Surprise!! I decided not to drag the wait out too long on this next part of the story. Hope you enjoy this newest and perhaps darkest addition to the tale of Wendy and Daniel :)
Previously on Positivity Camp:The campers overhear a partial conversation between Coach Tammy and are abruptly sent off to the Art Barn. Camper Abigail shyly claims that a camper may have joined their group rather than left.
Making art in silence was not my idea of fun. Even the birds were noticeably quiet as we all worked. Surprisingly, Teacher’s assignment had been an actual art assignment: Draw a living creature. I had been expecting some sort of punishment, like etching “I will not be late” into some giant wood block or something.
The silence though! Some kid had already been given a warning for swiveling his stool and making it squeak. Now we all sat stiffly on our stools. It was so frustrating!! The camp had been bad enough when it came to taking simple everyday, yet somehow, negative words away from us. Now they were taking all of them away.
Worse yet, we had some unknown imposter in our group. After what the shy girl Abigail had said, it made sense that someone had joined us rather than leaving. And where was that one girl?! Kayla, was it? Where did she go?!
I jumped in my stool, which was not something I thought would be physically possible, as Teacher spoke from directly behind me. My pencil stopped moving as I slowly swiveled around to answer the question. The action caused the ridiculous thing to squeak, but I ignored it.
“That, is strike number two.”
My jaw dropped in surprise. “What is? The drawing? Wait, the chair squeaking?” I cursed the wobbly seat beneath me, but Teacher was looking at my sketch and not my chair.
“Yes.” The word came out calmly, with no hint of emotion behind it whatsoever.
I had to clamp my mouth shut as Teacher turned his attention away from my sketch to stare at me. I so desperately wanted to tell him that was two things then and thus strike two and three. Luckily, I managed to keep quiet though I did wonder how long it would be until I managed a third strike. Teacher’s look clearly showed his disdain for me.
“Dispose of that garbage,” Teacher ordered with a flippant wave of his hand. Then he turned, his hands clasped behind his back once more.
“What’s wrong with it?” I had done it now! But seriously! There was nothing wrong with what I was drawing. True, the woman had no clothes, but that was how all my drawings started out. First I drew the basic form, then the clothes, then details and so on. It wasn’t like there were any details yet. Just the basic form.
“That is inappropriate content for a young man to be drawing. Dispose of it,” Teacher ordered once more.
“But there’s nothing bad about it!”
There were several gasps as Teacher stopped walking and turned around to face me directly. Even on the stool, he loomed over me. With his black painter’s apron on, he looked like some evil beast. For several long seconds he glowered down at me. Then he spoke in that same quiet and controlled voice, “Strike three.”
“For arguing?” That little voice in my head kept telling me to shut up, but I couldn’t let it go. I had to know what was so bad about my art.
“For the forbidden word.”
I went over the conversation in my head before I realized what I had said. Bad, I had said bad. I shook my head as my brain sorted it all out. After only a few seconds I had several replacement words lined up. If only I had said one of those instead!
“Since this is your first offense with me, you are to report to the nurse’s station.” Teacher leaned in closer and I leaned away, my back resting painfully against the edge of the table. “Come here again and utter a forbidden word, and you’ll learn what true art is.”
That dead tone of his terrified me as much as his words. I was about to slither off my stool and leave when someone spoke up.
“But that isn’t fair!”
It was Wendy! Wendy had spoken, but what was she thinking?! Not only had she argued back, but she had used a forbidden word too!
“Young lady. If you think I am fooled by your attempt to join your colleague in his punishment, then you are sorely mistaken.” Teacher settled back into his customary stance as he spoke to Wendy. “I have been warned about the two of you. From this moment on, you are to be separated. Tammy should have done so earlier, but it seems the message when astray. Regardless, rules must be followed. You,” Teacher said as his arm shot out and his finger pointed at one of the campers from my group. “Accompany Daniel to the nurse’s station.” Teacher’s hand dropped back to his side as he turned to face Wendy. “As for you. You are to sit outside at the back of the barn, alone, on the tree stump until I can decide what to do with you.”
There was a moment of silence as no one moved, but then the kid who had been chosen to be my escort swiveled around. The stool, of course, elicited a screech of protest, and to my delight, Teacher cringed at the sound. As an added insult, I shifted my weight and made mine screech as well. I didn’t need to look back to know Wendy was also on the move as her stool also let out a shrill cry.
The act of defiance was pitiful, to say the least, but it was the only thing any of us dared to do. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to Wendy as she had to take a different door out of the barn, nor did I dare to look her direction for fear Teacher would worsen her punishment. I hated to think that she would be punished because of me, but I didn’t know what to do. She had deliberately gotten herself in trouble. Maybe that meant we were still in this together?
As I walked to my doom, I tried not to let the guilt dissuade me from my goal. No. From our goal. The camp rules had to be broken.