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Campfire Horror 6

Escape from the In-Between

By Svilleg6Published 2 months ago 6 min read
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The fat reggae bass vibrated through the beat-up Honda Civic, a counterpoint to the lazy puffs of blue-green smoke curling from the joint being passed between them. Jay, at the wheel, Emma, shotgunning the front seat, and their friend Alex, crammed in the back, giggled at the absurdity of life hurtling towards them at seventy miles an hour. Their destination: Blackwood Creek, a remote campsite deep in a national park, rumored to have "good vibes."

As they went up a hill, the dense woods parted, revealing a picturesque meadow bathed in the ethereal glow of a full moon. A crystal-clear stream through the clearing, gurgling over smooth stones. In the distance, a plume of smoke danced skyward, a beacon welcoming travelers.

They set up camp with the practiced ease of countless weekends spent outdoors. They shared stories and jokes while the fire crackled, and the potent marijuana enhanced their senses and strengthened their bond.

The laughter died down as the night deepened. A cool breeze whispered through the trees, carrying an unsettling symphony of rustling leaves and unseen creatures. A twig snapped in the woods, sending shivers down Alex's spine.

"Did you hear that?" he whispered, leaning closer to Jay. He received a reassuring chuckle in reply, but the disquiet lingered.

That's when the first strange thing happened. A low, mournful wail echoed through the trees, unlike anything they'd ever heard – a sound that resonated deep within their bones. They exchanged worried glances, the firelight seeming to flicker erratically. The wail was closer this time, followed by a guttural growl that sent a jolt of terror through them.

"We should get out of here," Emma said, her voice a tight whisper. But as she started to rise, a blinding white light erupted above them. It pulsed with an otherworldly intensity, bathing the clearing in an eerie, sterile glow.

Before they could even react, Alex screamed as he was being lifted off the ground, an invisible force pulling him skyward. He struggled, clawing at the air, his screams muffled by the increasing distance. Then, with a sickening crackle and pop, Alex disintegrated into a million shimmering sparks that drifted down like ghostly snowflakes.

Panic surged through them. Jay grabbed Emma's hand and bolted towards the treeline. But the ground beneath them seemed to come alive, the seemingly solid earth turning to oily black muck that sucked at their feet. Emma stumbled and fell, disappearing into the churning mass with a muffled shriek. Jay reached out, but it was too late.

Desperation clawed at his throat. With a primal roar, he scrambled back, his fingers digging into the forest floor. His nails ripped, but survival was all that mattered. Finally, he found a thick root and hauled himself up. His chest burned, lungs screaming for air. The clearing was gone, replaced by a twisted labyrinth of trees with impossibly long limbs that scraped at the blood-red sky above.

Grief and terror intertwined in his gut. Emma, Alex… gone. He was alone, lost in this warped reality.

Instinct took over. He ran, weaving through the twisted trees, ignoring the branches that whipped at his face, the unseen things that brushed past him in the dark. But the woods seemed to twist and turn, the path never leading anywhere. It was like running up a down escalator, forever reaching for an escape that wasn't there.

Hours bled into what felt like days. Exhaustion gnawed at Jay's body, despair a heavyweight in his heart. Every rustle of leaves, every groan of a swaying branch sent his already frayed nerves into overdrive.

Then, through the darkness, he saw a faint light. Hope surged through him, a frail flicker battling the encroaching darkness within. He stumbled towards it, fueled by a desperate yearning for any sign of normalcy.

As he drew closer, the light resolved into a flickering campfire. But it wasn't like theirs, with its warm glow and inviting crackle. This one burned with an unnatural blue flame, casting long, distorted shadows on the surrounding trees.

A figure sat hunched over the fire, its back to him. Jay's breath hitched in his throat. A horrifying thought took root in his mind – was this the source of the horror, the puppeteer of this twisted nightmare?

The air around the fire crackled with a strange energy, making the hairs on his arms stand on end. Taking a shaky breath, he called out, "Hello? Is anyone there?"

The figure remained motionless for a heart-stopping beat before slowly turning around. Jay's blood ran cold. It wasn't human. Skeletal and shrouded in tattered black robes, a single red-eye glowed in the center of its skull.

A horrifying rasp tore from its throat, devoid of words but filled with pure malice. It reached out a long, bony hand, its skeletal fingers beckoning Jay closer.

Terror strangled his voice. He knew he shouldn't approach, but something compelled him forward, a morbid fascination mixed with the desperate hope that maybe, just maybe, this creature was the key to breaking free.

As he drew closer, the figure spoke, its voice a chorus of whispers that seemed to originate from around him. "Lost, are you? Trapped in the in-between. A plaything for the forgotten ones."

Despite the terror gnawing at him, Jay managed to say, "Who are you? Where am I?"

The figure tilted its head, the single red eye seeming to pierce through his soul. "This," it rasped, "is Blackwood's true heart. A place forgotten, a bridge between worlds. And you, little morsel, have stumbled upon a performance in progress."

Jay's mind reeled. Blackwood wasn't a campsite but a gateway prison for lost souls.

A surge of anger fueled by grief flared within him. "Where are they? What have you done?"

The figure chuckled, a sound like dry leaves scraping against stone. "They served their purpose like you will eventually."

Suddenly, the woods around them came alive. Ghostly figures emerged from the trees, their forms shifting and warping, their wails and moans echoing in the night. They were the forgotten ones, the souls trapped in this campsite, their faces contorted in eternal torment.

Panic clawed at him again. He couldn't face them. He turned to flee, but a Ghost extended its hand, a wave of dark energy emanating from it, pinning him to the spot.

The forgotten ones surged forward, their skeletal hands reaching out to claw at him. But before they could touch him, a blinding white light erupted. The screams of the forgotten ones were cut short as they were all pulled back into the shadows.

The skeletal figure shielded its single red eye with its bony hand, with a hiss escaping from its throat. When the light subsided, it was replaced by an older man sitting by the campfire, his face etched with weariness.

He looked up at Jay, his eyes filled with a deep sadness. "You shouldn't be here."

Relief washed over Jay, momentarily erasing the horrors he had just witnessed. "How do I get out of here?" he pleaded.

The older man sighed. "Blackwood feeds on despair. Only hope can set you free."

He gestured towards a shimmering portal that had opened behind him. "But there's a price."

Jay's heart hammered in his chest. "Anything," he gasped.

"Bring me more souls," the old man rasped. "bring me those who don't fear the darkness."

The ground lurched, and Jay felt himself falling. He screamed, bracing for impact, but landed with a soft thud on damp earth. Disoriented, he sat up, gasping for breath.

Sunlight streamed through the leaves overhead.

He was back in the clearing, the twisted trees and blue flames now a horrifying memory. The campsite, however, was deserted. No sign of Emma, Alex, or the fire.

Only a chilling silence remained, a stark contrast to the playful chirping of birds.

He stumbled out of the woods, tears blurring his vision. His body ached, his spirit fractured. He had escaped Blackwood, but at what cost?

Tears streamed down his face as he walked, the weight of his promise heavy on his shoulders.

The road ahead seemed endless, but he kept walking, fueled by a newfound purpose. The price to escape might have been heavy, but it was a burden he was willing to live with.

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About the Creator

Svilleg6

I wear many hats: entrepreneur, 5-star hospitality pro, and a passionate cook who loves whipping up delicious meals. Here, I share stories, tips, and inspiration for those on a similar journey. Join me for more creations.

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