Campfire Tales: How “The Face” was Born

The cool autumn night is filled with the pungent scent of smoke and singed hot dogs. A cheery blaze stands at the center of camp and friends gather around. They bring marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, and the delicious thrill of fear.

It’s October. Time for campfire tales. Time to tell you how “The Face” was born.

“The Face” was my contribution to The Next Great Horror Writer Contest’s Campfire Tale Challenge. It’s the tale of Agatha Gray and her elderly mother, Dorothy. Dorothy’s mind has slowly deteriorated, but her psychic talent is as strong as ever. And, good thing it is, because a supernatural entity known only as “The Face” has come to kill them. Will they escape its gnashing teeth? Read Campfire Tales and see. For now, I’ll tell you how it came about.

I have always found disembodied heads frightening. Maybe, it stems from a game my little sister and I played as children. Or, maybe, it comes from something more sinister.

My sister and I played many games in my parents’ bedroom when we were children. It was a small, cheery room with wood paneling and long, light-blue curtains on the windows. The closet didn’t have a door. It had curtains too, ones which matched the windows. My mother had made them of a shiny, satin-like fabric.

The “scary game” began with my little sister standing in the closet. She would hide her body in the curtains, covering everything but her head. Then, she would open her eyes and mouth real wide and walk forward. It was creepy and scared the pants off me.

Ok…that is a bit lame. But, I frightened easily as a child. You’d be scared too, if you’d seen what I saw. This was years before my sister invented the game, but it happened in the same place.

I was three at the time and my mom had put me to sleep in her room. I’m not sure what woke me, but when my eyelids fluttered open, I found a head floating at the foot of the bed.

The face was green and glowed in the dark. It stared at me with wide eyes and a wide mouth. Then, it came toward me…

I screamed. Screamed for my mom. Screamed for my dad. Screamed for anybody.

No one came.

I can’t remember what came after that. Maybe, it was just a dream and I woke up. Maybe, my mom came in and it vanished. I guess I’ll never know—not consciously anyway.

I recently discovered that several of my stories involve disembodied or decapitated heads. Is my unconscious mind trying to tell me something? Perhaps, “The Face” has the answer.

Tell me if you find it.

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