Monday, 21 April 2014

An Excerpt

I did plan on posting the third in my series of short stories on Amazon. Then last week happened. As detailed in this post I had a bit of a rough week last week and got nowhere near as much writing done as I wanted to. I think I only ended up posting half a story. In lieu of having a story to tell you to buy, I figured I would just post what I had written so far. It's called Not Another Camping Story and will be available in it's complete form either Thursday or next Monday. I'm contemplating aiming for Thursday, then taking some time off and starting up Immortal Space again next Monday.
“On a dark night, just like this one, in a wood, just like this one…” James began his horror story with all the clich├ęs. His fellow camper, Mickey, was having none of it.

“Tch. You know how many ‘scary’ stories start like that?” he asked, making sarcastic air quotes to show how little he was scared. He folded his arms and leaned back just a little. He didn’t want to lean too far and end up falling backwards off the log he was sat on. He, James, and two other boys were camping in the woods as a Scout Troupe. Mickey was sat next to his dad, the Scout leader, James was sat on his own as the designated storyteller, and the other two boys were sat on a log of their own together. Mickey’s dad, Peter, had to put his hand over his mouth to hide his amusement at his son’s sarcastic comment.

“Hey, do you know how many woods are just like this one, and how many people take camping trips just like this one?” James countered. Mickey rolled his eyes.

“Well he’s got you there son.” Peter said, patting his son on the back. He nodded towards James. “Well go on and finish your story then.” He instructed. Mickey muttered something about James only just starting the story under his breath.

“As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted,” James begin, casting a glance at Mickey and putting the flashlight back under his face to look as scary as possible, “There were a group of boys who were camping together. They thought they were safe. Well, they thought WRONG.” James said. He snapped the last word out to try and frighten everyone. David and Andy, the other two boys, flinched. Mickey and Peter did not.

“What…what happened?” David asked timidly. James smirked maniacally and continued his story.

“They’d had fun, had some s’mores, and told campfire stories. Things were going well for them. They said their goodnights, went to bed, and that’s when things started going wrong for them. One of the campers heard a rustling near his tent. There was a growl too. He was scared but he had to know what was out there. He could only see a shadow through his tent. He opened the tent up and stepped outside. Whatever attacked him was so quiet that no one heard when he was attacked. That’s why none of them helped him.”

“What attacked him?” Andy asked. Both he and David were shaking a little out of fear. Mickey and Peter were still pretty unperturbed. James gnashed his teeth together, baring his teeth like they were fangs. Andy and David jumped again, and James laughed at their expense before continuing.

“Not long after the attack one of the other boys had to pee, and headed out of his tent too. He saw that there was a lamp lit in the other boy’s tent. They had been told to only light the lamp in the tent in an emergency. If they wanted to find their way back then they had to put the lamp outside. He went to the tent to see what the problem was, and tell the other guy off for breaking the rules. He saw that there wasn’t a shadow first. That’s when he got a little worried. He went to unzip the tent only to find it was already open. He peeked inside and saw nothing. He took the lamp out so nothing would catch on fire, and that’s when he heard it; a terrible, terrible howling. His head snapped up where the howl had come from but he couldn’t see anything. It was too dark. He could still hear though. He heard something approaching him. It sounded like footsteps. Something was moving towards him, and quickly. He grabbed the lamp, ready to fend off any wild animals. Then BAM!” James exclaimed, clapping his hands together for emphasis. Mickey cursed himself for jumping in surprise. He was getting into the story too. Just another thing to curse himself for.

“His friend, covered in cuts and blood, jumped into the clearing where they’d made camp. Both boys screamed at eachother in surprise and that’s when the second one saw it; the creature that had attacked his friend. It was like a panther or somethin’. Only it was much bigger. It’s teeth were much bigger too. The boy screamed again and made a run for it with his friend, but there was no way they could outrun it. Everyone else in the camp had woken up by now. They saw the creature and panicked too. One of them had a baby, and he ran like the wind out of there, leaving the young lads to their fate. He made it, but no one else did. Forest rangers scoped out the camp the next day and found all the bodies. Only the man and the baby got out alive.” James finished his story. He was a master storyteller. He was quiet when he needed to be and loud when he had to be. He knew just how to say things to really draw people in. There was just one problem with his story. It was the same problem with almost all stories like it.

“So, uh, how do you know this happened?” Mickey sarcastically asked. He’d enjoyed the story which was why he was being extra bitter about it. David and Andy were looking particularly scared too and he wanted to reassure them that it was all false. James was ready for him, and that question.

“That’s easy Mick.” James replied casually. “I know because I…I…WAS THAT BABY!” James declared, turning up the intensity. Mickey felt his skin crawl. David and Andy weren’t reassured in the least. If anything they were more frightened now than they had been before. That little plan certainly backfired on Mickey.

“Sure you were James. Sure you were.” Mickey sighed, completely unconvinced. Pete clapped his hands together to get everyone’s attention.

“Well that was a pretty good story wasn’t it boys?” he asked, looking around the campfire. Mickey still looked disinterested, James was smirking at the compliment, and Andy and Dave looked like they’d need therapy before they slept again. “It’s getting late so I think we should get to bed already.” He said. Andy and Dave weren’t too happy about that. It just wasn’t their night. Nevertheless they did as they were told and got ready for bed, retreating to their tents for the night. James also got up and left, leaving father and son to take care of everything. They set about cleaning up the camp site a little; putting away any trash they could find and putting things back in bags. Mickey took care of the campfire and said goodnight to his dad before heading for his own tent. He really needed a good night’s sleep after the day they’d had. It was the first day at the camp so they’d woken up earlier than usual and spent what felt like forever in the minibus on the way to the camp. They had to set everything up after that which also seemed to take way too long. They were all very efficient campers and didn’t take long, it just felt like it did because there was always more to do.
Yeesh, I can't believe I stopped writing part way through a paragraph. Also if you couldn't tell, this story was entirely inspired and based around the sarcastic conversation between James and Mickey. So many camping stories start like that, but, seriously, how many woods and nights are just like every other woods and night?


  1. Looking forward to the completed version. Also, what's this about continuing Immortal Space? Is it finally upon us?

  2. Totally off topic, but I'm halfway through reading your short story I downloaded last week. Very well written, Mark!

  3. ha. i want more...i was so expecting them to be dead that touch with the little boy saying he was the are they in it together to scare everyone else or....bumbumbum

  4. You are really writing a lot and remaining dedicated to your goals. I am really impressed. Just keep this up and you will get to where you want to be.


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