Summer Games

Authors note: This is the short story I wrote in July that was rejected. The story had to be under 1k words ( mine is 998 ) and it needed to feature something about camping. Camping for me was a huge part of my childhood. I attended a Christian camp in Wisconsin for many years. Digging back into those memories was wonderful. Finding the scary hidden within was delicious.  

lake

The lake was black and hid many secrets. The only light offered came from the hanging moon above but it could not penetrate the lakes obsidian depths. But it did provide enough light for Brody Fitzmore to see the outline of the peer that floated silently in the distance.

Brody gulped the velvet summer night and crunched his toes deeper into the sandy shore. It was a funny thing to see the place that offered laughter, games, and splashing under the summer sun become so dark and ominously corrupted under the waxing moon.

The buckling ribs of the cicadas, the croaking of something bulbous and slimy just beyond the tall reeds, and the scratchy wool air made 12-year-old Brody, who was crowned bravest of the first-year campers, think only of the horrible hungry things within.

A voice slipped through the dark of the trees that leered behind him like great sentinels of summer.

“It’s the last night of Camp Wonder, Brody.”

The soft chattering of his fellow campers buzzed somewhere between the trees.

“That means this is the last chance  to win the Craw-Man Patch.”

Another wave of exciting chattering followed as this crucial fact fell upon Brody and his doubting thoughts.

He needed to do this. If he failed, the counselors would win the coveted patch and he would never be able to return.

Gritting his teeth, Brody took a step into the inky water. The midnight lake felt cold and treacherous. But the chattering turned into cheers, and Brody was filled with courage.

Emerging from the forest was first-time camp counselor, Ellen Roberts, his competitor. Her red one-piece swimsuit seemed to glow as Brody’s eyes quickly traced her.

“You ready,” she said softly looking down at Brody with more concern than competition.

Brody focused his eyes forward. He dare not look at her completely. If he looked at her he would be distracted. He needed to focus. This was life and death stuff.

“Little more than a hundred yards. First one back gets the patch.”

Ellen smiled at him and took a step into the water. They were side by side. Equals in the pale moonlight. All the games. All the blood, sweat, and tears led to this very moment.

Heck, the entire summer depended on this, thought Brody as he balled up his fists with determination.

“It begins when the fire starts. And remember, beware of the thing that sleeps below!” commanded the voice in the forest.

Brody and Ellen went into a running position. A few clean steps and a perfectly executed dive would be the determining factor without question.

From behind them someone was breathing, moving sticks on sticks, pouring a tin of liquid, scraping a match, and then the whoosh of fire and heat. The final camper vs counselor challenge began with a cold splash.

Brody felt he had taken a better dive but he couldn’t be sure because he did not expect the awesome darkness of the lake. His heart pounded from his arms cutting madly through the water but also from the terror that soaked his very bones.

This must be the feeling the elders talked about last night as they sat around the fire. The water was truly filled with microbial fears that bubbled up from the fathoms below.

My God, thought Brody. How deep is the lake? And what of the slimy, blind, oily things that hide amongst the forest kelp below?

Did something just grab him?

Brody kicked violently with his legs. It was probably just his imagination but it could have been the thing that sleeps below! Another layer of gooseflesh covered him as the horror-filled his mind. Must stay focused-

TTHUNK!

Brody’s head cracked against the floating wooden deck. He made it! Ellen splashed close behind him. Without even trying to clear the stars from his eyes, Brody hurled himself on top of the platform so he could dive back towards the blazing shore. The damage was done.

“Brody! Your head. Your bleeding!”

Brody turned to see Ellen lifting herself up onto the deck. She looked like how he imagined a siren to be. Flowing hair, piercing eyes, smooth skin. Then one of his eyes went dark. With the back of his hand, Brody wiped at it. More hot sticky blood plopped into the water.

Ellen gently tilted his head to the right and examed him. The blood gleamed silver under the spell of the moon as it continued to drip on the deck and fall between the planks.

“It’s not bad. Just a bad scrape,” she said softly.

They locked eyes as she pressed Brody’s hand over it.

“Kinda silly to get hurt over something like this, huh?” She said as her eyes stared out at the bonfire onshore.

“You think your too old for summer games, don’t you?” Brody said with a chord of defiance in his voice. “ You don’t believe in the thing below, do you?”

Ellen looked at Brody with silent teenage knowing.

“It’s all just silly summer camp games, Brody.”

Brody looks at Ellen with a smile. Taking his hand, he wiped the blood across his entire face as if it was warpaint.

“I hit my head on purpose,” he said with wide, unblinking eyes of madness.

“Why’d you do a thing like that?”

“To bleed.”

“Why did you want to bleed, Brody?” said Ellen nervously.

“Because it’s drawn to blood.”

Suddenly Brody started pounding on his wound. What was once a scrape turned into a cascading gash. Blood flowed freely.

Then it came – A tall shadow with cherry-red eyes and moon drenched claws that clicked and snapped behind Ellen.

Smiling Brody turned and dove back into the black water as the thing that sleeps below violently grabbed Ellen with ancient hunger.

As Brody neared the shore the sound of Ellen being ripped apart was replaced by triumphant cheering from his fellow campers. The fear that nearly conquered him was all but gone. The summer was saved.

The campers had won!

I Found the Devil at Flashback Weekend.

The green and red mohawked man’s jean jacket vest was covered in the most extreme horror patches and buttons I had ever seen. He had patches dedicated to Cannibal Holocaust and pins featuring Charles Band’s shit-tastic pile of cinema trash. But it wasn’t these obnoxious displays of identity that disturbed me so; it was the pinned patch in the center of his jacket that read, “Ask Me About Satan.”

These horror conventions are drowning with all sorts of characters. Here, you’ll find Halloween-Heads, Horror critics, Punks, and even the ultra rare, almost extinct legend that is the Goth. So it wasn’t really the patch that had my heart pumping faster than normal. It was his aura.

I’m almost positive this guy felt me judging his patches because he turned around and grinned straight at my face. I pulled my eyes away and started awkwardly staring at some shitty homemade spooky candles that some aged punk rocker chick was selling.

But what the fuck did I see? It was only a brief glance but I’m almost positive the Satan patched dude had tiny sharp teeth and bible black eyes! I decided to steal another glance.

Confirmed! The guy was still staring at me and he had the blackest fucking eyes I had ever seen. Shark eyes. The eyes that Quint from Jaws spoke about. Before I could process the thought through my energy drink trenched brain, the guy turned around and walked swiftly through the crowd. And I did the stupidest thing anybody could do after seeing a sharp toothed guy with devil eyes: I followed.

I pushed past a fat Freddy who was delivering one out of a thousand cheesy Nightmare lines. Fred cosplay voices are equivalent to Heath Ledger Joker cosplay voices so I couldn’t help but wince. But doing this distracted me from focusing on the man with the ‘Ask me about Satan patch. And that’s when I crashed into Sean Patrick Flanery.

S.P.F (thanks Chris) was fist pumping to terrible music. He smiled and audibly hooted in some sort of cocaine or super fruit vitamin burst. I looked past his orange glow to see my target farther than I wanted him to be. Flanery hooted again and invited me to a shared pump of the fists.

“Not now, Junior!”

I pushed past him.and continued my search for the Satan guy. I couldn’t locate him! I hissed a curse as I desperately scanned the buzzing convention floor like a T-800.

Target acquired! I found him taking a selfie with some big boobed girl with tattoos that she could not have gotten sober. With some sort of stupid courage, I hit continue in this stupid game of cat and mouse!

Just as I was about to reach him, or IT, a t-shirt vendor ambushed me.

“Don’t be shy! Take a look at all our overpriced t-shirts!” said the vendor who grew up on the Twilight Saga.

“Cool but, uh-”

“I know right?! See they all glow under black light?! You see? How cool is that – black light?”

She giggled and flashed a black-light wand like some 12-year-old girl high on rock candy. I wasn’t in the market for stupid shirts but I knew I couldn’t escape this trap so easily. So, I let her have it.

“Why the fuck would I pay $35 dollars for a shirt that turns on with a light that I’ll never encounter unless I’m raving with the crew from Return of the Living Dead? And if I’m exposed to said light I’d be risking the embarrassing fact that I have a ton of cum stain on and around my crotch area. Goodbye.”

Using my rudeness as Bat-smoke, I zipped past her and rounded the corner to where I saw the Mohawk Satan go.

“GOD DAMN IT!” I roared.

The fucker was gone! A wave of panic started to sit on my chest as I looked around like Charles Band looking for a paycheck. Was this going to be one of those crazy ass stories that would haunt my mind until the day I die? The story about the time I saw a real demon at a horror con. What a story that could have been.

The chemicals in my brain did a little dance and I felt depressed as I gloomily walked away to continue my gazing at Lance Henrikson’s liver spots.

“Hey.”

A cigarette cracked voice behind me said. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Somehow, someway I knew this voice belonged to HIM!

My heart pumped faster than Sean Patrick Flanery’s fist as I slowly turned around to confront whatever he or IT was.

His eyes were blacker than black. His teeth; yellow jagged abominations that could rip flesh from bone. Under his jean jacket vest, he wore a simple Hanes undershirt with a crude image of an upside down Crucified Jesus. This guy was the real fucking deal!

With a smile, he presented a large black book to me. The book was made of leather. The cover had the Satanic pentagram etched in fine gold ink. I know what this was. It was the Book of Satan! Once I sign it he would give me whatever I wanted! Just like in The Witch movie!

“Wanna check out my portfolio?”.

My saucer wide eyes and slit mouthed grin instantly dropped.

“Whaa?”

The devil guy chortled, put up his index finger to me as if to tell me to hold on. With his other hand, he pulled out his yellow teeth with a slurp. A line of spit webbed from his mouth and fake teeth. The spit string snapped.

“Damn teeth. Gotta love Spirit Halloween, uh?” He chortled again in merriment. “Wanna check out my portfolio. I’m an artist.”

My jaw fell to the floor. That’s when I noticed he was standing behind a booth that read: Vincent Vicious: Dark Mind, Dark Soul, Dark Art.

This guy fucking just baited me right up the ass! I started tearing up as I grabbed his book of art and flipped it opened. Inside I found life like pictures of classic horror icons like Freddy, Jason, and Dracula. The only thing was they were all drawn like Penises. The guy who I thought was an agent of Satan drew life like horror icons as if they were life like dicks. What. The. Fuck.

My lips trembled as tears softly fell down my cheeks. I Sad Dracula’d hard as I walked further into his trap by complimenting his Horror Penis talents.

“That’s soo…original.”

The asshole smiled a beautiful set of teeth. His right black eyeball popped out. A contact. He pulled the other one out. Two beautiful blue eyes twinkled at me.

“Not biggie. Got them cheap on Amazon. Free shipping with Prime. Total win. Wanna buy a print?”

He pointed at a selection of 8×5 prints of his dick art. He had everything from Regan from The Exorcist to a big black King Kong.

“Come on. Help me out. I’m hungry. I gotta make a living. You love horror, right? These are Con exclusives. Come on, these tables aren’t cheap. Whaddya say, buddy? ”

I must have left my body because I saw myself completely giving in by his sales Kung Fu. He sale slayed me. I was almost sobbing as I pointed at the Michael Myers as a penis print.

“That one.”

He pulled it down and autographed it. In what he must have thought as super clever, he added an exclamation in the shape of a penis.

“That would be 45 bones, my man.”

I trembled a smile and gave him my credit card.

In the background, Sean Patrick Flanery gave me a whats up chin and fist pumped in my direction as the black light t-shirt vendor hung on his bicep. She was waving her wand at SPF’s crotch area.  His crotch glowed with a stain.

I cried.

 

Neon Ghosts

Kyle Brown came home late one night tripping on mushrooms. These are not the mushrooms that you put in your salad, however you probably can do so. It would entirely depend on how weird you are.

The kind that Kyle Brown took were inter-dimensional. They’re the kind that make time deathly slow as you see everything in neon. It was on Halloween that he came home tripping on these shrooms.

Kyle reached for his doorknob and the doorknob glowed with a brilliance that he could not describe nor truly comprehend. So he laughed in euphoria and entered his studio apartment.

The single pumpkin light in the far corner of his studio glowed in a fiery orange smile much like it had done before but this time it was alive with color. This was no doubt the result of the drugs that he had consumed three hours earlier. With a swift twist of his wrist Kyle locked the door. He was safely inside or so he thought.

Kyle hummed to himself as he slipped off his tired loafers. That’s when he felt it. Something was clogging up the studio apartment atmosphere. Whatever it was Kyle did not like it. He slowly lifted his head up and scanned the room to see a neon glowing sheet ghost sitting on his sagging sofa.

Kyle could hear his heart howling to get out of his chest. He blinked and blinked but the classic sheeted ghost that glowed so brilliantly neon did not go away as hoped. It flashed orange, red, purple, green and blue. It was not in that order. It seemed to have no order in its display.

The ghost reminded Kyle of those freaky fluorescent flashing fish that hang out in the darkest depths of the ocean. The ones that they always showed on ocean specific documentaries for late-night television viewing. Television was something he could turn off. This was not something he could turn off or make go away. Without taking his spiraling eyes off the paranormal intruder, Kyle slowly reach for the light switch.

” DO NOT TURN ON THE LIGHTS!” said a soft childlike voice that slipped out from underneath the folds of the sheeted ghost.

“uh, why?” was the only thing his cosmic lit brain could think to say.

The ghost did not answer but instead swiftly and effortlessly stood up from its sitting position as if it was hoisted up by an invisible string. The ghost was nearly ten feet tall. It’s rounded head scraped the ceiling. The head slowly turned towards Kyle and revealed two black eyes and black moaning mouth.

“You dick!” roared Kyle as he fell on the floor in disbelief.

The ghost started laughing hysterically. He pointed at Kyle and buckled over in glee. Slapping his ghost knee he bellowed out, “I got you, you stupid dink!”

Kyle shook his head and stared at the laughing asshole.

“Booghoulie, I could fucking kill you!

“That’s what you get for doing shrooms without me.”

Kyle looked at his laughing ghost roommate with a face as cold as a tombstone. How could he hate this sad sack of a ghost? After all he was his best friend.

“Besides,” said Booghoulie. “I’m already dead!”

Kyle exploded in a fit of laughter at this obvious truth. The small, drab studio apartment was quickly filled with joy for nothing is better than having a best friend in life and in death.

Halloween Delight

Upon the faces of those who fright

Ancient haunts will delight

Under witches moonlight.

All will giggle,

And all with glee

For something sweet and sugary

Skeletons in cobbed hats

silly little tykes dressed as bats

and very confused cats dressed as rats!

All are equal on this night,

When the pumpkins are a’ light

Boo! Squeek! Eek! Halloween Fright!