Friday is back…dun dun dun…back again! If you thought the last Positivity Camp was dark…well, I’m pretty confident I can top that. What I’m not confident about is whether or not I can end it on Part 42. Yes, I am partial to that number, but I won’t stretch a story or cut a scene just because. Regardless, we shall see where this goes. I have my goals in order at least :D
As per the usual, next week will have more tabletop misadventures. Who knows if it will be from the Dungeons & Dragons realm or from some galaxy far far away. I know I don’t know! And that’s half the fun. See you next week!
Previously on Positivity Camp: Tyler betrayed the group, but his smugness tripped him up and he said a negative word. Wendy and Daniel are told to go to Psychiatrist Pam for a final video before they will be separated.
It was a long and quiet walk to the Nurse’s Station. The silence was made worse by the ever-present smirk on Councilor Emily’s face. She really did have it in for the campers, I realized glumly as we walked. It seemed like ages before we saw the closed and barred gates to Positivity Camp and the Nurse’s Station to the left of it. There were four police vehicles parked out front now.
To think we had come so far only to be thwarted. I kept my mouth shut though, like I should have done all day, like I should have done at school. They had been right to send me here, I realized glumly. Even if I deserved to be punished, Wendy didn’t, and I felt even more guilty over dragging her down with me. Why was I always getting my friends into trouble? I wondered as we reached the steps to the Nurse’s Station.
Councilor Emily opened the door and motioned for us to enter. Some other kid sat in one of the chairs in front of the TV as he watched the ridiculous camp video. He barely even looked at us as we came in. I didn’t care, though. I didn’t care about any of it anymore.
“You two, sit,” Emily commanded as she intercepted Nurse Pamela.
“What is the meaning –”
“We should talk,” Councilor Emily said, cutting Nurse Pamela off. “Outside.”
The two of them left and Wendy and I sat down numbly in the chairs next to the kid. It was then that he finally took notice of us. He sat back and crossed his arms over his chest. Then he looked over at us slowly, his eyes glazed over with boredom.
“So, what do they have you in for?” he asked with a sigh.
“I’m Wendy,” Wendy said by way of explanation. I followed her lead and spoke my name as well.
“THE Wendy and Daniel?!”
“Yup,” I said morosely, “that would be us.” I really didn’t care for his ogling, especially with us in so much trouble. I also didn’t like the way he was looking at her. Not that it mattered, I reminded myself. We wouldn’t likely be seeing each other again after we watched some ultra-special video and were sent off to solitary confinement in the woods somewhere.
Before the kid could bombard us with questions, the door opened, and Councilor Emily walked in.
“Nate, you are free to go.”
“Yes now, but what do you mean by alone? Did you come here by yourself?”
“Uh, well…” Nate was clearly struggling to answer the question appropriately – not an easy thing to do when you can’t say no or else confess that you broke camp rules and did come alone.
“I came with him,” a kid said, appearing at the entryway to Nurse Pamela’s office and no doubt the rest of the nurse’s station.
“Why were you…?”
“Nurse Pam said I could sit in her office and wait. She said I had been good, so I could sit and wait there, and-and…”
“Alright, whatever. Take Nate back with you to your cabin.”
“Uh, yes ma’am. But…”
“What is it?” Councilor Emily asked harshly.
“Um, should I go that way or out the back?”
“What sort of question is that?!”
“Exit out this way! And be quick about it!”
Nate’s chair screeched as he scrambled to his feet and joined the other kid. Together they dashed out the door only narrowly avoiding bumping into Nurse Pamela.
“Now then, Psychiatrist Pam, they’re all yours,” Councilor Emily said with a snide grin at us, one that clearly went unnoticed by her confusingly titled colleague.
The door slammed shut behind her and we were alone with Psychiatrist Pam. She slowly walked into her office. I could hear keys jingling and then a file cabinet being unlocked and opened. There was a metal hiss as it slid open and then a clang as it reached the end of its track. There were some other sounds, but they were difficult to make out over the sound of the Positivity Camp video that was still playing, though it had at least reached the credits scene and only had a mildly annoying song playing as names floated up and away.
"Well, seeing as how you two seem to refuse to be more positive, I think it's time for a parental intervention video,” Psychiatrist Pam said as she re-entered the room with two small objects.
“A what?” Wendy and I said simultaneously. Under any other circumstance I might've found that adorable of us, but I was too stunned to do much more than shoot Wendy a quick look to see if she had noticed it too. I don't even know if she looked back.My mind was too jumbled to figure out much of anything anymore.
Before we knew it, a new video was playing on the TV and Psychiatrist Pam was moving away so we could see it.
“Please refrain from talking while the video is playing.” The command came out cold and heartless, but I clamped my mouth shut all the same, determined to not get Wendy into any further trouble.
“Hello Daniel, if you're seeing this, then that means your poor behavior is only getting worse!” my mother scolded me, and right off the bat too!
“Positive language dear,” my father said quietly as he patted her hand.
“How can I be positive about this?! They’re having us film a video for if or when our son misbehaves!”
“Maybe you should let me do the talking.”
My mother bit her lip. She looked so worried, and I felt so confused. What were they talking about?! What was going on?
“Daniel,” my father began, “your mother and I sent you to camp because of that incident at school. Do you remember it? You made a young man cry his eyes out because of your insensitive language.”
“You called him fat! An obese dull-witted monster!” My mother’s face flushed and her eyes watered over.
“Maran, please, let me handle this.” My father continued to use his cool tone, a tone he only used when he was angry, and I knew exactly who he was angry with.
“You were sent to camp so that you might attain a better attitude and learn to treat others with respect. I had hoped such a thing would be easy for you, but if you are seeing this...” He sighed heavily and collapsed his head in his hands. Several awkward seconds went by as he sat like that while my mother cried quietly in the chair beside him.
When he did finally look up, he had a hard look in his eyes, one I rarely ever saw, but always dreaded seeing. “Look, Champ, you'd best shape up. Since you are struggling to do so, it is our decision that you remain at camp for the rest of the week. It would be in your best interest to start improving your attitude. Shape up and be a positive role model for others, I know you can, Daniel.” There was a pause as my father seemed to choke up a bit. “We love you.”
My mother nodded furiously beside him and tried to brush the tears aside.
“We'll see you in a week, son.”
The video was a few seconds too long as it didn't immediately shut off, but instead had my parents sitting awkwardly side by side, my mother still silently crying despite doing her best to look optimistic.
“Well, Daniel. What do you have to say for yourself?” Nurse Pamela demanded.
I stayed silent, too stunned to respond and too much of a coward to say anything to Wendy.
“I thought as much.”
“Well, if he won't speak up, then I will!” Wendy said in outrage.
The tone of her voice shocked me into looking at her. She looked furious, but her eyes were on nurse Pamela and not me! How could that be?
“You're all a bunch of callous fools!Believing the words of some snot nosed brat as he whined about the names he was called! Did it ever occur to you louts that there was more to that story? That maybe Daniel was more hero than villain? I doubt it! It probably escaped your pea-sized brains that the teacher was also to blame! Allowing that bully to pick on a girl. That's right, you old hag! That nitwit picked on a girl after she bled all over her seat in class because her teacher refused to let her go to the restroom. Even when she said it was for her period, he refused! That-that-that ignoramus had kept her in class anyway. She stayed in the nurse’s office the whole day after that, her mother too busy to come and take her home, with zero clothes to change into, and all the while that lying two-faced brat kept finding ways to pick on her! Well, Daniel stood up to him! Called him terrible names and asked him howhefelt to be picked on for somethingout of his control! Maybe the next time you go looking for justice youshouldactuallylook rather than believing the first kid that goes crying to mama. Fat shaming, ha! He even bragged about how he got Daniel in trouble because he knew what to say to get the adults going!"
Wendy sat back, her ferocious eyes locked on Nurse Pam’s.
I had to speak up then, not for the nurse’s sake, she was as white and as glossy as a wedding cake, but rather for my own pride.
“That's...close to the truth, Wendy, but I only asked him how it would feel if I called him short, since that was out of his control.” I also wanted to ask how she knew any of that, but I couldn’t figure out a way around saying know. Up until that moment I had been fairly confident that Wendy didn’t go to my school.
“Yeah,” I answered, deciding I would ask her later how she knew about the incident. “He'd stormed off after that. It was only later that me and my friends, or rather the guys I had been with, heard he had gone crying to the principal.”
“Yup, and when one of my friends tried to defend me, he received detention too for lying. And when that happened...”
“...then everyone else kept quiet,” Wendy said, finishing the sentence for me.
“Th-that is! It-it’s, unforgivable!” Pamela stuttered out at last.
“That's a forbidden word,” I said dryly.
Nurse Pamela’s eyes widened with fear, and I swear her eyes became darker as her pupils dilated. She had been white before with a red flush of anger tingeing her cheeks, but all color had since faded from her face.
“What is it?” I asked her. Then it dawned on me, Counselor Kimberly had said a forbidden word once too, and she had been replaced. Was the same thing going to happen to Nurse Pam?!
“I...I...I......” She crumpled to the floor; her eyes darted about the corners of the room.
“Holy...” Wendy muttered next to me, equally surprised, though she hadn’t been there to see Counselor Kimberly (not Imposter Kimberly) when she had said a forbidden word.
“Chi-children pl-please. You-you have to...”
“Have to what?” I asked, now frighteningly concerned.
A voice suddenly came over a loudspeaker located somewhere in the office. The very idea of it being there both surprised and frightened me.
“Pamela Hilton, you are to report to Mr. Petrel’s officeimmediately.Daniel and Wendy, remain where you are. A councilor will be with you shortly.”
Before the final words were spoken, the door burst open. Councilor Emily ignored us entirely and went immediately for the crumpled form of Nurse Pamela. She hoisted the woman to her feet and was escorting her out of building before the door even had time to swing closed.
“…abnormal,” I said, finishing Wendy's sentence this time.
Our eyes met, and I saw my own fear mirrored in Wendy's eyes. Without a word I grabbed her hand and stood. We had to get out.
It was Wendy who ended up taking the lead. She was the one who took us further into the office. My heart was pounding in my chest, probably loud enough for her to hear and probably anyone else who was listening in. I began to worry they could track us with the sound of it.
I desperately wanted to talk, to fill the silence, to say that we should look for a way out, that we needed to escape before the councilors came to takeusaway, but fear of being overheard kept my mouth shut tight.
Wendy was the one who found the back door. We were outside in the warm summer night air again. It was nice to feel the breeze and hear the insects again. What was I thinking?! Such stupid thoughts, we had to get out, not concentrate on silly insect sounds!
Ahead of us was the wooden wall that made up the entrance to camp. If we went right, we could be outside of camp with no trouble at all. Well, no trouble except for the sealed gate, the dogs, and the police officers, but we could easily have slipped under the fence! Or maybe climbed over it? Either way, we had to try! I tried to pull Wendy in that direction, but she wound up pulling me along after her...in the opposite direction.
“Where?” I whispered, my voice not sounding like my own.
“Keep up,” Wendy whispered back. Then she let go of my hand and took off running. Fear of being left behind triggered a rush of adrenaline. In a cold flash, my whole body tingled and then surged with energy. I caught up to Wendy just as she slipped between two bushes. She paused a moment and then disappeared out of sight. I looked down and saw her below me on what must have been a trail. I followed her lead, slipped between the two bushes, and jumped down onto a lower trail next to the camp fence. It was a good four or five-foot drop, and my feet burned with the impact, but I didn't hesitate as I ran to catch up with Wendy.