Campfire Tales


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By Melissa L. Webb

Something lives deep in the woods where I grew up. Most people only talk about it in hushed whispers, nervously glancing over their shoulders. The rest use it as a cautionary tale, warning their children not to venture too deep into the trees there.

My parents were the latter. They used the legend as a way to keep me out of the forest behind our house. I always got a laugh from their warning. I knew things like that didn’t exist. Yet they would swear by it. “The Patchwork Man walks tonight. He’ll steal your children and taint their souls.”

Yeah, right. Tell me another one. I wasn’t a naive child. I was a street-smart teenager; they couldn’t fool me with their fairytales and lies.

It didn’t matter that they wove tales of an entity so depraved that not one adult would set foot near the forest at night. The fact he was said to slip past lit windows searching for his next victims to play with didn’t bother me; it wasn’t real. A creature who stole the flesh from children’s bones wasn’t something that existed. It was only a campfire story, nothing more.

So I decided to prove them all wrong. Everyone told me not to look for him. I was only inviting danger because once he’s set his sights on you, nothing would stop him. I didn’t listen. I had to prove to them how wrong they were.

Now I know the truth. I was the one who was wrong. Everything you have heard about the Patchwork Man is true. He is your worst nightmare, personified. The stories people tell are but a pale reflection of what he truly is. I know this. I know it very well.

I’m now one of the damned who lingers in these woods, my life snuffed out by he who dwells within. I issue this warning; lock your doors, keep your lights on, and hold your children close. The Patchwork Man walks tonight.

© 2011 Melissa L. Webb

10 thoughts on “Campfire Tales

  1. Melissa, not only was this a great chill of a story on a dreary afternoon, but it spawned a memory in me that I had to rush and start writing. I thought it might be a future #fridayflash but I’m already at 1K words and not even halfway there.

    Thanks for the great read And the inspiration!

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Campfire Tales « Ramblings from a Word Weaver --

  3. Did I fall asleep for ten months and wake up on Halloween? Creepy story Melissa. I like the way she is so certain that she knows the truth and that nothing bad exists in the wood and then, oops. What is this ‘Patchwork Man’. What does he use for patches? Nasty.

  4. I was taken by the beginning. And as the story went on I got excited, but the end left me wanting. I wanted to read about the details. How did he peel the flesh off her bones? What kind of life, um… death does she have now that she is well, dead? Does she linger by her parents backwoods…

    I like the tone.

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