WARNING: Profanity, Insanity.
– – – –
"Summer camp!?!" Alex Rivers slapped the palm of his thirteen year old hand against a small wood desk in the corner of his room. Adjacent to which was a small bed across from an in wall bookshelf. For a few seconds, Alex felt a throbbing pain in his head growing worse with every heartbeat. His glare stayed on a writing pad on the desk and a green pen laying haphazardly on it. "In case nobody's noticed it, I don't do summer camps."
Standing in the doorway, Cindy Rivers – Alex's mother – let a deep sigh knowing exactly how this conversation was going to turn out. And, before the night was over, one if not both of them were going to need to vent their frustrations. With nothing more than a flick of blond hair from her face, Cindy smirked slightly. "Well you do now. Even if it means drugging you and dragging your unconscious body in there myself."
Alex stood from the office chair and turned to meet her eyes with his hidden behind locks of black hair. His black clothing wrinkled slightly with his every movement. Tense moments ticked by; neither dared to say anything. The only sound came from a gentle squeaking of a slow rotating ceiling fan.
"You're going..." Cindy was the first to break the silence.
"Don't mommmm me young man! You are going to camp whether you like it or not. End of discussion."
"No." Alex stood as straight as possible and crossed his arms defiantly. Cindy clinched her jaw hard and narrowed her glare until Alex could feel the cold heat piercing through his soul. Seconds, moments, a subtle twitch from her right eye and Alex gasped letting his arms fall to his sides. In that instant the teen boy realized he lost not only the battle but the war. "O-okay f-f-fine, I'll go..." was all he uttered before his body twitched from a wave of cold snapping up his backbone. With nothing more than a satisfied smile, Cindy turned and left her place in the doorway.
"But don't think I'm gonna be happy about it!" Alex barked trying to sound strong but came off as defeated.
-- -- --
"I don't believe this shit..." Alex muttered to nobody in particular as he shuffled along with a pack of other kids his age, some younger and a few older than he. Following the heard from the main gate, Alex glared around to find thick woods on both sides and a clearing straight ahead. "...the hell she did this..." his muttering continued as a scowl fell over his face, once in the clearing, his focus fell upon several trails leading off into the woods. To his immediate right, several cabins were dotted with an appointed cabin leader standing around to help out. A wave of anger and hatred flashed over his body giving him a cold sweat across his face. "...no freaking idea why."
Alex's thoughts came to an abrupt halt as his movement ceased. Before him was a run down wooden cabin that looked decades in disarray; dark wood planks of the walls and sagging patches of darker brown on the roof gave the structure an haunting feel to it. The windows were hazed over and covered with dirt riddled screening material, the warped door stood open as a crud covered screen door stayed closed to minimize insect infestation. Amazingly, standing on the front porch of the structure that looked ready to collapse, was a young adult male leaning on the wood railing. Several boys ahead of him started up the steps. Alex's glare fell to a few slips of papers in his hands then to a stylized E hanging boldly on the front wall of the cabin. Slightly shifting the weight of a backpack over his right shoulder, Alex tromped towards E cabin.
CLOMP, CLOMP, CLOMP. The teen boys black boots echoed with every step up the creaking stairs and across the wood plank walkway until he paused standing face to chest with the smiling man.
"Welcome to E cabin..." The man grinned checking Alex's paperwork to make sure he was in the right place. "My name is Kirby Wallworth...Kirby for short, I'm the cabin leader. So go ahead and grab a bed and make yourself comfortable."
"Ooookayy..." Alex lowered his brows into a questioning glare before turning to head inside. The moment he crossed the threshold, thick, stuffy, stale, hot air hit his nostrils almost causing him to gag. On the left side of his entrance but at the opposite wall was another doorway left slightly ajar to reveal hints of a sink and cabinet. The inside of the cabin was logically laid out with six beds - three on both sides of the room. Pale wood trim accented the woodwork of the walls and floor. Overhead, massive exposed beams hung mightily. Looking around, Alex noticed three other boys unpacking their bags onto a bed of their choice; walking past them Alex felt their stares until he reached the far end of the room. Thinking it over, Alex opted for the bed on the left.
Perfect...he thought slinging his backpack off his shoulder letting it smack against the mattress...less chance of anyone sneaking up on me. Taking a moment, Alex slowly turned and sat on the bed next to his bag. Not so gently, he leaned back lacing his hands behind locks of black hair and stared blankly at the ceiling. Before he could do anything else, the bed frame creaked before buckling completely slamming onto the floor leaving a dazed and annoyed Alex rolling his eyes while shaking his head side to side. Perfect. At least now I've got leverage. Closing his eyes, Alex relaxed and focused on everything that happened recently.
As Alex lay on the bed resting at floor level, two more boys trickled in and squared away their belongings rather quickly.
"Sehen..." Alex listened to a voice starting in a foreign language then switching to English. "Who's the new kid?" Even without looking, Alex knew he was now the center of attention whether or not he desired it. Opening his eyes, Alex noticed two boys standing roughly five feet from his bed. The first had reddish tan hair and light tan eyes and a little taller than Alex; he wore dark blue jeans and a white tank top shirt. The second was a little shorter with long blond hair and lime green eyes; he wore khaki slacks and a button down blue shirt. In the center of his forehead was a red dot that Alex couldn't help but focus on.
"I dunno..." the copper haired boy responded to the blond haired boy "...but I'll bet he's already missing his mommy!" The boy's chuckling ceased as Alex casually brought up his hand with middle finger extended and a demented smirk plastered across his face.
The blond haired boy laughed hysterically as the copper haired boy knelt down grabbing Alex's shirt in tightly clutched hands lifting him up and off the mattress. "What did you say to me you little shit!?!"
"I didn't say a word. You were doing all the jawboning."
"You wanna try me?"
"The only thing I'm trying to do is getting away from your dragon breath..." Before Alex could say anything else the copper haired boy let one hand go only to draw it back into a punch, Alex clinched his eyes shut and waited. Time paused as Alex continued waiting. He slowly opened his eyes to find a third boy - this one taller than the three of them - with short brown hair and brown eyes with his arm between Alex and his aggressor.
"Gentlemen, is there a problem here?" the brunet wearing black jeans and a stylized fire shirt asked glancing between them.
"Nah, ain't no problems Jeremy." the copper haired boy responded loosening his grip.
"I'm just trying to get settled in is all..." Alex grinned reaching back for his bag.
"Good. 'Cause I don't want any problems in this cabin this year, you hear me, Scott?" Hearing his name called out, the copper haired boy nodded. "That goes for you two, Adalwulf." Jeremy spoke pronouncing the name as Adal-voolf - to the blond haired boy looking down to his shoes. With this, Scott, Adalwulf and Jeremy left Alex to finish unpacking and stowing his gear away.
Once again, Alex stretched out upon the mattress with his hands laced behind his head and his glare locked upon the ceiling. His mind wandered freely until the mattress moved. Looking over, he found two more boys both with brown hair – one has hazel colored eyes and the other with pale gray eyes. Alex sat up using his elbows as props for his upper body. "Let me guess, you two want to start something too?" With this, one boy chuckled slightly while the other smiled barely noticeably.
"No. Quite the opposite..." the hazel eyed boy sharply tilted his head to the side. Alex studied him to find faded blue jeans and a smiley face shirt. "...if anything, we just want to slip you into the loop."
"The loop?" Alex narrowed his glare upon the boys.
"The loop. I'm Ian, that there's Nick." The gray eyed boy wearing tattered jeans and a hooded jacket nodded as Ian raised a palm up hand to him. "You already met Scott the hothead, Jeremy the ringleader and peacekeeper, and Adalwulf the German kid. I'm the informant slash contraband dealer and Nick's the quiet one – never says anything to anyone. But he throws one-hell-of-a crying fit. It's a gift really; especially when he gets truly riled up, talk about a tantrum. You know...full blown waterworks and one-hundred percent sheer raw emotions, his 'fits' are legendary around here." Ian tapped Nick gently on the chest and discretely pointed to Scott. "Show him your talent."
Nick stood and walked away; Alex and Ian watched as Nick and Scott bumped into each other. Scott whipped around gripping Nicks jacket, in response, Nick closed his eyes and started whimpering. "What the hell is wrong with you!?!" Scott demanded seconds before Nick broke out completely hysterical sobbing and deep huffing breaths – his face turning redder and redder. A shrill shriek and a fidgeting twist was all it took to draw attention to the sight.
"What in the world..." Kirby called out thundering into the cabin to see what the commotion was about. "...Scott! Let him go this instant!" Scott immediately released his grip allowing Nick to topple to the floor with Kirby turning his glare. "Jeremy, watch the guys. Scott, you're coming with me to the Cro!" With this Kirby and Scott exited the cabin allowing a stunned silence to fill the space. Nick kept the facade up as he returned to Alex and Ian at the far end of the cabin.
"Dude...?" Alex slowly asked as Nick sat next to him. "Y-you okay?"
"See?" Ian chuckled as Nick regained his composure. "Kids got some pretty good acting chops. Ooh, that reminds me..." Ian tapped his finger against his chin "...the Cro."
"Conflict Resolution Officer. Cro for short, but we all call 'em the Scarecrow. Pray you never do anything to get sent there, especially if you heard even half of the horror stories I've heard."
"Kids go there and never come back. They come back completely different from when they went in. Some come back out scarred for life."
"Bullshit? Did you just call my bluff? Nick-ey boy here had a run-in with him last year, hence why he doesn't say squat. But you ain't gotta take my word for it, try it yourself."
"Yeah, whatever." Alex rolled his eyes before Ian and Nick turned to leave. Alex curiously watched Ian's gimping left step even though nobody else noticed.
Day turned to evening. Evening gave way to the dark silence of night. A small watch around Alex's right wrist beeped once marking two AM. The inside of the cabin was still, quiet, almost feeling dead as all the boys slept soundly.
Alex snapped awake and fluttered the sleep from his eyes; his focus quickly adjusted to the darkness pierced only by hints of pale moonlight slipping in. Before he could close his eyes again, a faint creaking exploded in the silence causing him to tighten his grip on the sheets. A red glow flickered, movement in the isle caught his attention. More creaking, two more shadowy figures emerged seemingly from out of nowhere. Alex closed his eyes enough to look asleep but kept them open far enough to see everything happening around him. The shadow figures slowed as they approached his bed, a scent of leather filled the area as three of the four figures stepped eerily close to the bed without frame and Alex under the covers.
In perfect timing, the first reached out grabbing Alex's hands to keep him from fighting back. The second gripped his ankles keeping him pinned to the mattress while the third held cupped hand and a folded cloth to Alex's mouth and nose. The boy struggled twisting his body in every direction to slip free. His head tilted side to side to break away from the gagging smell of the rag, his resistance intensified as he muffled yelps for help. Slowly his body relaxed as the room spun slowly.
"Ssshhhh-ssssshh-sh-shhhh. Go on back to sleep." the figure holding the rag spoke soothingly while running his free hand through Alex's hair as the boy slipped into unconsciousness. His eyes rolled upwards towards his brain seconds before closing entirely.
AUTHORS NOTE: Chapters 1-5 have been edited for a better flow and reposted, many thanks for the reviews.