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Terrifying Stories to Tell Around the Campfire: The Hunting Trip

Chill Clinton is a professional writer with an interest in a variety of forms.

A Spine-tingling Tale to Tell Around the Campfire

Back in my high school years, my friends and I enjoyed all things spooky. Horror films, ouija boards, taking hikes in the dead of night, and of course, telling spooky stories with a healthy dose of libations (I'm talking about Mountain Dews, baby)!

The following tale is based on a story shared by one of my friends on one of these nights. If I recall it correctly, he told it to us while we were crowded around a campfire on a chilly April night in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina.

Proceed with caution, and perhaps save this story for an evening when you aren't stranded at a remote campsite, surrounded by darkness!

The Hunting Trip

A deer hunter ventured into the forest one Autumn morning. His afternoons alone, hiking through the trees was one of his only breaks from his hectic life in the nearby city. And like every outing into nature, he made sure to leave his cellphone in his truck before grabbing his rifle, putting on his orange vest, and crossing through the treeline.

Because he was unfamiliar with this particular area, the hunter brought dozens of pink ribbons to tie around tree branches, marking his path in case he lost his way.


When the hunter found a good clearing, deep in the woods, he scaled to the lower branches of a large tree, anchored himself in place, and sat perched, waiting for his chance to line up a perfect shot.

Hours passed, and though the hunter heard rustling, he never spotted a deer. Eventually, at some point in the afternoon, the hunter laid his head against the trunk of the tree to rest his eyes.

The hunter startled awake to the sound of distant footfall. He looked around, but saw nothing. The afternoon sun had fully set beyond the treeline, and the forest was blanketed in total darkness.

After the hunter collected himself, he descended the tree, and looked around for one of his markers, but even as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he couldn't see far enough to make out the direction he needed to go.

So the hunter walked to the edge of the clearing, hearing the crunch of leaves under his own foot, but when he stopped, he heard foot steps just feet behind him... and they were getting closer.

He whipped around, expecting to spook a deer and see its faint outline sprint deeper into the forest. But instead, he could just make out a form in the darkness, and it certainly wasn't an animal. The form was tall and slim, and lacked any distinct features.

The hunter called out to the figure, but heard no response.

The figure took a step forward, prompting the hunter to startle into a full sprint, not knowing where he was running, but sure that anywhere far away from the unwelcome visitor would be a far better place to be than that clearing.

His gallop created a cacophony of snapping twigs, crunching leaves, and rustling tree branches so loud that it wasn't until he slowed to look behind him that he realize that he could hear the distinct sound of many someones, or somethings, trailing him through the forest.

Fear paralyzing his whole body, the hunter stumbled backwards and through a thick wall of pine branches, into yet another clearing, where the hunter was both shocked and thrilled to see a lone house in the center of the forest.

And this house wasn't a dilapidated hunting cabin, or long abandoned homestead. It was a quaint looking house, and the hunter could tell that the lights were on inside.

The hunter darted up to the front door and tried the knob, noticing that it was unlocked. When he entered, he called out between exasperated breaths, but there was nobody inside.

The hunter quickly locked the door and explored the house, pouring himself a glass of water to calm down, and looking for a landline phone. But unfortunately, there was nothing he could use to call out for help, and so he resigned to stay inside of the house and wait out until sunrise.

Overwhelmingly tired from the adrenaline wearing off, and still unsure whether he had seen what he thought he had seen, believing it could have been some sort of animal, the hunter decided to find a place to sleep.

He crawled into bed in the main room at the back of the house. It had a nice bed, and was elaborately decorated. The hunter took note of a full wall of photographs to the right of his bed, featuring the faces of dozens and dozens of people.

There were children, elderly people, and other people of all ages. Each stared forward with cold, blank expressions. Were these the family members of the people who owned the home?

Before he knew it, he woke to the sound of a bird chirping and rays of light swelling in the room.

However, the hunter's relief at surviving his harrowing experience was quickly disrupted as he realized why the room was so bright:

The wall to the right of his bed was covered with dozens and dozens of portrait-sized windows...

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