Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Decapitator - part 8

The Decapitator – part 8

The summer camp was a bustling hive of summertime splendor.  Campers ran to the destination of their next craft activity, expending pent up energy from a long gray winter, stretching their youthful legs before fall approached and drove them indoors once again.  Every sunny minute was valued, summer vacation was not to be spent callously, rather every moment was precious; you wanted to live in its splendor indefinitely and look back longingly on it for the rest of your life.  For the summer camp of Talooli it would be the last summer any of them spent alive.

The camp broke ground on the 18th of May, 1945.  It was a chance to give low income families a place to send their kids for the summer.  While some camps focused on discipline and survival skills, preparing young adults for a career in the military or park service, Camp Talooli focused on fun, on giving kids a place to escape the trials and tribulations of home life.  By the end of the first summer it was clear the camp had a long future ahead of it; already families had booked the camp solid for the next three years.

Sure there were spook stories; all camps had them.  The popular one had been of a witch that once stalked the woods, eating children, making people’s hair turn white, generally being a nuisance to the god fearing people of the community, until an angry mob had hung her.  But she didn’t die, the legend says that the witch kept taunting onlookers for days after being hung, until eventually she was cut down and decapitated by the local burgomeister; a Puritan man with a staunch disposition.  With her last breath the severed head spat a curse onto him, claiming that after death he would serve her like a faithful dog in Hell. 

The hanging spot of the witch is said to be a gnarled ancient looking Elm tree plotted on the edge of the clearing between the camp and the thick woods beyond.  Counselors would sit under it on beach blankets as they recanted their own version of the local legend.  The tree had rather sinister angles to it, the branches were twisted, and the trunk seemed to have been sheared by lightning at some point in its ancient history.  Fertile ground for ghost stories and supernatural speculation of all kind.  Too bad the legend was mostly true.

As the camp increased in population and popularity the facilities expanded past what the original owners had foreseen.  Plumbing was a major issue.  All those kids had to poop somewhere.  A spot about twenty feet away from the haggardly “witch” tree was chosen to dig a latrine well.   The ground was soft and malleable; the crane had no issue digging the deep trench soon to be filled with raw human sewage and kiddy turds.  An outhouse was placed over it, and the deed was done without a second thought.

That very night at midnight something sinister emerged from that pit.  The ground swelled and heaved out the shape of a man that proceeded to kill every living thing in the entire camp.  Luckily it was during the pre-season lull when counselors were first getting oriented with the camp they would be working at all summer; the last summer of their short jubilant lives.  The senior staff was numbered at a scant twenty three, and the next day twenty three mutilated bodies were accounted for at what would be known as the Massacre at Lake Talooli.  The spine chilling fact that lingered in legend for years to come was that most of the victims were missing their heads; none were recovered or ever found in the outlining woods.  No suspects were ever blamed for the crime.  The legend of the Decapitator was born.