to get on top of Sarah, she fought him off and erupted into a run. She knew it was three miles to the car but she also knew she was the fastest runner in her school. She heard the man behind her and she ran harder. She didn’t want to die. She heard Megan scream her name but she couldn’t do anything to help her. She ran for the car brushing past branches and thorns that sliced into her skin. She had to get out of there.
    ***
    Finally the key fit into the hole and Sarah dived into its safety. She locked the door just as the man entered the open lot where the car sat. He saw her and she knew he was going to kill her. Pushing the key into the ignition she put the car into drive and heard the tires burn as she fled the forest.
    ***
    It would be months later that the bodies of her best friends would be found and even longer before two men would be captured for their murders. Sarah never was the same after that night. She asked the officers over and over again, “Why were Taylor’s brothers trying to kill me?”

  30. MCKEVIN says:

    “Tell Robyn, or I will!”
    “What’s Saber talking about Mel?”
    “I’m talking about your hus-“
    “Saber don’t!”
    I twirled another marshmallow over the campfire as I stared at Saber, who was dying to tell me something else was wrong in my life. Why Mel invited her was beyond me. Our other friend, Prudence, didn’t know if she was coming or going. She emerged from our makeshift bathroom wiping her hands on her army fatigues. We were four women in the prime of our lives.
    “Anymo’ weed?” Prudence asked.
    “No.”
    “Anymo’ wine?”
    “No, and Doug’s leaving you Robyn!”
    “What, you’re a fucking psychic now?”
    “He’s leaving you for Tracy…”
    “Saber! I don’t believe you said that!” Melody screamed.
    “Why? It’s true and everybody knows it!”
    Tracy’s name rang loud in my ears, like church bells. The point of that stupid trip was to clear my head and not think about my husband or our marriage and family falling apart. The wind pounded my face as I ran for my car. I raced passed happy families and saw happy couples exchanging spit. I asked God, why me, but she never answered. I vomited as Melody called me. I couldn’t stop running because I was ashamed and embarrassed. I wanted to hide.
    “I killed a man who used to put a sheet over my face every time we made love.”
    “You’ve told us that Pru!”
    “Don’t holler at her Saber! It’s the d-…”
    “I don’t have a disease.” Pru said as she started crying.
    “She’s in denial Mel”
    “It’s called dementia! And what’s wrong with you Saber?”
    “Doctors said I can’t be a mother. What good is a woman who can’t have kids? I gotta go apologize to Robyn.”
    Desperate, Saber stood up, dropped her S’more in the fire and rushed toward Robyn’s car.
    “Oh Saber, I’m so sorry!”
    That S’more smelled like flesh burning.
    “So, all the weed and wine gon’?”
    “Yes Pru.”
    “Mel…“
    “What?”
    “I’m sorry I got early Old Timer’s disease. “What good is a woman who’s lost her mind?”
    Melody grabbed Pru’s head, held her close and cried with her. Saber ran towards me as I got in the car. I didn’t want to hear her talk about my husband and Tracy, because I didn’t know how to compete with a man! Doug, our marriage and everything else we’d built, was a lie. I gave him two children, twenty years of togetherness, so how could he do this to me? I drowned in my tears as I remembered my wedding day, my children’s births and the times we (pause), made love.
    “Robyn!”
    Saber yelled my name and my flesh crawled. I didn’t want her to see me crying because I needed to be strong for Mel. The prognosis wasn’t good. She started chemo the next day. What good is a woman who doesn’t have breasts? Saber was too close and I just wanted to be alone.
    “Forgive me father…” I prayed.
    I started the car, revved the engine and floored the gas pedal and scared Saber off the road.
    “You’re outta your mind?” Saber screamed.
    “What good is a woman who can’t keep her man?”

    • swatchcat says:

      Ha, everyone equal in their own problems, and no one equal in their understanding. Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong will go wrong. Good one.

    • douglangille says:

      Wow. What a train wreck! Well done.

    • smallster21 says:

      Jaysus Christ! The most depressing group of friends’ award goes to…Dementia, infertility, breast cancer and a broken marriage, holy show. You did a good job at weaving in their various ailments without forcing it.

      Only critique, I was a confused on the exchange of dialogue. The conversation between the four people might benefit from more dialogue tags for clarification. I eventually figured out who was saying what, but it kept holding me up, because I had to think about it.

      • bjamison71 says:

        I agree that the ‘who said what’ of the dialogue was a bit confusing, but nothing that can’t be overcome. And holy DRAMA!! I’m picturing the gals from ‘Sex and the City’ without the designer shoes and handbags… :-D Nice job pulling that all together!

  31. I.am.blessed says:

    “You know they never figured out what happened to Pete.” The statement came from Lori whose husband had disappeared late last year.
    “It must be really difficult not knowing.” Jane commented.
    “Not so much” Lori’s tone was eerily calm. In fact in my opinion she has never seemed overly distraught over the situation. “He was a difficult man, besides I know what happened to him.” No one knew just how to respond to this revelation.
    Assuming there had been an argument and he had left Tiffani finally speaks up. “Have you heard from him is he wanting to come home?”
    Lori threw her head back and laughed the most blood curdling laugh I had ever heard, and then calmly announced “unlikely, he is in four different lakes around the area including this one.” We all sat blinking not knowing just what she wanted us to say or do. “I had to tell you all I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer. Problem is now I can’t let any of you go home.” The campfire flickered. We waited for her to laugh and proclaim she had got us all when she stood pulled the keys form her pocket and walked to the edge of the swiftly moving creek that fed into the lake, she tossed the keys into the deepest spot in the water. She turned stared at each of us her gaze unreadable and went on. “I know every one of you had slept with Pete before I stopped his lying, cheating ways. Now it is time to stop each of you from stealing any other woman’s husband.” She pulled a knife and lunged first at Tiffani who was the closest to her.
    I tried to reason with her “I swear to you I for one never had any sort of relationship with Pete other than as my friend’s husband. I am sure Tiffani and Jane feel the same.” I was grasping at straws hoping she would listen, even though I knew Jane had once made the mistake of being lured into his bed, and she had never forgiven herself for it.
    Suddenly Lori turned on Jane “Now we all know that is not true don’t we Jane?” Lori slowly and methodically moved away from Tiffani and toward Jane, her intentions were clear. She raised her knife as she became close enough to do some damage. I screamed and both Tiffani and I lunged at her just as she brought the knife down swearing as she hit the ground. We prevented her from doing any serious damage but the knife still slid down the side of Jane’s face. We were so shaken and scared that it took us a moment to realize Lori was not moving. We ventured just close enough to kick her over and discovered the knife plunged into her chest where she had fallen on it.
    The police found Lori’s body just where she had fallen. It was over, all but the scars and nightmares.

    • douglangille says:

      Doesn’t seem like Lori was much of a “planner”. *smirk*

    • smallster21 says:

      Her plan was foiled easily wasn’t it; she probably should have brought a gun or used more stealth and approached them individually or something.

      Watch switching from past to present tense and your comma usage (especially with dialogue tags).

    • bjamison71 says:

      My initial impressions were (1) that Lori had brought her friends into the woods with the intent of exacting her revenge; and (2) any woman capable of killing her husband, dismembering him, and strewing his parts into four different lakes shouldn’t have botched her revenge on the mistresses as badly as she did!
      BUT then I thought… what if killing the women WASN’T Lori’s plan, and she just suddenly ‘snapped’? In that case, the impulsive behavior, her ill-advised choice to put herself on the short end of a one-on-three battle, and the overall clumsiness of the attack make perfect sense, and lets the reader know that Lori is just completely bat-sh*t crazy!!!

  32. Kerry Charlton says:

    THE NIGHT OF THE BURN

    A shy moon hid from the night as the four friends slipped under the fence at Bill Baggs State Park on the southern tip of Key Biscayne. Cape Florida, part of the park, steeped in Seminole history. Brian Thompson along with three fraternity brothers, Sam Earp, Charlie Yaha and Billy Bowlegs set up camp beside the historic lighthouse built in 1825 and burned in 1836 as a protest to white settlers in south Florida who had encroached Seminole territory.

    The four had been inseperable since grade school, high school and the University Of Miami; later establishing a law firm in Miami. Brian felt noticeably uncomfortable by the fire as the subject of the burning of the lighthouse, dominated their conversation.

    It had never been an issue with Brian that his friends shared the Seminole heritage and that he was the outsider. A war between the Seminole tribe and the white settlers of south Florida had been buried in time for a hundred and seventy years.

    Billy Bowlegs brought the subject to the campfire. “Have you ever thought how we feel about the lost tradition of our ancesters?” he asked Brian.

    “I never realized how much it mattered,” Brian said.

    “You’ll feel the pain we share before the night’s over,” Billy said.

    Brian studied their faces circling the dwindling campfire, realizing this was no small issue with his friends. They never mentioned the priviledged life he lived. He had always shared his life’s blessings with them, even providing the financial support in opening their law firm and now they had decided to turn on him. He wasn’t about to waver from the danger he felt.

    “Charlie,” Brian said. “I was you big brother in Sigma Chi.”

    “Oh yeah, big brother,” Charlie said. “you were hell on wheels during initiation.”

    “What did you expect? There’s no quarter during initiation.” Brian said.

    Sam rose from the campfire, and approaced Brian. “I earned my way through college, wrestling alligators in side shows, while you Brian, went deep sea fishing in your yacht.”

    “And who always invited you to come along Sam?”

    “Well you did but you must have realized I didn’t have the time to go.”

    “I knew alright,” Brian said. “I understood all three of you struggling with finances at the university. I tried helping in subtle ways because I realized how proud the three of you were about your heritage. I sure as hell respected you for it and I haven’t changed since.”

    “We know how you feel Brian,” Billy said. “And because we do, we want to honor you tonight by making you an honorary member of the Seminole Nation.”

    “This whole conversation’s a gag?”

    “It’s not a joke with us,” Sam said.”It’s our way of initiating you, or would you rather do it the old fashioned way?”

    “Okay guys, you scared the living shit out of me. Might as well tell me the old way.” Brian said.

    “You don’t want to hear,” Charlie said. “You haven’t the stomach for it. Now stand before the three of us; we’re going to rename you.”

    As the fire dwindled to embers, four lifetime friends became as one, Billy Bowlegs, Sam Earp, Charlie Yaha and Chief Brian Thundercloud.

    • douglangille says:

      Well done. I love the name Billy Bowlegs.

      • swatchcat says:

        Nicely written. The way you approached the settings and the history was put together well. It made it interesting enough to want to continue reading. One doesn’t normally read about the Seminoles nowadays(it is said that although only a pinch, I have some connection to the tribe on my fathers side). Anyway, the twist at the end was so good I almost missed it. And for problems, one, maybe? If your characters are fraternity brothers(ie. college) then when you say they were inseparable since grade school, there is no need to include high school and college reiterating the point over again. It’s a double up. Nice story.

    • smallster21 says:

      You fooled me. I thought they were going to do something bad to him! And, it wasn’t a total shock when it turned out they were going to initiate him, because it made sense with their history as friends, so good job there. Also, really liked the names, though they sound a bit more like Western cowboy names (Wyatt ‘Earp’, ‘Billy’ the Kid). Brian is the only one with a Native American sounding name ‘Chief Thundercloud’.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Billy Bowlegs, 1810 – 1859, was a leader of the Seminoles in Florida during the second and third Seminole Wars against the United States. Billy’s Creek in Fort Myers, Florida is named after Bowlegs as he was captured there in 1858. Upon capture, he was taken to Washington to show how powerful the United States was.

  33. smallster21 says:

    I had just finished my third shawarma when the sweet cherry smoke swirled out from the shisha pipe enveloping my senses. After several beers, Branna, Cassidy and I found the fact Alroy’s jeep was propped against a sand dune three miles away very funny. He, however, was still sulking, even though he was the one who disregarded the rotting tire abandoned in the sand, a warning left by a fellow duner to the steep drop we slid down. We had decided to take our gear to the water’s edge and call for help in the morning.

    “Read us a story from that book,” Branna asked shoving a marshmallow in her mouth.

    “How about one on the djinn? Ooooo,” I mocked a ghostly moan. “Though, how scary could a genie be? I’d like to wish for Alroy to be a better driver.”

    A low hiss came from Alroy as he glared across the fire. “Djinn are not genies. They are evil spirits,” he snapped.

    “Ya, whatever,” I mumbled.

    “You should know better Maire,” Cassidy scolded me playfully, “the fishermen on the Corniche warned us about going near djinn dwellings. They’ll jump inside your body and eat your soul!” Cassidy pinched me making me squeal.

    “Silly American girls, no respect. All day you’ve mocked those around you,” Alroy seethed.

    “Alroy what is your problem?” Cassidy asked. “We’re just having fun. And, we aren’t silly. The fishermen laughed when they caught us hopping onto their boat. Look, they gave us these evil eye necklaces.” Cassidy pointed at the blue stone circle on the chain around her neck, which made Alroy hiss again and avert his eyes.

    “You’ve been acting weird ever since we stopped at that haunted house near Al Khor,” Branna said.

    “That was not a house,” Alroy scoffed. “That was my ancestral home.”

    “Okay, no more shisha for you,” I said as I took the pipe. Clearly Alroy was away in the head at the moment.

    “You offered no gifts, only desecrated the atmosphere of the adobe ruins. The aura must now be cleansed.”

    Waves from the Arabian Sea lulled behind me, and I ignored Alroy as I threw the book at Cassidy. “Here, I’ll be back.” Beckoned by the call of the water, I walked down the hill to where the blue twinkling lights were surfing upon waves. I stared up at the campfire atop the hill and suddenly heard a sizzling sound as sparks flew up into the sky. Alroy probably threw the book in the fire, I thought as I sat down as the warm waters left me with sparkling algae shoes for several minutes before their glow faded.

    Suddenly small rocks pelted me in the back. I felt the chains land across my hand and picked up the two necklaces; the evil eye stared at me as it swung back and forth. Close to my ear, I heard a low hiss then a voice whispered, “Silly American girl.”

  34. swatchcat says:

    Just a little ditty until I figure out something else.

    The Moon and his friends; Wynken, Blynken, and Nod went camping by the sea of stars. They had parked their wooden shoe and dragged their nets full of dew. They set up camp by the stars roasting mellows thick as clouds and telling tales of the biggest cods. But it was the Moon that had the biggest tell of a dream none could shell.

    They were stuck with nightmares of the darkest kind. Of trolls and ghost and ones left behind. All because they had tangled their fishermen’s nets falling asleep in the moons eclipse.

    “All you had to do was stay awake to catch a batch of stars so bright they would have led to loving arms.” The moon glistened from sorrow so blue. “You’re now lost from your beds never to know your mother’s love for you.”

  35. bjamison71 says:

    Muffled sobs woke me from a deep sleep, and the amber glow of the campfire outside cast eerie shadows on the wall of my tent as I eased out of my sleeping bag. I unzipped the flap and stepped out into the night to find my friend Tara seated beside the fire, her face buried in her hands.
    “What’s wrong?” I asked, easing into the empty seat beside her.
    Tara folded her arms around her waist and stared into the fire, the flames reflecting off her tear-stained cheeks.
    “He’s here,” she said flatly.
    “Who?”
    “Danny,” Tara replied, still not looking at me. “He said that if I ever left him he’d find me…”
    “You left Danny?”
    Tara nodded and turned to me with doleful eyes.
    “Yesterday,” she said, her voice breaking. “I didn’t know where else to go, so I asked you all to go camping this weekend. Oh, my God—I’m so sorry! I didn’t think he’d find me up here, but he did, and now… we’re all going to die.”
    My eyes combed the ring of darkness that surrounded our little campsite.
    “There’s no way that Danny could find his way up here,” I assured, as much for my own benefit as Tara’s.
    Tara turned back to the fire without answering, and she didn’t seem to notice as I rose from my chair and backed slowly toward the tent of our other two friends. While I knew that her dickhead boyfriend would never be able to find such a remote location, Tara was starting to creep me out a little. I’d wake up Josh and Allie—maybe they could talk some sense into her.
    My heart skipped when I saw the tent flap hanging wide open. I reached for a nearby flashlight and reluctantly shined it inside. What used to be Josh’s face was a mangled, bloody mess, and Allie’s wide, lifeless eyes stared back at me, her mouth frozen open in a perpetual, silent scream. I screamed and whirled around, dropping the flashlight as I grabbed Tara’s arm and yanked her to her feet, dragging her toward the path we came in on.
    “We’ll never make it,” she said, just as Danny barreled out of the darkness, a blood-drenched machete raised up to strike.
    The blade took Tara’s head off in one swipe and then rose against the night sky once more. I stumbled backwards, my arm coming up to shield myself as I scooted helplessly away over the soft bed of pine needles that cushioned the ground. Time stood still for a moment, the blade glinting almost beautifully in the firelight before it swooped down to—
    My eyes flew open wide, and I might have screamed as I sat bolt upright in my sleeping bag, my skin misted in a cold sweat. I struggled to control my ragged breathing as the firelight danced over the outer wall of my tent. Finally, I slipped out into the cool night air and took a seat next to Tara at the campfire.
    “Couldn’t sleep?” I asked.
    Tara folded her arms around her waist and stared into the fire, and it was then that I noticed the fresh tears glistening on her cheeks. She shook her head, and turned to face me.
    “He’s here…”

  36. acolton says:

    Let me just begin by saying, my idea of camping would be not camping. I don’t really like the “great outdoors” as some people insist on refer to it. I like the great indoors; I like running water, I like air conditioning, and I like the Chi iron that I straighten my hair with. When it comes to creature comforts, sign me up, I want them all! So how did I get roped into going out into the wilderness with my three BFFs? That had involved one or two or five bottles of White Zinfandel and a momentary lapse in judgment or sanity on my part. Jane was whining about how much she missed the four of us “hanging out” together like we used to. Trudy and Carol jumped on board the “nostalgia express”, and I was sucked in. I had every intention of weaseling out at the last minute, but before I knew it I was in Jane’s car with the other girls and on my way to some campsite place that her friend owned.
    It started out not so bad. The girls had packed plenty of White Zen and it was only for one night; surly I could endure one night. The tent was nice and new and we each had a cot. The campsite had a bathroom and we were just a few feet from where they had set up the tent, so how bad could it be?
    “Ok now, tell me again, why couldn’t we just park the car right outside the tent?” I was a little more sober now and wanted to charge my phone.
    “I need to tell you guys something” Jane said meekly, “I didn’t exactly get permission for us to be here.”
    “I really wanted us to spend this time together and I know Mike would have said it was okay, but he doesn’t know we’re here.” Jane admitted.
    “Ok, so who knows that we’re out here?” asked Trudy.
    “Well, no one I guess.” replied Jane.
    I was confused; did it matter if anyone knew we were here? What was the problem? Just then I heard a noise that I had only heard on TV; it sounded like a lion and it was very, very close.
    “Um Jane, are there mountain lions out here?” asked Carol.
    Ok, we were miles from our car, we had a thin layer of nylon between us and a huge lion and apparently no one knew we were here. Great Jane, just great, you stupid cow. I was completely sober now.
    Just then, I heard a loud “Bang!” it was the sound of a gunshot.
    “Hey Jane, are you girls ok?” asked a male voice.
    I found out after the ruckus, Mike the campground owner, had come up to check on the campsite and noticed our car. Luckily he drove up and saw the mountain lion as it was just about to tear his way into our tent.
    Note to self, don’t go camping under any circumstances.

  37. J.a.c.aranda says:

    We had left for the campsite like we had every third Friday of every other month ever since they were all old enough to drive. It might sound meticulously planned, but that is only in writing. To us, it was just an unspoken rule, a code of the friendship between us three that was known and understood by all.

    We had met in our sophomore year of high school in our chemistry class. We were about as different from each other as you could imagine, but in the typical friendship that transcend clique boundaries, we made our friendship work. Terry was a football player, I was a hippie/stoner/free-spirited type, and Rex was, well, Rex. He was the guy that defies classification, normally keeping to himself. However, we all found some common ground in our love for camping, music, the San Diego Chargers, and, as the law of high school seems to dictate, the joys of smoking some grass.

    We arrived one after another at the site and began the trek to their usual spot with much hamming along the way. After breaking for the ceremonial piss on the oak tree by the river, we arrived and began pitching the tent. We did a little swimming in the river, tossed a football around, and did a little fishing for what we hoped would be our dinner. As we sat around the fire talking about our lives, night fell. And it fell hard.

    “You seem uncomfortable Rex,” Terry spewed in a marijuana-laced, alcohol induced drawl.

    Indeed, Rex had been more silent than usual, refusing the weed and refusing any of the beer that Terry had worked so hard to obtain. He endured some teasing from Terry and I before he finally decided to speak up for himself.

    “Terry, I have something to tell you.” Both Terry and I looked up in silence.

    “Terry. Do you remember the time your sister told you she was going to Renee’s house? I made her text you that. She never went to Renee’s house. I took her from your house while you and your parents were at work.”

    The tension was palpable. Terry’s breathing and grown heavy and he was visibly shaking. I sat motionless and swallowed hard as he went on.

    “Terry, I brought your sister here and I raped her.”

    My jaw dropped. I never had imagined that anything like this could have happened. Terry froze. The air hung heavy as Rex proceeded with the details and tried to convince Terry that it was all Terry’s sister’s fault because of the way his sister acted toward Rex and how he hated that Terry had stood up for her when she mocked him. Terry had heard enough. He let out a scream and tackled Rex to the ground as the two exchanged blows. I had no idea what to do, I just watched in terror as the fight grew out of control. Rex managed to escape Terry’s grappling and got up and started running toward me. I sprang to my feet to run, and looking behind me I saw Terry knock Rex down, his arm catching in the fire. I paused and turned around to the sound of Rex’s shrieks and as Terry took cautious steps back, Rex began swinging his flaming arm at Terry.

    Terry fell to the ground as Rex plunged his arm into the water. I could see steam rising from the river and Rex stood up and grabbed the log he had been sitting on. He brought it down swiftly on Terry’s right arm, shattering it. Terry screamed in anguish and Rex screamed that he was going to meet a worse fate than his sister. Terry began to plead with Rex to stop, crippled by the pain in his arm as Rex turned to look at me. I could see fear and anger in his eyes.

    “We can’t have any witnesses.”

    Luckily I had a head start on my run to my car. I picked up any rock I could find along the way and flung it back at him. I had to do anything to delay the advance. He stopped once as one caught him in the forehead and that was all the advantage I needed. I made it to the car and drove away as fast as I could. I’ll never camp there again. God only knows what the police found when they arrived.

  38. Joe Ryan says:

    It sounded like a perfect trip. Three guys heading deep into the Catskills on a day long hiking trip, and then setting up camp wherever we got to before the sun went down.
    We hiked deep into the mountains that day. It felt great to be away from our computers, and noisy cars.
    We walked from sun up to sun down. My friend Jacob, an avid fan of photography took pictures of all the beautiful views. We all were beginning to realize that lifes too short, and with all of us heading into our late thirties, we knew these moments were few and far between.
    As we set up camp, I began to notice that Randy wasn’t talking much. It was especially odd considering this camping trip was his idea in the first place. He picked the spot and everything. When he went to take a piss, I asked Jacob if he knew what was wrong, and in the usual hippie Jacob fashion, he just shrugged and told me I worry too much.
    Once we got the fire going, and the comfort of day left, we were left with only the three of us to speak and the hooting of the owls or the crackling of the twigs under the flames.
    “So Randy, how’s everything lately?” I asked with a smile.
    “Not so good. Melissa left me.” Randy answered without lifting his head from the fire.
    “That sucks man. I’m sure she’ll come around. Just give her time.” Jacob replied with an awkward shrug.
    “I did. It didn’t work, but things are looking up. We’re spending more time together lately.” Randy said plainly. He stood up, unzipped his pack, and reached into it.
    “You okay Randy?” I asked in concern.
    “I’m fine. I realize it’s her problem not mine. I’ll be with her forever now.” Randy replied as he still fumbled through his bag.
    Jacob looked at me again with a puzzled look.
    “What do you mean?” I asked nervously.
    “We used to always come up here. We’d hold hands and walk the trail. Have a picnic, and now she’ll be here forever. It’s beautiful. Thank you for coming guys.” Randy said as he turned around. From the glow of the fire I saw it. He didn’t need to say a word as he set a human skull gently on the ground along with the bottle of wine he had in his other hand.
    Jacob instantly grabbed his camera and snapped a picture, which I found odd at the time. As the two of us ran from the fire and Randy in panic, he never chased after us. I think he was content with staying in the mountains with her skull, and their memories. I learned after they sent the search party that they found him dead, a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head, lying with a glass of wine in hand, with the other left next to her skull. Right where we left him, by the fire.

  39. Roselin777 says:

    “I killed a man.” She said.
    No one moved.
    “A man tried t get in my car at a stoplight and I shot him and drove off.”
    The tone of her voice let us know this was true and also made us shiver.
    “How much time did U get?” I stuttered.
    “None.” She said.
    ” I moved to another country.”

  40. margi33 says:

    I squinted and saw fangs, the size of my forearm, hanging in the creature’s mouth as it screamed a primal cry. The breeze blew its musk toward my nose. I whiffed a lifetime of dirt and body odor clinging to its fur.

    “Shit,” I whispered to Tim, who was grabbing at my headlamp like a small child unable to wait his turn. “What are we going to do?”

    Tim peered out into the misty darkness. “That thing is huge. I’ll kill Phil for bringing us out here – ‘let’s all go on a guy’s camping trip this weekend,’ Phil says. Well I can think of a place for him to shove his camping trip.”

    I glanced at Phil and Ed’s tent, wondering if they were awake. It would take a foghorn to wake Ed up, I thought. I was almost jealous of his whiskey induced slumber. As for Phil, I felt much like Tim did. Earlier in the evening, while we sat around the campfire happily roasting marshmallows, Phil informed us that he had camped here just last weekend and had seen something in the woods. He brought us here to see if the “creature” would show up again. Obviously it did, and it looked pissed and hungry.

    From my unzipped hole in the tent I monitored Fang’s progress. It was about fifty yards away. It stopped intermittently, lifting its head to the sliver of the moon above, nostrils flaring and retracting, sniffing the air. Oh God, it smells us. “Tim, we’ve gotta go.”

    I unzipped the tent, one tooth at a time. “Crawl around to the backside,” I whispered to Tim as I snaked my body out of the bottom corner. The leaves were damp with dew, muffling our escape. We continued to belly crawl away from Fang until we found a depression in the ground. It was just deep enough for us to both lay in; only our eyes peeked over the edge.

    I saw a beam of light flash over Fang’s shoulder. Fang saw it too and turned quickly, beady eyes staring directly at Phil and Ed’s tent. Its stride lengthened, swiftly closing the distance. Phil’s form darted from the tent, sprinting into the woods. Fang started to pursue him but halted, sniffing the air again. His massive monkey hands grabbed the tent and shook it, upside down, depositing a now awake Ed onto the ground. As if picking a berry off of a bush, Fang plucked Ed from the ground and bit into his neck, severing his head from his body.

    As horrified as I was, I couldn’t peel my eyes away. Fang picked up the remains of Ed and toted him effortlessly with one hand. It headed off in Phil’s direction, breaking into a loping run.

    Screams penetrated my ears infusing me with another jolt of panic and adrenaline. I ran and Tim ran, heartbeats thumping in our throats as a pink hue began to suffuse the sky with hope.

  41. iamjscott says:

    Camping Trip Gone Wrong by J. Scott

    Our laughter filled the evening air with a magic only soul-ties can create. The owl’s that called out to one another in the night were in perfect harmony with the distant cries of wolves, as the campfire partnered with a sparkling moon, which lit a transcending pathway to our destiny.

    “Let’s play I never,” Mariah eagerly suggested.

    I hoped this wouldn’t come up. But, four single ladies, three of which were celibate at the time, a game like I never was inevitable. Besides, we often lived vicariously through Roxy and her unchained exploits. I suppose the prospect of sharing wild anecdotes all around seemed thrilling.

    “Never have I ever…”

    “Why don’t’ you just say ‘I never;” Mariah boastfully cut in.

    “Does it matter?” I responded fairly irritated at the disrupted discourse. “I never, made out with another girl.”

    The girls laughed as Roxy took a sip of our fifth party member – Captain Jack.

    “No need to explain that one,” Rebecca chuckled.

    A little over a month prior to our camping trip, Roxy invited us all on a party bus for her birthday. She lives just a few hours away from Vegas, so we all thought it’d be a good idea to go. We’d realized we were mistaken once her Alter-ego “Electra” showed up and she started smooching some chick on the bus. She tried kissing me, and I almost slapped her.

    “I never, attempted to slit my wrists.” Roxy looked around as if she knew someone would answer. But none did. “My mistake,” she said as she took yet another swig.

    “I’ve never murdered anyone,” Rebecca said playfully. “None of y’all better drink!”

    Roxy and I laughed at her administrative tone. I didn’t want to look at Roxy for fear our eyes connecting would make me laugh even harder, but of course we exchanged glances and our laughter filled the air with intensity yet again.

    “Mariah’s drinking.” Becca’s words cut right into the heart of the night.

    “What the hell.” Roxy stood up immediately.

    “Mariah, what did you do?” I asked.

    “I’m infected.” She said.

    “Like with HIV?” Roxy pondered.

    “Like with a virus, yes, but not HIV. I’ve been working on something with Matt. We thought we’d come up with a solution to rapidly decrease aging. It worked on various animals so we thought we’d test it on humans.”

    “Without a license from the FDA, are you crazy?” Rebecca’s voice stretched.

    “Who’d you use?” I asked, fearfully.

    “Matt.”

    “And how did it turn out?” Roxy slowly started walking towards her.

    “Everything was balanced, we stored it properly, all the calculations were precise.”

    “What happened to Matt!” Roxy screamed.

    “He’s dead.” Mariah began to cry. “But I fixed it! Made a couple of minor changes. It should work perfectly this time.”

    “This time? Mariah, what the hell did you do?” Roxy stood so close to her face I could see the cool air escape from her mouth and break onto Mariah’s.

    “I tried it… on me.” Mariah said. “I’m sure it’ll work this time!”

    Roxy started stroking her head as if a migraine had set in. Tears rolled down Rebecca’s face and me… I was frozen.

    “That’s not it.” Mariah whispered softly. “I honestly believe this is going to work, I really do, but have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. I was afraid and I didn’t want to die alone, so…”

    “So!” Roxy had just about had it. We were all on our feet then.

    “I put some in one of the cups.”

    The dead of night matched the pale expressions on our faces.

    “Which cup?” I demanded.

    “I don’t remember.” Mariah cried.

    “How long do we have to see?” Rebecca asked.

    Mariah sucked in the last of her tears and replied, “24 hours.”

  42. Just B says:

    I was sitting around a campfire on a balmy Idaho evening, cheerfully arguing politics with my 3 closest friends. Our harangues are tradition and range from current events to gossip of our representing sleazebags to conspiracy theories. We’d always shake our heads in mutual agreement of the despicable direction the country was headed. It was our common camaraderie.

    “I knew you guys would agree that life is shit and is only going to get shittier as the Illuminati continue to turn us into their lab rats,” Lyle’s low voice mixed with the smoke of the fire, “That’s why I put adrenalmethanol in all of our drinks tonight. In 24 hours, the blood vessels in our brains will burst and we’ll be dead.”

    I leapt to my feet ignoring the others’ reactions. They could do as they pleased. They didn’t matter anymore. I only had 24 hours left to live. I ran.

    “Sylvia, I don’t love you!” I roared in ragged wheezes as I burst through the door. Where was that shrew of a Roseanne Barr lookalike? She appeared in the doorway, her round face registering a mixture of shocked betrayal and eyebrow tilted scorn. “I’m not going to be your little bitch boy anymore. I love Saffron. I’m going to be with her. I’m going to leave everything to her.”

    I could see the words sink like daggers into her operatic bosom. “But you’ve never met her…” she began to shriek as I slammed the door behind me. I didn’t have time.

    As I raced to Gaming Joe, my online café haunt, I called my boss at the CPA firm I’d been imprisoned in for the past 15 years. “Hey, Ellie, you hepatitic liver! You pus filled boil! I’ve never met a more miserable person than you. If I had time left, I’d frame such a sexual harassment suit on you the likes of which would make the Petraeus affair look like a neighborhood pie eating contest as far as news coverage. You’d never work anywhere ever again, which is what you deserve for destroying so many promising careers.”

    Saffron was on! She was always on. Always there for me. Always knew what to say. Could always make me laugh. “Hi Perfect in Pennsylvania,” I typed.

    “Heya Xavier, you handsome devil! I was hoping you’d log tonight. Have time to help me with a quest?”

    “I have a few hours,” I could feel my heart rate finally begin to come down after receiving the news. Slipping into World of Warcraft made everything else unimportant, “There’s something I want to talk to you about anyway.”

    I had just finished telling my accountant to transfer everything from my account to Saffron’s when I felt a heavy slap on my back.

    “Told ya he’d be here!” The 3 friends I’d left in the woods to deal with things as they saw fit were surrounding me. “Man, you sure had the best April Fool’s joke reaction ever! What have you been doing?”

  43. thetlus says:

    Lou’s mood considerably lightened as the canopy of treetops grew denser and more lush.The air was soft and sun-speckled. Urbanites Howie and J.D. kept praising the “fresh air” taking exaggerated breaths as though it were thick and solid. Rucks remained quiet, staring into the woods as though he could see things where there were only sunbeams.

    J.D. reached into his rucksack and pulled out a handful of Bark Bars. “You guys want one?”

    Howie scrunched his nose, “what is it?”

    “You don’t know of Bark Bars?” J.D. bounced as though he was sharing knowledge of the gods, “oh, these things are great. They’re these…bar…things that you eat.”

    Nobody was convinced.

    “They’re supposed to have all your vitamins and minerals in them?” J.D. tried.

    Lou sighed. “what flavors have you got?”

    J.D.’s mood buoyed. “Oh, loads.” he squinted at the labels “there’s Chocolate Chip Crumble, there’s Macadamia Butter Nut, and I have two Peanut Butter Brownie Bites….but there’s a bunch more in the bag”

    Howie scoffed, “those don’t sound healthy.”

    J.D. looked wounded “it says right here on the label…look! It says here- they’re organic!”

    Lou considered this a moment, “Gimme the macadamia one.”

    There was a bit of shuffling as the Bark Bars were distributed and traded. Lou decided the Bark Bars were alright. They were chewy, but it seemed fitting somehow. The four men ate their bars in silence, occasionally grunting with approval, much to J.D.’s satisfaction.

    By the time they reached the campsite, set up the tent, and coaxed a fire out of the stubborn logs, it was well beyond nightfall. They ate a simple dinner of hot dogs. Buns and condiments were quickly deemed unnecessary. Everyone was ravenous.

    It was a tradition for the gang to make s’mores and cocoa after dinner. Lou looked at the s’more in his hand and found himself repulsed.

    “J.D., you got any more of those Bark Bars?”

    J.D. reached for his rucksack “I’ve got tons.”

    Howie and Rucks each took one.

    While chewing, Lou stared at his wrapper pensively. “Hey, J.D. What’s these things anyway?”

    Howie snorted, “Crack.”

    J.D. tossed one to Rucks. “Now’s your chance to use that fancy chemistry degree of yours, Rucks.”

    Rucks silently scrutinized the wrapper. His eyes grew wide.

    “What’s wrong, Rucks?”

    J.D. looked horrified, “aren’t they organic?”

    Rucks paled as he reread the ingredients, muttering under his breath to himself before saying, “no…no…they’re organic.”

    J.D. wasn’t satisfied, “then what is it?”

    Lou tasted something strange in his mouthful- hard yet brittle. He pulled it out. It was too covered in chocolate to identify.

    Rucks never answered. He went over to the bushes, retching. Howie, uncharacteristically solemn, picked up a discarded wrapper and began scrutinizing it.

    Lou poured water on the chocolate-covered anomaly. The dying light of the campfire lapped the object and then retreated, quick as it came. Lou could tell what it was instantly. It was a toenail. A human toenail.

  44. ag58925 says:

    A COLD WORLD

    College.

    That’s where I’d met the people who were sitting around me, now, they were the people I trusted the most, and so, as we all sat around the campfire, it wasn’t strange for Melinda to speak out, “I have a secret to tell.”

    Instantly, Basil, Tris, and I leaned in, anxious to hear this secret that she was talking about. She took a deep breath, readying herself, and said, “I-I’m pregnant.”

    I shrieked in excitement, and ran up to her, giving her a huge hug, “Congratulations! Who’s the lucky Dad?”

    She looked up at me, tears falling from her eyes, and I frowned. “What’s wrong?” Basil asked, coming over with Tris to sit next to her as well.

    “The D-dad, is J-Jimmy,” Melinda could barely get the words out, and when she did, the rest of us stared at each other in alarm.

    Jimmy was Melinda’s ex, he had died in a car crash 2 years ago.

    “Oh, Sweetheart,” Tris enveloped Melinda in a hug, “I’m so sorry, I know he was a great guy, but he’s dead.”

    “No!” Melinda screamed and yanked herself away from Tris, cowering away in a corner, “He’s alive! I’m pregnant! He’s the Father of my baby!” She held her stomach protectively, growling at us.

    Basil looked at us, desperately. We didn’t know what to do. We had all known that they had been serious, and when he had died, we had discovered a wedding ring in his pocket. Swallowing hard, Basil walked over to Melinda, “Love, he’s dead. That’s not this baby,” She gestured to Melinda’s stomach.

    “Get away!” Melinda yelled, pushing Basil away, “You want my baby dead, don’t you? Just like you killed my Jimmy, just like you killed me!”

    “Mel,” Tris yelled, trying hard to pull her into a reassuring hug, “It’s going to be okay, we’re here with you.” But Melinda was somewhere far away, not with us, and she shoved Tris away and moved toward an empty spot between the trees.

    “Jimmy,” She said, talking to the air, “I’ve tried explaining it to them, but they won’t believe me. You’re alive, right? You wouldn’t leave me alone in this cold…cold….world; you love me too much for that, right? Right! I love you, Jimmy, don’t you ever leave me like this ever again,” Melinda turned to us, “Can’t you see him? He’s so loving, I feel like the luckiest girl on this world.” Suddenly her eyes glazed with tears once more and she turned to look at ‘Jimmy’, “Do I have to?” I felt some invisible being nodding as Melinda’s eyes narrowed.

    The wind blew as I saw my best friend for the past nine years take out a knife, my feet felt planted to the ground as I saw her stab Basil. My brain willed me to believe that somewhere beneath all of that madness was my sweet friend Melinda as she stabbed Tris, and my heart broke as I felt the knife in my gut.

    “I love you, Jimmy,” Melinda whispered, as she slit her wrists open, “I’m coming to see you, now.”

  45. nikkioates says:

    My legs felt shaky after the hike we had to take to the clearing in the woods near the river where we set up camp for the night. Lugging all our camping gear on our backs made the trek even more exhausting, but the spot we found was worth it. The river was a calming sight, and although I detected the stench of a rotting animal carcass, the cool breeze was exhilarating. Miles and Trey went in search for firewood while Julie and I set up the tents. I was excited to be able to spend the weekend away from city life with the gang. I was in desperate need of some R and R and the bottle of wine I packed was just waiting to be uncorked. Miles and I hadn’t had the opportunity to spend much time lately with Trey and Julie so when Julie called to suggest the camping trip, we jumped at the opportunity to catch up with them and leave all our cares behind.
    The guys returned shortly with the fire wood and the fire was crackling and warm in just a few minutes. The night was perfect for a fire and the warmth of the flames caressed my face and arms as we started roasting the marshmallows we had packed for smores. We all sat back sipping wine and chatting about life when a solemn look came over Julie’s face. The knowing glances between Trey and herself led Miles and I to believe there was something on their minds.
    “What’s going on guys?” Miles asked with a little worry or concern in his voice.
    “We have something we need to tell you two,” Trey spit out and the look of nervousness on Julie’s face was evidence of the seriousness of what Trey was about to tell us.
    The tale that Trey related to us seemed impossible to believe, but the tears streaming from Julie’s eyes told the truth. The couple had gotten involved in a cult who dabbled in conjuring the spirits of the dead. It was just supposed to be a joke, but it didn’t turn out to be so funny.
    “They won’t leave,” Trey’s voice was quivering. “They follow us wherever we go.” Trey pulled down his shirt collar and showed us scratches on his neck. “They attacked me. They are pure evil. We thought we could get away by coming out here, but I can feel them here. I can smell them.”
    “The smell is overwhelming, “Julie cried. “It is the smell of rotting flesh. It’s their breath. I can feel them breathing on me.”
    Just as Julie had spoken those words, the dead animal smell that I had got a whiff of when we first arrived was strong in my face. I felt hot breath on the back of my neck and goose bumps broke out over my arms. I looked at Miles and knew he felt it, too. Miles pulled me into his arms and promised to protect me.

  46. cajun75 says:

    “We were friends since grammar school, hitting it off immediately when we realized we were all Scots. Well actually, we were too young to make that connection, but our names gave it away. What else could you do with three kids named, Angus, Blayne, and Coll, three unusual names from three rather interesting kids, in an area where very few Scottish immigrants had established roots. We became known as the ABC kids, and I could not imagine there was anything either of us did not know about the other one; boy, was I wrong, dead wrong.

    “Growing up we relished our Scottish heritage. We wore kilts with the whole get up as often as we could, we participated in the Americanized version of the Scottish Highland games, and went wilderness camping, with our parents and their friends yearly.

    “As much as all three of us played up the Scottish angle of our heritage, Coll, though, could and often did take his background it to extremes. Coll was always the one who threw the farthest, hit the hardest, and out-drank everyone. He even insisted our girl friends had to be Scottish; he and Blayne were successful.

    “For this year’s camping trip Coll wanted us to camp earlier and go somewhere new, some place we did not know anything about and no one would recognize us. Deciding to really play-up the whole wilderness idea, we donned our kilts, packed a change of clothes, our bedrolls, a skillet and coffee pot, two bags of marshmallows, and headed out. Generally, though, we left the traditional weapons home, but this time both Coll and Blayne wore their dirks (a Scottish singled-edged thin dagger) and Coll brought his Claymore (a sword nearly 60-inches long). Coll said he was uncomfortable leaving it at the apartment. We took our cell phones, but they were buried in a canister and for emergency use only.

    “Last night found us sitting around the campfire, roasting our marshmallows and drinking to our good fortunes, with many references to past camping trips and past experiences, we were having a rollicking good time, until Coll, all six-foot six, 250-pounds of muscle, stood up brandishing his claymore and proclaiming he had an announcement. He said he was disgusted with the whole Scottish heritage thing and he was stopping it. With cold bloodied clarity, he explained the red on the sword was the dried blood of Fiona, Blayne’s girlfriend, and that after the camping trip Iona, his girl, would be next.

    “I sat frozen in unbelief and horror as Coll flung the claymore aside, wrenched the dirk out of its holder and impaled Blayne as he threw himself across the fire. Then Coll started towards me with the dirk raised high, and a look of indescribable sadistic glee on his face. I pulled out the Colt-45, hidden under my kilt, and fired.”

    The officer took my Colt, wrote down everything I said, and led me back through the woods to his cruiser.

  47. bethness12 says:

    It had been quite a hike from the car since we had parked three miles away, but we wanted a remote area. The surroundings had been beautiful, though, and our scenic view at the campsite was breathtaking. Sarah started the fire, Teresa got the firewood, Shelley sliced the meat and I prepared the potatoes.

    Dinner was delicious. I don’t think I ever ate so well. Afterward, we sat around and enjoyed some Irish whiskey and roasted marshmallows, talking over the fire. The subject turned to our darkest secrets.

    “I don’t know about sharing these things,” Teresa was hesitant. “Well, we are past the Statute of Limitations.” All eyes were on her.

    “What!?” I was dying to hear this.

    Shelley leaned toward Teresa. “Hey, what happens at camp stays at camp.”

    “Agreed.” Sarah raised her glass. “All in favor?” We all raised our glasses. It was agreed.

    Teresa squirmed. “10 years ago, my husband and I burned our house to the ground for the insurance money. We owed more than it was worth, and the insurance policy was higher than that. We didn’t get caught and we came out ahead.”

    Sarah fidgeted and wrinkled her nose. Several years ago, I stole a quarter-million dollars from a high profile company and got caught. But I was sleeping with the boss and his wife at the time, and had pictures. They were so embarrassed about the whole thing I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement and a promise never to return. No charges were filed.

    My turn. I sighed. “I was addicted to Heroin.” I shrugged. “I would and did do anything to get it.” No one flinched, no judgmental looks. I breathed.

    Shelley spoke up. “I’m a cannibal, and I shared what I had left with all of you. It’s time to restock. You can all run, but I drugged the booze and you may recall this is my campsite we are staying at. This area is tricked out. No one will ever find the bodies.” She shrugged. “I like human meat. It’s juicier and has a richer flavor than beef.” She clapped her hands together and smiled. “So, who’s for running?”

  48. Dutchguy says:

    Jaarm, Alwyn, Ashrilla and captain Giant sat around the campfire. A few miles back they had abandoned the magical carriage which Jaarm had conjured up. The forest had proven to be impenetrable to anything but a man on foot.

    As he roasted the delicious treats above the fire, Jaarm wondered once again why he had agreed to let the prince, princess, and captain join him on his retreat. He had planned on getting some well-deserved rest after the last few days of getting gutted, skinned alive, burned and raped by the abusive priestess Steziree and her minions. His energy was running out. One more encounter with the bitch and he would not be able to heal his wounds again.

    Princess Ashrilla’s words woke him from his pondering, “Gods are completely useless!” she sounded angry. “Sinn Sergres, the god of war, could stop the legion of mages for only two minutes before they blasted right through him and massacred our entire army!”

    “I know, but maybe Masinn Dako is not like that.” prince Alwyn tried to calm her down. “She took me in and cared for me when my mother died.”

    “All Gods are shit!” Ashrilla announced fiercely.

    “I agree.” Jaarm joined the conversation. “I hate my father to the deepest corner of my heart.”

    It remained quiet for a couple of seconds after that. Until princess Ashrilla, with her face curled up like a bloodhound, snarled, “Your father is a God?!”

    “Yes,” Jaarm admitted as he felt the tension around the campfire rise.

    “That would make you,” captain Giant slowly rose up as he spoke, “a half God!” he spewed out the last two words as he drew his sword and jumped over the flames.

    Jaarm, barely in time, raised his magical defenses as the enormous man crashed into him. Though his arcane shields stopped the sword from cutting his head off, the force of the collision still made him tumble backwards into the thicket.

    That was it! Jaarm was completely, utterly done with playing nice! He just wanted some damn rest! One day without people trying to kill him, was that too much to ask?! The anger rose in his chest and as the captain crawled back to his feet so did he.

    Jaarm roared as he finally found an outlet for all his repressed pain and rage. Dark acidic smoke wafted from his hands. The black clouds burned right through the captain’s steel armor, leather vest, flesh and bone. Still, the boulder of a man managed to plant a heavy fist in Jaarm’s nose, as a gaping hole bore through his chest.

    While the blood rushed from his nose and his vision darkened Jaarm screamed out in fury. With him the flames of the campfire rose up to engulf the nearby trees and royalty. They left nothing but ashes.

    Standing in the smoking clearing Jaarm got himself back under control. “Fuck!” he had not meant to do that, kill the Queen’s sister and nephew. For a second he stood watching the smoldering remains, then he started running. It would not take long for the palace mages to sense what had happened to Ashrilla and Alwyn. They would start a manhunt for him. That he saved the kingdom from the evil Steziree on more than one occasion no longer mattered. Then chance of him ever finding some rest had just gone up in flames.

  49. douglangille says:

    ** a little over the word limit — seems to be the trend so far **

    DANA’S STORY
    ============

    “I have something to tell you”, said Dana quietly, barely audible.

    We were all laughing uncontrollably at the melted marshmallow and chocolate plastered to Maggie’s face. It was amazing that she’d not gotten any of the sticky mess in her hair. That would have been hell to get out.

    It was Saturday night and it had been a full day on the river. We’d only just made it to the spot we’d picked out on the map to crash as night fell with an unexpected suddenness.

    Dana and June pitched the tent and stowed the gear, while Maggie and I gathered some dry forest litter blown down by last month’s storm. The wood was brittle and easy to break.

    I holstered my hatchet. It wouldn’t be needed.

    The fire was hot and quick burning. It wasn’t long before we had a glowing bed of embers to cook up our foil-wrapped dinners and crack open the marshmallows.

    I surprised my friends with a quart of sweet amber rum. It was when we were all warmed by the fire, spirits and good friendship, we took to giggling. It made it really hard to assemble s’mores without making a god-awful mess. It was good to get away.

    “Prim, stop”, June said. Good cheer evaporated from our faces when we looked at Dana’s face. She was red in the face and her eyes reflected the firelight with a glassy wetness. Despite being liquored up, it was easy to tell she was upset, on the verge of tears. There was something else there too.

    “I have something to tell you.”

    There’s always an unspoken ordering in any group of friends. June and Maggie were the leaders, the outgoing ones. Dana and I were the quieter pair. There was always a fair bit of competition between us. We traded clothes and argued about boys all through school. After graduation, we went our separate ways. Prim and I went to college. Dana signed up for five years with the Forces. June stayed in town and married a local boy.

    This trip was the first time we’d gotten together since Dana came home. We caught each other up on our lives as we paddled. The river wasn’t all that difficult, so we chatted about the trials and tribulations of college life and what was to come. We lamented about June’s lousy marriage, offering equally lousy relationship advice.

    Dana didn’t offer much to the conversation — she rarely did. She just paddled deliberately. My God, she’d become strong! I wondered what she did “in-country” and why she was back a year early. Honourable discharge was all we got out of her.

    It stayed that way, all of us falling into familiar patterns with June and Maggie leading the conversation. But once Dana started talking, we sobered. She kept drinking straight from the bottle, her story tumbling out with the lubrication.

    “My patrol was in pieces and I was all by myself, trying to hold my friends insides together”, she sobbed.

    Then her tone darkened abruptly. She was suddenly angry. It didn’t even sound like the same Dana.

    “Your lives as so… so perfect. You have no idea what’s out there. No idea.”

    “The monsters are real. I am the monster.”

    This last she screamed as she rose. Dana violently kicked the embers, shooting them high in to the air, raining fire on all of us. June’s hair caught ablaze but her screams were cut short as the hatchet, my hatchet, made a sickly thud to her skull.

    I didn’t know much about the world or its horrors. I didn’t know what set Dana off.

    I did know that we were alone in the wild. June was dead. Maggie was missing. I heard her scream a while ago. Christ only knows how long. I was running fast, a painful stitch forming in my side. I could feel my sweat sting the lashes to my face as the dry brush whipped by.

    I stopped to lean against a large spruce, the bark sticking to my shirt. I had no idea where I was.

    I heard a branch break.

    Oh shit.

    • Amy says:

      This scene puts me in mind of some old horror flicks I used to watch as a kid. I like that about it. Just one thing to note: I took the narrator’s name to be “Prim”, but in the paragraph where you explain the dynamics of the group, there is a line that says “Prim and I went to college”. That confused me a little bit. Otherwise, an excellent story. Also, I really love the way you make a poetic turn of phrase seem easy every once in a while.

    • margi33 says:

      I liked it, good descriptions.

    • smallster21 says:

      Sounds like a bad case of PTSD. Very well written. I liked the descriptions; I felt immersed in the story.

  50. Cin5456 says:

    I sank to the nearest flat rock jutting out of the meadow grass. “Did you guys have to choose a campsite halfway to hell?” I rubbed the sweat off my forehead, and pushed my bangs back, hoping for a breeze.

    “We’ve come here every July fourth for six years. We’re not about to change our plans for you. You insisted on coming, so don’t blame us if you feel inconvenienced.” The cutting remark stung. Ted dropped his backpack, sat on his heels, and started pulling up grass. Garret went to settle the keg in the cold, rushing creek nearby.

    Ted eyed my tired pose and said, “You could help me pull up weeds and move rocks for the tent. You can rest after dark – after you gather a load of wood. A campfire doesn’t build itself.”

    Garret came over. His enormous pack thudded to the ground. “That climb is getting tougher as I get older. Good thing we have plenty of beer to cool off with.” He opened the pack, dumped out cooking utensils, pans, and three tin cups and then returned to the creek with the cups.

    “Couldn’t you guys do without beer for this one weekend?” They had carried a half-keg of beer over two hills, down a vertical waterfall trail, and around a wide curve in the creek to this meadow, sharing the load, but huffing and groaning the whole way.

    “It’s a tradition and we’re not changing…”

    “I know, I know, you’re not changing your plans for me. I don’t expect you to, but I thought you had enough beer at the party last night.” My grumbling would make no difference, but I was grumpy and tired. We left the city at three in the morning and arrived at the campsite twelve hours later.

    “Partying, camping, fishing – all the best things in life in one weekend. Get over here and help me.”

    A demonic roar came from the creek. The howl started like an enraged bear and rose to a howl of pain. Then Garret screamed like he was gut-shot. Ted and I ran for the creek. When we got there, Garret was beating a tin cup on the rocks; another lay on the ground twisted like twine.

    “Garret, what’s up, buddy? What’s wrong?” Ted’s shock at his friend’s behavior surprised me. I thought they knew each other so well. Had he never seen one of Garret’s rages on the football field in high school?

    “The keg is empty.” His yell echoed up the valley. They both turned to stare at me. Garret growled, and threw the cup at me. It glanced off my shoulder igniting a flash of pain as I ducked to the right. “You told me the other keg was the empty one.”

    A quick flash of memory confirmed it. Damn! Three days with a couple of twenty-something alcoholics and an empty keg, and it was my fault. I backed away from the blaze in Ted’s eyes.

  51. Amy says:

    I had issues with the word limit also, but seeing as my story is exactly 666 words, I thought it was appropriate for the subject :)

    “Brianna’s got a secret,” Kayla taunted. She giggled as she grabbed the bottle of Jameson from Landon and took another swig. She and I had been friends since kindergarten, but in recent years it had become more of an unspoken competition than anything else.

    “I do not, I just don’t want to play your stupid game,” I replied.

    Landon took the bottle back, chuckling. His deliberate smirk never quite reached his dark umber eyes. Those eyes fixed on me hungrily as he passed me the whiskey and I couldn’t help the longing that rose inside me. His fingers lingered on the bottle, brushing against mine, and I tried to keep the seductive smile from my face.

    “Fine, I’ll go. I know something about someone here,” Kayla said, slurring every other word. It was no mystery where half the bottle of whiskey had gone already. She could be a real pain in the ass when she was wasted.

    She looked right at Landon with a devilish grin and I wondered if she was referring to him. He reached out and pulled her face to his, silencing her with a kiss. He must have had enough of her drunken rant too.

    I took a long drink and tossed the bottle to the ground. Why they still hung on to each other was an infuriating mystery. They didn’t even like each other. This whole third wheel thing was getting really old.

    “I’m gonna go get more wood,” I said, standing up.

    The pines whispered back and forth across the hillside in the night air. The quiet banter was unsettling and I zipped up my hoodie against the chill. As I bent down to pick up a branch, I felt a hand on my waist and I turned to see Landon’s dark eyes just before he buried his face in my neck. The sensation of his lips on my skin overwhelmed me. He lifted me up and pressed my back into the broad trunk of a pine. My heart raced as his mouth hastily found mine. His hand fumbled on the zipper of my hoodie and I pulled away for a second.

    “What about Kayla?” I gasped. If she saw us, especially in the drunken state she was in, she’d be pissed.

    “She’s passed out in the tent,” he answered. His voice was low and husky and it made me want him even more.

    He pulled me to him again and I tangled my fingers in his dusky hair. Despite the ecstasy I felt in this moment, I couldn’t completely forget about how drunk Kayla was and how close our campsite was to the lake.

    “We should go back,” I said reluctantly. His hands clutched me tighter and I teetered on the edge of delirium. He sensed my reluctance and whispered, tickling my ear.

    “She’s not going anywhere, I promise. I made sure she was out.”

    “I’d still feel better if I checked on her,” I said, pulling away from his firm grip.

    His animal intent was palpable in the intensity of his gaze. He finally relented and let go of me. “Fine, but hurry back,” he said.

    I wondered what the hell was wrong with me as I left my wildest fantasy under the tree and followed the path back to the campsite. When I reached the clearing, I saw the door to the tent was unzipped and wide open. I looked around frantically, thinking she was stumbling around somewhere, but saw no sign of her. I ran to the tent and was relieved to see her sprawled on the floor. She was passed out, just like Landon said.

    As I zipped the tent back up, I saw something shining in the moonlight near her head. I leaned in and noticed a wet stain running down her forehead and pooling under her hair. It was blood. I froze at the sound of shoes crunching on gravel behind me.

    “I told you, I made sure she was out,” Landon said.

  52. rondaisms says:

    These no good witches claiming to be my friends. They said we were going to the club. They drugged my mojito. I told them no when they first mentioned camping weeks ago. I don’t do nature unless it’s the botanical gardens, the zoo, or Canyon Ranch. And this doesn’t look like Canyon Ranch – mosquitoes and no deep woods off. Plus, I’ve seen too many movies to know better than to go in the woods and camp far from the only means of escape.

    I take stock of survival gear. Not wilderness man, I’m thinking urban jungle. What can be used as a small weapon in case one of these bitches goes postal and this turns into Deliverance Revisited. Found the keys, now in my pocket. I spoke too soon.

    Someone wants to share and talk repressed childhood memories. Whatever happened to taking things to the grave! No good thing comes from sharing. I’m not your therapist and you aren’t paying me to listen so save your thoughts until we get back to the city, selfish. Here goes one heifer sharing about her Freddy Krueger upbringing. As my other two girlfriends huddle near psycho heifer, I pretend to handle my business in the bushes. Out of sight, I run in the direction they say the car is parked. I’ll show them for bringing me out here. Walk back to the city! As I’m running, I hear screams and cries for help. I’m not stopping for nobody. Somebody has to live to tell the story and it may as well be me. Every woman for herself and God for us all. “Lord please let them fight off the attack long enough for me to get to the car. Amen.”

    I was drugged on the trip here so I don’t know if I’m going the right way. The screams are starting to trail off, which only means the killings have stopped and psycho heifer is after me now. Urban survival, keys between knuckles. I pick up a rock – big enough to pack a punch, small enough for my palm. If that heifer wants a fight, it’s on like donkey kong. If it comes to fists to cuffs, I’ll give her something to think twice about.
    It’s too quiet. Surprise is my only defense. If I don’t survive, at least they’ll know I gave her hell. I find a hiding place. Come on you crazy heifer, “I’m your huckleberry.”

    A few days later I wake up in a hospital. I am a bit bruised and almost died from cold in the night until a jogger found me. I turn on the television. Apparently, I am the prime suspect for the killing of two women and the disappearance of another. But that’s not right, I was drugged and hunted. I know one thing, if crazy heifer is still alive, she’d better stay hidden. I’m coming after her now.

  53. DMelde says:

    “I pass. I don’t want to frighten anyone.”
    “C’mon Jon, it’s your turn to tell a ghost story.” Ben said.
    Everyone laughed and started chanting “Story-Story-Story.”
    Jon looked around the campfire at his three buddies and their girlfriends. He alone was single. Maybe I’m too picky, he thought, or maybe I’m just cursed.
    Jon tried to explain.
    “You don’t understand what I mean. I know you’ve been scared before. You’ve all been startled by a loud noise or worried that your front door wasn’t locked late at night. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about real fear. Have you ever been truly frightened? Have you ever looked fear in the eye, felt its breath on your face, or been frozen by its touch? Have you ever known the kind of fear that turns your blood to ice while your soul withers and dies inside of you? I’ve known that fear. It haunts my dreams. I see it standing beside me in the mirror. It’s something that I can’t talk about. There are consequences.”
    “Okay, now you’ve got to tell us.” Ben said, inching forward in his seat.
    His buddies all nodded yes, except for their girlfriends who looked worried.
    “What about the consequences?” Jon asked. “Do you accept responsibility for anything that might happen?”
    “If you tell us then we’ll each owe you a solid.” Ben promised. His other buddies nodded yes.
    “Alright.” Jon said. He slumped forward in his chair and stared into the fire.
    “When I was younger I questioned my faith and I started searching for God. I looked for years. I never found God, but I did find something else. There are places that shouldn’t be disturbed, doors that shouldn’t be opened, and demons that shouldn’t be awakened.”
    A loud crackle from the fire startled everyone. Jon’s story was spooking them. They looked at each other and laughed; that is, everyone except Jon, who stood and turned toward the forest. It was black beyond the fire.
    “The forest is too quiet.” Jon said.
    Everyone stood up and listened. Another loud crackle from the fire made them jump.
    Jon turned and looked at the group. “I’m sorry. It’s here.”
    “What do you mean?” Ben asked.
    “A consequence you agreed to.” Jon said, “Talking about it beckons it here. The door has been opened. Should I continue?”
    “NO” their girlfriends all shouted.
    “Alright,” Jon said, “stay close to each other and don’t take any chances.”
    His buddies smiled at Jon. They put comforting arms around their girlfriends, who moved in closer for support. Ben flashed him a thumbs up.
    “I’m going to hike back to the car and sleep there.” Jon said. “It wants me, so maybe it will follow.”
    Jon walked back along the trail with three solids in his pocket. His buddies would comfort their girlfriends on a night they’d never forget, and he knew it would be quieter at the car. He hadn’t really lied, he told himself. He really did have demons.

  54. Lenna Grace says:

    Camping in Fear Forest
    When I decided to put the camping trip together, I chose my three best friends for company – Kevin, Carl, and Kyle. We loaded up my car and drove deep into the forest as far as we were able in order to reach the campsite I had in mind.
    “Hey, Mark!” shouted Kevin after we had hiked about a mile into the woods. “I think it’s your turn with Kyle to carry the tent; this sucker is big!” complained Mark. “Carl and I are getting tired of this drudgery. Why do we have to walk so far to camp out? We’re in the freaking forest.” Carl and Kevin dropped the long tent bundle and sat down with their backpacks resting on a big old pine tree.
    “Okay, pussies. We’ll carry the tent. And the reason we are going so far into the woods to camp is to have access to clear running water and an open space with a fire pit I know about,” I responded. Being the typical Alpha male of the group, I don’t bother to piss and moan about what needs to be done, I just do it.
    “Hey, Mark?” asked Kevin. “How much farther is the campsite?” He shouldered his end of the tent and I picked up the other end.
    “About two miles and you will be jazzed when we get there,” I promised.
    Two hours later, we finally arrived at the cool short grass meadow surrounded by a semi-circle of trees with a huge access to the brook running downhill from the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
    “Let’s set it up,” I suggested and everyone pitched in to pitch the tent, gather firewood, and put our food in a bag we could tie a rope to and pull it up into a tree to keep it safer than it would be on the ground or in our tent. I am not personally fond of bears invading my sleep.
    Daylight left quickly in the forest and we sat around the campfire drinking beers and munching on the prepared food we had brought for the first night. It was killer fun. I could see that Carl, Kevin, and Kyle were buzzed on the beer, they were full, and as usual, their conversation was filled with talk about their favorite subject, girls, girls, and women.
    It was two nights until the full moon and around midnight, I decided to let my friends in on my big secret. It thrilled me, but I was positive there would be Hershey squirts in their pants when I finished. “Do you know why we’re here?” I asked. A chorus of ‘hell no’ was the majority reply.
    “From this moment on, none of you will be able to leave the meadow and I will be directing your thoughts and actions,” I stated. I was laughing inside. “Two nights from now a shuttle from an interstellar ship will land and load you. You will be vivisected and studied.” I watched with glee as they struggled to get up. This would be a great weekend. We feed on fear and I had an entire weekend to enjoy theirs and watch them go insane. I love camping.

  55. Charlie Cogwin says:

    Just after twilight, stars danced in glimmering white as Monish stared from the Tarak forest at the Messier 81 galaxy. Twelve million light years from earth, it almost felt like camping — save for the teleports infrared signature that centered in the middle of the forest and sat six kilometers out from them. He sighed, shuffling his backup while trekking up to the campsite.

    He processed a thought into his gray matter and sent a telepathic message from the universes neuronet to Abha. “Not like camping.”

    His older brother Abha smiled, and sniffed the woods, then captured the frequency and sent it back to Monish, “So glum, what would make it better, little one?”

    “If we knew nothing.” Monish sent his message out to Abha and Dapak.

    Dapak, Abha’s best friend, couldn’t resist. He flooded Monish’s neuronet link with maps, vegetation, and wild life of the Tarak forest. Monish nanonites devoured the information up like a cat engulfing a mouse. A nanosecond later, Monish spat, “ASSHOLE!” and terminated his connection with Dapak.

    Dapak chuckled as he walked. “Now, you know everything little one.”

    *****

    A long silent hike allowed them to break camp fast. And, if it was not for Abha’s nostalgic marshmallows of old earth, Monish would have remained silent and gone to bed.

    “Little One,” Depak asked aloud as they sat around the fire. “What kind of plant is this?” he pointed to a berry bush next to them.

    Monish frowned, “Do you like pissing me off.”

    Depak laughed aloud from the log he sat on, shoving a marshmallow in his mouth, “You always fight for the old ways. Why? I do not see any reason in suppressing your nanonites and trying to cram your brain with knowledge like the ancients did. I pity the people of our history and their slow learning abilities. But you want it back so bad. So unbelievably bad, that you talk your kind brother Abha into hiking the Tarak forest in hopes of escaping the neuronet.”

    Monish lips pursed, and he shouted back, “I want freedom! And it is said there are spots of it in the Tarak forest!”

    Depak shook his head, “You grasp for knowledge like a gnat.”

    Monish stood and waived a finger, “You tell me what is so wrong with a world that does not know everything, instantly! Why can’t I learn the same way as our fore fathers did! ”

    Depak snickered, blew the flame out on another marshmallow, and popped it in his mouth. “Little one, calm yourself. I am a foot taller, and I do not speak with gnats.”

    “GNATS!” Monish flailed his arms in exasperation.

    “STOP! The both of you,” Abha yelled, “I agree with Monish on this. But both of you are my brothers, so I must help the both of you.”

    Depak narrowed his eyes on Monish. Monish bristled in astonishment.

    “I want my brothers to love each other as I love you both. But you cannot Depak, as long as your world constantly evolves in the neuronet. Though, maybe you can now. Think of something about the forest, Depak. You too, Monish. Can either of you recall anything.”

    Monish thumbed his skull for a reference and drew a blank. Then he looked up and focused on the infrared beam from the teleport and saw nothing. He swallowed, and his heart fluttered, “Have we found a spot, Abha?”

    “No, there is no spot on Tarak that escapes the neuronet, but the signals are weak, and the marshmallows are laced with strong suppressants. Now, our nanonites are unreliable and the neuronet is unreachable without them.”

    Depak laughed louder, “How long, brother?”

    “Two. Maybe, three days.”

    “What! That is a lot longer than I thought,” Depak stiffened.

    “I know. Let us bask in the knowledge of not knowing, and survive on our wits for a few days.”

    “That terrifies me,” Depak sulked.

    “Me too,” Abha sighed.

    “Me three,” Monish conceded.

    The End

    *********

    Authors Note: I was inspired by the challenge. Though, I am not sure I addressed it correctly, but I do hope you enjoyed the read.

    Charlie Cogwin.

  56. calicocat88 says:

    I am so sorry you guys for the length. It just didn’t feel finished :)

    “He’ll kill me,” Alexandra Cameron stood like a flickering statue beside the campfire, her eyes avoiding looking at her husband, Jeff. “That’s his way of dealing with conflict. Just do away with the opposition.”

    Jeff sat on the other side of the fire, his face resting in his hands. “Does James even know what tonight it about? What did you tell him?”

    “That I needed some time away, just us, no work,” she sighed. “I called Catherine. She’s coming too, by the way.”

    He nodded. “What did you really say to him, Alex?”

    She looked up from the flames and met his brown eyed gaze with her own. “I told him what I had to. To get him here. You know James, Jeff. He isn’t going to leave the lab just because I feel like going for a hike in the woods.”

    “But he would if you told him you wanted him there,” Jeff said, and then began absently poking in the fire with a stick. “I’m not blind. I know there was something between you two before we got together. At least, I hope to God it was before.”

    “There was nothing between us,” she whispered and then cleared her throat. “James has a way of getting lost inside himself. He believes in his own reality as long as it’s favorable to him. I’m not the one he’s giving everything up for.”

    Jeff narrowed his eyes at the heat of the fire. “How did he not know—“

    A flash of white at the edge of the wooded opening caught Alex’s eye and her hand reflexively went to the dagger wedged in the belt around her skirt. In one swift motion the dagger flew from her grip and sunk into a large oak that looked ancient with its witch-arm branches reaching out towards the endless black sky.

    Jeff cried out and Alex’s eyes widened almost painfully as a tall, wispy girl stepped into the campsite, her white dress billowing around her long legs. She blinked and examined the dagger with mild interest.

    “There’s still blood on it,” Catherine slid her green eyed gaze to Alex. “I’m disappointed, Alex. I expected you to be nothing but sanitary even in homicide.” She smirked.

    Alex and Jeff exchanged a look of relief.

    She gripped the bone handle of the dagger and began wriggling it up and down until she was able to jerk it from the thick oak innards. She held the dagger out in front of her. “This is mine, by the way.”

    “Is James with you?” Jeff asked.

    Catherine stared. “No,” she cocked an eyebrow at Alex. “Was he supposed to be?”

    “We haven’t heard from him since…” Jeff looked to Alex who was back to avoiding meeting his eyes. After a few seconds he gave up and turned to Catherine. “Alex was the last one who spoke to him. I assume they have everything figured out.”

    Alex could feel Catherine watching her as she paced beside the fire. How could she be still when James was so close? She had to calm down. He’d know. He’d be able to tell. He could always tell…

    “So where is she?” Catherine asked and Alex snapped to attention. “James knows Raina is gone. Finally. It took him a damn week before he realized his wife left him.”

    Alex let out a heavy breath. “He seemed fine when I spoke to him. Almost manic. I’ve never seen him this way before.”

    “What about the boy?” Jeff asked. “Did you tell James about him?”

    Alex shook her head. “I couldn’t. I didn’t tell him anything. I told you I was going to wait until he was here before I said anything. He’ll appreciate that. That I told him face to face.”

    Catherine grimaced. “At this point, I don’t know if we can expect anything of the old James to come back. He’s…changed.”

    “He asked for my blood today,” Alex said, her hands shaking. “I gave it to him.”

    Jeff stood, “No.” His bronze hair blew shadows around his stoned still face. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

    “I couldn’t,” Alex said and desperately turned to Catherine who looked like a white angel as the wind tore through her dress and whipped her white blond hair around her pale face and neck.

    “He’s going to find out now,” Catherine’s eyes were wide with fear and something else. “There’s no way he won’t. If he hasn’t already.”

    Jeff looked from Alex and Catherine and as he opened his mouth to speak a slight built, dark hair man appeared in the wooded opening. Alex knew that face anywhere. The grey, almond shaped eyes that would have been beautiful if it wasn’t for the hard coldness that emanated from them, the long dark lashes, the upturned full lips…

    “James,” Alex said, and James smiled, a thin gap barely separating his front two teeth. It suited him well, she thought. A slight imperfection to add to his exotic features.

    “So,” he looked around the campsite, taking in Jeff standing like a statue and Catherine like a morbid angel of death. “I see the party has already started.” He took Alex’s hand, squeezed and let it fall. “Now why don’t you tell me why I’m really here?”

    Alex gestured to the fold up chair positioned across from hers. “I think you’re going to want to sit down.”
    James obeyed. Alex sat down with Catherine at her side and Jeff taking his spot on the log at the head of the opening. He still looked the same, to a stranger. But Alex could see the circles that had always been underneath James’s eyes had deepened and his hair was slightly askew, his lips bruised from constant nervous chewing. He was thinner than usual. He wasn’t eating—

    “Yes,” James said, breaking Alex out of her reverie. “I’ve been working more than usual. Don’t worry. When Raina—“

    “Raina isn’t coming back, James,” Jeff said softly. “You have to know that.”

    James waved him away.

    “She’s been gone for a week,” Catherine’s tone was harsher. “You’d know that if you’d actually go home from time to time. Your wife, your baby…” She trailed off at James’s hard expression.

    “She’s dead, James,” Alex finally said. “Both of them. She came to me after she left you, said she was going to her parents. That was four days ago. When I realized she was serious I went looking for you and found her.”

    “Found her…” he said.

    “She was home, still,” Alex continued. “Raina hadn’t left yet. She had gone into labor and it looked like the baby was born dead. I guess the drugs did it. I assume it was, at least. She had killed herself. Sleeping pills. There’s a note.” Alex fished out the crumpled piece of paper from her pocket and handed it to James. He didn’t bother reading it, but shoved it into his shirt pocket.

    “What did you do with the body?” He asked, the crease between his forehead the only movement on his face. He seemed worried, but Alex knew better.

    “I—I buried her,” Alex said. “I didn’t think you’d want anyone to find out what you’d done to her, tested on her, I mean.”

    She expected James to lash out, hit her even, but he was disturbingly calm. “Good,” he nodded. “And the baby with her as well?”

    She nodded. “Yes, it was a boy. You had a son.”

    “Well,” James said, standing to his full height. He wasn’t a tall man, but there was something in his stature that was still formidable. “If that’s all, I really need to get back to the lab. Thank you,” he again took Alex’s hand, squeezed it tightly. “For everything.”

    He nodded to Jeff and Catherine and then he was gone.

    “Okay…” Catherine said.

    “He’s gone,” Jeff said. “A monster. Nobody would react that calmly after hearing that their wife and child were dead. He’s probably done something to himself. An injection.”

    Alex chewed on her fingers, the bloody dagger winking at her feet. She hadn’t remembered dropping it. She was almost positive James had seen it.

    “Alex?” Jeff said. She looked up and his golden brown eyes were worried. “I think it’s safe now. Go ahead. James isn’t sane enough to come back,” he nodded to the tent zipped up like a piece of tarp hanging from a pair of trees.

    Catherine frowned. “What’s safe? I doubt any of us are ever going to be safe as long as James is fixed on his experimenting. The man’s a damned psycho.”

    Alex moved to the tent, unzipped it and crawled in coming out carrying a tiny brown bundle.
    Catherine whipped her head at Jeff and then snapped her head back at Alex as recognition dawned across her face. “Dear God, no.”

    Alex held the baby close to her chest. “We couldn’t let James know about him,” she said in a rush of words. “Raina had come to me and Jeff, raving about James and—“ she glanced at Jeff and then back. “She accused me of something, an affair with James, and she came at me with a knife. I was serious when I mentioned the drugs. I can’t say whether she had taken them herself or James had hidden them in her food. I don’t know how it happened, but…” she looked at Catherine hard. “I don’t always miss.” She picked up the dagger with one hand while still holding the baby. “I had to save the boy. I killed Raina. I wasn’t going to have James’s son’s life on my soul too.”

    Catherine didn’t say anything as the baby started to cry. Jeff came over from his side to help comfort the boy. The baby looked like James with a headful of black hair. She wondered if he would grow up as hateful as his mother.

    Alex looked up from the boy. “James was going to name him Shane. So that’s what we’re going to call him. Shane Timothy.” She waited before she spoke again. “Please say something.”

    Catherine breathed in slowly. “He’s going to find out, Alex. And when he does you know there’s nothing, not even a passionate affair that’s going to keep him from killing you.”

    Alex looked down at the crying baby Shane in her arms. “I know,” she said.

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