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Proposed Book: Bloodcurdling Stories of the Cache Hunt!


Firefishe
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I am proposing a book of short horror fiction with the emphasis on geocachers and geocaching.

 

This would probably be a niche-market item (obviously), so I'm looking for ideas from fellow geocachers on what subject matter to include.

 

I am doing this to keep time between my gps receiver research and development project. (See earlier posts in "GPS Units and Software," from the last couple of months or so if interested.)

 

I thought I'd write an anthology for we geocachers-the kind of stories to share around the campfire at night. icon_eek.gif

 

I'm not much into slasher stuff, or blood and gore, preferring the more traditional "spook and spectre" type of tale, myself, but I'm not the one who's going to be reading it icon_wink.gif.

 

So c'mon! Tell me what you'd like to read! I'll put the most unique and unusual suggestions at the top of the list.

 

Meantime, here I go again, typing like a madman!

 

err...Fishe. icon_wink.gif

 

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions,

Warm regards,

Stephen Brown (Firefishe)

 

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...the hazy, bright, cloud-filled sky of morning shown around the clear-cut, old logs protruding at varying angles out of the ground like pikes.

 

--

 

Word had gone out of Dara Hummel's failing to return to her camp that night, and the local Forester's of the DNR were called out to assist, they knowing their attendant areas better than anyone.

 

Doug Hailey of Bourbon, Michigan knew his area well, and his team being closest to Dara Hummel's camp site, were the first to go out to search for the missing woman.

 

Having gotten clues from her fellow campers at the state forest campground, Doug and the search-party set their own gps receivers at the coordinates Dara had shown her friends before she set off to find the unlisted cache.

 

Slightly over an hour passed as the searchers walked feverishly under the hazy morning sky. The sky was pale yellow and seemed ethereally unnatural to Doug and his crew as they intensified their search after coming to the first deadfall that Dara had come to earlier the previous day.

 

The gps receiver had worked tirelessly all the way to this spot, and Doug Hailey would have looked at the survey-grade Trimble receiver with pride any other day. But today was just too weird-feeling for Doug. He had walked these woods for over 20 years, since he had been hunting with his own father many years before, and never felt as uncomfortable as he did now. His own emotions were shown in the faces of his crew as well!

 

What was it about today? What was Doug afraid to find? He felt a horrid sense of foreboding that they would find Dara Hummel, but not in the condition he wanted to find her in. Doug knew the forest could be cruel at times, and he had vague images of bear-maulings in the forefront of his mind.

 

The GPS Doug held in his hand gave a curt "beep" tone to indicate that the proximity to their destination was close-at-hand. They didn't see the trail, at first, as the deadfall was thick when looked at directly.

 

Hale Mumen of the Presbytery Township Fire Volunteers was the first of the searchers to see the footprint in the mud, still moist from the dew that still clung, damp and dank, to the plants around the deadfall. Even the trees seemed to give off an aura of dereliction and decrepitude. To Hale, the whole scene before him seemed quite obscene to his own common senses.

 

Hale yelled that he had found the track, and motioned for Doug to come over. Sure enough, as Doug Hailey looked down into the mud, the outline was that of the type of hiking boot that Dara Hummel's friends had said she was wearing before she set out on her cache hunt.

 

Doug looked up from the track then and saw the trail. He remembered this road, but it was from a long time back. Back when he had been eight years old and his father was taking him out into the forest for the first time. Back when the road had been freshly made by a Forestry Dept. bulldozer for the various logging operations permitted in the area at the time.

 

He looked at the road--now a single-track pathway, lightly winding between uprooted cedars and Oaks--tall giants of trees, now fallen-over from who knew what kind of weather. Storms, high winds, and pummeling rain took their toll on Michigan's northern woodlands during the course of the summer and autumn months, and Doug knew that the fallen giants to either side of the narrow path could have been uprooted by any of those means.

 

Still, as he looked at the pathway, then back to the first deadfall, something in his mind didn't seem right. The trees were too ornately positioned--too perfect in their symmetry at being "out of place" for Doug to not see; he had simply been in the forest too long to not see the discrepancy of position in how the trees lain across the ground.

 

The trees trunks looked decayed enough, all right, and Doug took the time to momentarily count the rings on one tree that wasn't too badly decayed to get a gander as to it's age. Doug counted...then counted again! "My God!" Doug thought to himself. "This tree is only 20 years old!"

 

He looked again at the rings, eager to find that he was wrong. But he wasn't. Looking up over the end of the trunk, Doug followed the grain of the exposed grain of the tree trunk down to where it met the ground after a short incline.

 

Doug noticed that where the tree met the ground, the tree--trunk, bark and all--was flattened-out. Something just didn't fit right. His college days came back to him then, and he realized that what he was seeing was not something normally attributed to a normal type or rate of decay for tree mass.

 

Doug got up and walked around the end of the tree, following it's length to where the flattened part was. Doug bent down to pick up the bark.

 

"What the hell?" Doug said out loud as his hand touched something that looked like the dark bark of a young oak, but instead came up off the ground as light as a feather, and translucent. Whatever Doug was now holding in his hand wasn't tree bark, and had simply looked dark because the black, muddy ground underneath the translucent material had been showing through. It just didn't fit...

 

Suddenly, he stood bolt upright from the fallen tree, in one, swift, deliberate motion. Doug stood stock still!

 

Doug was now very scared. Hale Mumen, who had gone on ahead and indicated that the pathway opened up into a clearing of some sort, looked at Doug then, and stared into the face of a very frightened man!

 

As a precaution, Doug had brought his Taurus .44 Magnum revolver along. He had been carrying it in a leather belt holster, of the type used for hunting.

 

Doug looked straight ahead of the fallen tree he now stood over. Hale was at Doug's side as Doug was looking straight down the not-too-decayed fallen tree's trunk; as he was doing this, he reflexedly unsnapped the retention strap on the holster, freeing the big gun to be drawn if need be.

 

Doug didn't do anything but listen to the rustle of wind through the bare branches of the trees in the area around him. He looked up and around with just his eyes, back and forth and stared momentarily down the trunk of the fallen tree now and again. Hale looked at his searchmaster with concern, but said nothing.

 

The rest of the search team had gathered by this time, and were now gathered around Doug Hailey and Hale Mumen, watching with the same concern that Hale had for their team leader.

 

When one of the team piped a bit loudly--or at least it seemed loud, given the utter silence that had settled upon the scene as Doug scanned the immediate area in front of him--Doug Hailey gave a curt motion with his hand, indicating to the speaker to keep silent. A resolute STOP! motion put the querent to stillness, and Doug looked up at him then.

 

As he was bent over, Doug had given the ground around the translucent material a quick once-over. As he panned his eyes left, Doug thought he picked up movement out of the corner of his left eye; it was something in that movement that caused Doug to react so.

 

Doug scanned the area where he thought the movement had come from, about fifty to eighty feet and at an angle from where he was standing, next to where the trees were a bit thicker. He stared and stared but saw nothing. Doug thought he had better get on with the search and get out as soon as he could.

 

"We need to find the woman quickly, get her out of here, then get us out of here, fast!" No one said anything except Hale, who politely reiterated that he thought there was a clearing up ahead. Doug Hailey continued scanning, but was a bit more relaxed and moved about more freely now. Evidently, whatever had raised Doug's hackles had gone now, at least for the moment.

 

"I can show you where it is!" Hale Mumen exclaimed as he pointed the way for the rest of his team. Hale had always been point on any outing he had been on, his tour of Viet Nam proving a saving grace for many of the men in his platoon. Being a munitions expert as well as an expert tracker certainly had it's benefits as to survival, especially where land mines had been concerned.

 

Hale worked no less tirelessly now as he motioned in the direction of the path as it made apparently gentle turns around roots and ferns. Doug looked suspiciously at the turns. They were too perfect, too well marked, in and around the roots and ferns. He also felt he moved altogether too easily through the maze-like pathway, which ended at a sandy threshold before a well-logged, thick, loggy clear-cut. Doug knew where he was then.

 

He remembered this clearing from his youth. He had been eight, and it was the first clearing his father had taken him to. Memories flooded back to him now, as he recalled a short drive from the Forestry Field Office to the clearing--a winter rye field--where his grandfather was waiting for the both of them as he snapped pictures of the Elk that were foraging there. Looking over the scene before him now, twenty years appeared to have taken it's toll over the once lush rye field.

 

But Doug could not consolidate the scene before him with the scene of his earlier youth. The scene was too surreal, the logs protruding like pikes on shallow angles out of short scrub grass. The thick moss that grew over the logs in places. This was open sky, and something in the scene before him sent Doug's mind searching for what it was that seemed just plain wrong.

 

Then he saw it. It had been moving in the corner of his eye but had not registered immediately. Over to the right of his and his team's vantage point, something was moving. Doug took out a pair of binoculars and looked to the right of the center of the old rye field where a majority of logs were protruding into the early morning sky, and slightly back toward the direction of the search team.

 

Doug strained his small binocular's focus range on what appeared to be a piece of cloth of some kind, caught on a log and being blown by the gentle morning breeze that Doug was now aware of as having been blowing for the last fifteen minutes since they had arrived.

 

Doug strained again, looking feverishly for what it might be. Hale came up beside him and said, in a reasonably loud voice, "Why don't we go over and see what it is?" Doug looked at Hale, as if to say "Uh Duh"--as he felt a bit sheepish at his just standing there for what was about a five minute period, straining when he could have been running feverishly over to where the item lay.

 

"All Right!" Doug intoned loudly, his voice echoing off the forest around him. "Let's get over there and see what it is!" As a matter of habit, Doug looked down at the Trimble GPS receiver and noticed it showed a distance of about only 55 feet remaining to the geocache that the missing Dara Hummel had been seeking.

 

Doug stopped dead in his tracks then, stopped while the rest of his team moved forward. Fifty-five feet was about the distance to the wind-blown cloth or whatever it was. His binoculars had a rangefinder attachment and it had indicated "55.2" in distance to the area the wind-blown object was in.

 

"Gads!" Doug Hailey shouted, as he joined his team in moving toward the part of the clearing the wind-blown cloth was in. . .

 

Hope escaped the search team as they approached the area of the clear-cut rye field where the wind was causing what appeared to be a thin old rag, which was caught on a small, dead tree branch, to be blown about by the wind.

 

Hale walked over to the "rag" and bent down to pick it up. His hand touched it momentarily, but was withdrawn in a split-second. Hale just stood there and vocalized loudly "What the hell?"

 

"What is it, Hale?" Doug Hailey looking at Hale Mumen with concern. Hale was looking down at the piece of rag, or cloth, or whatever it was--Hale wasn't just sure what sparked off that sensation--now and then looked a bit more closely.

 

"Gawwwwwwwwwwd! Get it away from me!!!" Hale recoiled in abject disgust.

 

Doug was a bit more restrained as he walked a little closer to the immediate area Hale was in. He looked at Hale coldly, then asked in a somewhat curt voice, "What the hell's wrong with you, Hale, it's just a rag!" He trailed off for a moment, then added, "Isn't it?"

 

"Look for yourself and you tell me what it is!" Hale exclaimed. He was being tended to by Mary Brighton--an EMT and Paramedic--who had joined the group at the last minute. She had already looked and discerned the outline and shape, but was flabbergasted as to what she was seeing.

 

Suddenly, the Trimble GPS unit on Doug Hailey's side went off. The beep was the type informing it's user that they had arrived at the set coordinates. Doug punched the keyboard, silencing the beeper, which had been set for continuous at the start of the search. Doug hadn't wanted to not hear the beeper in a high noise environment if there had been any.

 

Doug put the unit back in it's belt clip and looked over to where the...object...was still being blown like a flag in the wind. Except this was not a rag or a mere piece of cloth. This was something else, something else entirely.

 

Whatever can be seen as a shape or form, whether in the Natural, or Mundane, synthetic world, has it's own psychological impart upon the viewer. This proved no less true for Mr. Doug Hailey, Forester for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, that day.

 

What Doug was looking upon was nothing less then the physical outline of a woman, but that was the most extent of the rest of what he saw. He saw the outline of the body, but where was the depth? That was the weird part! There was no depth to the outline of the body he was looking at. It was like looking at a flat picture of a person, but in raised relief, like the plastic models of mountain ranges he had seen at Isle Royale National Park.

 

Doug pulled out a picture of Dara Hummel, given to her by Dara's best friend at their campsite, and studied it. He then studied the outline on the ground. Doug choked then and pulled back away from the area immediately before him, gagging on his own saliva before spitting it out onto the ground. Mary, having finished with Hale, was at his side in an instant, helping him to keep from collapsing in paroxysms of gagging and coughing and choking.

 

Doug snapped out of it quickly, snapping to attention and doing an about-face, right back to where he had been standing. He was livid! "But how...I don't understand! It has to be her!" His voice trailed off. But where's the rest of her?"

 

This brought an aura of immediate silence to the group. They had all seen "it" by now, the outline of a woman in the moist humus of the rye field, part of which was caught on the branch of a log, giving the effect that the woman had tripped over the log and flattened-out into the flat outline that was before them now.

 

Mary--a long time veteran of the emergency and trauma rooms at the local Bourbon Hospital--decided to put on some latex gloves and exam the outline more closely. She was sorry she did. Mary put her hand on the loose, flapping piece, took it in her gloved hand, removed it from where it was caught, and moved it around in her hand a bit. "Jeezus God, this is human skin!!!" was all Mary could get out before she jumped up and away from the...whatever it was.

 

Mary looked down again. "It's got a face, too!" She looked the outline over again from top to bottom, side to side.

 

Doug Hailey walked over to Mary, now very somber. He had been looking at the outline for the time that Mary had been physically examining it. He knew what they had found, but had no logical explanation for it. He motioned for his team to come together. He asked them, one by one, the same questions. They all answered the same.

 

"What do you see here?" Doug would ask each one of his team members?" Each one of Doug's team would say the same thing: "I see the outline of a woman, mid to late twenties, lying in the humus."

 

"What do you notice about her?" Doug would ask. "I see that her clothes don't appear to be present, but what about that cloth?"

 

At this point, Doug would just look at each of them, long and hard, as if to give them time to think it over.

 

"It's not cloth, Mary!" Doug exclaimed to the last of his team members he was questioning. "It's skin! Just like you said it was!"

 

Mary was dumbfounded. "But where's the rest of the internal organs...and the skeleton? That body is nothing but skin!"

 

And so it was. Where a young woman had been only a day before, there was nothing left of her internal organs or skeleton; nothing but a semi-translucent shell of skin, with the perfect outlines of a woman in raised-relief upon it's surface.

 

"Wait! There's something solid under that log!" Mary rushed over to where a solid part of a limb appeared to be. She got down on her knees and began to pry a piece of decayed log up with a folding shovel.

 

"Look what I've found!" Mary exclaimed as she pried up the last of the log." And what Mary found made the others think, think for a very long time: What they thought had been only skin, had part of it's left arm left, and in the hand of that arm, a Magellan 330 gps receiver, still active and functioning, bearing the same coordinates as Doug Hailey's Trimble. There was no sign of any cache.

 

The End

 

196939_600.gi f

 

[This message was edited by Firefishe on August 13, 2002 at 06:51 PM.]

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How about the guy who went out geocaching alone. It was during the day, but the woods were not familiar to him. While crossing an open field of waist high grass he hears footsteps right behind him. Startled he truns quickly to find nothing. He writes it off to echos from the big cliff wall ahead. As he enters thicker woods at the base of the cliff the footsteps are back including snaping twigs and rustling brushes. the noises are always just out of his line of sight, but very close. Investigation has him convinced that had someone been at the location he heard the noises come from he would have seen them. There is nowhere to hide, yet he sees no-one. It is gloomy under the canopy of the trees, He is a little freaked. He turns to leave and stumbles over a wooden box he should have seen, were it there a momment ago. He finds himself lying in a slight depression next to a box with Stenciled letters on the side, he can read GEOCACHE. He thought he had a few hundred yards to go, but a quick check of his GPS shows him zero feet away with an accuracy of one foot. He knows he is *never* coming back here so he figures he will log the cache and leave. He brushes away the dust on the box and undoes the latch on the front. The sun must have gone behind a cloud because it gets much darker and colder and he stares into the box. The Contents are wrapped in oiled parchment and there are lots of cobwebs inside the box. As he unfolds the paper he sees the only contents of the package are a set a keys, but shivers run up his spine as he stares puzzled at the keys...they are his keys. Impossible! He moved to check the for the familar bulge in his pocket but it is missing! His thoughts are about to get very disconcerting when he hears the footsteps again, this time running at a pace directly at him from behind as he turns the lid of the box slams shut on his hand. The pain scares him more than hurts him, but it also distracts him. The lid seems much heavier now as if it is being pulled shut on his hand! He stuggles frantically to work himself free. With a final jerk the lid releases and he pulls loose. While sitting there rubbing his hand he realizes that it is now very dark and very quiet. He remembers the footsteps and starts to turn slowly, he seems to remember that while he was struggling with the box he could hear what he could only describe as a herd of footsteps coming through the underbrush. He continues turning for what seems like an eternity. He can feel the presence as he turns and he realizes that he is never going home again. He faces the empty clearing behind him no longer afraid. He looks down to the ground slowly removes his wallet and places them in the box with his keys. the box is closed and left out in the open where he found it. He walks slowly deeper into the woods, the sounds of footsteps all around no longer bother him.

 

____________________________

The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time.

- Colette

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quote:
Originally posted by blahginger:

How about the guy who went out geocaching alone. It was during the day, but the woods were not familiar to him. While crossing an open field of waist high grass he hears footsteps right behind him. Startled he truns quickly to find nothing. He writes it off to echos from the big cliff wall ahead. As he enters thicker woods at the base of the cliff the footsteps are back including snaping twigs and rustling brushes. the noises are always just out of his line of sight, but very close. Investigation has him convinced that had someone been at the location he heard the noises come from he would have seen them. There is nowhere to hide, yet he sees no-one. It is gloomy under the canopy of the trees, He is a little freaked. He turns to leave and stumbles over a wooden box he should have seen, were it there a momment ago. He finds himself lying in a slight depression next to a box with Stenciled letters on the side, he can read GEOCACHE. He thought he had a few hundred yards to go, but a quick check of his GPS shows him zero feet away with an accuracy of one foot. He knows he is *never* coming back here so he figures he will log the cache and leave. He brushes away the dust on the box and undoes the latch on the front. The sun must have gone behind a cloud because it gets much darker and colder and he stares into the box. The Contents are wrapped in oiled parchment and there are lots of cobwebs inside the box. As he unfolds the paper he sees the only contents of the package are a set a keys, but shivers run up his spine as he stares puzzled at the keys...they are his keys. Impossible! He moved to check the for the familar bulge in his pocket but it is missing! His thoughts are about to get very disconcerting when he hears the footsteps again, this time running at a pace directly at him from behind as he turns the lid of the box slams shut on his hand. The pain scares him more than hurts him, but it also distracts him. The lid seems much heavier now as if it is being pulled shut on his hand! He stuggles frantically to work himself free. With a final jerk the lid releases and he pulls loose. While sitting there rubbing his hand he realizes that it is now very dark and very quiet. He remembers the footsteps and starts to turn slowly, he seems to remember that while he was struggling with the box he could hear what he could only describe as a herd of footsteps coming through the underbrush. He continues turning for what seems like an eternity. He can feel the presence as he turns and he realizes that he is never going home again. He faces the empty clearing behind him no longer afraid. He looks down to the ground slowly removes his wallet and places them in the box with his keys. the box is closed and left out in the open where he found it. He walks slowly deeper into the woods, the sounds of footsteps all around no longer bother him.

 

 

____________________________

The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time.

- Colette


 

Excellent, blahginger! I loved it! Was eerie, just the way I--and apparently one other geocacher (so far icon_wink.gif )--like it!

 

Do you want me expound on this storyline, do something with it? Or just let it stand as it is?

 

I plan on at least this first anthology to be mostly my own original work, but would also like to have a section devoted entirely to other geocaching writers, along the same theme.

 

I would be happy to put this story in that section of the anthology when it is ready to be published. It's also important to keep track of this if you want it in print--all writers will be given proper credit and, if at all possible (and I'm hoping it will be)--royalties, as well.

 

My email address is:

 

Those who contribute shall receive full credit, both literarily and monetarily (if applicable). I'm doing this work primarily as a project for the benefit of the geocaching community and the outdoor community at-large. I'm sure this book will find it's way into the packs of backpackers, hikers, daypackers, and anyone else who loves a good scare while out in the backcountry.

 

Drop me a line and tell me what you think.

 

Warm regards,

Stephen Brown (Firefishe)

 

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I"m still interested in reading your stories posted here.

 

I've been a bit busy and have had to put this project on a back burner, but it's still there in my mind.

 

I'll start on it when time allows.

 

Submissions here would be highly entertaining for other cacher's so, get to it, everyone!

 

Be well and,

'Cache On!

 

Warm regards,

Firefishe (Stephen Brown)

icon_cool.gif

 

196939_600.gif

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-RECAP-

 

I'm beginning work on this book. It will be a work of horror fiction, with geocaching as the main theme. Arcane humor will be used throughout...I could use ideas icon_wink.gif.

 

Darkly Humorous Theme submissions welcome. Themes like: the discordian geocacher phlebotomist with a penchant for type-o" or something like that icon_wink.gif hee

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I am introducing a series of 50 caches in Wisconsin in the Milwaukee and Waukesha counties area called "State of Mind". As a spin off of this project and the adventures I have had finding and placeing these caches, I too am writting a story/book. I will follow your story with great interest, as my project will probably initially fit into a niche market too. If it takes off as I hope it will, it may find more universal acceptance. In the meantime, I will work on it and see what developes. Good luck! dadoflr@aol.com

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