When I was young, in the Boy Scouts, I went to summer camp in a remote spot on the Mason Dixon line. It was fameous for being on the route of the South’s retreat from the defeat at Gettysburg.
There was a story that there was a lost patrol that still marched through there, on moonless nights. Anyone they noticed would be conscripted to join them.
It was one of many campfire stories we told, and I might have forgotten all about it, except for or one night. I woke up to the sound of drums in the woods.
The camp was silent. I cracked open the flap and froze. On the path a troop was marching through a low fog. Most were wounded, all wearing civil war uniforms, rucksacks, carrying muskets slung over the shoulder; as they marched a single drummer ticked off the time.
I tried not to even breathe as they marched by. Finally the last soldier came into view, and something about him really sent a chill through me. Just as they were about to go out of sight his head whipped around, and I thought our eyes met for a moment.
Soon after my family moved far away from Pennsylvania, and I convinced myself it was all a bad dream. I moved back here last month, and have been hearing drums late at night.
The new moon is soon, and I figured out what was disturbing about that last soldier. He wasn’t wearing a Civil War uniform. He wore a Boy Scout uniform.
It’s early morning. The sun won’t be up for another couple of hours. You’re fast asleep in bed, lost in a dream, when the phone rings. Rather than waking up, you roll over and cover your head with a pillow.
Hours pass. The sun rises.
The phone is ringing.
When you wake up, your alarm clock is blaring and the phone is ringing. By the time you will yourself to turn the alarm off, the phone has stopped ringing. You realize that it’s been ringing all morning.
You slide out of bed and press the blinking red button on your phone as you stumble into the bathroom. The phone beeps, followed by the friendly, electronic voice.
“Hello. You have six hundred and sixty-six new messages. Message one." The phone beeps again, and you’re not prepared for what comes next."
You spin around, thinking that she’s standing right behind you. There’s pure terror in her screams, accompanied by other disturbing noises. You stand there, horrified, for about ten seconds. Screaming gives way to hysterical, garbled crying before dying out with the sounds of spilling meat and tearing flesh.
The phone beeps again. You’re shaking.