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They should have stayed home!Misty and her brother Chris are joined by their childhood friends when they decide to go in search of the urban legend that haunts their small town. But, when something starts coming after them they have to figure out whether or not the urban legend is real, and if it is how to stop it.
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The Legend of Beacon Swamp
Published by Sleeping Possum Press, 2017.
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
THE LEGEND OF BEACON SWAMP
First edition. October 21, 2017.
Copyright © 2017 Jacob Peyton.
Written by Jacob Peyton.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
About the Author
The heat was stifling as Chris, his sister Misty and their friends Mike and Travis all hung out on Travis's front porch. The only thing that was worse than the summer heat was their constant boredom. The kind of boredom that being fifteen in a small town will give you. A town, whose newspaper was only filled with bake sales and obituaries, maybe the odd sports win. Which left them nothing else to do, but sit on a front porch which for some reason was actually cooler than most of their houses this time of year. At least outside they could feel the occasional breeze when it happened by. All around them throughout the neighborhood came the rattle of air conditioners wheezing and coughing as though they too were on their last leg. Mike handed Misty another Cheerwine out of the old fishing cooler, the ice having long melted.
The cool flavor of the syrupy, cherry soda helped them to stay cool on days like this. Sometimes they even talked when they could find something to talk about. But, the truth was just like the paper there wasn't an abundance of gossip in the highschool either. It's hard to have good gossip when the whole school is less than 60 kids. Hard to have much of anything, Misty, mused looking over at Travis. He quickly looked down and laughed a little too loudly at something that her brother Chris had said.
"We need to find something to do. Isn't there anything going on?" Mike whined, for what felt like the hundredth time. She couldn't think of a time when Mike wasn't whining about one thing or another.
"Is there anything ever going on in Beacon Hills?" Misty replied pulling knots out of her long dark hair and trying not to come across snappish. But, in this weather however it was hard to do. Already, they were all covered in sweat.
"You've got that right." Chris said. "Watching paint dry is more interesting than this damn town."
Travis laughed. "We could always go out to Beacon Swamp." He joked. "Go see if we can wake up old miss Hernshaw from her watery grave."
Mike took a sip of his drink. "Why don't we go down to the river? Have a beach day." He added somewhat hopeful.
Poor Mike, Misty thought. The kid was afraid of his own shadow. "The only thing swimming in that river will get us, is tetanus shots." Misty replied, causing Chris and Travis to crack up. Travis caught her eye, and she blushed. If only he wasn't her brothers best friend.
Chris stopped laughing first. "Let's do it."
"Go to the river?" Mike asked.
Chris gave him a look and shook his head. "No, lets go to the swamp tonight."
"Aren't there leeches out there? Not to mention water moccasins." Misty replied, still feeling bad for Mike. Even if it scared him to death, he would still come with them. Just like the rest of them Mike didn't have anything else to do either.
"We'll be careful." Chris replied. "Besides going out there is like a rite of passage. Everyone does it."
Travis nodded. "Yeah, my brother and his friends went out there, back when they were in High school. Hell, he even took some of his friends from college out there last summer."
"So, it's settled then. We'll go out there have a couple of laughs and come back." Chris replied.
"I don't know guys." Mike begged.
Misty sighed. "Come on Mike, you know you will come out with us anyway. So you might as well just agree, besides then you can brag to everyone back at school that you did it."
"That's right. Hell, half the ones that swear they've done it haven't been farther than their own front door." Travis added, slapping a mayfly with one of his large dark hands. Turning Misty's attention back to him.
Chris leaned back against the wooden banister and picked at some of the peeling white paint that was all over the porch. "That's right Mike, you'll be one of the first in our class to do it."
Mike beamed. "I never thought of it like that. Besides the legend isn't real right?"
The others laughed. "That's what you're worried about?" Travis asked dumbfounded. "Here I was thinking you were scared of sinkholes, and snakes and shit. But, the ghost of Mrs. Hernshaw? That's what's got you bitching and moaning?" Chris all but rolled around on the porch laughing and even Misty was caught up in it for moment. She had to lean back against the side of the house just to keep from falling over.
"It's not that funny guys." Mike said to the others, taking his glasses so he could wipe them clean of the moisture from the humidity.
Misty was the first to stop laughing. "I don't know Mike, it's kinda funny. Especially, since you're supposed to be the smartest one of us. And you're over there afraid that Mrs. Hernshaw will pull you down into a watery grave tonight." The others started laughing again.
"Don't worry Mike I'll keep you safe." Travis said laughing and flexing his bicep. Causing Misty to stop laughing and stare in spite of herself.
"You guys suck." Mike said getting up and going to sit over on the cooler.
Chris nudged his sister with his foot. "Are you okay you got a weird look on your face?" He asked, trying to see what she was looking at.
Travis laughed. "She can't help it man the gun show took her breath away."
Misty turned beet red, causing Travis to laugh again. Chris looked between his best friend and his sister and just shook his head. Someone stuck their head out of a screen door and shouted farther up the street. "Mikey!"
"Shit, that's my mother. What time are we heading out tonight?" He asked anxiously, not wanting to keep her waiting.
"Ten o'clock, down by the stop sign two streets over, that way we can head down to the swamp together." Chris said looking around. Everyone nodded. "Plus, it helps guarantee nobody gets cold feet." Chris added giving Mike a hard look.
"I guess we should go, too." Misty said. Chris nodded, she was right. They had a longer walk than everyone else since they lived several streets away and already had to walk through the woods as it was. Travis hopped to his feet and helped Misty up. She was surprised to find how strong he was. Growing up he had always been shorter than her, now she had to look up at him. Chris cleared his throat and helped Travis dump the cooler and bring it back inside his house. Inside they could hear all the air conditioners struggling against the heat, but couldn't feel much of a difference.
"See y'all at ten." Travis sighed, with a small wave before retreating deeper into the house.
Chris and Misty were covered in sweat by the time they made it to the woods that separated their house from Travis and Mikey's neighborhood. "At least it won't be so hot down in the swamp tonight." Chris told Misty.
Misty just rolled her eyes. "You're forgetting about the mosquitoes and everything else that's in the swamp and it's a swamp so you're still going to be dealing with the humidity. Idiot." She said shaking her head.
"Oh, yeah I hadn't really thought about that, besides driving by it every now and again I don't think we've ever been to the swamp." He said.
"No, Dad always talks about taking us down to see it, but I think he knows Mom would have a fit if he actually did. I mean who takes a family day to the swamp anyhow?" She replied.
"Well, besides the river its the only other thing the town has going for it tourism wise."
"Tourism? Really?" She asked trying not laugh.
Chris held up his hands in defense. "Hey that's what everyone is always saying. Besides the ten whole people that drive through town a year on their way to greener pastures seem to like it. Or at least taking pictures of it from their car." He added lamely.
The woods they now walked through gave them a little respite from the heat. Not much, but enough. In the winter Misty actually liked walking through this part of the woods. Especially, when the leaves started to change colors. But, now she just wanted to get home and cuddle up next to the air conditioner. From the way Chris was panting from each step, he felt the same way. For all of their sakes she hoped he was right, and it was cooler tonight. She didn't know what would be worse being miserable in a swamp, or being hot and miserable in a swamp. At least Travis was coming, she thought, not sure how she felt about the way it made her heart flutter.
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