Chapter One: Christened by Inner Tube
"I'm helping, right?"
"I mean, you're just carrying a few pillows but yeah, Toby, you're helping."
"Awesome." Toby threw the pillows onto the bed Carter was assigned, thankfully missing the swishing ceiling fan and avoiding a potential rain of feathers. "That's all your stuff, right?"
"It should be." Carter stored the last of his supplies into a drawer beneath the bunk bed and slid it out of sight. At least this place had bunk beds. Every camp he had been to had bunk beds so he guessed this camp fit the norm by just 2% If only the same could be said for the rest of the cabin. He wasn't even sure if he could call it a cabin, since it was two-storeys tall with air condition, built in restrooms, electrical sockets on every wall, and even a medical cabinet with an electronic safe on the wall. This was feeling more like a summer home than a camp cabin.
"This is a cool room." Said Toby as he walked around the middle of it. "You sure this is a camp?"
'I hope it is.' "That's what Art said." Replied his older brother, walking over to the window to take a quick peek outside. Other guys assigned to this cabin were making their way into the lower rooms, goofing around and laughing. He'd give this place the benefit of the doubt, for now. The brochure Art had sent said the camp was meant for high school students and young adults, so maybe that was why it was a lot more technologically advanced than most. " Looks like I could have bought in my other stuff after all."
"Other stuff? Dude, please don't tell me you mean your porn." Carter turned red in the face and was ready to tell Toby off for saying something like that, and he was met with a young man his age walking in with a duffle bag and backpack, a skateboard resting on the duffle bag in a half-assed way. "At least tell me you have Madison Ivy vids saved. Then we can be friends-" The young man stopped, confused to see a little boy in the room. "Uh. . ."
"Toby," Carter sprang into action, resembling the punchline of the penguin with a sun burn joke. "Go find mom and dad. They said they'd be at the camp store grabbing snacks for the trip."
"Whatever," Bless this child's lack of interest after the time span of a few seconds. Once his brother left, the new boy let out laugh as he pulled off his beanie, his black hair sticking up all over the place.
"Sorry, man. Only wanted to mess with you. Didn't think you had a kid brother in here with you." He said as he held his hand up for a secret hand shake. Whatever compelled him, Carter complied and found himself performing an intricate hand shake with the stranger. How did he do that? "Allan," The boy introduced himself with a grin. "You?"
"Guess we're roommates, Carter." Said Allan as he took the bunk above Carter's, resting his board on the side of the wall. "This is your first time here in Green Hill?"
"Yeah," Replied the photo rookie as he watched Allan unpack. "It looks a lot nicer than a lot of camps I've been to, though." Wow, could he have said that with less disdain?
Allan laughed. "You sound like you hate it already, and you haven't even tried the food yet." He turned his head to him. "Seriously though, the food's awesome. It's like they got some kind of gourmet chef in the kitchen. I think we're having three different kinds of pasta or something for tonight."
"You've been here before?" Asked Carter.
"Ever since senior year of high school, yeah." Allan leaped, landing on the duffle bag he left on the floor. "I live close, too, so it's easy to drive up here. I'm from Ocean City, you?"
Allan whistled. "Kind of far from home."
"Yeah, but I just came in from Texas," Carter said as he walked over to the window and snooped some more. Now some of the boys were heading out, bundled up, and talking about 'tubing' down the snowy trails across the lake. "My parents picked me up since I just finished my semester at Houston. We were all gonna go on a trip with their old commune friends but my older brother e-mailed us and told us about this place. He said I should come, since I used to go camping all the time," He flashed a small grin at the skater. "Plus, I don't want to spend my semester off sitting in a circle with alcoholics and stoners. I did enough of that back in Texas."
"Oh shit, we got a badass who hangs out with bad kids," Allan teased. "Are we gonna smoke in the parking lot behind Walmart?"
"Only if we start tagging in the boy's bathroom." The two of them shared a laugh, and Carter was glad he possibly made his first friend. "What were they talking about outside?" He asked after they calmed down. "Something about rafting?"
"You never tube through the snow?" Allan stood and snatched a winter jacket and pair of gloves from one of his bags. "Well fuck, dude we gotta christen your first day at Green Hill. With your ass deep in a shitton of snow."
"Well, when you put it like that." Staying in the cabin would be pretty boring. Grabbing his college sweatshirt and some gloves, he followed after Allan, making sure to text his parents about his whereabouts.
"They even have a ferry, here?' Yes, Carter said that as they were riding on said boat. "What even is this place?"
"It's Green Hill, man, I already told you." Allan laughed. "Isn't it cool?"
"Yeah. . ." As their travel to the mountains went on, Allan told him about what there was to do around here, besides going to the administrations office for wi-fi. Snow boarding, skiing, paint ball, and tubing were the most popular. Since the lake was freezing around this time of year, they offered swimming in an indoor pool. Any other activities changed during the week. Alright, so maybe this camp wasn't so bad. Carter still felt a little iffy, though.
The ferry docked a few moments later, the mountain trails just a little ways off from the girls' cabins. The pair walked over to the base of the mountain and soon spotted the line of campers waiting for their turn to tube.
"You get pulled up the mountain in a giant tube and then you get pushed off the mountain in a giant tube." Allan explained. Carter could feel the obvious through the air. As they got closer to the line, college boy saw two campers arguing over a tube.
"You freakin' clod! Ugh!" Did that just come out of a guy's mouth? It did, and it looked like the girl couldn't care less. "I already told you that I was taking the next ride."
"Yeah, but Davey," The girl gave a toothy smirk. "I didn't even agree to that."
"Dave, Al!" Like a born mediator, Allan stepped in between the two before blood could be shed. "It's my turn, remember?"
"Fuck off, Allan." Dave calmed down by now though, sighing as he fixed his glasses. He looked over to Carter, who stood there awkwardly. "Uh. . ."
"This is Carter," Allan explained, the former giving a wave. "He's bunking in the same cabin as you and me."
"Hey, nice to meet you." Said the girl. "I'm Alice. And that's Davey."
"Dave," 'Davey' corrected. As the line moved up, so did the current group, like a heard of sheep. "You're from Texas? What's your major?" He pointed at his sweat shirt.
"Just went there for college. Still working for my masters in photography." Speaking of which, he had all this landscape around him and he still hadn't taken some shots. He felt around in his pockets and was thankful he remembered to bring his phone. He could take some shots as he went down the mountain. "I'm actually from New York."
"His parents are hippies." Explained Allan.
"They still kind of are?" Carter shrugged. Did talking about the commune trip really help Allan crack the hippie code? "I mean, they still kind of act like that and drive around in their old truck, I guess."
"Are you a hippie?" Asked Alice.
"Do I look like one?"
"Yeah." Said Dave, and Carter took a quick look at himself. Short brown hair, green eyes, his sweat shirt and jeans had faded stains from the times he took art classes. Was it the stains? It was probably the stains. Other thank that, Carter didn't consider himself a hippie. It's not like it was passed down in his blood or anything weird like that. He did consider himself more of a lover and not a fighter, if that counted for anything.
The four of them soon got into a round of chatting as they went further up in the line. From what Carer found out, Allan and Dave were going to start college the following spring and Alice was going for her second, like Carter. His new gaggle of friends lived in the area and knew each other since middle school. That didn't make Carter feel any more of an outcast, since the trio just sucked him straight into their group. Alice had stated that just because she was assigned to the girls' side of the camp, that wasn't going to stop her from crashing at their cabin when he bunk mates got annoying.
"Plus, Allan said you bought porn, so I gotta see what you're into." She told Carter.
"I didn't bring any, though." Carter was laughing but his face was getting redder by the second. They were talking with other people around them, after all.
"Then we can just download some after we play King's game." Laughed Allan as he clapped the blushing college student on the back. "Dude, it's gonna be the best! Watching porn as a group is the funniest shit."
"King's game?" Carter never heard of that, nor did he know what it was. And if it was the best excuse o get him out of the this conversation, he would take it.
"It's something the campers do to welcome the newbies." Explained Allan. "I guess you can say it's like truth or dare, but more random."
"People draw some sticks and the person who gets the stick with a certain number is the king. The king gets to dare people to do something." Said Dave
"And that's fun?"
"It's fun when you make Dave jump into the lake butt-naked." Alice laughed.
"Screw off, ya damn shmuck." Dave hissed at her. "My leg almost got bitten off because of your dumb dare."
Alice rolled her eyes to Carter. "He's exaggerating."
"He did have a bad bite on his leg, though." Allan scratched the back of his head. "You still have it, man?"
"Yeah," Dave bent down and pulled up his pants leg. Upon closer inspection, small yet wide puncture marks were around his ankle. "The nurse said it was probably a snakehead. Still hurt like Hell, though." He said as he pulled down his pants leg. "And I thought is was something bigger, too, like a crocodile."
"Dave," Alice clicked her tongue. "You mean an alligator, dumbass."
"Well, y-you-!" And they were at it again, and that was the end of that conversation. It took Carter a moment to realize they were already being taken up the mountain in giant inter tubes via a pulley. They were already half-way up the mountain. Had they really been talking for that long? With king's game and Dave's bite marks in the farthest reaches of his mind, Carter took the chance to whip out his phone and take a few pictures, trying to calculate the times his tube would hit a rock and make the shot all jumbly. After a few shots of the scenery, he turned the lens on his new friends.
Alice grabbed Dave from behind in an arm lock, pulling up his glasses while the latter made a wild grab for them. Allan held onto his tube with one hand and threw a wave with a smile. Carter took the photo and grinned, throwing a thumbs up just as they made it to the top of the mountain.
"Ready?" Carter looked up and took the hand that was offered to him. Mark pulled him onto his feet and caught him under his armpits before he slipped on the ice. "Shit, sorry," Said the camp councilor. "Not wearing snow shoes? Man, you need some snow shoes."
"Didn't think there was going to be this much snow." Carter squirmed a little, his armpits ticklish. Once he was on his feet once more, his friends were pulled up, too.
"You new to Green Hill like Carter?" Asked Allan as he wiped snow off his butt.
"Yeah, my first year," He said. That smile he sent at Carter made him feel squirmy again. He wasn't touching his armpits like before, though. "I'm Mark. I'm guessing you're Carter?" He pointed at his sweatshirt. "Nice. Go Cougars."
"Thanks." Cartar looked down the mountain, his squirmy guts finally mellowing out while everyone else introduced themselves. "So tubing is just going down a mountain?"
"I told you, man, this is your christening," Allan patted him on the back. "And we're all gonna do it. Tubing together is a lot more fun. You gain a lot more speed."
"Let me arrange and clip your tubes together and you guys can get on your way." Said Mark. Was he the same age as him, Carter wondered as he pulled out his phone. He was tempted to take one of Mark but decided against it. That would be way too creepy. He pulled up the photos he took and came across the group one. It looked pretty good. Someone else had gotten into the shot, but that was fine. He could probably mess around with the focus on this one. "All set." Despite the weird feeling Carter suddenly had, reality came back to him as Mark spoke. He had a nice voice. Was he from out of the states? Houston boy had to wonder about that later, though, since Dave was calling him a clod and telling him it was time to tube.
"Carter, sit in the front," Said Alice as she took the tube in the back. "Take a video of all going down."
"I'll try." Carter took the first tube and grabbed a hold of the tube's strap with one hand and his phone in the other. He angled it just enough to get all four of them in site, with Mark's bouncing head of black hair poking from the corner. It was cute.
"You guys' set?" Said the cutie.
"Do it, man!" Shouted Allan, and Alice was cheering and mock-screaming with him as Mark began to push their tube train. Carter prepared himself, his cheeks flushing with anticipation as he held the camera upright. Another boy about their age came wandering behind Mark with a tube, looking pretty annoyed that Mark was only looking at the four of them. Maybe he wanted to ride with them?
"Hey, Mark wait." Carter turned just a little in his tube. "Hold on, that guy wants to-" But the brunette was cut off as his group's tubes were shoved down the slope and his words were held back with surprised.
There was no other boy behind Mark. Just an empty tube bought up by the pulley.
AN: Thanks so much to all of you who have been reading this story, as well as following and putting it on your favorites list. It makes me glad to know that people want notifications to when it's going to be updated ^^ I think with the prologue and chapter one out of the way, I'll be able to get the other chapters done much faster since the beginning is always the hardest part for me to write, and I already have plans for what the next chapters will be about. I've been thinking about drawing art for the characters and possible a new cover rather than just the picture it has now, so that may also be something to look forward to. Anyway, thank you so much for reading. Tell me what you think in the reviews, as I love to hear from you guys, and I hope you have a nice day. See you in the next update!