Lunch at Heritage National Park
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 545
“Our tent was under a huge oak, in a quiet part of the forest. We didn’t expect the storm, but when it came up we huddled together in one of the sleeping bags and were cozy and worried the wind would blow our small tent away,” Lance said to the police officer.
“You know that it is illegal to camp in a national park without a permit, right?” Officer Treadstone said.
“I do know now,” Lance said. “But we didn’t at the time. And we didn’t know that it would be dangerous.”
“Look, I’ll call this in, then you can take me back to the camp site.”
“I can’t go back there.”
“If you want me to lodge this officially, then I’ll need the exact location.”
Lance felt a cold shiver run up his spine. “I’ll try to find it again.”
Treadstone walked back to the squad car, “Officer Treadstone reporting in.”
“Go ahead, Officer.”
“I’ve picked up a distressed camper on the side of the road near Bunya Point. Will be checking out a possible murder scene in the Heritage National Park. I’ll report back in twenty minutes, over.”
“Copy that, Officer. Do you need backup?”
“Send Pete around, I passed him at the gas station ten miles back.”
“Roger that, Officer.”
Treadstone locked the vehicle, walked back to the path into the forest and said, “Let’s see if you can’t find your way back there, son.”
Lance was in his early twenties, half the officer’s age, but looked out of breath from the frantic dash through the forest. It was early morning, so the temperature was still pleasant and the dew still hung from the foliage. Treadstone was no tracker, but he thought that would make finding their way back easier.
“I think it’s this way,” Lance said looking at the broken branches to the left of the path.”
He’s a bright spark, Treadstone thought to himself, but said nothing. They walked for ten minutes, then came to a small clearing with the torn and bloodied remains of the four-man tent.
“You stay here, son,” Treadstone said. “I’ll have a look around.”
The officer looked at the tent closely. It showed a violent attack from a clawed creature from the outside. Lumps within the tent indicated part of the two other campers were within.
“Somebody’s out there!” Lance yelled.
Treadstone pulled his pistol out, turned around quickly, just in time to see a green-grey humanoid lunge at Lance from the bushes. Before he could reach the camper, the creature tore his throat out.
“Uuurrrggh,” it moaned, munching on the flesh of Lance’s face.
Treadstone walked forward slowly, putting his service revolver back in the holster.
“Oh, It’s you Jenny?”
The zombie looked up from her meal with distant recognition in her eyes, and then returned to her meal.
“I thought we agreed,” said Treadstone. “That if you stopped eating tourists, we’d stop the rednecks hunting you. It’s going to take me a lot of explaining to convince the council it was razorbacks again.”
The zombie looked up again, “Uuuurgha?”
“Okay, you finish your meal while I go radio this in.”
Jenny did not try to attack as the officer brushed against her arm on the way back to his squad car.
Lunch at Heritage National Park
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