The campfire crackled and popped, casting irregular shadows all around the campsite.
Jerry and his buddies were on the last night of a week long backpacking trip through the rocky mountains, enjoying the company of their long lasting friendships.
Tired, dirty, and ready to get back to civilization the following morning, they down what was left of the beers they had brought while reminiscing on the days when they were young and dumb.
The surrounding woods were dark, and they could hear the calls of wildlife in the distance, but nothing unordinary or unusual about it.
“Well fellas, I think i’m gonna call it a night.” Jerry announced to his friends as he got up off the log which they had been using as a bench.
“Night J.” His friends replied almost in chorus.
Jerry had set his tent up on the very edge of the campsite knowing that he’d be the first one to head to bed that evening,
so that the light from the fire and the rowdy noise of his buddies didn’t interrupt him going to sleep.
He got all settled into his sleeping bag and closed his eyes, thinking about the large meal he was planning to have when he got back to civilization.
The thought of it was making his mouth water, thinking about a juicy hamburger, or perfectly cooked steak.
As much as he loved to camp and spend time outdoors, he never could warm up to the packed meals, and dehydrated foods.
Jerry had been asleep for a few hours when he was startled awake by the fire cracking loudly.
He peeked outside his tent to see if his friends were still sitting around the fire joking about all the dumb life choices they had made.
No one was out there and he could see that the other tents were closed up. They must have gone to bed he figured.
Jerry was just about to close the zipper to his tent up when he noticed a movement out of the corner of his eye. It came from the side, just beyond the campfires light.
He stared into the space for a second, shrugging it off as the shadows dancing in the now dwindling fires light, he went back inside his tent and fell back to sleep.
Another hour and Jerry was startled awake again, this time by movement outside of his tent.
His first thought was that one of his buddies had gotten up to rid themselves of some of the beer that they had consumed earlier. Quickly however, Jerry realized that this was not the case.
Whatever was out there was circling around his tent, nothing more than a shadow on the now very dim camp light.
He sat there and listened, he could hear the branches breaking as whatever was out there walked around the site.
“Who’s there?” Jerry announced loud enough to hopefully wake one of his friends. No answer. The shadow stopped and stood still for a moment before continuing to move about the campsite.
“This site is taken, we’re trying to sleep so go away.” Jerry announced even louder, really hoping to wake up one of his friends this time.
The shadow stopped again, but this time dropped to the ground. Jerry decided to open his tent just enough to see out.
As he peered out into the night he noticed that all of their camping and hiking equipment was gone, in fact he wasn’t even at the same campsite anymore.
His friends were nowhere to be seen, and all that he could make out was the remains of a campfire, now completely extinguished.