The Princess and the Plague : 1

The Princess and the Plague
(Life after Camp Kumoni)

By Anistasia Allread
Edited by Nick B

They wandered over to the queue for the tickets and waited.

“Whoa, is that ‘The Plague’ interacting with our cheerleader?” a voice called.

Eric tried to control a chill that wracked his body as his mind screamed to make himself small and unnoticeable.

“Is this creep bothering you, Sam?”

“Greg, he’s not a creep, just leave us alone,” Samantha snapped back.

     

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Author's Note: (Okay, you wanted a sequel and my arm hurts from the twisting. I’ve started this story as a continuation of Camp Kumoni, but I have to warn you all. I don’t know where it is going to lead, and unlike Camp Kumoni, I don’t know how it will end. I might walk away without ever finishing it, or I might end it ten years from now. So If you like the exploits of Erika and the Lavender Ladies, I hope you will enjoy what I put together here.)
 


 
 
“This was part of the deal,” Mrs. Martin scolded, “You promised me while in camp that you would go to counseling.”

“I know, mom.” Eric sighed, “Its just, well, I don’t see what the big deal is?”

“The big deal is that you were dressed as and acting like a girl, Eric.”

“Whatever.” He opened the car door, “What is this shrink’s name?”

“Dr. Barts.”

“Dr. Farts?”

“Dr. Barts.” Mrs. Martin rolled her eyes, “Don’t embarrass yourself at you first appointment.”

Eric followed his mother into the building and checked in at the receptionist’s desk.

“Are you going in too?”

“Only if she asks for me. This is your doctor’s appointment.”

“What does Dr. Farts know about me?”

“Dr. Barts only knows a basic outline of the story behind why you’re here.” Mrs. Martin explained. “Stop sitting like that,” She referred to Eric’s legs crossed in a feminine manner.

“Sheesh, mom.” Eric uncrossed his legs and slouched a little bit in the chair. “Is this better?”

Mrs. Martin rolled her eyes, but didn’t say anything.

Eric looked around the waiting room, posters of various scenes, animals and people hung around the room. Each had an inspirational saying boldly written across the bottom. A central coffee table held a variety of magazines, a few coloring books and Highlights magazines.

The door opened. “Mrs. Martin?”

Eric got up with his mom.

“Are you Eric?” the woman asked.

Eric nodded his head.

“I’ll come get you in just a few moments. I want to speak with your mother first.”

Eric gave his mom a ‘don’t embarrass me’ look and went back to a chair to wait. He picked up a National Geographic magazine and began thumbing through it. His mind was too occupied to do anything but look at the pictures.

Last week he had returned home from camp. His father picked him up at the school and drove him home. Mr. Martin had asked a few questions about Eric’s time at camp, but after a few non-committal answers they drove the rest of the way home in silence. His mother wasn’t home when they arrived, so Eric lugged his suit case and duffle up the stairs to his room, and began unpacking.

He wrapped the breast forms and gaffe in a T-shirt and looked around his room. He lifted his mattress, but thought that it would be lumpy hiding them there. He looked closely at his book shelves. There wasn't much room for them there, not without his mother or father spotting them. Then he considered his old, dust collecting stereo. Eric didn't use it much anymore, only every once in a while when he would pull out some old worn vinyl records to play. He pulled the stereo forward on its shelf about an inch, then felt behind it to see how much space there was between it and the wall. He gently stuffed the shirt wrapped contraband behind the stereo and stood back considering it from all angles.

The skirts, tops and other feminine clothes, He boxed up and covered with a pile of his comic books. The little make up that he had, he concealed in a folded towel and placed it at the bottom of the stack of clean towels in his bathroom. Eric pulled the blue dress out of the suitcase and held it up wondering how he was going to hide it. He shrugged and hung it up in the back of his closet, behind a long overcoat he hardly ever wore. The panties that he had worn all summer, he stuffed in to the back of his underwear drawer, under a few handkerchiefs that he had once used as part of his ‘Emo’ outfits.

Once he had stashed everything, Eric went on to his computer and logged in. He took out the paper of info that he had received from the Columbine girls and entered their email addresses into his address book and shot off an email to each of them before going to his web comic site.

Eric looked through the last few comics that he had posted, read replies and comments to them then looked at his unfinished drawings and sighed. He really hadn’t the time to draw much all summer.

Eric sighed, flopped down on his bed and took a deep breath, taking in the familiar scent of home. The scent was a bit musky, and more faded than he remembered it being. “It needs a sweeter, scent to it. Orange blossoms maybe?”

The thought of sweeter scents reminded him of camp. He really was missing the friends that he had left only a week or so ago.

The door opened and his mom smiled at him from across the room.

“Eric, won’t you come in?” the woman behind his mother greeted.

Eric tossed the magazine on the coffee table as he passed it and followed the woman through the door and down a short hallway to an office.

“Eric, I’m Dr. Barts,” she said. She closed the door behind them and gestured Eric to a deep, comfortable leather chair. She sat in a tall backed office chair nearby.

Eric studied the woman as she looked through some paperwork. She was petite with dark hair that had been loosely pulled into a messy French twist and modest, but stylish clothing that was a bit conservative for Erika’s tastes. Her makeup appeared underdone behind the small wire framed glasses.

“First off, Eric, I just want to let you know, that anything said in this room, stays in this room. I’m kind of like Las Vegas in that way.” She smiled at her own joke. “So whatever you tell me in confidence here, I won’t go telling your mother, unless you give me the okay to do so.”

Eric nodded understanding.

“So Eric, Why are you here today?” She inquired.

“Because my mom made me come.”

“So you don’t want to be here?”

“No, not really.”

“Have you ever been to a psychologist before?”

“Do school counselors count?”

“Some are psychologists, so I guess we could count them.”

“I’ve been to one and he was a waste of time.”

“What happened?” Dr. Barts inquired.

“I’d really rather not talk about it.” Eric was on guard. “He told me to stop being a wimp and grow up.”

“Oh my. I guess I can see why you are so defensive.” She gave Eric a long caring look, “I won’t tell you anything like that, Eric. I promise.”

Eric shrugged and looked around the room, anywhere but to meet this woman’s eyes.

“So, your mother tells me that you had a very interesting… unusual summer, can you tell me about it?”

“There’s not much to tell, I went to camp, made some friends and did camp things,” Eric stated, skirting the issue.

“Tell me about the friends you made?”

Eric casually but guardedly told her about the girls of Columbine cabin, as well as about Derek, Matt, and Phoenix.

“Well Eric, our time is up.” Dr. Barts announced. “I am going to ask you mom to have you come by in a couple of days, I want to hear more of your summer with your friends. It sounded like you experienced a lot of very cool things and made some very good friends.”

Dr. Barts walked him to the door and gestured to his mom to the receptionists’ desk to set up another appointment.

Eric stood over by the coffee table staring at the magazines and listening hard to the conversation between the two women to see if Dr. Barts would say anything about their talk. She didn’t mention a word.

Eric and his mom walked back out to the car. “How did it go?” She inquired.

“Okay, I guess.” Eric shrugged.

“I figured we could get some lunch and then go get your school supplies,” his mom suggested.

He shrugged. “Okay, whatever.”
 

–o0o–

 
When they returned home, Eric hauled his bags of school supplies upstairs and set them off to one side. He took up his cell phone and scanned through the missed calls.

“Hey mom?” he called as he sprinted down stairs.

“What is it?” his mom called from the kitchen.

“Tricia is having a sleepover party at her house tomorrow, and wants me to come.”

“To a sleep over with a bunch of girls?”

“It’s the same girls I’ve been sleeping with all summer, mom.”

“I don’t know, Eric. Let me think about it.”

Eric rolled his eyes and trudged back up the stairs to his room. He called Tricia and explained to her that he wasn’t sure yet about the sleepover.

“Should I have my mom call your mom?” Tricia offered.

“Not yet. My mom would feel trapped or manipulated, we need to give her a day or so, then we’ll have your mom call her.”

Eric and Tricia talked on the phone for a bit. Tricia told Eric about the different things in the town that she and her family have been discovering over the last week; Shops to frequent, restaurants to eat at and places to hang out.

“Have you checked out our new theater?” Eric asked.

“We drove by it but I haven’t been there yet.”

“We should get the gang together and check out a movie.”

“Are you doing anything tonight?” Tricia asked, “I’ll call Samantha, Victoria, and Krystal.”

“I don’t think my parents have plans.”

“I’ll call you back.”

Eric went back down stairs to his mother. “Mom, can I go watch a movie with my friends?”

“What friends?”

“Samantha, Tricia, Krystal and Victoria.”

Mrs. Martin gave Eric a long measuring look.

“Come on, Mom, I went to see Dr. Farts today.”

“Dr. Barts.”

“Whatever,” Eric shrugged. “It’s just a movie.”

“Okay.” His mother nodded. “But no Erika.”

“Yes, mother.” Eric raced out the kitchen and up the stairs to his room and waited for Tricia’s call.
 

–o0o–

 
“Give me a call when the movie gets out so that I can pick you up.” Eric’s mom pulled up to the curb.

“What if we want to get ice cream after?”

“Give me a call.”

“Yes, mom.” Eric got out and waved to Samantha who was smiling from the ticket window.

Eric went up to the blonde that he had crushed on for the past few years and smiled. Samantha stepped closer and threw her arms around him giving him a hard squeeze.

“How are you doing?” she asked.

“Okay. My mom had me go see a shrink today.”

Samantha pulled back, “How did that go?”

Eric shrugged.

“Oh good you’re here.” Tricia greeted walking with Krystal. “Victoria said that she’ll be here in a few minutes.”

Eric found himself in a tight embrace from Tricia. “I’ve missed you,” she said rubbing her hands up and down his back.

“I’ve missed you too.” Eric didn’t realize how true those words were until she had wrapped her arms around him and he inhaled her sweet scent.

Tricia released him from her bear hug, but her hand held on to his.

“Krystal, what did your parent’s say when they saw you?” Samantha asked.

“They were in total shock. My mom started crying.” Krystal blushed.

“Are you staying with the diet?”

Krystal nodded. “Mom has decided to help. She has put the entire family on a weight loss program. We have a nutritionist visiting the house in a couple of nights.”

“That is awesome.” Victoria greeted from behind her.

They wandered over to the queue for the tickets and waited.

“Whoa, is that ‘The Plague’ interacting with our cheerleader?” a voice called.

Eric tried to control a chill that wracked his body as his mind screamed to make himself small and unnoticeable.

“Is this creep bothering you, Sam?”

“Greg, he’s not a creep, just leave us alone,” Samantha snapped back.

“Pitty date, huh?” Greg snickered, “Just because he was a friend to your sister, doesn’t mean you are immune to his contamination.”

“Get lost, Greg,” Victoria sneered.

“Whoa, stand back Greg. I think the plague is spreading,” Greg’s friend Tyler chuckled.

“Big words for a guy that can’t read more than a scoreboard.” Victoria glared.

“The final score on that board is all I’ll need to get into a major University,” Greg laughed.

“Looks like we’re going to have to inoculate for the plague again this year,” Tyler grinned.

“Nice ‘hair band’ hair, plague, are you starting a band? The Plague and the Vomits?” Greg laughed.

“Yeah, an Emo band, the Killer Plagues.” Larry joined.

“Get out of here,” Samantha demanded.

“Okay, okay.” Greg put hands up as a warning, “We don’t want to risk contamination anyway.”

He and Tyler walked off laughing and high fiving.

“Who were they?” Tricia asked.

“Greg is captain of the football team and the most popular guy in school,” Victoria explained.

Tricia shook her head. “What a jerk.”

“What’s worse is that Samantha used to have the hots for him.” Victoria shook her head.

“I did not,” Samantha defended.

“Oh you so did,” Eric agreed with Victoria.

“Is that how they treat you at school?” Tricia looked to Eric.

“That was them being nice,” Eric admitted.

“I think I may want to change schools,” she confessed.

A panic started Eric’s heart to pump from the adrenaline. She couldn’t change schools. He needed her at school with him, to help him be accepted.

Tricia sensed his panic and squeezed his hand. “I was kidding, I won’t switch schools.”

Relief washed over him.

“You can’t go to school as Eric.” Krystal asserted. “Not to be tortured like that. There has to be a way for you to be Erika. Your parent’s won’t allow you to be Erika?”

“My dad doesn’t know about Erika and my mother is against the idea. She has me going to a shrink now.” Eric explained.

“We’ve got to figure out a way.” Samantha agreed. “No offense Eric, but It would be a much better school year with Erika at school than having to defend Eric every time we walk through the halls.”

“Oh, none taken. I know better than you, the possibilities.” Eric agreed. “I just wish there was a way.”

Eric and the girls from Columbine cabin walked into the theater pondering other options.
 


 
To Be Continued...



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