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The morning woods or forest that is the setting for the Campfire Horror Stories short story "Change"

My body aches, this is how I know I’ve changed. It certainly isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, but it feels different. As I start to become aware of my surroundings it makes me panic. . .

The light streaming in from the mouth of the cave stings my eyes. As I push myself up off the warm earth, I feel the breeze wash over my naked body. I begin to shiver. I am vulnerable. Have I come here before? The salty scent of my body filled my nostrils. Running my hand through my saturated hair, I draw in a deep breath and close my eyes. Remember goddammit. What. Did. You. Do?

Usually when I change, I still wake in my bed. At first, I was unsure if they were any more than mere nightmares. But I always woke the same: naked, sweating and with an unwelcome sense of violation. You know that feeling when you wake abruptly from an unusually vivid dream? But when you try to make sense of it, the memory falls just out of grasp before dissolving entirely? That has been my life for the past month. The dreams felt so real. Always so damn real. Without any tangible proof, however, I remained skeptical. Until one morning, while I showered, I noticed the dirt under my fingernails. So much dirt. There certainly wasn’t any dirt in my bed for me to claw at, nor in my dorm for that matter.

As it continued, I began waking with aching joints. I felt old, but not. I felt weak, but strong. I know that doesn’t make any sense. Heck, none of it makes any sense. My muscles constantly felt like they were surging with electricity. Despite my growing fatigue from seemingly sleepless nights, I had been feeling invigorated. Everything I knew about the world was beginning to slip away from me. Is it the stress of my assignments that I keep putting off? Is this my mental breakdown?

Just last week, I woke with sore fingers. God, they were so fucken sore. It felt like they were on fire. Some of my nails were cracked, and there was a piece of bark from a tree embedded underneath my left index fingernail. I had been bleeding, too. The skin on my fingertips was raw. I hadn’t been biting them, if that’s what you’re thinking. That’s what I thought. But that would be so out of character of me. Did I really get naked and leave my dorm to scratch at the trees on campus? It’s absurd, right? Try living this. I’m never going to get these assignments done. And do you really think Prof. Mrsir will believe me? You don’t even believe me.

But this time, I’m not in bed. I’m not in my dorm. Where the fuck am I? I didn’t know there were caves near the campus. I am faced with the lovely prospect of finding my way back to my dorm buck fucking naked. And I don’t even know what day it is. Or what time it is. I’m doomed. Everyone is going to see me, and I’ll be arrested for sure.

Was I running last night?  I recall panting. Heavy panting. The trees were rushing past me in a blur. I could smell the entire forest, but one scent was in my mind. One scent. I could feel it. I can feel it. She’s still here.

I begin to pant heavily as I exit the cave, one shy step at a time. I can smell the entire forest. The trees, the moss, the wet earth. Even the ducks and pukekos. If I had a map, I could likely tell you exactly where they are. But most prominently, I can smell Kelly. Not fifty meters from the cave lies her body. Well, half of it. My heart is stuck in my throat. Filled with the weight of my circumstance, my stomach drops to my abdomen.

As I lick the blood from my lips, I remember: it was a full moon last night.



Prompt written by James McInroy for a creative writing exercise.

My body aches, this is how I know I’ve changed. It certainly isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, but it feels different. As I start to become aware of my surroundings it makes me panic. . .

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Dear Writer’s Block

Dear Writer’s Block,

It’s not you, it’s me. I just can’t go on living like this. And I should start being honest with myself. I know you help me get things done, especially around the house. You’re brilliant at helping with the dishes and the vacuuming. My house is always dust free and the lawn is never too long, and that’s all because of you. You’ve helped me learn how to cook exotic cuisines and bake bizarre pastries. You make sure I’m always up to date with the latest and greatest news the world serves up on social media.

But, please, stahp. No more should you insistently refresh /r/all. And I can’t always play video games with you. Your lust for attention is insatiable and, as an icon of our generation once said in front of a green screen, “it’s time to stop!” Stop blindly scrolling the twitterfeed. Stop tentatively trawling YouTube. Stop shouting in my ear, breaking my train of thought. Stop changing the song. Stop constantly giving me new ideas that are better than my current story and stop making me start new stories before I finish the last. Stop telling me what I should have achieved by now, and stop fucking telling me I won’t amount to anything. Stop trying to convince me no one will ever read anything I write and, for the love of Poe, stop exclaiming that I am worthless.

Just get out. Get out of my head and cut out all of the “what if” conundrums. Get out of my head, get out of my house and get out of my life, please and kindly.

You’ll have to find your own way now, and I need to find my Writer’s Feet again. I know you know where they are. But, given the circumstances, I feel it is unlikely you will tell me the location of their grave. I will find them and I will find my stride again. You can do whatever you bloody well please, far away from here.

You’ll see. You will, because I’ll show you. I’ll show ‘em all. I’ll write until my pen runs out of ink and then I’ll buy a new pen. The letters will fade from my keyboard, but you know what? I know QWERTY, bitch, so it doesn’t matter. I’ll write and it doesn’t matter if not one person reads it or if not one person likes it or if it never amounts to anything. Because, damn it, I know what I’m worth and that’s what counts. Damn it all, and damn you, Writer’s Block.

I do wish you all the best in any future endeavours, but don’t be asking me for any references. I’ll be glad to see your tail. I don’t even expect a response from this, just to find the absence of you upon my return home.

Sincerely yours,




P.S.  leave the ice cream. I’m going to need it when I’m watching movies at midnight.



Prompt: Dear Writer’s Block. It’s not you, it’s me…