Hey guys! Yes, I know that you've read this chapter before, but please bear with me, as this is an edited version. The last one looked a little too choppy to me, so I had to edit it and change a few things. Now it seems a little more realistic as to what might actually happen in real life...at least, I hope so. /shrugs/ I hope that you enjoy this and the others that I've edited!

Chapter 1: The Beginning

Bebebebeep! Bebebebeep! Bebebebeep! Be—


"Mmf…grr…stupid alarm clock," I grumbled slowly as I buried my face into my pillow, my hand slipping off the snooze button too dangle over the side. I really didn't want to wake up right now. And, after glancing up at the clock and flopping my head down in exhaustion, I really wanted to toss the clock across the room and fall asleep for the next few hours. No one should have to get up at four o'clock on a Saturday.

I soon gave up trying to fall asleep and sat up, trying to figure out what I was forgetting. 'Why did mom want me to get up this early again?' I wondered slowly, the gears in my head slowly starting to turn through the cobwebs still clogging up my brain. Seeing something black out of the corner of my tired eyes, I glanced over to my left and saw a suitcase lying unzipped in front of my closet. Standing next to it was a red and black backpack on wheels, a smaller backpack leaning against it with special notebooks and drawing paper.

A few seconds ticked by as I stared at the bags. My mind was a little slow in processing what the meaning of those bags were, but soon the gears started clicking faster and faster. Suddenly, it dawned on me.

'Oh yeah, camping…'

I remember now. My dad had signed me up to go camping so I would spend more time outdoors, meet new people, and basically stay away from my laptop during summer vacation. My mom had tried to talk him out of it, but it didn't go so well and he stuck with his decision. I was a little reluctant about the idea of camping, but the more I thought about it, the more interesting it all sounded.

Normally I'd be a little edgy to do something my dad signed me up for—one such event occurring in my freshman year of high school—, but there was something about this camp that seemed…different. Almost like there's something I have to do or someone I have to meet there…gah, I hate it when I get that feeling. But other than that, there's only one pet peeve I have about this whole trip.

The camp is all the way in Colorado. I'd have to go by plane to reach it on time…alone.

I sighed softly for a moment before I started to twist my neck around, earning a few pops in response to the movement. After getting a few more pops out of that, I stood up and slowly popped the kinks out of my back before stumbling over to the closet. Once there, I snatched up some clothes that I hadn't packed yet and headed into the bathroom.

A few minutes passed with me struggling to get dressed and not fall asleep at the same time before I finally trudged back out, glaring at the empty space in front of me. I was dressed up in a pair of semi-dark blue jeans and a strawberry-red shirt that had a red/silver Chinese dragon made of various sized bedazzle gems embedded into the fabric. The shirt itself was a little girly, but I liked it because of the dragon.

Trotting heavily down the stairs in grey-tipped white socks, I saw my mom sitting at the table with a hot cup of coffee in her hands. Waiting on the table mat in front of my seat, a bowl and milk glass were sitting right where I had left them before I went to bed last night. Giving mom my normal greetings, I gathered the milk and Frosted Flakes and sat down to eat my breakfast.

"So, are you excited about going to camp?" mom asked after a few minutes of silence, grinning excitedly as she waited for my answer.

I looked up at her with a mouthful of cereal and grunted an affirmation. If I remembered to bring the camera, I could take a lot of pictures to show everyone when I got back. It would be nice to have something to remember everything I saw at camp. I'll worry about that later, though. Right now I have a tired and rather reluctant stomach to try and feed. 'Maybe I should have tried drinking a glass of water before eating,' I thought dryly as I munched on some soggy flakes.

Once I finished eating what I could and washed my bowl, I walked over to the little candy dish sitting on a counter close to the stairs and dug around inside. When I withdrew my hand, I saw my tiger's eye necklace tangled up with my dragon necklace. Both of these were rather special because I had gotten them at the same time. Several things spoke out to me about them, like 1) I liked dragons and the necklace was in the shape of a Chinese dragon, and 2) I loved tiger's eye stones and thought that they were pretty lucky.

But now that I looked at them, I noticed something I never thought about when I first got them. They reminded me of all the images I had seen depicting a tiger battling against a powerful Chinese dragon. Two creatures of immense power representing the virtues of Yin-and-Yang: Good vs. Evil, Right vs. Wrong, etc. To me, instead of representing the symbol, the tiger is the embodiment of human courage and strength while the dragon is the spirit of wisdom and hope…

Dang, I must be tired if I'm starting to notice odd things like that.

Shaking my head to clear it of any stray cobwebs, I set my mind to untangling the two necklaces from one another. Once that was accomplished, I walked back upstairs to gather what I might have missed while packing last night. I usually hate packing for trips because I have to wrack my brain for information about what I might need and what wasn't necessary, and then I find out that I had forgotten something once I'm either at the airport or already at my destination.

Nearly half an hour had passed before I deemed myself fully prepared. My suitcase was packed with my clothes, my bathing suit, spare towels, and other necessities while my backpack contained what I couldn't fit in the suitcase and other things I wanted to bring along. The smaller backpack was strapped to my back, my notebooks and drawing paper a familiar and comfortable weight on my shoulders.

I stood in my room for a little bit, memorizing the details of where everything was located and storing it away in my memory. It's funny how you seem to miss the room that you spent the least amount of time in during the day, not including sleep. At least I knew that it would be in the same state that I had left it when I got back. That's one thing I found comforting about the thought of leaving.

Otherwise it would tell me that 1) my parents were messing with my room—which I doubt they would—or 2) a crazy stalker or burglar broke into the house and went through my closet…

Before I knew it, it was time for us to leave as mom called me down. Heaving a heavy sigh, I grabbed the handles of both bags and moved to the door. I stood there and stared into the room for a moment longer before I walked out into the hallway, lugging one heavy bag and one light bag down the stairs. After getting a minor scolding from mom about trying to lift both bags at the same time—and failing—we went into the garage to the car. This was going to be my first time going someplace far from home without my parents, but at least I had my music, my notebooks, and my drawing utensils to compensate for some of the loneliness I felt.

'I just hope that the camp is as good as it says it is in the brochures,' I thought as I climbed into the front seat of the car, my bags tucked safely in the trunk while the smaller bag sat between my legs. Our dog Teddie, a rust-brown dog who was part-Chow and part-Border Collie, stood in the backseat as she panted her excitement of going out for a drive. 'I've never heard of a camp called Camp Maxicon before.'

(Scene Skip)

"I want you to behave yourself at camp," mom told me as she stood in front of me, my bags beside me while Teddie watched me from inside the car. I could hear her whimpering for us to come back inside or to be let out. "I want you to make friends while you're there. Do the activities that they have available to you and follow your scoutmaster's instructions. And don't talk to any strangers. Once you arrive, there's a staff member of the camp waiting to pick you up. Do you remember his name?"

"Mr. Demarcus," I told her, feeling proud that I had forced myself to repeat that name until it had rooted itself into my memory.

"Very good," mom said before she continued on her verbiage streak. "Don't forget to call every once in a while so we can hear how you're doing, but call us when you get there. Your scoutmaster has assured us that if you want to talk to us or need us that you can call anytime. Don't spend all your time writing and drawing, or you won't make any friends. And-"

"Mom," I interrupted gently with a smile. "Don't worry, I'll be fine. I promise."

She gave me a look that clearly said 'I know you will' as she pulled me into another hug, this one much harder than the others as she said, "I know you will." Holding me out at arms-length, she nodded towards the double-doors and said excitedly, "Now, go have fun."

I nodded and grabbed both bags by the handlebars, turning to wave at Teddie and giving mom a goodbye hug and kiss before I walked through the doors. Almost as soon as I walked in, I was bombarded with a commotion that nearly stunned me out of my wits. Business people chatted on their phones to some client or another, people yakked at one another loud enough to wake the dead, little kids ran around screaming and playing around like monkeys while babies cried on their mother's shoulders, not to mention the mechanics of machines whirring and whining in the background of it all. The high ceiling and wide room only amplified the sounds by ten-fold!

The noise level was nearly overwhelming as I faltered slightly at the door. I gave my head a light shake before I pressed on, weaving in and around people and kids as they scurried about like rats. At one point I had passed by a boy with, oddly enough, untidy blond hair with black tips on each strand, but I didn't take the time to really look at him as I tried to find the gate to the plane.

A few minutes passed by before I finally managed to find the gate, waiting close to it so I wouldn't be caught in the rush. I had already dropped off my bags except for the little one, so those two will be on the plane when it arrives. There were quite a few people here, which made me wonder if they were camping out here instead of waiting at home for the plane to arrive. It felt like an hour had passed—which in reality it was only half that amount of time—before they made the announcement that the plane was now boarding. I handed my ticket to the lady and followed her instructions. Soon I found a seat in second class right next to a window.

'Well, this ought to take a while,' I thought slowly as I watched the ground beneath my window, watching for the luggage cart that would signal that our departure. I already had my seatbelt on since it was kind of a habit for me to put one on if it was there, so I didn't have to worry about forgetting it. Another few minutes passed before someone tapped my shoulder, a voice saying, "Hey, mind if I si-"

The owner of the voice didn't finish his sentence as I jumped up in shock, my seatbelt preventing me from hitting my head on the ceiling as I darted my head around to look at him with wide eyes. It was the same boy from before, the one with the unkempt gold-blond hair and black tips. He looked about the same age as me, although he was taller by a few inches. He had startling green eyes and a face covered with freckles around his cheeks, his mouth drawn out in a thin frown as he looked at me in confusion. "Sorry," I quickly apologized, looking at my hands in embarrassment. "I get startled easily sometimes…"

"Oh, that's okay. I know how that feeling," he replied cheerfully, causing me to look up and see him smiling. "So, anyway, mind if I sit here? The other seats are already taken."

I shook my head and gestured for him to sit, to which he obliged and looked back at me. I had already turned back to the window and continued watching for the luggage cart. "Not much of a talker, huh?" he asked curiously.

"Nope," I replied. "I hardly talk unless I feel like it's necessary or the topic is something I want to talk about."


A few minutes of silence passed as we looked away from each other, the boy not really sure what to say before he turned back to me and said, "Hey, what's your name? Mine is Che—I mean—Chris!" he had a startled look on his face as he shook his head, causing me to look at him with a raised eyebrow. "Chris. Chris. My name is Chris." With that established he looked at me and threw a lopsided grin, looking a little embarrassed for a moment.

I stared at him for a few seconds, noting how he had stopped himself from saying another name before I said, "My name is Lauren," I said softly as I offered him a small smile.

Right after I said that, the intercom suddenly turned on and the captain's voice started speaking. "Attention passengers, this is your captain speaking. We are about to take off. Please get back in your seats and fasten your seatbelts. Turn off all electrical devices and remain seated. Thank you for choosing this airline and have a nice flight.'

"Wow, nice timing," I muttered as I checked my seatbelt and grabbed my little bag from the floor.

"Yeah," Chris replied as he grabbed his seatbelt and looked at them strangely. It was like he had never seen anything like them before in his life. "Er, this is my first time on a plane," he said uncertainly as he tried to fasten them. "What about you? Is this your first time?"

"No, not really," I responded as I watched him attempt to strap himself in. Twenty seconds later I was trying to help him untangle himself from the straps that wrapped around him like a boa constrictor. He looked like a mummy, except with straps. "Geez, that's some knot you tied. How'd you manage to tangle yourself so fast?"

"I fon't fow," Chris answered through the strap that was wrapped around his mouth.

I sighed as I finally got the strap loose enough for him to get it off of him before I took it and strapped him in myself. Chris looked at me sheepishly as he said, "Um…thanks."

I only nodded as we waited, the plane starting to move down the runway. I looked at Chris out of the corner of my eye and watched him. For his first time on a plane, he seemed pretty relaxed that we were moving. It's as if he's been in an aircraft before.

So then how did he not know how to put his seatbelt on?

"So, where are you going once we get to Colorado?" Chris asked suddenly, turning to look at me curiously. "I'm heading for a camp."

I raised an eyebrow in surprise before I said, "Really? I'm going to a camp, too."

We stared at one another in surprise for a second before Chris smiled and said, "Well, that's just a big coincidence. I'm heading for Camp Maxicon. Which one are you going to?"

I just stared at him in shock before I said, "I'm going to the same camp."

"Awesome. Who's picking you up?"

I had to think for a few seconds before I said, "Mr. Demarcus. What about you?"

Chris only shrugged as he put his arms behind his head like a pillow, the plane having gotten off the ground a few minutes ago as passengers started moving around again. "Oh, some scoutmaster's assistant," he muttered, sounding like he was talking about the most boring subject in the universe. "Want some advice on Mr. Demarcus?"

Curious, I nodded and watched as he peeked into the aisle and looked left and right, as if checking to see if anyone was listening in on us. Turning back to me, he whispered in a low tone, "Don't ask him about his eyes. He hates it when people ask him about them. Don't talk back to him or he'll leave you to fend for yourself in the middle of nowhere. Don't be late and don't goof off. He loses his temper a lot, and he doesn't tolerate slackers."

My eyes widened a bit in surprise as I looked at him. "Wow," I uttered slowly. "He sounds really harsh."

"He is," Chris replied with a slight shudder before he leaned forward with the back of his hand next to his mouth so he could whisper, "but just between you and me: I think he's a big softie on the inside. He may have been a soldier in the past, but he's really nice to you when there's nobody around to see him."

That sort of reassured me as I smiled at him, glancing out the window and watching the ground pass by far below us. I wasn't even in Colorado yet and I had already made a new friend.

Maybe this camping trip won't be as boring and lonely as I thought it would be.

(Scene Skip)

"Attention passengers, this is your captain speaking, we will be landing very shortly. Please return to your seats and buckle up. Turn off all electrical devices and enjoy the rest of the ride. Thank you for choosing this flight."

"Huh," I muttered as I looked up at Chris from my notebooks. "That trip didn't take as long as I thought it would."

"Eh, could have gone faster," he replied with a shrug as he put away a small hand-held computer. It looked more high-tech than the other's I've seen before. I didn't dwell on it for long as I began putting away my books, taking care not to bend them as they slid in easily.

I didn't respond to that as we waited for the plane to land at the airport. Ten to fifteen minutes later we were walking towards the conveyer belt, chatting about small things that came to mind. As we waited for the bags to appear, I thought I caught something small and grey skittering across the floor, but it disappeared before I could get a better look at it.

"Hey, the bags are here," Chris told me and, sure enough, the bags started sliding out onto the conveyer belt. We waited patiently for ours to appear, other arrivals grabbing theirs on sight and walking off. I spotted my bags at the same time that Chris did, both of us reaching in and grabbing them off the moving line of luggage. "Well, guess this is goodbye for now," Chris said as he turned to me. "I'll see you at camp then?"

I nodded as I smiled at him. "I better see you there, or you're in trouble, mister," I joked lightly.

Chris laughed at that before he turned away, waving goodbye as he walked off. "I'll be sure to be there," he called over his shoulder.

I giggled slightly at that as I checked my bags, making sure that they hadn't been tampered with before I zipped the smaller bag on its bigger counter-part. Tossing it over my shoulders, I started walking towards the exit and-

"AAAA! A rat!"

My head snapped around in the direction of the screech as the culprit scuttled across the floor, skittering between some girl's feet. She screamed as she hopped from one foot to the other, wildly flapping her arms around like she was trying to fly. "Get it away! Get it away! GetitawaygetitawaygetitAWAY!" she screeched in a high pitched voice.

All the while I was staring at her like she was an idiot. There was nothing wrong with being afraid of a mouse or a rat, I understand that. It's just that…

This "mouse" or "rat" was just a little wind-up toy.

Sighing, I headed over to her direction and asked, "You need help?"

"Yes!" the girl shrieked as she leapt at me, my bag dropping from my shoulders in shock as she started shaking me wildly. I started to feel like a maraca as she shook me, all the while still hopping from one foot to the other as the mouse toy ran around her feet. "That thing tried to bite me! Kill it!"

"Fiiirrrssst oof aaalll, stooooop shaaakkiiinnnggg mmeeeee!" I said as she continued to shake me, my head snapping back and forth wildly. She stopped what she was doing and jumped on top of one of the chairs, trying to curl into herself and remain standing at the same time. Wobbling a little bit at the abuse my head just went through, I glared at her in annoyance as I tried to regain my senses. "Second of all, that's supposed to be a mouse, not a rat. And third," I paused for a moment to bend down and grab the toy mouse by the tail, lifting it up to show the wheels on the bottom. "It's just a toy."

The girl stared at the toy for a long time, looking like a fish out of water. Then, she started cackling with laughter, her tone high pitched as she snorted like a pig. I stared at her like she had just suggested breaking into a top-secret military base as I leaned away from her, still holding the mouse toy by the tail.

"I knew it was a fake the whole time," she snorted as she continued to laugh. "And you were freaking out over a simple toy? HAH!"

I stared at her with a dull, "What are you talking about?" glare.

"Hey," a voice piped up somewhere nearby. We both looked up and saw a girl standing there, her hands on her hips before she walked up to us. "It's not fair to blame someone else for a mistake you made."

Little Miss Freak-Out-Over-A-Plainly-Obvious-Toy made an indignant humph as she crossed her arms over her chest. "And I should care, why?" she asked in an obnoxious tone.

"You should care," the girl replied in an annoyed tone. "If you want to be treated fairly, then you should learn to treat others as equals."

The obnoxious girl gave another 'humph' before she turned and walked away, a man following after her and struggling to carry all her bags at the same time. The girl that came to my rescue turned to me and asked, "You alright?"

I nodded and said, "Besides nearly getting my head shaken off, I'm fine." I pointed to the mouse toy and said, "I just don't know how she could have missed the fact that this thing had no legs and there was a mechanical 'whirl' wherever it moved."

She nodded in agreement before she pointed at the mouse. "I was looking for that. One of my friends was missing it a while ago."

I handed it to her and said, "Here. Your friend might want it back."

"Thanks," she said as she put it in her pocket. "By the way, my name's Shannon. What's yours?"

"I'm Lauren," I replied softly.

She nodded in response as she turned around, waving over her shoulder as she said, "I guess I'll see you later then."

"Bye," I called after her. When she was out of sight, I sighed in relief. 'Okay then,' I thought slowly, reaching down to grab my backpack from the floor. 'Now that I've got my bags and met a crazy person, I need to find Mr. Demarcus.' With that in mind, I headed towards the airport's exit.

Once outside, I looked around for any sign of the staff member, noting how there were a lot of other kids standing around. As I continued to look around, however, a man standing in front of a 2007 black jaguar caught my attention. His skin was a dark color, as if he had been in the sun for a long time, but there were light tiger-like stripes of pale skin that ran up and down his bare arms. He stood at around 6'10" and scowled at everyone that walked by him. His eyes, surprisingly, were a shocking yellow color with cat-like slits.

'Must be colored contacts,' I thought slowly as I walked over to him. When he spotted me, he gave me a cold stare, his pupils narrowing into even smaller slits. "Um…are you Mr. Demarcus?" I asked softly, feeling nervous all of a sudden.

He didn't respond for a few seconds before he nodded slightly, growling slowly, "Yes. And you must be Lauren, one of the students I'm supposed to pick up. Am I correct?" When I nodded, he snarled, "You're late."

My eyes widened in shock for a moment before I bowed my head. "I'm sorry," I told him. "It won't happen again."

We stood there for a long time, neither of us saying a word. I waited nervously for his instructions, not really sure what he was going to do. Suddenly, he reached over and grabbed my suitcase. I stared at him as he walked around to the back of the vehicle, placing the bag into the trunk. When he started to walk over to the driver's side, I took that as my cue to get in the car. I quickly got in the passenger's side and put my seatbelt on.

I remained silent as he drove out of the airport, my bag sitting in-between my legs and my hands in my lap. As the scenery passed by, I glanced at Mr. Demarcus out of the corner of my eyes. He was completely focused on the road, a scowl etched onto his face as he drove. It looked like he didn't want to be here at all.

There was a sudden movement in the back seat. When I turned my head around to look, I saw a boy around my age lying on his back, his arm draped limply across his chest. His short, ruby-red hair covering his eyes, his mouth opened slightly to reveal unusually sharp canines, and he had a hooked nose that reminded me of an eagle's beak. He looked rather peaceful in that position.

Until he started snoring really loudly.

I stared at him in amazement before I turned back around, wondering how someone so young could sound like a snoring bear. I almost expected Mr. Demarcus to turn around and toss the kid out. What I didn't expect him to do was produce an air-horn out of nowhere and point it close to the kid's head. My hands automatically shot up to my ears before he pressed the button and held it down.


"AH!" the kid screamed in shock before he landed on the floor. I kept my hands over my ears for a moment before deeming it safe to uncover them. I looked at the boy and stared at him as he laid there, stunned out of his wits and trying to regain his hearing.

A few seconds later he sat up and glared at Mr. Demarcus. "What was that for?!" he yelled, or, with the tone of his voice, screeched.

Mr. Demarcus, instead of answering, he put the air-horn away and continued driving. He didn't even take his eyes off the road when he used it!

The kid just growled angrily as he slumped in his seats, his arms crossed over his chest as he glared at the back of Mr. Demarcus' seat. He stayed like that for a few seconds before he noticed my head turned slightly to watch him. "What are you looking at?" he snapped in annoyance.

"Quiet back there or you'll be walking the rest of the way to camp," Mr. Demarcus growled.

I turned my head back around and watched the road up ahead. I heard a low growl in the back seat, but I paid no heed to it. It was what the kid said next that made my blood freeze in my veins.

"I don't have to do anything you say!" he screeched angrily. "Nobody commands me! Not even you!"

The reaction was so quick that I only had time to grab onto my seat before Mr. Demarcus swerved off the road and onto the grass. The kid wasn't as lucky as he was sent flying and striking the door on the other side. Mr. Demarcus turned his head around to face the kid in the back, giving him the coldest glare in the in the history of glares. "If I have to pull this car onto the side of the road again, you'll walk all the way to the campsite with a broken leg," he growled slowly. "Do you understand?"

The kid, who was smart enough to keep his mouth shut, quickly nodded and moved away from the angry adult. I sat in my seat, too scared out of my wits to say anything. I didn't want Mr. Demarcus to lash out at me, and I certainly didn't want to walk to camp with a broken leg.

What kind of camp would hire a guy like him to pick up two kids?

(Scene Skip)

Over the few hours that we had been on the road, I had learned that the kid's name was Tarry when Mr. Demarcus had calmed down. After that happened, no-one said anything. That was fine.

It was a little while longer before the camp sign loomed over us. A wave of relief washed over me as Mr. Demarcus drove through, heading for the other cars that were there. When he parked the jaguar in a vacant lot, he turned to us and hissed slowly, "We've arrived. Get out of the car and I'll retrieve your luggage."

I followed his orders and unbuckled my seatbelt, getting out of the car without looking like a scared rabbit. Once outside, I went around to the back and accepted my bag from Mr. Demarcus, Tarry stretching out the kinks in his neck and back. Just as I was about to go to the scoutmaster's office, I bumped into someone very familiar.

"Oh, hey Chris," I said happily, feeling relieved to see a welcome face.

"Hey, Lauren," Chris replied, giving me a lopsided grin again. "Good to see that you made it here in one piece."

I rubbed my sore ears at that statement and said, "Say that again? My ears are a little sore from the air-horn blasts."

Chris only laughed at that as I smiled at him, feeling triumphant as I watched him. When he managed to smother his laughter, he asked, with some difficulty, "So, you goin' to see the scoutmasters?"

I raised an eyebrow at that. "There's more than one scoutmaster here?" I questioned him, suddenly confused. The brochure never said anything about there being two scoutmasters and my mom didn't even mention it.

"Yeah," he replied, sounding surprised. "Didn't you know?" When I shook my head in confusion, he shrugged. "Ah well. No big deal. But, just between you and me," he looked around again like he had on the plane and whispered, "Scoutmaster Michael is really hard to impress and he's really hard on his scouts. Scoutmaster Jason is really nice though. He loves kids, but when they don't follow his orders, he'll go into lecture mode about how dangerous their actions were. He's great and all, but his lectures are enough to put you to sleep in nearly five nano—I mean, seconds."

I didn't pay attention to the correction he had made to himself as I stared past him, a sense of impending doom approaching as I pointed behind him. "Um, Chris? Wouldn't those two behind you be the scoutmasters?"

In an instant, Chris stiffened in fear, slowly turning his head around and staring fearfully up at the scoutmasters. Both of them were glaring at him sternly, one of them looking like he wanted nothing more than to punt Chris across the campgrounds while the other had his arms over his chest. Both looked more like military generals rather than scoutmasters at the moment.

"Chris," one of them said slowly. He had really beefy arms and broad shoulders, black hair, and a face that looked like it was carved from stone.

"He was just joking," I spoke up, causing Chris and the scoutmasters to turn to me. "It's my first time camping, and he wanted to make me feel more welcome here."

The scoutmasters said nothing for a long minute, looking at one another for a moment before they looked at us. Finally, the other scoutmaster, who looked less muscular than his counterpart and had purple hair instead, turned away with a huff. He was muttering something about, "Annoying children and their emotions. Yesssss…"

The other scoutmaster turned to me and said cheerfully, "So, shall we assign you a cabin? We might as well get you your schedule, too."

'They have schedules here?' I wondered to myself. Instead of voicing this, I only nodded shyly. As he turned away, I turned around and waved to Chris before following the scoutmaster—wait, Scoutmaster Jason—into his office to get my new schedule.

(Point of View: Off)

Tarry stood next to Chris as they silently watched Lauren disappear inside. "That girl had got to be the strangest thing I've ever met," he muttered slowly. He looked at Chris and asked, "Aren't girls supposed to be chatter-boxes and wear make-up?"

Chris merely shrugged as he brushed away from hair that got in his face. "I thought so, too. But she's different than the others. She acts more like a boy than a girl."

Tarry blinked rapidly for a few seconds before he narrowed his rust-brown eyes, gritting his teeth in irritation as he rubbed his forehead with two fingers. "The moment you think you have them figured out," he grumbled slowly as he glared at Chris, "that's when they do something completely different that sends everything you thought you knew about them down the tube."

"Come on, bird-brain," Chris muttered as he glared back at Tarry before he turned around to look at the camp full of excited campers. "Humans aren't that bad. In fact, they're actually quite amusing."

"Don't call me that, fur-ball," Tarry growled, turning around none-the-less to look at the camp.

"Who's a fur-ball?" a voice suddenly asked somewhere behind them as someone touched their shoulders.



Whirling around in shock, the two boys panted wildly as they stared at the culprit, who stared back in surprise at their reactions. "Whoops," the culprit, who turned out to be Lauren, said as she giggled nervously. "Sorry. Didn't mean to scare you two."

"Wh-Where'd you come from?" Chris demanded as he clutched his chest, trying to calm his speeding heart.

"The scoutmaster's office," she explained as she pointed behind her, Scoutmaster Jason standing in front of the office door and trying to stifle a laugh. "I have a bad habit of sneaking up on people, even when it's not on purpose."

"Man, I'd hate to challenge you to a game of hide-and-seek," Chris muttered as he straightened himself up. Tarry only glared at some random tree, acting as if he hadn't been scared out of his wits.

"Anyway," Lauren continued, holding up a piece of paper and smiling happily. "Guess what? We're cabin-buddies, Chris!"

"Sweet!" Chris exclaimed as he grabbed the paper, looking over the schedule with an excited grin that widened at each line he read. "And we've got the same activities. Double sweet!"

Tarry just stared at them as they chatted, as if he had no clue as to what either of them were saying. His stare turned into a mild glare as they walked away, heading straight for the cabins to drop off their stuff and go explore the campgrounds. He snorted as he turned away and muttered, "Girls. They're more trouble than they're worth.


Tarry collapsed in a heap as he landed face-first on the ground, a rather large lump on his head from the dictionary that had hit his head. The book came from the direction of Chris and Lauren. If one listened closely, they would have heard a soft giggle as the two walked away.

Yes, I know that Tarry still got hit with a book. I just can't help it. I love to torture the guy!

Cheetor: You humans are really strange. /rubs the back of head nervously/ But you are pretty amazing with your courage.

Me: /grins/