So S. and I grab an armload of stuff each and whiz north to the trailer, praying over the car’s bald tires the whole way. We arrive at the trailer around three, enjoy a relaxing afternoon and evening of beautiful weather and increasing fireworks. I mean, imagine it, the quiet night, the warm gentle breeze, the brightening stars, some pretty and not-particularly-loud fireworks, and the campfire. S. and I doze off in the tent after a couple of beers and too much of the dog’s attention for one night. It’s not raining, it’s not too cold, there aren’t too many tree roots. For once, I’m enjoying myself on a family weekend outing.
God, is it peaceful. And then, exactly twelve hours after we arrive…
I WAKE UP SCREAMING!!! AAAAGH!!!!! AAIIIEEEEGH!!!! NOW S. IS SCREAMING, TOO!!!! WE’RE BOTH SCREAMING!!!! AAAAAARRRRGH!!!!! YAAAAAAAGH!!!!! I’M STRUGGLING TO GET AWAY, RUN!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!
What prompts this seeming occurence of night terrors is that I’m dreaming and slightly awake, and I see these headlights on the wall, and they’re getting closer, and closer, and the engine is getting louder and louder, and I can’t really remember where we camped except that it wasn’t all that far from the road. And hey, this is 4th of July weekend, people could be riding around drunk on those gigantic ATVs and what have you. I mean, it was comin’ right for us! I was convinced that they didn’t know where we were, and couldn’t see us in the dark (regardless of the headlights which warned me of our impending flattening) so I was shrieking like death was upon me, and struggling to get out, away, through the ripped-open skin of our tent, if need be.
S., may god bless him in particular today, jumped up (because at some point I was standing, I guess) and threw his arms around me and started going “shhhhhhh, shhhhhhh, shhhhhh” while he had me in this vise grip. (Please note, this is the way S. handles the dog when he’s chewing or jumping or freaking out over a squirrel or another dog. Moreover, it worked.) I don’t know how long we stood there before we sat down, and I don’t know how long it took me to figure out what happened. But it was totally silent in the campground (including the car) for about five seconds, with us huddled on the ground, and then we hear this strange woman’s voice. “Is everybody okay over there?” And we said, “Yeeeaaaahhh….” like we felt really stupid, which we did, 100%.
Later, my mom, my dad, and my brother’s girlfriend all said they heard the scream, but they thought “it was just the neighbor kids screaming or something.” They heard the neighbor ask if everything was okay, and they were surprised it was us who answered. But let me remind you that nobody was ever concerned enough or surprised enough to get out of bed at any point during the show.
S. told me later that he knew exactly what I was thinking, about being run over, even though everyone who was in the trailer and the other tent probably thought I just had some sort of random night terror. He admitted he’d had a similar paranoid fear for a second but realized he was being a moron. He says I said I was pissed that he stopped me from running away, and I wanted to know why he didn’t follow me. (I don’t remember that part, either.) He says, “I saw you get up and start running, and I thought, ‘She’s crazy! Stop her!'” I guess he’s right, because I ripped all the stakes out of the ground as it is. I can only imagine a tent with legs taking off for the cover of the woods, like something out of an episode of Scooby Doo with a camping premise.
So finally, we both laid back down on the tarp floor of the tent, calmed down, and realized for the first time what my dumb ass had just done. I got such a bad case of the giggles that tears were streaming out of my eyes, and S. was thinking that maybe I still wasn’t quite over being crazy just yet. We did eventually get back to sleep, despite my intermittent senseless giggling, especially when I realized what the neighbors must have seen.
“It was about three a.m. and we done run out of fireworks so it was pretty quiet except for the sparklers we threw in the fire. We was on our second case of Budwiser, and there warn’t any more, so I got on the golf cart to ride up to Dale’n’ them guys’s trailer to get more. And all of a sudden I passed this one tent, and I swear, I wasn’t even close to it, but it jumped up — no, I swear, y’all, it jumped up on legs, and.. and it screamed…. and ran… away…!!!!”
-dontfeedthetiki (sees how it is)