The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Elaine Pascale
“If you hear a whistle, run for your life.”
The scouting trip had been in the works for months. What had not been planned was the loss of a scout on the second day of the trip.
And not just any scout. Hayden’s mother’s anxiety had grown with the approach of the trip. She had called the scout master daily to remind him that Hayden needed to take his Ritalin. She had explained that he needed his sleep mask and ear plugs even in the deepest, darkest woods. She had produced his inhaler and backup inhaler.
She reminded him that Hayden is special.
Despite Hayden’s mother, or maybe to spite her, the troop headed into the woods.
The boys had told “Whistler” stories as they ascended the mountain.
“He will skin you alive.”
“He will eat your eyeballs.”
“He carries a sack of his victim’s bones on his back.”
Despite the scary tales, the boys had fallen asleep at a decent hour from the fatigue of climbing. The scout master was awoken with rising shouts to accompany the rising sun.
“Hayden is gone!”
The scout master asked, “Are you sure he is gone? Can he hear us calling? Are his ear plugs in?”
The boys exchanged quizzical looks.
“Let’s not notify his mother just yet.” The scout master feigned composure. He said this despite knowing how Hayden’s mother was, or maybe because he knew how Hayden’s mother was.
Two nights passed; each with reports of whistling that kept the boys awake at night. Despite knowing they had spouted the words of myth; they were certain that the Whistler was coming to collect their bones.
“He will drag us around the mountains forever.”
“We will never make it home.”
The third night the whistle had been accompanied by shadows moving through the forest.
“We have to leave.”
“He is after us.”
“We have to face Hayden’s mother at some point.”
The scout master was more afraid of Hayden’s mother than he was of the Whistler, but he agreed to descend the mountain at daybreak.
The rising sun brought panicked whispers.
“We can’t leave the tent; he is right outside, whistling.”
Despite knowing the troop would be worried, or perhaps to spite the troop, there was a whistler seated by the dying campfire.
It was Hayden, stripping unidentified hides and stashing the bones in a large sack.
Fiction © Copyright Elaine Pascale
Image courtesy of Pixaby.com
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