Surprise!! I decided to do a double post this week! It ended so nicely, but I could hardly leave you guys with such a terrible cliff-hanger! …this time ;)
Previously on Positivity Camp:Nurse Pamela and Emily attempt to give Daniel a hard time, but he and Brian leave for lunch with no further incidents. Teacher arrives and tells them to sit with their former group.
“You’re back!” Wendy said, relieved. She looked awful, they all did really.
“What happened to you guys?” I asked, taking a seat next to her. I had to push Ike aside to do so, but he should have known better than to try to get between the two of us. Brian knew better as he took a vacant spot further down.
“Could we maybe avoid talking about it?” Wendy asked.
She looked worn down, and while I wanted to press her for answers, I decided not to. One thing was clear. Teacher was not someone we wanted as an enemy. Too bad that was exactly what he was.
Our conversation ended abruptly as Counselor Melinda appeared at our table. She was followed by a loud group of kids who flew past her to reach whatever table they had been assigned to.
“Oh, dear,” Counselor Melinda said as he eyes settled on Wendy and I. She laughed nervously, “You're part of my home group. That’s…lovely.” She gave us an equally nervous smile. “Well, it is what it is, I suppose! How is everyone doing? Having fun at camp?” She looked around, but no one answered. She may as well have asked the dead.
“Hmm, that well?” She laughed nervously again. “If I had to guess I’d say you’ve all met Teacher.”
There were several groans.
“Thought as much. Well, I suppose I should check to make sure you’re all here! Let’s see…one…two…three...”
Wendy and I exchanged worried glances. Her concerned look, followed by a hasty shake of her head confirmed my fears. We weren’t all here.
“…seven…eight…eight?” Counselor Melinda stopped and looked around. “There should be ten of you. Where are the other two? Does everyone have the correct number of campers?” Melinda shouted. A few other Counselors stood up and counted their kids while a few others gave a thumbs up from the head table. Soon, Melinda had confirmation from all the other counselors.
“Everyone’s here,” Counselor Emily said, walking up to our table. Counselor Melinda was getting more and more agitated by the second, and I was starting to worry about Kyra being found out.
“I’m missing two,” Melinda said harshly. “I’ve counted and recounted. I should have ten. Eight is…I should have ten!”
“Ok, ok! I’ll count, too.”
We were counted again, despite how terribly obvious it should have looked that we only had eight. Even if we did share the table with another group, our halves were clearly marked by a gap.
“Ok,” Emily said, coming to the end of her count. “Who here knows where the missing kids are?”
“They are missing?!”
I wanted to warn Counselor Melinda to stop yelling, but it was too late. Teacher had heard her.
“Is there a problem, ladies?” Teacher asked as he approached our table.
“Count them!” Melinda demanded.
Teacher narrowed his eyes at her tone, but counted us anyway. “There are eight of them, an even number. How many are missing?”
“They know where they are,” Emily argued suddenly, “but they refuse to say anything!”
“I’ve been trying to tell you we are all here-” Wendy began, acting as innocent as could be. It was at least a good start for a distraction, but I had no idea what she could possibly have hoped to accomplish.
“You’ve done n–”
“Careful Mrs. Emily,” Teacher warned, cutting her off in time. “It is best to keep your calm when dealing with children.”
“There they are!” Melinda exclaimed in relief. She pointed and we all looked.
Coming down the hall, and totally oblivious to the danger that awaited them, were Meliah and Abigail.
“Where have you two been?!” Emily demanded, her shout easily carrying down the hallway. The Dining Hall went deathly quiet, so quiet, we could all hear Abigail sniffle. It didn’t take long for the shy girl to start crying.
“Enough of that!” Emily shouted at the poor girl.
“Mrs. Emily.” Teacher’s words came out like a hiss of acid. I know I wasn’t the only one to cringe away from him. “It is clear to me, as it should be to you as well, that those two are returning from the restroom. May I suggest you keep a proper eye on them next time. Perhaps then, such situations could be avoided,” Teacher warned. He scowled disapprovingly at Emily before settling into his customary pose with his hands clasped behind his back.
Emily sneered at his back while Melinda counted and recounted the group, her broad smile clearly showing her relief, a relief that not even Teacher’s foul mood could dent.
It was a tense moment for everyone else; however, as we all tried to keep from looking around, or congratulating Wendy on her clever delaying tactic. She almost had Counselor Emily, too! Of course, she had potentially dug her own grave with Teacher.
“I’m so glad you girls are safe,” Melinda said warmly as Meliah and Abigail made it to the table.
“Tsch,” Emily sneered. A look from Melinda silenced her far better than anything Teacher had said or done. She didn’t say a word as she left for the head table where all the other counselors were already beginning their lunch.
“Alright, now that we are all here, you may go stand in line,” Melinda said, smiling sincerely at having us all safe and accounted for.
At that moment, I actually didn’t dislike her. I could tell Wendy had a similar change of opinion as our eyes met and she shrugged. Still, Melinda was a counselor, and that made her an enemy. If it could be helped, I decided to try and give her the least amount of grief. If it could be helped.
Then it dawned on me. If Meliah and Abigail had been the two absent ones…I stood as fast as possible and searched the group. I caught sight of Kayla just as Abigail did. There was a scream of delight as Abigail ran to her missing friend. I had been right…Kayla and the mystery camper had returned, and none of us had been any the wiser for it.
There was no time to ask questions as everyone began standing and heading for the long buffet line. My stomach growled, reminding me of my own hunger. Any questions I had could wait until after lunch.