|When I was younger, I camped one summer at Camp Toi-Le-Tai in the remote mountains of Idaho. It was a beautiful camp with huge pines, a crystal clear lake, and fresh crisp air. But what happened that summer scared me so bad, I've never been back.|
The week at camp had been just great. Canoeing, swimming, hiking all day long - and the food was terrific. I should tell you that at Camp Toi-Le-Tai, campers all sleep in tents but meals are cooked and served in a large dining hall. We can take a shower each day at the central showerhouse, but at the campsites there are just pit latrines, or outhouses as some call them. Since they tend to smell, the latrines are a couple hundred feet away from the tent sites. That was really the only thing I didn't like about camp.
On our last night at camp, we had a great bonfire with all the skits and songs we had learned through the week. It lasted a couple hours and was a blast! After the campfire, we were all bushed from our week of fun and looking forward to heading home the next morning.
We all walked the quarter mile back to our tents and got ready for bed. We brushed our teeth and changed clothes - that is all of us except Gus. Gus was so tired, he just flopped onto his sleeping bag and fell asleep, dirty clothes and all. This was Gus's first year at camp, being only 11, and he was plumb tuckered out, poor guy. We just let him sleep as we cleaned up the campsite a bit and hiked to the outhouse to empty our bladders before bed. By the time we were all done, it smelled pretty bad. Then, everyone hiked back to our tents, climbed into our own sleeping bags and fell asleep.
A couple hours later, the call of nature woke Gus. It was dark, pitch black, no moon and a cover of clouds. Gus felt around in his tent for his flashlight, but with no luck. He really had to go. I mean He Had To Go! He didn't want to wake anyone because he figured they would tease him for not going earlier. Since he'd been here all week, Gus figured he could find his way to the outhouse and back in the dark. So, he started down the path, alone, in the gloom.
When he was about halfway there, he heard an owl hoot up in a tree. Then, the wind started blowing a bit and the breeze stirred the trees, causing the leaves to rustle. He could suddenly smell the stink of the outhouse wafting on the wind. But, wait, thought Gus. The wind is blowing from over that way to my left and the outhouse is still up ahead of me - that smell can't be the outhouse. Just then, he heard a stick break in the woods off to his left and the smell grew worse.
Gus picked up his pace with his heart pumping a bit faster. But, even walking faster, he still heard branches scraping and dead leaves on the ground crunching off to his left. When he spotted the outhouse just ahead, he broke into a run. At the same time, he heard a growl behind him and the sound of feet kicking up the gravel of the path.
Gus reached the outhouse. As he was pulling the door shut, he could see a snarling beast with crusty matted hair loping down the trail toward him on all fours. Gus slammed the door and latched it shut just as a hairy arm slammed into the structure. The creature pounded on the walls, scratched at the hinges, and struggled to open the door but with no luck. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity but was actually just a couple minutes, the noises stopped and Gus could hear footsteps wandering off down the trail.
Gus breathed a sigh of relief in that smelly outhouse. He had survived. He planned to stay there all night until the guys came looking for him. There was no way he'd go out there again.
As Gus relaxed a little, he wondered what that creature was. It had smelled just awful and he could smell it way before seeing it. Also as he relaxed, his need to go to the bathroom came back.
As Gus sat on the toilet seat relieving himself, he couldn't smell the creature and he didn't hear the squishy sounds below him, nor the low growl from under the outhouse. But, when he was roughly pulled into the hole, he let out a most gruesome, blood-curdling scream that filled the entire camp.
And then it was quiet, completely quiet.
The next morning, noticing Gus was missing, a search was organized. The only trace ever found of Gus was his dirty t-shirt ripped apart, covered with sewage, and smelling disgusting. It was found beside a big hole dug in the ground a few feet from the outhouse. That hole was a tunnel that ran to the pit under the outhouse.
Poor Gus, maybe a buddy or a flashlight would have made a difference.