English Eerie Campfire Tales: The Lost River Love

This post is an entry to Jon Spencer’s October Discord Server Event, English Eerie. I was unsure about doing this at first, but it sounded fun and I like having an opportunity to tell a story of some kind when I got the time to do it. This should be a pretty interesting short story that probably won’t end like you think it does.

Somehow, this ended up being a bit of a yuri. Ok, not a bit. I changed the protagonist that was was suggested to be a male character into female character and this kind of happened. I think the resulting story is quite ok, even if it’s a bit of a tragedy. Hope you enjoy it. Please give me some feedback.

Beware some romance and horrors! Mainly horrors. That’s your one warning.

My name is Sophie Mackles and this is the log of my river journey. I am a women who is 24 years old and a nurse at hospital in London. Right now, the year is 1921 and it’s a bit warmer then usual here. You know, considering that it’s June. Time for a unique trip to cool off a bit, I think.

Three years ago, I was still a nurse at the Western Front for a world wide tragedy called, The Great War. An original title to be sure. During that I became friends with a doctor, Geoffrey Rose and we still hang out to this day. I mean, he’s on this trip after all. We tried dating first, but that did not work out for us for some reason. There was no romance or energy between us, but that didn’t matter during wartime. Now it does. Also, I think he has a girlfriend in his home town or something? Not sure about that one, but I’ve heard rumors here and there. For now, he is one of my biggest adventuring friends during the summer months. This is this our fourth adventure and our camping trips have become a little more complex over time.

Joining me along with Geoffrey is Mary Jones. My spunky, life-long best friend who I’ve known since childhood. Mary is always ready to go on a camping trip with me when the time goes for it. She is free spirit and just loves freedom when she gets the chance to escape from normal society. I do not blame her considering the way things are at the moment. For this trip, she brought a stranger. A girl name Ivy Prairie who is a visitor from the United States. I do not know anything about her, but Mary vouched for her hiking capabilities. Seeing how they eye each other; I do not think hiking is the only interest they share. Why do I feel jealous?

For four days straight, we made great progress on our Canoe journey. Our group started out at Mallerstand and made some great head way on the Eden River. At this moment, it was possible that we could finish our trip early. We canoed during the day, stopped during the night to camp, relax, and enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes sharing camping stories over a campfire. It was all fun times. The forest locations we stopped every night were pretty safe and the water was fresh and calm with some good rapids to provide momentum to our journey. The best trip that I’ve been on for a while. Too bad that couldn’t continue to be the case.

Day 5

I woke hearing a loud voice.

“Sophie, get over here quick. Geoff’s wounded.”

That was Mary’s voice. Did an animal attack someone last night? What was going on?

Still in my night clothes, I ran outside with my med kit. Something was strange about our surroundings. The forest was gone, the ground was completely barren like an unplowed field, and our boats were destroyed.

I was mesmerized by this until Ivy called out my name too.

“Coming, coming.”

In Geoff’s tent, Mary was holding a lot of pressure on his wound.

“About time you got here.” He said weakly.

“Yeah, yeah, hold still.” I wiped his wound with alcohol and wrapped his arm in bandages. It looked bad, but wasn’t too deep, so this is all I needed to do. Still doesn’t mean the arm was usable at all.

“Just try not to move too much for a little while.” I suggested to Geoff. As a doctor, he did not need me to tell his this, but it came naturally from me. He just nodded in acceptance.

“Nice attire you got there.” Geoff looked at me. Good thing he still has his sense of humor, I suppose.

Mildly flustered and amused, I calmly said “You caught me at a bad time.” I’m glad we weren’t in public.

“Then again, I think we were all caught in a bad time. What do you think happened outside?” I buttoned the shirt to cover myself a little more.

“I don’t know. How does a forest become nothing in a night?” Ivy agreed with me. She smiled at me for some reason.

“What?” Geoff exclaimed. I open his tent flap to show him the outside and he shouted “WHAT” even louder.

“Yeah, and the boats were destroyed too.” I followed.

“How can this get any worse?” Geoff lamented.

Mary nods “We need to escape as soon as we can. At least most of us have our health and have enough food to live on for a while.” Ivy agreed with her. Those two, I swear.

After getting dressed and eating breakfast, Mary, Ivy, and I investigated the area around us until evening. There really was nothing here. With the boats destroyed and Geoff injured for a bit, we are stranded here for a while.

Here. What does that mean anymore? What is here? I guess it’s wherever this barren wasteland is. The best we could do for now is work on fixing our boats and get moving as fast as we can. Who knows how long that is going to take. At least Geoff should have be able to move his arm by then.

Later that evening, I was checking on Geoff when he immediately piled himself on top of me. I landed on the ground with a loud fud.

“Geoff, we’ve been through this many times. There is no zing between us. You have a girlfriend, right?” I tried my best to keep calm.

His looked at me with a horrified expression.

“What happened to you?” I tried my best to not scream.

“We need to go back home.” Geoff said exasperated.

“I know that and you knew that since this morning.” What spooked him, I thought to myself.

“Sophie, it doesn’t matter” His look was very frightened. “I don’t want to be stuck here until we die.”

I push him off. “You rest for a few days first, ok? By that time, the girls and I should at least have at least one boat ready.”

Geoff looked at me and accepted this. “Sophie, I knew that I can trust you.”

I hoped I didn’t betray that trust. With that, we all went to sleep in our respective tents.

Day 6

The following morning I woke up and immediately screamed. There was a huge rip on my tent. Was this the same creature that scratched Geoff’s arm? I hope not. This rip looked at lot bigger.

Mary and Ivy emerged from their tent , saw the rip too, and ran in to check on me.

“What the hell is going on here?” Mary commented while checking on me. “At least whatever attacked Geoff did not get you too, Sophie. We couldn’t do without our brave leader.”

She always knew how to make me smile. “Thanks. I don’t know about brave though.”

“Of course you are brave. You’ve been like that since I’ve known you.” Mary smiled at me.

“What makes you say that?” I asked innocently.

“Well, you got involved in that awful war.” Mary commented shyly.

I remembered her forcing me to write letters to her every day and yelling at me through the mail when I forgot.

“What are you going to do about your tent?” Ivy asked. “You can sleep with us if you like.”

That was shocking. I didn’t expect that from her.

“No, I don’t want to disturb you guys. Besides, I can patch this tent up. As you Americans say, it’s not like this is my first rodeo.”

Ivy and Mary begrudgingly agreed.

Immediately after breakfast, I started working on patching up my tent while Rose and Ivy started to figure out how to fix the boats. It seems like Ivy have some knowledge on this. Did she bring some tools with her? I’m glad Mary brought her along.

Around lunch time, I felt strange. Like the river was calling me. I dozed off a bit and…

“Sophie, Sophie. Wake up.” It was Mary again though Geoff and Ivy where over me too. I was apparently lying on the ground.

“What the hell happened?” I slowly got up.

“I don’t know, but you were about to dive into the river.” Geoff exclaimed and holding me down again.

“Well, I did feel rather fond of it for a second or two.” I lamented.

“I think you are going to have to bunk with us after all.” Ivy forced.

“Yes, we need to keep an eye on you” Mary agreed.

“Fine, I accept. For now, we should…”

“Ivy and I will do things. You rest where Geoff can keep an eye on you.” Mary forced this on me.

I can’t even lay in my tent by myself? “Fine, I’ll just relax then.”

“I hope the scenery changes and the long trip haven’t gotten to you too much. For now, rest.”

Begrudgingly following Ivy’s advice, I rested for the day until nighttime. Giving medical advice was my job though, but I will play nice for now.

By then, I took my sleeping bag and slept on the corner of their tent away from the opening flap. It was kind of awkward sleeping with those two. Like I was a third wheel or something.

Day 7

Waking up the next morning, the girls and I were freaked out by the three marks engraved in the dirt outside of our tent. First Geoff’s arm, then my tent, and now this.

“Something does not want us here.” I whispered, though the other two heard me. We all cowered in fear.

I cannot read what these say, but they must be a warning. Some kind of creature or who knows the hell what doesn’t want us to be here.

“No more investigating. We need to fix our boat and get out of here as soon as Geoff can move his arm.” I exclaimed loudly while freaked out.

“We just need a couple more days.” Ivy agreed. “By then, we should somehow make it out of this hell hole.”

“I can’t believe I am missing society now, but anything is better than this crap.” Mary sighed.

They got to work on fixing the boat because I was not to be trusted. Considering the pull the river had on me, I agreed. The river looked too tempting, so I don’t know how I would do on the ride home.

Checking on Geoff again, he pushed on down on the ground again. His eyes completely white like he was possessed.

“Sophie, we must stay here.”

“Geoff, get off of me.”

“This location is perfect place for us to be sacrificed.”

Frightened, I stared at him. “Sacrificed. Who or what wants that?”

“The Elder Gods.”

I punched him as hard as I could in order to knock him out and I immediately ran into the Girl’s tent. I don’t know how to process this. Where are we and why are we here? What is going on? Elder Gods? Why would they want us?

Luckily, we went to bed all safe and sound. Even Geoff turned back to normal by saying good night to us.

Day 8

The next morning, it rained all day. We stayed inside our tents and ate cold food waiting the weather out. Geoff was invited over and we just played cards. Mainly poker.

I lost all the money I brought on my trip. Do you know who took it? Ivy did. I’m beginning to feel real outclassed by her intelligence and wit. What was I supposed to do? Just lose apparently. I’m glad that I escaped this game with the clothes on my back.

When the weather cleared out at night, the constellations in the sky were different. Geoff commented on this fact as he stepped outside to go to sleep. Great, even the stars were strangers to us.

All we could do was discuss what the possessed Geoff meant by the elder gods, but the location, sky, and marks really did make it feel like we were not on Earth anymore.

Day 9

The next morning, I stepped off with the wrong foot. Literally. After spending the last two days and nights resting and thinking about our situation with Mary and Ivy, I stepped five feet away from the tent towards the river and immediately fell into a sink hole.

“Mary, Ivy, Geoff. Someone Help!” I yelled as I slowly sank deeper and deeper. My presence of mind and calmness was gone. I kept kicking me feet out of fear and that only helped to make me sink faster.

A short time later, the girls and Geoff finally saw me.

“Keep Calm and your feet still, Sophie. The way you are going now, you will only sink faster.” The calmer than expected Geoff instructed.

“Listen to what he is saying, Sophie.” Mary seemed in a forced calm state as well.

Concentrating the best that I could, I was able to relax and with the help of Mary, Ivy, and a few hours work, I made it out of the wet, dirty sink hole.

Following that massive event, I spent the day wrapped in blankets in Rose and Ivy’s tent. My clothes were drying outside on the pole my tent was held up by while Mary and Ivy made more progress on the canoes. Geoff posted himself outside to make sure I didn’t escape.

This is the most awkward situation that I have been in for a while. What am I supposed to say to anyone? Everything I’ve said and have done were wrong.

At this point, I have no confidence in my decision making. This was a situation beyond all of us and we needed a win for once. I needed a win. Maybe when we finally get out of this.

Day 10

Early next day, we did not know what to think anymore. The weather outside was clear, but it still sounded like it was raining. Fearing the worst, we stayed in our tents yet again. This time, I decided to stay in my own tent because I felt like I was horning in on whatever was going on with Ivy and Mary.

They protested, but I did it regardless. Finally, I was able to get some of my freedom back. Also, I slept all day anyway so not much happened. I hope the two enjoy their time together before we leave.

At night, Mary rushed into my tent and shook me awake.

“Ivy is gone.” She yelled.

“WHAT?” I clear the sleep out of my eyes.

“Sophie, Ivy left during the night when I completely out.” Mary was crying.

Frightened, I try to throw on some clothes. “We need to search for her. Right now.”

“Should we wake up Geoff?” Rose looked determined despite her tears.

“Let him sleep, He needs to rest as long as he can.”Geoff’s arm is almost healed after all.

Quickly, we headed out as far as we can in this unknown land while still being able to see the campfire by our tents. We never found Ivy.

Comforting Mary as much as I could, I helped her back into her tent and spent the night with her to make her feel better. Hopefully, nothing could get worse than this.

Day 11

Of course that wasn’t the case. Stepping out of the tent to check on Geoff first thing in the morning, I saw him drowning in the river.

“NOOOOOOO.” I cried at him. Too late, he’s gone. My best friend in the world is gone forever now.

I hugged the grieving Mary and started crying too.

“We are going to die here.” I sobbed and Mary could not say anything. The only thing we could do was comfort each other in our grieving and this a case where two negatives didn’t make a positive.

She knew what happened by the tone of my voice. Geoff was gone. Ivy was gone. Nothing was accomplished today. We just held each other in the tent crying and crying and crying. This impossible situation got to us and we accepted that we were next.

What could happen next couldn’t surprise either of us, right? Nah.

Late in the night while sleeping, Ivy showed up out of nowhere.

“Ivy, you’re back.” Mary smiled.

Something was off. Her pupils were completely white and she pointed a revolver at me. Was she being controlled? First Geoff and now her.

“Ivy, what are you doing?” Mary’s smile disappeared. “Where did you get the gun?”

“GET AWAY FROM MY GIRLFRIEND.” Ivy screamed at me.

Mentally broken from Geoff’s death, I just accepted mine.

Mary stood up and started wrestling the gun out of her hands. “No, she is my best friend. Don’t you dare kill her.”

“Then I guess I know where your loyalties lie.” Ivy said while starting to pull the trigger.

The two former lovers fought over the gun for my sake. Somehow Ivy wound up shooting herself in the chest and Mary fell on the ground crying.

I did not know what else to do here. This is how we fell asleep, if you can call it that.

Day 12

The day started with us giving Ivy a burial. We didn’t say anything to each other, just dug and dug and dug until we could place Ivy’s body in the ground.

Mary shared a few words and that was it. This is all we could do. With our food supplies now gone and the river pulling me towards it more then ever, nothing phased me anymore. I was barely holding myself back from taking the same fate as Geoff. Only holding on because of Mary.

The day passed by in a blur and I did not care anymore. I felt like Mary didn’t care either. Hope left us like our comrades left us.

Day 13

Some time the next day, I was surprised that we found dead crows on the ground as I exited the tent. We were not humans anymore. Just creatures barely holding on to existence. Maybe the elder gods provided us a gift.

I pointed the crows out to Mary. “Looks like we could some new supplies.”

Both of us laughed for a few minutes until we started roasting them over a fire. This restored our will somewhat. Mary seemed more calm somehow with food in her stomach, but there was sadness under the surface.

We spent the day trying to fix one canoe, but we couldn’t do it. Ivy wasn’t alive and without her guidance, we would never leave. Another mental lock broke on Mary. That was our final hope after all.

She walked into the tent and I urgently chase her. The first thing I saw was Mary pointing something towards her head. It was Ivy’s revolver.

“Mary, don’t do it.” As I slowly approached her.

“What is the point of living anymore.” Mary was crying.

“I don’t know, but you have me.” I pointed to myself while slowly moving still. “You’re all I got.”

“That’s not enough.” Mary was shaking.

“Why don’t we die together then?” I looked in her in the eyes with a serious expression then kissed her.

Nothing. No reaction at all. This was the moment when I realized I loved her, but she still saw me as a friend and nothing else.

“No, I can’t kill you. Maybe you can still leave on drift wood.” Mary slowly started putting pressure on that trigger

I was close enough to drag the gun out of her hands and attempted to do just that.

“There is no reason that you can’t do that as well.” I grunted.

Despite that effort, Mary ended up shooting herself in the leg. I immediately applied pressure on it as long as I could before wrapping it up tightly without saying anything. I don’t think I actually did anything to help her. Mary would bleed out very soon.

There goes my world.

Day 14/Epilogue

I woke up the next morning, I think. I was in a deep haze. All I saw were three tall figures on the other side of the river.

I slowly walked toward the river because I had no control over my body. Slowly, I sank into the river until there was nothing. Only a single thought appeared in my head before the void. It wasn’t even mine.

“Finally, a good sacrifice.”

-End Journal-

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