As the shift hits the first time, my legs and arms cramp and my heart rate speeds up, till I think it's going to burst. My bones shrink and grow, my head starts spinning and my stomach is clenching and unclenching. All the while Mrs. Colet just stands to the side "don't worry Bethany, it's always like this the first time" she says in her chirpy voice. I want to yell at her to 'shut up', but all that comes out is a pained growl.
Rewind six days.
"Bethany have you seen my camo tank-top? You know, the one with the jewels?" Kayla calls from our shared room. I climb down from the attic with two sleeping bags and an old duffle bag. "Did you check under your bed?" I yell back, there is a pause then "oh there it is! Thanks!" "No prob".
"Girls are you packed yet? We are leaving in sixteen minutes" our mom yells from the living room. I run back to our room and me and Kayla start stuffing our clothes into the giant suitcase we are sharing.
Kayla and I are going to a summer camp. We have never been to summer camp before, but when we received a letter saying 'based on your extracurricular activities, you have been invited to whiptoad summer camp' we begged our parents to let us go, and after two weeks of non-stop pleading dad finally said yes.
I zip up the large faded navy blue suitcase and drag it out by the front door. "I think that's everything" I sigh "I forgot to say bye to Mazy!" Kayla says then bolts out of the room. Mazy is my sisters Pomeranian, my own dog Charlie is a black lab.
Outside Mazy is leaping up at Kayla; Charlie sees me and sprints across the yard his tail wagging thirty miles an hour. "We're gonna miss you guys" Kayla whimpers, I scratch Charlie behind the ear "don't worry its only two weeks" mom stands at the back door "come on you two! Your father has the car started!"
The drive to the pick-up location is short, but that doesn't stop our mom from asking about everything. "So you'll make sure and write to us and you didn't forget your toothbrush? Oh and Kayla did you remember to call and thank your grandma for that nice purse she bought you?" when our van pulled into the parking lot of 'wild's institute of cryptozoology' we jump out of the van.
There is a group of fifteen or seventeen other teenagers standing around a charter bus, our mom and dad hug and kiss us "see you in two weeks" we say as we leave to put our luggage under the bus.
They start loading us on the bus at exactly 12:00; I wave to my parents and find a seat. Kayla obviously sits in the seat next to me; it only takes her a few moments to find someone to talk to. "Hey Bethany" she pokes my arm "what?" I ask. "This" she points to the blonde guy behind us "is Jacob and" she points to the black haired boy next to him "is his older brother Tony" the boys smile and I find myself smiling back.
Around 8 Kayla asks tony to switch seats with her and he obliges, Kayla and Jacob seem to have really hit it off. Tony looks around the bus then back at me "have you ever been to this camp?" he asks. "Nope, I have never been to a summer camp before" he nods "yea? Me neither!"
We talk for a few hours and then we realize Jacob and Kayla are silent, I peek over the seat and they are out. Kayla's head is on Jacobs shoulder and his head is laying on hers. "We should wake them up, switch seats back" Tony recommends, I agree so I lean over and shake her awake "Kayla, come sit up here" she groans, but gets up and trades with Tony. As soon as her butt hits the seat she is curled up and back asleep.
Surprisingly it doesn't take to long for me to fall asleep; usually I don't sleep in new places. When I wake up it is still dark out but I can tell it's almost sun up, and the bus is headed northeast. I yawn and stretch; I hear laughing and turn around to find the culprit. Three seats back is a girl with raven black hair and cheerful brown eyes. "Sorry" she says "these seats aren't the best beds are they?" I smile "I know right! I think I've got a knot the size of an orange in my shoulder!" we laugh quietly "I am Veronica" she offers. "Bethany"
We talk for a while, until tony wakes up and offers us a granola bar. He throws one back to Veronica, but she misses and it hits the girl in front of her. The angry brunette leaps out of her seat "what's wrong with you?" she screeches at Veronica, Tony and I both jump to our feet. "Hey it's not her fault, I didn't throw it far enough" Tony defends, but the girl just huffs and plops down in her seat.
All the ruckus woke most the bus including Jacob and Kayla, there is an empty row in across the aisle from me and Kayla and we invite Veronica to come sit down by us. Veronica was super grateful to be away from the angry girl, I later found outs name is Kristen. "Wow that Kristen girl is catty!" Jacob whispers to Kayla, Kayla nods "I don't like her at all" our little group was having a grand old time, and when the bus got to the last pick-up stop we added another.
"This is my cousin, Tyler" Tony introduces as Tyler takes the seat next to Veronica. "Hi!" he says. Tyler looks quite different from his cousins; he has more of a runner body style, while Jacob and Tony look more like football players; and his hair is a messy reddish-brown, but his eyes are the same deep brown.
Before the bus starts moving again a man stands at the front "children! Children! May I have your attention?" he calls, we all turn and listen "thank you! I am Mr. Wilds and I thank you for coming to my camp, I hope that each of you enjoys your time and learn plenty. So next stop camp whiptoad!" we all cheer.
Once we are on the road again I turn to the group "why is a man, whose life work is in cryptozoology, opening a summer camp for kids?" I ask. Nobody knows but Jacob suggests "maybe he is trying to encourage teens to look into cry…top…zoo…ology… whatever!" We laugh "cryptozoology!" Tony corrects him.
Its day 2, 7:35 pm when the bus finally pulls off the highway and onto the dirt road. It's so bumpy that Kayla fell out of her seat, as Jacob pulls her back up; she says "oww! If it's this bad up here I can't imagine what our suitcases are going through!" after two hours of clutching onto our seats and trying not to fall out of them, the bus finally drives through the whiptoad gates. Everyone is cheering, Veronica leans over Tony and whispers "they are just excited to get off this bus" I laugh and Veronica sits back in her seat with a smug look.
Mr. Wilds stands at the front of the bus again. "Hello children! Welcome to camp whiptoad!"