This story is by Todd Edmands and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
So I am sitting at the campfire staying warm and eating a hot dog. The fire rises one to two feet over the pile of wood supporting it. I am here camping with my family, my friends and a few other camping couples. The group has just gone around telling ghost stories to each other and I am up next. It was the usual scary man with a hook for a hand looking for victims. Someone rises from the grave to get revenge. I worry about the safety of my fellow campers given the silly stories they are telling.
“Hey Todd, tell us a ghost story?” George asks.
“I do not want to scare you or any of the kids here.” I say.
“We are all old enough to handle anything you can tell us.” George states.
“OK, but know that I have warned you all” I said.
“I’m not afraid of ghosts because they cannot hurt me. They might scare me but I’m not afraid of them. I’m afraid of monsters because monsters are real” I say.
The group laughs.
“There was a scientist who lived in the woods near here. His specialty was genetics. His favorite thing to do was to camp and to tell ghost stories by the campfire. He would gather ghost stories from everyone around the world using the Internet. Once he got a story he liked he would go to his back yard, start a fire in his fire pit and recite the stories he received to practice being able say them in the scariest way possible. One night when he was out practicing his stories, he noticed something was watching him. He finished up his story and went back inside. The next night he was out practicing again and something showed up again. The scientist kept his composure and continued to finish his story. The next night it moved a little closer, about twenty feet away. The scientist described the creature as seeming to be like a Bigfoot but it had very large ears.
“A Bigfoot monster that listens to ghost stories, now that is funny” George said laughing.
“George, I know one thing and that is I would never laugh at a monster.” I told him.
I continued my story “The next day, the scientist looked at the area where he saw the creature and noticed the creature had a large footprint and seemed to have toes on both sides of it feet. The scientist started to share his experiences with the creature and the stories he read on the Internet. The scientist noticed that the creature’s eyes got very big and glowed redder as the stories became scarier. It would also show its sharp teeth if the story was really scary.”
“Why do monsters always have red eyes?” George asked.
“I don’t know where this monster came from or if its mother had red eyes” I replied. I could see the children moving closer to their parents and the parents were leaning forward.
Once again I continued my story. “Given the scientist liked camping and telling ghost stories he started to camp more often in sites near his home, like this camp site. While the scientist was telling his ghost stories to the groups he was with, he sometimes noticed the creature was nearby him in the trees but he did not say anything. He now knows the monster likes listening to ghost stories. The odd problem was when the scientist woke up with his fellow campers the group noticed that someone was missing. They just disappeared. His camping gear and car were at the site but no one could find the person and no one did find this person. This pattern started to happen whenever the scientist camped in the nearby areas. People in his camping group were starting to get worried since one of them would disappear after each trip. The scientist had to think hard about what might be happening to his fellow campers and he came up with an odd thought. It appears that the person who had a simplest or silliest ghost story was the person that disappeared. At this point the scientist did not know what the creature ate but given its sharp teeth assumed it was a predator.”
“Don’t all monsters eat people? George asked.
“I believe this to be true when I think about it. That is why they call them monsters. All monsters are dangerous.” I said.
“The scientist was busy reading to the monster every night at home and sharing his experiences online until people on the Internet noticed that the scientist had become completely quiet. No more messages were seen from him. They reached out to authorities to have someone check on the scientist.” I said.
“Did the scientist die?” The children asked and they sounded very excited.
“I am about to explain what happened, be patient.” I told them. The children now seemed very concerned about this monster.
“The police went to the scientist’s home and found parts of him scattered all over his back yard. They found a foot lying by the fire pit. They found a hand lying by the back door. They found an arm hanging in a nearby tree. His head was never found. The other odd piece of evidence was that they found a romance novel, which had been bitten in half lying near the body parts. They assumed he was reading it when he was attacked. The crime scene investigators evaluated the body parts and determined the scientist had died the night of April 1st by a creature with large sharp teeth.” I told them.
“Oh no, an April Fools monster” George says laughing at the children.
“No George that is not what they call him. Let me explain.” I said.
“The Internet went crazy when people learned how the scientist was killed and the thought that the creature he spoke of is still out here in these woods we are now camping in. Given the horrible death of the scientist, people now refer to the creature as the wimpy story monster. People on the Internet speculate that the scientist was trying to be funny and decided to see how the wimpy story monster would respond to listening to a romance novel on April’s Fools day. Obviously it did not end well. I no longer bring romance novels with me when I’m camping and I would never read one out loud.” I said.
“How scary, a wimpy monster” George jokes.
“George you do not seem to understand. A monster never names itself. Other people name the monsters that are out here among us.” I told him.
I continue once again. “Since the death of the scientist there have been numerous reports, almost weekly of campers going missing from their camping sites. Sometimes investigators get lucky and will find a hand or foot left over which they can get prints from but the heads of the victims are never found. They always find the wimpy story monster’s strange footprints with its extra toes near the tents of the victims. I think the scientist noted that the smell of the wimpy story monster reminded him of hot dogs on the grill and that smell is present here tonight given what we have been cooking. So you told me you all could handle me telling you a scary story and there is not a scarier story that I could tell you than this one. I have heard the wimpy story monster loves it when he hears scary stories about himself. So I’m a little tired and I know I will rest safely and quietly after the story I have shared with you tonight. I hope all of you can sleep well after telling the ghost stories you have shared. Good Night.” I said to them wishing them the best of luck.
I woke up late in the morning and the police were already at the campsite. I am not sure which camper called the police. Monster footprints were near George’s tent and he was missing. George and all of his body parts were missing.