The Summer Of Secrets
Chapter VII: Delta
"Ok, wow, this is awkward." Riley laughed, trying to deal with this embarrassing moment.
"No, seriously, why do you have our... hey! Is that my bra?" Evans blurted, singling out Zac who had her unique black bra with rainbow polka dots all over it clutched in his hand. "Are those my underwear too?" She added, noting her lime green boy shorts.
"Uh..." Zac blushed a deep crimson. "It's not what you think." He muttered shyly, turning away to avoid her persistent glare.
"Exactly." Ace stepped forward, reassuring them, "it's for a game."
"A game?" Roxy asked incredulously. "A game?" She crossed her arms, readjusting her long blonde hair to one side of her shoulders.
"Yes, all in good fun. Look, let's put it this way," Ace explained, shrugging in his plaid pyjama pants and a grey short-sleeved tee. Roxy noted how the subtle tightness of Ace's shirt emphasized his built body. "You've got us in a compromising situation. Now, I'd be more than willing to return the favour, if, should it ever happen, that you two or the girls of V4 get caught or need to sneak into our cabin, we'll overlook it."
Roxy and Evans stared at each other. The two girls knew that they already did that, and they weren't about to tell them either. Roxy felt her brother's boxers burn a hole in her back, and somehow, she had a hunch Evans had the burning feeling too.
"Ok. We'll let you go. Now. But you better make sure these come back to us in the same condition they were in." Roxy commanded, nodding to Evans who nodded in agreement.
The boys sighed a breath of relief and walked with their gifts of shame. They filed out the green door quickly, looking both ways before jumping off over the stairs and breaking into a fast run towards their cabin.
When they were completely alone, Roxy and Evans sighed a deep breath of relief and pulled out their gifts of shame as well.
"That was fun!" Roxy whooped, her arm spinning her brother's boxers in the air. "I'm going to put it away, you should put the album away too." She suggested, running to the backroom. Evans followed her and took a sweater out, unwrapping it and placing the black book in the middle. She then folded her sweater again, and stuck it in the back behind the other ones in her cubby shelf, hidden away from sight.
Mere moments later, the two girls heard loud thudding footsteps clambering over the wooden steps and pretended to be sorting through their clothes in a desperate attempt to maintain a façade.
"That was the most disgusting breakfast I've ever had in my life." A girl moaned as she slowly ran towards the bathroom in anticipation for some painful diarrhea, the first one inside the cabin. Following behind the ill-faced girl was the Trio - Amber, Penelope and Victoria, donning short pyjama shorts and tank tops.
"I heard we have farm this afternoon. I will die if we have farm. I don't understand how my father can still allow that activity to be running!" Amber exasperated loudly, sighing for dramatic effect. Roxy came out of the backroom, pretended to be casually listening and rolled her eyes at Amber's disapproval.
"I happen to think the animals at Farm are adorable." Roxy chimed in, defending their honour.
"What are you, Pippi Longstocking?" Amber chortled. "Those farm animals cost a lot. And no one comes to visit them. They're smelly, dirty and they're so not cute!" Amber retaliated.
"On the other hand, they do have the most adorable bunnies I've seen." Penelope quietly added in. Amber shot her a bloodthirsty look that silently told her to shut up. Penelope succumbed to Amber's command and looked away, avoiding her persistent glare.
Roxy shrugged nonchalantly and headed towards her bunk bed to make her bed. Footsteps thudded heavily and loudly up onto their cabin's porch, followed by three short and booming raps on the forest green door.
"Who is it?!" Amber shouted loudly enough for the visitor on the other side to hear.
"Glow here! We've got a mandatory meeting at the firepit in five minutes!" Glow's annoyingly deep voice echoed back. "Don't be late, again, please!" He added hastily.
"We'll be there!" Penelope hollered back. The footsteps resumed again and then finally decreased to silence.
Amber shrugged as well as she went towards the backroom and grabbed a lime green zip-up sweater. She unzipped it and pulled it over her shoulders before zipping it partially half-way up. She pulled out some bubblegum from a shoe organizer hanging near her bunk bed and bit on it noisily. Her lips smacked annoyingly as she passed Penelope and Victoria to the front door.
"Well?" Amber asked in a huff. "Are you coming with me or not?" She added, crossing her arm. Her hip jutted out to one side, her body weight shifting onto her left foot.
Victoria grabbed a granola bar from her medium-sized red toolbox sitting near her bunk bed, closing it with a loud clack. Penelope grabbed her sweater, which was lying on her pillow on her bunk bed, and pulled it over her head, readjusting her hair in the process.
"Yeah, I'm ready." Penelope smiled timidly, walking with Victoria and then joining up with Amber who opened the door and followed behind them.
"I can't wait to see the look on Amber's face when we show her what we got." Evans whispered in a hushed tone in Roxy's right ear. "I bet she's expecting half of us to chicken out."
"Yeah. I'm starting to get the feeling that's exactly what she wants." Roxy replied in a low voice. They were near the bathroom, while everyone else was milling around in the front room, some leaving to go to the firepit and mingle with the boys on the bleachers. "It's like a game. Problem is, we're playing by her rules." Roxy noted in a beat tone.
"I never liked her rules." Evans admitted, washing her hands in the sink nearby. She inspected her cuticles up close and stared at her plump and short fingers. "We used to be friends, ya know?"
"Really?" Roxy brightened with a keening curiosity in Evans' past. "You never told me." She inched closer towards her, hoping she'd divulge more.
"Oh, my bad. Well, now you know." Evans smiled slightly. "It's not a big deal or anything, but I just got sick of her plotting and manipulating. Plus, I... went through a big change, and she wasn't happy with the way I turned out to be. Besides, she'd never admit we were friends; it's not the kind of thing she'd broadcast proudly."
"Well. It's her loss anyways." Roxy smiled back, linking her arm with Evans' as the two walked through the front of the cabin towards the door. Evans opened it and the two stepped outside to see most of the boys at the bleachers surrounding the firepit, with a cluster of girls talking to them. Zac and Ace looked up simultaneously at their arrival and Roxy frowned, noting the awkward eye contact Evans shared with Zac.
"Okay kids, here's the deal." Glow began, sitting on a tree stump across from the bleachers, watching his campers' expressions intently. "The entire Seniors unit, that is, if no one has any life-threatening allergies, are going on a hiking trip this Tuesday to a campsite down the peninsula."
As Amber had anticipated, the entire unit suddenly got antsy and anxious, chattering and murmuring quietly. Glow coughed loudly to bring their attention back to him.
"We'll be gone four days and three nights. So pack wisely. We're going on a five-hour hike, so pack some running shoes and comfortable clothes. We'll return on Friday afternoon, although there is no telling what time exactly when we'll be back." Glow resumed. Suddenly, cries and complaints broke the stony silence Glow had left behind temporarily. He got up from his seat on the uncomfortable tree stump, yelling. "Hey! Yes, you heard me right, there might not be time to shower and get fancy! But I'm sure you'll all think of something!"
"This sucks!" A boy shouted from the back of the bleachers. Glow stared inconspicuously, trying to pinpoint the smart-aleck. Much to his dismay, every one else started talking and clamouring and Glow gave up in smart defeat.
"Amber! Ace!" Glow called out. "Get over here please!"
Hearing her name, Amber automatically turned to the source and sighed as she got up from her seat on the bleachers. Ace was behind her and stepped haphazardly around her, ignoring her protest. She scoffed. Naturally, the person in front of you always went first, especially if you were sitting on bleachers. It made it so much easier to get out, but it wasn't like Ace cared. She sighed once more as she manoeuvred her way around the firepit towards Glow, who had walked away from his tree stump further away on grass.
When Glow saw that Amber and Ace had arrived, he opened his navy blue clipboard and read out their activities for the day. "Ok, thanks for coming guys. Ace, you tell the boys they've got water trampoline, sail and kayak. Amber, tell the girls you have dance, riflery and farm." He replied, closing his clipboard shut. "Any questions?"
"Ew, I knew we totally had farm." Amber muttered under her breath. Ace chuckled to himself, hearing her muttering.
"What about the afternoon?" Ace asked curiously, scratching the back of his head absentmindedly.
"I'll tell you after lunch. I'm still working it out." Glow responded quickly. "Now, hurry, you only have half an hour and I don't want to see you all late for your activities." He scowled, walking away.
"Have fun Princess." Ace chuckled once again, crossing his arms and walking back towards his cabin, passing the firepit where most of the Seniors had began splitting up to go back inside their cabins.
Amber, in likelihood to Glow, scowled at him, behind his back. Ace glanced over his shoulder and gave her a scowl back.
"Damn. Boy's smart." Amber muttered once again to herself, shaking her head in disapproval. She began walking briskly towards V4.
Taking the last step onto the porch, Amber brushed her auburn hair off her shoulders as she opened the familiar forest green door, opening into a chaotic mess of arguments.
"Girls!" Amber shouted loudly, her voice reverberating off the wooden floors and walls of the cabin. The girls silenced in reply. "Thank you. We have, as suspected, dance, riflery, and sadly enough, farm. Suffice to say we'll need to wear running shoes all morning."
"God, today sucks!" A girl piped up, moaning in exasperated agony.
"Cheer up." Roxy chimed in. "We don't know our afternoon yet. We could get waterskiing or even the weenie."
"That's not fun." The girl whined. "I'd much rather get pottery or arts and crafts."
"Why don't I see if I can put in a good word with Glow at lunch and we'll see?" Amber asked nicely. The girl shrugged and walked to the backroom to go change. "Hmph. We've got half an hour to get ready!" Amber announced before walking off to resume her morning routine.
"Where is dance anyways?" Roxy asked Evans, who was making her bed. "I'm not even sure I'm looking forward to it anyways."
"It's that building that's a few cabins down from us. It's covered by the trees so you can't really see it, but Jake Parker's a really fun dancer." Evans reassured. "Don't worry, you'll be fine. I suck at dancing too." She added amusingly.
"Thanks." Roxy laughed, walking over to clean up her bunk bed as well.
After she was dressed and ready for the morning's activities, Roxy sighed in annoyance at the other several girls still dressed in their pyjamas with five minutes left before their first activity started. She got up from her bunk bed, setting her book down and walked over to Evans' bed, where she was sitting cross-legged listening to her iPod intently. Evans smiled and paused the music, taking her earphones off.
"How's it going?" Evans asked. Roxy merely just shrugged in boredom. "Yeah, I know, me too."
"So... what's up with you and Zac?" Roxy asked carefully, playing with a strand of her Swedish-blonde-like hair around her index finger.
"Huh?" Evans asked, thrown off-guard by the sudden intimacy of the question. She fiddled with the cords of her earphones as Roxy sat down on her bed, facing her.
"I don't know." Roxy muttered nonchalantly. "Just kinda looks like you two... or well, you... know him or something." She added, twirling the strand around her finger, pretending her index and middle fingers were curling irons.
"We have been attending the same camp for quite a few years now. So yes, I know him. Along with at least more than three-quarters of our unit." Evans replied scarcely. She put away her iPod and tied her black hair with fuchsia and purple highlights into a high ponytail, secured with a neon green hair elastic band.
"No, I mean, like you two had a history or something." Roxy noted observantly, releasing her hair from her finger. "Plus, you were staring for a long time at that black photo album book of his. Were you in any of his pictures or something?"
"I-I... um, to be honest with you, I haven'-" Evans began before Amber's loud voice interrupted their conversation.
"Let's go!" Amber blurted loudly, standing by the green door. She opened it to reveal sunny blue skies with no clouds in sight. "Did I mention that whoever is the most enthusiastic and participates in everything with effort wins first in line for the shower for Friday after we get back from the trip? And that she can pick anyone to take the second and third spots?"
"What?!" Several girls screamed in sudden surprise. Others squealed and bolted to the backroom to change quickly into their day clothes.
In less than two surprising minutes, Roxy was astonished to see the entire cabin of V4 ready to start the morning in their shorts and sneakers. The girls exited the cabin with a spring in their step, walking the short trek to a few buildings down from their cabin.
Roxy glanced at the Dance Hall building. It looked short and extremely wide, and was covered in the shades from various trees surrounding it, as well as foliage and leaves blocking some of the windows.
"Come on Roxy!" Evans encouraged, waving her over. Roxy snapped out of her reverie and walked up the ramp to Evans, who held the door open for her. The two stepped inside and Roxy inhaled the scent of pine cleaning solution. The floors were wooden and shiny, varnished to glossiness that rivalled Amber's most glossy lip-gloss. The walls were wooden and bare, painted a thin coat of white paint, and a large electrical fan hung up on the wall opposite from the wall of mirrors. The girls screamed and hugged a tall man in the corner surrounded by electrical and stereo player equipment.
"Heeellloooo girls!" A deep voice hooted. "How are you all today?" He asked earnestly. Roxy saw a tall black head pop out of the circle of girls, and he walked over towards her.
She glanced briefly at his attire; baggy heather grey sweatpants, impeccably white air force ones shoes and a white t-shirt to match.
"Evans, looking good." He nodded. Evans replied with a meek smile.
"You must be new. I'm Jake Parker, but call me Jake or Parker if you prefer." He smiled, flashing his pearly white teeth. "What's your name?" He asked, holding his hand out.
"I'm Roxy." She replied, shaking his hand.
"Do you dance?" Jake asked curiously, eying her carefully.
"Uhmmm..." Roxy chuckled, crossing her arms in embarrassment. "No."
"That's perfect." Jake smiled once again, clapping his hands. "Okay ladies! Let's get right into it! We'll start with a warm up! Find a spot on the floor and face the mirror!" He yelled loudly, skipping over the floor towards the front, turning so that his back faced the mirror and he was facing the girls. He pulled a remote control from one of his pockets and pressed a button.
Loud techno music blared as Jake yelled out instructions. Roxy felt awkward trying to follow his fast-paced exercise routine; in one moment, he was swinging his arms and the next, jumping up and down like a crazy hobo and everyone followed suit. But Roxy felt like she couldn't follow the rhythm. Evans and a few other girls were struggling too.
"Don't worry about following me! Just try your best!" Jake yelled over the music. But somehow, that didn't console Roxy as much as she had hoped.
After a few minutes of back-breaking sweating, the music died down and Roxy felt ready enough to go lie down on the green lush grass outside under the sunny sky. "Whew! I worked up a sweat." Amber chuckled, breaking Roxy's pleasant train of thought.
"That was nothing girls. That was just the warm-up, remember? Here's the song we'll be making a dance routine to..." He laughed, pressing a button on his remote control before putting it back away. A slow techno beat faintly played as Roxy tried to recall the familiar notes of the song.
"Oh my gosh!" One girl squealed immediately after hearing the opening verse. "It's Everytime We Touch!" She added joyously.
"Okay ladies." Jake clapped his hands, trying to get some attention. "This is what you'll be learning to do." He added, replaying the song again with his remote control and pausing in front of the floor length mirror as the music began playing. He performed a dance routine that was more like a freeze frame every five seconds during the first verse, and as the chorus began playing and the tempo beat increased in volume, he began dancing expertly and performing a series of what seemed like complex moves to Roxy. After the chorus ended, Jake paused the song with his remote control.
"Now if that looked insanely challenging to you, good." Jake chuckled. "Don't worry. It'll all be broken down into very easy steps. Now, the first couple are easy. Stand straight and look straight ahead, come on!"
Everyone obeyed and stood like soldiers. "Now, you want to wait four beats then strike some kind of pose. Any pose you want. Let's try it together slowly. Ready? One, two, three, four!" Jake instructed, striking a come-hither gesture while many other girls laughed. "Girls! You're supposed to do a pose too. Let's try again. One, two, three, four!"
Roxy pulled a cowboy move, shooting her thumbs and index fingers out like guns. Jake called out another four beats and Roxy quickly decided to do a photo-taking pose. Before she knew it, Jake had finished with the poses and clapped in approval as he watched the girls. "Now let's try it with the music!" Jake announced, grabbing his remote control again and pressing a button. The song began playing and Jake got into position. "Ready? Five, six, five, six, seven, eight!" And then he began his own poses while everyone followed along with their own.
Midway through the song, Roxy and Evans along with another few girls were struggling with keeping up with Jake's insanely fast routine. The techno beat seemed to be hardwired into their brains as they cringed every time they messed up a move.
Jake paused the song for the thousandth time and sighed.
"Hey! Why'd you stop? We were doing so well. The dance's almost finished!" Amber cried in protest.
"Raise your hand if you feel completely lost and confused with the dance routine." Jake asked calmingly, ignoring Amber's protests.
Nearly two-thirds of the cabin raised their hands, some tentatively up.
"There's your answer Amber." Jake noted curtly. "Ok, we'll go through the entire routine again, once slowly without the music, the second time with normal speed, without music, and then finally, we'll try it again with the music." He added, walking from the front of the room towards the middle.
"This is ridiculous." Amber muttered in annoyance under her breath. She crossed her arms and stared at the mirror, seeing Jake instruct the girls in the back and the middle to spread apart further.
"So, after the opening with the poses, when the chorus kicks up, you'll do this..." Jake demonstrated, breaking the dance down into four-steps intervals.
"That was fun!" Roxy smiled as the girls went to the riflery station to cool off and refill their water bottles at a water fountain nearby. Jake had let them all go ten minutes early, after finishing the dance routine to 'Everytime We Touch' seamlessly. The riflery specialist wasn't there, but the girls sat down underneath the roof of the riflery shed, sighing in the sweet shade that the roof provided.
"Yeah, I told you." Evans murmured, wiping the sweat off of her forehead with her dry arm. "He makes it easy and fun to learn, even though we're probably not the strongest dancers of the whole cabin."
"Are you kidding me? You two are good compared to me!" Another girl piped up, overhearing their conversation.
"No way. I'm like, the worst dancer, in the entire universe." A second girl added.
"How big is the universe anyways?" The first girl asked in curiosity.
"Forty-Two." Evans chimed in.
"What?" Roxy asked, her face painted with confusion.
"It's from um... books written by, um, Douglas Adams?" Evans answered haltingly. The two girls shot Evans a weird look. Evans shrugged and cracked her knuckles out of habit. "You should read them. They're good books."
"No... thanks..." the girls muttered. The two turned back to face each other and resume their own conversation.
"They are good books." Roxy chuckled. "So, what exactly do we do here for riflery?" Roxy asked curiously, swinging her blonde hair that was tied up in a ponytail side to side.
"Good question, and I'll be answering that today." A deep male voice announced from behind the girls' backs. Everyone snapped their heads towards the new voice and squinted their eyes. "I'm Nate, and I'm the riflery guy." He added, his dark silhouette of his broad shoulders and body enveloped in darkness as the rising sun shone behind him.
"Hey Nate!" The girls greeted warmly. Nate the riflery guy jumped over the porch fence, landing onto the riflery platform that the girls were seated upon that connected to the riflery shed. Nate was so tall that his hands could graze the roof of the platform if he tried hard enough.
"Awesome to see you all girls. So, let me grab my rifle and I'll explain to you how it works." Nate smiled, his physical characteristics clear; a mop of shaggy chocolate-brown hair that fell to his neck, freckles that dotted around his cheeks and eyes, and a 5'10" or something stature that allowed him to tower over the girls. He walked over to the shed and unlocked the door with a personal key, taking out a small rifle completely painted in black. Along the butt of the rifle was a piece of tape, with the words 'TESTER' written on it in block print.
Nate took a seat in the circle of girls and held the rifle out.
"Don't shoot me!" A girl cried out when the rifle's barrel faced her.
Nate laughed, shaking his neck to flip his shaggy hair out of his eyes. "Don't worry." He added, showing her the 'TESTER' label on the butt of the rifle. "It's not even loaded with pellets yet."
"Oh. Okay." The girl replied timidly.
"Anyways," Nate flashed another smile, holding up the rifle for everyone to see. "Here's the rifle. Now, this is not the best rifle to have for hunting, because this is more for target and range practice and bulls-eye-shooting. You know, that kind of stuff. Now if you look to this..."
Evans stared at the bright lime green poker chip taped to the exact middle of the bulls-eye target paper that was tacked up on wooden boards. She visualized it with a vivid picture of a person in her head. A person she'd like to hurt, very, very much. A person she'd like to inflict all kinds of pain upon.
She held the rifle up to her arm, digging the butt of it into her shoulder to reduce impact and shock movement. She cocked her head to the right, staring through the rear sight and lining her target up with the front sight as well.
Her head mentally went through a checklist. Pump the rifle three times? Check. Load it with a pellet? Check. Unlock the safety trigger? Check. She inhaled and exhaled, wrapping her index finger around the trigger, feeling it carefully.
When Evans felt confident that her rear and front sights were aligned with the target, she held the rifle tightly against her right shoulder and squeezed the trigger. A loud shot fired off as the pellet diced through the air and sliced through the poker chip, exactly in the middle. The result was a perfect bulls-eye, down to the last millimetre. Evans locked the safety back on the rifle and put the rifle in the correct safety position down on the platform.
"Wow. Nice shot. What's your name?" Nate observed, pointing out her clear talent. She turned around and saw him sitting in a bright pink lawn chair.
"Evans." She replied curtly.
"Wait, there's an Evans Nic... Nicholson or something written in the 'Wall Of Fame' in the riflery shed. You didn't happen to win the 'Golden Bullet' last year did you? The first girl to win a Golden Bullet?" Nate asked incredulously, leaning eagerly out of his lawn chair.
"Yeah, that was me. I'm that Evans Nicolson, the one and same." Evans chuckled, embarrassed by the fact that he knew she won a trophy last year, and that her name was written down in the riflery shed.
"No wonder you won a trophy last year. You're so good." Roxy chimed in, nudging her arm.
"It's an honour to meet you." Nate smiled once again, reaching his hand out to shake hers. Evans grabbed it hesitantly and shook it. His eyes drifted for a moment and he caught a girl holding the rifle wrong. "Hey! Wait! Don't shoot! Stop!" He shouted, leaping out of his seat and running down the platform to the end where a girl was holding the rifle the wrong way, aiming the barrel carelessly at the cabins down the way.
After Nate had safely secured the rifle, he gave the poor girl an unnecessary lecture.
"So, would you mind helping me actually hit something then?" Roxy chimed in politely.
"Sure." Evans nodded, getting up and walking over to where Roxy was crouching. "Go ahead." Evans suggested, waiting for Roxy to pump the barrel three times and load it with a pellet.
"I'll leave the safety on so you can just show me, then when I'm ready, I'll unlock it, okay?" Roxy asked carefully, holding the rifle in her hands.
"No problem," Evans smiled, crouching next to Roxy. "Now, here's what you want to do. You see the rear sight here?" She asked, pointing to an attachment near the back of the barrel. "You want to line it up with the front sight, which is that green neon thing at the front of the barrel. When you can see through both of these, you've got your rifle straight. In order to actually hit the target, with these rifles, the barrel is right below these sights, so you need to compensate for the height." She added, picking up the rifle and elaborating.
"Oh, I see, so I aim a little higher so that the pellet's in line with the bulls-eye?" Roxy answered calculatingly.
"Bingo." Evans winked. "Try it now and see how you do." She added, getting up and stepping behind Roxy. She watched Roxy turn the safety off and hoist the rifle to her right shoulder, tucking it tightly and looking through the rear and front sights carefully. After what seemed like minutes, a loud shot went off and the empty plastic water bottle hanging on top of the bulletin board that had bulls-eye paper tacked to it fell off.
"Whoo!" Several of their cabin-mates applauded at Roxy's improvement.
"I did it?" Roxy asked, stunned. She put the safety back on and placed the rifle down on the platform, disengaged.
"Yep," Nate chuckled. "That was a good shot. Keep practicing and you just might beat Evans here!"
"I look forward to that day happening only when pigs fly." Evans teased.
"Yeah. I'll go practice some more maybe... you never know. With genetic modifying nowadays, pigs could fly after all." Roxy laughed, remaining optimistic about her feeble skills at riflery and target practice. She picked up her rifle and resumed reloading it.
"Hey Evans!" Penelope shouted from down further the platform. "Since you're the pro these days, could you teach me a trick or two then?" She asked.
"Yeah, if you don't shoot me first!" Evans added jokingly, walking down the platform.
"Ew, I can't believe we have Farm now." A girl sighed in annoyance. The squeaking of boots filled the stale silence as the girls walked through the muddy swamp-like environment and approached a gate.
"Hello? Anyone home?" Amber's clear voice rang out.
"Hey girls!" A young-looking male staff greeted from behind them. "You must have farm now then?" He asked, gesturing to their outfits - raincoats, old pants and rain boots. They were the only type of outfits that were commonly associated with either rainy days or a Farm activity. Since it was completely clear and sunny that morning so far, he knew they had Farm for sure.
"I'm Brian. What unit are you girls from?" He introduced himself cheerily, pushing his thin wire glasses up his large freckled nose.
"Seniors." Amber replied monotonously, glancing at his appearance - a McGill University sweater, dirty indigo blue jeans, work boots, short strawberry red curly hair and a bracelet on his right wrist made out of hemp, probably from arts and crafts.
"Wonderful. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll need to open the gate to let us all in..." Brian replied, navigating through the cluster of Senior girls to the gate. He reached his hand over the gate and gripped a lever, pulling it horizontally to unlock the gate from the inside. "There we go. Come on in. Mi casa es su casa."
"Huh?" A girl whispered in front of Roxy and Evans.
"It means my house is your house. Literally a welcoming greeting." Evans whispered in the girl's ear suddenly, nearly startling her.
"Jeez, you're so rude! I didn't need to know that!" The girl whispered back angrily, walking off quickly to the front of the pack.
Evans and Roxy looked towards each other and shrugged in annoyance as they went through the gate and into the farm, which looked like some sort of roof with four pillars and two big rooms with doors on them. The rest of the farm was fenced and had an area full of grass and another area full of bare dirt that roosters were trotting on and a medium-sized pond with white and yellow ducks swimming in it.
"If you'll all grab a seat, I'll bring out a couple of our animal friends to introduce you to." Brian smiled, heading towards one of the rooms that had a sliding lock on the door. Clucking and squawking sounds echoed from inside at the sound of his footsteps.
The girls slowly sat down on the seats gathered in a large circle. Some were levelled tree stumps, old benches, or old fold-out chairs.
"Here's our first guest. His name is Horus and he's just a kiddo." Brian announced, stepping towards the circle with a large ball python wrapping itself around his left arm.
"That's so cool!" Murmurs from various girls erupted. "I love his pattern!"
"Horus here is a ball python." Brian instructed. "He's very friendly and completely harmless. Well, he's got quite a good grip, but it's not dangerous enough to break your bones yet."
The chattering amongst the girls went silent.
"Haha, don't worry. Ok, maybe that was a bad joke." Brian chuckled. "I'm holding him and that's gotta be proof enough that he's safe. I'll go around so you girls can touch him." Brian walked into the circle and began with Amber. Amber eyed the yellow and grey coloured snake carefully before stroking it with a pale index finger.
"So, how old are you girls?" Brian asked curiously.
"Sixteen to seventeen I guess?" Victoria answered, bouncing in her seat when Brian finally came over to her and she patted the snake with both of her hands.
"Wow. So you're all almost done with high school then. I remember me and my brother in high school, it was pretty funny at some times." Brian chuckled at the recalling of memories that filled his brain.
"Your brother?" Roxy asked curiously, rubbing Horus' scales with her palm. He was cool and extremely smooth to the touch.
"Yeah, twin brother. He's not working here this summer. I suppose that's more of a good thing for me." Brian chuckled as he rotated his arm a bit so the other girls could get a good look.
"Oh that's so cool!" Penelope chimed in. "Do you have any funny stories for us, like where you and your twin brother switched places or something? Is that even possible in real life?" She asked curiously.
"Well, if you girls want to hear stories, then I guess I can do that." Brian smiled, sitting down in a spare seat after he completed a full walk-around the circle. Horus untangled from his left arm and slithered to his right, wrapping around it slowly and dangling loosely. "Ok, so it was exams and I'm better when it comes to science and biology. He's way better at math. So, since we're identical twins, we figured it'd be worth a shot to switch places and write the exams we were both good at for each other, because we wanted good marks for university. So, he wrote my math exam for me and I wrote his biology exam for him."
"And you didn't get caught?" Amber asked, leaning forward from the tree stump, letting her elbows rest on her knees.
"Nope. We're really hard to tell apart I guess. Even teachers keep forgetting which one we are." Brian replied casually.
"How did you do on the exams?" Evans asked.
"Pssh. I scored a 95 for him and he got me a 96. So it worked out well in the end." Brian laughed. "But don't try and cheat on exams unless you've got a really identical twin. Or a wand like Harry Potter."
"What could a wand do anyways?" Victoria asked imperiously.
"For starters," Amber chimed in, "you could manipulate time."
"And manipulate the exam itself." Roxy added in.
"You could change yourself? Swap brains with someone else?" Evans pitched her two cents.
Various girls threw suggestions as they brainstormed possible ideas in the world of Witchcraft and Wizardry that was Harry Potter. Horus tightened his grip on Brian's arm, and Brian cleared his throat. "I'm going to return Horus, I think he's a little irritated right now. But don't worry, I've got plenty of fun animals coming on the way!"
"Aww. Bye Horus!" A girl smiled, patting his scaly belly before Brian got up and took him inside the little shed-room.
"I wonder what's next..." A girl murmured as Brian made scuffling noises inside. Moments later, Brian returned empty-handed and walked over to the other side, where there was a small gate, in between a long fence that surrounded a field of grass with more fences. He whistled loudly and muted thudding noises followed shortly after.
"Girls, meet Liam." Brian grinned as a five-foot llama appeared behind him, with huge teeth and off-white cotton fur. "He's about ten years old, and he'll only spit when he's threatened. But he's a big ol' friendly guy, that rarely happens. So go on ahead, pet him!"
The girls got up from their seats and walked over to the fence where Brian was petting Liam's side.
"He's so big!" Roxy noted, reaching a hand out and petting his thick woolly fur.
"He's gorgeous." Penelope smiled, rubbing the top of his head. Liam leaned down and rested his head on the fence, allowing Penelope better access.
"Here's a llama, there's a llama, and another little llama, fuzzy llama, funny llama, llama, llama, duck!" Victoria began singing.
"llama, llama, cheesecake, llama, tablet, brick, potato, llama, llama, llama, mushroom, llama, llama, llama, duck!" Brian added, following the next verse of the llama song. "I love that song."
"What is that song?" Amber scoffed.
"It's from a website. The Llama Song?" Roxy elaborated. "From albino black sheep dot com?" She added eagerly.
"I was once a treehouse..." Victoria encouraged. Roxy, Brian and Evans joined in: "I lived in a cake, but I never saw the way the orange slayed the rake, I was only three years dead, but it told a tale... now listen child to the safety rail..."
Amber's face remained stoic and devoid of any emotion or feeling whatsoever. "Uhhhmmm. Okay. Next animal. Please?" She asked impatiently. Other girls shot her angry glares while they were petting Liam.
Liam, as if on cue, grunted in disagreement.
"Sure. If you'll go out to the grass and sit in a circle, I'll bring out our last cute guest." Brian remarked, heading back into the second room with a door and left the girls alone. The girls sighed and petted Liam one last time as they walked away from the fence and turned around to face the dirt ground with roosters clucking around a pond full of swimming white and yellow ducks.
"What grass?" A girl shouted in disapproval looking at the bare dirt on one side and the fenced green grass that Liam was prancing around on.
"Hey again. Oh, my mistake, I meant the grass outside the farm gate. So if you'll..." He muttered, hiding the 'cute guest' under his sweater and walking ahead of the girls. In a haste, he opened the gate rather awkwardly, and scooted out with one hand underneath his shirt towards the green grass from the muddy path. The girls followed behind him carefully. Since Victoria was the last one out of the gate, she locked it the way she saw Brian did earlier.
The girls sat down in a large oval-shaped circle with Brian sitting in between two girls. He pulled out the 'cute guest' from under his dirty grey McGill sweater to reveal a snow white bunny with chocolate brown spots all over it. Almost instantly after Brian let the bunny down on the grass inside the circle of protection, the girls burst out in squeals.
"It's so cute!" Various girls shouted as the bunny hopped around, different girls petting it as it moved inside the circle.
"Is it a he or a she?" A girl asked curiously. The cabin silenced awaiting Brian's reply.
"He." Brian answered meekly. The girls awed and cooed at the cute boy bunny. It paused for a moment near the center of the circle and rubbed its nose with its paws, causing the girls to awe even louder. Then it hopped towards the east.
"So, what's his name?" Evans asked, waiting as the cute little bunny hopped over to her and she started rubbing his fuzzy brown ears. He was so small and so... fuzzy.
"That's actually the question of the day. See, certain ages here at Camp Freedom can actually adopt a pet from Farm," Brian began explaining, scooping up the bunny into his freckled hands. "If you want to, you can adopt this little fellow here. Give him a name, and visit him as often as possible. Of course, he'll be staying here at Farm, and I'll be feeding him at regular intervals, but when it comes to quality time and companionship, that's up to the cabin adopting him. Otherwise, if it's not well-cared for, then it'd be a shame..." He murmured seriously.
"A shame to what?" Victoria asked haltingly. Various worst-case scenarios ran through her mind rapidly like flashing strobe lights.
"To have to give him to another cabin to be adopted. But he'll never grow up the same anymore." Brian answered solemnly, putting the bunny down to hop around inside the oval-circle they had made with their legs.
"Well girls, a show of hands if you want to adopt this cutie?" Amber commanded, raising her right hand strongly into the air, despite not being happy about it. But if it got her father off her back, then maybe it was a good idea.
"I'm in!" Evans shouted as she shot her right fist up.
"Me too!" Roxy followed next. But then suddenly, the bunny hopped over to the girl on Roxy's left and peed on her sweatpants, causing the girl who was about to raise her hand to lower it quickly and exclaim in disgust.
"Ew!" The girl cried out. "He peed on me! And gross, he's pooping on me now!" Laughter broke out inside the circle as the girls giggled and chuckled at the sight.
"I'm in." Victoria smiled as the bunny hopped over after its bathroom break to her. After she spoke, he paused, looking up at her. Victoria maintained eye contact as long as she could, but when she blinked, the bunny hopped and climbed up onto her leg and over, pausing once more again.
"I think it's safe to say we're in for adopting hi-" Amber replied curtly towards Brian, who wasn't paying attention.
"No... no... don't even think about it..." Brian muttered towards the bunny, who was contemplating something. Then it jumped off from Victoria's leg and hopped towards the free fields and roads that was Camp Freedom. "No! Damn that bunny!" Brian shouted suddenly, alarming the girls. He got up from his seat on the grass and ran towards the bunny, who was hopping faster than before, seeming to anticipate Brian's running.
"Oh no..." Penelope frowned, watching Brian chase down the furry white and brown bunny. The other girls watched with concern on their faces. Brian ran further down the field, zigzagging behind the bunny, trying to get ahead of him.
"Aha! Finally!" Brian exclaimed from even further down the field, scooping down onto the grass and picking the bunny up. He sighed and jogged over quickly to the circle, filling in his old spot and releasing the bunny back into the circle of protection. "Now girls, if he tries to get away, like that again, just give him, a gentle nudge, back into the circle, or use your hand as a wall." He panted, short of breath.
"So can we name him?" Penelope asked excitedly.
"Sure. It's up to you girls." Brian nodded, grabbing a pen and notepad from his dingy jean pocket. He popped the pen and began writing down something on the notepad. "So?" He looked up, his thin metal wire glasses gleaming in the sun, awaiting the name.
"Any suggestions?" Amber asked, opening the floor to anyone.
"How about Binky?" A girl volunteered.
"Ew." Amber's face turned into a scowl. "Next?"
"Fluffy?" Another girl piped up.
Amber shook her head in annoyance. "I'm just going to remain silent until a good name comes up."
"Marshmallow?" Another girl replied. No comment came from Amber.
"Poopie?" The girl with the dirty sweatpants muttered.
"That's disgusting," Amber noted curtly.
Amber shot the girl a disbelieving look.
Amber shook her head once again.
"Seth?" Evans asked quietly.
"Seth? Why?" Amber scoffed. "Sounds like you're obsessed with that old show, the OC? Don't get me wrong, Adam Brody is delicious but Ben Mackenzie was way hotter."
"No, because in Egyptian mythology, Seteh, which was his real name, or at least, some form similar to that, was the god of chaos." Evans explained. "And well, since this little fella here has been doing nothing but be chaotic, I just kind of thought it was appropriate." She elaborated, pointing to the culprit that was hopping around frantically inside their circle. Then, as if on cue, he paused and stared at Evans, with his twitching brown ears, his gleaming cotton white fur and his flicking brown bunny tail. "Besides, I think he likes that name, don't you Seth?" She added, leaning in forward to rub his head with two of her fingers.
"I like that name." Roxy replied, backing up Evan's suggestion.
"Ok. Seth sounds good. Does everyone agree?" Amber asked. Various nods from the cabin mates verified Amber's decision. "Ok, Seth it is. Congrats Evans, you won first in line for the shower on Friday. Who's second and third?"
"Huh?" Evans murmured.
"You won! You get first in line for the shower after the trip!" Roxy hooted, shaking Evans arm.
Amber rolled her eyes. "It's very clear you were helpful during Dance. Encouraging even. And you were also good at riflery too. And well, you came up with the perfect name for our cabin bunny. So yes, you won."
"Oh. Cool." Evans shrugged, picking up Seth. Brian gave her a nod to acknowledge that his name was going to be Seth as the girls agreed upon.
"So. Second and third in line?" Amber asked impatiently.
"I guess..." Evans paused, thinking for a moment. The suspense build up as the girls awaited on who were going to be lucky son of a bitches on Friday. But how could Evan choose between so many girls without starting a catfight of some kind?
A/N: Whoooaaaaahhh. I updated. Out of the blue like that. I hope you enjoyed that because it was way more than 5-6 thousand words. Unfortunately, it'll probably be the last update for the next couple of weeks. Or couple of months. It's summer here after all, and I've got work to do. But my goal is to hopefully hit the double digits before the end of August. I'll really try...
To any of the readers out there - yes I know you're reading my stories, because you favourite or comment on it and there's also the hits... there has been a recent rash of plagiarism and I am really disappointed in these people. Some of these great authors on FP - Myrika, angels and effects and simonxsays to name a few, are being ripped off. And as a result, taking down their stories. It's sad and terrible. I hope you will do keep an eye out for any other plagiarism going on and report it. But in the meantime, be careful with your stories out there. :3
And finally, thanks again for reading! I'd love any feedback on this chapter, or the story in particular. The hiking trip's coming up and that should be fun! (Oh the memories).