"I am sure it is probably someone's idea of a practical joke, calm down" I said loudly trying to reassure the children not long after a scream had been heard. I turned to Jamie and another counsellor and spoke with a newfound authority, "Get the children towards the bus and let Mr. Robert's know Mac and I will be there shortly,"
"All right, Alex," Jamie accepted my commands without question and the pair of counsellors herded the children down an alleyway towards the buses.
"What's going on?" Mac asked, joining me.
"I don't know but I intend to find out," she looked like she wanted to ask more questions, but followed me anyway until we reached the common area. Moonlight lit up the ground. There seemed to be a couple of black puddles and two people were fighting on the ground, struggling with each other.
"What are we going to do?" Mac asked. I could see beyond the common in the well-lit car park where the two buses were sat. The children were half on the buses as I moved closer to the disturbance. I felt something being pressed into my hand and bought it up to find a hunter's knife. I looked around to see Tobi staring at me.
"What's this?" I asked curiously.
"That guy looks dangerous," the boy shrugged and again Mac opened her mouth to say something when the man looked up at the buses and the children, as though he was seeing fresh meat. He stumbled to his feet.
"Hey, over here," I called instinctively then told Mac, "Go help the person on the floor,"
"Ok," was the only response I received as I approached the man who appeared to be drunk, but was completely focused on me. His blond hair was dishevelled and his clothes look stained; as he stepped more into the light, I noticed the eyes looked almost black and he appeared to be drooling.
"Alex, what's going on? Who is that?" Mr. Robert's voice distracted me and I half turned to acknowledge him when Blondie attacked. I had enough time to see his hands curled into almost-claws when he grabbed my shoulders and tried to bite my throat. I managed to get the blade in front of me, but he quickly knocked the knife from my grip, which fell to the ground. He held my left hand in a vice-like grip. His other cold, clammy hand was wrapped around my neck trying to pull my throat towards his mouth. My right hand was on his chest trying to push him away.
"Alex!" Mr. Robert's cried out. I heard some of the children call out in fear. I shook my head trying to clear my head of the fogginess pervading my thoughts, drawing me into unconsciousness. I bit the inside of my cheek and as the rusty taste of blood touched my taste buds the pain lanced through my brain like lightning, bringing me back from the edge. My knee shot up and connected with his crotch. His eyes went wide and he relaxed his grip. I smacked my elbow into the side of his face and hit his chest pushing him away from me. I staggered back rubbing my throat, my eyes fully on the man as he turned his face on me, snarling his black eyes blazing. I noticed his teeth were grubby and stained like he had been eating rust or tomato ketchup.
He lunged forward, but I managed to skip out of the way, then dodging around the thing, I was able to roll forward and came back up with the knife in my hand. I knew those martial arts lessons would come in handy someday. I had circled around him and had managed to get his back against a wall so I lunged forward until he touched the wall with a dull thud. I pinned him and looked at the dullness in its eyes. Like all trapped creatures, the thing began to push forward, snarling and snapping at me. I could see saliva dripping from its mouth and its breath smelt fetid. I almost gagged but the creature had one final bit of strength and pushed me backwards. I stumbled and tripped falling on my back; the human-like creature stumbled with me and fell on top of me.
I felt dazed as I banged my head but there was no movement on top of me. I pried my eyes open and found the man lying on top of me, however, the knife had gone straight through his chin and into his brain. I felt horrified and suddenly very sick. I rolled the man off me and instantly threw up, heaving for a good five minutes before I felt a hand rubbing my back. I looked up to see Tobi, who had been patting my back gently.
"Are you OK?" Mac asked looking at me concerned.
"I'm fine," I replied, heaving again and meeting Tobi's eyes, reassuring him that I was fine.
"What was that all about? Why did that guy attack you?" Mr. Robert's asked as he came over. I got up gingerly and moved away from the man I had just killed, breathing heavily.
"I don't know," I gulped air in; "It was like the man was rabid. Mac, what about the other person?"
"It's not pretty, the person is dead," Sirens interrupted her and I looked up to see some of the kids in the doorway, namely my brother Matty and a few others I knew well. Jamie was also looking at me with concern. A patrol car and an ambulance came around the corner, lights flashing intensely.
"You called the fuzz?" I asked the teacher, knowing he had to. The ambulance crew immediately went over to the first victim as the police officers approached me carefully.
"Are you Mr. Robert's?" the first Police constable spoke.
"Yes sir, I think it's over now. A man attacked one of our Counsellors-in-Training," the teacher indicated me.
"We were relayed the details from the control room, they saw the fight on CCTV then the pair disappeared in the shadows," The officer looked at me and the blood on my hands, to the rabid man on the ground.
"Could you please step over here?" the first officer, a grizzled older policeman watched me wearily as though I was a dangerous animal. I had never been in trouble before, "Can you tell me what happened?"
"We heard screaming so I approached this man, who appeared crazed; I didn't want him going anywhere near the children so I called him towards me and then he attacked,"
"That's all?" he said with suspicion in his eyes.
"Oh, Tobi gave me his hunting knife because he looked dangerous,"
"I don't believe you; you just cold-bloodedly murdered a man,"
"Excuse me," I returned absolutely astonished. Surely if they had CCTV, they had been told the man fought me.
"I've seen enough punks like you in my time and I can see you are lying through your teeth. Now, I don't know if you are into drugs or in a gang but I will get to the bottom of this," He grabbed me and pulled my hands behind my back, then cuffed me. The other officered was already examining the dead man.
"It was an accident, he fell on top of me," I pleaded.
"Officer, there is no need for this. Alex was clearly defending himself and the other children," Mr. Robert's protested, "And I will remind you, he is a minor,"
"Please Sir, let us do our job," the younger officer told him.
"I'm sure this is a big mistake. Everything will be all right," I tried to reassure the teacher as I was led to the patrol car.
"Not for you, son," the officer said and opened the back door of the car pushing me in, my head bounced off the roof, I grunted and officer spoke sarcastically, "Sorry,"
"You will be very sorry," I growled and he gave me the evil eye.
"Whatever, punk," he slammed the door and went off while I sat and twiddled my thumbs. I watched the two officers interview Mr. Roberts and could see Mac looking over at the patrol car with concern.
I had been in the car, perhaps, ten minutes when a saloon car pulled up next to the patrol car. A man stepped out and looked into the car concerned. I grinned as I recognised my godfather Colonel Charlie Stone. He gave me a smile and then set his face straight as he stepped towards the officers and teacher.
"What the hell is going on here?" I heard him roar in his parade-ground shout.
"Who are you, Sir?" the older officer asked, noting how angry Charlie appeared and recognising a senior figure.
"Colonel Charlie Stone of her Majesty's Army, Alex's Uncle and ad hoc guardian," Charlie replied annoyed.
"Ah, good! Perhaps you can step over here a moment then," the older officer requested, clearly looking pleased with himself. My uncle and godfather followed the officer until they both stood in front of my window.
"You will let the boy go immediately and this will be reported as a suicide-murder," Charlie ordered his voice deadly calm. However, the police officer's face went red like a beetroot and he sputtered indigently.
"Excuse me? Who do you think you are to come in here and give me orders? I am the one giving orders,"
"Listen to me, you bumbling excuse of a police officer. This is a matter of National Security; I have the full authorisation of the Crown. You will release this boy and if this is spoken about to anyone, you will be arrested for treason," Charlie pulled out an ID, I caught a glimpse and it had a metal shield and ER near the bottom representing the Queen. Something strange was going on here. Conspiracy theorists would be going nuts. I also didn't believe it was a coincidence my uncle showed up when he did.
"You expect me to believe you have Level One Clearance, something my Chief Inspector does not have," the policeman scoffed.
"You can believe what you like, but you will follow my orders," Charlie told him but seemed to sense he was not getting anywhere fast enough. I saw him pull a phone from his pocket. I only heard bits and pieces as he begun talking, "My team and I…..Chief Inspector…..bumbling excuse…level one clearance…..authorisation…..thank you,"
"What are you doing?" the officer asked as Charlie hung up but the military man refused to answer. Seconds ticked by and then a loud bleeping went off, making the officer jump as he fumbled with his radio.
"Yes Sir, I do," he replied then there was a brief pause, "But sir, anyone could present a badge, that level of clearance is only at ministerial level,"
"Are you all right?" Charlie mouthed so I nodded as the officer came off the radio, his face blotted purple but looked somewhat apologetic as he returned to us.
"I apologise for the misunderstanding," the officer said opening the door for me. I stretched my legs and got out grinning at the officer who glared at me.
"My team will sort out the clean-up. If word of this goes to the press I will have you in prison so fast your hat will be spinning," Charlie growled and dismissed the police officer, then walked towards the teacher. I jogged to catch up with the taller man.
"What's going on?" I asked my uncle.
"Nothing you need be concerned about, I want you to get on the bus and head back to the camp and forget this ever happened. Your dad is looking forward to seeing you," He relaxed a bit as he said the last bit.
"Why are you in the area? Is the military involved?" I asked him, but he grinned and grabbed my head giving me a noogie.
"You ask way too many questions," He laughed, his face completely relaxing then pushed me towards the bus. I nodded, knowing I wouldn't get any more answers and waved goodbye. The children were full of questions but I refused to answer as I watched Uncle Charlie and Mr. Roberts have a quiet conversation. The teacher nodded a few times, and then shook hands with my Uncle and come over to the buses. He gave me a quiet nod and the last I saw of my uncle was him leaning over the guy I killed, pulling on a pair of forensic gloves.
"Are you OK?" Matty asked me, taking a seat.
"I'm fine," I answered.
"What was Uncle Charlie doing here?" he asked.
"I don't know," I answered honestly, "I'll tell you about it tomorrow,"
"OK," He turned back to his friends and I got lost in my thoughts, trying to make sense of what had happened tonight.
"Police are insisting that should anyone come across one of the meteors from Fridays' meteor shower should report it immediately to the Authorities," the news presenter said, "Though some have claimed men in nondescript black vans have come to the sites and taken it away, these men all appear to wear space suits,"
"Yeah, Men in Black," I muttered as I packed my bags.
"In other news, the World Health Organisation are telling people not worry after a new unidentified virus was discovered in Australia,"
"Add a little Outbreak in there, and you have the makings of a great film," I said aloud.
"Are you talking to yourself?" Kobe laughed.
"Well, you've always known I was crazy," I replied, with a fake maniacal grin.
"Come on, joker," Grabbing a towel I followed him from the cabin and through the camp towards the leisure centre. We were passing a building that seemed almost oriental when I heard my name being called out. I noticed the female instructor sat on a chair beside the whiteboard and a teenaged girl of Indian heritage teaching a group of children which all seemed younger than ten. The CIT had broken off as the boy had run up to me.
"Lexi, Lexi," he grabbed my hand and started tugging me towards the group. Tommy was a little scruffy-haired blond boy and seemed to like tailing me about.
"Hello, Tommy, what's going on here?"
"Miss Kelly and Miss Naomi are teaching us to sing songs," he answered and ran back to sit down next to his twin, Kelly. I often babysat for these two and knew what a handful they could be, I felt sorry for the two girls. I gave the instructor a grin and looked at CIT, who seemed to be staring at me a bit.
"Hi Alex, I hear you saved the kids last night from some drunk," the CIT smiled at me, revealing pearly white teeth, "I think that's quite heroic,"
"Just doing my job," I replied modestly, "erm…?"
"Kelly, I'm in the year below you at school," Her grin dimmed a little when she realised I didn't know her.
"I'm sorry, I don't know a lot of people at school," I told her shifting nervously.
"Alex, we have to go," Kobe said loudly, saving me, but he had a massive smirk on his face. I knew I would be in trouble, when we got out of earshot.
"Bye Kelly, bye kids," I waved at them and walked off quickly. As soon as we were out of earshot, Kobe broke out laughing.
"She looked utterly awestruck," Kobe fluttered his eyelashes at me, "Do you think she would feel the same if she realised you were a massive geek?"
"Well, nearly everyone but you and Mac ignore me at school," I returned, "I've got no interest in her whatsoever,"
"Well, you could pass her over to me, we'll find you a guy yet," Kobe suggested. He was the only person that knew I was gay, but that's only because he managed to get into my journal. I haven't even told Mac, despite how close we were. We entered the large leisure building, which housed a gym and a sports hall. The building must be as big as a warehouse, because it featured a fully sized Olympic pool not to mention a large leisure pool and kiddie's pool. The leisure pool had a wave machine and several slides going into it and lapped gracefully onto a sandy beach with a large window overlooking an actual beach and the sea.
When we got into the pool area, there were already three full-time swimming instructors and two CITs. I was there as an extra, but could enjoy myself if I kept an eye out. Kobe decided to go off and have some fun so I settled myself onto the beach area, close to the windows where I found a couple of chairs. I placed our towels down and settled down to watch the pool. Five minutes later, Mac came and sat down next to me, drying her body off with a towel.
"What happened last night?" I was about to reply, when I noticed Matty and Tobi coming to join us.
"What was Uncle Charlie doing there last night?" Matty immediately asked as he sat down on the end of my sun lounger.
"I don't know, he told me he was in the area but I heard some weird stuff last night," I explained.
"I've never met Uncle Charlie before," Mac stated looking between the pair of us.
"He's not our actual uncle but we've known him since we were babies. He was our dad's Commanding Officer at one point," I told her, "He works for the Army and, from what I heard last night, some top secret part of it,"
"Really?" she asked and I forgot she was not a military brat. I told the three everything I had heard last night.
"It was definitely not coincidental he was there," I finished.
"I agree with you, he was in the area for a reason," Mac agreed with me.
"Dad used to work Army Intelligence from what I've found out, but surely the Army Intelligence doesn't have jurisdiction over local fuzz," I spoke aloud, not really expecting an answer.
"You're looking into conspiracies again, where there are none," Matty drawled at me, then slapped my leg hard and took off running for the pleasure pool. I was up and after him, diving into the pool. I emerged near the centre of it looking for my little brother when I lost my footing and a set of arms wrapped around my throat. I heard giggling in my ear and realised that Matty was hanging off my neck. I felt some hands around my waist and realised Tobi was in front of me. My arms were forced apart and I found Mac on one side and Ben Knight, Larry's little brother, and Matty's best friend, on my other arm.
"Four against one, who taught you fair play?" I bellowed and managed to shake off Mac and Ben. I grabbed one of the arms around my neck and managed to haul Matty around my body. Digging my fingers into his flanks I had Matty squirming with laughter just as Tobi tried to tickle me, but he should have known better. I'm simply not that ticklish. By now, tears were rolling down Matt's face when I felt a tug on the hairs in my armpit. I didn't have many so they were precious. When I felt another harder tug that hurt. Realising it was Tobi, I let go of Matty and grabbed the other boy and squashed him to my side.
"Let go of me, you big oaf," he grunted, but I grinned at him instead.
"Are you going to stop pulling my hair?" I asked, holding him against me.
"Sure," he nodded, so I released him and looked up to see Mac laughing at us.
"I swear he acts more like an eight year old sometimes, than a boy with an A-level in maths," she stated.
"Alex, can you take me on the flume?" Tobi asked, I was quite surprised.
"Can't you go with Matty, you're like bum chums," I stuck my tongue out at him; I know, not the most mature thing to do.
"He's doesn't like them and under-12s are supposed to be escorted by someone older," he replied glumly. He was four weeks off his twelfth birthday.
"All right then, I'll take you up," I replied sighing.
"I'll come with you," Ben, Matt's friend added so I looked at Mac.
"Not me, I'll stay here with my buddy," she replied, grabbing Matty and giving him a noogie. Then, before he realised, she grabbed him and threw him across the pool. I shook my head and laughed as I waded through the swimming pool with Tobi next to me and Ben following close behind. It was a bit cooler once we got out of the water but I followed Tobi up and around the kid's pool and into the line, waiting for the flume.
"Have you enjoyed the camp?" I asked Tobi.
"Sure, I've learnt some new things,"
"What about you?" I asked Ben, I always trod carefully around the boy because of his older brother.
"It's been fun, Matty and I loved the film last night," he enthused, not picking up on my awkwardness around him.
"I bet, it was a good film," I was stopped from continuing as a disturbance caught my attention. There seemed to be a lot of shouting on the beach area. I recognised one of the voices as Larry.
"Oh no, he's started again," Ben moaned.
"Does he ever hit you?" I asked curiously.
"No, he's never touched me or our other brother, but I hate that he's a bully. He's always so nice with the animals," Ben told me, then looked at me, "I'm nothing like my brother,"
"I never said you were," I told the nine-year-old.
"But I've seen you watch me and Matty closely, like I'm gonna start hitting him," I was surprised at how observant the kid had been.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't let my feelings about your brother be imposed on you," I apologised.
"Do you think we should go over and help?" Tobi asked worriedly.
"It's none of our business and I'd rather not tangle with Knight Rider," I gave Ben a grin.
"He hates it when you call him that," Ben returned my smile and he went up a couple of notches in my book.
"I know," I responded, then the sounds got even louder and I realised I could hear Mac's voice, "Come on we better take a look,"
The pair followed me as I moved passed some of the other kids and onto the beach where a crowd had gathered. I managed to push my way through to find Matty by Larry's feet. A shorter boy stood directly in front of Larry. From what I could see, he had auburn hair and muscular shoulders.
"Come on Squirt, just kiss my feet,"
"You like making little kids suffer?" the other boy asked, seemingly mildly curious.
"Who the hell are you?" Larry asked, now confused.
"My name is Noah, we just moved to town two weeks before Camp," he replied. He appeared to be a couple of years younger than me, so I had not seen him around school. I had thought he might have been one of the kids from another school, but about fifty had come from our local area and joined another 100 or so from across the UK.
"Well, you're going to learn that I'm the king of town," Larry replied looking down on Matty once again.
"You're a bully, Larry, I've told you to leave him alone," Mac told him. I think the only person Larry was scared off was Mac. He looked at her nervously and stepped away.
"Right then, show's over. The bell is going to ring for lunch shortly," An adult said and everyone dispersed. I saw Larry took one look back at Mac and Noah over his shoulder before he disappeared into the changing rooms. I saw Noah step up to my brother and help him to his feet.
"Are you OK, kid?" he asked.
"Yeah, thanks," he answered, but I could see the tear marks. My brother is usually quite tough, but unfortunately he was short just like his big brother.
"Let's go take a shower and get changed," I told them, trailed by Tobi and Ben. I dusted Matty off to his protest then let them go ahead of me. I touched Noah's shoulder making him pause and turn back. He had the brightest green eyes I had ever seen. I was mesmerised. He was certainly handsome and appeared to be close in age to me.
I saw Tobi look back and something flashed across his face, but I couldn't read the emotion.
"Hi, I'm Alex, and that was my little brother you helped,"
"It's nice to meet you. I think I've heard your name mentioned once or twice by some of the teachers," I groaned, at least it was not the other kids.
"Erm, yeah, not sure if I want to be known by the teachers,"
"They said you were very helpful," he replied, trying to be nice.
"Well, I just wanted to say thank you, and welcome to the community,"
"Is he always that bad?" Noah asked, as we passed into the changing rooms where I noticed Matty and Ben were stood together, looking mischievous.
"Get changed and wait for me, do not go off without me," I told them in the sternest voice possible, then turned back to Noah as we pulled our stuff from lockers, "I've known him all my life and he was home-schooled until high school, then he started making everyone's life hell,"
"I'll watch out for him then," he replied and we separated. I went for a quick shower and then grabbed my stuff, locking the cubicle door behind me. I was just getting changed when I heard the giggling of two little monkeys.
"You two better be getting changed," I told them and the giggling stopped. We were quickly changed and then left the leisure centre together. Ben and Matty pranced ahead, messing about like little kids as Mac, Tobi, Noah and I followed them sedately.
"Have you been around town much?" I asked Noah.
"Not really, I have been unpacking and going straight to school pretty much," he returned, watching me with green eyes.
"What year are you in?" Mac looked at him.
"I'm in 9th, though I'm almost fifteen," He replied and we all looked at him, "Hard to believe, I look about thirteen,"
"Don't worry, I don't look fifteen either," I told him and got a shocked look in return.
"I thought you were younger than me!" he exclaimed. He was handsome and now he wore black glasses, which made him even cuter. I did sneakily check out his butt when no one was looking.
"No, I'm currently in 10th year at the moment," I returned.
"So, have you known each other long?" he asked, looking between Mac and me.
"Ever since we were in nappies pretty much," I told him then pointed at Tobi and laughed, "Him since before he was born,"
"Cool, it's nice to have friends your whole life, I've moved around so much," he returned.
"Why's that?" Tobi asked, coming out of his uncharacteristic silence.
"My Dad is in the Army, he's just retired," Noah explained.
"That's some hard going? Are you involved in anything now?" I asked, finding new respect for the short boy.
"Oh great, another Jock!" Tobi huffed. I gave him a look, not understand why he was being so hostile.
"Well, this is me," Noah said, stopping at a cross roads. I patted his shoulder in a silent and smiled.
"Well, if you want to join us for lunch, you're welcome to sit at our table," I invited him.
"Thanks," his smile lit up his face as he went towards his dorm.
"I'll see you at lunch," Tobi snarled and went stalking off. I looked at Mac, who rolled her eyes and shrugged.
"What's wrong with him?" I asked confused.
"Men, you can be so dense sometimes," she mumbled and went off leaving me standing on the path alone. Shaking my head with frustration, I made it back to my own dorm and unwrapped my swimming trunks, leaving them to dry until we had to leave. Kobe walked in not long behind me.
"I swear Larry is getting worse every day," he commented, unpacking his own bag.
"His little brother isn't so bad," I returned, "But at least Noah was there to help Matty,"
"What's what?" I asked, trying to wipe the smile from my face.
"That smile on your face? You like Noah, don't you?" he asked.
"No," I tried to deny, but he stared pointedly at me, "All right, he's cute and he's almost fifteen so not far from my age,"
"Well, I'm glad for you,"
"He's probably straight, anyway," I harrumphed.
"You never know," Kobe returned and the pair of us made our way down to the canteen.
"You little witch, you stole from me," a girl screeched as we got to the canteen. We saw two girls have a shouting match. One I noticed was Izzy, the girl from the cookery class, while the other was wearing a white doctor's coat. She was a skinny beanpole of a girl with wild fly-away hair.
"I never stole anything," the scarecrow-looking girl denied vehemently.
"You wait, Amanda, I'll prove it," Izzy snarled and stormed off, leaving the watchers confused.
"I'm glad we're not involved with that," Kobe stated.
"You're not wrong there," We grabbed our lunch stuff which, for camp the food, was surprisingly good, and we sat down at one of the long tables. Mac soon joined us, greeting Kobe quietly. I started eating when I felt a presence behind me; I looked around to find Tobi and a girl I'd never seen before. About Tobi's age, she had bright red hair, but she was a lot taller than him.
"Can we sit with you?" Tobi asked quietly.
"Of course little bear, you don't have to ask," I used my nickname for him, trying to make him feel at ease despite not knowing what was wrong with him.
"This is Talia, she's a wizard on computers," He enthused, coming back to life. They put their trays down, Tobi sitting next to me and Talia sitting on the opposite side, next to Mac.
"Ah, so… this is your girlfriend?" I asked teasing him. I got one of his cute little bear growls and a glare.
"No, she is not!" he snapped back, so I looked at Mac, who again rolled her eyes at me.
"Mac, here's your phone," Tali told my friend quietly handing it over.
"Are you having problems too?" I asked, she had a different phone to me and was on a different network.
"Yeah, it's been really glitchy of late," Mac responded.
"Why didn't you give it your brother?" I suggested looking pointedly at Tobi.
"Because he refused, told me not to bother him," came the reply.
"He sorted my phone out for me, only took a few minutes, but its running better than it has for ages," I frowned wondering why he did my phone, but not his sisters'.
"That's because I used the coding then managed to bounce the signal off a few different satellites," Tobi replied.
"I did the same, did you-," at that point I toned them out because sometimes the technical gobbledegook makes my head explode.
"Back to school on Monday," Kobe had to bring the whole table down.
"Yeah, I'm not looking forward to it. We've got our mock GCSE exams soon," I told them, "Getting us ready for next year,"
"What's your dad going to say about last night?" Mac asked.
"If I see him," I muttered then looked at her, "I'll ask him about Uncle Charlie,"
"You saw your Uncle last night," Kobe said excitedly.
"Briefly," I replied and proceeded to tell him everything that had happened.
"So what do you think was going on?" he asked and I hesitated, but he caught on, "You want to say something, don't you?"
"I don't know, perhaps I'm letting my geekiness run away from me, but he seemed a bit like a zombie like from a horror movie,"
"You have been watching too many movies," Kobe laughed, but my eyes met Mac's and I knew she agreed partially.