I enjoyed camp for two reasons. One, I got to use the tent that took up space in my room and second, marshmallows over a fire. However, this year camp was the biggest pain because there was no tenting, only a cabin that I needed to share with twelve other campers. The marshmallows were yet to show themselves either. The worst part about camp though had to be the second-last night.
When we arrived at camp we first established where we would sleep and unfortunately I had a bed that was the closest to a faulty window. Age had bent it slightly, so there was a small gap for me to see into the night. If I am being honest, I didn’t mind initially. There weren’t many insects in this forest and especially not this season either, so I could stare out into the dark without the threat of a bee or beetle flying into my face.
I would stare at the two things within view; the small, gurgling river and the dense trees. That is beside the point now, of course, but that river does become important later. The camp activities were fun and simple, but at some point exhaustion hit me. I wheezed through lunch and made my way back to the dorm. One of the counselors could see how I was feeling and sympathized. She accompanied me to bed and wished my better health after some rest. I climbed into the bed and slept through basically until nightfall. Everybody went to the dorm, woke me up just as they were climbing into bed.
Once they were settling into the depths of sleep I climbed out of my bed and walked to the bathroom. After doing the business I began to brush my teeth, flashing a smile at the mirror first. It was at this point I got a fright and examined myself more closely. Everything about me was regular. I had the fuzz of a beard, my eyes were okay and even my breath was fine, but some of my teeth were blood red. I don’t mean blood either, they were red bone.
I brushed the red teeth and even scratched at them painfully to see if that helped get rid of the look, but there definitely was some other problem. The teeth hurt a little, but were strong and new. My teeth were never this shape before. The red teeth were sharper and slightly larger. I brushed my teeth, still scared and went to bed. I couldn’t well sleep with these teeth. I kept tonguing them curiously and my greatest concern was if I was stuck with them forever.
The only reason I fell asleep that night was by convincing myself that this was some strange infliction or disease I never heard of and it would be cured when I visit a doctor back home. Of course, it wasn’t. Nothing about having new, red teeth was normal. Still, I slept easier after that and I woke up on the third last day. When I did I kept my mouth shut and made my way to the bathroom before anyone else and checked my teeth to find they were normal.
I put it out of my mind almost immediately, blaming it on some bad dream. I felt a sense of relief that was so intense I smiled all the way through the morning run while everyone else was groaning. I found strength within myself and I ran much faster than the others, so much so that I wasn’t picked last for the soccer teams. Truly a special moment, but while we played my aggression showed. I have always been competitive, but during that game I was a force of nature. Nobody wanted to challenge me when I ran towards the ball.
After that we took a break for orientation on today’s activities. It was a drag of an hour as the counselors explained the boring purpose of each sport or game telling us how they built character and showed us how to work as a team. In truth nobody was looking at it that way. Everyone wanted to show some skill and stand-out among the rest, nothing to do with teamwork.
That included me and that day I truly showed my athleticism. By the time the last activity arrived I was the captain picking who would be on my team. It is safe to say that by dinner I was the talk of the mess hall. My mood was at its peak and it soon came time for it to come crashing down. One of the kids wanted to show me something he saw near the river, so I followed him into the dark while everyone ate or went off to shower. My friend knelt down beside the river and pointed it out.
In the waters I could something pale at the bottom. It almost had a sickly glow and for a long while I wondered what it was, but soon the moonlight showed it for what it was; a body. It was torn apart, lacking in clothes and held down with rocks. The face was terrifying, that of a female stuck screaming as her hair flowed around her with the current. My friend thought it was a dead fish, but once the moonlight lit it up he gasped and gagged in horror. The body severely mutilated, but recognizable as one of the counselors that greeted us at the start of camp, the one who walked me back to the cabin yesterday.
An anger swelled up in my. I felt my teeth change within my mouth and I turned to the foolish child. My eyes felt hot within my skull and my lips parted revealing the gruesome teeth. I grabbed his shoulders and told him not to scream in a guttural voice. I felt the horror writhe inside of him as he saw what I really was. I lunged forward, digging my already red teeth into his neck, ripping out his throat to silence him before he even could think of screaming. I began to rip him apart like I did the counselor and drag him into the waters, my body changing more as we sank into the darkness. Embracing the monster, the killer, the devil inside me I hid both bodies a lot better before returning to the surface.
I knew this wouldn’t happen if we had roasted marshmallows on the fire.