Okay, sorry this has taken so long Dani, but I've finally stopped slacking! Aren't you proud of me?
Title: Across the Campfire (Sorry, I'm not original and I suck at titles, anyway)
Rating: PG13, for slight violence and language
Prompt: "Across the campfire" or "Overpasses", for freedomtothink
Notes: 651 words. I went over. Oops.
The campfire crackled cacophonously as Jamie stared at the shadowed visages of his friends through the flames. “What I’m about to tell you,” he said solemnly, “Is horrible. I know you guys probably won’t believe me, but I’m telling you the truth.”
The three other faces glanced at him questioningly, then each other, then finally nodded in assent. “Go on,” Chelsea said, prodding. “What happened?”
“Well,” he began, hesitant. The smell of smoke and ashes filled his nostrils, and the chill from the October evening stung his cheeks. He looked up at the sky, clouded and dark, then at the lonely woods surrounding them. “Maybe this isn’t the best place to tell you guys.”
Everyone groaned. “Jamie, just tell us already!” whined Melinda, getting up to approach him.
“Okay, okay! I’ll tell you guys!” Jamie surrendered, putting his hands up. “It’s just…I don’t like being out here while I’m telling you.”
“What? Afraid of the boogie-man?” Spencer sneered.
Jamie glared at him, then at Melinda and Chelsea. “Last week I had a dream about coming up here,” he began.
“Aw, Christ, not your dreams again!” Spencer groaned. “I’m outta here. I’m tired of this bull shit.”
“Wait, Spencer!” Melinda begged, but he didn’t pay attention. Grumbling, he stomped off through the trees as the remaining three watched him anxiously. Jamie felt the knot in his stomach tighten, and he got up to follow him.
“Spencer, come back! It’s not smart to be in these woods alone!” Jamie pleaded.
"It’s not smart to be in these woods alone!” Spencer mimicked, disappearing through the trees. Jamie started after him, but Chelsea tugged him back to the campfire.
“Spencer’s older than us. He’ll be fine,” she said soothingly. “What about your dream?”
He looked anxiously back where Spencer had disappeared, then the remaining two, indecisive. Looking at the empty space where Spencer had sat by the campfire, Jamie decided that Spencer probably wouldn’t believe him, anyway. He shuddered. “Well, last week I had a dream. I was someone running through these woods, desperate to get out. I could feel the heat of blood trickling down my right shoulder, and I had this horrible pain in my left leg. I saw a sign that marked out one of the paths of these woods, so I knew it was this park.” He looked down. “I know nobody ever comes out here, so after I had that dream, I wondered if something had happened to somebody down here and the police hadn’t checked.”
“Jamie…” Melinda began, trying to stop him, but he continued on, his voice becoming unnaturally shrill and high-pitched.
“And so I came. I looked through a lot of these trails. That’s when I saw the blood. It continued on a trail, and I followed it. As I got closer and closer, it smelled awful…”
“…I could hardly stand the smell. But I wasn’t imagining things. Not this time. I….I found a b-b-body,” he stammered, lowering his eyes to the campfire. “I t-t-tried to g-go home to my m-mom to tell her about it, b-b-but she w-w-w-wouldn’t believe me.” He raised his head to meet the shocked faces of the remaining two girls. “I f-figured if I brought you guys out here and saw it, at least I wouldn’t be alone.”
“Jamie, shh!” Chelsea hissed, putting a finger to her lips. “Do you hear someone through the trees?"
The three fell silent, and through the crackling of the campfire, they heard a rustling in the trees, and the crunching of leaves on the ground. At first, Jamie thought the crunching was Spencer’s feet. After a moment, though, he came to a sickening realization that Spencer’s walking wouldn’t sound like that: he had a brisk, sporadic pace. These unfamiliar footsteps were slow and steady. Suddenly, a sharp scream came out of the woods, and the three friends exchanged terrified glances.
It was Spencer’s scream.