[ux_latest_products columns=”4″ title=”Check our Latest products!”]
“CAR WASH $5” was written on a sign held by a teenage girl who was standing at the curb trying to attract the attention of motorists. Blonde haired and slightly underweight for her height Julie was the stereotypical high school student at Mud Valley High School. Nestled between two majestic mountains belonging to the Appalachian range, Mud Valley was a small town with a population of about two thousand people. It was established as a mining town and had seen better days. Back in the 1880s the town’s population was over ten thousand, but when the mine closed due to an explosion in 1952 the mining firm decided to “pull up camp” and the town’s population dissipated to a mere fifth of what it had been.
“Car wash $5”, Julie screamed as she tried to motion drivers into the parking lot. Her marketing tactics seemed to work as the service station received a steady flow of vehicles. Anything from pick-up trucks to farm tractors were being washed and shined. This car wash was being put on by the Mud Valley High School Geology Club to raise money for a camping field trip up one of the mountains, Gunter’s Pointe, near town.
Mud Valley’s newest addition to the teaching staff, Mr. Donnell, arranged the field trip to teach the students about stratum that can be found on some of the shear faces of the lower hills around Gunter’s Pointe. By Sunday afternoon it was made official: the Geology Club had raised enough funds were going on the field trip next Friday.
Students were starting to congregate at the parking lot late Friday afternoon. They each grabbed their backpacks and started the hike. The teacher had asked that everyone bring only necessary items. Julie, however, was bringing the locket that she always wore around her neck that was given to her by her mother. The trek went surprisingly fast and before they knew it the students were at their campsite for the night. With tents pitched and a fire made the students, and chaperones, were settling into their new surrounding around the campfire. A short time later the students, and their adult counterparts, retired to their tents. Julie changed into her bed clothes and crawled into her sleeping bag. Julie closed her eyes and slowly drifted to sleep.
Julie was plagued with a horrible dream of her in the forest with the Geology Club. Suddenly the sky turned a bright orange and consumed the tops of the conifer trees. Flames shot down the trunks of the trees and ran to the ground. Within a matter of minutes her classmates were consumed by fire. Shrieks of pain and the smell of burning flesh filled the air as thick plumes of smoke choked Julie as she stood burning in the center of this promenade of biblical Hell. In all directions she could see rows of fire. Burning classmates, a constant rainfall of human appendages, entrails, and clothing were incinerated once touching the ground.
She could not force herself to end this nightmare. The smell of burning flesh made Julie vomit. Her vomit consisted of a thick, back tar substance that coagulated mid air and fell to the ground as ash. The pile of ash continued to accumulate. When the vomiting ceased Julie wiped the spittle from her lower lip with a seared hand and noticed the condition of her hand and started to weep. Red drops streamed from her eyes and sizzled when they hit the mound of ash. The ash and blood seemed to change the powdery mound into a hard shelled globule. As the mound solidified it took on an egg-like shape. Julie picked and raked at the egg with her fingers. After removing all of the pieces of the shell Julie could plainly see the inner contents of the egg. The figure inside had the form of a human fetus, but was the size of an adult. The fetus’s chest was still. She could see what looked like an umbilical cord wrapped around the fetus’s neck and surmised that was the cause of death. However, on closer inspection she saw that it was not a cord, but a familiar band of metal; her locket.
Julie awoke with a crippling pain in her stomach that made her cry out. She painfully got out of her sleeping bag and stood up. Mr. Donnell, hearing the cry, entered the tent. Julie told Mr. Donnell that she was all right and had a bad dream. As she told this she grimaced from the growing pain in her stomach. Mr. Donnell advised Julie that she would not be attending the rest of the field trip and would have to go home due to the apparent physical illness she was experiencing. After using a cell-phone to arrange Julie’s transport back to her family Mr. Donnell gathered the rest of the group and vaguely explained Julie’s illness.
Within the hour the sheriff was there to take Julie home. Once home she told her family about her sudden illness. Her mother rubbed Julie’s forehead as she lay in bed and Julie drifted off to sleep.
Julie awoke hours later to the sound of an anchor man on television. He was explaining that a terrible forest fire had been sparked outside Mud Valley where she was camping and that the Geology Club was feared dead as no replies from several desperate attempts at communicating with them were received. As Julie heard this she felt a stinging pain in her abdomen. She has an irregular maroon shaped stain that was faintly visible on the front of her pajama top. Julie could see that the stain was from something that had seeped through from the other side. Julie pulled up her shirt to uncover her abdomen and was surprised to see no oozing wound. Julie, puzzled, went downstairs to the family room where her family was watching the newscast. She embraced her mother and her mother consoled her. “Julie, God was with you yesterday. We are so glad you are safe”. Julie looked back up at her mother knowing the plethora of surreal horror that had been inflicted on her and she knew that this was just the beginning. With an almost sinister smile on her face she opened her mouth and softly said, “Me too, mama…me too.”
write by Sarah Rounsville