A background of woodland ruins with blood splatters and the title - The Cardinal Ruins

By Heidi Hovis
12th September 2011

Urban legends make the best camp fire stories, but it's not so fun when you're the one in the story!

“So they camp by these ruins of an old settlement. They go to check them out and bang a lot of stuff, move some logs, looking for anything good, I swear it was like they were expecting to find gold.” Lucas was telling the story.

I was only half listening and feeling a little bored as I looked around the campsite and knew that the ruins weren’t that far away. My grandpa had said that I should be able to smell them.

“They never found nothing but that night as they’re sleeping, all peaceful like, they hear it. Like someone scratching at a wooden door. They were all too scared to go see what it was. The next morning they finally got up the nerve to have another look.”

I was a bit more interested now because I had never heard this side of the story before and had always wondered how they had found him.

“They went cabin by cabin, then they found one that was all burnt up except the floor. They found an old cellar door with this big rusty lock on it. Most of them didn’t want to open it cuz they figured it was just an old root cellar but this guy Robert was convinced that there was treasure there. So he goes to get an axe and hammers away at the lock until it breaks. The stench sends most of them running away, cuz it reeks like hell. Robert is like crazy into it though. He comes running out puking everywhere, says it was just old rotting bones. He figured that the people were locked in there to die.”

I shivered as I remembered my grandpa’s story; just thinking of being trapped with a bunch of dead rotting bodies for so long would make anyone crazy, especially a werewolf.

“They all went to bed and were never seen again.  When the cops showed up there weren’t no one there, like they all vanished, but the cops snoop around and find the ruins. The cabin with the cellar door is all covered up again but they dig it out.”

“They find them, everyone dead and half eaten and stuffed down that cellar with all the other bones. They bring in the big city detectives but they never find anything. Then Robert comes out of the woods on the other side of highway 63, he’s totally crazed. Babbles about wolves and big red eyes, killing them all. The cops take one look at him and figure he’d done it, killed them and stuffed them in the cellar. Newspapers talked about some smell coming from the cellar that made him go crazy, they came up with lots of reasons why it was him. But the thing is, there’s no way he could’ve moved those logs to cover up that cellar, it took a few tow trucks to pull them off. So that guy Robert’s sitting in the loony bin while the real killer, what wuz trapped in that cellar is free now, and after being down there for like a hundred years, it’s crazy hungry.”

Lucas looked around at the boys now, his eyes wide with excitement as he ended the story.

“I bet yas, he’s still out here, that thing that howled like a wolf, and he’s hungry and just waiting for someone else to come by, he’s got a taste for people now.”

“What do you think Ian?” Josh turned to me and asked, I had to shake myself to stop thinking of that wolf, he’d gone crazy all right, still would be if they hadn’t had to kill him to keep the peace.

“Yeah your people are from around here aren’t they?” Bryan asked trying not to sound condescending when he said ‘your people’ and failing slightly.

Maybe that pissed me off, or thinking of my grandpa’s friend being trapped like, whatever it was, I got it in my head to play with them that night.

“My people tell stories of some pretty mean wolves in these parts so yeah maybe he’s still around, just stay real close to the tents and if you hear anything, run for the van.” I said; letting my eyes get wide like Lucas had, make it look like I was maybe a bit scared.

“Ok, guys, enough ghost stories, you’ll all be peeing your sleeping bags.” Patrick, their leader, said.

I was sharing a tent with Lucas and waited until he started to snore before I snuck out. All the other tents were quiet. There were six tents for us kids, two to a tent and one for Patrick.

I didn’t make a sound as I walked into the woods. I found a little clearing and stripped off my clothes to change. I grunted as my bones popped in and out and my body contorted in on itself, before I could breathe again through my snout.

I stretched and I sat back to howl as loud as I could. I heard the guys screaming already and started back. I figured if I let them see me and growl at them a bit, it would be enough to make them all pee their pants and run for the van.

It all worked perfectly, I was trying hard not to laugh as I watched them scurry and scream their way to the van that was locked but I wasn’t counting on Patrick having a shot gun.

I saw him come out with it and turned to run but he caught me across the back and I had to stop him. I meant to just grab the gun from him but when I jumped at him he moved and my mouth closed on his arm, I tasted blood.

I jumped off him and was going to run into the woods but the guys had found some guts and were all standing around me with sticks in their hands. They went to swing at me and I lost it, between the pain on my back and the blood in my mouth, it was too much for me to stand. Everything went red and all I remember is their screams and the taste of their blood.

When I woke up I was covered in blood. I did the only thing I could think of, I dragged their bodies to the cellar and locked them in. Grandpa was going to kill me when he found out what had happened but I was pretty sure he’d rather me do this then leave all the evidence and have the police looking for a killer wolf.

I cleaned up the campsite and made it look like they had vanished, then I went to the van and called the police. They came and found me, with gunshot wounds on my back and one in my leg, and believed my story of trying to play a joke on the boys and Patrick shooting me. I said I didn’t remember what happened next and woke up alone.

They found the boys in the cellar; they even found Patrick, crazed by highway 63 a few days later. They’ve since shut down the area and burned it down, cabins, cellar and everything. No one’s allowed to camp there anymore and no one wants to. They say the place is haunted and they’re not wrong.

© 2011 The Author. All rights reserved. Distributed by agreement on The Great Escape.

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