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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!



1. granny1947 - November 13, 2012

” . . . he made all the knitters in the land drop their stitches.”

2. Barbara Backer-Gray - November 13, 2012

“Yeah, Ralph! And who’s to say that Hurricane Sandy wasn’t caused by the Jersey Devil to wreak on the Jersey Shore? It’s better to be safe than sorry. So I, for one, believe in him. Anyway, you were saying, Derek?”

3. nrhatch - November 13, 2012

“In January, 1909, there were hundreds of claimed encounters with the Jersey Devil all over the state. The creature attacked a trolley car in Haddon Heights and a social club in Camden. Police in Camden and Bristol, Pennsylvania fired on the creature to no effect. Unidentified footprints appeared in the snow.

“The widespread sightings and panic prompted a number of schools to close and workers to stay home. The Philadelphia Zoo posted a $10,000 reward for the creature’s capture. The offer prompted a variety of hoaxes, including a kangaroo with artificial wings.”

Derek paused and Ralph jumped in . . .

4. suzicate - November 13, 2012

. . . the campfire circle. Flames hissed behind Ralph as his image disappeared in the smoke. The campers shushed beneath the flutter of giant wings . . .

5. nrhatch - November 13, 2012

Freddy swallowed, hard. “What’s that noise?”

Karl glanced over his shoulder into the pitch black of the pines. “Maybe it’s an owl?”

Hank leaned forward, his finger pointing over Derek’s head into the wilderness beyond.

Suddenly . . .

6. Barbara Backer-Gray - November 13, 2012

. . . there was a loud whoosh and the campers were bombarded with pine cones from the branches overhead.

7. nrhatch - November 13, 2012

Scotty jumped up as the pine cones rained down, turning around in circles, looking for the hidden attacker.

Mark pulled out his cell phone, ready to phone home. No bars. No reception. Crap. No one would hear him now.

8. Andra Watkins - November 13, 2012

Wings whispered against his cheek and knocked Mark to the ground. HIs phone crunched under his knee and ground into the mud. Behind him, something breathed.

9. judithhb - November 13, 2012

He turned around in time to see …

10. nrhatch - November 13, 2012

Freddy, white as a sheet, hyperventilating.

“Derek! Come quick. Freddy is having a panic attack. Or an asthma attack. I don’t know what to do. He can’t breathe.”

All eyes scanned the vicinity of the campfire for Derek. But he was gone.

11. elspethc - November 13, 2012

No noise, only the breath sighing, as if wings drifted across the crunched leaves, before they moved deeper into the blackness beyond.

Freddy spat his marshmallow into the dirt. “Too hot.”

Mark was trying to find his phone. His Dad would kill him if he lost another one. They already had all the upgrades they were entitled to get.

Derek came back with the water bottles. “Sorry, guys, I get thirsty telling stories. Where was I? … Ahh, yes, when next the Jersey Devil appeared he was astride a great antlered deer. Contrary to Disney opinion, deer are not Bambi type animals. They carry the souls of witches who seek revenge on those who called them evil.”

“Witches,” said Freddy, “I thought they were just stories for Hallowe’en.”

“No indeed,” said Derek, “the Jersey Devil had made a pact with the witch who once lived in the Barrens.”

And, as Derek spoke, out of the inky darkness came a . . .

12. sweetdaysundertheoaks - November 14, 2012

deer! A 12 point buck!

13. nrhatch - November 15, 2012

I guess the buck stops here. 😉

sweetdaysundertheoaks - November 15, 2012

I hated being the killer of this comment thread!.. 😀 We are full into deer season. Well not CH and I, we don’t hunt but Ima skeered to do my heart healthy laps with all the guns going off around us. Funny end comment Nancy!

nrhatch - November 15, 2012

Oh, you didn’t kill it! If anyone killed it, I did. It was just an experiment to see if anyone wanted to play along.

And to share a bit of info about the notorious Jersey Devil. 😯

14. Perfecting Motherhood - November 16, 2012

Hey, why can’t the deer be running because he’s being chased by the Jersey Devil? Come on, Nancy, I was totally following this!

nrhatch - November 16, 2012

We can keep playing if you want. Use Pix’s 12-point buck comment as the jump off point . . . what next?

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