Campside Sadistic – 1100 words
By T. A. Fenner
Just a little popcorn flash fiction I created for a contest that required the use of “It was a dark and stormy night” in the story. Didn’t win, but the editor thought it was a fun read. In any case, figured it would be a good story to get the Halloween season kicked off… It is Halloween season, right?
Anyhow, check it out below!
By T. A. Fenner
“So troop,” Baxter said, drawing the attention of the boys seated around the fire pit. “What should we do before settling in for the night?”
Ideas flared up around the circle — catch fireflies, duck-duck-goose, name the merit badge, and so on. But nothing caught fire with the group.
Baxtor checked his phone for ideas, but the darkening hills offered no signal, which, under normal conditions, he considered part of their charm. Not so much with seven bored scouts staring back at him.
The new kid strolled in from the shadows and plunked down next to the fire, opposite Baxter. With the slow drawl of southern accent, he asked, “Mister Baxter, can we tell spooky stories?”
Several scouts cheered on the idea, then stuffed their faces with roasted marshmallows.
“Looks like we have a winner. I’ll start us out,” Baxter said, resting the phone on the ground next to him as he tossed the half-eaten remnants of his poorly cooked marshmallow into the fire.
One more, he thought, stabbing his third marshmallow onto his stick. After perching it atop the flames, he cleared his throat and said, “It was a dark and stormy night…”
Groans erupted around the fire.
Baxter threw up his free hand in simulated shock, but failed to contain his toothy grin. “What?”
“Mister Baxter,” the new kid said, “you can’t start off spooky stories like that. It’s been done like a ka-jillion times.”
“Really?” Baxter faked a big sigh. “Guess I got a long ways to go to earn a story telling badge, huh?”
The scouts giggled.
Baxter smiled and drew in the crisp mountain air, allowing the summer-baked smell of pine to tickle his senses and smooth away the wrinkles of city life. God I love this.
“Can I tell a story?” the new kid asked.
“Absolutely,” Baxtor said. “Your name is…Terrence, right?”
The kid nodded.
“Well then, Terrence, give us your best shot.”
Terrence stood and hunched over the fire, allowing an eerie light to cast over his face and body. “This here’s a story about boy. Not just any boy, mind you. But a boy so dark on the inside his heart pumped the blackest of inks.”
The scouts leaned in, grins and marshmallows smeared across their faces.
The kid’s got skills, Baxter thought, twisting his roasting stick.
“And the boy was smart too, smarter than most adults even,” Terrence said, jabbing a thumb towards Baxter which drew several snickers. “So smart, in fact, that he learned to hide the darkness, to keep it on the inside and only show folks what they wanted to see. And on one particular evening, the boy decided it best to look normal, to look like an everyday… Boy Scout.”
Several “oohs” rose from the troop.
“Now hush up, all,” Baxter said after a gooey nibble of his latest marshmallow victim. “You’re breaking the mood.”
Once the commotion died away, Terrence took turns glaring into everyone’s eyes as he continued. “But as time passed on, the darkness kept growing inside the boy. He tried all sorts of things to keep it contained, like torturing and killing small animals and such. But nothing ever satisfied him. And just when he neared his bursting point, he received the opportunity he’d been waiting for his entire life — an invitation to go camping with his new troop.”
More “oohs”, even a few “ahhs”.
Baxter shook his head.
“But like I said, the kid was smart. Real smart. He knew he needed a plan, one good enough to satisfy his murderous urges, yet protect him from being caught.” Terrence picked up the nearest marshmallow bag. “He decided food was the key. Something delicious, something everyone would take part in. Once he found the right food, all he’d have to do was poison it.”
The scouts’ eyes flicked down to their sticky fingers, and Baxter’s to his own half-eaten marshmallow.
“Quick question,” Terrence said. “What deadly poison can be extracted from apricot seeds? Beep! The answer is cyanide. With the right dose — say a marshmallow or two — death can happen in less than fifteen minutes.”
The scouts glanced to one another, then to Baxter, fear squeezing their faces into wrinkled knots.
“That will do now, Terrance,” Baxter said, a nervous laugh rattling his voice.
But Terrence didn’t stop.
To read the epic conclusion, go to my author’s website:
And if you feel up to it, please leave a comment after you’re done reading. Thank you!