Camping with Grandma


Grandma is knitting, happy to be out of the city, completely unaware that she is my accomplice and my alibi. We are lounging outside of the small RV, enjoying the fresh air breezing through the spruce trees. I watch the movements in the campground, waiting for him to arrive.

 “What are you looking for, dear?” Grandma seems to be reading me.

 “Nothing. I was just thinking this place has not changed since we used to come here when I was a kid.”

I know he will show up. Making my life miserable is his only reason for living. He has been stalking and harassing me for too many years, and now I am going to put the nightmare behind me. I paid cash for the crossbow, and I have been practicing for months.

“You seem anxious,” Grandma sounds concerned.

 “No, I am fine.” I smile at her.

 A car pulls into one of the campsites quite a distance away. I notice no one gets out of the car to pitch a tent or use the outhouse.

 “May I take Bonko for a walk?” I know Grandma will say yes.

 I walk Grandma’s little dog through the campground, watching the car from the corner of my eye while looking straight ahead. No one gets out, yet when I walk by, the car appears to be empty. I figure he is hiding in the car. He has seen me and doesn’t want me to see him.

 I walk Bonko back to the RV. Grandma reminisces about her childhood while I nibble on raisins, peanuts, and pepper jack cheese. About an hour before sunset, I put on my coat and hide the pistol grip crossbow underneath. I tell Grandma that I am going to the lake to watch the sunset.

 Grandma gives me a questioning look and says, “Take the flashlight, so you can find your way back.”

 If ever questioned, Grandma will say I hiked to the lake, but I actually walk the trail by the ravine. I locate a good hiding place with a view of the trail. I cock the bow. I know he will follow me. He’s obsessed with knowing what I am doing every second. Grandma’s presence at the RV will deter him from pursuing his usual routine of vandalizing my property when I am not around.

 I sit and wait. I see hikers descending the trail. I hear a familiar voice as the hikers greet someone further down, and the hikers warn him that it will be dark soon. I fear he will turn around.

 I am shaking, but I drop a bolt unto the bow, release the safety, and take a deep breath. I raise the bow to aim.

 He walks slowly and leaves the trail to gain a vantage point to see further up the trail. He is looking for me. He returns to the trail, and I can tell he will turn back. He is not a brave man.

He is just out of range, but I refuse to let this opportunity get away. I take a shot at his back, hoping the altitude and thinner air will carry the bolt further. But the bolt drops quickly, skidding along the trail near his feet. He hears it, then sees it, and looks my direction as he walks over to pick it up. A scream freezes in my throat, and my heart groans.

 Suddenly he drops to the ground, and I hear a soft metallic plunk ripple through the woods. Grandma and Bonko walk up to him. Grandma kicks him and then waves me over as she casually opens her jacket and places the suppressed pistol into a specially made pocket. She points at the bolt and Bonko fetches it. We make sure he is dead, and then drag him over to the ravine, overgrown with scrubs. Grandma is a little short on breath, but we manage to roll him down.

 Back at the RV, Grandma brings out marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars. Grandma wants me to be happy, and I am.

 “How did you know?” I looked at my wonderful Grandma.  “You only call me when there is a problem.”

~ fin ~


Janet Hartwell lives near the Rocky Mountains with her dog and cat. She enjoys reading short stories and flash fiction, and firmly believes in the adage, “Good writing comes from good reading.” Janet is also an AFOL (adult fan of Lego), and occasionally travels in a RV.