“So what happened after the zombie bit the guy’s head and ate his brains?” a kid asked.
“Nothing,” said the camp counselor. “That’s the end of the story. By the way, I never said the bad guy was a zombie.”
“He hadda be.”
“Not necessarily. He coulda been a Head Eater.”
“A monster ten times worse than a zombie. Zombies only eat your brains. Head Eaters yank your head right off your body. First they put the neck of your severed head over their lips and drink whatever blood’s inside your head. Then they jam their hand through the neck like it was the opening of a cookie jar, pull out everything, and eat every scrap. For desert, they rip out your eyeballs, jam them onto lollypop sticks, and lick them.”
One kid said, “My dad told me about them. Only he called them Camp Monsters. He saw one when he was at summer camp when they were around a campfire telling scary stories. All of a sudden, they heard a terrible scream. Then a weird looking guy ran out of the bushes. Everybody ran away, except for a girl who sprained her ankle. The monster grabbed her head and tore it off. Then he jammed his hand up through the neck, pulled out all the gunk inside her head and ate it.”
How did your dad know he ate the stuff in her skull if he ran away?” a kid asked.
“When the cops came, one of them stuck a flashlight inside her head and took a look. My dad said the cop puked his guts out for a whole hour.”
“Were her eyes gone?”
“Yep. The monster musta ate one of them, because the other one was only half-eaten. It was on a stick. It still had lotsa blood on it.”
A kid threw up.
“OK,” the counselor said. “One more story and that’s it for the night. This one’s about Bloody Bones.”
“Is that another kind of monster?”
“Yeah. Some say this one’s worse than Head Eaters. Anyway, there was this beautiful princess who lived in Transylvania who useta take long walks in the woods. One day, she got lost. And it got dark. As dark as it is now. Suddenly, she heard—”
A blood-curdling scream interrupted the story. As the kids looked in the direction of the noise, they saw a tattered man running toward them. Panicked, the kids scattered.
Jim sprang to his feet. “Hey jerk! You’re late. You were supposta scare them when I was telling them about the zombie who ate a guy’s brains. What happened? And why are you wearing that stupid mask?”
Instead of answering, the man threw a backpack that landed at Jim’s feet.
“What’s this?” Jim asked.
“C’mon, Sam. Cut the crap.”
The man remained silent.
When the counselor picked up the backpack, a baby’s head fell out.
“What the hell are you doing with a doll’s head? Is that how you were gonna scare the kids? With a stupid doll? That woulda never worked. Gimme the five bucks back I paid you to scare the kids.”
When Jim extended his hand for the money, the man grabbed it and ripped it from the socket. The shock threw Jim to the ground. He landed with his face close to the doll’s head. He uttered feral grunts when he realized it looked like his infant son.
The kids returned with the cops. A sergeant picked up Jim’s severed, eyeless head, turned on a flashlight, and stuck it inside. Another cop looked inside the baby’s severed, eyeless head. Gagging, he said, “I thought we caught all the Head Eaters.”
“We did. This was done by a Camp Monster. They like to tear off arms and munch on them like corn on the cob. Like an appetizer before the main course.”
Suddenly, everyone heard a horrible scream. When they looked in the direction of the noise, another tattered man rushed toward them.
The kids panicked and scattered. But the cops pulled their pistols and fired a dozen times.
The wallet they found on the body contained five dollars.