“You’re so full of it.” I look over to Tessa, who is egging me on. For the past four days it’s all the girls have talked about. The big mystery man out in the woods.
“I swear. They say there’s an old cabin out there where he lives and it’s haunted. A camper went that way last year and never came back.” I roll my eyes even as I look toward where she’s pointing. If someone went missing I think that would’ve made the news. I’m not from around here, though, so maybe I wouldn’t have heard about it.
We’ve been up and down trails all over here, but we’ve been told that area of the woods is off limits. There’s a path that leads that way, but a simple thin rope is the only thing that marks it as out of bounds and someone could step right over it. I think I heard one of the camp counselors say it isn’t Camp Hardwood property and that’s why we can’t go up.
Curiosity always gets the best of me and I have a bad habit of doing things I’m not supposed to. Hence why I’m here to begin with. The foster home I’m at thought sending me away to camps all summer and keeping me busy would keep me out of trouble. More importantly, out of their way so I couldn’t embarrass them further. I would’ve protested but they have me under their thumb. Why else would a barely eighteen-year-old girl be at camp? I had my birthday two days ago, not that anyone knew it. I’m sure no one at the foster home remembered it and didn’t tell anyone here. I didn’t want to point out how little anyone cared and it stung enough without sympathetic looks from others.
“We should go check it out then.” I step that way but Tessa grabs my arms to stop me.
“Like right now?” Her eyes widen. “Why not? What’s the worst that could happen? I don’t think there’s actually someone out there kidnapping campers but I wouldn’t mind poking around.” They could kick me out and I actually frown at the thought. I’ve been enjoying this camp. It’s my favorite out of the ones I’ve been sent to before. I don’t know what comes next but I wish I could stay here with Mrs. Cyprus and her bear of a husband Ford. They’re sweet and the kind of parents I wish I had. Everything about this place is lovely, and I don’t think my foster family planned on me enjoying my time out here so much.
Here at Camp Hardwood it doesn’t feel like every move I make is being judged. I wish I could stay forever, but right now I could use a little adventure.
“When else would we do it?” I shrug off her hold on me. Time’s actually running out for me before I leave camp and am sent back to the foster house. After that who knows, and I’m not ready to face it.
“Someone could see us.”
I look around and no one is paying us any attention. She’s right, though; it’s broad daylight.
“You want to wait until night?” My blood runs cold just thinking about coming back in the dark.
“Night is worse!” she gasps and she’s right.
I wouldn’t have the balls to come back in the dark. Nothing scares me more than being outside at night. It’s been a fear I’ve had since I was a little girl. I woke up alone once with the power out because of a storm and the house was empty. I remember hiding in a closet and crying until I fell asleep. I was six or seven at the time.
The people running the foster home found me the next morning when they went to my room and saw I wasn’t in my bed. It wasn’t until years later that I put together they hadn’t checked on me when they got home from wherever they’d been.
They called me a drama queen and said that my fear was a way of getting attention. The last thing I wanted was their attention. I made sure after that to be prepared and I kept a stash of flashlights under my bed.
“I’m going.” I take one last glance to make sure no one is watching and move to the rope.
“I’ll stay here and make sure you come back.” Tessa takes a few steps away from me and almost trips over her own feet.
“You don’t want to come check it out?” I don’t want to go alone but I don’t want to look like a chicken either. Not that it matters because Tessa is acting like one right now.
“You’re a virgin; the virgins never die,” she reminds me. “In scary movies they always live.”
It’s a good thing because I can’t run for shit. Let’s hope the stereotype holds true and I don’t have anything to worry about.