Spooky Short Story Time: A Stone Circle Secret by Lonnie E. Scott

spooky-gardenI participated in a scary campfire story challenge way back in the old Internet forum days. I didn’t win. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun. In the midst of doing a search for something else, I stumbled upon my post on Mysticwicks from October 7th, 2004. I read through my own tale and found it worthy of saving! Here it is for all of you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did upon the rediscovery.

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A Stone Circle Secret by Lonnie E. Scott

Katlyn sat watching the flames being gently kissed by the winds, losing herself in the subtle dance. She couldn’t remember a more peaceful and perfect moment, but this wouldn’t last. The stone circle she sat in was a secret, a hidden grotto on her family’s land for centuries. Her father farmed several acres of the land, but this little hideaway was cursed, and her family left it to nature’s ruin since her father’s grandfather planted the first seed.

Why am I here, she thought. The moon waxed full and the stars shone bright, and she was safe and warm in bed just an hour before. Her window was open; it was late October, but it wasn’t cold. That’s when the voice came. She thought it must have been the television downstairs at first, but it was quieter, insistent, demanding: more importantly, it spoke her name. Katlyn couldn’t remember exactly when she followed the voice on the breeze, she didn’t recognize the trail leading to the stones – she only knew that when she arrived to the shadowed circle, a fire was waiting to offer comfort and light.

Movement broke her from her reverie. “Who’s there?” she asked of the dark. She felt foolish, knowing an answer wouldn’t come. Her eyes darted back and forth, but the flames that helped illuminate her immediate surroundings, only served to add confusion to the sights beyond the stones. The shadows snaked along the ground, and danced to a silent beat on the stones themselves. Katlyn began to doubt she heard a voice at all, resigning to return to her home and forget the temporary madness in the morning. If it happens again, she thought, I’ll ask mom if lunatics run in the family.

As she walked through an opening in the circle to start her trek towards the house, she walked through on the opposite end, returning back to the fire in the center of the circle. Panic began to set in. None of this is happening. Her heart hammering in her chest, Katlyn ran through the circle, out the other side, and once again, finding herself before the fire.

“You can’t leave,” a voice whispered from the darkness.

“You’ll never get out,” another offered from her right.

“Isn’t she a pretty one?” a third voice inquired.

“Oh yes, she will taste fine indeed,” yet a fourth voice shouted above the others.

Katlyn began sobbing. She couldn’t command her legs to move. “Why won’t you let me leave? Who are you?”

“We’re hungry dear,” they replied in unison. In the north quarter of the circle a small figure appeared. Its height was equal to a child, but too scrawny to be human. It’s skin shone with a sickly green hue, covered in patches of hair, leaving its sex to be undetermined. “We are very hungry …yessssss.”

“Stay away from me,” Katlyn urged. “I don’t know what you are, or why you brought me here, but I don’t have any food.” Katlyn backed slowly away from the advancing creature. “Just let me go home, and I could fetch you something to eat. But I must go home.”

“We didn’t bring you here,” a voice said behind her. Katlyn screamed and turned, finding the other three creatures advancing on her. “We don’t want food from your home; we don’t want you to leave. We want what we’re owed, and now that you’re finally here, we want to eat.” The creature smiled, displaying rotted teeth rooted in black gums. She realized what these creatures wanted. They meant to eat her; they’re some kind of demon cannibals.

“Stay away from me,” she screamed, grabbing a burning stick from the fire and waving it toward the creatures. “Help! Somebody please help me!” She knew that someone in the house would hear. The circle wasn’t too far away, so she kept screaming for her family while she brandished her only weapon hoping it would buy her enough time. The creatures stopped following her once she threatened them with fire, but they wouldn’t stop smiling.

“Nobody is going to help you, dear,” one of them said. The other three were hopping and clapping. “They don’t want you. We want you.”

“No,” Katlyn said. “They are my family, and they will wake up and come. When they do, you little bastards are dead. You hear me! DEAD!” Her outburst won a chorus of giggles from the creatures. They think I’m amusing.

“Honey,” her father said, stepping into the circle ahead of her. “Put that stick down, honey. You’re going to be just fine.”

“Daddy!” she sobbed. “Oh thank God, Daddy!” She ran to him and held on with an embrace a bear would be envious of.

“These things were going to eat me, they wanted me out here!” Katlyn sobbed, forgetting the danger she was in moments before. “They tricked me into coming out here; I never wanted to leave the house, Daddy!”

“Honey, calm down. Everything is fine, see?” Her father turned her around to see that the creatures were gone.

“I swear they were there, Daddy. I promise,” Katlyn said through tears. Now she truly felt crazy.

“I know they were there,” her father replied. “Hell they’ve always been out here.”

Katlyn was shocked. “What do you mean you know? Always? What are they?”

“We’re not sure, never have been. We do know that if they don’t eat, that our crops fail. Every generation we have to feed them, whether we like it or not.”

“You feed those monsters? Daddy, they wanted to eat me!”

“I know that too. That’s why I came out here. I don’t like the arrangement, but this land has been good for well over a hundred years now, and only gets better while every other farm around here dries up. We have to feed them. They only eat people; unfortunately the bargain was for girls. Your brothers will all farm someday, and your little sister will miss you.” Her father whistled over Katlyn’s head, and tightened his grip on her. The creatures strolled back into the circle, grinning in anticipation of their meal. “I’m sorry about this, but that’s the family secret concerning this circle. It’s how we keep our coffers full and fields rich. We only sacrifice one daughter, and if we don’t we come to ruin.”

“You don’t have to do this, Daddy!” Katlyn cried. Dizziness overcame her equilibrium, her legs gave out, and nausea gripped her bowels. The horror of her father’s betrayal setting in. “Please! Please! Let me go!”

“I can’t do that,” her father said, “your grandpa tried. He tried to stop them and they ruined him! They took all his children but me. There were nine of us!” He threw Katlyn to the ground and walked away, unwilling to watch to events unfold.

Katlyn watched her father retreat into the darkness beyond the stones. Her mind and body numb, she was barely aware of the fire slowly dying in the center of the circle. Staring into the moon’s soft light, she let go of her physical identity, knowing life was too cruel to fight for now, in time to avoid noticing the first bite.