On a warm summer eve a group of friends decided to head into the woods for a fun night frolicking in the dark after high school graduation and prior to the mass parting of their ways to university. A typical campout between friends. The first to arrive were Dave and Kelly, high school sweethearts turned loving, devoted husband and wife right after graduation, too soon most would say. Driving up to the old campsite in their black 4 door jeep, already knowing the spot they would be claiming for their tent.
As Dave was prepping the tent off to the left of the giant fire pit, Kelly began unloading the coolers from the jeep. An old red and white truck pulled up beside her, clanking to a halt. Inside were 2 wild and crazy guys, Steve and Jess, sports jocks who never quite fit into the typical mold. Jumping out Jess in all his glory, shirtless with beaming a crazy, happy smile he had become famous for. Arrived at the back of the jeep to lend Kelly a hand. Steve, he was already sipping suds, looking like he was ready to play a game of football ready to let loose a bit now that he had received his acceptance letter from a well renowned university, to which he had a full ride.
Jess and Steve placed their pup tents to the right side of the fire pit. Once these were up the task of gathering wood for the night’s fire ensued. Whilst Kelly, Steve and Dave began gathering kindling and downed limbs, Jess began unloading pallets from the back of his truck. A horned honked and Jess turned in his catty manner to see a SUV come pulling in spewing dust behind it. The occupants numbering 5. There was Katie the class prude, so pure, primp and proper. Marie who was the bad rocker chic, not even in the same class with Katie. Jeremy who was a hottest bad boy in 3 counties, known for courting mischief and pushing the rules. He really was a good guy just gained himself that bad boy rap, because he was bullied back in grade school. In tow were also JD and Sue, although not a couple they have been known to take out their sexual frustrations on one another from time to time.
When all the tents were up and everyone gathered round the fire that Jess sparked, enough wood to last them an entire week, they settled down to have a beer and a hot dog. The usual how’s it going, what’s happening before you leave for college, who you sleeping with now became the subject of getting reacquainted. As the sun slid behind the tree line the night still warm. Jess speaks up with a the suggestion to tell spooky stories. At this suggestion JD screws the top of a bottle of bourbon and Dave begins to spin a scary tale.
“So guys, have you heard what happened last month after the fourth of July bash? You haven’t?” Dave questioned the group, who were all huddled on huge logs place around the huge fire pit. Jess threw another log on the fire, as the flames grew so did Dave’s tale.
“It happened not far from here, on the other side of the woods, man I can’t believe you didn’t hear about it. Anyway, there was a homeless train hopper guy that they found skinned and gutted at one of the old campsite.”
“Shit Dave, now I’m going to have the willies.” Katie piped up, although looking interested.
“Keep going man.” Jess pitched in with an antagonizing tone.
“They said that it looked like animals had ripped him open and gutted him. Guys, I went out there and looked, I found these.” Dave stood up and walked to the jeep bringing back a duffel bag and a pair of old worn out boots. “I decided to go snooping and one day after rummaging around I came across this stuff. Look on the boots it looks like dried blood.” He propped the gear up on another log. JD, already swaying, grabbed a boot and began to inspect it.
“Listen, there was more stuff over there. I’m sure from years of campers. But I didn’t think anyone who camp over there after that boy died falling in that hole way back when we were kids, y’all member that don’t ya?”
JD with a hooting laugh throws the boot back at Dave and stated “That ain’t blood dude, looks like oil to me.”
“Listen man, I’m telling you something happened over there, that gut they found had claw marks in his muscles, and he was completely skinned skull to toe.” wierd Dave continued. “There are some old things there that would expect to find, but there are newer things there too, a tent that can’t be more than a year or two old. It’s been damaged by the weather, but it wasn’t an old tent. There were other shoes too.”
“Dave stop it. Your lying, this is made up to scare us.” Marie, not believing a word of it as she opened another beer.
“Hey guys, Dave showed me this stuff when he came home that day. Wait until you see what’s in the bag. I don’t think the man who got killed was any old hobo either. I think he was there looking for something.” Kelly was reassuring in her steady insistence.
“Show us what’s in the bag Dave.” Jeremy, seldom heard from pretty faced bad boy spoke up. “This is a load of crap and I’m not afraid. Hand me that bottle.” Swigging down a large portion of bourbon.
“Okay, but here’s where it get interesting.” Dave continued with the story, unzipping the duffel as he spoke. “I thought that maybe this guy was a standard drifter, after all the train tracks aren’t far from here. But when I opened the bag and started finding this shit.” Dave pulled out a binder, a book on legends banshee’s, a small kit that when opened revealed what looked to be a vampire slaying kit, vials of holy water,
crucifix, a sharpened wooden stake. “This isn’t even the weird shit guys. This is the item that has freaked me out.” Dave pulled an old book from the duffel bag, it’s paged marked with page markers to open straight to the page on Banshee’s.
“Dave, fuck you. Why the hell did you bring that here. We’ve camped here for years, this is bullshit. I’m going to pee.” Irritated and a bit rattled Sue stood up and stomped off into the woods.
Dave, Kelly, Jess, Jeremy and Marie all moved in closer and were inspecting the items that used to reside in the duffel. Jeremy seemed to lose his interest pretty quickly and wondered off to put another log on the fire. JD had already nodded off with his back against a tree.
“Hey, hey guys, where’s Katie?” Turning and looking like a lost puppy Jeremy, you could see a bit of panic in his eyes. Simultaneously they heard a shrill screaming from deep in the woods.
“Ah shit!” came flying out of Jess’ mouth as he turned to grab a flashlight. “Sue went out there you guys, and now Katie’s gone. I’m going to look. “Thanks Dave for the jitters.”
“Jess, wait I’m coming too.” You could hear the quiver in her voice as Marie offered to accompany Jess into the woods.
As the time passed and Dave, Kelly and Jeremy were left looking through the dead man’s belongings. Kelly spoke up “I just don’t know, I mean why here. We’ve been out here for years and there has never been anything remotely scary that has happened. Also, how do we know that this guy didn’t cross a bear or something, like you said it was an animal.”
Jeremy continued “Right, but wasn’t that kid that fell in the hole back when we were kids, wasn’t he skinned from the waist up? I’m just saying that was weird, he fell into a deep hole, but how did he get skinned?”
“I think there is something more going on here you guys. And what the hell is taking those guys so long? I bet Katie slipped and got dirty.” at that they all laughed.
“Banshee’s steal the soul right?” Kelly asked “Then why the physical wounds, this has just got to be a joke. Maybe someone left this bag there and it’s not at all tied to that dead guy? That’s possible right?”
Another shrill scream and then you could hear Jess screaming from the woods. “What the fuck is he saying?” Dave inquired as he stood up.
Another shout from Jess and it sounds like he’s running and getting closer. “Run, go go go RUN” Everyone heard Jess’s panic, even JD stirred and
jumped to his feet.
“Ru, Oh fuck, run guys, run.” Dave having laid his eyes on Jess, instantly felt his panic as he turned to the jeep. Kelly on his tail. JD still standing at the tree base, still dazed. Jess came flying into the opening. The flesh separated on either side of his skull, blood gushing and covering the entire top of his torso. “Run run.” The last thing Jess would utter as he fell to the ground flat on his face, so close to the fire that the displaced air blew the flames of the fire, causing it to grow even higher.
Dave around the front of the jeep “Come on JD, let’s go NOW JD MOVE!” JD stumbled and almost stumbled right into the fire. Did he really drink that much in that short period of time. He was struggling with his own feet, he would never make to the jeep.
Kelly screamed out “COME ON SUE, MARIE, KATIE RUN, RUN FAST, HURRY!” She was terrified that was evident in her voice. Just beyond the fire you could see Sue’s back, her white tank top vivid. Beyond her and what she was seeing was horrific. The eerie glow of the fire made the face of the bitch facing Sue snarled and grotesque. In a flat second, Sue was no longer Sue, instantly her skin was sucked off her body with a gruesome sucking noise a snap and Sue screamed as she fell to the ground. Jeremy was already behind the wheel with the engine started and had shifted into reverse, he began backing up.
The grotesque face of the gigantic woman form continued to advance, JD now crawling to gain ground. She hadn’t spotted JD just yet. She was fixed on Dave. A moment later Jeremy had driven up right next to Dave who jumped in without hesitation. JD had caught the bitch’s attention and she slit him open like a knife in hot butter with her finger nail.
Jeremy, Kelly and Dave locked themselves in the jeep and began to drive forward when the jeep was stuck on a tree stump. “Son of a bitch, we can make this, hold on” Jeremy exclaimed. The hideous woman was close to the jeep, reaching out she began banging on the rear door attempting to reach Kelly. Screaming and crying Kelly shouted out “Hell fire and brimstone, it’s Katie, guys look, look at her, that hideous bitch is Katie. She has the remnant of the clothes that she was wearing tonight. I’d know that necklace anywhere!”
Just as the glass on the rear window cracked and shattered, Jeremy backed up and pounded the jeep into first gear. Pulling away from the campsite leaving their prim and proper Katie standing there screaming a sharp shrill in her altered self.
Chuckling Dave cracked open another beer. “Well, what did you think about that story?”
Katie started laughing hysterically as she stood up and put another log on the fire. “Great job Dave, it’s good to know that you think that I’m a hideous looking bitch” Kelly snort laughed. JD was still passed out at the base of the tree. Sue and Marie went to pee, they didn’t go far and you could hear them as they urinated.
Jess smiled wickedly, running his tongue along his teeth, the fire twinkled on the sharp incisors that had recently presented themselves. And the flames grew just a little higher.