It was a cold fall night. Nothing in sight. The streetlights were too far away and not even the yellow or the red of leaves covering the green grass could brighten the ground. The park only allowed darkness to pierce the eyes of its well awaited campers. Everyone was quiet, for they knew what lured in this eeriness. There was no need to scream. No need to move a muscle. The morning would come and that was their chance for escape. To add more fury to the madness, all eight members had to sit straight up the entire night fall. To sleep would put much at risk.
How did this happen? The camping trip was supposed to be fun. A couple days spent camping at Ol’ Treacherous Falls, enjoying the fresh air, nice clear rushing waters, and cabins full of warmth. The invitation was set to bring much enjoyment. So, then what turned this camp of beauty into a camp of sheer horror? Why wasn’t this camp taken off the grid, or at least marked as a no man’s land? Who knows? Someone besides us, had to know though. We were set up. But right now, this is irrelevant. We must pull together to survive the night.
We are all exposed. We have no fire built to ward off the rest of the wildlife. Animals have a keen sensitive sense of smell and night vision only made for the demise of their prey. Our only weapons are the wood pieces chipped from a couple of the tree barks. Unfortunately, no branches lie loose around the ground. It definitely could injure a few woolen beasts.
But it’s as if they didn’t want us to survive. This is our second night. We witnessed twenty-two friends and family members devoured by the darkness. It swept through the center and right side, winds gusting howling siren swirls of dust, debris, and the deafening screams of our people. For some reason we did not perish. All I know is that there was no time to panic or engage in the feeling of terror. Shock filled every ounce of fluid and solid mass in my body. Oddly enough, there was no fear. I could not bear allowing it to set in. There’s no time or need for it in this unforsaken place. So, we sit here awake, fearless, and ready.
The darkness came yesterday around midnight. All members of the “Lucky Thirty” were camped out around the fire. Sticks were gathered earlier that day and placed in the center of the circle to secure our furnace, when all of a sudden, the red-orange flame wafted out in one flicker. Everyone, including the children, sat in silence for the next five seconds. The next thing we heard was the wind, then the screams came. All those left behind, were everyone sitting on the left side.
Just as soon as the darkness in the night appeared, it left with all of its chosen catalysts, and morning came. In other words, there was only six hours of nighttime yesterday. We tried leaving, but of course, we can’t. Our exits seem to have disappeared. The signs directing us to the exits have disappeared. All that’s left are the trees, grass, and the lake. We thought about climbing a tree to get a visual of a way out, but the branches are too high. We thought about breaking apart in groups and going through different sections of the woods, but to split up is too dangerous. There are no roads to drive out on. They disappeared. Putting our minds together and coming up with a solution apparently became such a daunting time-consuming task. Up until the sun’s last hour, our strategy at 6pm became to stay alive beyond nightfall.
Whatever this place is, its rigged; apart of someone’s figment of imagination; a game plaguing its occupants. I want nothing more to do with this campsite. I’m sure all that’s left of my friends and family feel the same way. Luckily, we are not afraid. There’s no point in it all. Whatever’s going to happen, we can’t stop. The anticipation is settling, and the time is getting closer to twelve. We dare not make a sound. We dared not make a fire tonight. Although the light would help us to see the anticipated madness or bring some sense of security, we chose not to draw any attention to whatever it was. The things you can’t see cannot hurt you unless light is shined on it. I’d rather not see what I already know. I can fight it better with my eyes closed. Light will only add more color, confusion, and loudness. We’ll let darkness be our peace. The two can be interchangeable. Each serves its own purpose, in its own time, and own place. “So, let’s keep it pitch black,” I say to the others. Everyone agrees.
The last hour is nearby. We sit in silence, bracing ourselves for what we feel is our doomsday. We presume the same thing will happen. There is a sense of readiness for the gust of wind…………………….......
But it never happens. It’s 1am and the sun is rising. Excited and thrilled to acknowledge the eight of us have made it, we instantly hug one another, laughing and crying all at once in a clutched circle. When we settled down, our thoughts immediately drifted back to finding our way out of here.
To our surprise the exit signs reappeared and were in the same spots from when we first came. There was no need to speak or even glance at one another. Simultaneously we all saw the sign, and we all got in one vehicle. We sped off in the distance, dismayed by the reality of leaving the campground site without the others, and so easy. If not running through all our heads at this time, the thought of what made us different from the twenty-two others, was running through my mind. I kept thinking of how happy I was to be leaving this place. I’m not driving, but agree with the driver’s hefty, pedaled pace. “Yesss…..push the pedal to the limit,” I scream. The others also shout inside our rented eight passenger Toyota Highlander. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we turned the music on and up in the car. It was a celebration for life.
As we make the right turn off the dirt road leading us to the main highway, we didn’t see the change in daylight or hear what was creeping to the left side of us. If we noticed it from the beginning, maybe we could have immediately cut the music off, slowed the ride down to a halt, and sat real still. You know…. become unnoticeable again. But we didn’t notice any of it, nor did we notice the lake had rose underneath the vehicle. Suddenly the water rose enough to make the tires slide, then float, as the wheel jerked. This is what awakened us from our stupor. To the left, we all noticed what we thought was left behind. The sense of pressure to rush to safety created this illusion for time and space. It gave opportunity to what we thought we'd defeated. Whatever "it" was we were running from, caught up with us. Had we'd stayed in the energy of creating safety by our own state of acceptance in what the reality was, our peace wouldn't be jeopardized. I now regret the speed limit. Speed altogether...
Plus, if only we had of been quiet. Now every piece of Ol' Treacherous Falls was working against us; Pulling us back to what we thought would be unforgotten memories. Now death's lingering injustice has now taken away the possibility of time to even qualify this horrible experience to settle as a memory.
Since our arrival, I admired the lake. The lake had been more than a friend or ally. It provided that paradise feeling of "nothing even matters at all." Despite it's aged, mature, occupied space inside the camp, I never thought it would or could associate itself with such obscenities. A disappointment would be an understatement, for the lake did what the darkness was commanding it do. The entire vehicle obeyed the pull of the high waters.
Fear, for the first time, crept in. Death was more than a possibility. It was now our reality. As we went with the current to the left, all we could do was……”AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhh!”
THE RVIEW ROOM
“HAHHAHHAHAHAAHAHHAHAHA!!! Yessss!! No one leaves Ol’ Treacherous Falls. "Those eight" almost made it though. That wasn't supposed to happen. As a matter of fact, it never happens. It's not so often people calm their minds. People usually behave by what they see. The secret to life is an awaited one. Only few possess that knowledge, but they forgot. They forgot the way; The bond they shared in survival. What fools. This proves my point. At some point in time, we all fall victim. Oh well, so close."
"I want our next family here by next week. Make sure you remove all items left behind from the families. They might try to leave prematurely if they see old things from the dead… I I I, mean vanished people. Oh, and make sure next time you make the darkness a little bit greyer. I couldn’t see what was happening. I want to see Alyzza rip them to shreds.”
“You know she likes it when they’re afraid.”
THE END END