Hey, Ya’ll! Welcome back to PEP!
I did a little baking this week. I made some banana bread along with my grandma’s chocolate cake. The chocolate cake was a little dry and, which I didn’t know until I started gathering supplies, I was out of cooking spray. I made a Bundt cake which you need to prep with grease and flour. All I had on hand was shortening, which works well for some cakes but not a Bundt cake with the grooves that are in the pan. As such, some of the top of the cake crumbled coming out. It’s still delicious.
From the back where you can see the powdered sugar.
The front of a slice of the cake
Don’t forget this week’s Sunday Fabricated Stories short story: I Want a Home
You should also definitely check out this week’s Wednesday’s Weird Tales of the Unknown: Bring Him Back
Now, today’s Monday Short Tale will be multi-part. You may remember Cheryl’s Adventures and the Haunted College Boys arc. This one won’t be quite as long as either of those but it will be completed. By the way, I’m planning to continue the Haunted College Boys arc this coming fall as an early Halloween story. So if you’ve been waiting, I apologize for the long wait but I promise, it’s coming. I’ll publish a special with previous parts before I continue it. For now, this’ll be a teaser of sorts.
Martin stirred the fire until just a soft light remained but little risk to the fire spreading in the middle of the light. With a final glance around the camp site, he crawled into his tent. Shortly, he curled up in his sleeping bag, looking forward to his planned hike the next day.
“Rise and Shine!”
He jolted out of a deep sleep, glancing around in confusion.
When he didn’t hear anything again, he figured he’d just imagined it. He pulled his phone to him, glad to see that it still had 90% battery. He’d need to boost it with his portable battery before he headed on his hike. He frowned when he realized it was only 4 am, he still had another hour and half til his alarm would go off. He laid back down to snooze for a little while longer.
“Rise and Shine!!”
He jolted up, certain he heard a voice this time.
Grabbing his phone, he crawled out of his sleeping bag, unzipped his tent and climbed out. He looked around, grateful his fire was still within it’s confinements and still showing a little light.
He didn’t see anyone but knew he’d heard a voice.
There was silence for a little while; then a shaking voice, “You can hear me?”
“Yeah, I can hear you. Why are you here, this is supposed to be a solo campsite?”
“I’m sorry. I was traveling through the woods and saw your light. I was hopeful you might be able to see me. But you can hear me! That’s something!”
“Where are you? Why can I not see you?”
“I’m standing in front of you, between you and the fire.”
“No, you’re not. I can’t see you.”
“I know. No one can see me. But you can see me, that’s progress. Maybe the next person here will be able to see me.”
“Next person here? What do you mean? Why don’t you go home, surely they’ll be able to see you there?”
“This is my home. I’m stuck here. I can’t move on until I’m found.”
“What do you mean, found?”
“I came here, much like you, to camp and hike. But I didn’t make it out of here. I can’t move on until I receive closure.”
Suddenly, not being able to see her made sense. He didn’t really believe but he wasn’t foolish enough to mess with what may or may not exist. He wasn’t going to risk it.
“I don’t think I’m the one that can help you.”
“Oh, I know. I think you’d need to be able to see me. But if you don’t mind, I’d like to accompany you while you’re here. I want to make sure what happened to me doesn’t happen to you.”
“I suppose that’s alright. I’m going to sleep for a little while longer, though. I need sun before I can hike and there’s still a while before that.”
“Oh, of course. I didn’t account for that, I can’t sleep nor do I need the sun. I’ll be here when you wake up.”
Martin gave up questioning. He was too tired and decided to go back to bed for a little while longer.
Martin groaned as he slapped at his phone, shutting the alarm off. He reached over and unplugged it from the portable battery he’d plugged it into when he’d gone back to bed.
He dressed and headed out, trying to decide if he’d really been talking to a ghost earlier. For all he knew, it’d been a very realistic dream.
He jolted, ‘nope, wasn’t a dream.’
He blinked in shock as his fire was now burning merrily, strong enough to cook a deer.
“I can interact with my surroundings. So as an apology for waking you so early, I thought I’d make you breakfast. I found some berries I know are safe to eat and found some sausage and eggs in your cooler.”
Sure enough, there was a pan sitting to the side of the fire with some cooked eggs and sausage with some berries in a little pile next to it.
He sat down, eating directly from the pan, saving on dishes, and eating hte berries, hoping he wasn’t making a mistake. They looked safe from his knowledge.
He watched, mind still processing, as sand was poured on the fire, putting the flames out. Now he had to believe. He supposed seeing really was believing.
He checked his fire, just for a second eyes check before packing up his pack and double-checking his phone battery.
Once he’d confirmed it was fully charged and his water bottle, map and compass were in his pack’s side pockets, he hefted his pack on his back and set out on his planned hike, his new companion with him.
-Fin (For Now)
That’s it for now. What will happen next week? We’ll see…
‘Til Next Time, Friends!