A story by E. N. Crane

E. N. Crane

   "Did you hear that?" Lionel asked, sitting up in the tent. 

   "Shut up and go back to sleep," Fiona answered and swatted in his general direction. It was the last time she'd let her friends talk her into taking a city boy camping. For the past 4 hours, through dinner and campfire time, it had been nothing but panic and alarm over basic nature sounds. 

   "No, I hear something! Listen!" 

   "Uhhhnnn..." Fiona replied and grabbed her pillow. Poised over her head, she prepared to whack him with it when she paused in the silence. A slow steady rhythm came from outside the nylon shelter. A crunch of leaves and then the subtle tapping of boots... boots on a log? Boots on... where were the boots going? 

    Fully alert, she slid from the sleeping bag and put on the thick soled boots she'd left at the opening of the tent. Lionel, a terrible listen as ever, struggled out of his own sleeping bag. As she watched in horror, he managed to trap one arm and leg into the sack and fell face first into the left side of the tent. 

In slow motion, the pole came loose and the whole structure collapsed and she was now squarely on top of Lionel with a sleeping bag between them. He started to speak, but she pressed her finger to his lips and listened. Fiona could hear the rustle of wind through the needles in the neighboring conifers, the laughter of a camp a way off... and the beating of Lionel's heart beneath her. 

   "Whatever it is, it's gone now," she whispered, trying to slide off of him and suddenly resistant. His body radiated heat, the green eyes full of an innocence and sincerity she hadn't seen in almost a decade. At almost 30, the pair of them were close to the same age but years apart in life experience. 

   "Is there anything else people do when they're camping?" He asked quietly against her ear and she felt her whole body respond, sliding her hands up his chest and wrapping her arms around his neck. 

   "Sometimes, you share heat when it's cold," Fiona whispered and leaned in to kiss the blonde man in front of her. 

   As their lips met, the shiny blade of a knife sliced through the side of the tent and a hollow eyed figure stood above them. 

   "The woods ain't made for lovers, girly," he snarled, and lunged forward.