Behind the Fence at Camp Hero

Written By: Francine  Hendrickson


I look out the window in the car catching glimpses of the ocean. We are on the long winding road that goes on forever to Montauk. We are going to Camp Hero, me, Father, Nana, and Peter. Peter is my older brother but he is not that much older only ten. Father says Camp Hero used to be a military base built for a war they never used but that maybe they used it for experiments and now it is a park where you can walk around and look at stuff.
“What experiments?” I say.
“Aliens and time travel and electricity” Peter says.
I don’t believe him. The sign for Camp Hero is old. We get out of the car and it is deserted. Father looks for a map but there are none. Most of the trails are old roads that go through the woods. We start walking. We pass a bunch of deer, they look at us as if we aren’t supposed to be here.

“Are you scared yet?” Peter nudges me.

“What is there to be scared of?”

“There’s no ghosts. People have to die for there to be ghosts. No one died here. Right, Father, no one died here?” I say.
“No. No one died here. It’s just an old base with too many rumors.”
We walk down a new trail. The trees get shorter as we go. We come up on these huge concrete caves, man made, the openings sealed off like the mouths of giants.
“What is that!”

“Those are bunkers, stupid.” Peter says.
“I wasn’t asking you, I was asking father. Father, what are bunkers?”
“It is a big underground space. The military use them for storage, or protection in wartime.”
“But where do they go? Are they connected?” I ask.
“I don’t know, maybe.” Father says.
“I bet they stored tanks in there. And guns.” Peter says.

We keep walking. Nana is getting tired.
“Do you know where we are?” She asks.
“I’m trying to get to the satellite tower. I think this is the trail.” Father has really bad sense of direction.
“I don’t think we are supposed to be on this trail.” Nana says.
We pass more bunkers, and a barbed wire fence.
“Why is that fence there?” No one answers me.
“This place is creepy.” Peter says.
“So you’re scared?”
“No. I’m just saying, it’s creepy. I get bad feelings.”
Down this trail we see a giant tower in the distance. It is like a big block with a huge metal satellite on top of it.
“There’s the satellite tower in the distance, you see it?” Father says.
“What is it for?” I say.

“Nothing now. It’s been shut off and closed down for years. But they used to use it during the war.”
I look up at it. I imagine the satellite as a giant net catching signals. It gleams in the sun.
“I bet that’s where they did the experiments.” Peter says.
“Can we go inside?” I ask.
“It’s closed up now. And know one knows what is really inside there. It could be dangerous.” Nana says.
“Can we goo look at it from over there?” I point to the fence.
“Sure. But be careful, and stay together.” Father says.
Peter runs ahead of me. We walk along the fence, there is nothing but woods behind it. Father and Nana walk up ahead, and stop with their backs turned to us, looking towards the tower.
“Do you think behind the fence, it leads to the tower?” I ask.
“Well yeah. Why else would they put all this barbed wire around it?” Peter says.
“I bet if we snuck in there, we could find the tower.”
“We can’t sneak in there.” Peter kicks a rock, it clinks against the fence. “It’s too bad. It’s a short fence. We could climb it, easy if it weren’t for the wire.”
“There’s gotta be another way.” I say.
“I bet there are aliens in there right now, using that tower.” He says.
“How do you know?”
“I mean, if I were an alien, that’s where I would go. A control tower with a satellite surrounded by barbed wire where no humans can get in? It’s perfect.”
We keep walking. There is a quietness like the quietness in a scary movie before something bad happens. Up ahead, I see a part of the fence by the ground that is curled up like a busted lip.
“Peter! Look, look!” I run up ahead. It’s a gap in the fence, just big enough to squeeze under.
“I knew it. I knew there must be a hole somewhere. Peter, come on, look!”
Peter runs up.
“Will you be quiet? Father is gonna hear you.” He looks at the hole. “It’s too small.”
“I could fit.”
“You’re not going by yourself.”
“I’ll go first because I’m the smallest and I’ll fit, and then I’ll help you get under.”
“And then what? Even if we can fit, we don’t know where we’re going. It’s all woods back there.”
I look past the fence. “We’ll sneak under, and we’ll go to the control tower. The satellite is so big, there is no way we can lose sight of it.” Peter doesn’t say anything for a while. “What’s the matter, you scared?”
“Be quiet. I’m thinking.” He looks towards Father and Nana. “He’s gonna kill us. Alright, go. Now. Quick.”
I go. Peter lifts the metal lip and I squeeze under it, pushing with my legs. I help Peter get under.
“Come on, let’s go!” I say. We run real fast into the woods, up a hill. We run till the fence is out of sight, and we come up on a road. There are little buildings lining the road, like little houses. They are abandoned and we stay away from them.
“Look, the tower!” There it is. Right in front of us. We walk up behind it, it’s covered in graffiti. There is a huge hole on one side of it, but a giant boulder is blocking the hole.
“Damn.” Peter walks up to the boulder. It’s twice his size. He tries to see past it into the tower, but the boulder blocks everything. He puts his ear up to the wall of the tower, and listens. He pulls away, and looks at me. His face has gone white.
“What! What is it!” I run over and listen to the wall right next to him. “What? I don’t hear anything.”
“Shhh. Be quiet. Listen.”
I listen. There is a faint, far away, but unmistakable humming sound. An electrical humming sound.
“It…it sounds like, it sounds like it’s still running.” I hold my breath and listen again, making sure it’s not just my imagination.
“You hear it right?” Peter says.
“Yeah. I hear it.” I get chills.
“Let’s get out of here.” Peter says. He grabs my arm, and we run away.
“Wait! Where are we going?” I pull my arm back.
“We should go back.” Peter says.
“But what about those little buildings, over there? Don’t you want to see what’s inside?”

We go over there. I can tell Peter is afraid someone might be inside, maybe an alien. We creep up on the buildings, dropping down to our knees once we get close. All the buildings are identical. We go towards one in the middle. Peter squints at the windows.
“What is…what is that. Do you see that?” He says.
“Through the windows, all those colors…what is that?”

I’m too scared to look. We get closer. Right up on the window. We look inside at the same time. The building, is entirely empty. It is all one big room. There is nothing in the room at all. But the walls, the walls are covered in colorful wallpaper, the most colorful and terrifying thing I have ever seen. The wallpaper is mostly red, but with all different colors, yellow, purple, green, silver, swirled in. There are faces in the wall paper, faces that are twisted in all sorts of directions and contorted and in pain, barely human looking. Every inch of the wall is covered.

“What….what is it?”
“It’s…it’s like, psychedelic. But bad, bad psychedelic. What…what..were they doing in here…”
“Do you think they are all like this?”
We run up to another building. We peek in the window quick, and it is the same thing. Same room, same wallpaper, except this one has a few chairs scattered around.
“I’m scared.” I say.
“Let’s go.”

We run back though the woods. I run like my lungs are on fire. Like the wallpaper is alive and the faces are chasing me. The whole time Peter says “What the hell. what the…what the hell…was that…”
We get back to the fence. We crawl back under, breathless.