This cold weather makes me think of summery things: to wit, tales around the campfire at YMCA summer camp, where I spent two weeks when I was, I think, eleven years old. These tales were told at night, in the woods, around a roaring fire, by a counselor gifted in the art. Here are three I still remember.
“The Creeping Sand” was a patch of quicksand with a malevolent mind of its own. It crept (of course!) up on you and suddenly attached itself to you, and you couldn’t shake it off and it slowly engulfed you–which made it grow. I don’t remember how they got rid of it.
“The Hairy Kid” grew into what we would call a Bigfoot, nowadays. He grew a lot faster than the other kids and was covered with thick black hair from head to foot. He had a very nasty temper, and eventually he ran away to hide out in the woods, where he preyed on hikers and campers. At the climax of this tale, another counselor leaped out of the dark with a roar and freaked us all out.
“The Hairy Hand”–they had a thing about excess hair, these counselors–was somehow severed from a murderer and went on murdering without him. The hand was really good at silently sneaking up on its victims and suddenly seizing them by the throat. This little tale gave me a couple of whooping great nightmares, but again I can’t remember how it ended.
For all I know, the hairy hand, the hairy kid, and the creeping sand are all still out there, lurking in the woods around the Y camp. (Shudder)