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The Campfyre Killer by Tim Sadleir

There follows a transcript of a video chat salvaged from the files of social media site Campfyre, Tuesday, October 31, 2023.

Maeve: OK, well it looks like it might just be the three of us tonight.

Ella: I hope Belinda’s OK. She said she’d be here

Josh: Probly got a hot date. Happy six-month-versary, girls!

(Cheers from Maeve and Ella).

Maeve: Six months! I can’t believe it. I really think the algorithm matched us all up well – apart from you, Josh. You’re an arsehole.

Josh: HEY! Just because I’ve eaten all the trick or treat lollies doesn’t make me an arsehole.

Maeve: Yeah, right. Oh! I see a black square on my screen. Sim’s joined us!

Ella: Hey Sim!. 

Maeve: Again, any time you’re ready to switch your camera on and talk to us, we’d love that, Sim.

Sim (text chat): [Thumbs-up] Maybe. Adapting to new meds. UR lucky I’m here at all. Where’s Belinda?

Josh: Hot date.

Ella: Late. It’s not like her.

Maeve: OK, so I’m clicking on the  Campfyre envelope now … and tonight we are telling stories about … horror stories!

Josh: Shocker!

Ella: Ooh, I wrote a story when I was at uni. It was these two kids alone in a creepy house and their adult looker-afterer was gone for days.

Maeve: Creepy. 

Ella: Right? And then the police came and it turned out they were monsters and they ate them.

Josh: Cops are monsters. That tracks. 

Ella: No, wait. I mean…

Josh: I’ve got one. D’you hear about the nutjob going round killing Campfyre users?

Sim: [Thumbs up]…

Maeve: Oh, he’s typing!

Sim (text chat): Oh Please. I mean it’s horrible but everyone’s on Campfyre right now. 

Maeve: Exactly. People thought Twitter was the end of the world – and that was BEFORE it was a cesspit.

Josh: I heard the last guy was in his Campfyre circle and he went to the door and the Uber Eats driver got him!

Ella: Stop! I’ve got Pad Thai coming.

Maeve: I’ve gotta say though,  it’s nice to have a serial killer who murders guys for a change.

Josh: Now who’s the arsehole? He’s killed chicks too y’know.

Maeve: Oh,  I’m aware. Mum wants me to move home.

Sim: [Thumbs up]…

Sim (text): This whole Campfyre thing IS creepy tho. I mean who even are you people?

Josh: Who are YOU, buddy?

Sim (text): Any of you could be a psycho. Or I could be.

Josh: Really hoping these new meds are working for you, mate.

Ella: Josh! That’s mean!

Sim (text): Ha ha ha. [middle finger] 

Ella: That’s the door. Food’s here. Be right back.

Josh: OR WILL SHE?

Maeve: Stop it!.

Josh: What, am I supposed to just not say it? 

Maeve: Wait, I’ve got one. There was this kid at school. He was flunking biology and his best mate was like a biology genius. So the best mate died, and this kid, Damo, goes into his exam and he aces it. 89 per cent or some shit. And when people asked him how, he had no idea. Couldn’t even remember taking the exam.

Josh: So?

Maeve: So it was the guy’s ghost. He possessed him!

Ella: What’d I miss?

Josh: Nothing.

Ella: Um, who’s the new person?

Sim (speaking). Hey. Sorry I’m late. Got new meds. Been working up the courage to log on.

Maeve: You’re not late. You’ve been here the whole time.

Sim (speaking): What?

Josh: Wait. If you’ve just logged on, who’s the guy in the black square?

Ella: Oh God. Belinda?

(Screaming)

The Mercury November 2:

CAMPFYRE KILLER STRIKES

What started as a harmless game telling scary stories around the “Campfyre” turned into a nightmare for some online friends as a vicious killer revealed a member of the group’s body via webcam. The 34-year-old woman was found in a disused workshop.

Police are investigating but wouldn’t say if the crime was linked to other so-called “Campfyre killings”.

About the author
Tim (he/him) is a newspaper sub-editor and occasional actor and writer. He lives on Whadjuk land in Perth with his wife, two children, and a greyhound.