Camp Kumoni : 1


After reading the story “The boy who wasn’t seen, and the Girl who couldn’t speak” by Rankan, I got to thinking about that storyline and decided to try out my own ideas. I hope that is okay.
 
“Why?” he looked into her incredible brown eyes. “Why are you doing this… Going to a summer camp with a guy from school who is considered the plague?”

“Because I owe you so much, Eric. You have been such a friend to me and helped me in so many ways.”

Now Eric was really confused. It must have been written all over his face, because Samantha continued.

“Do you remember my sister, Summer.”

Of course he did. Summer and he were in art class together and shared an interest in comic art. Summer committed suicide a year and a half ago. The whole school had to go through group counseling. Eric nodded.

“After Summer left us, I went through her stuff.” Samantha explained. “I found her diary and sketch pad. She wrote a lot about you and how talented you are. How you made her bad days a little bit better. How your drawings and your sense of humor helped her make it through each day. After I got closer to Summer through her stuff, I found you on line. I started reading your comics, and admiring your art. That is when I started to email you. I wanted to get to know you better. To see everything my sister saw in you. I just couldn’t do it at school, I’m not strong enough to deal with all the cliques and pressures. Anyway, I thought by spending the summer with you, I could get to know you better, like my sister did. Maybe through you, I can understand her better. Besides, it sounded like you needed a friend, and I felt it was the least I could do to help you out.”


 

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Camp Kumoni
By Anistasia Allread


Chapter 1
 
“No, you may not take your Gameboy to camp with you, young man.” His mother’s voice took on an edge to it. “You are to get out in the sun, swim, play ball and make friends, not sulk in the cabin with your electronics.”

Eric rolled his eyes. His electronics were his friends. No one else at school would even be caught seen eating lunch at the same table as him. Eric tossed his Gameboy aside, knowing that his mother would look to see if he would be leaving it behind. Instead, he slipped his laptop under the bottom lining of his suitcase and carefully tucked the cut edges underneath the sides, before piling his arrangement of shorts, T-shirts, socks and underwear on top of it.

“Here’s a pair of pants, Dear.” His mother said handing him a pair of jeans. “Just in case It gets cold or something.”

“Yes, Mom.” Eric took the pants and tossed them onto the bed.

“Did you pack your toothpaste and toothbrush?”

“Yes, Mom.” Eric held up the small shaving bag that held his toiletries.

“Is your sunscreen in there?”

“Mom. I’ve got it, Okay?” Eric snapped. He swiped his long black hair out of his face and looked hard at her. “I’m fifteen years old. I think I can pack my own suitcase.”

His mom sighed heavily, tuned away and walked into the kitchen.

Eric was mortified when he found out last week that his parents were planning on sending him away to camp for the entire summer. Two and a half months of wedgies, dunkings, tripping, and name calling. How would that be fun? He argued with his parents, debated with them, trying to allow him to remain home. He even conceded to join the summer baseball league. Practice was only two hours a day with two games a week. He could suffer through that to be allowed some freedom to do what he wanted, play his video games, work on his on-line comic book, and read. Unfortunately his parents had made up their minds and weren’t budging. Eric had even thought about running away from home, catching a bus to his grandma’s three states away. By the time he had arrived, they would be so relived that he was alright, that they would allow him to either stay with her, or stay home.

That night, he turned to the only other person who might understand him, Winter. He logged on and worked on his comic while waiting for her to log in. His comic was based on an arch-hero named Raven who acted as a vigilante in the city. When Winter finally showed up, he asked Winter to join him in a chat room. It was funny. He had never actually met Winter, yet she seemed to be a soul-mate. She too had an interest in on-line comics, especially his. She also had an interest in computer games. The strange thing was that she went to his school, She was smart, and never gave enough details to allow him to figure out just who she was.

Phantom: My parents R ruining my life.
Winter: How so?
Phantom: They R sending me away 2 a summer camp.
Winter: What’s so bad about that?
Phantom: Summer camp is where U go 2 play sports, swim, canoe, play ball, and hike. I suck at all of those and will end up being treated like I do at school, teased for not being able to hit a ball. The object of every practical joke, and sitting by myself at meals while they all throw food at me. Only worse, since I will not have anyplace safe 2 retreat 2.
Winter: It can’t B all that bad
Phantom: No, sometimes it’s worse.
Winter: What camp are they sending you to?
Phantom: Camp Kumoniwanalaya
Winter: Is it an all boy’s camp or is it co-ed?
Phantom: Co-ed, I think. Which makes it all the worse.
Winter: Bcuz?
Phantom: Bcuz all the humiliation takes place in front of girls. You’ve seen how girls react to me when I walk down the hall at school. For all I know you R snickering behind my back 2.
Winter: U know me better than that.
Phantom: I don’t know you at all, except through the keys and screen. U R 2 scared to B seen with me in public.
Winter: I told U, my life is a bit complicated
Phantom: Complicated? Girls have it so easy compared to guys.
Winter: U can’t B serious
Phantom: Try walking in my shoes.
Winter: Try walking in my heels
Phantom: Gladly……… At least then, I don’t have to worry about getting wedgies in gym or my food spat on at lunch.
Winter: R U going 2 B home L8r?
Phantom: Where else would I B?
Winter: I have a plan. I’ll have 2 get back 2 U 2nite

Eric went back to his comic strip. He was pretty proud of his site. It was getting more and more hits each month as word spread of his work. He was currently working on a storyline in which Raven was about to teach the high school football captain a lesson in humility.

Winter: Phantom R U still on?
Phantom: Where else?
Winter: I found a way U can go 2 camp and still have fun.
Phantom: lol right
Winter: I spoke 2 my parents and they R going to send me 2 camp Kumoniwanalaya 2.
Phantom: What?
Winter: I’ll B there with U
Phantom: So U can ignore me like at school? Or continue watching me being humiliated?
Winter: I won’t ignore you like at school, but there’s more…
Phantom: What?
Winter: Were you serious about walking in my shoes?
Phantom: I don’t understand
Winter: answer the ?
Phantom: U want me 2 wear your shoes?
Winter: Would U wear my shoes if you wouldn’t get picked on?
Phantom: Sure… I guess… Y?
Winter: I hacked the camps computer
Phantom: Y?
Winter: I changed your personal information
Phantom: What?
Winter: U R now Erika Martinez, a girl who will be in my cabin.
There was a long pause
Winter: Phantom?
Phantom: U enrolled me as a girl?
Winter: Yes
Phantom: How is that to keep me from being humiliated? Send me the link so I can hack in and change it back.
Winter: I can’t, they caught me in there and kicked me out. They shut down the site to tighten security.
Another long pause
Winter: Phantom?
Phantom: WTF! Y did U do that?
Winter: Think Phantom, U said U would walk in my shoes 2 keep from being humiliated. U said yourself that girls have it easier. While I don’t agree with U. I think you could have more fun at camp as a girl.
Phantom: How in the hell am I going to B able to B a girl.
Winter: Come now Phantom. U Rn’t the most masculine of guys. U R what? 5 foot 5? And weigh 110 lbs?
Phantom: 120, So?
Winter: U have hair that most girls in school would envy and U don’t have much in the way of a beard.
Phantom: I have a dick and balls, remember?
Winter: Easily hidden
Phantom: I don’t have breasts
Winter: Neither do a lot of girls your age.
Phantom: I thought U were my friend
Winter: I am, Phantom. Trust me.
Phantom: The last time I was told that, I was stripped to my underwear and duct taped to the flag pole.
Winter: They got punished
Phantom: 3 days in detention was not a punishment. They should have been kicked off the football team.
Winter: And sacrifice the entire season?
Phantom: Better that than my what little dignity I had left. I need 2 go. I have to figure out how to fix this.

Eric attempted to hack into the camp’s website on several occasions, but security was too tight. He tried back doors, front doors. Common pass words. Everything he could think of. Nothing seemed to work.

Winter tried to talk to him over the next few days but he ignored her pleas to speak with him.

A girl. Him a girl at a summer camp, how preposterous. As preposterous as it sounded, he did find himself looking in the mirror at himself, wondering what kind of girl he would make. Catching himself, he stormed out of the bathroom and fumed a bit.

There were only three days left. Three days before he would be going to camp and be humiliated for being set up in a girls cabin, and then embarrassed over the course of the two months as he was barraged with insults.

They would probably call him a faggot or fag-hag. Who knows what else they would call him or do to him. If anyone at school were to find out…… wait a minute no one at school would find out, because he wasn’t going to do it. How could he even get into that mind set?

Eric logged on to check on his site. An email was waiting in his box from someone calling themselves Phoenix. Probably another fan. He opened it and was surprised by it’s contents.


Hello Erika,
My name is ‘Phoenix’ and I will be your cabin counselor this summer. I am very excited to meet you in a few days. I know that you will have lots of fun at Camp Kumoni. Some of the things to look forward to are swimming, rock climbing, campfires, Dancing, pillow fights, pajama parties, hiking, and horseback riding, just to name a few.

When you arrive here at Camp Kumoni, just head over to Columbine cabin which is near the lake.

Just a few reminders. Electronic devises are not allowed i.e. gameboys, ipods, stereos etc… This includes cell phones. Camp Kumoni is in a service hole anyway. Make sure to bring sunscreen, any medications that you need to take as well as your feminine hygiene supplies. There will be a commissary in the camp. But the prices are high. Every other week you will be allowed to go into town to use the Laundromat. Last but not least, bring your smile and excitement.

Until then,

Phoenix

Eric groaned. They were already expecting Erika Martinez to be there, and there were to be no electronics? He actually cringed at the mention of feminine hygiene supplies. He had to find a way out of this. He went down stairs where his mother was catching up on her soaps.

“Mom, I really don’t think going to this camp is such a great idea.”

“Eric, don’t you think you are over reacting just a bit? It’s summer camp. Physical activity, sunshine and fresh air will do you good.”

“But mom. I don’t think I’m going to fit in. I’m going to get picked on like I do everywhere else.” Eric protested.

“Your problem, Eric, is that you need to learn to get along with others, to make friends.” His mom didn’t even look up from the T.V.

“But Mom… two and a half months?”

“Your father and I have made up our minds, young man, You are going. And that is final.”

There was no use. He had seen his parents like this before. Eric went back upstairs. Maybe he could still find a way of escaping to his Grandmothers. He went to a travel site to check out bus tickets.

Winter: Phantom?
Phantom: What do U want now?
Winter: Did U get the email from Phoenix?
Phantom: Yeah, so?
Winter: Doesn’t it sound like fun?
Phantom: Being a girl for 2 1/2 months in a cabin having pajama parties? R U Serious?
Winter: Phantom, U need 2 look at this differently. U R spending the summer in a cabin with girls. Isn’t that every guy’s dream?
Phantom: There are a few problems. 1) I’m a guy. 2) They will find out that I’m a guy.
Winter: I am going 2 help U out with being a girl. Besides, if it doesn’t work and they find out, they’ll send U home, which is where U want 2 B in the 1st place.

There was a pause as Eric contemplated that fact that he would most likely be sent home, which would then prove to his parents that he really didn’t fit in.

Winter: Phantom?
Phantom: What?
Winter: What R U doing this afternoon?
Phantom: Trying 2 figure out how 2 ‘miss’ the camp bus and get on one 2 my grandmothers.
Winter: Would U finally like 2 meet me? I’ll prove 2 U that U can pull off being a girl.
Phantom: So you’ll be seen with me in public?
Winter: I’ll meet U at Thorton park by the duck pond.
Phantom: That’s not exactly public.
Winter: U R just going 2 have 2 trust me meet me in 20 minutes.
Phantom: Fine, but if this is a prank, U and your friends will regret it.

Eric logged off, grabbed his skateboard and scampered down stairs.

“Where are you going, Eric?” His mom looked up from her soap.

“To the park. I want to enjoy what freedom I have left.” He had a lot to think about. He was about to meet Winter. He had to find out who she really was and if he could trust her. He had to think about what she wanted him to do. He had to think about playing the part of a girl for two plus months. He had to think about surviving camp.

School having let out two weeks ago, the park was full of parents taking their kids to the park to burn off the excitement and energy of summer without destroying their houses. Eric skated his way along the main path which meandered through the large park. He passed tennis courts, basketball courts. Climbing walls, the skate park baseball fields and entered a lightly wooded part of the park. The shade of the trees were almost comforting compared to the heat of the sun. Ahead the silvery blue of the duck pond could be seen through the trees. At night, the duck pond served as one of the few places that kids in the high school parked. During the day however, a few mothers with their young children laughed and squealed as they threw pieces of bread to the waterfowl who make this their home year round.

Eric checked the time on his cell phone. He was five minutes early. He went over to one of the benches out of the way, hoping that he wasn’t being set up for another prank.

“Phantom?” a soft female voice called from behind him.

Eric turned around to see someone he knew approaching him a bit nervously.

“Samantha?” he greeted with a shaky voice. “Samantha Thompson, you are Winter?”

Samantha’s beautiful lips pulled back to reveal perfect teeth in a nervous smile. She nodded her head slightly.

Eric looked quickly around searching for a trap. Samantha Thompson was on the school’s cheer squad and dated one of the school’s best football players.

“No one knows I’m here.” Samantha moved closer to Eric.

A light breeze moved her nearly white, blonde hair, causing it to shimmer like precious metal in the sun. The breeze also brought the light scent of her sweet perfume. She was a vision that Eric had occasionally dreamed about seeing.

“I’m glad you came to meet me.” Her soft voice sent a shiver charging across his skin.

“I’m still in shock that you, are Winter.” Eric shook his head, his dark hair veiling his face.

“Can you understand why I haven’t approached you at school?” She asked timidly.

Eric nodded. It would have been disastrous for her reputation if she was seen within ten feet of him.

“Will you trust me, Eric?”

Eric thought for a few moments. He looked down at the ground by his shoes then looked up into her beautiful face. “I have a few questions first.”

“Sure, what are they?” Samantha asked sitting down next to him on the bench.

“Why?” he looked into her incredible brown eyes. “Why are you doing this… Going to a summer camp with a guy from school who is considered the plague?”

“Because I owe you so much, Eric. You have been such a friend to me and helped me in so many ways.”

Now Eric was really confused. It must have been written all over his face, because Samantha continued.

“Do you remember my sister, Summer.”

Of course he did. Summer and he were in art class together and shared an interest in comic art. Summer committed suicide a year and a half ago. The whole school had to go through group counseling. Eric nodded.

“After Summer left us, I went through her stuff.” Samantha explained. “I found her diary and sketch pad. She wrote a lot about you and how talented you are. How you made her bad days a little bit better. How your drawings and your sense of humor helped her make it through each day. After I got closer to Summer through her stuff, I found you on line. I started reading your comics, and admiring your art. That is when I started to email you. I wanted to get to know you better. To see everything my sister saw in you. I just couldn’t do it at school, I’m not strong enough to deal with all the clicks and pressures. Anyway, I thought by spending the summer with you, I could get to know you better, like my sister did. Maybe through you, I can understand her better. Besides, it sounded like you needed a friend, and I felt it was the least I could do to help you out.”

Silence fell between them. The trees nearby creaked as they swayed in the wind. The ducks made a soft ruckus as they fought over bread.

“Help me out by making me into a girl?” Eric questioned.

“That was kind of an afterthought. You are right about being a guy in some ways. If you aren’t athletic, or good looking, you are a nobody. However girls have it hard too but by different standards. You said you would walk in my shoes if it would keep the pranks at bay. I just took the initiative.”

“You know we both could get into trouble for this.” Eric pulled his hair out of his face.

“Does that mean you’ll do it?”

“Not so fast, Samantha. How do you plan on making me pass for a girl?”

“For that, You’re going to have to come to my house.” Samantha’s hands shot out and captured Eric’s sending a warmth flooding through him. She pulled him to his feet and started walking with him down a different path. Literally as well as figuratively.


 
End of Chapter One



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