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Story of the Kybo Monster

As a baby boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.

Girls In The Woods...

Myself at a school field trip lunch break.

Myself at a school field trip lunch break.

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.

Dad's Invention

The Kybo was my Dad’s invention. He took us into the “backcountry” 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

My sister and brother

My sister and brother

Back from the Kybo.

Back from the Kybo.

Around the Campfire.

Around the Campfire.

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.”

Scroll to Continue

“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 our 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.

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 in the mountains.

It gets dark at night in the mountains.

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 than 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. The screams echoed and reverberated from the nearby cliffs making them sound longer and louder than they had been.

“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 was 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

My nieces before the campfire.

My nieces before the campfire.

Ghost stories

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 to some abyss.

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.

Yours truly and fearfully,



Monster comments here

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on April 24, 2017:

Hi, Denise,

Hello to Fresno. So glad to hear from you again, and I have to agree instantly about reading/responding to mails as a way to combat depression.

It is purely amazing just how much, seriously, the human word can be and when it is mixed with pure emotion, the results can astound a person.

I know. You have astounded me with your warm and honest words.

God bless you, Denise, my Good Friend.

Have a day of peace and write soon.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on April 24, 2017:

Hey Kenneth, I totally understand being down in the dumps during a long and wet winter. Here is California we are really not used to all this wet weather and it doesn't seem to be over yet. In the past 5 years we would have been experiencing our first hot spell by now. I think I have developed cabin fever myself. Do write. I will love to answer mail. Sometimes it is the helpful encouragement from a few friends who can keep us from falling into deep depression.



Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on April 23, 2017:

Dear Denise,

Thank you warmly for your replies. And your current reply was so uplifting that I cannot express my thanks to you in mere words.

I plan on mailing you an email more regularly than in days past. And I am so sorry for not connecting with you more.

The rain today caused my bones, muscles to hurt, but it is what it is.

We had a great worship service at church and I enjoyed myself. Thanks for your warm friendship and keep on writing.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on April 23, 2017:


I agree with you. I too, need to purpose to stay closer with those who are uplifting and warm and stay away from the arguers and pot-stirrers. It seems that social media is teaming with those. I'm so happy you want to reconnect and keep a positive attitude. I'm so sorry to hear you have been suffering with Fibromyalgia. I hear that is a horrible painful thing. I guess we all have a bear to cross or a cross to bear, something like that.... haha. I also answer emails. Thanks again for commenting.



Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on April 22, 2017:

Dear Denise,

I want to respond to you only with a spirit of honesty.

I am very sorry for allowing myself to be robbed by the "thief," known as time as you say. And you are so right.

About your knees, well, I am not here to sing a song of woe, but it is what it is, so I suffer from Fibromyalgia diagnosed from 2003; had congestive heart failure in 2013; two light strokes, but thank God Almighty, I am still here for some reason.

And Denise, I still Appreciate YOU, Your kind words, your story, your true and warm spirit and being my friend and follower in that order.

I think now that I am going to make my plans to stay closer in touch with you and try my best to not be as busy as to let time take my life from me.

More blessings and love to you too.


Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on April 22, 2017:

Time is a ruthless taskmaster. It sneaks by all of us but requires certain dues be paid. I hate that my knees aren't working like they used to. It seems mean because I still feel young mentally. So nice of you to revisit me, though. Thanks for the comments and reminder that time goes by.



Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on April 22, 2017:

Hi, Denise,

My comment (below) is two years ago. Wow! Has my life flew by that fast? I am completely serious.

What has happened to me? Can you tell me?

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on April 22, 2017:

Thank you, John. I really appreciate that. I don't often write stories but this one really happened so it was easy. Real life, I find, is easier to write about. Thanks for commenting.



johnmariow on April 21, 2017:

Excellent! I really enjoyed reading this hub. Very well written.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 10, 2015:

Thank you all for your kind comments. See ya.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on September 20, 2014:


You are oh so welcome. I love hub topics like yours. It was so realistic and I felt every emotion you wrote about in this story. You are certainly a gifted writer. I mean it.

And I hope you will follow me one day and that way I can share ideas with you and vice versa.


Your Friend for Life.

Nick Deal from Earth on September 16, 2014:

It's funny because you actually did create a kybo monster! Love reading these kinds of hubs that take me back to childhood.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 16, 2014:

Thank you so much. Very kind of you to say. I'm feeling the love! :)

Audrey Howitt from California on September 16, 2014:

Loved, loved this! You are such a creative writer--I will share this and hope you find a satisfying home here on HP! Such a great piece!

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 16, 2014:

Wow, thank you for the kind words. Coming from a real writer such as yourself I am doubly honored. But I never have considered myself a real writer. I'm an illustrator and I can tell a story. I think that's all I did here, tell a story from my point of view. Thanks for liking it.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on September 14, 2014:


This is one of the BEST hubs I have read in a long time.

In fact, I love this hub. And here are the reasons why:

1. This is an excellent piece of writing. Honestly, it is amazing.

2, I loved every word.

3. Graphics, superb.

4. This hub was helpful, informative and very interesting.

5. Voted Up and all of the choices.

You are certainly a gifted writer. Keep the great hubs coming.


Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

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