A Crackling in the Woods

A strange crackling sound came from the direction of the forest. David peered cautiously out of his tent. His tent mate, Ronnie, yawned.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“I heard something. Like twigs snapping.”

Ronnie rolled over. “Close the flap. It’s getting chilly.”

David shrugged. “Probably just a bird or something.” He lay back down in his tent but couldn’t sleep.

He hadn’t zipped up the tent flap so that he could see darkness outside. The moonlight cast a glow over the summer campsite. The tree canopy covered the sky so he couldn’t see any stars.

He had just about dozed off when he heard something from outside. He lifted his head.

“There’s that cracking sound again.” He sat up. It appeared to be coming closer to his tent.

He pushed his sleeping bag off, then hopped out of the tent. The ground felt rough on his bare feet so he put his shoes on.

“Hello?” he called out loudly, but then realized he might wake up his classmates. “Hi?” he called out more softly.

The crackling sounds came closer, but still he could see nothing.

Then he heard the leaves of the tree beside their tent gently move in a breeze.

“But there’s no breeze. And that’s no bird, nor a coyote.”

He watched as the pale green leaves moved from one side of the tree to the next.

Then a chill went through his heart. He looked up at the tree. It appeared that something was glowing up there.

“What is that?” he whispered to himself. He should go and get Ronnie. He went back into the tent.

Ronnie sat up. “What’s going on? Why did you shake me awake?”

David pointed to the tree outside the tent. “There’s something out there. I don’t know if it’s safe for us to stay here.”

Ronnie hopped out of the tent to join him. “Say what?”

Then something fell out of the tree and landed on his head.

“Ouch! Who did that?”

Something else landed on the other side of the tent.

“I think it’s a pinecone,” said David, picking it up.

Then one of the branches crackled and broke free. It landed on the other side of their tent.

“Run!” screamed David, grabbing his arm.

The two boys ran screaming to the other side of the camp.

Someone came out of their tent.

“What’s happening?” called out one of the teachers.

“Something is in the tree!” screamed Ronnie.

“It’s a poltergeist!” called out David. “Look! It’s glowing!”

The teacher looked up at the tree. “What the?” She peered around the camp. “Okay, everyone, move to my side of the camp.

By now, the other ten students had climbed out of their tents and were asking what was happening.

“Look!” cried out Ronnie. “It’s eyes are glowing green!”

David was more fascinated than scared. “Wow! That is a ghost, for certain.”

Something else fell out of the tree and landed hard on the ground.

“Ugh, dead crow,” cried one of the students.

“That’s a bad sign,” said Ronnie. “They’re usually too smart to get caught like that.”

The air in the clearing grew cold, and a swirling mist moved through the grounds. The moonlight wasn’t as bright either, as if a cloud was covering it.

Ronnie clung to David’s arm. “It’s a poltergeist! They are up to no good and throw objects around.”

David looked up at the poltergeist in wonder. “I wonder what it wants?”

“Over here, now!” yelled out the teacher. “I don’t know what that is, but you need to come here, and together, we’ll all run to the parking lot and get safely into the school bus.”

The students ran for the parking lot, dropping their possessions everywhere.

Ronnie tugged on David’s arm. “Let’s go!”

“No, I forgot my bag. My Mum will be mad if I don’t get it.” He looked back at the tent.

Ronnie shrugged and ran after the other students. “Stay safe!”

David ran back into the tent. As he was hurriedly tossing his clothes into his bag, he heard noises outside. He decided he didn’t need his socks.

He fearfully peered out of the tent. The entire ground was covered in the wispy cold mist. He couldn’t see much.

He grabbed his bag and came out.

He looked up at the tree and saw the glowing eyes again. They stared intently at him.

He grew petrified as the eyes came closer to him and got bigger. He slowly backed away. Perhaps going back to retrieve his bag had been a bad idea.

He was about to turn and run when the poltergeist leaped at him.

The eyes floated through the mist, coming at him, growing larger every inch.

“Ahhhh!” he screamed, turning and running for the parking lot. He didn’t even think to drop his bag that was slowing him down.

A hand grabbed his arm and led him safely onto the bus.

“What were you thinking?” said his teacher.

He quickly took a place on the bus.

“It was a poltergeist for sure!” he said to Ronnie.

The teacher quickly drove the bus away while the students eagerly chattered about what they had seen.

David looked back at the abandoned camp. The mist shifted and settled down. And then he saw it.

A small wild cat stalked after the bus.

He laughed. “It’s just a black leopard kitten,” he called out to his friends.

The End.

➔ Noch mehr kurze englische Kindergeschichten