It’s difficult to believe that this is the last day of the month. Even more shocking, I stuck to my goal. That’s right! I finished editing my book, MAD Upload, and I finished it two days early. Now I just need to send it off for a line edit and start looking at cover artists. Should be fun!
Just because that project is finished, for the moment anyway, that doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned all the others! Next Friday I have a craft show at The Build Guild. That means I’ll be crafting as many books as I can until then. From there, I’ll have more time to work on my second book, oh and more short stories too. I may even get around to finishing Positivity Camp. Speaking of that, here’s another chapter in what has become a novella.
Previously on Positivity Camp: Wendy and Daniel arrive at the Nurse’s Station and are forced to watch a video prepared by Daniel’s parents. Wendy defends his crime, and in so doing, she causes Nurse Pam to say a negative word.
By the time they heard the dogs, Daniel and Wendy had reached the end of the path. Wendy was knee deep in water and Daniel was beside her. Neither of them had noticed the thinning of the trees in time to slow down. Daniel, feeling self-conscious with Wendy so close, did his best not to pant and look as winded as he felt. They’d been running for so long, it was difficult not to.
“Now,” Wendy panted. “What?”
They were silent, or as silent as two panting people could be, as they tried to catch their breath and think. They both had their heads down and their hands on their knees as they tried to recover as much energy as quickly as they could. Besides, the dogs had sounded too distant to be an immediate threat.
“Pssst,” someone hissed. The sound sent Daniel cartwheeling his arms as he made the mistake of trying to walk backwards quickly in water. He landed in the water with a splash, causing Wendy to hiss at him.
“How the? When did? What?” Wendy tripped over her words, and at first Daniel was too alarmed to do much more than stare. In the water, not too terribly far out, was a canoe.
“Can you swim?” one of the kids from the boat asked, his voice barely audible. Daniel was able to tell by their height and by the sound of their voice that the two in the boat were definitely kids.
Wendy didn’t wait. She started wading into the deeper water. Not wanting to be left behind, Daniel shook his head and followed her.
“No, not toward us!” one of them hissed. “Go to the dock,” he said and pointed. “The dock,” he reiterated when neither Daniel nor Wendy moved to obey.
It took Daniel a second to process the information, but then he was moving in the right direction. Wendy, who was still ahead of him, made it to the dock first. She climbed up and ran to the end of the pier. The canoe took a little longer to reach them, but when it did, Daniel was in for a shock.
“A million questions kid?” he said, his jaw dropping. “How did you two…? When? How?” Daniel hear himself stuttering over his words, much like Wendy had done when she’d seen the boat, but he couldn’t help himself!
“A mill what?” the kid, true to his nature, asked. “Who calls me that? Why would you call me that? Oh. I do ask a lot of questions, huh?”
“Shush,” the kid next to him said. “If you’re getting in, you’d best hurry. Councilor said the dogs are trained and won’t be misled for long.”
Surprisingly, it didn’t take Wendy or Daniel very long to slip into the boat. It rocked a lot as they got in, but there was never any concern of the canoe tipping. Daniel realized the one kid was smart for having them enter at the end of a pier. Had they tried swimming to the canoe and climbing in, they’d have wasted time and would’ve likely tipped the thing.
“Thanks for the distraction, by the way,” the kid said, all grins. “Me and me brudder needed a diversion to get to the boats. I didn’t think we’d be leaving this early.” Despite his obvious mirth, he kept his voice low and he kept his pace with the oars steady and sure. His brudder, as he called A Million Questions Kid, was attentive but mercifully quiet behind him.
“Wish you’d seen ol’ Councilor Markus’ face when you took down that sign! He was tryin’ so hard not to rush out there. They knew,” the kid nodded as he spoke. “They knew you’d be attempting to run. That’s when me and me brudder knew we had our chance. We waited till the coast was clear’n we ran for the boats! I’d free’d the one earlier,” the kid said, looking at Daniel.
“You,” Daniel said. “It was you who wandered off during cleanup!” Wendy shushed him as he spoke too loudly. Not wanting to be on Wendy’s bad side, Daniel kept quiet.
“Naython’s the name. And that’s Jiminy,” Naython said, pointing behind him.
“Darn good sign,” Jiminy said. “Did you see it?” He stopped with the one question as Naython turned his head to give him a look.
“I took it with me,” Daniel said sullenly. He remembered all too clearly Tyler’s mockery of his attempt to take down the sign to reveal the cabin’s former name. “There was nothing behind it.”
“What?” Naython and Jiminy said with the same inflection and at the same moment that it sounded like one person had asked the question.
“Tyler said the cabins don’t have any other names,” Daniel said again.
“Not true,” Naython said with a giant grin. If Naython hadn’t had Daniel and Wendy’s attention before, he had it now!
“Do you know, Prometheus?” Jiminy asked, stealing his brother’s thunder.
Naython sighed. “The name of our cabin was Prometheus,” he said sullenly.
“Sorry,” Jiminy apologized. “Forgive me?”
“Aw,” Wendy said. Daniel looked at her to see what she thought was so cute, but she was looking at Jiminy. The kid was giving a sad look to his brother, but Daniel didn’t see what was cute about that.
“Yeah, bro, I forgive ya,” Naython said quietly. “Prometheus,” he began, “was a Titan. A champion for mankind. He was known for his wit and cunning and he stole Zeus’ fire and gave it to man. So cool. I bet all the cabins have Greek names!”
A dog barked somewhere off in the distance, ending their conversation.
“Sounds like they found the trail behind the nurse’s station,” Wendy whispered.
“How do you know that?” Jiminy asked, beating Daniel to the question.
“I have a good sense of direction,” Wendy whispered back. “It won’t take them long to reach the beach, though the water will distract them…how much father?”
“We have family on this lake. We’re heading there. They don’t know ‘bout the camp. Wouldn’t have sent us if they did,” Naython whispered harshly.
“What’s your plan?” Jiminy asked.
Wendy was moving before Jiminy could finish his question. With a graceful motion, she was out of the boat and with minimal splashing. Daniel wasn’t sure if he could follow her that well, but he did his best to try. His rocking of the boat didn’t quite flip it, but it came close. He also wasn’t as quiet as Wendy had been.
When Daniel surfaced, Wendy was already treading water and talking to Naython.
“…should be close enough. Thanks for the help, and good luck to you,” Wendy whispered to the brothers before swimming off.
Daniel uttered a quick thank you of his own before once again following Wendy’s lead. Even if the boat was faster, he didn’t want to leave her behind. He did, however, want a place where he could process what was going on.
As they neared shore and the dark mass that Daniel had thought to be a distant building turned out to be the stage, he silently cursed his luck. He had thought the brothers had taken them outside of the camp’s walls, not further in!
“Looks like we got lucky finding them,” Wendy whispered as they rung their clothes out in the shallow water. It didn’t really do too much to help how drenched they were, but it didn’t hurt either. Luckily for them, it was a warm and humid summer night with few breezes.
“How do you figure that?” Daniel asked, still thinking it would have been better to go outside of camp and not further into it.
“Because the councilors will think we’ve gone out of the camp, not further into it,” Wendy said with a gleeful smile. “They won’t expect us to have found a canoe either.” She giggled quietly.
Daniel’s dark mood shifted considerably at that news. “And the dogs will lose our scent with the water,” he added. “We could do anything,” he whispered excitedly. “While they look for us outside the walls, we’ll be bringing the camp down from the inside.”