That Night We Camped Out

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It was Ina’s idea to camp out in the old Reynold’s place. Local legend was that it was haunted but Ina didn’t believe in “that old hoo-doo” and who were we to challenge Ina? We all jumped in her little old Subaru and hauled butt down the road, spitting gravel and scattering rabbits, screeching to a stop just inside the old split-rail fence circling the front yard. Jeanie and Russell pulled the ice chest out of the trunk while Ina and I lugged the sleeping bags onto the porch. The sun was slipping below the tree-line as we spread a quilt over the dusty floor in front of the fireplace (which looked eerily like a toothless mouth agape) and pulled beers out of the cooler. We sipped and talked until we couldn’t see each other then we lit the Coleman lantern and a few candles. Russell pulled out a joint. We smoked and talked and ate snacks, our shadows large on the peeling walls exaggerating our every move. Jeanie had gotten very quiet, her eyes big and dark like they get when she’s scared. “What’s up, JJ?” I asked. She turned slowly toward me and said in a solemn voice, “I can see into the shadows. I can see them watching us from the other side.” Goose bumps creeped up my arms. Jeanie had a gift, the second sight. We all looked around, our shadows wavering in the candlelight, listening intently. The effects of the weed were beginning to turn from mellowness to paranoia. “Oh, bullshit! Cut that hoo-doo shit out!” yelled Ina. Jeanie just looked at her, eyes unblinking. “I know what I know.” she said. The novelty of camping out in the old place was wearing off quickly. Even Ina paid attention when Jeanie said “I know what I know”. She jumped up, “Let’s go to town!” We ran to the car and headed down the road. It was quiet as church in the car riding down the road. We were deep in the country and the trees were so thick they made a canopy over the road. The only light as far as we could see were the headlights on our car. The dark swallowed it up like the whale swallowed Jonah and I was afraid it wouldn’t spit us out. Ina flipped on the radio and some country guy was wailing about drinking beer and chasing women. Country music was all that was on the radio in this part of the country. I started to sweat, my stomach sour from all the beer I’d drunk, the music and the smell of everyone’s fear pressing in on me like a dank wool blanket. All of a sudden, the car stopped. It just stopped, the lack of engine noise like a crack of thunder. Only not. The headlights started to dim as the night pressed closer. “I know what I know.” whispered Jeanie.

***

WordPress Daily Post Prompt: Quartet

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5 thoughts on “That Night We Camped Out

    1. No, I’ve been blogging since 2005 and writing since the 90’s. I’m writing here under an alias to work on flash fiction. I’m primarily a poet. Thanks for the kind words!

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  1. I really like this flash. The details are crisp. M y favorite: ” We were deep in the country and the trees were so thick they made a canopy over the road. The only light as far as we could see were the headlights on our car. The dark swallowed it up like the whale swallowed Jonah and I was afraid it wouldn’t spit us out. ” Beautiful, chilling ending.

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