Writing prompt: Feeling spooked while camping

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Feeling spooked while camping”

I’m not really a camper. But still, I couldn’t turn down an invite from a friend to go camping in the newly opened Blue Ridge preservation area. Even with trees designed to sequester radiation, no one but researchers and workers had been allowed in for nearly 200 years, after the one that missed DC. Now my researcher friend had passes for the soft opening, and what could I say? The Appalachian Mountains were nearly 500 million years old, and I’d never seen them except in pictures of spooky decaying ruins—Monticello falling into the Earth and the old Blue Ridge Parkway cracked beyond recognition in some vids online.

Jaden set up the tent. He’d camped before, but not in this area of course. Tonight and this week, 500 people tested the park, carrying dosimeters and basically giving things one last look-over. I helped Jaden build the fire that night, and I imagined eyes watched us from the trees. I’m sure they weren’t, and I focused instead on what a tricky cooking medium fire and charcoal could be. I couldn’t even tell the cooking temperature.

Insects began as twilight grew deeper, unnerving and yet exciting. These must be the eyes I imagined watching me.

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