Chapter 1: Campfire Tale
“They come from the darkened depths of the abyssal seas.....”
I said gesticulating in sharing hand and wild creeping arm and walking motions intended to draw in the audience that was as of this point ready and willing to sit through the rest of my tale.
The youngling campers gathered about the campfire ages nine through twelve were listening to my story attentively, their eyes wide and focused on my motions.
“Their lives all lost to that deep dark blue….. that abyss that would never again release them.... Their nonliving existences never again to roam free.....
You may now believe I speak of zombies.....” I contorted my face and drudged about the campfire using my best play acting zombie reenactment. The kids still following my lead.
“Of the brain eating stalking ghouls of undeath, but these lost souls..... these imprisoned spirits..... these seagoing phantoms are as wraiths of the deep.....”
I now raised my arms as if I had wraith like wings and through a pair of costume fangs into my mouth and playfully dove in toward the kids gnashing the plastic fangs as I circled woefully around them making moaning noises.
The kids were thrilled by this, and it gave most of them a good chuckle and a laugh.
They urged me continually onward with a series of claps to congratulate my method of acting talent.
Unknown to most, for his tale is centuries old.....
Pirate, brigand, and murderer..... Bill was known to drink the blood of his enemies.....
I now took on the guise of a one legged squinty eyed pirate and returned to my position on a log around the campfire where I could lay eyes on each of my charges.
it was said he wrestled with squids and he strangled gators and sharks with his bare hands…..”
Some of the older kids, just shook their heads smirking as the younger ones got drawn further into the tale.
I felt as if I was losing some of them of their story listening interests. not good for any prospective story teller.
So I did a little quick thinking to try and make the story a little more interesting; and a whole lot scarier.
“His dreadlocks, they were tied with tangles of bloody splinters of bone, and his teeth were sharpened for a persona of a demon of old.....”
This slowly drew on the older kids’ curiosity.
I paused to drink down a little coffee, followed by a few swigs of bottle water. The younger kids sipped happily from their mugs of hot cocoa as they kept their attentions on me.
My other half whom had been silent during my telling of a favored ghost tale, she was now looking on me grudgingly.
I smiled suggestively to her, shaking my head and giving her a reassuring wink before continuing.
Amalla, she did not like me scaring the kids with ghost stories.
These kids gathered around the night’s burning blaze, they have been heralded as being the picks of the next best great authors of the world.
I am easily reminded of the fact that this widely diverse gathering of traditions and of cultures personified by real writing talent, that these kids- these young prospective authors may be wrought by fear over my own story telling talents; even though some of their own writings were equally capable of chilling of my spine and an all too predictable breakout of goose pimpled flesh upon the neck and the arms.
Sleepaway Autumn Story Camp; these camping grounds of outdoor festivities for the young was started up by my father ten years ago.
It was my honor and my privilege to immediately take over the responsibilities of my fathers’ continual business relations and community interests, and his camp; it had always been one of my favorites of his long list of property and holdings he had left to me.
What these children did not know was that my father, god rest his soul; all fiction in story telling aside, he had been lost at sea. The victim of a brutal and unpredictable storm.
Rolling thunder and flashing from distant lightning now drew my story telling endeavor quickly to an unending incomplete conclusion. My other..... my better half, calling story telling time over for the night.
Groans sounded from the children as the counselors gathered from their own unspoken activities to guide them back to their cabins.
I smiled in content of my efforts despite of the tale being cut short.
My life, it has been filled with many unbeatable and at times- depressing challenges, but this moment- this one night among the children that gathered to listen, that they too one day may share the tales I tell; it was all mine- in a positive influence of high spirited thankfulness.
It had been heart wrenching for Amalla and myself.
We had tried frequently to lay a future family claim in the berthing of our own children, but it seemed that we were cursed by my fathers’ own difficulties, for me; I was born within another mothers’ womb.
I sighed deeply, a single tear falling from my right eye as I recollected the days my father had shared stories with me. My left arm wrapped around Amalla’s neck in a gentle embrace.
The Tales of Barnacle Bill, it had been one of my fathers’ greatest of works, and as fate would have it; the stories my father had so been intent to commit to completion, they were never finished.
Ironic as it may seem, I have attempted to share this last of his Barnacle Bill tales from my father’s own unpublished book of spooky campfire ghost stories with other camping groups; and yet I too am proving incapable of finishing my fathers’ tales.
Tomorrow is November second.....
All Soul’s Day..... I have high hopes that I will be able to finish my father’s work on the morrow.....
For one more thing my young camper charges are not fully aware of is that my girlfriend, my better other half; she has been known to be able to connect and to communicate with spirits..... with those that have passed, and what better day is there to do such a thing than the day of the gathering of souls on their procession from their places of eternal slumber to the homes of those they have left behind?
“I did not believe you would ever stoop so low as to frighten children on All Saint’s Day Rob.....
If these kids have nightmares, it’s the doghouse for you..... well, the outhouse anyway.”
I laughed. Amalla, she always was a woman of positive spirits.
“Now, now Amalla….. you too have read some of their own ghost stories. we picked them as the best of the best for the camp contest, and you must be able to tell that some of their horror tales are scarier than even my father’s or mine.”
Amalla smiled back on him chuckling as they made their way back to the camp cabins to preform headcounts. One of the counselors, the safety monitor was immediately putting out the blaze.”
“Killer Mangos From Space or rapid Volatile Monkeys From Africa?”
I hugged Amalla closer, as we made a final head count of our charges before the campers retired within their cabins for the night.
All were readily accounted for. Six boys, and six girls, and four counselors, and one tired middle aged man, and one energetic stunning of attraction healthy young intelligent brunette of a twenty five year old woman.
The moon rose full to the east, and a fog began rolling in from the sea as the kids and the counselors entered their respective cabins. One counselor and three kids per camper cabin.
The bellowing mass of tiny water droplets suspended above the ground took on an eerie fluorescent green glow as it rolled inward surrounding the camp.
The center of the weather, of the low lying atmospheric cloud like phenomenon anomaly rumbled low with the approaching storm.