Camp Ground Zero and the Headless Zombie

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
College kids take a camping trip in Tennessee. Something is creeping in the woods.

Submitted: December 10, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 10, 2014



Somewhere in the dark of night we find our worst fears. We learn what were made of when we are forced to face them. The participants: Carl, Ian, Logan, Ally, Jenna, Amy, My dog Shooter and I. We enter stage left in a drunken slur of overactive hormones, and the uncaged freedom of the wilderness. Like an endless wishing well to which we threw all our inhabitations like bits of pressed copper our night went spiraling into the murky abyss.

Somewhere around 8pm the sun had sunk into the horizon and the campfire was the only source of light. Our campsite was tucked away in the last clearing on an old worn path. Two or three hiking trails branched out from our territory and lead into the thick woods yet to be explored in the light of day.

We had set up camp and settled into the night. I cheerfully drank and passed glances at the women who had bravely accompanied us, feeling them out and secretly praying for an innocent game of truth or dare to usher in a night of questionable decisions. Ally was a California girl, but much of a tomboy. Not quite the bimbo valley girl i’d come to expect from TV show stereotypes. She was a smart and good looking, short with blond hair. I began to realize we had some minor commonalities, just enough to keep the conversation effortless.

We ease into each other. Every sentence, idea, and life experience spoken brought our bodies closer together until there was nothing left except us and the glow of the fire. The kind of right time right place romance that I’ve come to expect from college, the kind that means absolutely nothing in the long run. Yet, you experience on some minimal scale the emotions one would long for in great night of new romance.

“I have to go pee,” she said.

“Its great to be a guy!” I exclaimed as I contemplated the journey she was about to embark on through the dark forest, across the rickety creek bridge, up through the holler and ultimately to a brick building designated for relieving human waste. So much for the great outdoor experience.

The alcohol had begun to really take ahold of me and my concept for time was a bit skewed. Approximately 30 minutes or so had lapsed before Jenna and Amy ask about their wayward friend. This inquisition met with insouciance as we assured the girls that their friend was either taking a dump or had finally had a little too much to drink and needed to empty her stomach. Collective reasoning prevailed and the night charged forward. It is fair to note that through the fog or alcohol and marijuana, our vision and judgment was slightly off keel. 45 minutes after the initial 30, her friends inquire again about their missing companion.

“Should we go check on her,” Jenna asked.

Logan offered his manly services, “Yeah, I can go with you guys so you don’t have to be out there alone.”

“No, No, No, we’ll be fine, ya’ll just hangout, and we’ll be back in a minute,”

“Yeah Log, we have other activities on the agenda,” I countered, as I passed him a loaded hash pipe.

“ohhh hohoho jeeze. Ok, good luck guys,” Logan chuckled as he reached for the piece.

The ladies disappeared into the shadows of the night. We men, left to our own devices were out of our minds and out of control. Spinning at high velocity and riding that fucking snake to Valhalla. We were certain the world would wait and responsibility never existed, certain that our own mortality was nothing but figment of our imaginations. Certain that this night would go exactly the way we wanted. We were incredibly naïve, for the night had just begun.

“What the fuck was that!?” Ian exclaimed as he focused his gaze toward the shadowy forest. “Did you hear that? Something’s moving out there.”

“I don’t know man. Maybe it’s a bear. Grab that flashlight and let’s go check it out,” Logan suggested, as if ever chasing a bear into unfamiliar Tennessee hills would ever be a good idea.

We ventured into the wilderness with a head full of cannabinoids and a gut full of cheap country store beer. We walked around a path that seemed to loop right back to our campsite. It was likely the best plan, as getting lost in the woods wasn’t on our itinerary, nor was it anything we were mentally prepared for in our current state.

As we approach the end of the semicircle loop in search of this mythical-meth-addicted-backwoods-banjo-playing-chupacabre that has been known to haunt the hills of rural Tennessee, we hear another rustler through the darkness. My dog takes off toward the sound and to the right of the trail. Through the dim spotlight of our small battery powered flashlight I can see an unrecognizable figure twitching back and forth, swaying from side to side.

“AHHHHH!!!! SHOOTER GET AWAY FROM THAT THING,” I screamed. We all ran back to the safety of our fire to regroup and come up with a tactical game plan to save ourselves from an untimely and certainly gruesome mutilation at the hands of what was in the minds of most of us a demonic abomination of supernatural ancestry.

“Oh my God! Dude, that was a fucking decapitated body! Holy SHIT,” Ian was ranting, pacing back and forth, and trying to convince us of what he saw. “A fucking decapitated body was moving in those woods dude. WHAT THE FUCK!”

I tried to offer rational thinking, “Calm down man. There has got to be an explanation for this. An animal……uhhh….. Maybe the neighboring campsites old dog has finally decided to give up on life and die in the woods. You see it all the time in movies………what was that fucking Joe Pesci movie?......The one where he goes to the wood to die like his dog did?”

“The Graduate!” said Carl excitedly.

“Yeah that’s one! See man it happens all the time.”

Meanwhile Logan was sifting through the stockpile of supplies on the picnic table in search of a cell phone only to find three of them with dead batteries. “This just became a fucking horror movie,” Logan shouted. “One missing girl, two of her friends venturing around the dark forest alone, three dead cell phones, four incredibly fucked up college kids and no plan worth a shit to handle this! The only thing left to do is separate and get slaughtered one by one!”

There was silence now as we began to realize Logan was right. This is the work of a horror movie, this is where we die. Then that familiar sound jets through to break the silence…..rustling in the fall leaves. Now we know it’s not a bear.

“Guys, I don’t know what that was. But whatever it is, it’s coming fast and we need to do something! Like now. We can’t sit her and wait for it tear us apart,” I said.

Carl spoke up, “What do you think we should do? Just go out there and hunt it?! Do you even have a plan?”

“As a matter of fact I do. Logan and Carl, you stay her with Shooter and wait for the girls to come back. Ian you’re gonna come with me. If were not back in 15 minutes…….. Well…. You’re on your own.” I grabbed my Navy issued SOG Revolver combat knife and the flash light. I tried desperately to convince myself I was sober enough to handle the bear or dog or mountain lion or bigfoot or mothman or fucking decapitated zombie body or whatever demon spawn was waiting in the woods to feed on my flesh and cannibalize my soul.

We approached the target zone where Shooter has initially made contact with said demonic abomination. I felt certain I had convinced myself it was just a dying dog. I’ve always been a ration thinker, but something in the back of my mind was telling me anything could happen.

I can see Satan moving more and more into the light as I crept forward. Crossed forelegs were swaying a body nervously from side to side like an animal that had been cornered by their angry owner for pissing on the rug. I looked behind me in relief to tell Ian not to worry, that it really was just a dog. Shit, where did he go. Fuck, it’s just me and whatever this is.

I was hunched low holding my knife blade down in one hand, and a shaky flashlight in the other pointed at something I hope wasn’t going to rip me to shreds. As I crawled closer I attempted to be as nonthreatening to this creature as possible. I spoke in a high pitched voice crouched down in a passive position. I was also trying to whistle, but under the feeble pressure of uncontrollably nervous lips it sounded more like was trying to cool down a bowl of soup with a mouth full of Novocain. “puhhhssssssssppssashs heee….*clear throat*..ppppssssasshhs here boy….er…girl……it’s ok………don’t hurt me…….please…’s ok”

Holy shit, I can’t see a head. Was Ian right, is it really a decapitated body somehow still moving around in these haunted woods? Crossed forelegs are a definite. It’s hard to tell but possibly cloven hooves, horns, magic demon powers, forked tongue, tail……its carrying a book of spells…….fuck, feel around on the ground Jay, make sure there’s not a pentagram make out of stones……. This is it. Why do I keep moving toward this thing? Do I have a death wish? Take a breath…..calm down…………. Now, go forward.

I took that last big breath, mustered my courage and went in to discover the truth. The poor lighting finally exposed new evidence as it shined on a head that previously did not exist. Oh fuck this is a person. Oh shit Ally?

“Fuck Ally is that you?!” I asked, but she remained silent. I helped her out of this massive hole she had somehow gotten stuck in. I carried her back to camp and set her on a log. Then she said her first words……..”Did you guys roofie me?” Panic jetted across my face.

“Oh god no! don’t say that!” I responded.

“I must have hit my head on something on the way down cause I have this cut on my chin. I saw you guys walk by me and I couldn’t call to you cause my jaw was fucked up.”

The night had been made and ruined all in one response from me……..solid laughter every time I looked at her from that point on. I had finally been able to put the night into perspective and I couldn’t take it. We thought we were stuck in a horror movie. She thought she was drugged by college boys and left to die in a hole. We all lived our own nightmares that night but completely random circumstances.

It was a night I will never forget, and I will always remember fondly. That night was a proving ground for courage in the face of emanate danger, massive alcohol consumption, and drug abuse.  It was a night where we said fuck the possibility of eternal damnation at the hands of an ancient demon, this I our campsite and no damned chupacabre is gonna take it from me. Our metal was tested and we were heroes of the night.

© Copyright 2019 Slinky Johnson. All rights reserved.

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