The floorboards in the old bunkhouse creaked beneath the pairs of sneakers. Everything was covered in cobwebs and dust, and their footfall left distinct prints, disturbing a place that hadn’t been disturbed in years. The dark was quiet and still around them, even the normal sounds of all the night bugs seemed muted inside this place. Maybe it was all the dust? Maybe it absorbed the sound? Amber barely breathed. She was terrified, but she was also excited. Jeremy held her hand a little tighter and turned to look back at her. He held his flashlight under his chin, giving his face a ghoulish glow.
“This is the last place anyone saw Catherine before her untimely death in the caves. She was here that morning, quiet as always, but then she disappeared.” Jeremy stopped at the stairs and let go of her hand. He looked up at the dark stairwell before them. “No one saw her again until they found her body in the creek. She’d drowned in the caves during a flash flood and had washed out as the water receded.”
“Lovely,” Amber grimaced.
Jeremy shown his light around the second story. The banister up there was just as dusty as everything below it. He focused his light on a specific door. “That was the room she bunked in.” He put the light back under his face and gave her a wicked smirk. “Wanna check it out, see if she’s still hanging around? Lots of people have seen her ghost.”
Amber rolled her eyes, but her heart was racing. “I don’t believe in ghosts.”
Jeremy reached out and took her hand again. “They say Catherine was really shy, but you’re not shy, are you?” He leaned in and kissed her. She kissed back and then his arms were around her waist and her hands were in his hair. Their mouths, teeth, and tongues clashed for dominance. Amber was considering taking it a step further when something popped above them.
Amber pulled away and looked up into the blackness. “What was that?”
“Probably a mouse,” Jeremy replied, eager to get back to what they had been doing.
“Big mouse,” Amber countered, her voice a little shaky.
“Or maybe it was Catherine?” Jeremy shone the light under his face again. “Wanna find out?”
“Jeremy, I don’t know . . . .”
“Oh, come on. It’s been almost one hundred years since her death, I bet she’s hanging around, watching us.” He snickered. “The perv.” The popping noise happened again, and Jeremy directed his light upstairs. “Come on, let’s go see.” He started to pull Amber up the stairs, but she resisted.
“I don’t wanna go.”
“Come on, Amber.” He tried again.
“No, Jeremy.” She was forceful, pulling her hand back and folding her arms across her chest.
“I’m going up there,” Jeremy insisted.
“Are you serious?”
“Thought you didn’t believe in ghosts?” he threw back at her.
“I don’t,” Amber enforced.
“Okay, well I’m going up there.” Jeremy gave her another wicked grin. “And I’ll be back.”
She rolled her eyes but smiled despite herself. “Be careful, don’t fall through a floorboard,” she whispered. Jeremy slowly began to creep up the stairs. Amber barely breathed until he reached the top. He made his way to Catherine’s old room and shot her a final, smarmy look as he opened the door and disappeared behind it.
Amber shook her head. She didn’t know why she was out here. Okay, she did. She liked Jeremy. He was cute and would be the perfect summer fling. Come August she’d return to school and it’d be over, but it’d be fun while it lasted. Amber pulled her arms tighter around her and looked about the room. She’d known the stories of Camp Wildbegone before she’d taken the summer counselor job. It was one of the longest running camps in the state of California. It had a spotless reputation, save for the tragic drowning of camper Catherine Amis in 1920. That incident ensured it also had a ghost story, which had actually worked in its favor in the long run. The new campground had been built in the 1970s, but the old one had never been torn down. It remained in the woods, a deteriorating ghost town. The camp’s founder George Amis, Catherine’s grandfather, insisted in his will that the old camp could never be torn down. Some people said he’d wanted it to remain forever, a memorial to the granddaughter he’d lost.
There was a thud upstairs and Amber’s head shot up. “Jeremy?” No answer. “Jeremy, come on, quit kidding around.” Still no answer. “Jeremy?!” Amber ran up the stairs as quickly as she could in the dark. She swore to God, if Jeremy was puling one over on her, she was going to make him wait a week before having sex with him.
“Jeremy?!” Amber reached to open the door he’d disappeared behind, but it opened before she could put her hand on the knob. The girl’s eyes grew wide. Even in the dark, she knew who was standing before her, and it made no sense for them to be there.
“You?!” That was the last word she said as two gloved hands reached out and wrapped around her neck. They pressed hard, cutting off her air supply. Amber struggled with the figure. She managed to wrestle herself free as her lungs started to burn. She gulped in a deep breath as she staggered backwards. She hit the old bannister with force and it broke behind her. Amber didn’t have enough air to scream as she fell backwards through the air. Her neck struck a table beneath her snapping on impact and killing her instantly. The figure above disappeared into the night and everything was quiet in the old bunkhouse once more.