The ghost story, part 2.

“IAN!” Dave jumped to his feet.

No answer.

Steve was still seated, whimpering and trembling, too afraid to move. Then he saw Dave walk away from the soothing light of the campfire towards the surrounding darkness.

“Where are you going?” Steve asked.

“You stay right there,” Dave ordered. “I’ll be right back.”

“Please don’t leave me here by myself,” Steve whimpered. “I’m scared.”

But Dave wasn’t listening. He continued his cautious trek towards the bushes where Ian had disappeared moments ago.

“Ian?” Dave called out.

Steve watched as Dave’s figure became darker as he ventured further into the night. Then Dave made a turn behind the bushes and disappeared from view, leaving Steve sitting alone by the fading campfire.

“Dave?” Steve yelled. “Please come back.”

No answer. There was only silence that fueled Steve’s escalating fear.

“Dave?”

Still no answer. Steve was once again hyperventilating while trying to maintain his composure, a task that proved itself impossible. He felt foolish for having been dragged into going on this stupid campout. Why didn’t they just go camping in the back yard where nothing like this happens? Heck, the scariest thing that can happen is a raccoon running across the lawn.

Then Steve’s thoughts was interrupted by a shrill scream from behind the bushes. As Steve responded with a scream of his own, he could see a dark figure run from behind the bushes towards some trees near where he was sitting. He was petrified with fear, not sure of what to do next, provided he could do anything at all. Then he began to get an even more unsettling feeling far worse than all the fear he was feeling right now.

Someone was watching Steve from behind the trees.

Steve slowly turned his head to survey the trees behind him but saw nothing out of the ordinary. But he still had that same, uncomfortable feeling that he was being watched.

Then he heard a sinister whisper:

Going to chase them all down, one by one
Going to chase them all until the last one’s done

As Steve’s fear continued to intensify, his nose picked up a scent that increased that fear tenfold.

The smell of burned flesh.

Then Steve heard footsteps across the crunchy leaves as an unseen intruder approached from behind. He quickly closed his eyes and listened as the intruder walked around the campsite while the horrible smell got stronger. Then there was silence. Was the intruder gone? He waited for a minute, listening intently for any encouraging signs.

Going to chase them all down, one by one
Going to chase them all until the last one’s done

Apparently not.

Steve kept his eyes shut while trying not to make a sound and trying not to retch from the unpleasant scent now overpowering him. Then the footsteps across the leaves resumed, growing softer as the intruder returned to the woods. Steve kept his eyes closed for another minute just to be on the safe side, and the silence that followed indicated that he was alone once again.

Slowly Steve opened his eyes and saw nothing but the dimming campfire and the trees that surrounded him. He was in desperate need of something to soothe his shattered nerves, so he reached for Ian’s guitar. He positioned the instrument across his lap and played a few crudely formed chords. He didn’t know how to play the guitar in the first place but figured that bad music was better than no music at all.

Steve’s ears picked up a slight rustling noise from behind. He stopped playing and listened cautiously without bothering to look behind him. Could it just be the nighttime breeze or footsteps? He continued listening before concluding it was nothing and continued with his struggle to make pleasant music on the guitar.

So focused was Steve on the fretboard that he failed to notice that someone was standing right behind him. Only did the sickening smell finally get Steve’s attention, and he slowly turned around to face the intruder.

The intruder snarled, baring his teeth across his badly charred face.

Steve fainted.

To be continued…

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