IGGPPCamp is closed for another year but there’s one lingering detail, a final thread to be cut. One last creaking door groaning to a close, if you will.
The IGGPPCampfire Ghost Stories Competition!
We want to thank everyone who submitted a spooky tale! They were thrilling to read, chock full of specters and creativity, and we loved them all. Three of these stories have been chosen as the recipients of special Camp Ghost Story badges. Take a moment to relish in the chilling concoctions of your fellow Campers! (Find one story in each post– links to the other two stories at the end!)
Third Place, Most Chilling by Camper Jexa
“The Knife of Memory”
Trigger warning: SH, description of SI
No one was home. No one ever was.
The old house was always cold, no matter what time of year it was, and Cass shivered as she stepped inside and closed the door. It was also silent, and it made her sad to know she was the only living thing inside.
Her parents never seemed to be there. They were always off on business trips or partying, and they never had time for her.
“They probably don’t even know it’s my senior year,” Cass said aloud. She’d made a habit of talking out loud to herself. She was the only person she ever had good conversations with.
She kicked off her shoes and headed towards the kitchen, looking down as she passed the large mirror her mother had placed in the hall. She hated that mirror. She didn’t know why; she just did. There was something about it that made her feel ill at ease, and that was a feeling she detested.
The fridge was wide open when she got to the kitchen. She frowned.
“Who left this open?” she asked, rolling her eyes. She closed it with a sigh. “This has probably been like this all day.”
She opened a cabinet next to the fridge, reached in, and pulled out a chocolate bar. She unwrapped it and took a bite, then slid down to the floor to cry.
The loneliness was too much.
“I don’t have any friends, my parents are never here, and everyone hates me.” She bit into the chocolate viciously, chewed it, and swallowed it. “No one cares about me. No one cares.”
The statement made her cry harder. She didn’t bother to wipe away the stream of tears traveling down her face. Why would she? It was useless, just like everything.
“Pointless. I’m pointless. Everything is pointless.” She threw the half-eaten chocolate across the room and stood up. “Just pointless and alone. And no one cares.”
She grabbed a knife from the knife block on the counter and brought it up to her face. She examined the blade. It was sharp and silver, and in her mind, she could see her blood on it, her body on the floor. By the time her body was found, lifeless and cold, on the marble kitchen floor, it would be starting to rot, and the pool of blood that would be surrounding her would be starting to congeal into a disgusting jello, or it would have spread across the floor, staining the white to rust.
She stopped crying, wiped the tears off her face, and held the knife towards her heart.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Cass whipped around to face the speaker, the knife now pointed away from her. A man stood in the doorway to the kitchen. He looked to be twenty or twenty-five and he wore an all black suit with a striped tie, and he was so pale his skin was almost white. His hair was messy and a bright green.
“Who are you?” Cass asked, pointing her knife at him.
“A very annoyed person.” He sighed and shook his head. “Why do I always meet them this way?” He took a step towards her.
“Don’t move any closer or I’ll stab you.” Cass swallowed hard. “Who are you?”
“My name’s Michael,” he said with another sigh. “And I don’t see why you’d be worried about me hurting you. You were about to off yourself, after all.”
“How did you get in here, Micheal?”
He walked towards her until he was at the end of her knife. “You summoned me.”
“I didn’t ‘summon’ anyone.” She scowled at him and adjusted her grip. “Get out or else.”
“Oy.” He held out a hand an reached towards her. “I-”
Cass lunged for him, her knife an arc of silver light.
She fell right through him and landed hard, the knife skittering and sliding across the floor.
“Now you’ve gone and done it.” Micheal sighed.
Cass got to her knees and looked up at him, her eyes blazing. She grabbed for his leg, but her hand went right through him. Her eyes went wide.
Micheal snapped his fingers and the knife disappeared and reappeared in its block. Cass blinked.
“Are you a-” she began.
“Ghost? Yes, I am.” Micheal cut her off. “And now I’m bound to you.” He frowned. “And no, I’m most definitely not happy about it.”
Cass stood up. “What do you mean bound?” she asked, giving Micheal a glare that would’ve killed him if he hadn’t been dead already.
“I’m not happy about it either!” He crossed his arms. “Look, you just tried to kill yourself. I was cursed to attempt to stop suicides that met with certain conditions, which yours did, which means you summoned me, and let me tell you, I was right in the middle of something when you did it!”
“How long is this going to last?”
“I can’t believe that you’re not shocked that you’re talking to a ghost.”
Cass gave a short, bitter laugh. “I’m just happy to be talking to anyone. And why would I? I didn’t believe in ghosts, but I didn’t not believe in them either.”
“Well, just be happy you didn’t run into any of my fellow ghosts. Not many of them are as nice as me.”
She shook her head. “Can I make you go away?”
“Sure, say my name three times,” he said. The sarcasm was thick in his voice. “No, unless you summon me, I’m a free man.”
“I just did, apparently. So how do I release you and re-summon you? Attempt suicide again?” She gave him a crooked grin.
Micheal rolled his eyes. “Just say ‘1988’ three times. That’s the year I died, and as I’m the only ghost bound to you, I’m the only one who’ll come. And to release me, say ‘1968’ three times. Year I was born.”
“Well, I can live with that.” Cass smiled. “Welcome to my life, Micheal.”
Cass woke with a start.
She rolled off the couch where she’d fallen asleep, groggy and confused. She walked over to the window, stumbling over something on the floor in the process. She picked it up, and realized that it was dark, and she couldn’t see whatever it was.
She got to the window and pulled the curtains back. It was a dark and stormy night. Rain pelted the windowpanes and more thunder boomed in the distance.
Cass sighed and fumbled along the wall until she found the light switch. She flicked it on and glanced down at the thing in her hand.
It was a box of cream puffs, or rather, it had been a box of cream puffs. There weren’t any left.
“I didn’t eat these. At least I don’t think I did,” she mused aloud with a frown.
“Oh, sorry, that was me, “ said a voice from the ceiling.
The ghost was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He lay there, lounging on his back just below the ceiling. Cass was certain he was about to right through it, but he didn’t.
“So that wasn’t a nightmare that I had earlier?” she said.
“Nope,” Micheal replied, shoving the rest of the sandwich into his mouth. “Mhm’mh welhm to scahmm.”
“What?” She frowned at him.
“I said, ‘You’re welcome to scream.’” He floated down from the ceiling until he was standing in front of her.
He was at least six inches taller than she was. Cass glanced at his feet, but his feet were on the floor. She looked back up at his face. “I’m not going to scream, Micheal.”
“I’m a ghost. I’m scary. Boo!” His face turned into a mass of writhing snakes.
Cass took a step backward and tripped over something behind her.
Micheal’s face went back to normal, except for his impish grin.
“That was a lame parlor trick,” she said. She stood up, and hoped he wouldn’t notice that she was blushing.
“That’s what they always say.” He laughed. “When are your parents getting home?”
Cass shrugged. “Probably not ‘til Saturday at the earliest. At the latest, sometime next week.”
“Ooh, I’m all alone with a pretty girl,” he crowed.
Cass gave him a death stare. “You try anything, mister, and I will make you wish that you were a groveling worm.”
“Ooh, scary.” He wiggled his eyebrows and began floating next to her. “So, if we’re not going to have fun, what are we going to do?”
“Get the salt,” Cass said.
Micheal’s demeanor changed instantly. “No salt, please.” He gave her huge puppy dog eyes, and for the first time, Cass noticed that his eyes were an intense violet. They were quite… Interesting.
She shook her head at the thought. He was a ghost, for crying out loud. He was dead! She shook it again.
“Please?” Micheal, misinterpreting her movements, whined.
“Does it actually work?”
“Fine. Though I might put it around my bed.” She frowned.
He grinned. “I suppose that’s reasonable. After all-”
“Shut it.” Cass rolled her eyes. “Apparently teenage boys are no different, dead or alive.”
“Technically I’m not a ‘teenage boy’ any more. I’ve been dead for thirty-one years.”
“Well, you stop aging when you die, and obviously your brain didn’t mature much past seventeen.”
Micheal gave a dramatic sigh. “We only met a few hours ago, and already you’re insulting me.”
She shrugged and headed towards the staircase. “I’m going up stairs,” she said. She set her foot on the first stair. It creaked loudly, and she grimaced.
“That’s loud enough to wake the dead!” Micheal grinned. “Is the entire staircase that creaky?”
Cass dashed halfway up the staircase, setting off an entire orchestra of creaks. She stopped for breath. “What da ya think?”
He grinned. “Let’s try my way,” he said. He grabbed her by the waist and began to float.
“Hey! Put me-”
Cass cut herself off, too surprised to protest anymore. She was floating through the floor and the air and through the closed door to her room.
Micheal deposited her on the bed, where she landed with a soft squeak from the bedsprings. She was silent, still surprised.
“Well?” Micheal said. He floated right in front of her. He was on his side, his head propped up on one arm and the other arm followed the curve of his body.
Cass blinked. “I was floating.”
She grinned. “That was fun.”
“I like it myself.”
She rolled her eyes and stood up. “It’s dark in here.”
Micheal snapped his fingers and the light came on.
“Thanks.” She stretched and yawned. “I’m hungry,” she said.
“Coming right up.” Micheal snapped his fingers again and a bowl of Halloween-themed candies appeared in her arms.
“What happens if I eat this?” Cass asked. She picked up a piece and eyed it suspiciously.
“Nothing, except you might gain some weight. It’s not fairy food and this isn’t the underworld.” Micheal smiled. “Though I wouldn’t mind having you bound to me forever.”
She gave him another glare and unwrapped the candy. She popped it into her mouth.
It was chocolate, but it had a slightly different under-flavor that she’d never tasted before. It melted perfectly on her tongue, spreading its flavor throughout her entire mouth. She sighed and closed her eyes, enjoying it.
She opened her eyes. “This is the best chocolate ever,” she said right to his face.
He’d moved so that his face was mere inches away from hers, so that the first thing she saw when she opened them were his violet eyes.
They really were beautiful. She stared into them until she saw a flicker of amusement flash through them, though it only made them look even more beautiful.
She glanced at the floor and blushed.
Micheal grinned, but said nothing.
“Sorry,” Cass mumbled, turning away.
“Don’t be.” He grabbed her arm and turned her back to face him. “Don’t be.”
She pulled away from him.
“I’m sorry,” Micheal said.
She looked over her shoulder with a grin and imitated Micheal’s voice. “Don’t be,” she said.
Cass yawned and glanced at the clock on her wall. It was only eight o’clock in the evening. She wasn’t tired and she didn’t want to go to bed, but she didn’t know what to do. Tomorrow was Saturday, so she could stay up as long as she liked.
“What do ghosts do when they’re bored?” she asked Micheal.
He grinned. “Haunt!”
“Anyone?” A smile spread across her face. “Are you sure?”
“Well, I can’t haunt you, because I kind of already am.”
Cass sighed and glanced at the wall, then frowned. “I hate this room,” she said. “I need to redecorate.”
Micheal arched an eyebrow. “What’s wrong with yellow wallpaper?”
“It makes me a bit uneasy, and I don’t like the color.”
He laughed. “Have you actually read the story?”
“Yes. I enjoyed it. The reason it makes me uneasy is something entirely unrelated.” She turned away from him.
“What is i-”
At that moment an ominous ding-dong sounded from somewhere downstairs.
Cass stared at the front door. No one ever came to the house, and certainly no one would ever come this late at night while a huge thunderstorm was going on.
The doorbell sounded again, and a boom of thunder accentuated it.
“Micheal?” she whispered.
He wasn’t there.
She swallowed and opened the door.
No one was there.
Cass sighed and began to close the door.
“Wait!” a voice from the open doorway wailed.
Cass gasped and stared at the apparition in the door.
“Sorry,” it said. It stepped into the light.
It was a soaked young woman, who didn’t look the least bit scary any more. She wore a business suit, and held a pair of high heels in her hand. Her face looked familiar.
“You startled me,” Cass said with a laugh. “Come in out of the rain, please.”
“Thank you.” The young woman stepped into the house. “My name is Ann. My car broke down a few miles from here, and I couldn’t get any cell service.”
“It’s probably because of the storm.” Cass smiled. “You can stay the night, if you need to. Let me get you some dry clothes. I’m Cass, by the way.”
“Oh, thank you.” Ann smiled. “I’ll wait here.”
Cass turned a corner and ran until she was out of her guest’s hearing range. Then she sat on the floor and swallowed slowly.
She glanced up at Micheal. “What is she?”
“That woman in my hallway.”
“So it’s not just me.” He frowned. “I don’t know, but I don’t like her.”
Cass stood up and walked into the kitchen. She grabbed a knife out of the block and stuck it into her garter strap, grabbed a small container of salt and put it in her pocket.
She slipped into the laundry room, grabbed a little black dress and a towel and headed back to the hallway.
Ann was still there.
Cass smiled at her. “Here you go,” she said, handing the woman the towel and dress. “There’s a bathroom on your right down the hall. I’m going to get a room ready for you.”
“You’re too kind,” Ann replied. A grateful smile spread across her face.
Cass shrugged. “No prob!”
As soon as Ann left, she turned to Micheal.
“She’s a supernatural creature, isn’t she?” she asked.
Micheal shrugged. “Salt the bathroom door.”
“There’s gotta be a more subtle way to test.” Cass frowned. “Can you eat salt?”
“No. Can’t go near it.”
“What about haunted ships?”
“Those ghosts are different. Do you have anything salty?”
“Plenty of things.”
She stood there, a small frown on her face, an idea spreading in her head. She moved down the hallway past the mirror. Something made her back up and look into it.
She wore a small black dress with black lace accents and sleeves, black thigh-highs, and black combat boots. Her shoulder-length hair was dyed a shade of blue that was so dark it appeared black, and was held away from her face with a black head band. She wore bluish-black lipstick and eyeshadow.
Her blue eyes glinted.
Even if “Ann’s” car had broken down and she was relieved to find a house out in the middle of nowhere, she should’ve showed some surprise at Cass’s appearance, if not alarm. Everyone did, no matter the circumstances, at least at first.
Except Micheal and Ann.
It would make sense that something supernatural wouldn’t be fazed by her goth appearance. No one’s appearance would bother them.
Cass snapped back to reality when her reflection grinned at her.
She hadn’t smiled.
Her body went cold and she stepped away from the mirror. Fear flooded her brain, but she tried to shove it down.
“Um, Cass?” He sounded unsure, and a little wary.
“I think you might want to take a glance down the hall.”
The girl at the other end had a huge stab wound in her chest. Blood poured from it and spattered on the hall floor. She had a bloody kitchen knife in her hand and a malevolent grin plastered on her face.
That wasn’t the alarming part though.
She looked exactly like Cass.
Cass swallowed. She wanted to scream, but she held it back. Panicking was the wrong thing to do, and she knew it.
She glanced at the mirror and gasped, now too afraid to scream.
The reflection in the mirror was now that of the girl down the hall, and it was climbing out of the mirror.
“Oh my god,” she whispered, backing away.
“Cass…” Micheal trailed off. “Oh, crap.”
The girls began to advance on Cass, who stood against the wall, paralyzed.
A boom of thunder rattled the house. The lights flickered and went out.
Cass heard someone scream.
And then realized it was her own.
She couldn’t see anything, but she turned and ran for the living room and stairs, blind panic flooding through her. She screamed again.
Something glowed faintly in front of her. “Stop!” it yelled.
She stopped and stared at Micheal.
“Never panic,” he said. “They probably feed off it.”
Cass took a deep breath. “W-where are t-t-they?” She wanted to hide the fear in her voice, but couldn’t.
“Still in the hall.”
Cass sniffed. Something smelled strange, but not in a bad way. It was hot, fresh, wet, and alive, and rusty.
“What’s that smell?” she asked. Whatever it was, it steadied her nerves.
Micheal’s eyes went wide, and she opened her mouth to say something, but the words never left her lips.
“Blood,” a voice over her shoulder whispered.
Her bleeding clones stood right behind her, the same malevolent grin on their faces, their knives glinting sharply in the glow they produced.
Cass stumbled backwards.
They moved towards her.
“Micheal?” Cass whispered.
The ghost moved in front of her so that he stood between her and the others.
“Ann?” he said.
Both girls laughed.
“What kind of creature are you?”
Cass cowered behind him as they waited for an answer.
They laughed again.
Something cold touched Cass from behind. She shrieked and whirled to stare back into another copy of her face.
Micheal grabbed her and floated upward.
They land in her room. Her night light, a small coffin, glowed brightly next to her mirror.
Cass sat on the bed. Her breathing was hard and uneven.
“Micheal? W-w-was that you?”
“No.” He floated down next to her.
“Oh. My. God.”
She stared at the mirror, at the thing emerging from it.
A girl with her face, with a bleeding chest, with a bloody knife.
And suddenly the room was full of them.
Cass stared, her eyes wild with fear. Fear. She was sinking into a black pit of it and she realized that her body was trembling.
“Don’t touch her!” Micheal said. His voice was calm and firm.
The girl closest to them stabbed him in the chest.
He gasped and fell backwards, hands held to the wound.
“We can’t kill you.” They said it in unison, glee in their voices. “But we can send you back for a while.”
“NO!” Micheal screamed. He disappeared in a flash of mist.
The entire room cackled and turned their attention to the trembling girl on the bed.
“Leave me alone!” Cass yelled.
Her twisted reflections merged themselves into one.
“I thought you wanted me,” the girl said with a pout.
Cass sat up straighter. She was still panicking internally, but she rallied outwardly, hoping that showing a spine might save her.
“Who are you?”
The girl walked over to the bed and pushed Cass down.
The girl grinned and raised her knife.
She tried to struggle, but it was no use. The girl held Cass down tight.
“Your demon,” the girl replied.
The knife plunged into Cass’s chest and everything went black.
Cass awoke screaming.
A light, harsh and white, flashed on above her.
She was in a white room with padded walls. She tried to move her arms, but couldn’t. She glanced down. She wore a strange white jacket and its sleeves wrapped around her body.
She was in a straight jacket.
A door opened and a young man in a lab coat entered. His hair was bright green.
“Micheal?” she said.
“Cass.” His voice was calm and soothing. “You had a nightmare.”
“I know.” She blinked. “I-I can’t remember it. Why am I here?”
“You don’t remember?” His face softened and lit up.
“No. What did I do?”
She was almost afraid of his answer.
“Let’s pray you never remember,” he said.
She blinked again.
“Welcome back to sanity, my love.”
Read the other two winning ghost stories: