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.
It had been six days since we’d found the boy in the car, and the most horrifying thing about his body was the condition of his eyes. When I was first called to the scene, I’d arrived to find it clean—no fingerprints, no gasoline, and no matches to light the boy on fire. I’d walked down to the car and found that the boy inside was dead, his body burned to a crisp, but his eyes were still on fire. When the EMS team took the corpse to the coroner to be examined for cause of death, I got an eerie feeling in my stomach.
Now, six days later, the coroner’s office called me. In a monotone, the male voice on the phone said, “This is Pablo, and I am calling in regard to the little boy that was brought in six days, six hours, and six minutes ago.”
I looked at the clock, and to my surprise it was 6:06 a.m. It was odd that the coroner’s office would call me this early in the morning. I asked whether they’d been able to determine anything about the cause of death, and Pablo replied, “You have got to come down here as soon as possible.”
“Rodger, it’s the boy. He’s…he’s…I can’t explain. Just come down to the coroner’s office, and I will show you.”
I got up and started to head for the shower, but then I decided the case was significant enough to skip my morning ritual. I opened a drawer and pulled clothes out, getting dressed as I made my way toward the garage. The morning air hit my nose as I opened the garage door. Unlocking the car using the button on the remote, I got in and started her up. The engine roared with might as I depressed the gas pedal, looked into the rearview mirror, and backed out of my driveway.
When I reached the coroner’s office, I met Pablo at the front door and immediately noticed that something wasn’t right about his eyes. They burned a fire-like red, and in a horrible voice, he croaked, “He comes to feast upon all your souls.”
Sweat trickled down his face, and the fire glowed in his eyes. I looked at him and asked, “What is wrong with you?” Getting no response, I shook him and asked again. He proceeded to grab his pen, which he lifted up into the air, about to stab himself in the chest, but I reacted in just enough time to stop him. My reaction, though, was not proper—I punched him hard in the face, so hard that I knocked him out.
Picking Pablo up, I laid him on one of the gurneys in the back. I got some water and poured it on his face to wake him, which he did, gasping for air and yelling out. I gave him a few minutes to pull himself together. He wiggled his jaw a bit, making sure I had not broken it.
“All right, lad,” I said. “Why did you call me down here? What is so important that it had to have my immediate attention?”
“Rodger, I am sorry. I called to tell you that the boy’s eyes will not turn off.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“The boy, Rodger! His eyes, those firelit eyes, will not turn off! We’ve tried everything—everything—and they still will not turn off. They light up the room at night. I poured water on them, and they will not stop burning. I just don’t have an explanation as to why the eyes will not turn off.”
Impatiently, I said, “What do you mean?”
“I’ll show you.” He led me to where the boy’s body was and pulled the sheet off the body, but even before he did so, I could see the glow coming from underneath. I gasped at the sight of the crisp body lying there motionless on the table, those eyes still burning bright. Taking matters into my own hands, I went to the sink, filled a cup with water, and poured the water into the boy’s eyes. The water and the fire met, and steam started to rise, but to my surprise, the fire in his eyes kept burning!
I was shocked. How could this be true? What had caused this boy’s death?
“Pablo, has anyone else been in this room?”
“Just my staff,” Pablo replied. “Why?”
My mind started to race as I thought about every aspect and possibility as to the boy’s cause of death. I had just now witnessed the most horrifying thing I had ever seen in my life. Or perhaps I was speaking too soon. The coroner now pulled out another dead body, laying it right next to that of the boy, whose eyes still burned. It became hard for me to look at, and I started to feel sick.
Rather than diminishing, the fire from the boy’s eyes danced ever more intensely for a while longer, and then in a terrifying instant, it crossed over to the other body. What happened next was so terrible, it made me puke. The body was dead, but once the fire reached its eyes, the corpse started to twitch and crumple like foil. Suddenly, embalming fluid began to gush out its mouth, nose, and ears, shooting up toward the ceiling and walls of the room.
I was still in shock, starting to feel chills creep down my back. The bones of the corpse began to break, each of them popping as the body crushed itself into a ball. The only parts sticking out were the head and neck. The head became animated, starting to look in all directions as if searching for someone or something. Reaching me, it stopped, its eyes closed. There I was, in shock, staring at the dead body. I had no explanation as to why this was happening. Then, to my horror, the eyes shot open, and the same fire that had been in the boy’s eyes was pointed directly at me. I was sick, and my heart was pounding. The fire in the dead body’s eyes whirled around and around.
Have you ever heard people say that the dead speak out in pain? Well, I wasn’t a believer until that moment. As the fire in the corpse’s eyes lit the whole body on fire and the flames grew higher and higher, its face started moving from side to side, and a loud, eerie voice screeched at the top of the corpse’s lungs. It was a sight to see. I ran out into the corridor and puked my guts out.
I wanted to get the hell out of there as soon as I could, but as I started for the outer door, Pablo stopped me.
“Are you all right?”
“No,” I stated. “What the hell just happened in there?”
He told me to relax, that this was one of the tests they had done on the boy. I looked at him incredulously and asked, “Relax? Relax? You want me to relax? That was the most horrifying thing I have ever seen, and you expect me to relax?”
He then told me that earlier, in the course of their normal work, they had placed a body right next to the boy’s, and this same thing had happened, just not in the same order. “OK, Rodger, pull yourself together,” I told myself. I waited a minute, put two and two together, and then told Pablo I was going in to see the body again, by myself this time.
I went to where the body was laid out and looked at it very carefully. I walked around it twice, studying it, trying not to look into the eyes. I grew very interested in figuring out who this boy was and how he’d come to be this way. As I walked around the corpse for the last time, I peeked at those horrifying eyes, and for a brief moment, my body felt warm, as if I were being taken in by the fire whirling round and round in his eyes. I quickly made my way out of there.
I decided my next step was to go down to the police impound yard to examine the car. Once I located it among the assorted vehicles, I saw that the trunk had been burned, and it looked as if a chunk of the car had melted off. I thought, “Why does the trunk of the car look like it’s missing a piece?” I walked around the car and found that the driver’s seat showed burn marks similar to the burn marks on the backseat. Odd that the burn marks were larger and that the roof of the car showed smoke damage in these two spots. It became apparent to me that there had been two people in the car, and judging by the size of the burn marks in the front, the driver had been an adult male, probably in his midthirties. The burn marks were pear shaped, and it was evident that he’d clearly been overweight. I took a closer look at the length of the burn marks on the seat and found the burn marks ended high in the seat, so the killer’s height must have been around five feet eleven. The fact that he was overweight and tall and had a broad body structure ideally gave me an idea of what his age could be. I searched inside the car and looked in the many different storage units, such as the center console and glove compartment. I found a picture of a little girl. The date on the back of the picture was recent, and she seemed to be in middle school. What was his motive, and why was he and the boy found at the bottom of the mountain?
Where had these guys been going? How was I supposed to figure out how this boy had died? Had the man in the front seat caused the boy’s death? The burn marks looked as if the guy in the car had reached around behind and killed the boy by smothering him with the fire. If so, what had been his motive? This was all I could think about.
“Think, Rodger,” I mused to myself. “Why did he kill the child, and why is he missing? Where is the other body?”
It then hit me. We had found the body at the bottom of the mountain. The only way in and out of that mountain was that road. I had a hunch that would change my life forever.
I stopped in at my local café on the way back to my office, as I did most afternoons, and noticed a story on the front page of the paper I was about to leaf through about the outcry from multiple families against a school principal. The headline proclaimed, “Field Trip Goes Horribly Wrong.” I sat in my usual booth, drinking a cup of coffee with two sugars and cream while reading the article in more detail. Apparently, the school had gone on a field trip to Camp Devils Lake and never returned. The students and staff had vanished, and the school principal was under investigation. The superintendent of the school had suspended the director of the school, who was put on paid administrative leave while under investigation. Reading on, I wasn’t too surprised to discover that the story was linked to the murder scene I was investigating. The department was under pressure from the media, families, and the mayor. I picked my eyes up off the paper for a moment and looked out the window and noticed the clouds were dark, threateningly purple.
I continued to read the rest of the story. The journalist had found an eyewitness to the scene and therefore had a primary source of information.
“The car at the bottom of the mountain was burning from inside,” claimed the local man. He’d reported the accident as he was driving past the base of the mountain. The reporter emphasized how the local man had shakily stated, “I saw a man wandering through the woods, but his eyes were on fire! When I got to the car, a body was still burning in the backseat, and the driver’s door was wide open.”
To me, the man was obviously delusional. The paper went on to list the names of all the 150 students and 20 staff that were missing. It occurred to me as I saw these names that perhaps the boy had been on this trip. Had he been trying to escape from someone? I decided to drive up to the mountain to look for clues.
I drove slowly, looking at the beautiful yet eerie scenery. The gravel road was rough on the tires and seemed to get narrower the deeper I went into the forest. As I looked carefully on all sides of the road for anything unusual, I soon came upon a large chunk of black metal dangling from the branches of a tree, hanging ten feet from the ground. I pulled over and approached it, finally jumping up and punching it with my fist. It fell off the tree, hitting the ground with a dull thud. It looked like metal melted from the car in the impound station—its large indentations seemed to match. It became apparent that whatever had happened that night, something enormous had been after the boy and the driver. I picked up the piece of metal and placed it carefully in the trunk of my car.
From there, I made my way up to Camp Devils Lake. When I arrived, I got out of my car and walked down to the lake. Everything seemed dark, eerie, and black as death. The seaweed looked dead and rotted, and as the current pushed against it, the bottom of the lake moved, making me feel depressed and putting my heart and mind in a dark place. It was the kind of darkness that swallows the light and makes you feel trapped in nothingness, where the only way out is to light up the darkness.
As I started to walk to the camp, the trees too gave me an eerie feeling that crept slowly down my spine. Looking up at the vast forest, I realized that the trees were all black. The scene continued to make me uneasy, as if this whole forest was dead. I began walking around the camp, looking at all the buildings. Pine needles carpeted the path that led toward the main building. I was hoping to encounter someone whom I could talk to about the camp, ask whether the person knew anything about a boy and a man having been there, but I found no one. The camp was empty and abandoned. Where were the police investigators and the CSI unit?
I walked up to the radio tower and noticed the door was open. Chills crept down my spine as I made my way up the stairs. Reaching the door, I was about to go in when I was startled by the harsh cawing of a crow, making me jump. Giving myself a moment to recover, I ventured inside. The crow outside the window continued to caw, bobbing its head at me as I looked all around the room. I found that both the radio and the tower had been smashed up, destroyed—by what, I couldn’t tell, but the place was a massive mess.
I walked up to the desk, where some forms were scattered—they were for the James K. Polk High School and Junior High School. They listed the dates the schools would be at the camp and who their guide was to be for the trip. I started to think, listening to the cawing crow outside.
What the hell had happened here? The school had come down to the camp on a field trip—and then it hit me. The newspaper from this morning had described exactly what I had just found. I started piecing together all the available evidence in this puzzling case. As I moved toward the door, all of a sudden the loudspeaker came to life. A voice eerily intoned, “He comes to feast upon your soul.” I turned quickly around and noticed that the loudspeaker was right on top of the desk. Feeling a cold draft on my back, I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw the button pop back up all by itself. The hair on my arms started to rise, and my heart began to pound. Summoning my courage, I hurried outside and headed toward the cawing crow.
A number of cawing crows had gathered, many more than before. I walked out toward the sleeping quarters—it looked as if one of the buildings had been blown up. Not far away, I found the skeletal remains of two bodies, each ripped in half. Crows were all around, and I made the assumption that these damn scavengers had eaten every last scrap of meat from these bones. The skeletons lay there with their mouths wide open. It was a gruesome scene that made my stomach curl.
As I looked at where their eyes had once been, I noticed large rings of black around the sockets. Both bodies had similar directional burns in this area, and it looked as if the bone had melted—there were severe fragmentation and moderate fracturing around the eyes. The heat must have been extreme, because the structural integrity of the bone had been distorted, causing what looked like facial deformation. The probable cause of this was the dehydration of the collagen in the bone, making it evident that heat likely caused the distortion and severe fragmentation.
The bodies looked masculine, and from what I could tell, they had been adults somewhere in their thirties. They must have been staff members of the school. It seemed the men had died quickly and had been slaughtered brutally. Their spines exhibited multiple fractures, which was likely the reason they died—from what I could tell, their spines had been twisted right around.
Inside the sleeping quarters that were still standing, the walls and windows were splattered with blood. I pulled out my camera and started to take pictures of the crime scene, trying as I worked to find a footprint or something—anything—that would help me identify a killer. What had been the motive? What weapon had been used?
Just then, I heard a loud bang from inside the building. I drew my gun and walked cautiously around to the front. Hanging from two chains mounted to the pitched roof at the front was a wooden sign with a name burned into it. I couldn’t tell what the name said, but I was beginning to feel very uneasy about the eeriness of the mountain, and the camp.
Ascending the porch walkway to the door, I turned the knob. No luck. The door was locked. “Damn!” I thought to myself. “Now I have to break down the door.” I pointed my gun at the lock, getting ready to blow it away, but just as I was about to pull the trigger, a crow landed on my gun. Startled, I slapped at the crow with my other hand, and it flew over to the side railing of the porch, where it continued to eye me curiously. “What the hell?” I thought to myself.
I heard the loud bang again coming from inside, so I kicked the door with all my might, and it burst open, hitting the inside wall and then bouncing back a little as a result of the force I’d exerted. As it swung slowly back, it creaked for what seemed like an eternity. Behind me, the crow began to caw loudly. I started to get creeped out—the goose bumps started, and the hair on my arms began to rise once more.
I stepped inside and was greeted by a smell of rotten blood so strong that it stung my nose as I breathed. I walked toward the middle of the large room and found tables, chairs, and other furniture thrown all over the floor. The crime scene started to feel eerie and spooky as I got to the other end of the room, where I encountered a small wolf, which immediately began to growl. My gun was still drawn, so I pointed it at the wolf and waited. Continuing to growl, the wolf arched its shoulders. I didn’t want to shoot the animal, but if it attacked, I would have no choice. I kept my finger on the trigger as I stared into its eyes. After a lengthy stalemate, the wolf eventually backed away, sprinting toward a large hole in the adjoining wall.
I took a deep breath in relief. My nerves were shocked, and I felt I was going to puke. Glancing around, I noticed large pools of blood and what looked like pus all over the floor. I pulled out my camera and started taking more pictures of the gruesome crime scene. The fact that I saw no bodies lying around was a surprise to me. Where were all the bodies? So many questions swirled in my head.
As I turned and looked out the window, I saw that it was close to sundown. “Rodger,” I told myself, “call it a day.” I closed the door as I left the place and headed out toward the main building and the forest beyond. No more than ten feet in front of me, a crow cawed harshly. Looking up at the trees, I saw only darkness, but I heard twigs snapping on the ground—something was coming at me from within the dense brush ahead of me. In a moment, I spotted another wolf, this time a huge one, moseying toward me. The wolf stopped and sat down, put its head down, and then arched its shoulders. Suddenly raising its head, it let loose with a ferocious howl, which startled me. The wolf was about three hundred feet away from me, but it felt as if it were right in front of me. The wolf remained seated, staring at me from a distance. The howl had caused a reaction in the trees, which scared the hell out of me. The trees began to fly up toward the sky. Under my breath, I said, “Those aren’t leaves—they’re crows!”
I started to run toward my car as fast as I could. I was a cop, but not an out-of-shape one. As I ran, I couldn’t resist looking back, and what I saw gave me another shock—all the trees were dead. The crows were flying around me in a frenzy, attacking me and tearing at my skin. These scavengers would devour my body—and my soul. I regretted coming among these creatures.
End of this sample
Look for my periscope podcast on Thursday night. I will be reading from my book to give everyone a sample of the gore and horror included in the book.
If you go to http://www.amazon.com and type in my first and last name the book will pop up.
I recently heard Barnes and Noble have my book in stores.
© 2016 Anthony Robert Lee Junior Gurule
All rights reserved.
ISBN 13: 9780692683170
Library of Congress Control Number: 2016911339
Anthony R. Gurule