Short story by Iris Carden
Camping in this spot had been their favourite thing to do as teenagers. That had been until the night Marc disappeared. Weeks of searching had failed to find him. After that Henry and Kirk had found other things to do with their weekends.
They were back, ten years later to the day, or at least to the nearest weekend. It was a simple plan, to have a camping trip like the “old days”, eat by a campfire, tell ghost stories, and remember their missing friend. The mystery of Marc’s disappearance had not been solved.
Now, of course, with fire regulations, the campfire had become a portable gas barbecue, and a couple of beers had been added to the menu, (canned, because glass wasn’t allowed in the National Park) but otherwise the night went as planned.
Both men slept badly.
Over breakfast, Henry said, “That wasn’t funny, you know.”
“What wasn’t funny?” Kirk asked.
“You dressing up in a sheet, pretending to be a ghost, the way Marc used to. You’d think we’d outgrown that, and it’s in poor taste, considering you know, Marc.”
“I though I was dreaming, or that you were wearing a sheet. You’re telling me it wasn’t you and you saw it too?”
“Of course it wasn’t bloody me.”
“We couldn’t both have the same dream, could we?”
They looked at each other, wondering.
Kirk eventually broke the silence. “It was pointing off into the bush.”
“Yeah.” Henry answered.
They were silent again for a while, each thinking.
This time Henry broke the silence, “Should we?”
Kirk nodded. “I think so.”
They each picked up their water bottles and started off, walking in the direction the apparition had pointed.
Two hours later they found the bones. It wasn’t a neat skeleton, not after all these years. It was scattered over a fairly wide area. If they hadn’t found the skull, they wouldn’t have been sure it was human at all.
They walked back to camp before they could get a phone signal to call the authorities. There was no need to wait for the police investigation and the forensics. They knew they had found their missing friend.
This post was written in response to Lady Jabberwocky’s writing prompt of the week: “mystery”. Thank you Lady Jabberwocky.