This little piggy was skin and bone

This little piggy was bloated and sick

And this little piggy had a taste to bemoan

But this little piggy I would eat in a tick!

“Y’know what’s weird about this place?” Tony asks as he warms his hands over the fire. He is the only one not roasting a marshmallow, which is a given since he threw his stick into the campfire after burning three of the gooey confections in a row. He never was much of a cook, but seriously, that took a special level of culinary incompetence.

Still, the trip is going well, all things considered. It’s good to get out of the suburbs and get back to nature once in a while. Or just goof around in the forest, it’s all good. The town (more like a hamlet, in actuality) of Kensport is the closest inhabited site, and even that place seemed appropriately sleepy. It’s a wonderful area to sever one’s ties to the world for a weekend.

“Other than that convenience store back in town didn’t sell beer?” Prince says in response to Tony’s question after a thoughtful pause. “No, I don’t.”

“Still sore about that, eh?” Tony smirks. “Maybe the owner’s a teetotaler. Anyway, what I was actually getting at was the story parents tell their kids to keep them from sneaking out and playing in the woods at night.”

“Lemme guess. A boogeyman variation?” you speculate.

“Yes, but kind of, but no. More like a variation on the story of that rugby team that crashed and had to eat their dead, only even more messed up.”

“Oh? You’re not just making this up as you go along, right?” you sigh, hoping the answer isn’t in the affirmative. You’re all a little too old to be telling ghost stories around the fire…even if you do secretly still adore cheesy tales of ghouls and guts.

“No, really! Apparently it actually happened, although I have no doubt that some details have been exaggerated over time, as these things tend to-”

At that point a sudden rustling and snapping of twigs rings out in the brambles to your left.

“What do you think it is? Cannibals?” you ask sarcastically.

“I ain’t afraid of no cannibals, but what if it’s a black bear or-oh” Prince trails off when the fourth member of your group, Leonard, emerges from the briars. It does make sense it would be him, since he did by way of fact tell everyone he was getting up to go take a piss.

“Well, now that you’re all here I suppose I can begin the story,” Tony says, cracking his knuckles.

“Story? What story? What’d I miss, something interesting?” Leonard asks as he sits himself back down on his log.

“Shut up and I’ll be able to tell you. Anyway, ages ago, there was a Boy Scouts camp in these forests. At the end of one summer, the bus that was supposed to carry a certain cabin’s Scouts back to the city or whatever got lost in the backroads during a rainstorm. And then to make matters worse the thing crashed due to a combination of the poor conditions and an inebriated driver, totaling the thing. This was before cell phones or anything like that had come along, and it was just a decommissioned school bus so it didn’t have a CB radio or the like.”

A dramatic pause seems to be what Tony is going for as he transitorily stops talking, but it comes off more like an awkward silence so he hurriedly resumes. An owl hoots in the distance, as if in mocking retort to his mediocre skill as a storyteller.

“After their supplies went in the first week, a few of the campers snuck away from the bus to try to get to Kensport on foot. As irony would have it, those who had stayed with the bus were found by a search and rescue team a couple days later. And so the search for the splinter Scouts began.”

“Wait, why’d they wander off if they didn’t even have supplies to live on until they got to Kensport?” you inquire.

“If you ask me ones who had wandered off did so in a fit of desperation exacerbated by a traumatic experience” Tony answers. “Happens surprisingly often in cases like this. People tend to act irrationally when they’re distressed. Anyway, less than three days later they found the trail of the wandering Scouts. What they found next was less than encouraging.”

“Oh?” Prince asks.

“Yep. Bodies. The first few were victims of starvation or injuries and infection, as you’d expect. But the last four they found, the ones deepest into the woods, had human teeth marks on the bones, which had incidentally been boiled to get every last scrap of meat off.”

Despite his clumsy handling of the subject matter earlier, at present Tony actually comes across as quite chilling. Although it may just be the subject matter. After all, it does sound like it could be real so far.

“The only camper they never found any trace of was Branson Finn. He was a quiet boy, people who knew him used to say. Polite. Earnest. A good work ethic, and a complete conformist who would cry if one of the other kids offered him a beer or a joint. Yeah…plenty of kids like that in the Boy Scouts. Finn was no different. He had suffered from anorexia and bulimia his whole life, too. Poor bugger.”

Tony lowers his eyes, possibly out of respect, possibly out of plain fatigue. It is getting late, after all. Suddenly, he starts, seeming to remember a very important part of the story. Sure enough, he resumes his tale after getting his thoughts together.

“Actually, wait, I forgot, they did find one piece of evidence, apparently left by Branson Finn himself. A note, next to a rope and wood-slat bridge that had been cut, as if to deter pursuers. You wanna know what the note said?”

Without waiting for your response, Tony brings his eyes up to meet yours and speaks through a leering grin.

“'I’M FULL.’”