The Campgrounds A novel

Frances Gorman enjoys the outdoors. When she, and her friends, head to Moose Woods, they expect a lot of wildlife in the area. But, as they make camp, a killer in on the loose intent on mayhem, and placing the teenagers in grave peril.

The new Young Adult horror novel by Robert Helliger.


6. Section II-Friday, October 6, 2017


​The Great Flood of Montana of 2017​ was over. Harvey W. Norton, Jr., smoked a cigar. He puffed it, as black smoke filled his blackened lungs; he stared at the campgrounds with horror. At fifty, he knew why the place drew in the bad people; he hated the smug looking teenage campers. Some of them ignored the warnings. They weren't clued into the notion of death. He finished smoking. Then he stomped on it with his brown boot. Then he fell asleep on his black chair, and ignored the time for the next three hours.


Frances was tired. It was a long time before she knew what was happening at Moose Woods. She had dreamed of death before; she knew her father would be surprised to receive a phone call to say that his daughter, (and her friends), were alive. "Dad, we were hunted down by a creepy killer. And then the flood came. Can you come to the campgrounds to rescue me?", she asked him. 

"Sure, I'll be on my way", Frank answered her. 

And, as he picked her up, all of the other campers' family members, hugged their daughters and sons. And then, as they all left in their cars...and vans...the deadly threat of doom left them alone.


Natalie Sher Golden, or "Nat", to her friends, gazed at the glass windows of the blue 2010 van. She was eager to see the wildlife; she enjoyed hunting. Her father, Errol Golden, was a famous hunter in the 1990's. He had a lot of trophies in his light brown cupboard; he was immensely proud of his 'kills'. Natalie knew that hunting for recreational sport was a pastime; it was something that caused her to grow up looking for moose...or elks...or bears. Natalie, who was seventeen, saw the wildness of the Montana mountains. The sharp peaks were awe inspiring; the roads to the campgrounds had signs that read: ​Be careful of falling rocks in the cold October season​. 

"Dad, will Mom be happy if I stay the night at Moose Woods? The rain has gone. I read about the flood, you know on my I-phone news app", she asked him. 

"Yes, Nat. The Rangers will help you if something does happen. You must be eighteen to have a hunting license", Errol answered her. 

"That's next year", Natalie complained. 

"Don't worry. Besides, maybe you'll meet other campers there. And there's boys around getting drunk, or fooling around in tents", Errol said, laughing.

"Dad! Seriously...​", Natalie eyed him with mock horror at what he told her. She wasn't going to fall foul of the Montana laws; she was a straight-A student who majored in nature and the environment. A lot of her friends studied law; politics; and the Arts. Natalie wanted to ​breathe​ in the air...not the smoky, cancerous, fumes of the city. She knew her friends weren't too eager to see nature in all of their glory. Suddenly she saw another sign: ​Moose Woods Campgrounds-4 miles to the left​. Errol drove up the grey path to where the tents were. The same Restrooms were still there. He stopped driving. Then he smiled. 

"We're here, Natalie", he said.

"Thanks, Dad!", she told her father. 

"Let's get the bags from the boot. Then you can go exploring". Natalie nodded. She knew that if the campers did ​arrive, they would be here soon.


Don Anders shook his head. He watched the campers at Moose Woods. He had known about the killers that were attracted to the remote area; he was prepared this time. At twenty-one, he was a hunter. Suddenly he heard the growling that came from the mountains. Before he could escape, a twenty foot black bear slashed across Don's chest with its sharp claws. Blood spilled down the muddy trenches. And, seconds later, Don Anders's body joined the long list of wildlife victims at the campgrounds.


It played on the mind of C. H. Richard's face before the idea of death consumed him. He was envisioning an afternoon with Denise Zachariah, a waitress at ​Moose Woods Café​; he was served hot coffee when Ranger Cress Rhodes opened the front door. By 9:22 am, he had been sent a file on the black bear attacks in Montana. He frowned, as he saw him.

"Morning Charles", he said. He stared at him.

"Morning, Cress. I hear that a hunter was killed". Denise, who served him his eggs benedict breakfast, shivered at the news.

"Hunters should know better than to come to Montana", she said. Her face was sour-looking. She smiled at Cress.

"Don Anders is dead. Stupid idiot!", Cress said. He grabbed a black pen from the right-side pocket of his green coloured shirt; he stared at the other customers.

"Some of the non-Montana folks go through the area like it's Halloween time...or Christmas; some of the campers don't know about the moose, elks, or bears; some are killed by killers who roam the mountains. Death comes here because we attract death", Denise said. She shook her head. Her long, blonde hair glowed in the morning sun; her blue eyes focused on the locals, as if they wanted to tell them about the reasons why Moose Woods was dangerous. Cress shook his head. 

"I'll have a Spanish omelette, and a coffee, please". He took out a twenty dollar bill. He gazed at the locals. When a woman arrived, he turned around.

It was Lois Nathaniel, his ex-wife.


Natalie headed to the Ladies' Restroom. When she was finished, she dried her hands. Errol looked around. Suddenly he saw several wildlife rangers watching him. 

"What's the matter? Did someone die?", he asked them. 

"Don Anders. He was a hunter", one of rangers answered him.

"I knew him". 

"And your name is...?", Sean Price, the head ranger, said.

"Errol Golden".

"You left Montana a long time ago after you shot 'Big Ed' back in 1999".

"It was a huge twenty-one foot black bear. A monster. I was twenty at the time. This is my daughter, Natalie. She wants to spend the night at the campgrounds". Sean stared at him. 

"I'm sorry. But the campgrounds are closed because of the hunter's death. The Montana Police Department's on the case".

"Really. That's bad. She was looking forward to go camping". Sean nodded. 

"I understand. There's been a lot of killers around Montana. They're feeding on the youth, you know. Death is death; death is death", Errol said. 

"Yeah, there's some nice restaurants in town, Errol. Nice food; nice places that're away from Moose Woods". Sean shook his head, as if he didn't want to be the barer of bad news. He stared at other rangers. Natalie watched them; she was upset.

"I'm sorry Natalie. Let's go home". She nodded. She got back into the car. And, as she put her seatbelt on, she waited  for her father to drive away from the campgrounds. 


Page 6.


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