The Silver Skull

There are twelve of us boys bunked in Cabin 3, the Junior Cabin of the Cherokee Tribe at YMCA summer camp. Eleven of them are asleep. I can hear them breathing, relaxed and easy. Not me though. I know what’s coming.

At bonfire tonight Chief Billy, told the Legend of the Silver Skull, a story about a slave 100 years ago who’d been boiled in oil for stealing but was innocent. All that was left was the skull. It haunts the very camp we’re staying at and stalks misbehaving campers, glowing silver in the night. Anyone who sees it is doomed.

About an hour after lights out, I saw the silver skull. It didn’t look like a skull, but I only saw it for a second or two, a bright light where nothing should have been.

I don’t want to die. I didn’t kill that slave, nor boil him in oil either. I ain’t been misbehaving, except when I bounced a mayonaise jar lid off Skinny Andy’s head for scaring my lizard. That’s not worth gettin’ killed over.

There that light is again.

I close my eyes, wait for the end and pray.

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