Silver moonlight sliced through the trees, casting long shadows that danced over the leaf-littered forest floor. In a clearing, among the deafening sound of thousands of crickets, stood a man. The blade of his machete glinted in the moonlight. Dark red blood dripped from the tip and splatted onto the dried leaves below. He exhaled heavily, his hot breath billowing up in a fog as it hit the crisp night air.

His eyes narrowed behind his mask as he stared at the cabin across the clearing. The lights were out, and to anyone passing by, it would seem deserted, empty. But he knew better. She was inside. The only one left of her ten person group who'd decided to take a last minute camping trip before the weather turned cold.

But the rest of her group was gone. Bloody, butchered, and on their way to becoming rotting corpses. Lifting his boot-clad foot, he stepped forward, the crunch of leaves and the snapping of twigs causing a knot of excitement to form in his stomach. She knew he was out there. She knew he was coming for her.

The old wooden steps creaked as his weight bore down on them. The girl inside covered her mouth with both hands, trying to quieten her fear-induced gasping breaths. Her body trembled and her heart hammered so loud she was certain he could hear it banging against her ribs. The door groaned in protest as it slowly swung open, the light of the moon casting a silhouette around the man in the doorway. The man who had gutted and decapitated her friends.

Her swollen, red eyes widened with terror. She watched his shadow move closer, the toe of his boot coming into view as he stepped into the room. She drew her knees into her chest, trying to make herself smaller, invisible. But in the sparsely furnished room, blanketed with dust covered sheets, there were only so many places to hide. She had to escape. If she remained inside, she would die. Just like her friends.

Her killer looked from left to right, his eyes sweeping across the room. He smelled her. The smell of her fear mixed with the disgusting aroma of her perfume caused his eyes to prick and his mouth to water. He loathed all that she represented, but he craved her as well. Her terror. Her hopelessness.

His desire to slice into her skin, to spill her blood, made adrenaline course through his veins. He couldn't wait to close his eyes and sway to the melodic sound of her screams. He would paint the walls with her blood.

Excitement pushed him forward, panic caused her to react. She jerked, her back hitting the wall with a thud that echoed around the room. Behind his mask, her killer smiled. Swift steps―one, two, three―brought him closer to his target. The girl screamed. All sense of self-preservation was gone as fear corroded her mind.

She jumped to her feet, screaming in pain when the blade of the machete plunged deep into her abdomen. Blood splattered across the floor as her assailant ripped the weapon from her organs. Her body stiffened as she covered the now gaping wound with her hands. Stumbling forward, she lifted a blood covered hand to brace against the wall as she continued her futile attempt to escape.

Volcanic heat ripped through her as the blade once again plunged into her body. She tried to scream, but the sound died as blood gurgled in her throat. Her hand, soaked with blood, made a wet smacking sound as it connected with the window. Her knees buckled and the room darkened as she fell, her palm dragging down the window, hanging on until the very last moment before she collapsed to the floor.

He stood over her, a sinister smile gracing his lips that were hidden behind a blood covered mask. With one last satisfying glance at her blood-soaked body and mangled blonde hair, he waltzed out of the cabin and toward his home. There he would wait, hidden in the shadows, until the next group of unfortunate fools decided to go camping.



Less than a hundred miles away, Bella threw a duffel bag into the back of her jeep and slammed the door closed. Grabbing her best guy's hand, she flashed him a warm smile and pressed her lips to his. "Is everyone ready?"

He grinned and tugged her closer. "Yeah, we're taking three cars so no one is crowded. Are you sure you're up for this?"

Nodding in reassurance, she slipped behind the wheel. "Yeah, baby. Of course. I love camping."