The Retelling



"It happened on Friday, when we were all in the tent."

"What? No, it had to be Saturday."

"It was Friday, I remember it being Friday."

"No, Laura, it was Saturday. Remember, we were there one night before it happened—that was the night that Jake tricked us into heading down to the lake and pushed us into the water?"

"Oh, yeah, and we came home soaked and your dad yelled for a bit?"

"Right, and that night we stayed in Kelsey's tent and she kept talking about that boy—Nick or whoever."

"Ugh...forgot about that. They broke up a couple of weeks after that too."

"Could one of you girls just finish telling the story?"

"Shut up, Pat, we're getting there. Go on, Laura."

"Okay, right, so it was Saturday, and we were all in the tent. It was you, me, Jake, Sara, and Pat. It was a little cold that night, and we had one lantern—Pat and Jake were using it to trade Pokemon on their Gameboys."

"I remember that. Sara kept yelling at us because she wanted to read and we picked on her for bringing a book to the camping trip."

"Yeah, 'till I pointed out that you two brought Gameboys."

"Hey, those were awesome Gameboys! Mine was yellow, and I had a level 100 Mewtwo on it. And we weren't trading, we were battling. Jake's Pokemon always sucked."

"Does it matter?"

"...Not really."

"Then shut up, Pat, you're being a nerd. What were you saying, Laura?"

"Well, I was just saying, we were fighting over the light. Or, well, Sara and Jake and Pat were fighting over the light. You and I were talking about something, we were sitting a little bit away from the others, over by the corner of the tent where it was a little darker. We were telling ghost stories. One of the adults came by to check on us, and we all freaked out when we saw his shadow on the tent wall."

"Ha, I remember that—Jake nearly wet himself."

"And Sara thought it was a mountain lion!"

"The sign said beware of mountain lions..."

"Mountain lions don't walk on two legs."

"I know that now..."

"Anyway, it happened after that. It was Jake's dad who came by, and he told us all to start going to bed. And we said sure, but when we thought they weren't looking, we just threw a blanket on over the light and all kind of huddled underneath it. Jake and Pat wanted to finish their battle, and we started arguing a bit because Sara still wanted to read, and Jess really wanted to use the light. And then Annie screamed."

"Did it really happen like that?"

"Well...that's how I remember it."

"Why did you scream anyway, Annie?"

"I don't know. I guess I was just thinking about that ghost story a little too much. The blanket moved a bit and I thought it was the ghost."

"Well, anyway, Annie screamed, and the adults came in and found us, and they turned out the light and took away Jake and Pat's Gameboys. And Sara's book, and they told us to go to bed for real. So we did, and they left, and I remember we all really complained about it for a moment. Jess was really upset. He kept joking around about how we were going to all go run off into the woods and hide till morning. My sleeping bag was next to his, so I talked to him a bit for most of the night. I think Pat and Jake and Sara went to sleep, and Annie—."

"I was awake. I was still freaked out about the blanket. I could hear you."

"Right, Annie was awake but she wasn't talking much. Anyway, once the campfire went out and things got quiet outside, Jess had the idea to go down to the lake and just hang out. So he woke everyone up—."

"Wait, wasn't that your idea, Laura?"

"What? No, it was Jess's idea. I wouldn't think of something like that—I was too scared of getting caught. I just helped get everyone awake, that's all. Jake and Pat were game."

"Heck yeah. I remember we wanted to go swimming."

"And Sara was afraid of getting in trouble, so she stayed. Annie didn't want to go, but she was still really scared, and didn't want to stay in the tent with Sara, so she came along."

"Didn't you take your blankie?"

"Shut up, Pat. I loved that blankie."

"Dude, I'm not making fun of you. I just remember it was dark-colored and you had it around your shoulders, so you looked like freaking Zorro or something."


"Well, anyway, Jess led the way down to the lake. All the adults were asleep, and I remember that even the fire's embers had gone out, and the place smelled a little bit like smoke. And there were fireflies."

"And crickets."

"Yeah, and crickets. And we were making jokes about how Sara was in the tent and how she would think that the crickets were mountain lions."

"Haha, I remember that."

"Oh my gosh, guys, seriously?"

"Right, and Jake was insisting about how he'd catch Bigfoot, and he and Jess got into this whole argument about how Bigfoot wasn't real."

"Laura, that was you."

"No, it was Jess."


"Yeah, seriously. I'd remember if it was me."

"Okay then."

"So, anyway, we all made it down to the lake. And we were all hanging out at that little beach where we'd gone swimming earlier. Pat and Jake and Jess were throwing rocks, and Annie started crying."

"I wanted to go back."

"Yeah, you wanted to go back, but Jake laughed at you and told you to go back by yourself, and you didn't want to go, so you sat on that log and just kind of sniffled a bit. And I sat with you, and that was when we saw it."

"Jake saw it first."

"Yeah, Jake saw it first. He was a little farther off than the rest of us, because he was looking for stones to throw, and was in that part where the ground kind of slopes up a bit, so he was a little taller than the rest of us. I remember, I was kind of watching him, because I was a little afraid that he was going to fall, and I just saw him look off into the woods, and I saw his eyes get really big, and he just got really white and started scrambling down the hill. And Pat—."

"I asked him what was wrong, and he said it was nothing, he just thought he'd seen something. But he was cold, and shaking. It was really weird. And then I saw it."

"Yeah, you were looking over Jake's shoulder, and all of a sudden, you just went: 'What is that?'. You sounded really scared too—you said everything really slowly. And then Annie..."

"I started really freaking out, because I had no idea what was going on. I started crying, and I had my hands clamped over my ears and my eyes shut, and I started shouting for Pat and Jake to shut up."

"But we weren't pretending. I swear, we did see something out there."

"What did it look like, then?"

"I don't know—it was like...white or something? Or maybe black? It was dark. I don't know, it was really big."

"Jake said it was really small."

"Well, Jake saw it from like all the way across the lake, right? Maybe it was really small to him."

"I think you guys are just making this up."

"No, I swear, Sara, it was real. Like, I swear on my life, we saw something."

"Maybe you just think you saw something because Annie had gotten you guys all freaked out already."

"It was there. It was real, I saw it. I just can't remember it clearly."

"Did you see it, Laura?"

"What? Me? No, I was too busy trying to calm Annie down. But whatever it was really freaked the boys out, when Annie said she wanted to go home, they just up and said it was time to head back, and we all started heading back towards camp as fast as we could. I remember I cut myself on one of the branches on the way up. That really hurt."

"Well, we got all the way to the top of that hill when we realized we didn't have Jake. So, me, and Annie, and Laura just stopped and all looked back towards the lake at once, and Jake was just standing there, looking at us, with his back to the water. And then...he fell in."


"He fell in."

"Just like that?"

"Yeah, it was just like...he just took a step back and plop, he fell in the water."

"You're not joking? That's really what happened?"

"I'm serious."

"...Patrick, I swear to God, if you are joking I will beat you to death with this coffee cup."

"I'm telling you, Sara, that's what I saw."


"You're really quiet all of a sudden, Laura. What's up?"

"Nothing. But that's the story anyway."

"Sheesh, the way none of you would talk about it for so long, I thought it was something mysterious."

"It was!"

"You were all just imagining things and Jake probably tripped. He was probably showing off, like he used to do."

"Okay, fine, don't believe us then."

"I'm just saying, it sounds a little weird. Anyway, if we don't hurry, Pat, we'll be late for class."

"Sure. But I'm telling you, that's what really happened. Bye, guys."

"Yeah, sure it was. Bye, guys, see you later. Oh, yeah—Laura!"


"Are we still meeting up this weekend?"

"Um...yeah, sure."

"Alright, see you then. Bye!"


"See you!"


"...Alright, they're gone. Spill. What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing's wrong with me."

"You've gone quiet."

"Have not."

"Have too, and are we really playing this game?"

"...Fine. I didn't see what Patrick saw."


"Jake falling in the lake. Did you see that too?"

"Yeah, of course. What did you see?"

"...Jess pushed him."



"Yeah, Annie?"

"...Who's Jess?"