Hey, Ya’ll! Welcome back to PEP! I’m still testing PEP’s new name. It may change with the first Monday Short Tale of October.
Which just as a reminder, October’s Short Tales will be a continuation of the Haunted College Boys arc. I’ll post all previous pieces this Friday just to catch everyone up. I’m also going to post the Wednesday Writing Prompts this Wednesday and a post either Tuesday or Thursday with the first stop of my road trip. I meant to this last week but have spent the last few days either busy or simply feeling tired. I get spells like that occasionally. This spell appears to have mostly past, which I’m thrilled about as October 1 is just a couple of days away. My favorite time of year starts about September 10 and continues onto January 5. My mom’s birthday is Sept 15 and I usually hand-make her something. I didn’t quite get it finished this year before the trip so I’ll be giving it to her shortly. Then Halloween and spooky season starts Oct 1, My birthday and Thanksgiving is November and then December is Christmas followed by the start of the new year. Add to the special dates, the weather cools and fall starts followed by winter, my favorite seasons.
I’m going to be giving myself a special challenge this next month similar to my drawing challenge of June. Except it’s going to be one for drawing and another for writing. Some I’ll post here and some I’ll post on my Patreon. I’ll give the link again when I’ve uploaded the first pieces.
Now, what you’ve been waiting for, the finale of I Don’t Think I Want to Be Here Anymore. I promise, the title makes sense by the end.
Martin distantly heard screaming as he stared at where the man had been. It took him too long to realize it was his own screams he was hearing and stifle them before they gained the wrong attention.
He heard Camden, “Martin, you have to remain calm!”
This was too much for him. He took off down the main tunnel they’d started on, leaving Camden to run after him.
She caught up to him just as he narrowly missed slamming into the wall at the end of the tunnel.
His hands in his hair, Martin groaned, “It’s a dead end, now what?!”
Camden, keeping her wits around her, glanced up, realizing she could see light.
“Look! Up there!”
Martin looked up and realized they’d come to what was likely another entrance, except this hole looked smaller than the one he’d crashed through and no more accessible than that one.
“That doesn’t really help. We’re really in the exact same case as earlier.”
“Except I’ve regained my power. As long as dawn is a few hours away, I’ll regain my strength soon enough. It’s clearly more dangerous down here than we realized.”
As Martin felt icy hands grab him under the arms and lift him in the air, he had the distant notion, ‘What if this is the exact same hole we fell earlier, and we’ve just run around in circles.’
He dismissed it the next second, it wasn’t possible, was it?
He was right, it wasn’t the same place he’d fallen in earlier.
It was worse.
As soon as they’d cleared the hole, he felt something strike Camden and her arms disappeared from under his arms. He immediately began falling back in the hole and just barely managed to grab the edge.
Camden flew backwards, back slamming into a tree, arrow lodging deep into the trunk through her chest.
She winced; she hadn’t realized she could feel pain as a ghost. But of course, for however long she’d been a ghost, she’d primarily stuck to the trails she ‘remembered’ from being alive.
She looked up in time to see another spirit dancing around the hole and human hands grasping the edge. She realized Martin had nearly dropped back in when she’d been shot with the arrow.
She struggled to move but the arrow was a spirit weapon and had her pinned to the tree. She heard an agonized scream and realized the spirit was no longer dancing around the hole. Now it was standing directly over Martin. She grabbed hold of the arrow, ignored the burning in her hands, and yanked with all her might.
She dropped down, barely keeping on her feet, as the arrow came out. Ignoring the pain in her chest and her hands, she started running to the hole, taking aim.
She threw the arrow, praying it would make its mark as the spirit continued standing on Martin’s hands, waiting for him to drop.
It hits its mark.
The unknown spirit flies back, struck with its own arrow, and Camden grabbed Martin’s wrists just as his hands gave in and let go.
She pulled him up, wincing from the looks of his hands.
A bit delirious from the pain, Martin muttered, “I don’t think I want to be here anymore.”
Camden looked around, getting her first true look at just where they were, “I don’t think either of us want to be here anymore.”
Somehow, they’d managed to come up in the middle of a territorial battle.
She couldn’t see the cliffs where they’d been headed but saw what looked like a small campsite in the distance.
“Come on. I see a tent. Maybe they can help us!”
She kept a tight grip on Martin’s wrists, the moon recharging her even as she used her power.
They managed to get out of the center of the battle unnoticed and make it to the campsite.
Martin, having regained his senses, “Hello!”
Martin took a closer look at the campsite and didn’t like what he saw.
“Camden. Look. I think this campsite’s abandoned.”
The tent was nothing more than rags, the fire pit having long since fallen to pieces, cooler turned over and what remained of the camper’s backpack was all over the campsite in rags and trash.
Camden didn’t respond.
Scared she’d disappeared on him again, “Camden? Camden?!”
Camden jolted out of the trance she’d fallen into when she’d seen the yellow t-shirt hanging on a branch near the campsite.
“I’m here. I’m here. Sorry. I think… I think this may be my campsite.”
“That shirt, the one on the tree over there, it looks so familiar.”
Martin knelt, ignoring the pain in his hands, and ruffled through the little that was still intact of the backpack.
At the bottom of the mess was a wallet.
He pulled it out and opened it. There was a student id within. He, of course, didn’t know what Camden looked like, but the name on the university id was that of a Camden Stewart.
Camden looked at the familiar wallet in Martin’s hand and the id.
Martin’s eyes suddenly burned, and he dropped the wallet to rub them.
When he was able to open them, the young green-eyed brunette woman from the id was standing in front of him.
“I can see you now!”
She looked up from the wallet she’d been studying fast enough to, had she been living, give herself whiplash.
“Apparently, I just needed to know what you looked like alive. You know your name now, anything else you remember?”
Camden’s brow furrowed, “I don’t- Wait!”
Just then, different scenes of the woods they were in flashed across her eyes.
She gasped, “We have to leave, now!”
She grabbed Martin’s wrist, pulling him towards where she remembered leaving her jeep. She’d left the key in the sun visor, so he’d be able to start it to get back to his car without going back through the woods.
“Wait, what’s going on!”
“No time, come on!”
Camden pulled him along, Martin noticing she was now regularly looking up. He had a feeling she’d just remembered her last hours.
Indeed, she had. And she didn’t want Martin to suffer the same fate.
But it was too late.
The animals that had been released into the woods from the same people who’d used the underground tunnels and caverns left from French and Indian war for experimentation on them and unsuspecting campers had already spotted them.
Or rather, they’d spotted Martin, unable to see Camden.
Chills ran down Martin’s back as he heard a feral noise. He wasn’t even sure if he could qualify it as a howl or growl. He just knew in his gut it didn’t bode well for him. He no longer allowed Camden to drag him, now he threw himself into running beside her towards a small hill.
Camden was glad Martin had managed to pick up on the danger he was now in. It let her regain more energy now that she wasn’t pulling him.
They scrambled up the hill and Camden saw her jeep.
“There! The key’s in the sun visor, use it to get out of here!”
Even as he scrambled into the driver’s seat and pulled the sun visor down, “What about you!”
Camden got into the passenger seat, “I’ll ride as long as I can. I don’t think I can leave the forest, but you know where I am. You can get closure for me as long as you get out of here!”
Martin jammed the key into the ignition and started the jeep, throwing it into reverse. He revved the jeep around into drive and started driving down the two-lane dirt road. He wasn’t even going to stop for his car. He’d come back for it in the daytime.
Seeing something moving in the trees, Camden had a spark of an idea even as dread curled in her gut.
“Where’s your phone?”
“In my pocket, why?”
Even as Camden reached for his phone, a large thump sounded from the hood of the jeep, the entire car vibrating from the large mass that was now crawling towards Martin.
Even as he swerved the jeep, trying to knock the chimpanzee off, more landed on the back. Camden took pictures of the chimpanzees as they leapt into the jeep and onto Martin.
His screams told her he was paying the price for her choice of an open-roof jeep for a car. He was meeting the same fate she had. Only she’d met the chimpanzees in the middle of the woods, and they’d run her into a hole where she’d fallen, breaking a leg. They hadn’t followed and she’d eventually died from slow blood loss from her injuries and starvation.
The jeep ran off the dirt road and crashed into a large old oak, crumpling the front hood completely.
The crash jolted the chimpanzees from their unmoving meal, and they disappeared back into the woods.
Ghostly tears poured down Camden’s cheeks as she stared at Martin’s wrecked corpse. She blamed herself.
Even if he’d survived the chimpanzees, the crash would’ve killed him as a fallen branch of the tree impaled the windshield right where his head would’ve been had he not been slumped over the wheel.
She jolted as Martin’s voice sounded, “Are you going to stay in there or are we going to start exploring like we started this morning?”
She turned and saw Martin just as he had been alive. She realized Martin had joined her and the other spirits as permanent residents of these woods. She climbed out of the jeep and hugged him tightly.
“You remember everything?”
“Yes. I’m one of the lucky ones.”
Camden left his phone in his body’s hand where she’d stuck it just before the crash.
As such, Spirit Martin pulled the phone out of his pocket and turned on the flashlight, having died with it in hand.
The two began walking, eventually running and laughing with their newfound freedom and friend, seeing no reason to stay with the jeep.
It would be found, or it wouldn’t. Only time would tell.
A few days later, the wreckage was found when Martin’s friends alerted the police he’d never returned. The phone had just enough battery to show them his last minutes before it died. They also found Camden’s wallet in his pocket and her family gained closure as well.
Eventually, the chimpanzees and other creatures were rounded up and the spirits of the woods were finally at peace once more, no more joining their ranks from such gruesome deaths.
They say that if you stand on the cliffs at midnight on a full moon, you can hear a young man and woman laughing and might even get a glimpse of a flashlight as they run through the woods.
So, what did you think? Feel free to comment down below, I promise I’ll reply.
‘Til Next Time, Friends!