Hey hey hey! Thank you for dropping by! The writing will improve, I promise! This chapter I actually wrote two years ago, and haven't stepped back since! The last few paragraphs are new, so please enjoy!
Secrets: The Comet League
Once again, it was our family camping trip. In the 'wild' Nevadan wilderness. I swear the overgrown forest we camp in is the only thing relatively wild about Nevada. For Christmas I had gotten my own tent, at last, but the color was plain humiliating. A light lavender color, the kind of color little girls would enjoy dying poodles. Poor poodles. It was tremendously humiliating, but nobody but my family would see it. I was truly grateful for that. It was near dinner as our old van clattered down the dirt road to the parking lot.
My little brother was singing "ninety nine bottles of beer on the wall" and my parents were discussing the values of camping. Whatever. As long as this trip was over quickly, I could care less. The dirt and dust parking lot was all but vacant, no toll or entry fee required. Just goes to show you how popular this place is. The large family tent was in a huge bag my father carried, the food tended to by my mother, while my brother and I brought up the rear with all the duffle bags. The bags held all of our clothes and such, but despite how light they should have been, I might as well be carrying bricks. The mile and a half or so walk to our beaten campsite was familiar. I had walked it twice a year, every year, since I was five. Now I was thirteen, I should know it pretty well. Everything about this place was bedraggled. The trees hung at awkward angles, moss refused to grow, and poison ivy seemed to have found its special steroid.
My shoulders aching in pain due to the weight of the bags, I could have slapped my parents. They were happily humming the tune to a Christmas carol, and walked with a spring in their step. Spring. I wish. Certainly, coming out towards the end of fall would bond the family. Making your own fire to create the warmth necassary to live. Thawing out random meats, spam, and what looked like beets. Shooing away all the animals that begged for it. Grumpily I dropped my bags down in the dirt as soon as we arrived to our campsite, if you could call it that. It was more of an overgrown clearing with a wooden sign so rotten and faded nobody that was living could remember what it said. Maybe it said it was a campsite. Maybe it signaled this area as a toxic waste pit. We would never know. My parents still sang happily, and when they saw my face, they gave me a failing pouty faces.
"Come on Roxy. I thought you loved this trip! You were looking forward to it for so long. Come on, do you want to sing with us?" Lie. Lie. In your dreams. Those are the thoughts my mind screamed at me. But instead, I plastered on a smile, so realistic I could have been a paid actress, and began to sing. My voice was far from beautiful, matching my parents. My brother, Adam, just kind of backed away, trying to fade into the bags. After what seemed like hours of clearing out the sticks and such, happy carol time stopped. Work got serious as we sorted bags, and my father began to set up the tent. My tent, a smallish dome tent, was in one of the duffle bags. I pulled it out, set it up with almost no glitches, and set my stuff inside. Ugh, purple. I could nearly smell it as I climbed inside, arranging my things. It was meant to be a three person tent, and I crouched comfortably inside. I could stand on my knees, have room for two duffle bags, and yet have a bit more space left over. Overall, not that bad. I could possibly spray paint it something like, blue? Green? I don't know. Just as long as it wasn't purple. It was pretty easy to set up what I needed. My sleeping bag rolled out with ease, it's built in pillow not popping out as it should have. Those advertisers really have a way of getting you to buy things. With a bit of tugging I managed to free it, and exited the tent.
My father was striking two pieces of flint together, because as every normal family, we couldn't just bring a lighter. We had to do it 'the old fashioned way.' Nearly an hour later the fire started, and it took almost another hour to nurse the tiny flames into a fire worthy of being called a fire. I sat down on a log next to my mother, who was pulling something out of her backpack. My mouth watered as I set my eyes on the gorgeous, large, puffs of sugar and fat I loved so much. My mother, though sometimes she could be a pain, never forgot my love for marshmallows.
"Thank you!" I told her and wrapped her in a hug, my annoyance at camping forgotten. Though sometimes I hated it, camping was pretty cool. Something that only I could say I did, as opposed to my friends, who just went to relatives houses. I had something original to do, and one could never tire of looking at the backdrop of stars that covered the jet black sky each night. She smiled and got out the sticks that we would roast them on.
"Here you go Roxy. Remember, save room for dinner!" She joked lightly, and I laughed in return. We both knew that dinner would be the marshmallows, the hotdogs we brought never going to use on the first night we stayed. The whole trip overall would be almost a week long, filled with hiking and nature watching, and some stargazing. My original mood was quickly shaken, and I joined in during the singing of campfire songs. I supplied the first one.
"John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, his name is my name too! Whenever we go out, the people always shout…" I paused a moment and my family yelled out in perfect unison the ending line. We lapsed into laughter, and it seemed only a moment later the sun was completely set and the half moon was shining like a huge piece of cheese in the sky.
Three 'scary' campfire stories and half a bag of marshmallows later, my mother decided to call it a night.
"Alright, Adam, Roxy, time for bed. Remember, we're going hiking tomorrow morning. If you're sleepy, it's not my fault!" I laughed as she gently shooed us off to our beds, or sleeping bags, and we gladly went. A long day deserved a nice rest, and a nice rest always helped prepare for the following day. I retreated to my own tent, and slipped into the sleeping bag with a sigh. I didn't even bother to change out of my jeans and a sweatshirt, but did put my hair up in a ponytail in an attempt to prevent it from being a total mess in the morning.
I could feel sleep creeping up on me as the rustling that indicated my parents were going to their tent and getting ready to sleep as well occurred. Just then I realized that I still had my watch on, but I was just too tired to even move. It was at the least midnight, so I shut my eyes one last time, hearing the rustling of the trees. To some such sounds would be a nuisance, but they aided in my quick depart to my own dreamland.
I woke up to an odd noise just outside my tent. It wasn't as if they weren't common in the forest, animals investigating out campsite, or stray branches falling usually the cause. It might even be one of my family members going to the bathroom. I listened a few moments longer as it grew closer, and fear crept into my body. That was unusual for me, because I was not one to be easily frightened by sound alone. What set this apart for me was the strength of the sound, almost as if a large animal was attempting to move stealthily. I shook it off quickly, and closed my eyes. I pushed the sound aside and tried to drift back to sleep.
My attempt to sleep was quickly interrupted as I heard the sound of a zipper being undone. My eyes first instinct was to open wide, but I kept them close. I really was a notoriously light sleeper, and the sound of one of my parents undoing the zipper to their tent surely would wake me up. It had before, and tonight was no different. I tried to tell myself it was just paranoia at the fact that I had heard the sound only moments earlier. When I pieced it together, it actually confirmed what I thought. It was just one of my parents going to the bathroom, and now they were returning to their tent. I let out a large sigh and all fear left me for about half a second. The fear completely returned when the sound of a zipper occurred again, this time closer to my head. The next thing I knew a thick gloved hand clapped itself over my mouth.