After a hard day of hiking, nothing would be nicer to the boy scout troop, than to smell the scent of grilling meat around the campfire. There they were on top of the world, free to do as they pleased, eating whatever they wanted. Although it was also the occasion for the more troublesome members of the troop, to kind of ruin it for everyone else.
"Hmm! so delicious right, huh, Digby?"
"Yeah! I was starving!"
"Oh, toh deshe?"
"...Huh?" Digby stared into the fire, trying to remember where he had heard words similar to those. The two boys sitting next to him spontaneously got closer, suddenly interested.
"Well, you know what else loves the smell of grilling meat?"
"It inevitably attracts it to you."
"Uh, that too" one of them concedes.
"But the Desheshe in particular."
"The what now?"
They chortled to each other.
"He doesn't know!"
"Well what is it?"
The boy to his right cleared his throat. He had been waiting for this.
"It came to be long before the Semantians started settling down in this region. Tribes talk about 'em. You'll hear it in the middle of the night, a desperate cry for help, a heart-wrenching, blood-curtling whisper in the wind : 'Shedeshe, shedeshe... (please, please) Ahai deshe (I'm hungry, starving)' In these times of need, hospitality was the queen of virtues. A brave soul would call out, 'Ago, desheshe? (where are you, starving one?)' and then follow the voice that whispers in the woods : 'Ashe, ashe (near, near)... Ashede, ashede (closer, closer); ahai deshe...' Then, it would appear to the generous soul coming with a bag of food, too close to run away, ghoulish, scary to look at, but why wouldn't you look like that if you're starving?"
There was a pause. Digby clearly was into the story. The boy to his left continued.
"The sunken eyes... skeletal build... That's what first appears to someone falling for its trap. A human torso, ravaged by starvation, its begging eyes digging into yours... you try handing it the food you have brought for it. 'Ashede, ashede' it keeps whispering, its long tongue sticking out, its dislocated jaw hanging, its teeth eagerly gleaming with saliva... 'Ahai deshe...' And it IS starving, alright. They say the Desheshe doesn't lie."
"And how could you lie, if you're starving?"
Another pause. The two boys clearly were tasting their effect. The first one continued.
"Before you can reconsider your generosity... it's on you!" and he suddenly grabbed Digby's shoulder, causing him to squeal and jump. "That's when you realize there's more than its two long arms pinning you down... there's eight, horribly long spider legs as well... my god, those spider legs! They say spiders are more scared of us than we are of 'em, but that's only the tiny ones. And I'm not speaking "baby house spider" tiny, I'm speaking "tarantula" tiny. Because that, Digby, is no ordinary spider..."
Digby's not stupid. At this point, he realized they were just having revenge on him. Earlier that day, a spider nest had crashed into the hair of one of them - the one to his right, Karl. Poor Karl had almost cried. He and his friend Douglas were running around like headless chickens, the many spiders swarming in Karl's hair, and Digby had teased the two about it. He had given Karl the whole "they're more afraid of you than you are of them" spiel, and helped him remove the tiny little refugees whose home he had accidentally destroyed. Still... that WAS a scary little tale they had here. It didn't help, that they themselves sounded more and more scared by their own invention.
"When it got you, it lifts you up... and spins you around, webbing you up like a fly, until you can't move at all..."
"And drags you deep into the woods, to its nest."
"Where it stings you with its dart, which is sticking out of the end of its large, pulsating abdomen."
"That dart doesn't kill you, Digby, it stays planted in your... back" he gestured, clearly he meant another bodypart. "Slowly, laying eggs in your body as you're still alive..."
Digby stuck his tongue out in disgust.
"You have to be. It's cold at night, the baby spiders need to be kept warm..."
"...For the long winter months."
"And they need the meat to still be nice and tasty when they hatch, in the spring. And then you can only cry and whine as their tiny little teeth eat you from the inside..."
"By the second day of thaw, there's only your bones left... and the Desheshe, with its huge family, lurks in the woods for more..."
While he said that last bit, Karl was chewing on a generous, fatty piece of grilled meat.
Digby waited for a moment, lost in thoughts; looking down, unsure, at the fork in his hand; planted on it was a piece of meat that had gone cold while the two boys were talking. He hesitantly put it closer to the flame for an instant, and took a bite off it.
"Pff, it's all bullshit. You know what an urban legend is, right?"
"But that's not an urban legend, Digby, there's no city nearby!"
"Whatever, you know what I mean. BULLSHIT!"
"It's not, Digby. They found bones of these creatures... not entire skeletons, because as they say, they're cannibalistic, but many, many legbones and ribcages..."
"And if they reproduced, they're probably still around, attracted by the smell of meat grilling on campfires in the woods."
"Ah, shut up!"
The two boys grinned and chuckled.
"So uh, Digby. Since you're totally not scared, why don't you go to the stockpile and bring back some extra food?"
He quickly glanced behind his back, all around the campfire was a deep shadow. Moreover the air felt awfully cold, and his ears perceived the many sounds of nightly activity in the trees. Plus he wasn't too sure he wanted to eat anymore.
"Why, are YOU scared?" he snapped.
"O... of course..." Douglas muttered. "those things are real, and they're around." In truth, he sounded like he actually was.
"But you don't believe in them do you? so you shouldn't be scared," Karl chuckled.
"Ugh, fine. You babies." Digby sighed as he got up; he hesitated for a short instant to see if the insult got them to change their minds, but they stayed seated.
"Geez, they really ARE babies..." he thought to himself as he slowly walked away.
1 year, 6 months ago
12 Dec 2019 10:24 CET
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