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Campfire Tales November 13, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Word Play.

Remember sitting around the campfire, or elsewhere in the dark, telling ghost stories designed to scare each other silly?

Or just to be silly?

One person would start.   Play would pass to the right.  With each person, in sequence, taking the story a bit further.

Wikipedia ~ Campfire (in Public Domain)

Wanna play right now?

I’ll start a story.

In the comment stream, readers can add to the story, anything from a sentence fragment to a few paragraphs.  Once someone posts a comment, that’s the new jumping off point for the story.

Each person joining in the telling of this Campfire Tale should read the start of the story and comments already posted before adding to it.

Ready?  Here goes:

The camp counselor, Derek, looked around the campfire.

Flames flickered in the center of the circle, casting faces in alternating light and shadow ~ creating a surreal strobe effect much like a revolving lighthouse in the midst of a storm.

A sudden crack of thunder in the distance caused several campers to jump, then struggle to reclaim their composure before anyone noticed.

The wind creaked through the trees.  Derek smiled.  The stage was set.

He looked at the campers, many of them spending a night in the woods for the very first time, “Have any of you heard tell of the Jersey Devil?”

Thirteen white faces stared transfixed at Derek.

One or two nodded assent.  Others shook their heads from side to side.  All maintained eye contact as Derek began to tell the tale . . .

“The Jersey Devil lives in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where he . . .”

Freddy gulped, “Isn’t this campground in the Pine Barrens.”

Derek nodded, “It is.  We’re on the Jersey Devil’s home turf . . . that’s what brought him to mind.”

Hank chuckled, nervous laughter echoed by other campers.  Everyone leaned forward on their logs, eager to hear more.

Derek cleared his throat, “After giving birth to her 12th child, Mother Leeds, a reputed witch, stated that if she had another, it would be the Devil.  Then, in 1735, Mother Leeds went into labor on a stormy night.”

Karl leaned forward, watching the lightning flash in the distance.

Source: Wikipedia ~ Jersey Devil (in Public Domain)

“During labor, Mother Leeds  claimed that the child’s father was the Devil himself.  When the child was born normal, everyone present breathed a sigh of relief.”

Derek paused to let his campers breathe.

“Then, it happened!  While the midwife looked on, the baby  changed form to a creature with hooves, a horse’s head, bat wings and a forked tail.”

Ralph scoffed, “Me thinks you speak with forked tongue, Derek.”

Derek ignored Ralph, “The creature growled and screamed in fury.  It lashed out and killed the midwife before flying up the chimney, circling the village twice, and heading toward the pines.”

Scotty gasped as his eyes tried to pierce the darkness encircling the circle ~ they were surrounded by pines.

Brad whispered, “What happened then?”

“In 1740, a clergy exorcised the demon for 100 years and it wasn’t seen again until 1890.”

Karl said, “I remember what happened next.”

Wikipedia ~ Lightning (in Public Domain)

Ralph scoffed, louder than before, “Nothing happened.  It’s just a story designed to . . .”

Lightning flashed.  A loud crack of thunder pierced the night.

A pine tree slammed to the ground close enough to cause the ground to shake under their feet.

Campers shifted positions, huddling closer to the fire.

Hank glared at Ralph, “Shut up, you moron.  The Jersey Devil hates it when people refuse to believe in him.  Just last year . . . ”

OK.  Your turn. 

Pull up a log and join Campfire Tales.  Feel free to jump into the thread of the story more than once.  Have FUN!