"Are you sure you want to do this? I mean it hasn't been that long. It's okay if you just want to stay home this summer," my mom worried as she fumbled with my clothes.
"I'll be fine," I reassured. I grabbed more clothes out of my closet and threw them into my insanely large suitcase.
We heard the loud honk of the bus outside. I zipped my suitcase shut before smiling at my mom.
"Be careful," she commented.
The bus driver tossed my bag into the bus as I walked up the steps of the ugly yellow school bus. I smiled as I sat down next to my best friend. Her long blonde hair was pulled into her signature ponytail while her blue eyes sparkled through her stylish glasses.
"Can you believe we are finally old enough to be counselors?" Lindsay cheered as she gave me a welcome hug.
"I can't believe they let him come," I retorted as I glared at the backseat.
Sitting alone in his tattered jean jacket and spiked hair was none other than our school's delinquent; Derek. He held a sharp piece of wood firmly in his hand as he sharpened it with his pocket knife. His eyes darted over towards mine as he smirked.
I quickly turned back to face Lindsay. I can't stand looking at that pig.
"I heard that it was either this or another year at jail," Lindsay gossiped as she twirled her soft hair in her fingers.
A few hours later we arrived at camp. I inhaled a deep breath of pine trees and fresh air as I stepped off the bus.
"Listen up everyone!" shouted the masculine voice of the woman who stood before us. Her hands were planted firmly on her hips as her dark sunglasses hid her glare.
"You will all be paired up in groups of two, one boy and one girl. Once you have your partner go stand by the totem pole to get assigned your sleeping arrangements. And don't go finding a partner because I will be choosing them for you," she commanded. Her army boots dug in the mud as she walked down the line pairing us off.
Lindsay was thrilled when she got assigned Mike Reynolds also known as the hottest guy at our school. But I was less than ecstatic about my partner. Because who stood before me was Derek. He stealthy moved closer to me to get a look down my camp tee shirt but I hit him in the arm before he could. However he just smiled.
The drill sergeant showed us to the cabins. Thankfully when we were paired up again I got Lindsay. We were assigned to the thirteen year old girls who were also known as one of the hardest groups to handle. Lindsay and I giggled together as we remembered memories from a few years ago when we were thirteen. We tortured our cabin leaders endlessly.
I threw my bag down on the bottom bunk of the bunk bed nearest to the window. It always comforts me to look out the window in the middle of the night to know I'm safe. Lindsay followed me and jumped onto the top bunk.
"I'm sorry you got Derek, are you okay?" Lindsay asked as her sweet expression turned sour.
I knew she was just trying to be nice but it irritated me. For the past three months the only thing anyone has said to me is are you okay. All I ever get is pity. I'm sick of being treated like I'm broken.
"I'm sorry, I promise never to ask that again," Lindsay apologized as she caught onto my thoughts. Sometimes having a best friend who can read your thoughts isn't a good thing.
I pushed away the negative thoughts and grinned at her.
"You know you don't have to act so tough all the time. You went through a horrible thing..."
"Not one word," I interrupted.
The door flew open and a dozen giggling girls rushed in. They blabbered to each other as they claimed beds next to their friends.
"Hey everyone you only have a few minutes to get settled in before you have to go get assigned into your groups," Lindsay announced.
The girls all turned to look at her. They were in awe as they stared at Lindsay's perfectness.
"I'm Lindsay and this is Melody. We will be your cabin leaders for the whole summer so if you need anything feel free to ask," Lindsay introduced before flashing them a sweet smile.
A loud trumpet blared as we all rushed to the meeting point. Derek immediately joined my side as Lindsay skipped over to her partner. We got assigned a group of mainly young kids with a few thirteen year olds. The older boys made jokes and goofed off while the older girls stared at Derek. The younger ones began huddling around me for safety. I was particularly fond of this five year old boy named Willis. He hugged tightly onto my legs as his messy brown hair brushed against my bare legs. He looked up at me with his baby blue eyes and I couldn't help falling in love. He was just so sweet and cute.
"Come on we are going for a hike," Derek sighed as he lead the group. At first I was unsure about letting him lead but I was soon distracted by the millions of questions the little kids were asking me.
We hiked up steep rocky hills and mushy bogs yet Derek was still walking. I began feeling uneasy about the hike so I quickened my pace to catch up with him.
"We have been hiking for a really long time, the little kids are getting really tired," I pointed out.
"Do you even know where you are going?" I snapped.
Derek just shrugged in response.
"You just got us lost in the forest didn't you?" I shouted.
"Relax I know what I'm doing," Derek stated coldly. His light blue eyes looked like deadly daggers as he glared at me.
"Fine if you know what you are doing, take us back to camp," I commanded.
"I don't feel like it."
"We have been hiking all day, it's nearly dinnertime. We need to get back to camp," I state.
"How would you know what time it is, you don't have a watch," Derek scoffed.
"I know what a setting sun means," I retorted as I pointed up at the large sun that lay low in the sky.
Derek stopped walking and took at seat on a nearby log. He then pulled out his pocket knife and became carving something into the log.
"That's it, you give up?" I questioned.
Derek nodded, "We should just stay here and wait for someone to find us."
As much as I wanted to, I couldn't fight with that logic.
All of the kids huddled around Derek and stared at him as he carved. They were all warn out and starving, I felt so bad.
Meanwhile I gathered up some wood and built a fire. With the harshness of the night coming, everyone was overjoyed with the fire. I think I even saw Derek smile.
I sat down on a log in front of the fire. Just then the cute little boy with shaggy brown hair came up to me and asked, "Can I sit on your lap? I'm scared."
I gladly picked him up and sat him on my lap.
"Is that better Willis?" I asked. He nodded in response.
"Do you guys want to hear a story?" Derek asked as he looked up from his carving.
The kids all nodded excitedly.
"I have to warn you, it's pretty scary," Derek commented as he stabbed his pocket knife into the log.
"Tell it!" exclaimed one of the older boys.
"One night a lot like this one, there were four teenagers camping in the woods. It started getting dark so they set up their tent. But as one of the guys went to get firewood alone, he heard the sounds crick, crack, slish. At first he thought it was one of his friends messing with him but then he heard it again. He tried to run away but then he heard it for a third time. He screamed and that was the last anyone ever heard from him. His friends went looking for him but never found him. However since they were in the middle of the woods miles from any towns, they were forced to stay the night. They huddled together in the tent before falling asleep. Then In the middle of the night one of the girls woke up because she had to go to the bathroom. But before she could get out of the tent she heard exactly what the guy had heard, crick, crack, slish. She was puzzled by the sounds but then she heard it again; crick, crack, slish. At this point she was getting really freaked out so she tried to wake up her friends. But when she heard it for a third time she didn't even have time to scream. The next morning two park rangers came across their campsite. They were scared senseless as they found the four bloody mutilated bodies of the teenagers hanging from a tree. So if you ever hear the sounds crick, crack, slish; run."
We sat around the dark campfire. The younger kids were shaking in fear as they grasped onto me for comfort. I wanted to kill him. I mean what kind of idiot gets us lost in the woods then tells a scary story to a bunch of little kids!
The kids (even the older kids) started bawling when they heard the sounds crick, crack, slish. I looked over at Derek to see him laughing his head off.
"You guys are so easy," Derek chuckled.
I glared at him. Why couldn't I have been paired with someone more human?
Crick. Crack. The older kids ran over to me and huddled around the little kids. I glanced over at the trees to see the branches trembling. My body began shaking as my heart beat as fast as cheetah.
Thankfully it was just some of the other camp counselors. I ran over to Lindsay and hugged her. I was still shaking.
"It's okay, it's just us," Lindsay smiled as she comforted me.
"Wow you get freaked out really easily," Derek laughed.
"Shut up, it's not her fault," Lindsay shouted.
I let go of her and glared into her baby blue eyes.
"I mean the woods can be really scary when it's dark," Lindsay corrected.
"Whatever let's just get back to camp," Derek sighed.
Once we were safely back at camp, I head straight for our cabin.
"Are you okay?" Lindsay asked as she followed me like a lost puppy dog.
"Way to break your promise," I snubbed.
"I'm sorry; I'm just worried about you."
"You sound just like my mom," I retorted.
Lindsay left the cabin but soon came back with some leftover food. I grumpily accepted it. I was starving.
The girls crowded into the cabin and got changed into their pajamas. I crawled into my bed and Lindsay turned out the lights.
"What do you guys think of Cayden? I think he's totally cute," whispered a girl I recognized to be Samantha.
The other girls joined in on the whispering that soon escalated to shrieking.
"Go to sleep," I groaned as I rolled over in my bed to glare at them.
It took at few hours but they finally shut up. However by that time I was having trouble falling asleep. I grabbed my jacket and snuck outside. After all day surrounded by kids, I desperately needed some time to myself.
I sat down on the cold wooden steps. I rubbed my hands together as I tried to warm myself up. Out of nowhere I heard a crunch of a branch. I nervously looked around to see a dark figure standing in the trees. I was unsure what to do as the figure moved closer.
I was so relieved when the moonlight shined down on the figure and revealed it to be Derek. He joined on the steps as he pulled a bag of chips out of his dirty old jacket.
"Why do you have to freak me out all the time?" I questioned.
"I dunno, it's fun," he answered as he chomped down on a chip.
"What are you doing here anyway?"
"Well if you must know, I was on a nightly stroll," Derek smirked.
The thing I wanted most was for him to leave me alone but I was oddly comforted by his presence. Even if he is a creep, I'm stuck with him.