Cabin Fever

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A group of campers stumble upon a nasty cliche.

Submitted: July 10, 2017

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Submitted: July 10, 2017

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The smell of pine filled the car as Jake rolled down his window. It was a gorgeous summer day in the Appalachian Mountains of Maine. Jake and his group of friends were heading to his cabin for their yearly camping trip. The group consisted of Jake, his girlfriend Maureen, his best friend Luke, and Luke’s fiancé Trisha. They were a close-knit group of friends, but busy lives meant they couldn’t hang out as much as they used to, so they were excited to just get away and spend a week together up in the mountains.

Jake had inherited his uncle’s hunting cabin when he died of leukemia 7 years ago. He and his uncle had always been very close, and his uncle had never had a son, so Jake was like the son he never had. His passing was hard on Jake, but he had been left the cabin in his uncle’s will, so he vowed to make good use of the gift. Every year since then, he and his friends have gone up camping in the summer, and it was always a great time.

After about half an hour of driving on a rugged dirt road, they finally pulled up to the cabin. The cabin was nestled in the pine forest off the shore of a small lake. It was a gorgeous sight that never got old. Jake turned the car off, stepped out of the vehicle, and breathed deep the fresh mountain air. The other three exited the car and began excitedly unloading their belongings from the trunk.

“Where do you want the cooler, dude?” Luke called to Jake as he hefted a cooler full of food and beer.

“On the porch is fine,” Jake said as he gestured to the screened-in porch at the back of the cabin, facing the lake.

The gang continued to unload the car, and once they finished, Jake and Luke immediately began building a fire in the stone firepit. Luke gathered firewood while Jake found some kindling. He got a small fire going, and soon the bonfire was blazing with glory.

The sun had begun to set, so the group left the fire to go watch the sunset by the lake. The sky turned to dazzling shades of orange and pink, like a painter’s canvas. The four friends stood watching on the shore of the lake, the waves lapping gently at the rocks. Once the sun had gone down, they returned to the bonfire.

“Luke, go grab the hotdogs, I’m gonna go find some roasting sticks,” Jake said to Luke.

“I’ll come with, man. It’s dark.” Luke replied.

“It’s no big deal, I’ll take the lantern, I’ll be like 5 minutes. Get the hotdogs and a couple beers, I’ll be right back.”

Luke nodded as Jake grabbed the gas lantern and began walking to the edge of the camp. Maureen blew a kiss to him before he strode into the darkness of the forest.

Once out of the camp and surrounded by the dark of the pine forest he turned on the gas lantern, brightly illuminating the area around him. He squinted until his eyes adjusted to the bright light, then bent over and began searching for long, pointy sticks that could be used to roast hotdogs over the fire.

He had found two perfect specimens when he heard the crackle of leaves a few yards away from him, to his left. He stood up and held the lantern aloft, peering into the darkness. It must be Luke trying to sneak up on him and scare him; embarrass him in front of Maureen. Jake smiled as he held the lantern up and walked forward. “Alright Luke, come on out asshole, I heard you,” he called to the darkness, but there was no reply. Suddenly Jake heard the crackling again, but this time off to his right. He whirled in place and held the lantern out at arm’s length, trying to see. “Ok dude, enough. Help me get some sticks or go back to the camp. Quit fucking with me.”

Again there was no response. Jake stood for a minute listening, when behind him he heard a low growl that made his blood run cold. There were definitely wolves out here, but he had never actually seen one, and they usually left campers alone. Running would only startle the animal, so he slowly turned to face the direction of the sound, but he saw nothing. He stood there in silence for a few moments, listening. Maybe the creature had gone.

He was about to turn around and head back to the camp when something rammed into him with incredible force. He fell to the ground hard, knocking the wind out of him and flinging the lantern to the ground a few feet away. Dazed, he tried to scramble to his feet, when a sudden searing pain stabbed into his left arm. He screamed out and instinctively went to hit whatever was attacking his arm, but there was nothing there. Whatever it was had gone. He sat there on the ground for a moment in sheer terror, waiting for another attack, but it never came. Ignoring the throbbing pain in his arm, he grabbed the lantern and began sprinting back to the camp.

He found his friends halfway, crashing through the woods and shouting his name. Luke had the other gas lantern.

“Holy shit dude you scared us, what happened?” Luke began, but then his eyes fell to Jake’s injured left arm, and Maureen let out a scream. “Oh my God. What the hell happened? We need to get you back to camp,” Luke said with authority. “C’mon guys, Maureen take his lantern, Trish take this one, I’m gonna help him walk.”

When the group returned to the safety of the campsite, Luke began examining Jake’s arm. There was a single bite wound to Jake’s left forearm. It wasn’t bleeding badly. “Jesus. You’re lucky this didn’t hit a vein. What happened?” Luke asked with concern on his face. Jake recounted the story of his encounter with the animal.

“We need to get you to a hospital,” Maureen said with a concerned tone. “It could get infected, and it probably had rabies.”

Jake shook his head. “It’s fine. It’s hardly bleeding. We have that first aid kit with bandages and antiseptic. And whatever it was most likely just got startled, not rabid, that’s why it only attacked once. No reason to freak out.”

This hardly did anything to dissuade Maureen’s concerns, but Jake was a stubborn guy. He wasn’t about to cancel this trip over a cut to his arm. So Trisha went and got the first aid kit from the car, cleansed the wound with antiseptic, and bandaged his arm. “Thanks, Trish. See? Good as new. So how about those hotdogs?”

 

He was running through a forest. He was chasing something. Some prey. He had the scent of it fresh in his nostrils. The scent of its warm blood. He ran faster and faster, the wind rushing against his face. He crashed through the underbrush as he closed in on his victim. Suddenly he was upon it. Mouth drooling, he lunged and bit into the tender calf muscle of the human. A female. She fell to the ground screaming, blood gushing from a punctured artery. He loved the taste, the smell. As she sobbed and screamed he stood over her. “Jake, it’s me, Maureen!” she cried, but it meant nothing to him. He didn’t care. He lunged and clamped his jaws around her neck, felt the skin break and the hot blood flow into his mouth…

 

“Jake! Jake! Jesus, Jake wake up! My God, he’s burning up.”

Jake awoke to Maureen shaking him. Suddenly he was back in the cabin, and the pain in his arm was amplified a hundred times. Everything seemed fuzzy, blurry, like he was still dreaming. The room was spinning. He felt like his skin was on fire, and his entire body hurt. He began to moan and squirm from the all-consuming pain.

His two other friends were standing over him, looks of worry on their faces. “We need to get him to a hospital,” he hard Trisha say in a hushed tone, and Luke nodded.

“Help me get him up,” Luke said. Luke went to grab Jake, but suddenly Jake sprang up and dashed to the corner of the cabin.

“Stay away from me!” he shouted. His voice sounded deeper than it usually did. Thicker. “Stay back! Get away!” Jake sat in the corner, writhing in pain.

Maureen was the first to go to him. “Jake, what’s wrong?? Let us help you!” She went to touch Jake’s arm, but he shot her a look that was full of hatred. His eyes were completely bloodshot, his pupils fully dilated. He was panting heavily. “Jake, wha-” was the last thing she said before Jake’s hand launched out and grabbed her by the throat. She didn’t even get the chance to scream before Jake’s fingers tore into her throat and ripped out her esophagus. She gasped for air as blood sprayed from the gaping wound in her neck, before collapsing on the floor. Luke and Trisha stared in wordless horror as Jake, still clutching Maureen’s dangling innards in his hand, advanced toward his two friends.

 

 

 

The Park Ranger exited the cabin and walked back to the squad car, where his deputy was waiting. “What’ve we got?” he asked his senior officer.

The Ranger sighed. “Get the State Barracks on the line, they’re gonna want an investigation. Three dead, one missing. Looks like the work of a black bear.” He entered the cruiser, and his deputy did the same.

“Little early in the season for a bear attack, isn’t it?” the deputy asked, curiously.

The old Ranger sighed again. “Yeah, it’s unusual, but nothing else can really explain that kind of massacre. Too much for wolves. Maybe the poor group happened upon a mother and her cub. Or it smelled their food.” He scratched his beard. “Guess they’ll be wanting us to bag and tag this bad boy. Can’t have aggressive bears in a tourist area.” He started the car and began down the long dirt road.

Somewhere in the distance, a wolf howled.

 

 


© Copyright 2017 J.C. Woods. All rights reserved.

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