The night is still young at Positivity Camp! As time goes on, the campers creep ever closer to Daniel and cool kid Tyler's plan of escape. But for now, they must endure yet more terrors at the camp.
Previously on Positivity Camp:Campers Brian and Tina shared their terrible number song. Later, Counselor Melinda sings The Wheels on The Bus as they all walk to the campfire area for stories and songs.
I heard groans from already seated campers as Counselor Melinda led us to two empty rows of benches. She was still singing the annoying wheels and bus song as she gestured for us to take a seat. Then she left us. The second her back was turned, my group started talking with the other campers around us, but I hardly noticed that. I was more interested in the area we were at.
We were seated at a section to the left of the stage. There were three sections total: a middle, a left, and a right. I wasn't sure if I envied the kids in the middle section or not. They had a better spot next to the bonfire, or rather a meager collection of unlit wood, and a better view of the stage. Although, having a better view of the stage didn't exactly feel all that enviable. If there was one thing I had learned from being at Positivity Camp, it was thatenviablewas not something that survived this place for long.
Counselor Melinda may have wandered off, but her song remained stuck in my head in a never-ending loop. I turned to the kid next to me, hoping he could distract me, that seemed like a safe thing to do, considering everyone else was already talking. It was Brian.
I was going to say something, but he looked...serious. At first I thought he was having another Toe War, but his toes weren't moving and his eyes were unfocused.
I turned to the person on my right instead, but she was already talking to several other girls, and about the girl’s bathroom too. I'd only been to the guy’s outhouse once. Or was it an outhouse? Regardless, I certainly had no desire to talk about that experience. Girls were so weird.
“Hey,” I said, turning back to Brian. I stared at him and he started at me. My brain slowly translated that we had spoken at the same time, but in the meantime, we continued to stare at each other stupidly. “Go ahead,” I said finally.
"Oh, uh. It's just that… Have you noticed?” he asked quietly. Apparently it hadn't been quiet enough, however, because several heads turned in our direction.
“Noticed what?” I asked hesitantly.
"Wendy and that lizard kid,” he began.
“Kevin,” I said, nodding at him to continue.
"Missing?!” I said a bit too loudly.
"Who's missing?” I looked over my shoulder to see the girl on the bench next to me, along with all of her friends, staring at us. Several other chatting groups took notice as well.
"Uh, well...missing from...from the fire. From this,” Brian shrugged in defeat, the restricted language clearly hindering him.
"I think I understand. Well, it makes sense that Kevin is absent, he was sent home. As for Wendy…” I looked around worriedly, but it was difficult to see anyone from a seated position.
"That's what we've been talking about!” The girl beside me said, bumping my arm to get my attention. She was one of the shoving girls from before. Her name started with ach sound, I was sure of that, but not much else. “The girls have a network, you see,” she continued, her voice barely audible. “Wendy was last seen-”
"Alright, Campers! Eyes front and center!” Some new and overzealous counselor called from atop the stage. “It's time to begin our story theatre!!!!” As he spoke, he danced across the stage before doing a quick twirl that ended with an extravagant bow. “Oh, do you hear that campers?” he called out softly, his expression serious as he looked behind him.
I looked too, but a moment later, I looked away, hating that he had so easily tricked me into doing anything. There was nothing there but a lake!
"Oh! Looks like the camp across the lake is getting ready for a night of storytelling as well!”
"There's a camp across the lake?!” My words seemed to echo as nearly everyone seemed to voice the same question. Now Iwaslooking! Sure enough I saw a bright light far across the lake, a bonfire maybe, and a darn good one too if I could see it from here!
“Hey!!” the counselor atop the stage called out across the water. He waved his arms excitedly before turning to look at us. “Let's see if we can get their attention,” he said, grinning broadly at us.
It took him calling out twice before anyone joined him, but in the end he had us all shouting at the light across the lake. Just as he had us all unified, he waved at us to quiet down, and miraculously, we did. He stood up there, hand cupped around his ear as he leaned in the other camp’s direction. I strained to hear whatever it was we were listening for, and I felt confident everyone else was too. Then I heard it, the far off voices of campers shouting in unison, their voices coming from across the lake. I missed most of the first part, but then I heard it, “...got spirit, how 'bout you!?”
I groaned, not because I knew what they were trying to say, but because of how undeniably lame the message had been. I should have known better.
“Did you hear that campers?!” The counselor asked as he sprang to a standing position. “They're challenging our Positivity Camp Spirit! Let's show them we’re up for the challenge!” His arm pumped up into the air in his surreal excitement. “All you have to do is shout back: We’ve got spirit, yes we do! We've got spirit, more than you! Now, are you with me campers!?”
There was a brief pause, and I had to give the guy credit for the way he was reading his audience. I knew I wasn't going to be joining in, and I found it likely that others were breaking free of his spell too.
Then he was facing the water again, his hands cupped around his mouth. He gave a great show of breathing in, and then people were shouting the chant back. As near as I could tell, it was the older kids who dropped off first. The younger ones gave it their all the longest and the loudest, but in the end, the chant died down too much to have been heard clearly across the lake.
"That's alright, campers! We’ll get 'emtomorrow!”
This time my groan was joined by several others. He'd definitely lost his hold on us. While I couldn't be sure, I could've sworn I heard laughter from across the lake, not much, but just enough. Real or imagine, it only made my hatred for this camp that much stronger.