“So where is this campground you’re dragging us all too Josh? You said it was beautiful, blah, blah, blah.” Samantha’s voice all but wines from the backseat. Josh sighed and slowed the truck. Everything looked the same, it was all gravel road and trees marked sporadically by over grown crossroads.
“Forget it, this will do,” Josh said as he cranked the wheel and veered down a grassy and muddy road.
“Oh, this will be great,” Samantha mumbled.
“Give it a break Sam,” Gloria snarled from the front passenger seat. “You wanted to come, nobody in this truck forced you!”
“Ah, give her a break guys, she is just upset because Carol got to ride in Marty’s truck with Hank and she didn’t,” Travis jested. Laughter filled the truck as Samantha sent glares of friendly hate at everyone.
The path ended in a sudden clearing and everyone spilled out of the trucks. The drive had taken longer than expected and it was dusk. Tents went up fast and a fire was lit.
Samantha was changing into jeans and sweater alone in her tent. There was a soft scratching at the mesh window. Holding her breath she slowly unzipped the window covering. She really wasn’t someone who was used to being out in the wilderness and she felt a bit on guard as a result. A blackened shaped covered the mesh window opening and without warning it cackled shrilly. Samantha screamed and fell backwards onto the tent floor before she realized that it was only Hank. “There is probably a better way to convince her to share a tent then scaring her half to death,” Josh’s voice called from somewhere out by the fire.
Samantha watched Hank walk towards the fire before she closed the flap over the mesh window. She took a few deep breaths. As she moved to unzip the tent door there was a noise at the backside of her tent and by the window again. It sounded remarkably animal like, but she was determined to not be tricked or scared again. Ignoring it Samantha crawled out of the tent casting suspicious glares around the fire. Everyone but her was present. No more scaring the city girl she reminded herself as she slid into place around the fire.
The heat the fire threw off was welcoming on a chilly night. This was actually Samantha’s second camping trip with this group since she moved to town at the end of the school year. They were a good group. They were fun, funny, playful and accepting. She had quickly developed a secret crush on Hank which apparently wasn’t so secret. Hank handed her a beer as she settled back to listen to Josh’s story but all she heard before Gloria cut him off was that IT lived in the forest and hunted humans who camped in a clearing off the path to IT’s cave. IT wanted their faces. IT ripped them off and discarded their bodies for… “Cut it out Josh, you know its horse shit! They caught Bow red handed literally with blood covered hands and a faceless corpse. New story please!” Regardless of hearing such a little bit of the story it left an eerie unfinished feeling in the pit of Samantha’s stomach.
The chill of the night started to sink into her bones. She stifled a yawn and stood up moving in towards the fire to try and pull the chill out of her body. Gloria stood up and copied her movements. “It’s cold I’m going to bed,” Gloria yawned. “Night.”
Samantha waited until Gloria unzipped her tent before leaving the guys at the fire. She hadn’t wanted to be the first to leave and was thankful that Gloria had decided to go to bed too. Samantha unzipped her tent still feeling that strange fear tickling at her. She couldn’t help but wish wasn’t sleeping alone tonight. The thought had no sooner ran through her mind when she heard a strange scratching and the mesh on the window again. Smiling at the assumption that Hank was outside her tent she unzipped the window covering prepared to tease him about following her, but before she could get a chance to even make a sound something tore through the mesh. She tried to scream but it was stifled as something closed down around her face. She felt sharp piercing in several points along the sides of her face and then she was moving, flying along the ground as if being dragged by an animal. It was pulling her into the forest by her face…
By Shari Marshall – 2019
Thanks to Canva.com; that’s where I got my images from for this post.