The crackling campfire snapped and popped in the dry summer’s night as the various boys and girls sat about chatting, drinking from red plastic cups a cheap beer brought by one of the older teens. A half dozen small campfires like this one dotted the clearing, with several trucks pulled up, tailgates down and kegs sitting out ready to be drained.
And boy were they being drained.
Allison sighed as Linda giggled drunkenly from the lap of some boy she’d met about five beers ago, her arms now draped around his neck. Allison hated how Linda did this every time they went to one of these parties; they’d show up together and have a few drinks, and then Linda’s daddy issues would come out and she’d seek out the sleaziest piece of white trash she could find, usually dragging him out into the woods to do torrid things, leaving Allison alone to fend for herself.
Not that she was some frail little flower of a girl. Standing as tall as most men, she was proud of her strength from her years as a tennis player, and even more proud of her time spent on the mat at her local Judo academy. While she could be described as waspishly thin, Allison generally got around her two largest problems with a sports bra, giving her both the grace and balance of a gymnast since her generous bosom generally wasn’t in the way.
“So, like, what are you into?” One guy, a long haired blonde with a woolen cap and a sleeveless grey shirt said as he slid up to her from her perch on a log close to the fire. She’d seen him at a few of these parties before, and smiled at his casual lopsided grin.
Every party, without a doubt, he would come over and try a few cheesy pickup lines on her before starting up a decent discussion concerning politics or recent events; his name was Jason, and she’d known him for at least sixteen years, ever since kindergarten. While not exactly cute, he was just her type: witty, with a dry sense of humor and not overly full of himself, and capable of keeping his eyes north of her neck for the majority of the time.
“I’m into finding a new place to sit, somewhere I won’t have to watch my friend make yet another mistake.” She sniggered, passing Jason her cup as she pushed herself up to her feet, brushing her denim shorts free of any leftover bits of bark or leaves. “Come on, walk with me.”
“Oh ho, do I finally get to drag you off into the woods and have my way with you?” Jason joked, moving to follow her towards one of the trucks loaded down with a keg. “Let’s get you some more liquid fun and have ourselves a stroll.”
“Sure, lets.” Allison giggled, rolling her eyes at his antics as he moved to walk beside her, casting one last glance back at Linda as she and the nameless hunk of man meat also made their way away from the campfire, just off into the opposite direction.
Towards the woods.
“I swear to God, she always picks the worst guys.” Allison muttered, shaking her head.
“Yeah, he goes to my school. Total loser if you ask me, but he’s on the football team as a running back. The teachers all pass him so he can play, if you believe the rumors.” Jason commented, watching the stumbling duo’s backs as they made their way into the darkness of the woods.
“Well this is Texas, so yeah, I’d believe it.” Allison dryly replied, stopping in front of the keg, a large rotund red head in a purple jersey lounging against the silver barrel like a modern-day Dionysus, draining his own cup as he eyed her lecherously.
Allison filled her cup and turned her back to the pervert, moving just out of reach as Jason moved to fill his own cup. Looking around the crowd of carousing teens, Allison smiled as she listened to the newest Toby Keith song being pumped out over the speakers of the truck… his songs always made her smile just a little.
“You just missed Charlie Daniels, by the way.” Jason said, moving up beside her, taking a pull from his own cup. “Got to hear about the Devil and Georgia and everything.”
“Oh man, I love that song.” Allison whined, shaking her head. “What a waste!”
“You know,” The purple-guised pseudo god of wine drunkenly said, leaning dangerously over the edge of the truck to gather their attention, “If you want to see the Devil, all ya gotta do is go a-lookin’ fer him.”
“Really?” Allison drawled, looking at the drunken ginger with a sad smile. “And where exactly should I go a-lookin?”
The drunk gave her a cross-eyed glare at her mockery of his words but pushed onward in his story. “Deep in tha woods, a big ole dead Hickory sits where it shouldn’t.”
“Well most of all Hickory trees don’t grow here in these woods, so yeah, any Hickory we find in these woods will be where it shouldn’t be.” Jason cut in with a chuckle, wincing as Allison swatted him on the shoulder for interrupting.
The drunk continued to ramble on as if he hadn’t heard him. “At tha Hickory ya’ll find a grave dug on into tha roots. It’s tha grave of Willy Morsely!”
Jason burst out laughing, as did a few others who’d come close enough to listen to the drunken teenager ramble on. Allison looked at them all, sipping at her beer with a smile, wondering what the joke was.
“You mean Willy ‘Grimes’ Morsely, the old grave robber from the fifties?” Jason laughed, spilling his beer onto his shirt as he spoke.
The drunk nodded animatedly as he refilled his own cup from the tap, taking a long pull from it before belching.
“You have got to be kidding me man, how drunk are you?” Jason said, shaking his head.
“Alright, for those of us who don’t know,” Allison said, raising her hand into the air as if asking a question in class, “who is Willy Morsely?”
“That’s the question that everyone always asks!” A chorus of replies echo from the crowd around them, before they all fell into a fit of drunken giggles and laughter.
Jason, still laughing, turned to Allison. “Willy Morsely was a grave robber from the fifties that was never caught. He liked to rob graves and sell the bodies to unsavory people, doctors and deviants and the like. He was a wanted man for, like, ten or eleven years before he was finally caught in the act.”
“Caught in the act?” Allison parroted with a smirk.
“Yeah,” Jason said, waving his arm around him like it was obvious. “The reason this is an open field is that it’s a graveyard… an old one for that matter.”
Allison immediately sobered at the thought of being surrounded by the dead. “You mean we’re partying in a graveyard?”
Jason nodded. “It’s local tradition, to keep Willy’s spirit at bay.”
“His spirit!” The drunk almost shouted, holding his cup up high, a slight rainfall of beer sprinkling down on his head. “We come ta drink and keep tha company of tha dead so tha he cannot hurt them any further.”
“Wait, I thought you said he got caught in the act?” Allison said, looking between the drunk and Jason. “How could he bother anyone if he got arrested?”
“Didn’t get arrested doll face,” the drunk said, eyeing Allison lecherously, “they done and killed him!"
“Killed him?” Allison repeated, taking a sip from her beer.
“Yeah, supposedly it was pretty brutal. They built a bonfire out here and burned him alive, before burying him somewhere in an unmarked grave.” Jason continued on, looking off into the darkness as if he would suddenly spot the grave.
“But he didn’t stay put, no he didn’t…” Drunk muttered, taking a long glug from his cup. “You see, old Willy wasn’t done yet, not by a longshot. He kept on diggin’ up graves, stealing trinkets and tokens from those buried here, until the local towns stopped using this graveyard completely.”
“I’m sure there were just budget problems.” Allison asserted, shaking her head at the logic of her drunken peers.
Jason scratched the back of his head sheepishly as he gave Allison an apologetic look. “My grandpa used to be a county sheriff in the 50’s, and he always warns me to stay away from this place. Says it’s haunted.”
“Your grandpa also thinks the world is going to end soon, that Jesus is coming back any day now.” Allison quipped with a smirk, elbowing Jason in the ribs.
“I know where he’s buried,” Drunk all but shouted, leaning back in the trailer of the truck against a sealed keg. “My dad helped bury the remains.”
“That’s nice, I’m sure you’re very proud of the secrets you keep.” Allison said with a reassuring smile. “But as I think it’s all a bunch of bulls-”
Allison’s reply was cut off by a high pitched shriek, long and loud, coming from the darkened woods off in the distance. Even in Allison’s semi-drunken state of mind, she immediately snapped to attention, dropping her cup to the ground as the crowd began murmuring amongst themselves.
Running from the edge of the darkness and into the light was a shirtless boy, a wiry scorpion tattoo over his left pectoral and three long gashes running right next to it, blood oozing from the wound at a steady pace. He looked white as a sheet as he dropped to his knees near one of the campfires, looking over his shoulder in fear of whatever had chased him into the light.
Allison pushed her way through the crowd, a growing sense of dread filling the pit of her stomach. That’s the piece of trash Linda went off with… she thought to herself as she jogged over to him. Ignoring his injuries, she grabbed a handful of his greasy hair and yanked his face up towards hers, causing a pained yelp and tears to well up in his panic stricken eyes.
“Where is she?” Allison asked, yanking at her fistful of hair with each word.
“I-I-I don’t know man! One minute she was… and then the next someone was on us, howling and laughing! He drug her off after cutting me deep, so I bolted!”