“How would the two of you like to hear a story about me when I was quite young?” I asked my two sons as we sat by the campfire.
“Will it be one of those boring ones?” my oldest son, Michael asked me.
“Will it be a tale with lots of scary stuff in it?” my other son, Nick said.
“The both of you will get your wish for it shall not be boring and it will be scary.”
I saw their eyes light up and looks of anticipation. It was like watching our dog before getting a treat. I had two sons that were now at the age where they wanted constant thrills. Anything to make their hearts pump faster and send chills up their spines. Tonight, with the pitch darkness surrounding us, is a good time to tell them what I experienced many years ago. One of those events I didn’t truly understand, but it welcomed me into the world of the mysterious. The unexplained and the bizarre that many nowadays would love to experience. It doesn’t matter where you live in this world because unconformity enters all of our lives. The question is how far does it go off the path of reason?
“Are you ready?” I ask them as I bring up the memories of dread in my life.
“I’m ready,” Michael said.
“Let’s see if you can scare us,” Nick said with a challenging look.
I glanced at both of them, thinking of the many times I reminisced about this occasion. It was not pleasant at the time by any means, but telling it as it fades into history is a pleasure. Not a sadist by a long shot, but to teach people there are unpleasant things out there. Watching and reading of the abnormal brings to question, is it our wild imagination playing tricks or did it truly happen?
“Time to tell,” I thought.
It was another year to my grandma’s over the summer to spend a couple of weeks. Living in a one hundred-year-old white house that was gigantic to me. Many twists and turns to the place, and the rumors of others in the house that were not in the world of the living. But tales of grandma’s house are for another time. On this trip, I could spend the night with my cousins. The first time, and it would be the last time.
The first part of the day was like many as we walked through the small town, playing pinball and the one arcade game, getting a slushy drink, and just being kids. Everyone was older than me, but my cousin, Mike, who was a couple of years younger.
The afternoon quickly went by and we went to the cousins for a barbecue. I watched my cousin’s father for a bit as he tended to the hamburgers and hot dogs as he chugged down can after can of beer. Probably my first view of an alcoholic.
Soon, we were eating, everyone chatting away but me. During those years I was very shy, much of it to do with my speech impediment.
As we finished the meal, my cousin’s neighbors that lived across the street, and a little ways down, stopped by with their three boys. It wasn’t long that they invited my cousins to camp out in their backyard. I was too young and had to stay with my cousins. Thank God I did.
I can’t recall what I did with my younger cousin as the sun set and darkness crept over the sky. Usually, I have to go to bed quite early, but with my cousins I’m allowed to stay up late. We watched a movie, and soon called it a night when the older kids rushed into the house. I never saw faces so white and full of fright.
“What the hell is going on?” my cousin’s father cried out, finding out later he was quite drunk.
They all blurted out at once until the dad told them to shut-up.
“Tell me?” he asked his oldest son, Greg.
Greg told all of us they had gone into the house to grab some snacks to take to the tent. Once they stepped outside, they came to a sudden stop. From the entrance into the tent, they could see two glowing eyes staring at them. They were high enough off the ground that it couldn’t be their cat or small dog. They figured it had to be a wild animal, but that changed when seconds later, the two eyes combined into one eye, which made the pupil look like a reptile. Then the bushes to the left and right of the yard rustled at a frantic pace. Everyone looked at each other then quickly back into the house. The parents sent my cousins back to their house, not sure if they were playing a game or something crazy was going on.
“Let’s all call it a night,” the father said.
I went downstairs to sleep in one of the bunk beds with my older cousins. I closed my eyes, figuring another day was done. Next moment, I don’t know how long I slept, but woke up to my young cousin screaming upstairs. I couldn’t make out what he was saying, but at one moment he was banging on the front door, and seconds later, at the back door. I don’t know if my hearing was playing tricks, but there was no way someone could move that fast. I got out of bed while my other cousins were crying out that they couldn’t move. I went over to the stairs and looked up to a sight I will never forget. Mike was facing me and screaming that everyone looked like demons. His eyes were closed, but his face contorted in a way that I just stood there paralyzed. I was living in a real life horror movie. I prayed he didn’t come down the stairs and rip me to shreds. Instead, he turned around, opened the door, and outside he went. The others eventually came out, the paralysis ending for my cousins, and Mike coaxed into the house when he came to in the middle of the field.
“I think it’s best if you go back to your parents,” the father told me.
They were called, but before they arrived, the mother started going nuts, like she was possessed, and after knocking her husband aside ran outside and into the cornfields.
“There is no way you kids or I are going out to those fields,” the father said with a stern look. “With what has gone on, who knows what else is out there.”
Soon, I was picked up and back to grandma’s house to sleep in the same room as my parent’s.
“You need to be there to understand the terror that took place,” I told my kids.
“What could have been out there?” Michael asked.
“I don’t know, but it wasn’t good to produce vibes like it did. Pure evil.”
My two sons just looked at me.
“I guess we should call it a night,” I said, standing up.
I headed to the tent trailer, noticing the kids following me.
“I thought you were sleeping in the tent?” I asked them.
“If you don’t mind us sleeping in the trailer,” said Michael with Nick nodding his head.
I chuckled to myself and wondered if I did a good thing or not. Time will tell.
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Hi Corey, Your story reminded me of my childhood days, especially winter nights in my grandmother's home. There were frequent power cuts and our shadows loomed like unearthly apparitions in the light of the candles on the walls. In those evenings, I would coax my cousin to tell me a scary story. Childhood seems so many lightyears away now. Well-written! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for the comments!
It was a good, short read—4/5 stars :) at the beginning, there was one tense mistake: “Tonight, with the pitch darkness surrounding us, is a good time to tell them what I experienced.” The story was in past tense so you might want to fix that. I did think the dialogue was a bit unrealistic—the two boys talked like fancy adults. Maybe instead of saying, “It will not be one of those boring ones?” Put “Will it be one of those boring ones?” Overall, I enjoyed reading the spooky campfire story. Good job!
Greatly appreciate the comments. The part you stated should be in past tense would be incorrect since it is the present tense at that time. I will check out the dialogue for corrections. Thank you
The innocence, the trials and tribulations and the attendant ups and downs that come with it were very well captured. You certainly have a knack for story telling. I have submitted a story that's based on this week's latest prompt. It's titled No Second Chances. Would appreciate if you critique it. Thanks Corey.
I loved this story! I think everyone can relate to the childhood experience of sharing scary stories but it was so interesting to read about one framed not just as a story that someone's heard but has actually experienced. It made it all the more spooky and the sons' reactions were perfect. Great job!
Greatly appreciate the comments!
I love the end. My own kids would have done the same thing if I told a tale like that when we were camping!
Thank you for the comments! A spooky tale to kids can quite the treat
An imaginative contrivance of a spooky tale, the narrative keeps one alert throughout the story. Keep it up. You may read my story 'A Stunning Blow', written with the same prompt.
Thank you for the comments and will do
Nice story. I remembered my grandma's place. Please do read my story and let me know your comments.
Thank you for the comments and will do
I loved this slice-of-life! So much verisimilitude. You captured the wide-eyed wonder of childhood (and adulthood, for that matter) so well. :)
Greatly appreciate the comments! You might be surprised how much reality is in this spooky story. A couple more things that happened I didn’t even mention. Bizarro
Possibly. Many unusual events took place in that cool little town. Used it in so many stories
Rings true. Just like Stephen King's Castle Rock, Maine :)
Hi Corey! Great story; I absolutely loved the dialogue and the characters. I wrote a story for this prompt too, it's called "Winter’s Promise", and I would love to know what you think.
What a good story! I love that you took us into the world of creative nonfiction. I enjoy so much of the writing on Reedsy but, for me, there is a little something extra special when the story is grounded in reality. I really enjoyed this Corey and you may have inspired me to give creative nonfiction a go at some point too.
Greatly appreciate the comments! I was quite young at the time but remember some of the events crystal clear. My first experience with the unusual. Probably the reason why I’m so interested in the mysterious.
Spooky! The change in attitude of the sons, from cocky and fearless to humble and terrified after they hear the story, is my favorite part. Lovely closing note. Good stuff Corey 🙂
I appreciate your comments!
This was an amazing story! The detail in this story is great! I just love it! My favorite part was when...all of it! This story was justpure awesome!
Greatly appreciate your feedback!