Once, on a dark night long ago there was 3 girls camping in the woods.  Actually, there were only 2 girls… I wasn't a girl anymore, that night was my 18th birthday.  We were camping by ourselves, not in a campground but far off the beaten track, down a dirt road stitched with creveses, next to a large creek; the trees grew close together, allowing little light except in the rare meadows.

For the first time in any of our lives- we were on our own.  No cellphones, no older/more responisble people, no rules.  Just us.  That first day we spent clearing the site; digging a hole for the campfire, raking the pine needles and patches of weak grass, ect.

When everything was done it was starting to get dark , so we sat around and told the scariest stories we could come up with while dinner sizzled over the fire.  Then, after eating, we played poker and hearts and whatever other games we came up with before going to bed.

I don't know what time it was, but sometime in the night my niece, Jessica, shook me awake.  Reaching over, I turned on the fluoresent lantern and peered into her normally tanend ace, now bleached of all color.

"Shelly…" her voice trembled. "there-there's noises."

"There's always noises in the forest dummie!" I snapped, irritated at her for being scared.  Then I heard it; loud, thumping steps – in the light of the lantern large, deformed shadows slowly ambled by.

I was too scared to speak, I just held myself absolutely still, following the dark shapes on the wall of the tent with my eyes.  Jessica seemed to have no such problem with speech as she latched onto my arm.  "We're gonna die!"

"Shut up!"  I whispered  harshly, terrorfied that whatever was in our camp would notice us if we spoke to loudly.  At the time it didn't occur to me to turn off the light, I don't think I could have sat in the dark anyway, I was doing my best not to wet myself as it was.

"But what are we gonna do?"  Thinking the same thing, I told her to wake my other niece.

Tiffany grumpily rubbed her eyes as she sat up, demanding an explanation.  Silently, Jessica and I gestured towards the figures silhouetted against the tent.  I watched the color slowly drain from her face.

It was while we were sitting there, barely daring to breathe, that the stench began to permeate.  At first I though something dead and putrid had entered the camp and I started to tremble.  But then I noticed it kind of smelled like-

"A skunk!"  Jessica announced, just as the shapes moved hurriedly in a single direction.  Frantic "Merrrr!" came from outside and we all looked at each other in simultaneous realization before going for the opening.

"Cows."  We laughed as we watched them leave and we laughed the whole rest of the weekend.

Author's Note:  I wrote this story for's Smorz Badge.  It is a true event –except for certain details (which should be pretty obvious since I'm only 17); it had to be fewer than 500 words as well.  Anyways, please tell me what you think.