There wasn’t a single indication that he walked the same path Drake was on now. He couldn’t find his
twin brother anywhere, but as far as he knew, this was the only path leading to the house.

Dustin left the campground to explore the woods and the old house at the end of the trail that was
rumored to be the place of a massive murder twenty years earlier.

Drake was worried about his brother’s safety.  Being the levelheaded one; he opted out of the jaunt to
the old house. Dustin would give him all the juicy details once he got back anyway. The trouble now was,
after more than two hours, Dustin still hadn’t returned to camp and Drake was determined to find him.

After a careful walk to the front door, he stood on the top step shaking. Not because of how creepy the
house looked, but because he still didn’t know where his brother was. He didn’t know why, but looking at
the house sent a chill down his spine that bit him. In addition, every hair on his arms was standing
straight up.   

Slowly, he turned the doorknob; even though it was an old house that obviously didn’t have anyone
living in it, he found it strange that it was unlocked. With fear’s tight grasp around his throat, Drake
entered the foyer.

I wish the sun wasn’t setting; somehow I think this house would be less intimidating if I had more of
the day in front of me instead of behind me,
he thought.

Knowing he didn’t have time to waste, Drake started to walk carefully through the house to be sure
Dustin wasn’t inside.

Calling his name, he again felt the chill run down his back. The putrid scent that invaded his nostrils was
a mixture of must, old urine, animal feces and something that smelled like dirty, gym socks. There was
another odor, but it was like nothing he’d ever encountered. The only thing he knew for sure was how
much it reeked along with his need to swallow hard to keep from losing his dinner.

Searching the entire downstairs, he found nothing and no one.
Where the hell are you, Dustin? When I
get my hands on you…
his thoughts ran from fear to anger and back again.

He made his way toward the stairs that led to the second floor. He couldn’t help but feel regret over
agreeing to go camping with Dustin. If he insisted they stayed home, this wouldn’t be happening now.
He never liked camping, but since it meant so much to his brother, Drake wanted to put his best foot
forward. He felt ridiculous now; hunting for his brother like he was six-years-old. He was a grown man
and could surely take care of himself.

Every stair creaked and sounded as if it would snap in half if given even a tiny bit more weight. The
unnamed scent he noticed earlier was stronger now and he wondered what he would find when he looked
inside each closed-up room.

There were so many, he started with the one closest to the top of the stairs and worked his way down
the hall. Every room was filled with nothing but old, covered-up furniture, dust and lots of cobwebs.

Tired of the same story playing out, he reluctantly opened the last door on the left. Immediately he felt
the difference. It was by far the largest of all the rooms; at the far end there was an open window. To
the right, facing the window was a large, wingback chair, which appeared to have someone sitting in it.

Drake slowly walked in.

Approaching the chair warily, he asked, “Hello? Are you alright?”

With no one answering, he made his way around to the front of the chair and stopped dead in his tracks.

It was quite obvious she was dead. It was equally as obvious she had only recently passed; murdered if
what he was looking at was any indication. Her throat was slit from ear to ear and the blood that
saturated her clothing appeared to still be wet. He quickly realized that was the unnamed odor he
detected only a short time ago.

As the stench literally stuck in his throat, he brushed his fingertips over her dead, brown eyes and closed
them.

Looking down at the floor in front of her was a Red Sox baseball cap; just like the one Dustin was
wearing when he left camp. It was then he noticed the drops of blood that started from the cap and
apparently went out the door he entered only moments before.

Shaking, he pulled out his cell phone to dial 9-1-1. It was obvious the phone wasn’t going to catch a
signal; Drake ran out the door, through the hall and down the stairs, screaming for his brother. Again
checking every corner, every room, he still found nothing, only more blood that he hadn’t noticed earlier.

Did the assailant drag my brother with him when I was upstairs searching the rooms? How could I have
missed the blood droplets?

Thoughts raced through his mind, as he stood in the middle of the living room more frightened than ever
before.

Praying out loud, he said, “God, please, You know I went camping with Dustin so we could heal our
relationship and find a common ground. After Dad’s death, we drifted even further apart and I know he
hated it as much as I did. Now, I know he’s in trouble; please, Father, let me find him before it’s too late.
Just let me find him, I promise to never tease him or hurt his feelings ever again. Amen.”

Running out the front door, Drake ran as fast as his legs would carry him back to the campsite in hopes
that Dustin was just sitting there waiting for him.

Racing through the trees, he was continuously smacked by overhanging branches, but it was as if he
never felt them.

Finally reaching the picnic area just before their trailer, Drake screamed his brother’s name. Over and
over he yelled as he stumbled around the site, in and out of the trailer, but still nothing and no sign that
Dustin had come back.

Again, he pulled his cell from his pocket; running around the camping area, he prayed for a signal to call
for help, still, nothing. With no one camping at any of the surrounding sites, Drake didn’t know what else
to do except go back to the house and search again. He could have taken the car and driven into town
to get the police, but that would mean leaving his brother out there with a maniac on the loose; that
wasn’t an option.

Reaching the house in record time, he again raced up the stairs to search every room. Still, nothing; he
found a trap door in the ceiling of the bathroom which he assumed led to the attic. Standing on the
shelves that lined the walls below it, Drake climbed up quickly, pushed the door to one side and scooted
up inside.

Pulling the small flashlight that was attached to his key chain from his pocket; he twisted the top and
began his search. With so much junk in the attic, it was difficult at best to see anything, never mind a
person.

After an exhaustive, thorough search and finding nothing, he left the way he got in and immediately
made his way downstairs to find the entrance to the basement.

There was no door he could find inside so he went outside and around to the back in hopes of finding a
hatchway. Thanking God silently, Drake opened the rusty doors and relit the flashlight to make his
decent.

The basement was even more cluttered than the attic. Boxes and boxes of junk: clothing, brick-a-brack,
dishes, small appliances, shoes and whatever else someone would save was in there. He found
everything he could ever imagine, except Dustin.

Feeling sure he didn’t miss anything, he made his way back up the stairs and back around to the front of
the house to go back inside.

Slamming the door behind him, he screamed, “Dustin, where are you?”

Not knowing what else he could possibly do in or outside the house, he decided he didn’t have any other
choice, but to leave to get back to town and find help.

Opening the front door, he was knocked over by the very dead body of his brother Dustin.

Sitting up, he cradled his brother’s body in his arms, weeping, “Oh, Dustin; I’m so sorry. I tried to find
you. What happened to you? Who did this to you? Please,” he begged, “please don’t be dead. We can
go home together and everything will be okay.”

He didn’t have long to mourn; as he held his brother, he was suddenly shaken alert with a whisper that
seemed to come through the vents, “You’re next.”
The Campground Creeper

By: Terri Ann Armstrong