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Story of the Kybo Monster
Girls in the woods...
Just a story
This is just a friendly little story based on camping trips my father would take us on when I was growing up. The names are changed to protect my family, who may not like being mentioned in my stories, imagined or real.
Begin at the beginning
My dear cousin,
First of all, I have to say it’s been hard keeping this secret. There have been so many times I wanted to tell but didn’t dare. I only tell you this, my dear cousin, because I understand you are going to the mountains soon, and you must be warned.
I never meant for it to happen. You must understand that! I should have known better. I would take it back if I could. Only now do I realize what we unleashed on the unsuspecting world. I take full responsibility.
I don’t know why I did it. Maybe the air was so thin that I wasn’t thinking clearly. Maybe I was just being mean and so TV-deprived that the meanness got out of hand. Maybe I was just constipated. Whether it was the air or the TV-deprivation, it’s done now and there is no taking it back.
It started innocently enough.
It all started innocently enough. Every summer, Dad insisted on taking weekend trips to the mountains. Sometimes we would stay a week or even two. Sometimes only the weekend. We didn’t go to a campsite, where there was running water and bathrooms. No, not Dad. He drove on by those places. Dad called people who stayed at camp sites “flat-landers.” Once I reminded him that we live in the “flat-land” too but he turned to me with those piercing green eyes and told me that our hearts were in the hills.
We never stayed in cabins sheltered from snow or rain. No, not my Dad. We drove till we passed all signs of civilization and still we drove on. As soon as we reached pine country, Dad would get a glint in his eye. “Throw open the windows, girls. Breathe that air! That’s real air!” He said it as though we hadn’t been breathing until just then. I tried to explain that once. “I’ve been breathing all my life, Dad,” but he just kept breathing deeply, as if he were a starving man and he mountain air was meat.
After two hours on the road in our old red Buick we came to the turn-off. It seemed like it took another hour on the unpaved, pitted logging trail until we arrived at Dad’s favorite spot. It’s so beautiful up there where the pine smell is so strong you can almost taste it, and the stars are so close the magnificent tree tops brush against them, and the air is so crisp it’s better than ice cream on a hot day. You feel close to heaven up there. “This is God’s Country,” Dad would say.
The kybo was my Dad’s invention. He took us into the “back country” and if you got the “call to nature” you had to dig a hole and literally return to nature. It wasn’t so hard for the boys but we girls found it a difficult posture to squat over a hole in the ground and not get our pants wet or dirty around the ankles. Then there was the whole issue of privacy. Anyone could amble up and find you squatting behind a tree trying not to fall in. So my wonderful Dad created the kybo. It was basically an old out-house seat set on an old, seat-less folding chair but to me it was a thing of beauty. He would dig a hole among the rocks several yards from camp, set the chair and seat there for us. He would rig-up a stick to hold the paper roll too. It was almost like home. Since there was no door, we began the habit of talking to the kybo. “Is anyone there? I’m headed for the kybo.” If an answer came from the rocks, we would wait our turn. I thought the kybo was genius. It was a little spooky at night though. It was far enough from the light of the campfire that you could barely see.
Stories before the campfire
Just a harmless ghost story.
One night up in those pine-covered hills, my sisters and brother and I were sitting around the campfire contemplating the flames. We had finished our s’mores and were out of things to do. So we started making up scary stories. Mom and Dad had retired to their tent, telling us not to stay up much later. Nancy and Danny started it but they can’t be blamed. They were only 7 and 5 at the time. No one can blame them for what happened next. Pam was 11 and started the scary story designed to make Nancy and Danny scream.
Happily, I joined in. At 13 I should have known better. Pam started the story by saying that we used to have another sister. But she isn’t with us anymore. Both Danny and Nancy looked shocked. “No we didn’t,” they said. I helped her in the lie. “Sure, we did. I remember her.” Nancy and Danny listened with wide eyes. The crackle of the fire added to the suspense.
“Yes, it was a long time ago. She was taken by the Kybo monster.”
“Nuh-huh,” they both returned. “There is no such thing as a Kybo monster….. Is there?”
“Yes, there is a Kybo monster. He waits in the hole for unsuspecting children. Then he reaches up and grabs them by the bare bottom and pulls them into the hole never to be heard from again,” I said satisfied by their wide-eyed disbelief.
“What happens to them,” they both asked?
“We don’t know,” Pam helped.
“It could be that he eats them,” I lied.
“No, it’s not true. And I will prove it. You guys are just trying to scare us,” Danny was brave for five years old. He got up and strode out of the light toward the kybo. We could barely see him in the dim shadows of the rocks. He stood before the kybo entrance and with one foot in and one foot out announcing, “See, there is no monster in here.”
Suddenly, he looked shocked as if something had happened just out of our view. He grabbed his leg and screamed, “Something has me. Agh!!” We three gasped as he began struggling against something in the dark. Without warning he was pulled into the kybo. We screamed.
“Do something,” Nancy yelled at us.
We all jumped to out feet, screaming again. Danny was still struggling. All we could see clearly were arms and legs flying in and out of our view from behind the rocks. And he continued to scream and yell, “It has me! It has me!”
Petrified, we weren’t sure what to do and the screaming stopped. My heart was in my throat and I held my breath. I was seriously scared for my brother. Before long Danny strutted out of the kybo, obviously unharmed. We stood in stunned silence as he said, “See, I told you there was no Kybo monster!”
We burst into uncontrollable laughter.
“Good one,” I said.
“Oh, you are mean,” Pam added.
“I thought it was going to eat you,” Nancy confessed still believing in a non-existent monster.
Our favorite camping spot
Time to sleep
We laughed about it for a long time. It was so funny seeing Danny’s legs and arms fly about like that. That was enough excitement for one night so my siblings and I went to our tent to sack out. But all the talk about the kybo made me want to go before going to bed. Why did I feel a sudden chill at the thought?
It’s not real. It’s not real. We just made it up, I kept telling myself but I wasn’t so sure I believed myself. Slowly I ventured toward the kybo. It was very dark and the air was still. The light from the campfire was going dim and only the stars lit my path.
If I just hurry, I’ll be okay, I told myself. I sat quickly but then I heard the noise and saw two lights like eyes to one side. I ran out of there with my pants still around my knees. I must have imagined it. There couldn’t have been anything. I laughed at myself as I climbed into my sleeping bag.
I’ve heard stories about people telling ghost stories before a campfire only to be haunted by them later. But those are only stories, right? It’s a secret mystery of the mountain that you must keep, dear cousin.
It gets dark at night.
Mountains are eerie at night.
In the deep night I felt a little nudge. It was Pam waking me. “I have to go to the kybo,” she whispered shakily.
“So go,” I answered while trying to turn over and dislodge a rock from under my ribs.
“No, you have to come with me,” she urged.
“Why do I have to?”
“Because I’m scared of the Kybo monster,” she confessed.
Surprised I reminded her, “But there is no Kybo monster. We made it up, remember?”
“I know, but I’m scared. Maybe it won’t get us if we are together.”
She’s not going to let me sleep, I think, so I might as well go with her. Besides, all this talk about the kybo has made me have to go again too. So I got out of my nice warm bag and slipped on my icy coat before trudging toward the kybo. The stars were so bright and beautiful. There were more that I had ever seen before, sparkling and winking at us.
As we approached the kybo and she grabbed my hand, I began to feel a tightness in my chest too. I had to consciously ignore the memory of Danny’s arms and legs flying through the air and tried not to imagine some big creature lurking in the shadows.
“You go first,” Pam insisted.
“But I thought you had to go,” I protested.
“Yeah, but if there is a Kybo monster it may be too full after eating you to bother with me.”
“Thanks a lot. You are a real sacrificing sister,” I sarcastically challenged. But not to be accused of being scared, I did go first. The air was cold and crisp with a slight breeze blowing. I thought I felt something brush against my thigh and couldn’t stop the scream before it jumped from my throat. My scream made Pam scream and her scream made me scream again.
“What are you screaming about,” she urgently wanted to know.
I was hurriedly pulling up my pants and trying to scramble away from the hole at the same time, “I thought I felt something grab me.”
“You are just trying to scare me,” she protested.
“No really, I felt something.”
“I don’t think I need to use the kybo anymore,” she said looking all around as if something were going to sneak up from behind us.
“Oh, you better use the kybo. You got me up and you threw me to the monster first. You HAVE to go NOW,” I was indignant.
“Okay, but you better keep a lookout.”
Camping with kids.
Have you ever made up ghost stories that you scared yourself with?
The monster lives.
As I stood there looking around, it struck me that I was looking in the wrong direction for the monster. The monster was in the hole and could be coming up at any moment. Pam couldn’t finish her business fast enough and we were out of there like a shot. Back inside the tent again we chuckled about our fears getting the better of us. But I couldn’t get past the thought that something had brushed against me. And that night all I could dream about was a monster with huge claws and fangs reaching up and grabbing my bare behind to pull me down.
The next day we all confessed that we had dreamed of the monster. He had become real to us. After that we couldn’t go to the kybo unless we went in pairs and we didn’t even breathe a sigh of relief when it was time to go home and Dad filled the hole with dirt. You see the very next weekend when Dad dug a new hole for a new kybo we again imagined the Kybo monster was there.
The secret is that the monster is still up there, in those hills. We unleashed it somehow and now it roams free waiting for a kybo and some unsuspecting child. We didn’t mean to free it. We aren’t sure how we did it. All we know is that it’s out there somewhere to this very day. It’s a sad story, my dear cousin, but it had to be told. Now that you know, you will beware when you go to the mountains and dig a hole. Beware of the Kybo monster.