Sandra Leyland hiked the sleeping bag up past her neck and tried to ball up to be as small as possible. There were sounds coming from outside the tent that she didn’t like.
Her friends had warned her about all manner of camping terrors. Bears. Cougars. Hillbillies. Sandra’s imagination pictured all of them lurking outside, just past the thin fabric walls. There were one or two other things she was afraid of, too, but those weren’t camping-specific.
There was a pause in the night-time noises. Sandra had never been told that it’s usually a bad sign when nature goes quiet. That this means that usually something bigger and meaner is out there. So she assumed that silent mean safe and she reached slowly for her flashlight at the foot of the foam mattress. She clutched it close, waiting for the next hint of danger.
A shadow flashed past the mesh window. Then ominous thumps that sounded quite a lot like footsteps.
Hillbillies! Beth had been right!
Sandra snapped on the light but forgot to point it at the noise. She blinded herself with the brilliant beam.
That was too much for her. She began to scream and scream.
The tent’s door flap began to unzip and Sandra’s mom stuck her head through.
“Calm down, Honey, you’re ok!” she told her daughter. “You’re safe. I just came out to see if you girls wanted any hot chocolate before you went to bed.”
The girls on either side of Sandra perked up.
“Hot chocolate, Mrs. Leyland?” they asked.
“Yes, dears, but maybe you’ll want to sleep in the living room, instead of the backyard.”