Chapter I: The Calm

Chapter I: The Calm

A Chapter by Damac
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Brad deals with the camps economic issues, Andrew takes the bus in for another day of camp, and Andrew's campers come upon a gruesome sight

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Brad stared out the window of the office. He watched all the happy, smiling faces of kids run by the window, playing all sorts of summer games while they waited for the Camp Day to begin. He watched a group of younger girls playing duck, duck, goose. He watched as some counselors took on their boys in counselor versus camper dodgeball, and he smiled. Camp. It was his place, the thing he’d always wanted to do with his life was run a camp. It made him happy.

“Brad.” He heard someone say, but he wasn’t paying attention. He was too distracted by one particular group of kids playing tag with their counselor. The counselor kept running towards them, swooping his arm down to grab one, but purposefully missing right at the last second, not wanting to ruin his campers fun time.

“Brad!” He heard again, this time louder, more forceful. Brad suddenly snapped out of his transfixed boredom and back in his office. He looked forward and saw Monica standing over him, holding a stack of papers. “You’re the camp director, you know.” She said, “You’re allowed to go outside if you want. Nothing’s keeping you here.”

“A lot’s keeping me here, you know that.” Brad argued back, reaching for a pen and looking down at the paper in front of him. “I need to make this budget work.”

“You’ve been saying that for weeks.” Monica said, placing the stack of papers down on Brad’s desk.

“Well it’s getting done today, no more putting it off. I’m balancing this years budget, and next years budget so we don’t have to let any staff go.” He said, putting on his glasses and flipping open his laptop.

“By doing what? Getting more kids to sign up for camp? We’ve tried that three summers in a row. We don’t have the money to do it right.”

“Then I’ll find the money.”

“Where?” She asked, leaving the room as she threw her hands in the air.

“I don’t know, somewhere.” Brad declared, raising his voice in frustration.

“We have excess staff. We’re going to have to cut some of them next year.”

“That’s not going to happen.”
“Brad, you have to face reality, the camps golden years are over. We are on a decline. We can’t keep running it the way we used too, something needs to change.” Monica reinforced, frustrated by her co-directors stubbornness. “You run a business, it’s time to start acting like you know what you’re doing.”

“I do know what I’m doing, alright? I’ve managed to get the budget to work in the past, i’ll do it again. Maybe we have to cut out a week of camp or cancel the Fall or Winter vacation camps, but i’m not getting rid of our staff. They’re too valuable.” Brad argued. The staff was his pride and joy. He knew the general perception of a camp counselor, or just camp staff in general. Lazy, uncaring, non-role model type college kids who most parents wouldn’t even speak too on the street, let alone trust with their children. But Brad took pride in knowing his staff wasn’t like that. They weren’t rigorously trained, and the thinning out process to separate the good from the bad wasn’t that intense. But there was something about every single member of his Camp Fireside staff that was special too him, and he didn’t want to let any of them go due to simple budget constraints. Especially constraints he could work around.

Monica just rolled her eyes, “Fine, just please figure this stuff out soon. I don’t want the camp to start losing money. I actually like running a summer camp.”

“I do too.” Brad said, “Don’t you worry.” He finished as he pushed some papers around on his desk and prepared to get too work.

~~~


MAN AND WOMEN GO MISSING, BODY OF FRIEND FOUND AT SCENE. BELIEVED EIGHTH, NINTH, AND TENTH VICTIM OF THE PEAKDALE HUNTER.

Andrew read the headline off the screen of his smartphone, the top tweet on his feed. He opened up the article, but the moving bus gave him a headache, motion sickness. Instead of reading, he closed it and showed the turned to his friend Nick in the seat behind him, holding the phone in his face, “Damn dude, look at this.” Andrew said. He looked back and saw Nick leaning up against the window, headphones in and eyes closed. Andrew bumped him in the chest, startling Nick awake only for him to find a phone screen in his face.

Nick read the headline quickly, then shook his head and took out an ear bud. “What a shame.” He said, yawning, “Did you have to wake me up for that?”

“I just thought you’d find it interesting, dickchest.” Andrew said, locking the phone and putting it back in his pocket.

“Yeah, well thank you. I found it much more interesting than getting a couple extra minutes of sleep before getting yelled at by kids all day.” Nick joked, stretching and yawning a bit.

“I just find it crazy, thank god Fireside isn’t a sleep away camp or anything. We could be dealing with some horror movie level s**t if it was.” Andrew said, turning around and sinking back into his seat. He heard Nick chuckle, but knew he was just putting his headphones in and leaning back against the window. Andrew turned and looked in the seat next to him, where Jaxon, a camper, was sleeping. “Hey.” Andrew nudged him, “Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.” He nudged him over and over again until he finally, and groggily, sat up and rubbed his eyes.
“What do you want?” Jaxon asked, obviously annoyed to have been woken up.

“You been keeping your teeth clean?” Andrew asked.

Jaxon rolled his eyes, “I’m not spending the bus ride talking to you about dental hygiene again.”

“I’m just asking a question.”

“I don’t want to talk about it!” Jaxon said, frustrated.

“It’s just a yes or no question.” Andrew said calmly, Jaxon moaned and rubbed his face with his hands. Andrew chuckled at the reaction.

“Yes, i’ve been keeping my teeth clean.” Jaxon spit out, throwing himself over dramatically onto his back while still staring at Andrew.

“How?” Andrew asked, thoroughly entertained by the boys frustration.

“Oh my god!” He yelled, clasping his hands over his face and letting out a loud and long grunt.

“Okay, okay geez. Just wanted to talk.” Andrew laughed. As he spoke the bus slowed to a complete stop as the brakes heaved and let out a gust of air. Andrew stood up to look out the front of the bus, curious about why they had stopped.

“Are we there already?” Jaxon asked, giving Andrew a confused look.

“Well obviously not, but somethings going on up ahead.” He said, looking at the flashing lights and the caution tape. “I think the police set up a roadblock.”

“Why?” Jaxon asked, with a confused look on his face. Andrew just shrugged.

“They don’t even have a guy out there directing traffic or anything.” Joe, the bus driver piped up, “Ridiculous.”

“I think we can go around it.” Andrew stated, pointing out how only one lane of the road was blocked off.

“Yeah, yeah I know. I’d just like to have someone making sure a car isn’t gonna come flying into my face.” Joe grunted, slowly maneuvering the bus around the road block. Andrew moved over to his window and looked out at the police cars and the house they stood in front of. Three cars, and they all had their lights on. The houses door was open, and seemed to be hanging off one of it’s hinges. But the strangest part was the lack of people. No traffic enforcer, no cops, no civilians, no criminal, nothing. The scene gave Andrew an eerie, otherworldly feeling. But, he quickly shook it off when he heard a voice scream “Andy! Andy! Andy Stark!” shrieking from the back of the bus.

“Oh good jesus lord in heaven.” Andrew mumbled to himself as Jaxon laughed at his contempt, “What!” He shouted.

“Come here!” an older boy, Ivan, shouted. The older boy was smiling with a devilish grin as he used an old, blue, mesh hat to wave Andrew over. All around him the younger kids had faces of laughter on as well. Andrew recognized a trap when he saw one, but there was no point in not taking the bait, unless he wanted to hear a constant rattling of “Andy Stark!” for the rest of the bus ride. Andrew walked back, struggling against the uneven and shaky movements of the bus like he did every morning. As he neared the boy, Ivan tossed the hat at Andrew’s face, but thinking quickly, Andrew caught the hat and snapped it right back into the boys chest. Despite his obvious win over Ivan, the bus erupted into laughter directed at Andrew. But Andrew wasn’t phased, this wasn’t uncommon. He just smiled and looked back at Ivan. “Nice, nice. Good too see I wasted my time again.” He joked, “Do you actually need anything?”

“Why would I need anything?” Ivan asked, the smirk remaining on his face.

“Because you called me back here!” Andrew exclaimed with faux frustration. The kids around him laughed at the act he put on but Ivan, while keeping the grin on his face, didn’t let out a single giggle.

“Oh, right! Hey, Andy, do you go to college?”

“Soon, starting my freshman year after the summer.”

“Are you going to have a roommate?” Ivan continued. The other campers began to turn off their ears, their short attention spans uninterested in the mundane conversation.

“Yeah, I am actually. Some dude named Will that I’ve never met before.”

“Do you know how to find out if your roommate is gay?” Ivan asked, the smirk growing wider on his face. The vocalization of such a taboo word drew the attention back of the other children. Some of the older children had shocked looks on their faces, while the younger children seemed either confused or unsure what happened. But Ivan just kept on smiling, and Andrew, knowing the punchline already, simply reached down, picked up Ivan’s back pack and said “Let’s go.”

“No more dirty jokes, Ivan.” Andrew said, pushing the kid along the aisle to the front of the bus, “I shouldn’t have to tell you everyday.”

“Aw, but come on. That one was gonna be funny.” Ivan said as he plopped down into the seat across from Nick and behind Jaxon.

“Hey, don’t worry, I know the joke.” Andrew said. He looked at Nick, sleeping against the window and Jaxon sleeping in his seat before saying “And it’s a s****y one. Literally.” Satisfied by Andrew’s knowledge of the punchline, Ivan let out a quick snort before turning to look out the window. Andrew sat down, and faced forward, just as the bus turned into the camps parking lot and rolled under a great big sign that read “Camp Fireside.”

~~~


“Poke it.” Anthony said, looking at the rotting animal as it lay, quiet, motionless, and gruesomely mutilated in the middle of the forest. The young boys eyes transfixed on the corpse, almost mesmerized by the discovery.

“Ewww, no way dude! You do it!” Danny responded. Danny hated animals, and he hated gross things, so a gross, dead, animal wasn’t something he was totally interested in playing with.

“No!”

“Why don’t we just get a counselor to clean it up or something…” Seth, another boy, asked as he lazily leaned against a tree. He was only over here cause everyone else was, he didn’t actually care about the dead animal.

“Oh come on, Seth, don’t be so lame.” James, a fourth boy, said as he came around from behind the tree. “Don’t you want to know what kind of animal did this or what it was?”

“How does poking it tell us that stuffs?”

James shrugged, “I dunno, but it’ll be fun at least.”

“Guys! Guys! I gotta stick! I gotta stick!” Niko, the fifth and last of the group shouted as he ran towards the group, holding a long, crooked, and sharp stick. “Look!” He said, waving it in the kids faces.

“Stop it, Niko.” Anthony said, snatching it out of the air. For a moment Niko looked like he was going to say something, argue to get the stick back, but instead he just looked down towards the ground for a moment, defeated and saddened by his loss. But his head popped right back up as Anthony reached the stick toward the bloody mess, and the four other boys huddled around him
to watch.

Anthony stuck the stick inside of the carcass and began shifting it around. The skin, blood, and guts all began moving around with the flow of the sick, creating sickening motions and sounds as the stick sloshed around. “Thank God Andrew isn’t here.” Seth muttered as Anthony continued to swirl the stick around in the body. Guts began to slowly work their way out of it, falling into the dirt and turning an even more sickly mixture of red and brown.

“Are those bite marks?” James asked as Anthony shifted the skin around, revealing large and long gashes beneath the animals fur.

“Maybe.” He said, continuing to manipulate the flesh with the stick.

“Or, like, claws.” Niko suggested. The other boys just nodded, and Anthony hummed in agreement. All five of them were transfixed on the gory sight. Something about the mysterious flesh, the oozing blood, the sloppy body parts was fascinating to the boys. Maybe they were just all bored with camp and looking for something exciting. Or maybe they were just boys being boys and playing with gross stuff.

“What are you doing?” A different voice. An older voice. A feminine voice asked from behind them. All five boys eyes widened with shock as Anthony dropped the stick in shock. Quickly, the boys snapped around to face the voice, and were presented with a teenage girl, hands on her hips, and wearing a green shirt that read “Fireside C.I.T”.

“Nothing, Gabi.” Anthony said, noticing how his friends stunned silence would make them look even more guilty. Gabi, the C.I.T, careened her neck around and stood on her tip toes to get a look behind the boys.

“Are you playing with a dead animal?” She asked.

“Yes…” Seth was quick to giveaway. James nudged him to tell him to be quiet, and Anthony nudged him from the other side. Gabi just sighed.

“Look, get back to your table. Andrew’s not here yet, and Matt doesn’t have to know…” Gabi began, as she had chosen to give the boys a break. But just as she was about to let them go, she was interrupted by a loud howl.

“Doesn’t have to know what?” A boy, also wearing a green C.I.T shirt, asked as he walked over to Gabi and the boys.

“Nothing, Matt. It’s no big deal.” Gabi said. The boys all stayed silent.

“What’s not a big deal? What are you doing talking to my League?”

“I’m doing the job you’re supposed to be doing. You know, keeping your League out of trouble.” Gabi replied with intended snark. Matt was always too distracted by the other female C.I.T’s to be bothered by his League. She wasn't going to take any lip from him about how to do her job.

“Whatever, what were they doing?” Matt demanded, Gabi looked over at the boys and rolled her eyes, causing all five to snicker just a little.

“They were playing with a dead animal, using a stick.”

“What! Why!” Matt exclaimed, turning and shouting at the boys. “Do you know how disgusting that is!”

“Do we look like we care?” Anthony snarked back. Though he had been expecting his friend support, the other boys turned their heads too look at the ground after Anthony’s outburst, obviously afraid of Matt’s authority.

“Excuse me!” Matt said as he started to approach Anthony, “Are you kidding me?” He began to stomp towards the boy but before he could take even a single step, Gabi grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him back.

“Calm down, Matt, damn.” She said, letting him go only after she had pulled him back enough to get his attention. Gabi looked at the boys and commanded, “Samurai’s, go back to your table. Now.” The boys scurried off, thankful to be free of trouble and away from their annoying C.I.T.

“Thank you, Gabi.” James said as he ran by. Matt turned to look at the boys back and gave him a disgusted look before turning back to Gabi.

“Stop doing my job for me.” Matt said, prepared for a big fight. But Gabi simply walked past him.

“Then start doing it yourself.”


© 2014 Damac


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Added on October 13, 2014
Last Updated on October 13, 2014
Tags: Zombie, Undead, Monster, Walking Dead, Survivor, Apocalypse, Kid, Teen, Adult, Camp, Summer, Survival


Author

Damac
Damac

New York City, NY



About
I'm just a writer looking for a place where I can write without limitations! I am currently Writing Four Stories: Operation School: What Lies Ahead - A sequel to my first ever work of writing, O.. more..

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