I have always been afraid of the unknown. Ever since I was young, I have always had nightmares in which a looming shadow or a creepy doll is chasing me. In the dream, even though I was given a head start to run, I always either moved in slow motion or backwards, while the thing took it's time, moving at normal speed. I would always wake up screaming and crying before it caught me, but it always seemed that it let me escape... to wake up. I was too afraid to sleep alone at night. I even feared going out at sunset or after dark. Looking out of windows, I always thought I saw something. Some nights I would even see figures in the darkness of my room. As I got older, the nightmares became less intense until, eventually, they disappeared. I also lost my nightfears, and the dark didn't bother me anymore. But unfortunately... that was just the calm before the storm.

"Hurry up Carmen, I want to go to the lake!" My best friend, Lindy, impatiently paced from wall to wall. I grinned, ignoring her impatience. I continued backing my backpack. Camping with friends is one of the best ways to spend a hot, lazy summer. I eventually finished packing and turned to her. "There, I'm done," I said, smiling. "Thank God, finally," she said in an overly impatient tone. "Lets get going already!" I swung my backpack over my shoulder and followed her. We met up with Lindy's brother, Jared, and his friend, Liam, in the park. They were faking exaggerated heat stroke, at which me and Lindy just laughed. As always, Jared had his Ferret with him. "Oh, that reminds me," I said, looking at my watch, "I have to go to my Aunt's house to pick up Samson, my aunt's German Shepard." My aunt was nice enough to allow me to borrow Samson for the four day camp out.

We stopped by my aunt to fetch Samson. My aunt was happy to see us, and she gave us extra snacks for the camp. We couldn't stay long, since Liam was getting impatient. We said goodbye to my aunt and, with Samson, we were ready to go. It wasn't long before we reached the lake. Waiting for us was a nice little lake house. Woods were all around the lake in a semi circle. For some reason, I felt a sudden pang of dread as I looked around. We set up in the lakehouse, playing around as we did so. It wasn't long before sunset came and the feeling of dread was soon creeping up again. I tried to shrug it off, telling myself I was just being silly for feeling scared. Me and Lindy were tricked into getting fire wood by the boys, and we grudgingly went into the surrounding woods. I would've taken Samson with me, but he was peacefully asleep. We decided to split up as to collect wood faster. I soon felt like it was a mistake. A feeling of being watched and followed came in a sudden strong flood. I kept glancing around every few seconds. A small sound from behind made me jump, and I dropped the wood, fleeing back to the lake house.

As I expected, the guys laughed at me when I told them. I had to go back for the wood, but this time I forced one of the guys to come with me. I felt a bit safer since Liam accompanied me. We quickly collected the wood I had dropped. But I still felt a small sensation of being watched. I didn't relax until we were back at the house. We started the fire when the sun was almost half way gone. I soon forgot my fear as we enjoyed the small party we made. "What is a campfire without a scary story?" Jared asked as we toasted marshmallows. I shifted nervously. I wasn't really in the mood for scary stories, but I also didn't want to sound like a scaredy-cat. Sitting quietly, I just listened to the stories they told and declined to tell any of my own. Soon we got up to go to bed. As I walked for the lake house, I thought I saw something out of the corner my eye. I glanced around to see nothing. Fear crept up my spine again and I quickened my pace. Safely inside the cabin with the others, I made sure everything was locked. I suddenly realized that my bed was near a window and tried in vain to switch beds any of the others. Making sure the window couldn't open from outside, I kept it shut, keeping only the windows away from my bed a tiny bit ajar. I soon fell into a restless sleep.

I suddenly opened my eyes to find that I was standing the woods, but I soon realized it was just a dream, seeing as the edges of the landscape were blurry and soft toned. I whirled around, hearing something I couldn't make out. As I did, the dream woods suddenly turned black as night. Fear gripped me as I recognized the dream. It was the same dream... No, the same nightmare, I had as a child. I started running, knowing what would be coming. As always, I was running in slow motion. I looked behind me to see the familiar figure of a discarded looking doll. But this time, it wasn't moving towards me. Instead, it just stood there. I suddenly realized I had stopped moving, my body frozen in mid run. I looked in front of me, just in time to see that the doll was now directly ahead of where I was standing. Without physically moving, the doll closed the distance between us in a blink of an eye, just as two different screams sounded at the same time.

I awoke, screaming, crying and shaking. But the shaking wasn't just my own. Jared was holding my shoulders as if he was trying to wake me up. Samson was with me on the bed, trying to comfort me. I pushed him away and huddled into a ball, still crying. I didn't sleep for the rest of the night. When dawn came, my sobs had stopped, but I still refused to talk about what had happened. Lindy suggested I stay in bed for the day, but I refused. I believed that doing something might take my mind off the events of the previous night. The day went by, but I just couldn't cheer up. In the back of my mind, I felt sad and hopeless. I felt as if an ending was nearing. But an ending of what? As soon as the sun started setting, I immediately went to the cabin and stayed there, watching my friends through the window. Lindy brought dinner in for me, as well as the snacks they were eating at that moment. The sun was nearly gone when I decided to go to sleep. I drifted off quickly.

I suddenly awoke. I don't know why, but I suddenly felt uneasy. Looking around the room in total darkness, it appeared as if I was alone. Getting out a flashlight, I turned it on, looking around the room. I WAS alone. Even Samson and the ferret were gone. But where were Lindy, Jared and Liam? I slowly got up, my heart beating in my chest. They were supposed to be in bed by now. Looking outside the window, I saw that the fire had almost died. Fear gripped me at the thought of going outside alone. I trembled slightly, but scraped up enough courage to go outside. The first thing I did was check the campfire. A single marshmallow was lying on the ground. I was about to turn back to the cabin, when a shadowy figure caught my eye. I stifled a yelp. The figure almost looked like a shadow figure of a goblin. As a few more appeared, I turned and ran into the woods. Running blindly, I could hear screams and whispers. I had almost reached the lake again, having ran in a circle, when a black shadow startled me into running in the opposite direction. I soon ran into a clearing into woods, only to suddenly halt in my tracks. My path was blocked by a doll. I turned around to run. The last things I saw before everything went dark were two skeletons and a cloaked figure...

-2 days Later-

The police were searching the camp site after Carmen's mom had called them, worried when neither Carmen nor her friends had answered their cellphones. The investigation turned up a dead end. The only things that they could find were two black footprints and a flashlight, in a clearing in the middle of the woods.


Written by BonfireRake
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