These are the 9 Campfire excerpts from the Campfire Tale challenge.
1. The Face: Naching T. Kassa
He’s coming to the window,
He’s coming to the window,
Don’t let him in,
Don’t let him in,
DON’T LET HIM IN!
Agatha sat up. She blinked as her eyes adjusted to the silvery moonlight which streamed into her room. When she turned to her window, she saw it. Something small and pale floated outside. It was a face. No body. No head. Just a face.
Black eyes glared at Agatha. Beneath its long nose, a mouth scowled. It moved toward her window.
Agatha scrambled out of bed. Her nightdress caught on the bed knob and she tore it as she moved forward. The face came closer. Agatha caught hold of the sash and slammed the window shut.
The face gnashed its teeth in mute fury and Agatha stared at it in mounting horror. All of its teeth were filed to a point, each one stained red.
It hung there for over a moment and then floated away, back toward the forest.
- Forgotten by Jonathan Fortin
Someone was watching her—she was sure of it. She turned around…and there was an old man, staring at her with huge, bulging red eyes. He had a thick, tangled beard and wore in a brown cloak. His face was twitchy, and his fingers were long with soot-black tips. “Girl,” he said. “Why don’t you come give me those tarts?”
Now, Clara had worked very hard on her tarts. Sometimes she gave them to friends, but not to strangers in the woods. “Sorry,” she said, “but these are for someone else.”
She walked away, but the old man let out a fearsome growl: “Give me those tarts, girl!”
That was all the warning Clara needed. She broke into a run.
Somehow, she stumbled onto the path, and followed it to the clearing where her parents had set up camp. Mom had binoculars out and was watching birds. Dad was starting a fire. Clara breathed in relief. She’d be safe now. The old man would never find her here.
- Not all who Wander are Lost by Fiend Gottes
Once long ago there was a Sioux couple, the wife became pregnant with twins unbeknownst to either of them. When the husband left to go hunting he would tell his wife,
‘If any stranger comes while I am gone, do not look at him for any reason.’ He would make her promise every time which she did. One day an old man came to their lodge while the husband was hunting. The wife being a kind soul let the man to eat but would sit with her back to him fulfilling her promise. The old man ate his meal, thanked the woman and left. The old man returned every day. Finally on the fourth day curiosity got the best of the wife and she peeked at the stranger breaking her promise. She saw not an old man but a horrible ogre known to the Sioux as a Two-Face. She knew everyone who looked upon a Two-Face died.
4. Cabin 12 by Daphne Strasert
Patrol was the spookiest part of being a counselor. It was important, of course, especially later in the summer, when illicit romance had time to bloom. We tried to keep the kids smart and safe and that meant wandering in the woods every other night with only the moonlight as a guide. It took some getting used to. I could never shake the feeling that something watched me from the trees—probably because something did. Maybe it was only a rabbit. Maybe not. Like I said, spooky.
That’s how I found Cabin Twelve. I followed my feet on a late August night, not walking toward anything in particular, but away from the nagging feeling that something stood just outside my peripheral vision. I didn’t notice the building at first. The way the cabins were arranged around the lake, it didn’t seem like there should be anything there at all. It sat back further than the others did, where the trees were just a little thicker.
- Goose Meadows By Harry Husbands
Rounding a corner, we came to a children’s playground—hidden by large, green hills on every side. Climbing frames of various shapes and sizes sat among wood-chips, surrounded by a low metal railing. We ran to them, hooting like imbecilic apes and clambered about the structures. While stumbling down a faded silver slide, I spotted a black sports bag sat snugly in the corner, as if placed there on purpose.
I pointed it out to Lee.
“Check it out,” I said, “reckon it’s full of cash?”
“It better fucking be,” Lee said. We walked to it. I crouched down and was pulling back the zip when the bag came alive with movement.
I leapt back.
From within the shadows of its innards, I saw flesh and edged forward uneasily to open it further, jolting backwards again upon discovering its contents.
- Laughing Jack by Adele Marie Park
Five years ago a girl called Sally Jones went missing in these woods. Seven years old, she had grown up just a few miles from here.
Perhaps she wandered off the path following a bird or a small animal. She found herself lost in a menacing part of the forest.
Dead air hung upon the silent trees and dripped fear into her heart. She froze, pulse pounding in her ears like a drum. Fading in and out confusing her other senses. In her vision the trees poised on the cusp of command from an unknown source. They would pounce on her and rip her to pieces with their sharp wooden claws.
A sudden rustle brought a gasp and interrupted her gaze.
Lifting her head she locked gazes with a raven.
Her eyes pinched with pain but she couldn’t shut them.
The raven opened its maw cackling laughter like an old man making her jump.
- Semlor by JC Martinez
House Åkerström is a haunted house on the outskirts of the next town. Everybody knows it, and everyone has a different version of what happened there almost nine years ago. Of course, what I am about to tell you is the undisputed truth.
Viola Åkerström moved there with her two kids, Daniel and Martin, eleven years ago. As a means of sustenance, she decided to condition her home’s garage as a little store. A bakery. The variety was scarce. The kanelbullar, which were simple cinnamon rolls, were the ones she produced the most, and she only accompanied them with some gingerbread cookies and a few other traditional candies. Still, she was quite successful.
Maybe it was the seasoning with which she fixed the desserts, or the exotic sensation you got when buying sweets that had a deliciously foreign name, but her little establishment triumphed and flourished. She even competed with Morton’s, which has been an institution in pastries and candies in this region for over six decades.
- SMELETONS by Sumiko Saulson
The rotting meat began to stink of five day old hamburger before long. That was when it attracted maggots. The fervent breeding of the insect life that occupied the corpses caused them to writhe in a way that almost simulated breathing.
That’s when the vegan witch Hespeth walked by and saw them. Thinking that perhaps a young calf had survived, she ran towards the deep pit filled with rotting animal bodies. Hespeth was so disgusted when she found out that it was no living mammal, but the insect life infesting the dead carcasses, that she immediately hexed the place. She’d been meaning to for a while. Vegan witches hate slaughterhouses.
The accursed skeletons lurched forth from their graves. The stink of rotting meat was cloying. A cloud of green malodorous E.coli bacterial surrounded them. Soon, the maggots began to hatch, sending out waves of hungry, carnivorous flies.
- When the Wind Leaves a Whisper by Jess Landry
When I was just about to fall asleep, Rita sprung out of her sleeping bag, gasping for breath.
“Louise…louiseeeee!” she whispered as loud as she could.
“What?” I mumbled, the taste of sleep in my mouth. “What is it?”
“Do you hear that?”
I sat up rubbing my eyes, a yawn escaping. Crickets chirped back.
A little drip of moonlight trickled around the tent, casting shadows of the trees on our tent. Rita was nothing more than a silhouette, her head jerking from side to side.
“That!” she said a little louder, her head spinning to the back of the tent. “Something’s trying to get in.”
I was fully awake now, my eyes adjusted to the darkness as best as they could. Outside I could see the shadows of some branches as they danced in the light wind. Nothing seemed out of place.
“There it is again!” she spun her head the other direction, jumping out of her sleeping bag and scrambling next to me. “Look!”
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