The Camping Trip
The air was thick and hot as we sat around the campfire. I didn’t want to be that close to the fire, but it was a better alternative to the mass of bugs in the woods around us.
“Jesus Christ!” Jane said swatting her leg, “Leave me the fuck alone already!”
“It’s brutal tonight,” I said, swatting a bug on my neck, “I think we picked the wrong weekend to go camping.”
“Quit complaining, Patrick,” Ian said, stoking the fire, “being outdoors is great all year. In two weeks your internal clocks will be back to normal, getting up with the sun and-”
A bone-chilling scream echoed through the dark trees surrounding us. Jane fell backwards off the stump she was sitting on while Ian and I were on our feet.
“That sounded like a woman!” Ian said.
“It’s probably just a fox.” I said, “I’ve heard they sound human sometimes.”
“I’m going, that didn’t sound like a fox to me,” he said, drawing his knife from his boot.
“You should stay,” Jane said, “What if it’s a bear?”
“I’d feel worse if something happened to someone and I did nothing,” he replied, walking into the woods.
I sat in silence listening for any sign of trouble. My heart was pumping in my chest and I was sweating from more than just the fire. Jane was back on the log, staring out into the dark after Ian.
“Jane, come here!” Ian’s voice called, “It’s fine, it’s just a-”
A crunch echoed from the woods and then there was nothing but the crickets and the occasional toad croaking. I felt my stomach twist into knots.
“What the fuck!” Jane called as she stood up, “Ian! This isn’t funny!”
“He’s just messing with us,” I said, standing up. “He’s fine. I’ll go kick his ass for you.”
“I’m not staying here!” Jane said moving closer to me.
“Alright then, be prepared then. He’s probably going to jump out to scare us,” I said, making sure that the strap securing my knife was loose so I could draw it if need be.”
I led her into the woods toward the last place I heard Ian. The woods got dark fast the deeper we trudged through the underbrush. I could still hear the campfire crackling happily behind us.
“Alright, Ian, it’s time to stop this. Come out. You know I can’t be held accountable for my actions if you startle me!” Jane called over my shoulder.
A twig snapped to our left and we turned to see Ian standing there, but something was off. His head was tilted to the side and his arms hung limp at his sides. Jane turned on the camera on her phone to illuminate the scene. He had been impaled on a branch.
Jane’s scream sounded from behind me as another crunch sounded from her direction, cutting her off.
“You’ve done good, Patrick,” A slimy voice said, sending chills up my spine. “Two more, and we’ll all be free…”