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!)
First Place, Most Campy by Camper Calamity
“The Nice and Accurate Team From Excellent Adventure”
Campers Calamity, Belette and Spiral jumped from the bus, as excited as one can be. The International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club Summer Camp was always the best time of the year. They were welcomed by Counselor Wibbly-Wobbly.
– Good to see you ladies of the Team Frog, and welcome to Camp! I hope Troop Paradox will be as motivated as Troop Schuyler last year : I really want to win the Camp Cup again.
Camper Spiral pouted.
– You wish! I can promise you Troop 626 will put up a good fight.
– Don’t worry Spiral, you’ll still be welcome at our activities.
She lead the girls to their respective cabin so they could settle. They started by unpacking all their books – way too much for a four days camp : The Yellow Wallpaper, The Princess Bride, the complete poetry of Edgar Allan Poe… Belette turned around to check on Calamity and frowned.
– Is it what I think it is ?
Calamity was setting up a huge poster on the wall – displaying a very attractive young man on a pair of skates. She looked at Belette with a wide grin.
– You bet it is. That’s Yuzuru Hanyu in the costume he had for his Frederick Chopin program.
– Don’t let Spiral see that. She will steal it from you.
Once the settling – and decoration – was over, the little troop went outside to join the morning activities. Belette, always the mom friend, made sure to cover every single one of her friends in sunscreen, SPF 50.
– Can’t be too careful, she mumbled.
For the first evening, every camper was invited to a welcome hickory campfire. It was a joyous moment since campers from previous years would joyfully reunite. Calamity spotted Cabin Coordinator Whatsit in the crowd and tried to reach her. But Whatsit was in a great conversation with Camp Directors Jo and Sumsy. She didn’t want to eavesdrop, but she couldn’t help but hearing a few words. Counselor… Missing… Monster… Lake…
– Am I interrupting?
The three women completely stopped their conversation. They exchanged some knowing glances, but after a couple of seconds, they all put on warm smiles.
– Not at all, said Whatsit. Everything is fine. Perfectly fine.
Thou protest too much, thought Calamity. Anyway, she quickly greeted the three ladies and left them to their responsibilities.
After stuffing their face with skewers, s’mores and creamy puffs, all the girls finally went to bed. A dark and stormy night fell over the camp. Wibbly Wobbly’s sleep was restless. She kept having strange, unsettling dreams. Images of long tentacles waved before her eyes. A putrid smell filled her nose ; something pungent, like the smell of decomposition or some kind of toxic mold. The dream was so realistic that she would have sworn she felt something wet wrapping her ankles.
When she woke up in the morning, quite tired and a bit grumpy, she shook the blanket off and tried to get up. But there was something off. Looking at the sheets, she realized that where her feet had been, everything was damp. And it stank. Like hell.
Wibbly Wobbly disposed of the soiled sheets and ran out to Nurse Buffalo’s First Aid Cabin. She was worried that the substance on her bed could be somewhat harmful. But the nurse only did a quick examination and calmed her down.
– I see no rash or sign of infection, you should be fine. Just notice me if it gets scratchy in the next few days. Do you want me to give you something to help you sleep tonight? I have a decoction of helleborus niger which would just do the trick.
The counselor thanked Buffalo and gladly took the potion handed to her. On the following night, she took a few big gulps of the black liquid and laid in her bed, hoping to have a better night. And she did.
But Camper Belette did not.
All night, she had nightmarish visions. A cyclopean creature, moist and dripping malevolence, was coming after her bunkmates. One after the other, the girls were disappearing in its wide mouth, a pit as hollow and dark as a black hole. The campers screams ringed in Belette’s ears and then would fade to nothing – which was even more upsetting. After eating all the campers, the monster went on to prey on Counselor Wibbly Wobbly. It wrapped the young women into her tentacles and snatched her from the bunk. It didn’t eat it immediately, though. It crept back to the lake, taking the poor counselor into the water and headed towards the middle of the lake. Belette couldn’t see Wibbly Wobbly anymore, but she woke up with her screams still in her mind.
The night had left her irritable. She dragged her feet to the mess hall, put a couple of pancakes on her plate and poured herself a very large mug of black coffee before joining Calamity and Spiral – who were both trying to arrange their hair into some Gibson Girls hairdo.
– Rough night? Calamity asked.
– You have no idea. I saw the whole bunk get eaten by some… creature. Except for Wibbly Wobbly, who was taken away… Where is she by the way?
Spiral and Calamity exchanged glances.
– I haven’t seen her this morning, Spiral said. Maybe she’s still in her bunk?
The girls rushed the remaining of their breakfast and went to check on their compatriot. But Wibbly Wobbly was nowhere to be found and they started to worry.
– What was that dream about, again? asked Spiral.
– It was… a water creature, from the lake. It took Wibbly Wobbly there. Took her to… the Island.
– The Island… Calamity stuttered. You mean the Haunted Island?
– You mean the Haunted Four Shadow Island where we’re really not supposed to go? Spiral added.
– Yep. This is the one.
– Well, then there is only one thing we should do.
– Absolutely. We should go to the Camp Directors and…
– No, certainly not!
Belette and Calamity looked at Spiral, surprised.
– The only solution is to go there and rescue Wibbly Wobbly ourselves!
There was a pause, and then Belette said :
– I’m not sure if that’s a good idea…
Ten minutes later, the three remaining members of the Team Frog were preparing to launch a canoe into the lake.
– That’s definitely not a good idea, said Belette again. I don’t even know why I’m going with you.
– Because you’re our friend and you always join whatever mess we’re doing, Calamity said with a wink. Now since you’re the ones rowing, I will read you a little something to make time go faster.
The young woman cleared her throat and took a thick volume out of her backpack.
– Seriously, you took Edgar Allan Poe with you?
– Belette, you know I never travel without a book. Now shut up and row.
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee…
Belette rolled her eyes and they started rowing. The poetry wasn’t such a bad idea, though, for it made the travel seem way quicker. Once the campers reached the shore, they lost no time and went exploring the island. Clouds had gathered above their heads and the cold air made them shiver. They entered a pine forest where the scent of sap was almost overwhelming. The nature was luxurious and delightful, although something was slightly off. It was not easy to pinpoint, but it’s Belette who finally explained it.
– These plants and animals should not be there. See that, the insect-shaped flower? It’s an orchid mantis. It’s from South-East Asia. Also there’s strawberries. Definitely not the season. And this lovely green butterfly here? It’s a Luna Moth, and it’s a nocturnal beast. All of this is technically impossible.
– All of this is very nice, but how are we going to find Wibbly Wobbly in this? Calamity asked.
Belette took a map and a compass out of her bag.
– Some of us took actually useful stuff to this rescue expedition. I suggest we head to the center of the island, that could be a start.
The Team Frog kept walking and tried not to get slowed down by all the beautiful things they encountered. Calamity giggled when a Luna Moth landed on her shoulder. After a little while, they arrived to a forest clearing. A dilapidated cabin stood in its middle. Half of its roof was missing and the windows were occulted by planks but a faint smoke emanated from the chimney. The girls carefully opened the door and found… a shivering Wibbly Wobbly, standing by the tiniest fire. When she saw her comrades, she let go of an exclamation of relief.
– Oh girls, thank god you came for me! I have no idea how I got here, and everything is so humid, it took me ages to light a fire…
Calamity reassured her.
– We’re not very far from the camp, we’ll be back there in less than an hour. Belette dreamed that you were taken by some Cthulhu-thing, we don’t know exactly…
– I don’t remember a thing, I slept like a rock. I just woke up in this clearing and tried to get warmer ever since. But I don’t want to linger here anymore if you know the way back!
The Team Frog, now complete, put out the fire and headed back. Thanks to Belette’s trekking skills, they managed to find their way back without too much detours. At some point, she turned to check on Wibbly Wobbly and found her with her mouth full of wild strawberries.
– Did you seriously pick these? You’re aware we’re on a magic, dangerous place? You could die, you know?
The counsellor took a sheepish look.
– But I was hungry…
– Couldn’t you hold back for a few more minutes?
– Honestly, I was this close from eating you and changing the whole thing into the Franklin expedition, Wibbly Wobbly said while showing a minuscule distance between her fingers.
– Actually, the main problem of the Franklin Expedition was the lead poisoning…
– We know Calamity, Belette interrupted. Can you keep that story for the next campfire?
Calamity grumbled but kept quiet. Another few minutes, and the girls were on the shore. They rushed to the canoe. Calamity took a paddle and gave the other one to Spiral.
– Oh no, I don’t want to row again, I already did earlier…
She didn’t finish her sentence for a long tentacle suddenly wrapped the bow of the boat and all the girls squealed in fear. The closest from the creature, Calamity seized her poetry book and started to smack the swampy appendage.
– Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore! she screamed.
A deep growl came from under the boat and the tentacle left the canoe. Calamity took her paddle back.
– Quick Spiral! Row for our lives!
The two girls rowed, and their friends tried desperately to use their hands as paddles – even though it was of little help. When they got close to the shore, they heard a low menacing sound getting closer. The paddles were ripped from the girls. Wibbly Wobbly screamed.
– Dive everyone! It cannot grab us all if we go in different directions.
The Team Frog jumped and all of them swam as if they had a monster on their tail – which they had. By some miracle, all the girls ended up on the sand. Soaking wet, but alive. Still dripping, they immediately reported to the Camp Directors’ cabin. They were greeted by Sumsy, who couldn’t help but cackle when she saw the campers’ pitiful state.
– If you go to swim, you should get your swimsuits!
All the Team Frog started to speak simultaneously.
– We came here to report on a big danger…
– There’s a monster in the lake…
– Four Shadow Island is magic…
– Wibbly Wobbly was kidnapped.
The Camp Director raised her hand to silence everyone.
– Hold on girls. Did I hear something about… a lake monster? Are you sure you’ve not just encountered Jojo the Squid?
– I can guarantee you that was definitely not Jojo, Belette said. Jojo is friendly, this monster wanted to harm us!
– Nonsense. There is no monster here, I can assure you. But one of you talked about Four Shadow Island. You didn’t go there, did you?
The campers stayed silent and stared at their feet.
– Well well. You know that this island is forbidden for your own safety… Anyhoodles, you’re not hurt. Please be more careful in the future. And go dry yourself. See you later campers!
She slammed the door, and the Team Frog was left dumbfounded.
– So, chirped Spiral. Are we going to change clothes or what?
The girls shrugged and went back to the Camp daily life. The rest of the Frog team didn’t notice, but Camper Spiral tiptoed herself to the back of the Troop 626 bunk. She went to join a dark, cloaked figure standing in a dark corner.
– Mission accomplished, Counselor Jumba. I hope Her Moistness was pleased.
Under her hood, the dark figure had a wide smile.
– She was, Camper Spiral. Her Moistness appreciated your effort. It was a fine distraction for her, indeed.
– Troop 626 is always eager to serve…
Read the other two winning ghost stories:
Congratulations to our winners, Campers Calamity, Witchy, and Jexa! T̶̢͝h̨͟è͘͟ ͞įnk̨͜ ̵͘o̷f̷̴ ̨t̵̡͜h̴͡e͟ H́ę̷r͠ ̵̵M҉̸o̴̷i̴̵st́̀n̢͞ȩs͡s͡ ̡̨͟m͘u̷̕͠st̴̛ ̵̕r̷̴͡u̡͢n͠҉̛ ̷͠t́hrou̡͡g͘͡͡h̡̡ ́͠y̷óu̧͜͏r͝ ̡͟v͝e̛͢͡í̷̵nś.̕͡ ͟͝͡I͜ ̷̨m̵͠e͘͡a̶̛͞ņ.͜.͘.̶̸TH̶͜͠ER͢Ȩ̛ ͢͜I̡S̷̨̛ ̸͜͞N̸̡Ǫ͝ ͏L̵͡͏A̕Ķ̀͝E̵ ̴̨M͏̀O̡N̕S͘͡T̶͡E͟͠R͠.̷