The Worst Camping Trip Ever


Photo courtesy of Stranger Things and Netflix under Creative Commons License.

Nora Wells, FCHS Journalist

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My friend Monica and I decided to go hiking over the weekend. We would hike to a campsite and set up a tent. It was supposed to be a fun activity that both of us would enjoy. However, Monica (my best friend since freshman year) decided to bring Janet. Janet was the most annoying person in the universe. She was such a smart aleck and made it her goal to push my buttons. I did NOT want to spend my weekend with her.

As we hiked up the mountain towards the campsite, Janet started singing a song that she knew I hated. She was also singing it off-key. I asked her to stop but she was persistent. She continued to sing and I had to deal with it. I didn’t want to make a scene in front of Monica so I tolerated Janet for the rest of the hike. As we sent up the tent, Janet decided that she wanted to be in charge of the instruction manual. She told me that she would read the instructions and I would have to do what she said. “Super fun,” I thought.

I began to put up the tent. She started to tell me to put a pole into a loop, another pole into another loop, and so on. The sun was going down and the tent still wasn’t completely put up. I was so confused. I got a feeling that she wasn’t reading the instructions in the right order. I looked up to see her bent over and laughing silently. When she saw me looking at her, she couldn’t contain herself and started to laugh even harder. I decided to put up the tent myself and told her to go somewhere else. She walked off, squawking.

Later that night, while everyone was asleep, I was sitting up enveloped in my sleeping bag. Janet was snoring loudly. I honestly had no idea how Monica and Janet became such good friends. I thought about it for a while. Suddenly, I heard a noise coming from outside the tent. I unzipped the mosquito screen on the tent and peered through the hole. The noise was coming from the left. I slowly turned to face the maker of the noise. About a hundred yards away, I could see a dark figure shaking around violently. It looked like it was devouring something. Below it was a deer. I started shivering. I was covered in sweat but I wasn’t warm. I was freezing.

I woke up Monica.  “Are you okay?” she asked.

“There is something outside,” I told her, shuddering. Monica stuck her head out of the tent and saw the monster.

“What the heck is that?” she whispered.

“I have no idea,” I told her. The monster was tall and a blackish color. It looked like its whole body was frostbitten. It had a large square shape head with holes on either side. I assumed they were the thing’s ears.

“We have to leave, like, right now,” she said, breathing heavily. I got up and started to unzip the tent as quietly as possible. I gingerly leapt out of the tent and spun around signaling for Monica to come out. “What about Janet?” she almost shouted.

I groaned, “hurry!” As we all slipped out of the tent, Janet stepped on a twig. The noise echoed through the air and grabbed the attention of the terrifying thing in the distance. “Run!” I screamed. The figure began to chase us through the woods.

“Let’s go up a tree!” Monica suggested.

“How do we know it can’t climb?” I asked her.

“We don’t really have a choice!” she yelled. We began to climb the tree. The monster came rushing in, trying to climb. It started biting the trunk of the tree, creating a notch like a beaver. The tree trunk’s strength began to decrease and the tree began to lean.

“Jump!” I shrieked. The monster roared. When we hit the ground I heard a snap. I turned around and saw Monica, on the ground, clutching her leg. She wailed. I tried to pick her up but I wasn’t strong enough. “Janet!” I shouted. We both tugged on her arms and tried to drag her towards a safe place.

“Just leave me,” Monica cried.

“I can’t,” I told her. We proceeded to try and get her to a safer place. She tried hopping on the one foot but winced every time she landed.

“Lana…please,” she looked at me with pain in her eyes.  She was already in enough pain and I didn’t want her to suffer.  Up ahead I saw a dead, hollow tree.

“Climb in here,” I told her “I’ll come back for you.”

“Let’s go!” I yelled. Janet and I continued running until we heard a small crack and started falling. We hit the ground and looked up. I began to cry. I looked over at Janet. Her eyes were red and her eyelashes were wet.

“I’m sorry,” she whimpered.   The darkness almost swallowed me whole. The pit was about 10 feet deep. I was stuck down here with Janet, whether I liked it or not.

“The monster won’t come looking for us,” I finally spoke after hours of silence.

“How do you know?” Janet questioned my logic and it made me furious.

“Because it already ate Monica!” I screamed at her.

“How do you know it ate Monica?” I sat down. The legs of my flannel pajama pants were dirty and torn.

“I don’t.” I was hoping it didn’t. I thought I found her a safe enough place. I looked over at Janet. All she had on was a tank top and shorts. She was shivering. “Come here,” I told her. I handed her the sweatshirt I was wearing. “Where are all of your clothes?” I asked her.

“I don’t like sleeping in a lot of clothes,” she answered.

“It never occurred to you that maybe you should bring clothes for colder weather, though?” I asked her.

“No,” she replied. I looked at her dirt covered face. The sun was reflecting off of her tear soaked eyelashes. We were silent for a bit.

“How did you and Monica become friends?” I blurted out. She looked at me confused.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“I’m not trying to be rude, just honest,” I told her. “You are extremely aggravating to be around.” She looked at me, squinting.

“I’m sorry you feel that way,” she said. We slowly fell asleep.

A couple of hours later, I woke up to the sound of several feet hitting the ground. I looked up and was blinded by the sun. I could see two heads peering into the hole.

“What’re y’all doin’ down there?” one of them said.

“We fell,” I replied.

“Grab my hand!” said the other man. I woke up Janet and reached for the man’s hand. I turned around and reached into the hole for Janet.

“We found another girl out here earlier,” the red-haired man said. “Her leg looked real bad.”

“Was she alive?” I asked, hopeful.

“What did you guys see out here last night?” the blonde one asked, changing the subject.

“It was big and slimy-looking,” I said, trying to remember the thing.

“It had four legs…it chased us…we had to leave Monica!” Janet erupted with tears.

“It was almost like whenever it got close, everything happy and bright went away,” I said. “It had all these rows of sharp teeth and it’s legs were long and bony. It was like something right out of hell.”

“Come with us,” the red-haired man said. “Your friend Monica is alright. We took her to the hospital.”

“Come on,” he said. Janet and I reluctantly followed the two men. They could’ve been serial killers for all we knew, but they seemed to know something about the thing that tried to kill us the night before and they knew about Monica. We let them lead us through the woods to a cabin. It looked deserted from the outside. I slowly went up the wooden steps to the front door. The red-haired man squatted down and flipped over a cement frog on the front porch. Underneath the frog was a glassy black screen. He set his thumb on it and a horizontal green line began to glide across the surface. The black screen flashed with green light and he flipped the frog back over. He stood up, turned the handle on the door, and walked straight into the cabin. Janet followed the man inside. The blonde guy stared at me and then the door. He was waiting for me to go in. I hesitated and stared back at him. He walked through the doorway into the cabin. I followed him. I had decided that he probably wasn’t going to kill me but I still had my guard up.

Inside the cabin looked pretty normal. There was a kitchen and a bathroom and two bedrooms. “In here,” the red-haired man said, pointing towards a door.

“His name is Derrick, by the way,” said the blonde man. “I’m Michael. I just thought you should know that.”

“Lana,” I told him. “Other one is Janet.” Derrick opened the door revealing a staircase. Michael and I followed Janet and Derrick down the steps. At the bottom of the staircase was a long hallway. A large metal door stood at the end of it. Michael opened the door and led us inside. Derrick flicked a switch on the wall. As the light filled the room, I could see walls laced with weapons that could take down a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Things like big guns and bear traps clung to the walls.  “That’s a Merkel 470 right there.” Derrick pointed to a rifle on the wall.

“Why do you have all of this?” I asked him.

“Sit down,” Derrick pulled up a chair and began to explain his reason for having a mysterious cabin in the woods.

Derrick and Michael had been hunting the monster that chased us the night before for years. “It’s blind,” Michael told us. “It can smell blood and hear pretty well.”

“So why did it start chasing us?” I asked him.

“I stepped on a twig, Lana,”Janet said. “It heard the noise and started running towards us.”

“If you guys had gotten out of its way, it would have kept running in a straight line,” said Derrick.

Oh my gosh, I thought to myself. “What about Monica?” I wanted to know what had happened to her.

“She’s at the hospital,” Michael said.

“We know that.”

“We got there just in time,” Derrick said, leaning back in his chair. “The  monster almost found her.”

“How did you stop the monster?” Janet asked.

“I shot it,” Michael said. “It wasn’t anything strong enough to kill it, but the shot got it to run off.”

“So Monica is alive?” I almost yelled. I was ecstatic. I looked over at Janet. She had a huge grin spread across her face.

“We’re going out again tonight,” Derrick said. “We’re going to get it this time.”

“It couldn’t have gone far with that big old wound in its side,” Michael said.

“We can help.” I looked over at Janet. She nodded. “That demonic jerk almost killed Monica.”

“Speaking of holes,” said Janet, “How did that big one get into the middle of the woods?”

“Since the thing is blind, we thought that maybe it would wander into the hole,” Michael said. “It hasn’t worked yet.”  A few hours later, the sun began to set like a yellow duck landing on a colorful pond. Michael and Derrick stood up and went down the stairs. Janet and I followed them.

“Hold this,” Derrick handed me a large duffel bag. I held it open for him. He started putting things inside of it. He threw in a couple of guns that I didn’t know the names of and a bag of bloody meat. I almost threw up in my mouth.

“That is pungent,” I pinched my nose with my thumb and pointer finger.  

“We’ll need these too,” Michael threw in some matches. I noticed that he had the Merkel 470 in one hand and a small can of gasoline in the other.  We walked out of the door. Derrick locked it behind him a couple of bear traps in hand. The duffel bag was heavy and hard for me to carry. “Gimme that,” Michael lifted the bag up and out of my hands. The items inside of it clanked around. Michael put his hand under the bag to hold it still while he walked. The leaves rustled around on the ground as we wandered through the woods. We passed the hole that we had fallen in earlier. Then we reached our campsite.

“This is where we saw it first,” I told Derrick.

“Okay, we’ll set up here,” Derrick concluded.  Michael set the bag on the ground and pulled out each individual item and set them gently on the ground. Derrick proceeded to set up the traps.

“Hand me the meat, will ya?” I handed him the bag, gagging. He pulled out a large piece and threw it on the ground in front of the traps. Derrick doused the traps with gasoline. Michael shoved the pack of matches into his pocket, grabbed an axe that had been in the bag, and walked over to a tree to wait. “Spray yourself with this,” Derrick handed me a green spray can. “You usually spray yourself with it when you hunt for deer so that they can’t smell you.” I began to coat my clothes with the spray. It smelled a little like urine. I walked over to Janet and she held out her arms. “What is that?” she pointed to the can.

“Do you want that thing to smell you?” I asked her.

“Not necessarily.”

“Put your arms down,” I told her. I began to spray my sweatshirt which she was wearing.

“Hey!” Derrick whisper-yelled. “Get over here!” Janet and I ran over to the tree that Michael and Derrick were sitting behind. A few minutes later, the leaves on the bushes about a hundred feet in front of us began to rustle. A long, slimy limb reached out from behind a bush. The leg was followed by the rest of the thing’s body. It was huge. If it stood on its back two legs, it could have reached nine feet. It crept towards the traps.The meat’s foul odor led the disgusting being towards its doom.

The monster’s shriek was too much to bear. I heard something burst and looked over at the glass lantern by our campsite. It had shattered and fallen like rain to the ground. The thing continued to squeal. It was caught in the bear trap. I could almost hear the metal teeth of the contraption grind the thing’s tibia. “Now!” Derrick cried. Michael immediately dropped a lit match onto the ground. The fire spread along the trail of gasoline. The smell of the thing’s burning flesh stung my nostrils. It screeched and cried, then it stopped. Clearly Derrick and Michael didn’t consider the possibility of a forest fire. The flames began to rise and grow in size.

“Crap!” Michael quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to extinguish the fire to the best of his ability. The seared carcass of the thing was sprawled across the leaf-covered ground. It smelled horrible.

“Now what?” I uttered.

“I guess we could throw it in that pit back there,” Derrick said.

“I agree,” said Janet. Michael threw on some rubber gloves, released the thing’s leg from the trap and began to drag it towards the pit. Before he tossed it in, he grabbed the Merkel 470 and shot a hole through the thing’s head.

“Just to make sure,” he said. The thing hit the bottom of the pit with a sickening splat. We spent the next two hours throwing dirt into the hole. When the hole was full, we wandered back to the cabin and went to bed. At sunrise, Derrick woke me and Janet up.

“Let’s go see Monica,” he whispered. Janet and I quickly got dressed and jumped into Derrick’s truck. We arrived at the hospital and checked in.  I walked to the door of Monica’s room and knocked on the door frame as I opened it.

“Hey,” she said, quietly. Her leg and torso were in a cast. She had broken her leg in three places.  I looked her up and down. I guess she sensed how I felt and spoke up. “I’m fine, by the way.”

“Thank gosh,” I said, relieved. “I’m so sorry I left you back there. I feel so bad.”

“I told you to.”

“Good thing Derrick and Michael were there.”

“Yes, definitely.” Just then, Janet walked in and said hello. All three of us spent the rest of the day talking. Monica told us about her experience with the monster and I told her about mine.

“I’m getting out of here in a couple of days,” Monica told us.

“Maybe we can go hiking again when your leg is healed,” I said.

“Don’t even joke about that, Lana.” Monica said, a smirk began to stretch across her face, “I’m never hiking again.”