Phantom Camp II: Validation
This is a flash fiction sequel to the story Phantom Camp, originally published on the Free Zombie Fiction blog in March, 2014. Two fathers return to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area after a previous adventure.
It was approaching twilight when Luke and Ron maneuvered their canoe around the rocky point on Phantom Lake. It was their first trip back to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota after experiencing the scare of their lives two years ago.
Their encounter with what was some sort of zombified Sasquatch had been terrifying, but after two years of wondering what it was, they returned to try and find out. They never did get a good answer from the staff at the US Forest Service. In fact, the boys in green simply chuckled when they heard Nate’s description of the stinking grey giant and their subsequent battle with the beast.
Not taking lightly to the ridicule, Nate was out to prove that he and Ron weren’t crackpots, that this thing was real.
As they rounded the bend, Luke, in the bow of the canoe, was the first to see the shadowed outline of two figures about fifty yards away. They appeared with their heads down fixated on something in the small stream draining into the lake. Their torsos were covered with matted hair covering their greyish skin. It was also clear that one was much shorter than the other. The defining feature was an elongated forehead with a sagittal crest running the length of its skull.
“Hey Ron, look over there,” Luke said as he pointed off to his right. “I think that’s what we’re looking for, and it looks like he has a friend.”
“I’ll be damned if it isn’t.” Ron added.
With alarming quickness Luke felt his adrenaline kick in. When his paddle inadvertently hit the side of the canoe, the larger of the two beasts lifted his head and stared menacingly in their direction.
As they paddled to within twenty yards of the beasts, Ron and Luke both readied their razor-sharp battle axes on the floor of the canoe. They respected the no firearms rules of the Boundary Waters and were determined to kill this thing within the parameters of the law.
The stench of the beasts suddenly overtook Luke and Ron. It was a stink Luke remembered well from their last encounter.
The large Zombie Sasquatch waved off the younger one, then screeched its call, “Harumph, chucka, chucka!” The gruesome youngling strode off into the forest as the older beast with the still-oozing hatchet wound in his forehead entered the water to attack.
It dove under the water and within five seconds surfaced near the center edge of the canoe. It likely never saw Luke’s axe as it swung down and sliced through its neck, lopping off its prehistoric head. Black ooze squirted out as both head and torso sank into the clear iron-rich water.
Ron looked at Luke and said “Well played, my friend.”
Off in the distance they heard a higher pitched howl, “Harumph, chucka, chucka!”
Jim Landwehr's first book,
Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir,
has just been published by eLectio Publishing this June.
Landwehr resides in Wisconsin with his wife Donna, and their two children. He works as a Geographic Information Systems Analyst for the Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use.