Dylan looked down from her vantage point in the branches of a tall magnolia tree next to the kitchens. She thought it was nice that they allowed free time to roam the camp for a couple hours every day. All the other camps she'd been to had required the campers to be with a counselor at all times. She breathed in the clear country air, glad to be away from everyone else. Socializing had never been her specialty.
She stuck her earbuds in her ears, thankful that they allowed electronics at this camp, and started going through her playlist. She closed her eyes and relaxed against the trunk of the tree.
A voice cut through her solitude. She mentally sighed, and opened her eyes in annoyance. Looking down, she saw a younger girl, maybe ten or eleven years old, staring up at her from the ground. She raised an eyebrow in response to the girl's greeting, but then realized that she was probably too far away to see.
"Hi," Dylan responded, taking out her earbuds. Her tone clearly stated that she did not want company. The kid didn't seem to take the hint.
"How'd you get up there?" the girl called out, looking for a low branch. Dylan groaned inwardly. Why wouldn't this girl just leave her alone? She stayed silent and hoped the kid would give up and leave. It was not to be.
"Hello? I said, how did you get up there?" Dylan rolled her eyes.
"I flew," she replied sarcastically. The girl looked confused.
"Huh? Oh, wait, never mind! I got it!" And this time Dylan really did groan, because the girl had finally found the knot in the trunk she had used to climb up. Less than a minute later, the girl was sitting on the branch below her, peering up at her curiously. Dylan resumed her earlier position with her eyes closed, hoping to avoid a conversation. Luck was not on her side today.
"So, what's your name? I'm Karen," the girl said excitedly. Dylan huffed, and, without opening her eyes, replied shortly,
Karen looked up at her, head cocked with interest.
"Dylan? Isn't that a boy's name?" Dylan pursed her lips.
"When it's given to a boy it's a boy's name. When it's given to a girl, it becomes a girl's name," she explained. Karen nodded her understanding.
"Oh. So what's your interest?" she continued, changing subjects. Now it was Dylan's turn to be confused.
"You know. I do drama and singing, what do you do?" Oh.
"Um...writing and music, I guess," she replied. This conversation wasn't turning out so bad after all, she decided. May as well try to be polite and look at the girl while she's talking. Dylan opened her eyes, and—
"Oh, my gosh..."
"What?" she asked, looking down. Karen was staring at her wide-eyed.
"Y-your eyes..." she choked out. She was leaning away from her now, backing up as far as her branch would allow. Dylan mentally cursed. Of course, her contacts. They were blood red. She opened her mouth to explain, when there was a sudden, sharp CRACK! and Karen's branch snapped. She fell with a scream, crashing through the other branches and landing with a thud on the ground far below.
Dylan gasped, her outstretched hand grabbing nothing but air as she reacted to late. Oh, crud, she thought, staring at the small girl lying on her back, unmoving, beneath the tree. Oh, CRUD. What do I do?! she panicked, starting to climb down as fast as she could. She leaped the final five feet to the ground and sprinted over to Karens prone form. Her arm was twisted at a strange angle, and she was definitely unconscious, but Dylan sighed in relief as she saw that the girl was still breathing.
Dylan looked around desperately, wondering what to do, when she spotted the kitchen. There's bound to be somebody in there that can help! she thought, running to the front door. She pounded on it, willing it to open. She grew more and more impatient with each passing second, and was practically hopping up and down with nervousness by the time the door finally swung open to reveal Esencio, the cook. He looked at her curiously, wondering what she could possibly need.
The words came out in a rush.
Esencio gave her a strange look.
"Whoa, there. Slow down!" he exclaimed. Dylan gulped. Esencio placed his hands on her shoulders and looked her in the eye. "Now, tell me what happened, slowly."
Dylan took a deep breath, then explained.
"This girl named Karen fell out of the magnolia tree over there and broke her arm. She's passed out on the ground now and needs medical attention." She bit her lip and looked up at him with wide eyes. He gave her a curt nod.
"Alright then. Step inside, I'll call an ambulance. And her parents."
Dylan wrung her hands nervously as she stepped into the kitchen. She watched as Esencio checked the list of parents' phones next to the landline attached to the wall, and then made some phone calls. This day is nothing like I expected it to be, she thought to herself as he hung up the phone. He turned to her.
"The ambulance should be here any minute now. Where is she?"
She silently led him out the door and around to the back of the kitchen, where Karen lay. She was breathing steadily now, and the color was returning to her face, but she was still out cold. Dylan sighed, then sat down to wait for the ambulance. Esencio looked at her.
"You can return to your cabin if you want," he said. She shook her head.
"I'd rather stay, if that's okay."
He nodded. They waited in silence.