Cody wasn't looking forward much to this year's camping trip. His school would take it every year, so that they could "investigate the wonders of the forest and wildlife up close with hands on experiences". He had a feeling that it was a little too convenient that Teachers put in end of the year grades in at this time, and sent the more 'troubling' kids on the trip. Then again, it beat sitting in Mr. Mack's hot classroom, as the air conditioner had blown out a few days ago. The bus trip up there was just as someone would expect around 60 middle schoolers crammed in a new bus to be, noisy and restless. The bus was cool though, it was the kind with fuzzy cloth seating, and those tv's overhead near the back of the seat in front of you, that would play a movie if one were put on. Still, none of his friends could go on the trip, some of them being busy, others just wanting to stay back at the school and take an easy week.
When the bus finally stopped, several kids got up from their seats and were quickly shouted at by the driver to sit back down. Who could blame them though, after being packed in the bus for two hours, even Cody himself wanted to just bolt out of the tin can on wheels, no matter how comfy it seemed to be. He looked out the window and saw a sign. "Welcome to Camp Clear-Lake" it read. His eyes lit up at the prospect of there being a lake somewhere in the camp. For the last few years they had gone to a different camp, and the most it had was a stream they couldn't even walk in. He looked over to the kid who had sat across from him.
"There's a lake here, think we'll be able to swim in it?" The boy looked over at him.
"Maybe. What made you think there was one here?"
"Well, the camp is called 'Clear-Lake'." The boy shrugged and made his way down the aisle, the kids in front of them having rushed for the front of the bus already. As they stepped out of the bus, they were met with a person that he could only describe as "half bear". The burly man had a big, thick brown beard, and was likely hairy under the camp employee uniform he wore. Even his face had the strong fierceness to it that a grizzly would have.
"Welcome to the camp, all of you!" He bellowed, the sound of a bear's roar playing in Cody's mind as he half listened. His name was Theodore Grunser, but like it was expected, told the kids they could call him "Mr. Grunser". He went over the usual camp regulations Cody had heard year after year, his elementary school having offered the same sort of trip every year. Something did catch his attention though. "Be very careful when you swim in the lake, you'll have to pass a swimming test to be allowed to go past a certain point. Also, there will be NO night swimming, you never know what might get you in the dark and pull you under. I'm just kidding, but it's still unsafe to swim after sundown, so it isn't allowed." He finished, looking at all of the campers.
After unpacking and taking their stuff to the cabins, the rest of the day was spent with various activities taking up the day. First was water sports, then lunch, then came what Cody had been waiting for the whole day. Swimming in the lake.
"Bet you I'll get there first." He wagered towards a girl and guy he'd gotten to know during lunch. He ran ahead of them, the two following in a burst of pride fueled running. The girl made it to the edge of the clearing first, stopping in front of the water. The boy had been slower than Cody, the girl laughing as she taunted the two.
"Isn't it cool how you can look at your reflection in the water though?" She pondered. Cody looked into the water and saw his face. Small ripples and movements made it look weird, a gentle breeze gliding over the water. His eye in the reflection moved and- did it close? Had his reflection in the water winked at him? He shrugged it off, maybe it had just looked like it due to the water's movement distorting his reflection all around.
The lake was filled with the bustle of hyperactive teenagers and water fights as the hour of swimming was half over. Cody had raced several others across the short side of the lake, and won two of them. The cold water felt so good on his skin, and when he dived down with his swimming goggles on he could see the bottom from where he was, but he still knew it was pretty far down. Something about the depths of the water made him uneasy, so he pulled his head up and kept to the surface.
He had gotten tired, and decided to swim back to the lake bed and sit on the shore. He looked at his reflection. The water around it was now still. He dropped a pebble in, laughing at how funny his face looked as it contorted and warped with the ripples. But then came that weird sight again, the winking. He waited for the water to settle, but his reflection didn't seem to wink then. He looked closer and winked at it, his reflection winking back. It just seemed like a normal reflection in the water, until it winked again when he hadn't. He jumped back, but drew closer, curious. He waved his hand at it. It waved both hands back in return. He laughed and it smiled back. This was so strange, but it was so cool! He HAD to tell the other kids about it and show them, otherwise they'd never believe him.
Cody ran back towards the other kids, shouting the names of the two he had raced with to the lake earlier. They turned their heads in his direction, wondering. He stopped and caught his breath before he spoke.
"You guys'll never believe thi-" He was interrupted by the whistle of the lifeguard. The time they had to swim in the lake was over, the group of 6th graders including the two new friends of his were heading out. He made an excuse about leaving his shoes on the shore, and ran off. It wasn't a lie, as he actually had left them there. Cody ran back over to the spot and looked at the retreating group. They were near the edge of his line of sight. He looked back at the water. His reflection smiled and waved at him again, a spitting image of him. It put its hand out towards him. He extended his hand to it, touching cold skin. His eyes widened as the hand grabbed his, pulling him under the water. He tried to scream, but it only came out muffled and deafened. As Cody sank under the lake's surface, he saw what looked exactly like himself pull itself up onto the shore. He tried to swim up, but hit a hard surface. He banged his hands on it, the other him stepping onto the lake bed. It smiled. No one would hear Cody scream, no one would suspect anything different, and it could make up an excuse if it were questioned. It was free.