The six adolescents huddled in closer around
the camp fire. It was just 8:15 on that July night but darkness
had begun to envelope the life long friends. It had been Gary's
idea that the six of them spent a week camping in Yosemite; It
was after-all the last time they would be at school together,
as after finishing this summer, in a few weeks the friends were
all going to differing Colleges throughout the Country.
Gary surveyed the shadowed faces around the
blaze that was gallantly warming the chilly evening giving them
He was going to miss her most of all, he
gazed at her with the glow of the fire illuminating her raven
hair, freckled fair complexion, and hazel eyes. He could not help
but chuckle to himself for they had dated for almost a year-memories
he would treasure for eternity. He shall never forget that night
he picked her up for the junior prom, It seemed as if it was years
Next to Julie sat Booker-or Matt as he had
actually been christened.
Everyone had dubbed him Booker since he was
eight because he was an absolute reading fanatic
was continually always found within the pages of a best seller;
typically horror and suspense
Although slightly eccentric,
he had proven himself as a loyal friend and they had shared much
success on the chess team during their freshman year.
Next along the fire sat Alex- Booker's kid
sister who was red haired, freckled and full of innocence. She
was just eleven months her brother's junior, but appeared much
Bobby was next in the circle. A 'Straight
A' student destined for greatness and medical school. He was always
the voice of reason within the troupe constantly having a logical
response for everything
Lastly was Billy, Gary's closest and oldest
of friends. They had been buddies since Gary had moved into the
neighborhood at age five. He discovered Billy lived just three
houses down and had quickly become friends and had been ever since
Gary sipped on his can of beer as he spoke.
"Who knows when we shall all be together
like this again?"
There were nods of agreement around the fire.
The mood was fast becoming mellow and solemn
It was Booker who chirped in with a wry grin
planted on his face.
"Hey, we are six teenagers sitting about
Surely something bad is going to happen, doesn't
it always in these situations?"
She was experiencing Déjà vu
and seemed to know exactly what was about to happen.
"Shut up," she said angrily "you
are giving me the creeps!"
Booker didn't shut up; in fact he was just
"Did I ever tell you about what happened
to my mom in her college dorm?" He added jubilantly, his
excitement becoming all the time more evident.
The others moaned as they knew precisely
what was coming.
Booker stared at each one in turn solemnly
in the eye.
"My mom swears this to be true."
He continued in a hushed whisper.
"It was during final exams in the mid
1970's. She was attending a small College in Kansas as a history
major. Her room mate was a quiet shy type as my mother tells it."
The friends clustered closer to the fire
and Billy added another log to the blaze, which eagerly begins
gobbling it up, the flames dance a little higher.
"Now it was on a Sunday night if I recall
.My mom was going to a late night study group and
her room mate apparently wanted an early night. So My mom left
their dorm early then at about midnight-It always seems to be
midnight -She realized that she needed an additional book, so
she headed back to her room."
"I don't like this story" Alex
cried, "And besides this is a famous urban legend, I think
I have heard it before."
The others quietly hush her.
Booker took a deep breath and continued on
with his tale.
"As I was saying, my mom headed back
to the room, now as it was late and she did not want to disturb
her roommate, She was aware that she would be sleeping. My mom
is always thoughtful about things like that. As she opened the
door she sensed that something was wrong right away, but she shrugged
off the feeling as nerves, she quickly retrieved what she needed
and headed back to the study group
..After several more hours
she fell asleep at the group
It wasn't till morning daylight
that she returned to her room
He paused for affect
.Taking a swig
from his canned beer and examined the spellbound faces in front
of him and smiled.
"Well?" Julie cried "What
did she see?"
Booker looked directly into her eyes.
"She found her room mate in bed with
her boyfriend!" He grinned cheekily "What did you all
think she was going to be dead or something?"
Julie suddenly piped up, her hazel eyes sparkling.
Gary's heart skipped a little.
"You never really get over your first
love," he mused.
"I have a real story to tell
She cooed almost seductively as she winked at Gary.
"This is what happened to one of our
neighbors, he swears it's true."
The young faces all glare at her.
"You see, he went to a small out of
the way College in West Virginia. He claimed that he didn't have
much money and he needed to get a job and fast."
Alex nodded encouraging, "Go on"
she murmured, "tell us more."
Turns out that the only job
he could find that fit his school schedule was on an old Toll
booth at a bridge covering a river. His shift was 10:00P.M. till
6:00 in the morning. As he tells it these hours worked well for
him as it gave him an opportunity to catch up on his studying,
then he would go to morning class then sleep in the afternoon.
It was decent money he told us, and an easy gig as not too many
folks even crossed the bridge at night."
She drained the last of her can of beer,
and threw it into the fire.
"Get me another brew Booker or I won't
continue my story."
Booker sighed as he reluctantly obeyed her.
He was always being bossed about by the others.
She opened the fresh frosty can and took
a generous gulp.
"Now where was I?" She whispered."Ah
yes, I remember
I was telling you all about the toll booth,
Apparently the first few weeks went very smoothly
what so ever
The job was so easy in fact that he had questioned
the supervisor as to why his predecessor would have given it up.
He had apparently noted that he hadn't even taken his personal
possessions. The scowl on his bosses face made him reluctant to
press the issue. Now if I remember how he told it correctly it
was a cold and chilly night in west Virginia
.He had gotten
into the habit of not even looking up as the cars pulled up to
pay the toll. The fee was a dollar and folks simply placed it
into his ready out stretched hand. Now
This one night he
was absorbed in his reading when he heard a screech of tires.
Next he felt a claw on his hand, and he looked up and straight
into the eyes of a vampire
Alex gulped. "Vampires don't exist!"
she protested as if trying to convince her self.
Julie Smiled as she continued.
"After he had panicked for a moment
he studied the face in more detail. He realized that it is merely
a few kids from the local medical school, going to a Halloween
party and he waved as the werewolf, the mummy and Dracula drive
on into the night."
Bobby laughed out loud.
"And that's it is it? That is your tale?"
Julie cut him off.
"Oh no! There is more. Much, much more..."
Her solemn tone made Bobby wish he had kept
"This had him more aware and in due
course several additional vehicles went by with more students
dressed in costume. Finally he had thought that all the cars that
were going to travel through the toll had passed as it had been
apparently almost an hour since the last one-When he spied an
old black hearse fast approaching. I remember my neighbor's face
clearly as he told this bit. His eyes were filled with dread at
the memory. The hearse sped towards the toll and as always he
had his hand outstretched waiting for the money. The car flew
by him too fast for him to turn off the alarm, and sped into the
darkness. As he looked down at his hand he saw the dollar bill
The faces around the fire were captured by
"Go on, go on finish," encouraged
Gary. "I can't take the suspense."
Julie cocked her head.
"Attached to the dollar bill was a severed
human hand. Sinews dangled from the wound. He threw it onto the
ground and promptly called the sheriff. He was surprised at the
police officer's flippant response as he showed him the hand lying
in the grass.
'It is pickled
' the officer explained.
'It's those bloody medical students playing a prank again.' My
neighbor kept that job for a further three years. But every October
about a certain date was always very, very wary about cars traveling
in the middle of the night."
The others just stared not quite sure just
what to make of the odd story they had just heard. It was eleven
now and the forest they had pitched their tent in earlier was
completely quiet other than the period cracking of the roaring
Gary broke the silence.
"I have got one." His voice was
"But first let's break out the tequila."
A few minutes later the quickly depleting bottle is passed about
the circle three or four times before the bottle gives is finally
empty. The amber liquid has the required affect on the campers
as there rational becomes cloudy and they began to let go of there
" Julie remembered
"You told us you had a story also."
"Indeed I did," he answered, "indeed
His grin broadened as he continued
"Do you believe in ghosts? I didn't
until my grand-dad shared with me this story when I was ten years
There is hush amongst the friends.
"It was in the 1920's. My grand dad
was born in Yorkshire, which is in the north of England
have never myself, been but I hear it is truly beautiful. His
folks had been servants in a grand house in the middle of the
moors-miles from the nearest neighbor, despite being in the recession
times were relatively good for my grand-dad and his folks. They
in fact they even had their own guest quarters within the main
house, and plenty of heat and fuel, which was very important as
the winters were apparently very harsh.
One December evening, it was getting late
when he heard the lady of the house sobbing out of control. He
told me how he sneaked downstairs to see what all the commotion
was. They saw the son of the house, who was the same age as himself,
just ten years old. He discovered he was very, very sick and they
needed a doctor and urgently. Now the only doctor in the town
was nearly twenty miles away. His father had been sent in the
motor car to collect him, but the roads were icy and the driving
treacherous and the lady of the house suddenly recalled there
was a visiting doctor from London staying at a neighboring farm
house for the winter, doing some study or other. It was decided
that it would be far more prudent to send someone to fetch him.
As my grandfather hid crouched in the stairwell they heard him
call his name
Gary paused. Despite the warmth of the fire
he tightened his jacket about him
"Don't stop," came Alex's voice.
Gary's face took on a grim appearance as
"Well, they called for my grand dad
.They gave him a note and told him to cut along
the moors as they knew some sort of a short cut-an old foot path.
He had no choice but to obey as he was only the son of a servant.
He told me he put on his on his best boots and his warmest coat
and set of into the night
He looks at the old clock in the
foyer, it was 6:30. Darkness was already beginning to loom wearily
over the day. It took my grand dad two long hours to reach his
destination. He finally arrived half frozen and banged on the
door and was soon was greeted warmly. They gave him hot milk and
some fresh scones with butter, yet they had bad news, his treacherous
journey had been in vain. It was true that yes there had been
a doctor staying with them, but he had resumed his travels, and
moved further North to Scotland
.My grandfather then told
me, that despite being advised to spend the night there, that
he realized that he had to make it back home, so they could find
another means of contacting a doctor. He shuddered as he told
me how his tired chilled young muscles were daunted at the prospect.
Yet, he had to set off once more into the night. By now it was
8:30 and my grand dad told me it was colder than he had ever known
it, but at least a full moon offered some form of light. It wasn't
long however before he was back on the same path he had taken
there. It was then he heard it-a faint whistling and gentle foot
steps behind him. He stopped and crouched behind a tree with every
story of dread and horror he had ever heard about the moors racing
and playing within his imagination.
Eventually he spied a tall crouched figure
dressed entirely in black emerge from the haunting shadows. He
is at first terrified, but as the figure loomed closer and clearer,
he could just about makes out a white collar about his neck, shining
in the moonlight. A simple man of the cloth, he realized, who
better as a walking companion in such a desolate of places. He
informed me how he had made his presence known to the vicar
was also apparently rather startled to encounter anyone. Pretty
soon the two of them continued walking along, the shortcut path,
and side by side.
My grand dad was naturally curious as to
why a vicar would be walking along this deserted path alone. The
vicar nodded at the question and solemnly replied. My grandfather
discovered that he had gotten word the day before of a tragic
death in a house just two mile beyond the main house, and that
he had been summoned at his earliest convenience to help the family
deal with their tragic loss
My grand dad was surprised by this, as he
had been born and raised in that big house, and never knew of
the house that the vicar had spoke of never Yet, he reasoned to
himself, he was merely a child and what did he know. The vicar
continued his peculiar tale. He spoke of his experience the last
time he had made this very walk
He told him that he too had
seen a stranger in the shadows
.That he too had gained unexpected
company along the bleak walk across the moors. The man had informed
the vicar that at first he had wanted nothing more than company
soon in to the journey the stranger had begun to beg for money.
Just then my grandfather told me that they
noticed the lights to the manor house, and he realized that he
was almost home.
The vicar had apparently smiled and told
him that it was just long enough to finish his tale.
The stranger got distraught at the vicars
denial as the vicar was only prepared to offer spiritual support
to the poor, not financial. The stranger had then pulled a knife
from under his cloak and the vicar explained how he was stabbed
in the chest several times
He then told my grand dad how
he had taken his wallet and his pocket watch and he explained
how is watch was chiming exactly eleven o clock as the stranger
ran off into the night.
The vicar advised my grand dad to run the
rest of the way home which he understandably did, despite his
tiredness and aching legs. He told me he had found it remarkably
curious as to how on earth the vicar had survived such a gruesome
attack, then as he reached the property he looked behind him meaning
to wave the kind man good bye-but he was gone was gone
my grand dad reached the house panting and exhausted. The front
door opened just as the Grand father's clock in the entranceway
It turned out that the neighbor's house had
burned down over thirty years previous
Gary looked at the startled faces around
the camp fire.
Alex is the one who breaks the silence this
"Ghosts, only a fool would believe in
them." She then paused, as if trying to collect her thoughts
"My turn for a story
Her face looked almost translucent as she
recounted her story
"This is a tale you should all have
heard as it involves six teenage campers in the woods. It was
on a night very much like this one that the incident happened;
an occurrence so grisly and so utterly brutal that it was destined
to become folklore and part of the annuals of urban legends. The
culprits have yet to be incarcerated. The teens had been absent
a week before the grim discovery was made-the bones of six bodies.
On a pot on the fire was the remains of a sweet smelling stew
and after much examination the worst was declared that the stew
was actually the remains of the six teenagers flesh. Other gruesome
evidence revealed that it had been some bizarre witch craft sacrament.
It is often told that their method of agonizing demise never allowed
the spirits to be released and that they are trapped eternally
at the very spot of there mutilation.
The names of the victims were
Simpson, Gary Wall, Robert Hadley, William Dillon, Matt Brown
and his sister Alex.
A knowing petrified expression fell grimly
over their young faces just as an ominous cackle is heard deep
in the woods. It seemed that yet again they were about to re-live
there eternal fate