All standard disclaimers apply.
All characters in the following story are entirely fictional. And any resemblance to real people is entirely coincidental.
The author does not condone the actions in the story. A strict line must be maintained between fantasy and reality. It is morally neutral to fantasize or read about minors engaging in sexual activity, providing the fantasy or story is entirely fictional. In real life, adults and children should never engage in sexual activity under any circumstances.
In the real world, no one under the age of eighteen--or whatever the age of majority in your area happens to be--should be having sex. In the author's view, few people under the age of twenty-one are mature enough for sex.
If you are seriously considering having sex with a minor, please read no further. Instead, seek immediate help from a trained and licensed professional.
Remember to keep your fantasy life and your real life very separate!
This story may not be reproduced without the consent of the author.
The author may be contacted at: RaziHaze (at) Hushmail (dot) com.
-- CHAPTER IV --
Chance, Jackson, Wesley, Milo, and Tank arrived at the cafeteria about five minutes after breakfast started. Tank retreated to a kitchen area with a handful of other adult camp counselors. The four boys approached a counter separating the dining area from the kitchen; they each grabbed a plate or bowl and were given a choice between cereal, oatmeal, or sunny-side-up eggs.
After grabbing breakfast, Chance followed Milo to a wooden table near a window and sat down across from him. Wesley and Jackson followed shortly behind; but, as Jackson sat down next to Chance, Wesley moved away to sit at another table.
Jackson poked at his eggs suspiciously with a plastic fork. "I thought we'd get those scrambled eggs made from powder."
"Last year they had that," Milo replied. He shrugged and dipped his spoon into his cereal. Milk dripped down his chin.
"Is there something wrong with your eggs?" Chance asked. He swallowed a spoonful of his own oatmeal.
Jackson shrugged. "I dunno. They just don't look normal, y'know?" Jackson stood up. "I'm gonna go grab some toast. Anyone want anything?"
Chance shook his head.
Milo paused for a moment then said, "no."
Jackson nodded and walked back toward the counter.
Chance leaned in toward Milo and began whispering, "so, what's going on with Wesley and Jackson? Why does Wesley hate Jackson?"
Milo furrowed his brow and tapped his chin with his index finger. "Jealousy?"
"What's he jealous of?" Chance asked.
"Jackson's foster parents," Milo answered.
Chance cocked his head to the side slightly.
"Wesley's foster parents were Mister and Missus Smythe," Milo began. "Then, like a year ago, Wesley got put into a group home, and the Smythes started fostering Jackson." Milo took another bite of his cereal. "But, the weird thing was, before that the Smythes were totally planning on adopting Wesley."
Milo nodded. "Yeah. Like every week at Kung Fu, Wesley was talking about how excited he was and stuff." He raised his eyebrows, "he was a lot less angry back then."
"What changed?" Chance asked.
Before Milo could reply, Jackson returned to the table and sat back down carrying six pieces of toast. "I got you guys some anyway," he said. Jackson passed two slices of toast to Milo and two to Chance, keeping two for himself.
"Guys," Jackson said, staring at his eggs with wide eyes. "Um . . ." he gulped.
Chance and Milo both sat up, leaned over the wooden table and looked at Jackson's plastic paper plate with sunny-side-up eggs. Except, they weren't sunny-side-up anymore.
They were moving. The eggs were running: their yolks were wriggling. The yellow parts started to melt, flowing into the whites, and then merging. It was as if the eggs were scrambling themselves.
"What's going on?" Chance asked.
"I have no clue," Jackson replied.
The eggs started to bubble slightly, as if something was beneath them, pushing them upward from below. Then, the now scrambled eggs bean to part, and a small, pointed orange thing emerged from beneath one egg.
"Is that a beak?" Milo asked.
A yellow feather, then another, then two more, appeared from underneath the second egg.
"Are your eggs . . . hatching?" Milo's jaw dropped as he spoke.
Chance's eyes widened as he heard a "cheep."
Jackson reached down and used his fingers to separate the eggs, revealing two, perfectly-formed, fluffy baby chicks.
"What the fuck!?" Milo shouted.
Jackson, smiling, reached down and gently lifted up one of the chicks. "This is so awesome."
Chance reached over and picked up the second chick, and began cradling it in his palms. "It's so cute!" He held the baby bird up to his face and rubbed its soft feathers against his cheek.
A chorus of cheeps started breaking out across the cafeteria, accompanied by shocked campers shouting.
"What the hell!?" Shouted one camper from a few tables over.
A few campers started giggling and laughing as more and more chicks began erupting from cooked eggs.
Caden--a mixed-race boy in a tie-dyed t-shirt--ran toward Jackson, Milo, and Chance's table. "Did you find a chick in your eggs too?" He was holding a small chick in the palm of his hands.
"Yeah!" Chance chuckled, holding up his chick.
"Awesome!" Caden cheered and ran off back toward another table.
Chance passed his chick across the table to Milo, who smiled, giggled, and began petting the small, baby bird.
The chick cheeped again and started to fall into a calm slumber in Milo's palm.
Tyler approached the table with a sleeping chick in his hand. He stood next to Milo's seat and across from Jackson and Chance. "Did fucking birds invade your breakfast too?" Tyler laughed.
"What happened to your chick?" Chance asked, dreading the answer.
"I got confused and speared the motherfucker with a fork." Tyler laughed again. "Oh, well!"
"You sick motherfucker!" Jackson shouted. "You did it on purpose."
"What do you care, loser!?" Tyler replied. "It's a chicken. Can't make arroz con pollo without one." Tyler winked at Jackson.
Jackson remained seated and pulled his baby chick closer to his chest.
"Aww, did I hurt the little spic--I mean chick's--feelings?" Tyler rolled his eyes and pouted his lips.
Jackson said nothing. He breathed more heavily.
Suddenly, Tyler reached down and snatched the baby bird out of Milo's hands.
"Hey!" Milo shouted, jumping to his feet. "Give `im back!"
"What?" Tyler asked. "Were you going to keep the little McNugget as a pet?"
Jackson quickly passed his chick to Chance and stood up. He jumped up onto the table, and walked off the other edge, and approached Tyler. "Give it back, Tyler."
"Give the chick back?" Tyler teased. "Is that your thing, Poe: saving idiot chicks?"
Jackson lurched his knee forward, striking Tyler's crotch. "Give the chick back!" He shouted.
Tyler tumbled backward.
Jackson walked closer to Tyler. Chance and Milo jumped up from their seats and stepped closer to Jackson. Wesley and Caden--a table away--also jumped up and approached the commotion.
"Give it back or what?" Tyler said, regaining his balance.
"Or I'll kick your ass," Jackson replied, calmly.
"Oooh," Tyler said. "I'm so scared!"
"You should be," said Wesley. "Jackson's kicked your ass before in class."
"But he's too much of a goody-two-shoes to do it now," Tyler replied.
"Wanna test your luck?" Jackson said, curling his hand into a fist and walking closer to Tyler. He punched, striking Tyler's chest, then relaxed into a Kung Fu fighting stance.
Tyler fell back a few paces but stayed on his feet. "You wanna save it?" he asked. "Here's your chance," Tyler through the chick onto the floor and, as Jackson started running toward him, Tyler stomped on it. There was a crunching noise.
Jackson stopped running and put his fists down.
"See, loser?" Tyler said. "You can't save everyone. Or, in your case, anyone." Tyler turned around and walked away, leaving a mess of blood and feathers from under his shoe.
"Jackson," Milo said, walking toward the other boy. He reached out to put a hand on Jackson's shoulder.
Jackson shrugged off Milo's hand. He wiped his eyes and walked toward the cafeteria door and exited the building.
Chance started chasing after Jackson when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to see Wesley.
Wesley shook his head at Chance. "Don't."
Chance nodded to Wesley, "But, he's cry--"
"--No," Wesley said. "Let him be."
Chance gulped, "He--"
"--No!" Wesley asserted. "You can't help him right now."
"What do you mean?"
Wesley took a deep breath. "You heard what Tyler said, about how Jackson can't save anyone?"
"Jackson's dad killed his mom," Wesley said. "Beat the shit out of her."
Chance stood dumbfounded.
"That's why he's in foster care," Wesley explained.
"He blamed himself for a long time," Milo said, approaching Chance and Wesley. "Wes's right. Let Jackson be alone right now. He's gonna need some space."
Against his better judgment, Chance walked around the camp after breakfast until he found Jackson standing alongside the bank of the lake.
Jackson was throwing stones at the lake, watching them skip along the water's surface.
"Hey," Chance said, approaching Jackson.
"Hey," Jackson replied.
"The counselors took the chicks away," Chance said. "They said something about bringing them to a farm. A counselor took `em away in a cardboard box."
"That's probably for the best," Jackson replied quietly.
"You showed some awesome restraint back there," Chance said, placing a hand on Jackson's shoulder.
Jackson sighed. "Just being a good guy," he said. He turned to look at Chance's face. His eyes were still red. "Once . . ." he gulped ". . . once Tyler stepped on it, there was no reason to continue."
Chance nodded and gently squeezed Jackson's shoulder.
"I don't like violence," Jackson said, followed by a forced laugh. "I know, that sounds weird because I take Kung Fu." He threw another stone into the water. It skipped six times along the lake. "But I really don't like violence. I only--outside of class, I only fight to stop fights and protect people." He looked Chance in the eyes. "Once the chick was dead, there was no one left to protect."
"Like yesterday on the bus?" Chance asked. "You were trying to protect Tyler from Wesley?"
"I don't regret that," Jackson said. "Tyler's an asshole, but . . ." he trailed off.
"But you still feel like you needed to protect him."
"Milo and Wesley told me what happened," Chance said. "I--I still blame myself for what happened to my parents too."
"It sucks," Jackson said. He sat on the ground.
Chance sat next to him.
"It really sucks." Jackson leaned over and put his head on Chance's shoulder. "What happened to your parents?"
"I'm sorry," Jackson said.
Chance nodded. "Me too."
Twenty minutes later, Chance and Jackson walked toward the central camping area.
A counselor approached the two boys. "There you two are," he said. "Pick your poison: archery or scavenger hunting."
Chance's eyes lit up. "Archery!?" He grinned.
"I take it you're a bowman?" Tank smiled at Chance.
"Hell, yeah!" Chance almost laughed. "I've been taking archery for years!"
Jackson patted Chance's back. "You do that. I think I'm done with anything violent for the day."
Tank nodded to Jackson knowingly. "Yeah, I figured." He patted Jackson's shoulder. "I spoke with Tyler."
"Well, the scavenger hunt just started, so you're not far behind everyone else." Tank reached into his pocket and pulled out a plastic bag. He handed the bag to Jackson. "The goal is collect as many bird feathers as you can. The boy who collects the most different kinds of feathers wins. Not how many you can get overall: How many different species you can find. Got it?"
Jackson nodded and took the plastic bag.
"You can keep looking for feathers between now and tomorrow," Tank said. "Before lunch tomorrow, we'll identify everyone's feathers in a--it's like a birdwatching class in the multipurpose cabin."
Milo ran over to Tank, Chance, and Jackson. "You going scavenger hunting too?" he asked.
"I am," Jackson replied.
"Cool: I need a partner." Milo reached over and grabbed Jackson's hand. "I already found a bluejay feather. I think." He looked up and winked at Tank as before dragging Jackson away toward the woods.
"Stay with your partner!" Tank called as Jackson and Milo approached a hiking trail. "We don't want anyone getting lost!"
Tank led Chance over to a makeshift archery range between two counselors' cabins. He handed him a plastic, recurve bow.
Chance picked up the bow and examined it. "This is a right-handed bow."
Tank raised an eyebrow. "Uh . . . maybe?"
"It wasn't a question," Chance said. He pointed to the side of the bow. "The notch points towards the hand that holds the bow."
"Then, this notch would point toward your left hand." Tank smiled.
"Which means, I would hold the arrow in my right hand. I'm a lefty," Chance explained.
Tank nodded. "How long have you been doing archery?"
"Since I was nine," Chance answered.
Tank led Chance into a small shed next to the cabin.
Chance watched as Tank typed a number into a keypad next to the shed door: 2-1-0. Inside were a handful of extra supplies, wood blocks, a canoe with oars, and--most importantly--extra bows and arrows.
Chance looked over the bows, trying to find a left-handed one. "You have a crossbow?" Chance when he spied one lying on the ground of the shed.
"Guess so," Tank replied.
Chance shrugged and began digging through the weaponry. Finally, he picked up a left-handed bow. "Cool!" Chance said. "I've always wanted one like this." He examined the bow and pulled the string.
"It's got extra arms or something," Tank said.
"They're called limbs," Chance explained. "It's a Penobscot bow. More limbs mean that it's harder to pull back on the string." Chance demonstrated by pulling the string back hard. "That means that it releases the arrow with more force."
"Then why not make a bow with six limbs?" Tank asked. "Or eight?"
Chance's walked toward the shed's exit, carrying the bow. "Good question. I'd like a six-limbed bow. That would pretty cool."
At the archery range, Chance chose a spot next to Wesley, who was struggling to hit his target at all. His arrows mostly landed in the grass surrounding it.
"You're aiming too much," Chance said. "You just have to trust your instinct, and let your arrow fly." Chance demonstrated by picking up his Penobscot bow, effortlessly loading an arrow, and hitting the bullseye a few millimeters shy of the center ring.
"Great shot!" Wesley said, his jaw dropping.
Chance shook his head and loosed another arrow. This one hit dead center. "That was a good shot."
"Wow!" said Tank as he approached Chance from behind. "You weren't kidding when you said you had archery experience."
That night, all the campers gathered around the bonfire for scary stories, and an explanation about how the "no fighting" rule extended to "not killing small animals."
Wesley and Chance sat next to one another. And, shortly afterward, Milo and Jackson approached them.
Jackson sat down next to Chance and showed him a plastic bag. He opened it up revealing a collection of about two dozen bird feathers. He pulled a big one out. "Look at this!" Jackson said, showing what looked like a peacock feather. "I guarantee I'm the only one who found one like this."
"Peacocks don't live around here," said Wesley.
"How would you know?" asked Jackson.
"Because I, y'know, read," Wesley scoffed. "They're mostly from India and the Middle East. Some species are in Africa. But none of them live in America."
"Well," said Jackson. "Maybe someone dropped it in the woods."
"You found it in the hiking trail," said Milo. "It still counts."
Chance looked around the bonfire, and pointed to each boy, counting them all to make sure everyone was there. He cocked his head to the side.
"What is it?" said Milo.
"There are thirty-three boys here," said Chance.
"So?" asked Jackson.
"There are only supposed to be thirty campers," said Wesley. "You must've counted wrong."
"Or maybe something weird is happening," said Milo. "After the stuff with the chicks this morning, I wouldn't be surprised if there's like a . . . magic . . . thing. Or something."
"That wasn't magic," scoffed Wesley. "It was a prank."
"How do you know?" asked Jackson.
"Come on!" said Wesley. "When baby chicks hatch, their feathers have barely grown in: they're wet and alien-looking. Those chicks in the cafeteria were fluffy and cute. They had to be a few days old. It had to be a prank."
"Seemed pretty real to me," said Jackson.
"There!" Chance pointed at Tyler, who was sitting on the other side of the fire, far away from the boys. "Who are those boys sitting with Tyler?"
Jackson squinted at Tyler. "I don't know `em."
"Maybe they're new campers," said Wesley. "Who cares? They're probably assholes if they're hanging out with that motherfucker."
Twenty minutes later, the sun descended in the sky. A half-hour after that, Jackson, Wesley, Chance, and Milo began the trek back to Nevia Cabin. And, fifteen minutes after that, they arrived back at their bunk.
"No--that's fucked up!" shouted Wesley, bypassing their cabin door and running toward the 100-feet toward the lake. "That's fucked up!" He pointed at the sky.
"What's wrong?" Chance ran after Wesley.
Jackson and Milo approached close behind.
"What time is it!?" Wesley asked.
Milo reached over to Jackson and grabbed his wrist, turning it. He glanced at Jackson's watch. "Nine Forty-Two PM." Milo glanced back to Wesley, "Why was that important?"
"I know that it's staying lighter longer," Wesley began. "But shouldn't the sun have set like an hour and forty-five minutes ago?" Wesley pointed at the sky over the lake. The sun was halfway through setting, and the atmosphere still shone with shimmers of pink and blue.
"No!" said Jackson walking toward the lake, and standing next to Wesley. "The sun was setting before when we were at the bonfire. Remember?"
"I remember!" shouted Wesley. "That's why this is so fucked up!"
Chance turned around, completely dumbfounded. His eyes widened. "Maybe the sunlight has something to do with that."
On the other side of the lake, a rainbow swirl of color streaked across the night sky.
"Isn't the aurora borealis supposed to be in Greenland or something?" Milo asked.
"I think something weird is going on, guys," said Jackson.
Jackson, Wesley, Chance, and Milo stared at the sky for a good fifteen minutes in complete shock. They tossed around hypotheses and theories. Wesley insisted that there was a magnetic and electrical disturbance causing these weird phenomena. Milo, on the other hand, asserted that it was magic.
After a while though, the point became moot. The sun had set, and the plasmic rainbow swirl had faded away.
Chance sat down on the ground. "This has been a long day." He sighed. "I'm ready for bed."
Jackson began walking toward the bathroom next to Nevia cabin. "Remember the rules: we have to brush our teeth before bed," he instructed.
Wesley grumbled and followed Jackson.
Chance stood up and followed suit.
Milo ran ahead of the pack and to the bathroom door. Milo opened the door, began to step inside, then shut it quickly.
"Dudes," Milo said. "Either I'm crazy, or weird shit is still happening."
"Why not both?" Jackson joked.
"Good point," said Milo. He stepped to the side. "Let's test my sanity then. Why don't you, Jackson, open this bathroom door and tell me what you see inside."
"You're serious," said Wesley.
Milo raised his eyebrows and vigorously nodded.
Jackson gulped, stepped forward and opened the bathroom door.
Inside, was not the tile and grime from earlier that day. Instead, the boys saw what looked like rows of dimly-lit wooden shelves. Shelves that were lined with books. The light inside the "bathroom" flickered like a candle.
Wesley whispered, "What . . . the . . . fucking . . . hell?"