WHo knew that a made up ghost story could cause so much trouble?
The Turquoise Ring
Part One
“Come on, kids! Help me unpack!” Uncle Matt shouts to me and Leo.
“Okay, coming!” Leo replies, and he and I walk up the hill.
I’m sorry, you’re probably wondering what the heck is going on right now. Well, my name is Callie McGee. I am eleven years old. My family and I are on a camping trip with my cousin’s family, Uncle Matt, Aunt Theresa, and of course, my cousin Leo, who’s only three weeks younger than me. I know, cool, right?
About a half an hour ago, we arrived at our campground, which is basically in the middle of nowhere, in the woods. I honestly don’t know how my parents convinced me to even think about camping, but they did, and now here I am.
I think the only reason I was really excited about this trip was just because Leo was coming, too, and he’s my best friend. So if he could survive this, I could, too.
Anyways, me and Leo were just rolling down this hill when my uncle suddenly calls us and wants us to help him put up a tent.
So we walk up the hill and once we get to Uncle Matt, I ask, “What do you want us to do?”
“Just help me unpack some of this stuff. All of the tents have been set up already. Oh, and Leo? You’ll have your own tent.”
“Sweet!” Leo cheers. He’s probably happy that he doesn’t have to listen to his parents snore all night long. I personally don’t blame him, because I have the same exact problem, which is why I have my own tent, too.
I grab what looks like Aunt Theresa’s bag and put it in her and Uncle Matt’s tent. My mom and aunt were busy putting the food away.
After a while, everything was put in its right spot.
“What time is it?” Leo asks his dad after noticing that the sun was going down.
“Um, it’s eight o’clock,” Uncle Matt says after checking his watch. It is the middle of August, so the sun starts to go down earlier.
“Can we have a campfire later? Please?” I beg my dad as he walks towards us.
“What do you think, Matthew?” Dad asks my uncle.
“I think it’ll be okay. We’ll have to make one ourselves, though. No fire pits on the ground here!”
“I forgot about that,” I say. “I’m sure that making a fire pit isn’t that hard, though. We just need a few rocks.”
“There! It’s all done,” my dad says proudly as me and Leo admire our new fire pit.
“Great! Let’s get some s’mores now!” Mom gets out the s’more ingredients and we roast marshmallows for a while.
“Now, who wants to tell the first ghost story?” Uncle Matt suddenly asks.
“Are you sure that ghost stories are a good idea?” Aunt Theresa says to him.
What, does she think that we’ll get nightmares or something? We’re not babies!
“It’s fine! I’ll tell the first one.” Uncle Matt then told us all this really stupid story about some kid who’s brother was actually a ghost.
“Now, I’ll tell one,” Aunt Theresa says. Then she smirks and begins her story.
“Many years ago, three young siblings, a girl and two boys, were out camping, just like we are, and wanted to go find odd-shaped rocks by the creek, but their parents told them ‘no’. Disappointed, they went to bed.
“Sometime in the night, the eldest boy awoke, and couldn’t fall back asleep. He glanced at his clock, only to discover that it was just three o’clock in the morning. Scowling, he tried to fall back asleep. But he couldn’t. Finally, he thought to himself, ‘Why can’t I go down to the creek and hunt for odd-shaped rocks? Mother and Father would never know, and I know the way there. I have a map.’ He smirked, and decided that that was what he’d do. He started to walk out the tent, when he suddenly remembered that his siblings had wanted to go down to the creek, too. He woke up his younger brother and his sister, and then off they went.
“By now it was almost four o’clock, and the sun would start to come out soon. Therefore, the foolish children decided not to bring flashlights with them; just their old, torn map.
“The siblings had a hard time reading their map, because it was still so dark out, so they started to go the wrong way. Eventually, they didn’t have a clue where they were, and they knew then that they were lost- lost in a unknown place.
“Rather than getting even more lost, the siblings decided to stay put until it was lighter out. They leaned against some trees and waited, and waited, and waited.
“Suddenly, the eldest boy began to feel sleepy. He slumped down onto the ground, and tried to get some sleep. He was almost in deep slumber when he heard a crunching noise, as if somebody had accidentally walked on a twig. He sat up, and looked at his siblings, who were looking around as well. They were frightened, and didn’t know what to do. And so-”
“Get to the point already! What happened?” Leo interrupted.
“Well, the children listened. They listened for another sound. But there wasn’t one. So, the three kids got up, and began to run back to their camp, wherever it was.
“It was getting lighter, so they could see their map better. The oldest boy glanced at it, and they all ran west. They were almost there, until suddenly...”
By now everyone is so absorbed in Aunt Theresa’s ghost story that we all wait breathlessly for her to continue.
“...the girl stopped running, thinking she heard a noise behind her. She turned around and looked. She didn’t see anyone. She turned back, and started running again.”
“And?” I say, dying to know what happens next, even though Aunt Theresa was probably making the whole story up as she went.
“And then, all of the sudden, some big pair of arms... GRAB HER!”
“AHH!” Me and Leo fall over backwards, so startled at her outburst.
Aunt Theresa smirks, knowing that she had told a good one. “And the two brothers kept running, unaware of what had happened to their sister. They soon arrived back at their camp, all safe and sound. But where was their sister? They looked back. She wasn’t following them.” She paused. “That was the last they ever heard of their sister. And it was also then that they realized the map that they had wasn’t their real one. Somebody had swapped it out with a fake one! The End!”
“Wow, sis, that was a good one!” my dad says to my aunt.
She shrugs. “What can I say? I’m a good storyteller.”
“I’ll say! I’ll probably never get to sleep now!” I add.
“Oh, well, then, you won’t like this last bit.”
“Well, Callie, you see, these are the very same woods that the three children were camping in.”
“Yeah, right!” I say, trying to sound like I’m not afraid.
Aunt Theresa smiles. I’ll bet she knows that I’m a coward.
“Well, everyone, I think it’s about time we head to bed,” my dad suddenly says.
“What? Now?” I ask, not really wanting to sleep in a tent all by myself anymore.
“Well, yes. It’s already ten-thirty.”
“Hey, Matt, have you heard any more news about that poacher?” Dad asks my uncle.
“You mean the one that broke out of Hopkinsville Jail? No, I don’t think they’ve found him yet.”
I barely listen to them, and quickly walk over to my tent. Normally I’d care more about a criminal on the loose, but right now I’m just too tired to.
I get ready for bed and then say goodnight to Leo. Then I crawl under my sleeping bag, ignoring the mosquitoes that are buzzing around me.
I’m wearing the expensive ring that Mom bought me a while ago. I know that I shouldn’t have brought it to camp, ‘cause it’s so easy to lose, but I couldn’t separate with it! It’s my favorite ring.
It’s so pretty, and it’s got turquoise on it. Well, I think it’s turquoise.
I gaze down at my finger. Yup, it is- wait, what? My eyes widen.
“Where’s my ring?!” I sit up and turn on my little battery-operated light.
“It’s not on my finger!” I wail. I jump out of my sleeping bag and walk over to Leo’s tent. He knows how much that ring means to me... maybe he knows where it is?
“Leo!” I hiss outside his tent. “Leo!”
“Huh? What?” Leo unzips his tent. “What is it, Callie?”
“Leo, you know that turquoise ring I wear a lot?”
“Well, it’s not on my finger! And it was when we got here.”
“So you lost it?”
“I don’t know! Do you have any idea where I might’ve lost it?”
“Um, I don’t know.”
“Wait! Remember when we were rolling down that hill nearby? Maybe it fell off your finger there!”
“Leo, you’re a genius!” I exclaim, and hop up and start walking away.
“Uh, where are you going?” Leo asks me.
“To that hill.”
“But it’s dark out! You’ll never be able to find it!”
I sigh. “But I have to. Mom’ll be furious when she finds out that I lost it!”
“But Callie...”
“Bye, Leo!” I turn and walk away towards my tent, to grab a map. I’m pretty sure I know how to get there, but I figure that I’d better bring it along just in case.
“Wait for me!” my cousin suddenly cries and he runs up to me. “I’ll come along, too.”
“Why? Do you think I’m not strong enough to be on my own?” I tease.
“Well, uh, no. I just think that I should come along, too.”
“Har, har,” I quip.
“Well, it’s true! Now come on, let’s go. I’m cold.”
So we grab some flashlights from our tents and start walking into the woods.
Brushing past tree branches, stepping on twigs, and walking through mud, me and Leo search for the hill.
“What’s the map say?” Leo asks me.
“According to the map- well, see this little X here? That’s our camp. And it looks like the the hill isn’t that far from here... Ah, yes, let’s go north.”
“You sure?”
“I’m positive, Leo. I’m in sixth grade, for Pete’s sake! Don’t you think I’d know my directions?”
“Yeah, yeah.”
“Leo! Is that it?” I ask him, excitedly.
“Um, yes, that looks like the hill,” he responds, smiling. “Now we can get your fancy-shmancy ring and return to camp!”
I knew that Leo wasn’t happy because we found the hill and I could get my ring back; he was just happy that we could go back soon and he could go back to bed.
But I am not going to argue.“Well, start shining your flashlight around the ground! It’s got to be around here somewhere.”
We begin to walk around, shining our flashlights everywhere.
I walk over to this big tree and look at it. It sure is big.
I smile. “Hey, Leo! Isn’t this tree huge?”
Leo walks up to me. “Yeah, it’s big alright, and- hey, wait a minute.”
“What? What is it?” I ask him, feeling tense.
“This tree wasn’t near us when we were at this hill earlier!”
“It wasn’t?” I ask, feeling sick. “But how could the map take us to the wrong place?”
“Let me see that map, Callie.”
“Okay, here.” I hand it to him, just the way I have been looking at it all this time.
Leo stares at it. “Oh, no!” he cries out suddenly.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“You’ve been reading this map upside down! We went the wrong way! We’re lost, Callie!”
My eyes widen. What have I done?
Me and Leo whirl around.
I whisper to Leo, “What is that?”
He gulps. “Um, it sounds like somebody is stepping on some twigs.”
Who is it?
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