An Insomniac Imagines While Camping (Fiction Version)

in fiction •  3 months ago

One of the more enjoyable times of my year is when the family and I go camping. Two kids, my wife, and yours truly. I barely sleep a wink, and I toss and turn most of the night, but it gives me a chance to collect my thoughts. We camped in a grove of fir and redwood trees not far from a river. There’s no place like a quiet forest to stimulate my imagination. Even the old picnic table (image above) is making faces at me.


That means that the rest of this is fictional. If you want the true version, read my previous post instead. That was the nonfiction account. This second version was dragged through the river, roasted over a campfire, and turned into a mini-novel.

Here is a glimpse at my night. Times are approximate, since I turned off my phone/timekeeping device.

9:00 p.m. The nonfat, sugarless, gluten-free smores were delicious. In an effort to stimulate family conversation, I deliberately left the camp lantern at home. That meant that as darkness fell, we were on our own. And we told stories of witches, goblins, and bigfoot until the wife and kids fell asleep.

10:30 p.m. But I’m still awake and my imagination is running wild. Maybe I drifted off for 20 minutes or so, but not any longer than that. I have too much imaginating to do and so little time. Some people think best while sitting on the toilet; I think best when tossing and turning in an old sleeping bag on the ground in a small tent next to family members who use the night for sleeping. Not I!


The river is trickling in the background. I can imagine whitewater rapids, which this small waterfall might be if you were the size of a rat on a toy boat. But in my mind, I’m navigating a Class IV with a paddle and an attitude. My imagination is as good as any video game. (Though if my phone had a rafting game, I’d turn it on right now and play it under the covers.)

This sleeping pad is amazing. Truly, I feel as if I am sleeping on a cloud full of marshmallows. Crack. Ouch. Was that a vertebrae?

11:30 p.m. Thunder rumbles in the distance. When the hot, dry air of late summer encounters the cool air above the hills to the east, along with a side of baked beans, thunderheads form. When the sun sets and the wind changes each night, these clouds roll down the hills towards our present position. I see a flash of lightening beyond the branches of the trees above. Wow, closer than I thought. Another peel of thunder and then the storm moves off. No one else was awoken and we didn’t get wet.

12:15 a.m. A twig breaks outside and I listen more closely. At home, when a floorboard pops, that does not automatically mean there’s a ghost about. The same is true of twigs and branches, which do break on their own. If you hear the sound again, that means trouble. Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight. My pillow is an inflatable, so it feels as if I’m necking with a beach ball.

There’s a faint glow outside. A wing, a wave, and my mind is put at ease. It’s just the tooth fairy, come to collect the bicuspid or whatever is the name of that tooth that ended up in my daughter’s hot dog at dinner.


I unzip the tent flap so the tooth fairy doesn’t cut the canvas with her buck knife. But I’m all out of quarters. Remind me to tip her next time.

I politely ask the tooth fairy if she can call her friend Tinker Bell to come out here also. For a moment, she gets the wrong idea and thinks I want to party. No, I was wondering if Tink still has any of that cinnamon-scented fairy dust that the Sandman favors. I hear it can do wonders for an insomniac like me.

The tooth fairy cracks me in the arm with her wand. She still has the wrong idea. Insomniac, I explain, not aphrodisiac. Finally, she gets it, but she suggests I’d be better off drinking a hot toddy and getting some sleep. Off she flies to her next appointment.

1:00 a.m. I’m feeling pretty good and almost tired enough to sleep again. But just then, the daughter who is sleeping next to me in the tent tries to turn over in her sleep. Instead, she starts flapping her arms. I realize that her hair is caught in this Velcro strap on her sleeping bag, so I pull it out (from the Velcro, not from her head).

That woke me up. And I’m not the only one. Beyond my kid’s sleeping bag, I see that my wife’s eyes are open and she blows me a kiss.

I stand up, with some effort, roll up my sleeping bag and mat, and grab the mat under my daughter’s sleeping bag to drag it. She’s still asleep. I pull her and her sleeping bag over with the mat to the place where my bag was sitting just a moment before.

Then I take her old spot on the tent floor, next to my wife. With the two children on the outside of us, my wife and I are lying side by side in the center of the tent. It’s a little known fact that my wife and I bought our sleeping bags as a ‘his and hers’ pair. With some effort, I unzip both bags and re-zip them up together into one big bag. The kids are still asleep.


2:30 a.m. I’m awoken from a nice sleep. Strangely, I’m back alone in my own sleeping bag, sandwiched between the edge of the tent and one of the kids. We’re all sleeping in our own bags, next to one another, side by side in the tent as before. My wife is one more bag over and beyond her is our other child. I shake my head to clear any dreams, wondering what it was that woke me up this time. An owl screeches in the distance.


There’s a smell coming into the tent. It’s skunky, a bit like marijuana or Heineken, but kind of musky. I try to identify the bad odor about the same time I realize how quiet the night has become. That distant camp’s generator went off at some point. All I can hear is the sound of the river trickling below the bluff. Even the insect noises have stopped.

But the smell is getting worse. And it’s coming from the open part of our tent where I can see straight through to the trees above. There’s only mosquito netting there, no canvas, so it’s like an open window. Lord, it stinks. And then I recognize the smell just as my heart skips a beat. I reach into the stuff bag near my pillow, where I keep some pepper spray in the event of bears.

Almost on cue, I hear a large branch break, followed by heavy footfalls. Something very big is roaming our campsite. But this is no bear. Damn. Earlier in the day, when we were at the lake, we heard wood knocking in the distance, as in large branches being hit against a log. I should have known we were not wanted here.


It’s a damn Sasquatch! Looking through the mesh screen of our tent, I see a giant shadow cut off the moonlight. And I gaze out as this big, hairy primate face stares down at me from straight above the tent. This tent is six feet tall and it’s wide enough that this bigfoot above us must be at least eight feet tall.

Unable to move my body, I lift my right hand and flip Sasquatch the finger. It’s a universal language. Get out of here, Jack. This isn’t your tent. For a moment, I contemplate the wisdom of pepper spraying straight up into the air just above where the four of us are sleeping. Dumb idea. But flipping him the bird was even dumber, because now he’s angry. Suddenly, there are two Chewbaccas up there and they start to shake the tent.



But I hold a trump (lowercase “t”) card. I unzip the tent flap, rubbing the spot on my wrist where the fairy clocked me earlier. And I toss out the remainder of the marshmallows from our evening dessert.

That does the trick. The ‘Squatches, Mister and Missus, accept the offering of our remaining marshmallows and they retreat back into the deep woods without eating us instead. We are spared.

2:50 a.m. The skunky odor dissipates. My head grows heavy and my sight grows dim. Exhausted, I sleep the rest of the night.

6:30 a.m. I awake to a conversation between my wife and daughters. The latter do not want to help clean up the tent. But they have agreed to help because my wife has promised them a marshmallow each for breakfast. They might have to do with huckleberries instead, unless the banana slugs are edible.




Photos by the author except for fairy, owl, and sasquatch/yeti, which are public domain.

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Its quite terrifying to sleep in the woods @donkeypong if we just grew up in the confines of urban modernity of life. Maybe it is just of the openness anf the surroundings that we keep on feeling that we are not secured.

I very much enjoyed reading this story. We used to go camping in northern Wisconsin growing up as kids - and your story reminds me a lot of how my imagination and mind would take off - especially at night when we were up there in the secluded forests by small lakes and streams. Glad I never encountered a sasquatch luckily lol. I'll have to keep the marshmallows in mind if I ever do though :)
Again great story - enjoyed the read!

It seems like you had an amazing experience out there, as you have thoroughly described it. keep up with good content buddy!

The campaign has prompted you to an interesting creative wave!I love all this mystical and mysterious. Strange, I thought only of me always excites such trips to see the faces in the trees, silhouettes of monsters in the shadows of the bushes or fairies flittering over the flower meadows. Well, a great source of inspiration is to go camping. And besides Bigfoot be extremely careful and attentive. There's definitely a Slenderman in there. He stands behind a tree and pulls his thin hands to the door of the tent. No, it's not a shadow from a tree branch. That's exactly It.

Trips with family are always awesome.
Really amazing times, we are planning for a family outing too. Great pictures too

It's nice to have that kind of trips to the forest because so you get disconnected from the work environment and you wind up the imagination to be free and think about new ideas for publications and those things that change the perspectives of the World


Changing perspectives is what it's all about!

hahahahaha, having read the Real Account, I love this version too. Nice line from Enter Sandman haha "Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight." brings back fond memories of making a music video to that song with my brothers.


Aha! Someone who can catch a lyric reference. They are buried deep in many of my posts and it's a rare reader who notices. Thank you.


Wow that is cool that you hide them in many of your posts. I will definitely have to keep an eye out for them. haha. And I think that is way cool by the way that you do that.

I reach into the stuff bag near my pillow, where I keep some pepper spray in the event of bears.

You just answered my question from your previous post where I actualy asked about that. Unless this story is fictional, I definately agree with you to carry it. You never know when it could come handy.
Anyway, one night and you went through sooo much. If I had to write a story about my camping nigh experience in the forrest, it would probably sound like this “I felt asleep at 10pm and woke up at 6am”. lol of course not, in reality I wouldn’t be able to sleep much, just like you. The best sleep nights I always get, are at home. Even though there are sleepless nights while camping with family or friends, it’s always worth it.


Carrying it is fine, but don't try to spray it straight up when you are lying on the ground. Gravity...

That's a cool story. What's fun about it is you were able to put so many fictional characters like the fairy and yeti. Won't it be so fun if they are truly real? hahaha. When you said something about Tinkerbell it reminded me of Peter Pan. I truly enjoyed reading it. Anyway, thank you for sharing this story with us. Have a great day ahead!


It would be great fun if they were real. Yes, Tinkerbell started with Peter Pan, but with the help of Disney her empire has grown since then.


Yes that's true haha. Nothing can beat Disney during my childhood

Wow camping this is pretty cool, most especially this part

That woke me up. And I’m not the only one. Beyond my kid’s sleeping bag, I see that my wife’s eyes are open and she blows me a kiss

Would have love to go for one this weekend, but we lost a #steemian @onos in nigeria, so we trying to reach out to the family..

Nice one sir @donkeypong


Very sorry to hear of your loss. Best wishes to the community members.


Thank you Sir really appreciate you

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Lol @donkeypong - real or not, you deserve a medal for surviving that forest experience.


It was fun. No medal needed.

Wow!!! This is so lovely, boss you have just reminded me when I attended camping as a boy scout two years ago but it wasn't terrified like your because we attended in so many groups( it wasn't a family thing) it was fun because we had a game call camp fire night, we gathered enough fire wood and burned in the middle of the camp ground.
First time in my life then eating roasted bush meat without salt and pepper which was catch and killed in the camp forest.

But the smell is getting worse. And it’s coming from the open part of our tent where I can see straight through to the trees above. There’s only mosquito netting there, no canvas, so it’s like an open window. Lord, it stinks. And then I recognize the smell just as my heart skips a beat. I reach into the stuff bag near my pillow, where I keep some pepper spray in the event of bears.

You mention of smell, and I fail the smell that one can't actually predict, but for mosquito, it actually deal with us who did not carry mosquito net.

It was one of my greatest day in my life attending a camp in the forest, sleeping in an open tent, most time we wake up to see snake kill around the tent.

I actually want any of us who as not experience this to do so. It will help and I wish to go once again. Thanks @donkeypong the boss.

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'Twasn't the mosquito that smelled. It was the sasquatch, a.k.a. skunk ape. They have some nasty body odor. If you can camp where there are dangerous snakes, you have more courage than I do.


Here u are very correct, cose we Africa we take a lot of risk in life l, so we see snake as nothing and secondly, I told u that we were in so many group who came down the camp ground, so no fear of any kind boss.

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This would pass for a wonderful novel sir. Have you ever considered writing a novel sir? I love your choice of words always sir.


Thanks. Would anyone read it if i did? Not sure if I could keep myself entertained long enough to write one.

I think it's a wonderful fiction story with all the characters and what's going on in it, the imagination flew away until no more can! I think that's because she didn't get much sleep that night, she's great. Maybe the night seemed a little longer than it really was.


My imagination flew out the tent flap, so I can't think of a smart response, but thanks for the comment.

What causes insomnia !!!! That's what I call imagination, @donkeypong. This story, between fiction and reality, was very good for you, especially the fact that you put how time went by, made it more true. It usually happens when we chronicle, we use that resource. I believe that many of us think of these stories, of night monsters, when we just feel that we are alone and unable to shelter ourselves. I liked the story and I congratulate you!


Insomnia causes imagination (or creates space for it), but I don't think the reverse is true.

August is my favourite time for camping! Great weather and bugs die down too. Nice pics looks like a great time you had :)

What does it mean to say to me a bit of fertilizer?

Camping is one of the most adventures experience in our life. It's different than others.
Once I was camping in Hill station during my vacation that gives me a lot of enjoyment and experience..

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Hello friend, that kind of experience of camping in the forest are unique, the adrenaline, the insomnia, the fright in a single moment is a unique mixture of sensations

Your post is very nice and natural.The post is so good that it feels great.Your post is full of natural beauty.Thanks for the post

I'm amazed by your imagination. The tooth fairy seems really busy with her appointments, I hope to meet one next time in the forest :D

By the power vested on me by Her Majesty Queen @mariannewest, you are hereby summoned to @freewritehouse to partake in the steemiverse #freewrite.

Yours Faithfully
HM Queen @mariannewest.


Great post @donkeypong. Beats anything on trending at the moment. I have shared your post to my new Facebook page 'Best of Steem by Spectrum Economics'. I want to portray a more positive image of Steem by sharing some of the best posts.

Steem can be a great home for people who want to share their creative side.

P.S. I love it how bigfoot understands the middle finger.

very nice articelnya, I read and found some experience concepts from your posts

now we can be sure it's the bigfoor ! XD

I see the owl again @donkeypong, I don't know, maybe you didn't see my post about the owl,just saying, I am obsessed with owls, over all this is a great post I had fun reading it. Continue the good work thanks, and maybe you write a novel, we will read, I will read

Very creative post, I enjoyed it, thank you.

This is nice story for me

And we told stories of witches, goblins, and bigfoot until the wife and kids fell asleep.

Ilustration about love to big family. Keep smile, ok

hiii sir.. i m new in steemit.
i saw u'r post it's awsome post
thank u sir

it seems like a family who is very brave in a fight, maybe this is a great story and a very extraordinary struggle

nature always make us felt in love over and over, so don't waste your time, just don't sleep.

Hi @donkeypong, Such a tremendous fiction story by you through mind imagination. Late night time better for control mindset under the darkness forest. After sleep family members mind automatically create various thoughts. If we can keep mind controlling level mind make best positive stories. Your feelings mixing with nature. What a cool story to read twice by me. This one wanna very close to your previous post. Only few difference than these. You're brilliant to writing stories. Go ahead.

Very great pleasure, so that insomnia :) @donkeypong

Thqnks buddy. Sorry I have NOT been around a lot lately. Been on a break, But I will be changing that. Big foot huh ?? Sounds like a good story lol

P.S. What do you think about Lebron at LA ?? I think the NBA is becoming a little "cheesy". Takes away part of my interest in it. I think your Dubs should at least win 5, though ;)

P.P.S - Also been Buying some more Steem and powering Up.Great prices and I'm all in. Cant wait til Hard Fork 20 and SMTs come. Any thoughts ?? Could you possibly write a Post about it ?? I know many of us would be extremely grateful :)

that slug looks like the head of an albino python!

I liked your post. Yes, how real is possible, thanks for sharing the post.


I liked your post. Yes,
How real is possible, thanks
For sharing the post.

                 - as-abir

I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

Me encanta esta frase: "Esta segunda versión fue arrastrada por el río, asada sobre una fogata y convertida en una mini-novela." jajaja
Me gusta que compartas dos versiones con nosotros, la real (que ya te hice comentario) y la de hoy que esta adornada, llena de ficción, casi como una historia digna de una película, me encanta el lenguaje que usaste, fresco, ameno, y muy agradable para leer, tanto que atrapa al lector.
I love this phrase: "This second version was dragged down the river, roasted over a fire and turned into a mini-novel." hahaha
> I like that you share two versions with us, the real one (which I have already commented on) and the one that is decorated today, full of fiction, almost like a story worthy of a movie, I love the language you used, fresh, pleasant, and very pleasant to read, so much that it catches the reader. @donkeypong

Back to nature , cool

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what a beautifull nature. If I could, I would have used someday vacation in such a place.

Wow, I think this is the closest part to you that I've read with you. It's a time such a human
I wake up early in the morning. The songs of the birds filled my mind. I liked your post afterwards. Thank you very much for sharing the post among us

Loving your writing in each line.

trips with family are invaluable. As a kid I was always camping. and it looks like you had a great time. i follow you and vote.
see you

Great writing skills. I felt the action.
Nice pics too!!

hahaha this is awesome! Between party time with Tink and the Tooth Fairy, sneaking a little action between the sleeping bags, and flipping Sasquatch the bird, this post is a win :)

And now, strangely, I find myself humming Hotel California :)

wow! It indeed was a full night for you. You've got a great imaginative powers. Moist say that I love this fiction as much as I do the original.

This second version was dragged through the river, roasted over a campfire, and turned into a mini-novel.

I love the above lines in the opening paragraphs.