Chapter 1: Darkness Awakens
It was 2008, and our school was off by bus to Camp Devils Lake for two weeks. It was going to be great! The high school students would each have their own private quarters, while we, the middle school students, would have to share.
When we got to the camp, it was seven in the evening. After being assigned our bunks, we unpacked and then went down to the cafeteria to meet up with the camp director. “Mr. Satan himself—in the flesh!” he joked with us. We never did find out his real name. “I’ll meet you all down at the lake, where I can introduce myself to you by the campfire,” was all he said.
So we all trekked down to the lake, where a large bonfire was already ablaze. But when the camp director came out that night, all fun and games were over. We knew we were all doomed.
We found him bleeding from the face and screaming horribly—oh, those screams! It sounded as if he was possessed by something dark and evil, and I felt my spine begin to tingle. The man fell twice and got up again, and then he said in a loud, eerie voice, “He comes to feast upon all your souls.” Then he keeled right over, but before he died, his body twisted and jerked as if he was fighting whatever was possessing him. We were terrified; some of the younger kids even wet their pants. The spectacle was hard to watch—and even harder to believe. What had happened to him? Why had his voice changed, sounding as if a dark force had possessed him?
We all gathered around and looked at his limp body, twisted and mangled. There was no movement; he just lay there motionless. It took a lot of force to ravage a body like that, so how had this happened? In shock, we all stared at the corpse. The most frightening thing about it was the face. It had holes and gashes, and his eyes burned a fire-like red. They were wide open and ideally positioned to stare back at everyone. Blood gushed from the holes in his face, forming a pool around the body.
All at once, the whole school started to panic. Now the adults at the camp were aware of what was going on, and they gasped at the sight of the mutilated camp director. One lady said, “He looks horrible!” The adults then cleared the students from the site so that we could no longer see the dead body, taking us all to our quarters for the night. So began the true horror we were about to face at Camp Devils Lake.
Those firelit eyes and that demonic voice stayed in my head, his words repeating over and over until the morning—“He comes to feast upon all your souls.” I got up when the loudspeaker sounded, calling everyone to report to the cafeteria for breakfast. Not surprisingly, we all looked as if we didn’t get an ounce of sleep at all that night. Both staff and students had the appearance of the walking dead. No one in the room dared speak of the previous evening’s event. It was a horrible tragedy, and the adults looked stunned, wondering how the camp director had gotten that way so quickly. They had seen him an hour before his gruesome demise, and he’d been happy and joking around.
We got our food and sat down, but just before we were about to eat, the loudspeaker came on again and broadcast in that same eerie voice, “He comes to feast upon all your souls.” Panic set in again as everyone, adults and students alike, began to run toward the doors and out to the buses, but when we got there, the buses were gone! The teachers, shocked and scared, resolved to go call for help. They went up to the radio house to summon the buses, but to their surprise, the phone was smashed and destroyed. Shaken, one of the teachers cried, “How is that possible? We called the ambulance last night to come and get Mr. Satan. That was just a couple of hours ago! How on earth is all this happening?”
We spent the rest of the day trying to make sure the camp was safe and secure so that another event like the one from the night before would not occur. That was when the loudspeaker came on again. This time, hideous laughter blared out, followed by a dire warning.
“He-he-he-he, ha-ha-ha-ha! I’ll swallow your souls and make you feel as if you’re cold-to-the-bone dead. Then I’ll possess your body and wreak havoc upon all your friends! The fun begins tonight. I will take flight and eat the weakest of you from the inside, making you turn against your friends until you’re all dead.” We looked at each other in astonishment. We were all going to die!
That eerie voice was starting to make the adults angry, and my fellow students were all cowering in fear. I, on the other hand, had a different feeling about this entity. I wanted it to try to come for me. I would be ready and waiting. It was not as if it could take the sun away—or was I speaking too soon? Time always has a way of working against you. We had only three hours until sundown, and I thought of this as the countdown to our doom. But then I got a bright idea. I proposed to a teacher that if we were to wait in the room where the loudspeaker was, we could catch this evil entity. It was sure to use the intercom again soon. The teachers all got together and agreed that this might be the best approach—we could be trapped here for two weeks, and they needed to keep all us kids safe.
Sundown came, and as predicted, the entity came over the PA system again, threatening, “Let the mere mortals’ deaths begin!” We all knew that our two biggest and strongest male teachers were standing ready to knock this guy out, but then the loudspeaker turned off, and we didn’t hear anything. All stayed quiet and calm. It was so eerily quiet and peaceful that my peers and I were mute in anticipation, impatiently waiting.
Then it happened. Both teachers came out, their bodies shaking and pus coming out of their mouths, walking toward the center of both quarters so we could all see them. We all stared, paralyzed with fear. I was so scared that my hands were trembling, and I could feel the warmth of my urine as it trickled down my pant leg. Both men were suffering—you could see the pain in their eyes as their bodies from the waist up began to twist all the way around. The flesh started to tear as they got a quarter of the way around, and then halfway, and finally all the way. We all screamed as blood squirted all over the floor and splashed the windows. Their eyes, that same fiery red as those of the camp director the night before, terrified all of us. Then their bodies fell over dead and limp, their eyes the same as Satan in the flesh. Fear turned our bones cold, and we knew we had come face-to-face with death.
We all screamed, as what happened next was sickening. A flow of red, yellow, and black oozed from their bodies over to bunks of the high school students, targeting the kids there. They were all screaming in fear as they all started to shake, their bodies turning blue and purple as if their bones were as cold as ice! In another moment, pus and blood began to pour out of their mouths, and they all screamed in pain.
At that point, the loudspeaker came on again, and we heard, “You are all weak! The pain each of you feels is the pain caused by your own heart’s wicked deeds. I will eat you from the inside now and cause you horrible pain!”
The faces of the unfortunate kids started to swell up. It was difficult to watch—they were still throwing up blood and pus, but then their eyes exploded, and their shaking bodies fell to the floor in a giant heap. At that moment, everyone in my quarters started to panic.
It was survival of the fittest. I pulled my eyes from the high school kids and looked at the mass chaos happening where I was standing. The adults were trying to get out the door and run away. But to where? I didn’t know, but the door would not budge. We were trapped! Doomed! That thing was coming for us next, and we felt we would have no hope of surviving the rest of the night.
I don’t know how long we were trapped in there, but finally the sun came up, and the chaos stopped. The door opened, and we all ran out, many of us throwing up. I was sick to my stomach. I reeked of urine, and my body was so weak that it felt numb. I thought I was about to fall over dead. We all had raccoon eyes and were deathly pale.
Gathering around in a big circle, we discussed what we were going to do about the high school students and teachers. They were all still alive—how, I didn’t know—but their faces looked mutilated, and where their eyes used to be lurked a tornado-like fire that whirled around and around, as if the entity itself had possessed them all. They all had a pulse, but it was rapid, and it remained that way. Their faces looked horrible, and the blood seeping out of their eyes was being slowly cooked by the fiery red burning. It was nasty.
We decided to pick up the high school students and take them to our quarters, a gruesome, frightening task indeed. When we picked them up, they were either mumbling inanely or screeching out loud in otherworldly voices, but if you listened carefully, you could hear the humans inside screaming in pain. It started out softly, but then the human voices all started screaming in unison—but their mouths were not moving. The sound was coming from their eyes! Those scary-looking eyes were burned all around—the students were not able to close them. This entity was pure evil.
Ms. Honeycutt suggested that we should all try to do an activity to ease our minds of the current situation. She asked for volunteers, and everyone except a few wanted to stay. Ms. Chacon offered to stay and watch the other children. She was never good at watching us, and she always let us do whatever we wanted. I, on the other hand, decided I wanted to explore the campgrounds, and I set out by myself, going throughout the outer portions of the quarters and checking the outside walls and doors. They all seemed dark and gave me an eerie feeling. I next walked to the building that housed the intercom and circled it twice. To my surprise, I found nothing unusual about it. My mind was racing. I had no explanation for how or why these events had occurred—they just had.
I started up the stairs to check inside. I hesitated. My body was weak, trembling, and I could feel the fear rising in my heart as I walked up the stairs and opened the door. Boom, boom, boom! I could hear and feel my heartbeat start to race. The door creaked open with a low moan. I was terrified, ready to faint. After a deep breath, I took one step, then another, and then another.
Then—it happened. The loudspeaker came on, and I was standing not more than four feet from it! My knees became weaker and weaker until they buckled, and I collapsed and fell hard to the floor. Dazed, I heard the entity’s voice say, “I want to eat every one of your souls! I will burn them out of your bodies to make my presence known to all! I am the being that will destroy the human body and destroy you all! I have tricked the devil himself, and I will do what he cannot! I will destroy what was created by dirt and make you feel my wrath!”
With all the energy I had left, I forced my body up and started to run as fast as I could to get out of there. I ran all the way to our quarters, where everyone, having heard the terrifying announcement, was trembling in fear.
That night, we all prepared for the worst. The high school students were still in our quarters. Their eyes burned that same fiery red, and you could see the flames burning around and around. It was sickening, awful. The smell of the burning flesh and blood made all of us gag, and their screams of pain from the fire in their eyes, which was cooking them from the inside out, sent chills through us. One girl kept crying out about how cold she was, but I found this very hard to believe—how could that be? The fire in her eyes was constantly burning, and her flesh and blood were slowly being cooked! Her dripping face was disgusting—it looked as if we were at a barbecue, watching the fat of a burger drip off the grill onto the floor. I then realized why she was cold—she was about to die.
And then it happened again. The loudspeaker came on, and that same eerie voice said, “You all shall see!” The speaker crackled into silence, and we all stayed quiet as we became aware of a spine-tingling presence in the room with us. The air got terribly cold, and the lights started to flicker on and off. Then the lights died completely, and we all screamed. Now the combusting high school students were our only light source. Their eyes burned bright, and as we looked at them, the fire in their eyes shot out and up into the air, forming an enormous ball of fire. It seemed their flesh started to cook faster and faster until their faces were burned to a crisp. It didn’t stop there—their heads exploded, and then their bodies disintegrated, becoming part of the massive ball of fire in the center of the room, which took the form of a perfect sphere. It remained in place, circling. We gasped, hearing the high school students screaming in pain and agony. Our panic peaking once again, we all ran outside and down to the lake, where we had met the first night we arrived. It was dark, and we couldn’t see a thing until the huge ball of fire, having destroyed the building, started to roll down toward the lake. It was coming to get us, and we had no hope of surviving.
In the cold darkness of that night, we were aware of the creatures of the forest lurking all around us. Wolves howled in the distance, and every leaf scraping the ground caused us all to jump. Then, suddenly, all was quiet. The wind stopped, and the night was still. It was time. A dense fog formed all around us, and all we could see were the creatures of the night staring at us, as if passing judgment, their eyes burning with the same red fire we had seen in our fellow students! We cowered in fear as those scary-looking eyes never left us, moving all around without a sound—just the eyes hovered in the distance. Then we heard the animals cry out in pain, and then bursts of fire came from their eyes and shot directly over our heads. The fog cleared, and we knew we were doomed. That huge ball of fire was ten times the size it had been, and we could hear the screams of demons coming from inside it. The screams were deathly, and I could see all my friends and teachers shaking with fear. All of us were staring transfixed at the huge ball of fire.
With a horrendous cracking sound, streams of light started to shoot down into the eyes of the students around me, cooking their bodies from the inside out. Their bodies shook, and pus and blood shot out of their mouths. Then their heads began to explode, and their bodies ignited into flames. As their lifeless bodies continued being cooked from the inside out, they were pulled up into the huge ball of fire and were disintegrated inside!
I started to run as fast as I could toward the road. I didn’t know why, but I had a feeling that if I made it to the road, everything would be fine. I could still feel the presence of evil all around me, but I just kept running as fast and as hard as my legs would let me. I got to where the buses had dropped us off, and I saw a car with its lights on and its motor running at low idle, and to my surprise, no one was in the vehicle.
Figuring this would be my best bet to get out of there, I got inside the car and hid in the backseat. Before long, I heard footsteps in the brush outside, and the owner of the vehicle got into the car and started to drive. As he peeled out and accelerated rapidly, the pebbles from the rocky road bounced off the inner fender well. I began to wonder why it was getting brighter and brighter, and I looked up. There it was—this huge ball of fire chasing us! I couldn’t move. My body was trembling in fear, and I could feel my heart pounding. I tried to scream but couldn’t. I asked, “Why me?” I knew we were doomed.
To my astonishment, the car radio started to change stations all on its own, causing the driver of the vehicle to start to freak out. The same eerie voice came on and said, “I want your soul! You cannot escape me, boy!” Then the old Michael Jackson song “Thriller” started playing at full volume, and the owner of the vehicle turned the radio off. The guy was so scared that he pushed down even harder on the gas pedal. I was still in shock at the sight of the huge ball of fire. We were halfway down the mountain when the ball of fire burst into the form of a huge dog.
The flaming dog was gaining speed, running faster and faster toward the car and catching up with us enough to start hitting the back of the car with its giant nose, trying to flip the car over. It was horrible! The entity was going to kill us and swallow our souls whole. Biting the trunk of the car, the dog tore a big chunk off, but as it did this, it lost its balance and fell hard to the ground. The man in the car continued to drive as fast as he could down the mountain, but the dog on fire got up and started to run after us yet again. He was gaining speed, but we were nearing the bottom of the mountain. The farther away we got, the more it began to shrink, until finally the dog was no more.
But the story doesn’t end there. The driver of the car that night had looked into his mirror, and when he did, the entity had possessed him. The man’s eyes began to glow that fire-like red, and the boy who had thought he was safe died that night. His soul was swallowed whole, and his body was burned to a crisp. When they found him, he was in the backseat of the car, those fire-like eyes burning bright.