Camping and scary stories go hand in hand, but not every story should be told.
"The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window."
"Oh no! Why does it have to be a cabin Tracy? I mean we are in a cabin right now and..."
"Oh hush Meme let her tell the story! This is why I told aunty you didn't need to spend the night with us again! You're so scary..."
Tracy stood up from the bed she was sitting on and placed her hands on her hips, "It's fine Jess, Meme do you want to sit up here with me, on the bed?"
Meme shook her head yes and jumped up from the pallet they had made of pillows and blankets on the cabin floor, she clumsily climbed the side of the bed, she was 7 but very petite for her age.
Tracy helped her and then sat back down. She looked at Jess and the one other girl left sitting on the pallet, "You guys ready?"
The girls shook their heads yes.
They were all first cousins. There was Precious she was 16 and Jess was 13, they were sisters.
Tracy was 18 and the youngest Meme, she was Tracy's little sister.
Tracy and Meme's mom and dad had taken the girls camping at the local national park. The parents were in their own cabin about 5 yards away, the girls had insisted on being able to sleep in their very own cabin, so they could tell spooky stories and stay up as late as they wanted.
Meme had grown tired of the scary camp stories her big sister had been telling for the past 2 evenings. She sat very close to Tracy sucking on her thumb.
As Tracy opened her mouth to begin the story again, there was a muffled THUMP outside the door, in the hallway.
The girls looked at the closed door, and quickly back at each other.
"Did you guys hear that?" Precious asked.
"Yeah." whispered Jess.
Tracy stood again, "It's probably just dad or mom coming over to check on us, making sure we are sleep." Tracy stepped over the girls and reached for the doorknob.
"Wait, don't go out there. We don't know if that's them or not..." Jess grabbed Tracy's ankle.
"I mean who else could it be Jess, no one else has a key."
"It could be the headless killer you told us about yesterday or the girl that drowned in the lake that you told us about." Jess whined in a low whisper.
"Now look who's scared." Meme stuck her tongue out at Jess.
"Come on Jess, you know those are just made up stories...."
The girls all froze and again faced the closed door. Tracy, who's hand was reaching for the door, withdrew it her eyes getting big, as a dark liquid begin to seep underneath the door and the doorknob very slowly begin to turn.
Precious and Jess jumped up from the floor and moved away from the liquid.
The girls looked at each other and quick as a flash Tracy reached over and grabbed a wooden backed chair that stood in the corner of the room, avoiding stepping in the wet substance, she shoved the back of the chair under the doorknob and jumped back, as suddenly there was a loud CRACK!
The wooden door splintered under the weight of something heavy hitting it from the other side.
The girls screamed and grabbed at each other, "The window!," Precious pointed and ran over to it, "come on we have to get out of here!" She opened it and looked down.
They scrambled over to the window as the door barely held under the barrage of blows coming from the other side.
Precious was the first one out into the pitch blackness of the cool night air, she stumbled and fell hard as the drop was longer than she had anticipated. She rolled a little ways down a small slope.
Wincing as she pushed herself up from the ground, she paused, she blinked her eyes hard as she noticed a pair of brown boots, parts of them were dark as if they were wet. Before she could scream one of the boots lifted up and came down hard on her face, knocking her unconscious.
Jess jumped and turned to help Meme as Tracy lowered her out of the window.
"C'mon Tracy hurry up! Precious! Precious where are you?!" Jess pulled Meme down and turned to look for her sister. "Precious!" she loudly whispered.
The noise from the hallway stopped as Tracy perched on the window sill preparing to jump to the ground. She looked behind her expecting to find the door open and someone or something rushing for her.
"It stopped you guys, oh my god it stopped they could be coming outside! Where is Precious?!"
"I don't see her! Did she run? Where is she?" Jess called out to her sister again as she squinted to see in the pitch dark, "Tracy I..." Jess turned back to face Tracy, she looked as if she had seen a ghost, "Tracy jump!!!!!!!" she screamed to late.
Tracy let out a helpless yelp as she was violently snatched back into the room.
Jess and Meme stood on the ground looking up at the window as Tracy disappeared from view. Meme started to cry as they heard Tracy scream, at the same time there was gruesome wet sounding crunch and then... silence.
"We have to get to your mom and dad, come on Meme, we gotta go now!"
The girls ran through the darkness towards the cabin, it was only a few yards away but it seemed to take an eternity to get there. Jess clamored up the few steps dragging a crying Meme behind her. She raised her fist to bang on the door...
"Kind of late for two girls as young as you to be wondering around....got things out here that could hurt you. Whats going on?" The voice coming from behind them sounded low and scratchy.
The startled girls looked behind them through the darkness and recognized the shadowy figure of the keeper of the camp grounds. She had helped them locate everything they'd needed for the stay when they checked in two days ago.
Jess almost sighed with relief and pointing in the other cabin's direction she spoke breathlessly, "You have to help us we were in that cabin over there and something...someone is after us! It took my cousin and..."
"Wait, so you girls were the ones in cabin 22C, not...?" She cut Jess off.
"Yes!" Jess cut the woman off, "That's what I'm trying to tell you! Something is after us and it took my cousin and...and I think it or, or something else took my sister cause we had to jump out a window and now we can't find her!"
The woman stepped out of the shadows took the three steps at once and was on the porch. "What did you say?"
"I don't have time for this! We have to wake my aunt and uncle, we have to find my sister and save my cousin! She may be still in that cabin!" Jess pointed again in the direction from where they had come.
Meme clung to Jess's long night robe tightly as she whimpered. "Can you call the police or something?"
Jess raised her fist again to bang on the cabin door.
The woman grabbed Jess's arm and snatched her away from the door, "It won't do no good to get them involved in this. You don't understand what is going on here." she spoke through clinched teeth at the girls. She let go as Jess jerked away from her, "Ok listen, I am trying to help you. I need to know who told what stories."
Jess looked at her puzzled, "What are you talking about?"
The woman looked around and satisfied that they were alone she asked again, "Who told what stories? Did you girls tell scary stories to each other? I need to know what the stories were about and who told them, I need to know right now!"
Meme shook her head yes, "My sister told us the story of the Headless killer and....and that girl that drowned in the lake over there." she pointed out into the darkness in the direction of the lake.
The woman took a step back. "I was afraid of that. Had I known any of you even knew those tales, I would have never...never...this is my fault..."
Jess looked puzzled.
"The cabin you girls stayed in is where Mr Brown, also known as the Headless killer, and his daughter Maxine, the girl who drowned in the lake, always stayed when they came camping.
"Late one night he was out tightening some cables on his RV and one snapped, cut his head clean off. I can still hear that blood curdling scream when his daughter found him early that next morning. And by the time the sheriff arrived she had done walked out there into the middle of that lake and drowned.
"Story has it she dragged her fathers body with her into that lake, but as many times as it was drug, he was never found.
"Maxine could swim like a fish so made no sense that she drowned. Had to be on purpose, over losing her dad you know."
The woman hesitated, "Anyone staying in that cabin," she looked in the direction from which the girls had come, "anyone staying there, if they tell those stories about Mr Brown and his daughter Maxine....they up and disappear, never to be seen or heard from again."
Jess and Meme stood staring at the woman with mouths open. Jess shook her head no. "I don't believe you! What are you talking about, people don't just disappear, I'm telling you something took my sister and my cousin!"
The woman looked intently at Jess and Meme, "Did...did you SEE it...er someone?"
"No! We didn't SEE anything but my cousin was snatched by SOMETHING and my sister is missing, she would not have just left us!"
The woman with a puzzled look on her face spoke as if to herself, "You say your sister is gone too, but if the other girl was who told the story, then no one else was supposed to..." she looked at the girls as if seeing them for the first time, "Did your sister tell any parts of the stories, or anything at all?" she asked Jess.
"Yes, well no...sort of. She started the story, but didn't know the whole thing...so she asked Tracy to tell us the story of the drowned girl but that was it. What does this have to DO with anything??!"
A light came on in the cabin. The door opened and there stood Tracy and Meme's mom with rollers and a long green knit robe on, "What in the world is going on out here? Why are the two of you out here Jess?"
"Aunt V! You have to help us! Tracy is, is gone! I don't know what happened to her but we were telling scary stories and, and then there was a loud bump and we jumped out the window and then Precious was gone, she jumped first and I was next but I couldn't find her and then Meme jumped but, but Tracy she, she couldn't cause it grabbed her and we ran!" Jess rambled off the details as she cried in terror.
Aunt V's eyes widened with every word.
"Jess, what in the world are you talking about? I want to know why you and Meme are out here on this porch in the middle of the night in your night robes. It is cold and there are wild animals that roam this camp ground at night." she scolded them, " I have told you two about watching those scary movies before bedtime. And who in the world is Tracy and....and Precious?"
Aunt V turned to face the camp ground keeper, "Thank you for calling me Elaine, I would have been beside myself if I had woken up and they weren't where they are supposed to be."
The grounds keeper nodded at Aunt V and looked precariously at Jess. Jess stood in disbelief.
"What do you mean? Aunt V she didn't call you! Tracy is your daughter and Precious is your niece and my sister! .....Look ask Meme what happened!" Jess turned and looked down at Meme.
"Mommy I'm scared, can I sleep with you and daddy? Jess keeps talking about a headless man." Meme stuck her thumb in her mouth and reached her other arm up for her mother to pick her up.
Jess's mouth fell open.
"Of course you can baby. And Jess you had better sleep with us too. I have to keep an eye on you now. Your mother would have a fit if you stumbled into that lake and something terrible happened to you during the night."
"Again thank you Elaine, I promise they will be no more trouble."
Elaine nodded again, and turned to walk down the porch steps, she looked back over her shoulder at Jess, once more, before she disappeared into the pitch dark of the night.
Aunt V pulled Jess into the cabin, closed and locked the door.
"I am very disappointed in you Jess. I thought you would have better sense than to drag your little cousin out into the night like his. And telling her stories about a headless man?....come on, lets go change your bed clothes and lets try not to wake your uncle please."
Jess did not sleep the rest of the night. She tossed and turned on the little pull out bed her aunty had made up for her. She felt as if her mind was in a fog and she was fighting it to think clearly.
She got up a few times to look out the window that faced the lake. There was a heavy, low fog covering it from shore to shore.
The next day as they were preparing to leave she noticed Elaine standing under the big tree next to the water. The low fog was still covering the lake and the area where Elaine stood, she looked like she was talking to herself.
"Aunty V, I want to tell Ms Elaine that I am sorry about last night. May I?"
Aunt V looked in the direction Jess was looking, "Yes of course you can, but hurry we are almost ready to go."
Jess walked up to Elaine, "I am not crazy. I know something terrible happened last night,"
As she stepped closer to Elaine the fog moved around Jess's ankles and a single wisp eased up her leg, like a long finger reaching up, it snaked its way up and around her.
Jess shook her head from side to side as if to clear the cobwebs, "I....I..." she looked down at the ground and back up at Elaine, "I wanted to say thank you for looking after my little cousin and I last night. We had just wanted to see what the lake looked like at night time, but now I know we should not have been out so late."
Elaine unfolded her arms, she looked at Jess as if she had not seen her walk up, "Well hello there again young lady! I see you all are getting ready to depart! I certainly hope you had wonderful stay, and will join us again real soon."
A car pulling a small trailer behind it pulled up next to cabin 22C.
"Well I'm off to welcome new campers. You all have a safe trip back home and thanks for the visit."
As Jess stood there in utter confusion, the memory of her sister and cousin slipped away from her mind, she could hear three of the four young adults exiting the car and excitedly going on about how rustic and quaint the cabin was.
"I can't wait for scary stories around a good campfire!" One of the guys exclaimed. "I've heard a couple good ones about this place!"
"Yeah well, by the looks of it, there should be plenty OLD tales to go around," the last of the four stepped from the car looking over his shades with a frown.
"How do folks! My names Elaine, we spoke over the phone! Welcome! You all have the best cabin on the whole property!"
"And did I hear one of you say you've heard of our legendary spooky tales? Be sure and share those around....."
Elaine glanced back over her shoulder at Jess, flashed a lopsided smile, and winked.
About the author
Writing is my way of getting the movies that play in my head out into real life. I welcome any and all critique! I am an Alabama native. Mother of two wonderful boys and one fur baby girl! I love to draw, paint, sew and travel!