Writing Prompt: Day 158

Day 158 Writing Prompt PictureDay 158 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write a scary campfire story.

Shannon: Someone once shared with me the story of the house that was hidden away in these woods, and now I’ll share it with you. The family who lived in the house wanted to be as isolated as possible from the rest of the world, because they were hiding away an ugly truth. They were embarrassed by their own daughter’s appearance, and public opinion only fueled their hatred.

She was born with a unique mutation that made her translucent skin cling tightly to her bones. Her nose never fully developed, she had red eyes, and long black hair. The whole town steered clear of her, and other children would run away crying if they caught a glimpse of her. She was a constant reminder of their failure to produce a healthy child.

They tried everything they could to make the world accept her from putting her in a mask, coating her with makeup, and covering as much bare skin with clothes as they could but nothing could change anyone’s mind so they went away, hoping to live in peace.

However, over time the seclusion ate away at her mother, and she start to resent her daughter for all she had taken away from the family. She started demanding more from her child, didn’t go a day without yelling at her, and found every possible reason to enforce cruel punishments. She made her wear the mask again for the whole day and throughout the night, and the girl became a prisoner to her own existence. One night the mask made breathing hard, but she feared the punishment so much she let it suffocate her in her sleep.

It’s believed that her soul roams free in these woods to this day, and she’s not wearing a mask. The sight of her may terrify you as well, but try not scream and upset her. You should also know she envies pretty faces. She has a whole collection and can quickly rip your’s off as you sleep. I’ve been told if you see her when you open your eyes, it’s already too late.

Erin: I remember the first time I ever went camping. There was no way I could forget it really. I was sitting around the campfire with the group. My best friend was sitting next to me completely satisfied with the smore she considered perfect. I preferred a nice charred exterior, but to each there own and that was beside the point. We started to sing a song the counselor had taught us. The lyrics were strange.

“In the glow of the moon, we use our tune to summoned the loon.”

When the final verse left our lips the fire road into a brighter bigger blaze, reaching for the sky. I looked right into the heart of it and saw the face of an exhausted looking man.

“Who is that,” I barely managed to muster as my shaking hand pointed at the fire. When my finger landed on him he flashed a crazed grin, missing two of his teeth.

“Don’t point at him he doesn’t like that,” our counselor warned two late and my friend started crying as the blaze ran out of the fire pit and made a burning path to the woods.

My heart started to race as I saw the face turn into a body and the body separated from the fire. The fire created mass destruction of the campgrounds in a short period, but when the man disappeared into the woods the flames extinguished in seconds.

Our camp counselor explained how the camp used to be a place for psychologically unstable adults to stay for a few weeks and how the loon was the outcast of one of the groups. He continued to haunt the grounds to avenge the experience he had. Unable to recognize that new campers were not the ones from his experience, the innocent newbies faced his little pranks.

Our counselor had been trying to set him free and she believed we did that night. I don’t know if that was the answer to the problem however. Because the cabins were burned and we had to sleep under the stars. Most importantly he was not the only one set free in that campground. My best friend, among others, also disappeared that night.

Classic story time meets your story time, put your own spin on the tradition.

2 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Day 158

  1. When we arrived, at long last and under the boiling sun, at our dorm rooms, Anthony and I sunk into my plush bedding without a second’s thought for anything else. Around the other side of my room were a noxious number of watercolour paintings of bridges and beaches on the ocean with the setting sun refracting its golden light across bouncing waves. A number of hideous magazines were piled high in a corner while outfits were already spread in an avalanche of pretentious manufactured fabrics; whoever this roommate was they were going to be the death of me, I could feel it in my bones.
    Carefully stacked in my roomy closet were my two solid suitcases and a lone hanger held the cotton jacket I’d worn on the surprisingly damp boat ride over here; it was still dripping sad tears of salty water in a tiny puddle on the floor. Eight plants, which I’d cultivated myself in less space than my roommate’s chemical cosmetics took up, waved merrily at the two of us relaxing in my all-natural comforters. On the way up to the campus I’d stopped by at the village’s gardening center to pick up a couple native species to the island to study and befriend, but they were rudely ignoring us.
    After an hour or so murmuring about how great this school was going to be, Anthony decided he’d better find his room to at least drop his stuff off; otherwise he might be wandering the dark campus all night in search of it. Moaning about requiring more down time, I shrugged into a fresh woolen jacket and followed him out the door, only just remembering to lock it.
    Down a brightly-lit set of stairs we jogged, weighed down with Anthony’s duffle bags full of all kinds of jock stuff. While I loved him with all my heart, I didn’t understand his foolish obsession with sports; it didn’t get him a full scholarship to a university like this. We strolled past all manner of students and faculty in various stages of preparation for the struggle of academics after the fun of summer holidays. Some students were spending one of the last remaining days of freedom sunbathing on the lawns in cliques and study groups, while others roamed the halls and glanced away when anyone passed them by. Though this was my first experience at such a place as this, some behaviour appeared strange when compared to those of high school students.
    When we’d finally found the correct door, which was already plastered with the logos for more hockey and football teams than I could name, Anthony dropped his bag at his feet and rapped on the solid doorframe, the ghost of a smile creeping on his thin lips. A muffled voice shouted, “Just a second!” in a manly tone, followed immediately by some loud crashing from inside the room as though someone were hiding evidence of some terrible actions.
    The door creaked open and a tall, well-muscled man stood in the sliver of room I could see with no shirt and mountains of clothing and other materials strewn behind him. Clearing his throat, the blond giant eyed us both suspiciously, “Uh, hey, and you guys‘re…?” Nervously checking over his shoulder, his eyes widened at my ragged appearance and he sighed loudly. “Look, I don’ really ‘ave time for swapsies or whatever it is you want. I heard there’s a dude who can getchoo a loft in the village so you can be together, but it’ll cost ya. An’way, scram, m’kay?” With an eye roll and a last glance about the deserted hall, he slammed the door shut and more crashing ensued on the other side.
    Anthony stood a little awkwardly, having been intimidated or whatever by his joke of a roommate, but he snapped out of it and pounded on the door again. This time, the guy came to the door with the fresh flush of rage on his cheeks, but Anthony cut him off easily, “I’m your designated roommate, m’kay. This is my girlfriend, but we don’t want to share space, we’re fine.” With a sheepish look in my direction, he puffed his chest and forcefully grinned at his neighbour.
    “Ohhhh, sorry man,” the guy began, swinging the door widely to let us in, “I’ve just been swamped with requests from people wan’in’ to change rooms and stuff. I’m Jeff, by the way,” he held out his hand to Anthony, who gave it a hearty shake before dropping his bag on the remaining bed. Unfortunately, Jeff had taken over the entire room so there was a mad scramble for him to clean the dirty laundry and candy wrappers off of the other side of the room. “So, you guys must’a just got ‘ere,” he began as clothing flew through the air and landed on the mountain spilling out of the closet, “so you don’t know ‘bout the bonfire, eh?” Something about the way he said it, or perhaps I was just nauseated by the amount of mold growing on the floor, made me yearn for this bonfire.

    I linked arms with Anthony and he bent down to kiss my hair, subtly moving a strand from my eye as we headed down the path Jeff had specified. Along the sides of the path, which was no more than a winding trail through the forest on the property, were glass jars within which flickered brilliant flames in every colour imaginable. As we sauntered further and further into the foreboding forest, a wintry, salt-scented chill rustled through the leaves and tickled my skin like icy feathers. Hugging closer to Anthony’s cushy jacket, I sighed deeply to cover an involuntary shiver.
    “Hey, if you don’t wanna go to this thing, that’s fine,” he whispered in my ear, brushing his lips against my cheek. But as I was about to answer, something wild thundered from behind us through the thicket, prompting shouts and hollers to echo through the trees. Standing perfectly still at the side of the pack, we braced for something horrifying to come crashing through; Anthony covering my short frame with his towering, bulky one.
    When it blew through, I peeked out from between the massive arms of my hero and laughed at the fear we’d felt. Shoving Anthony’s arms away, I watched as some kind of sports team rushed through, blowing out some of the candles. They wore the school colours of gold, white and blue from head to toe and puffing hard from their jogging.
    Once the team was out of sight and the commotion was muffled by distance, the candles that had gone out relit themselves, which didn’t surprise me in the least, and we continued toward the bonfire. Anthony held me close as I started to shiver more viciously, offering his jacket kindly and wrapping it about my shoulders just as we entered the final stretch. Through the trees I could see flames reaching up for the stars as we rounded the corner and headed into a straight.
    Stepping out in the open, my breath caught as I glimpsed the whole fire pit, which was larger than a car and nearly twice as tall, for the first time. In awe, we wandered around the side of it to find a spot among hundreds of students milling about. Benches had been set up all over the clearing, as well as a couple rickety-looking bleachers where students sat with blankets and wool hats to protect themselves from the cold. We found a quiet corner away from the main action and were just getting warm when a speaker somewhere screamed into the night, capturing everyone’s attention immediately.
    Everyone was nervously glancing around at each other, some in panic, as an ethereal woman stepped around the fire and lifted a microphone to her ruby drop lips. “Ladies and gentlemen,” she thundered to the crowd, raising her other hand in excitement and doing a little twirl, “welcome to the Bonfire! Tonight we will be passing out some enchanting drinks,” at that, she winked right at me, “of the alcoholic variety, invitations to some very special clubs and presenting some haunting tales from this very island!” With her short speech over, she literally threw the microphone into the most crowded area and Jeff caught it easily.
    Sidestepping everyone, he ran up to where the girl had been, gave her a peck on the forehead in a platonic kind of way and raised the microphone into the sky to enormous applause. “A’right folks! It’s time for some scary stories from the island! Where’s my book at?” he asked the crowd in a reverberating voice. Someone appeared at his right to hand him a dusty tome and he nodded appreciatively. With a glance backward, he hopped up onto the top of one of the bleachers and propped the book open so he could read from it. Word for word, he growled from the book, “Once, when this land was just dense forest with a damp beach at the end, there lived a sailor who was determined to sail to every island visited by man. On each beach he would place a pile of stones in a circle, light a fire for a night spent on the island and set sail again at first light.
    “But one lazy afternoon he came to this very land, damp and smelling so strongly of salt he feared he may never be rid of it, and dropped anchor in the bay. After a short walk through the trees to find some twigs for a fire, he returned to the beach and found a circle of rocks already made for him. Thinking he must have done it before his wandering, he ignored the suspicious stones and got to work on the fire.” As Jeff was recounting the tale, the strange woman who’d spoken before was flitting about, presumably with drinks, speaking to different people. When she got to us, I cowered a bit, secretly wishing I hadn’t left the safe confines of my room.
    Her teeth and eyes sparkling in the firelight, she offered us both a shimmering liquid that was apparently free of hangovers before continuing her rounds.
    Meanwhile, Jeff was still talking about the sailor, “He woke up to find the fire extinguished and the circle of stones missing. Now, this island had never been visited by a single man, was not claimed by any nation and should have been devoid of sentient life. So, naturally, he began to feel very nervous and suspicious of the possible inhabitants. Screaming across the beach, he was astounded to find that the stones would reappear and disappear at random. From the darkened tree line, he watched figures stooping along before fading from view. And the water near his boat would bubble angrily as though it were boiling, before settling down again.” Members of the crowd were beginning to glance nervously at each other as he continued.
    “Rose,” whispered and twinkling voice and I screamed out loud. Sinking into the rough wooden bench as all eyes snapped to me, I chuckled and waved the glances off. “Sorry,” said the ethereal woman who seemed determined to embarrass me, “I didn’t mean to scare you. We’re just asking a few of the people with flora abilities to use them on the vines snaking around the ground. It’s a really great part of the show,” she spoke in a voice loud enough for Anthony to hear, but he didn’t turn. “Oh,” she noticed my terrified glance at my boyfriend and chuckled darkly, “that drink contained a potion to help the mortals block out magick talk. In a couple minutes Jeff will say a couple words and they’ll snap right out of it.
    “Anyway,” she continued despite my concerned expression, “we just ask that you guys have the vines grip people around the ankles for a moment, then fall off dead. Is that within your abilities, Rose?” The piercing look she gave me was enough to sober up and I nodded stiffly. “Brilliant! Oh, and here’s your invitation to the Dryad Society; hope to see you there!” She was gone before I could say another word.
    Jeff was just finishing the story when I realized he was still talking, “And he watched the strange woman’s tail scales glisten under the water, giggling bubbles in the air. When he jumped in after her, he felt weeds wrapping around his ankles,” during that pause a half dozen people around me put out their hands, with me copying them, and vines sprouted from the ground and ensnared as many people as they could. Much screaming ensued as the students thrashed at the vines until, as quickly as they’d grown, they rotted away to nothing. “The sailor was not so lucky as you lot, as he died a watery death to haunt the bay in which he died,” Jeff growled in conclusion.


  2. “Alright, gather ‘round boys,” Noah says. Josh rolls out of his tent, stopping on one knee. Finn pokes his head around a tree. August and Rick are already at the fire pit, so the others join them. “Start roasting,” Noah hands out the pokers. August and Rick take them and puts two hot dogs on each, holding them over the fire.
    “Do you do this often, Mr. Morse?” Finn asks.
    “Noah, please. And yes. I’ve done this many times since I was a boy,” Noah answers, “Heather’s been out here a few times, but she always insisted bringing Blaze with.”
    “She loves those horses,” August muses.
    Noah’s eyes twinkle, “That she does. But, as much as she moves, she needs a good bed.”
    “The girls must be having a blast back at the farmhouse,” Josh says. He’s been looking at the trees since it got dark.
    “Scared of the woods, Josh?” Rick teases. Josh sends him a look, then checks on August. His brother isn’t tense, so he forces himself to stop checking for animals.
    “Movies, popcorn, games,” Josh ticks off on his fingers.
    “We can have just as much fun as them,” Noah says.
    “Ooh! Like scary stories?” Finn asks, “I got a good one.”
    “Uh uh, Finn,” Noah says, “Oldest starts. It’s a tradition.”
    Finn leans forward, listening. August and Rick turn the hot dogs, and Josh is happy for the distraction.
    “My uncle loves to tell this one. It’s not about these woods, but about a very different forest farther south. You see, there’s this town that had a a decent population. There was a mayor that loved to go out hunting, and he decorated his walls with antlers and heads on plaques.
    “But one day, he didn’t come home. The sheriff crossed into the woods to find him, and it wasn’t until a few hours later, a farmer found a body, without a head.”
    “The sheriff?” Finn asks. Noah nods.
    “It was at the edge of the woods. The deputy took upon himself to find the monster, and hopefully the mayor. But once again, he was found at the edge of the forest, headless. Everyone feared for the mayor, but no one was brave enough to find out what became of him.”
    Noah paused briefly to check the hot dogs. He continues the story as Rick puts them into buns and passes them out.
    “My uncle was one of the townsfolk that were voted to go into the woods. They brought guns, pitchforks, knives. Each stepped through one at a time. There was a line, everyone could see the man behind him and before him. The one at the front called out, saying he found the mayor.
    “They all rushed there. The mayor looked to be in good health, besides the blood on him, he had no wounds. They ask him if he saw the sheriff, or the deputy. He said he can’t recall. He only remembers coming out to hunt. They are all hungry after searching, so he brings them to his hunting lodge in the forest.
    “And as they sit in the main area, with darkness outside and the mayor going to the kitchen to fix up some food. They marvel the heads and antlers on the walls. My uncle had to use the restroom, so instead of asking which door it was, he wandered through the house to find it. He finds a door partially open. Stepping through he turns on the light…”
    The boys lean forward, A little bread on the corner of Finn’s lip.
    “On the far wall there are two bloody heads on plaques,” Noah says, hauntingly, “the sheriff, and the deputy.”
    No one speaks, the wind passing over them.
    “My uncle backed out of the room, and heard the mayor arrive back in the main room. He heard a slice, and a head rolled into view. …One of the men that came with him. He turns and finds a window as screams grate his ears. He ran as fast as he could, but never returned to the town whose mayor grew tired of hunting animals.”
    The fire crackles, “And… what happened to the mayor?”
    “No one knows. My uncle was the sole survivor, and the town never learned what happened to the party. My uncle could only guess…” Noah looks at the fire, “the mayor came back to town in the night to finish his hunt.”
    Rick gulps, setting his hot dog down.
    “That was better than my story,” Finn admits.
    Josh is now looking into the dark again.
    “No need to worry, Josh,” Noah says, “that was years ago. He may have been mad, but he’s not immortal.”
    Josh knows the story can’t be real, but he nods and looks away from the sickly looking trees.
    “Josh, try topping it,” August nudges his brother.
    “Yeah, you can tell stories. There’s got to be a good one,” Rick encourages.
    Josh looks to Noah. He’s silently daring Josh to scare him. Josh looks at the fire, then smirks, “Alright. Get ready for a long sleepless night, gentlemen.”


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