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by joellen

They told me it would be fun.

“What do you mean you’ve never played hide and seek in the dark?” Jan said.

I just shrugged. I mean, it was true, I’d never played hide and seek in the dark. I’d always been afraid of the dark, even now as a 25 year old. My parents thought I should’ve outgrown this fear by now. They blamed it on my still over active imagination.

“I don’t know.”

“Hide and seek in the dark is the best,” Oscar said. There were five of us on this camping trip. I hated camping—all the dirt and bugs and no indoor plumbing—but then Jan persuaded me, saying she’d get Oscar to come if I agree to come, too. So now we were here: me, Jan, Oscar, Gwen, and Alex. We made camp sometime before the sun set. Three tents. One for me and Jan. One for Oscar, and one for Gwen and Alex, the couple. We’ve all known each other since high school, but this was the first time we were finally together again since the summer before we all went our separate ways.

“Well, okay,” I said a little reluctantly.

And then, before I even realize what was happening, they all called out, “Not it!” Which left me being the only one who didn’t say it.

“Shit,” I hissed under my breath. They laughed.

“Okay, you have to count to 30,” Oscar said.

“Oh my god, this is going to be fun,” Gwen said, getting up from her foldable chair with Alex.

Reluctantly, I got up, too, and went to the nearest tree, pressing my forehead against the rough bark. The fire we made in the middle of our camp still went on, like a beacon.

“Ready?” I called out, but I could already hear their scurrying footsteps as they ran to find a place to hide. “One! Two! Three!” I yelled out each number, feeling each second as they traveled farther into the forest that surrounded the campgrounds we were on—feeling like as time pasted, I grew more and more alone. And when I got to 30, I turned around. And then the fear crept in. I was alone on the campgrounds since we were the only group booked for the weekend.

Swallowing my fear, I started walking to the west side of the campgrounds.

They couldn’t have gone far, right? It would be done if they did. It wouldn’t be safe. There were wild animals here—like wolves and coyotes and mountain lions.

I heard rustling. I turned swiftly, thinking that maybe I caught someone, but just as the rustling started, it stopped. I sighed. It must’ve been my mind playing tricks on me.


I turned again as I heard a thump. Oscar was lying on his back. I could barely see him, our campfire a little ways away my only source of light. The dark was practically swallowing him up. “Did you just fall out of that tree?” I asked.

He groaned and got up, dusting himself off. “I lost my footing.”

I went over. “I guess you’re it.”

He laughed. “Yeah, seems like it. Come on, let’s go find the others.”

We started walking toward camp, calling out to them. But nothing.

And then rustling again somewhere to the east near the border of the campgrounds. “Jan!” I called out, thinking maybe it was her.

“Gwen! Alex! Game’s over! She found me!” Oscar shouted, but no reply.

And then someone screamed. We ran the east side of camp and found Jan running toward us in tears. “Something—something grabbed my leg!” She wrapped her arms around me, crying into my shoulder.

“Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay,” I said, trying to sooth her. “Where’s Gwen and Alex?”

“I—I don’t know,” she sobbed. “I started heading out with them when you started counting, but then I lost them in the dark.”

I looked over at Oscar who just shrugged.

And then another scream. It was deeper, a man—Alex.

“Oh god, oh god, it got them,” Jan gasped, looking to the north of the campgrounds.

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FILM: Let It All Burn

RELEASED: February, 2013

In Shirley Yeats’s last effort as director, writer, and actress, Let It All Burn follows Lucy, an abused young woman who dies in a mysterious apartment fire. But when she wakes up in what appears to be her childhood home, she ventures out with newfound powers, seeking revenge on those who set the fire ablaze. A compelling supernatural story with a strong female lead, Shirley Yeats breaks stereotypes and records in this award-winning film.

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FILM: The Delivery

RELEASED: May, 2001

A modern supernatural film noir that begins in a rain-drenched dark alley finds Maude, a young small time drug dealer picking up a package from her boss to be delivered, as always, to a drop box on the other side of town, but when she and her girlfriend, Ace, are on their way with the package they soon find out that all is not what it seems and this particular package isn’t of the usual sort. Pursued not only by the opposing drug kingpin and his crew, something else—something eerie—is lurking in the shadows, waiting to get their hands on the package as well. With its twists and turns, The Delivery, sets the standard for hybrid films.

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FILM: Mrs. Langham 

RELEASED: November, 1959

In Mrs. Langham, a film set in Cold War-era England, a young British female P.I. (Eleanor Blackington) tries to make a name for herself in a male dominated industry and world. When a beaten man comes to her in tears, begging for help, she teams up with American Detective Oscar Murphy (Henry Lenore), a man trying to escape from his soiled reputation, in order to solve the murder that would elevate her status and restore Murphy’s reputation among his peers. Featuring stunning performances from Watson and Lenore, this dramatic and chilling story is often credited as the most compelling film noir of the 1950s featuring a female lead.

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