Can't Escape is a Blogclan story by Swanfeather. It features Blogclanners as humans.
It's peculiar how the most beautiful things tend to vanish so easily.
They just die. They got destroyed and are never seen again.
What even is 'beauty'?
Prettiness isn't always something touchable like colorful flowers on the field. It isn't something you see like a charming classmate of yours. More often beauty is something you can't see.
A life-long relationship between two best friends is absolutely stunning. So are world peace and reconciliation between mortal enemies. There's still other magnificent things too, unseeable beauty that humans have created.
Harmonia City was one of those things.
After a long period of pondering, scientists from all the sectors of science found a way to live in complete peace. Peace between nations, humans, animals and nature. They found a way to stop it all: global warming, war, serious sicknesses, animal abuse, etcetera.
To achieve their goal of peace the scientists decided to built a city based on their thoughts and contrivances. A big, big city, oasis of harmony. They wanted everyone to move there, but - of course - it didn't happen. However, millions and millions people desired peace and moved to the city of the future. It was a huge place, with millions living there, successfully in peace.
I know what you're thinking. In your opinion, big cities are cramped, polluted asphalt jungles crowded with people. Of course the scientists thought of that when they built Harmonia. They made the place amazing and peaceful with lots of own space, nature and well being.
There wasn't any other cities anywhere near it ruining the peace. The other metropolises that were once so big faded away to little villages when everyone wanted to move to the city of eternal comfort. Soon almost everyone lived in never-ending wellness, their futures being so bright.
Think about it. Everyone had the chance to be anything, to live without any trouble. No war or arguments, no pollutants or disasters. Nothing that could hurt the precious citizens. It sounds perfect.
With no doubt, I can assert you; it was the most beautiful thing to exist.
But as stated before, beauty doesn't last.
Neither did Harmonia.
Nobody saw it coming. Nobody knew the reason for it. It was just a normal, brilliant day until it all went downhill. With a crash.
No, with a boom.
A loud one.
Or that's what people from other towns assumed. Nobody was exactly sure what happened, neither did they care. People in the smaller, less peaceful towns and villages were bitter to the ones with better lives. They did not care at all when they heard about Harmonia's doom. No help was sent, no one went looking for the missing ones. 'Everyone died' they said and continued their lives, glad that they didn't have to be jealous for the citizens anymore.
Now you must be really confused about what happened to the city. What was the reason for the unfortunate event? How the doom was faced? A loud boom was mentioned, maybe an explosion?
Nobody knows exactly.
Why did an explosion happen?
It's ninety-nine percent sure that not a single citizen survived. They all went missing, disappeared with their homes, got buried under the falling buildings or blew away. Even if someone survived, they wouldn't have gotten far without food. There was no colonization anywhere near.
The whole city full of peace just blew away that easily.
And all of the beauty was gone.
Without a reason.
The darkness was all around me. It was oppressive, suffocating all my senses. There was no light at all, not a single spark that could lead me out of this nightmare.
I was running. Running for my life. Something was chasing me. I had no idea what but it was a horrific monster. I didn't even remember why I was in this situation.
My legs felt limp, my heart beat rapidly and I was gasping for air. I was never an athlete so I clearly didn't enjoy this. Not that I'd enjoy running for my life anyway.
Leaves tangled in my hair and dry branches scratched my skin. I was covered in dark, bleeding bruises, which made the escape even harder. The sound of scrunching leaves under my dashing feet blended with the screams in my head.
I felt hot breath on my neck and panicked, trying to quicken my pace - which was nearly impossible. Panting, I blindly continued. My body was strenghtless, aching piece of pure pain.
I had no idea how long I had run until my foot made contact with a root. Tripping, I fell down and hit my head on a big rock. Black spots danced on the sides of my vision and made my brain go even blurrier. Absolutely great.
The situation couldn't be any worse. I tried to stand up and keep running, but my head was killing me with horrible beating pain. I started to crawl forwards, determined to escape.
It was useless.
I assured myself I would survive. No matter how terrible headache or creepy monster, I was going to get my legs from the ground and keep on moving.
Suddenly I saw something moving from the corner of my eye. My heart stopped and filled with panic.
There were dark figures standing all around me.
Yep, I was a goner.
Stumbling backwards I tried to escape my doom one last time. I didn't succeed at all, the world had started to spin around me and I was seeing flashing colors. Exploding with fear I just laid there, on the wet grass.
My thoughts wandered to my family and friends. They would never know where I went. They would never understand how I died. They could never visit my grave.
Oh god how much I was afraid of death.
I was scared as heck.
I would face my doom bravely. It was the only thing I could do anymore. Instead of hopelessly attempting my escape I would turn my head to the monsters. I would accept my ending calmly.
I turned my blurry vision to the figures and looked straight to them. I could barely see anything due to the horrific pain in my head and the darkness.The figures seemed to come closer, but I had accepted it all.
Groaning from the headache, I laid my painful head down on the ground, never breaking the view to my destroyers. My mind filling with unconsciousness, I gave up on my life.
I closed my eyes for the last time and my mind went blank.
Then all I could see was darkness.
And that, my friends, is how my life ended.
Or that's what I thought.
Cold evening breeze ruffled the young girl's hair, making her run her hand through it. The weather was cool and windy. Big clouds covered the sun and the air was chilly. But the brunette didn't pay attention to the weather, she was thinking about the past few days.
It had been a strange week. She had woken up in a warm room, surrounded by friendly faces. She didn't know what had happened, only thing she remembered was running through the forest, out of breath. The nice persons had told her about the place where they had taken her and welcomed her warmly. Everything was so weird and at the same time incredibly happy. The girl hadn't died, she was saved by the kind strangers.
She had spent many days in a comfy room recovering from her bruises and headache. She had been panicking when she didn't remember anything about her life; only her name and the running part. The strangers told her it was normal - almost everyone who came there had lost their memory.
Although the healer girls had told her about the camp she didn't know much about it. Only the fact that the place was started by a girl and it was for people just like her; the one's who survived from the monster, lost their memory, were found by the campers.
After spending the week in the room, the healer girls had told her to go. She had to meet the others, get involved and so on. She was now a part of the camp. She was part of the survivors.
The house where she was told to go was a big wooden tavern in the center of the camp. The house was said to be the main hanging place of the campers. It also was the place where they ate their meals.
She was horrified to enter the tavern. As a not-so-social-with-strangers kind of person she was uncomfortable with the idea of talking with her saviors - especially when she wasn't a good thanker. She did try to argue with the healer girls but they demanded her to go and eat in the tavern like the normal campers did.
Crossing the glade she approached the wooden house. The glade had many wooden houses around it, but the biggest was the one she was nearing. Swallowing, she thought if she should turn back, but trying to be brave the brunette walked to the front of the tavern, sighed, and slowly pushed the doors open.
The big room was bright and filled with laughter and happy chatter. All the people inside were young and pretty. They sat around dark wooden tables. Many of the campers were eating something.
Trying to be as quiet as possible, the girl approached the lonely corner table, and luckily nobody seemed to pay any attention to her. Sighing in relief she sat down. Great, no one noticed her walking in...
"HEY! You're the new girl right? Welcome to the camp! It's so nice to meet you!"
The brunette jumped and looked up, surprised. A pretty girl with light brown hair was looking down at her, smiling brightly.
"Oh, hi, yeah, I'm the new girl. My name's Swan", the newcomer replied, still slightly surprised by the sudden greeting.
"It's super lovely to meet you! I love your name. I'm Sunny. I hope we can be friends!" the camper said and sat down next to Swan.
"What do you know about our camp?" Sunny asked.
"Not much. It was founded by a young girl and it's for people just like us."
"Correct! There's still very much more to know, I think Flo will explain everything to you tomorrow."
Swan looked confused.
"You'll know everyone very soon. Oh, there she comes!"
A ravenette with glasses neared the two's table with two other girls. They were both blondes with blue shirts. The so-called Flo put her hands on the table and leaned forward.
"Yo, I'm Flo. I'm the boss around here. Better listen to me or I will feed you to the monsters", she said, looking serious, and Swan gulped nervously.
"She's lying! She won't ever do that", the blonde with slightly messy hair said.
"Flo's not actually like that", the other blonde with pixie-cut told Swan.
"I was kidding. You're Swan, right? Well, welcome. I'll show you around tomorrow. Get to know the peeps, you'll be living with them for a long time." After saying that the black-haired girl walked away.
The blondes stepped forward. "Um, hi! I'm Shivy and this skirted girl is Dew. We're glad to have you here!" the messy haired one said. Swan smiled at them and responded:
"Nice to meet you! I'm glad to be here, I think?"
"You'll get a grab on everything soon! We will help you", Sunny promised.
"We'll tell you who's who. Now, that long haired brunette approaching us with a soup plate is Breezey", Dew said.
The said girl walked over and gave Swan the plate, introducing herself.
"That's vegetable soup. It's delicious, made by our lovely cook!" Breezey explained. Dew rolled her eyes.
"She's not our cook. She's just in charge of our kitchen", she corrected.
"Yeah whatever. I think she heard you, she's coming."
Suddenly there was a girl with very long brown and green-dyed hair and an apron standing next to their table.
"Welcome and hey! The name's Icy. I'm in charge of the food. Despite the name I'm not a scary lunch lady who's always in the kitchen. I'm just planning the cooking shifts and the meals. I hope you like that soup - it was made by me!" Icy said, smiling and Swan couldn't help but think how many strands of her freakishly long hair were in her soup.
"It does look good", Swan muttered and started to spoon the orange liquid, not daring to say she didn't like vegetables.
"Better get used to vegetables and fish. They're pretty much the only things we eat here, because, y'know, we can't and won't kill animals by ourselves!" Breezey informed her and started to play with a strand of her hair.
"Wait. You're materially independent?" Swan was bewildered.
"What did you think? They fall from the sky? There's no stores around here", Shivy giggled at Swan's amazement, and she felt a little dumb. Note the sarcasm on 'a little'.
"Don't tease her. She's new, she'll learn everything soon. Now excuse me, I have to go", Icy excused herself and walked to the long counter on the front.
Swan had finished eating the soup and she had to admit, it was pretty good.
"Oh great, you've eaten! Now we can introduce you to the others. Come!" Sunny stood up and motioned Swan to come along. They walked to the other side of the big house, making their way to the sofa near the back wall. There was three girls sitting on it, chatting happily.
"Hey gurls! This is the new girl, Swan", Sunny said and the girls waved. The brunette with a lavender colored shirt spoke first:
"I'm Minty! Glad to have you around."
"And I'm Maple!" the one with reddish brown hair exclaimed.
"I am Wistep. Nice to meet you", the black-haired girl with glasses said.
Swan tried her best to be polite.
"Nice to meet you", she said before Sunny dragged her to another table. Two girls and a boy were sitting around it, eating their soups.
"Swan, these are Darky" - Sunny pointed at the female with chestnut hair - "and Frosty" - the boy with sandy brown hair waved - " and this is Goldi." The latter was a reddish brown haired girl who had blonde streaks in her hair.
"I'm Swan", the new camper introduced herself.
"Oh hello, Swan! I'm Fallen, welcome! Happy to have you here!" Out of nowhere a darker haired blonde with blue streaks in her hair had appeared behind them.
"I can show you around if ya want", Fallen promised, smiling. Swan was about to say something but a voice cut her off.
"Flo will do it."
She turned around to see a blonde she already knew.
"Oh, you know Lily already! She was there in the medicine house with you, right?" Sunny realized.
"Yep, I was there with Moss, like we always are. In case you forgot, we're in charge of healing all the injuries because we know a lot about plants and their medical effects. Of course they aren't as good as real medicine but what can you do when there's nothing else?"
"Speaking about Moss, where's she?" asked Sunny.
"She's emptying Swan's room."
Swan froze, shocked.
"Wait what? Are you kicking me out?"
Lily started laughing.
"Of course not! You're just not staying in the medicine house anymore. You'll have a room in the dorms", the healer explained.
Swan was still confused.
Lily patted Swan's shoulder.
"Don't worry, you'll understand everything", she said.
"If you say so..." Swan mumbled, doubtful. There was no way she could ever understand everything going on.
"There's still a few people you haven't met. You see those girl near the side table? The light brown haired one is Robbie, the girl with short brown hair is Kinky, the very dark haired blonde with purple hairtips is Wavey and the girl with dark brown hair is Darkie", Sunny listed.
"So there's Darky and Darkie?" Swan marveled.
"Yeah. Don't mix them up, they don't like it when that happens..." Lily warned.
Sunny was counting something with her fingers. "Hm, Flamey has the shift in the laundry house, Blue and Birchy are doing their cleaning shifts in the kitchen, Moss is in the medicine house, Shiver is tidying up our room... Did I forget someone?" she questioned, looking at Lily.
"I don't think so. You will meet the ones you didn't see yet tomorrow."
"Expect for Shiver. You'll meet her today - look forward to it!" Sunny said, smiling.
"Yes, she's very spooky!" Lily added in. Swan frowned.
"What do you mean? Is she scary?" she wondered.
Lily and Sunny glanced at each other, grinning at the newcomer's surprise.
"No, she's just..." Lily seemed to be looking for the right word. "Shiver", Sunny finished and Lily seemed to be pleased with the chosen adjective.
"Oh", Swan responded, "Great." She was not sure if being 'Shiver' was a good thing.
The conversation died down a bit when Lily leaved. Fallen had disappeared too. Of course there were the people sitting on the table right next to her that she could talk to - Darky, Frosty and Goldi - but Swan didn't know them and they didn't seem to notice her standing there. There was still Sunny too, but she seemed to be more interested in talking to Goldi than Swan.
The newcomer started to feel a little awkward so she was planning to retreat back to the corner table. Unfortunately for her someone had come to stand next to her, ruining her plans of escape.
"Feeling lonely already, huh?"
Swan jumped in surprise when she heard someone talking right next to her.
"Well, let me tell you a story!"
The tavern went silent instantly.
"Oh my gosh. Flo's gonna tell a story!" the girl who Swan remembered to be Maple shrieked.
"Is this a dare?" Shivy asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Shut up. I can tell a story if I want. Besides, it's the history of the camp", Flo remarked.
The campers let out realizing sounds.
"Oooh, that explains it", Robbie laughed.
Flo ignored them and motioned Swan to sit down on the couch next to the wall. Everyone in the tavern was listening.
"Okay, so, Swan, you know about the Monsters? About the sudden doom of our home city?" Flo started, fiddling with the temple of her glasses.
"Yeah, but I'm not sure what the monsters are or how they look like or where they come from or why or how the City was destroyed-"
"Hold on hold on! We don't know those things either. The reason why the City got destroyed and almost everyone died is unknown to all. What we do know about the Monsters is that they're animal-like creatures. No one has seen any Monsters, just their clawprints - they are huge - and we don't plan to see anytime soon. We don't know where they come from either, but they rarely come this far. I picked the place for our camp carefully."
Swan stared at her new leader, her jaw dropping.
"Wait what what what wait what wait -?" she stuttered in disbelief.
She was not going to count the times she had been astonished during that day.
"What wait, what?" Flo asked, raising her eyebrow.
The conversation had suddenly become very confusing.
"I mean - I didn't know you started the camp!" Swan exclaimed.
"You don't know many things."
Swan tried to resist the urge to roll her eyes. Keyword: tried.
"Why didn't you realize I was the founder? I mean, I'm in charge of the camp!" Flo chuckled.
"Uh -" Swan began.
"Just admit you didn't think I was capable to do it." Flo seemed to be very amused.
"I did not!" the brunette argued.
"Guys, stop. Flo, you were supposed to tell us the story", Fallen interjected, trying to seem calm but there was a faint smile forming on her lips.
Soon she couldn't help herself and bursted out laughing and in a second the whole tavern was filled with hysterical laughter. The argument between the boss and the newcomer wasn't even that funny. Regardless everyone was having a good time laughing at each other.
Swiftly the campers calmed down and Flo could start her story. Unfortunately for the ones wishing for a fairytale she was just telling how she found the camp.
"When the City was destroyed, many, many people faced their doom. It's proven by the fact there was millions of people living in the City but hardly anyone survived. I don't know how much others there is left beside us in the world, and I'm being serious. It's been a year and a half since the End Day and I haven't seen anyone beside the campers", Flo started her story.
"But if it's been a year, why I came just a week ago? Where on Earth I was before I came?" Swan questioned, she was absolutely clueless. Again. And she had a feeling it wasn't the last time...
"We don't know, many of the campers have arrived a long after the End Day."
"I'm the one who came before you!" Kinky piped in.
"Yep, and she was found in the Forest six months ago! We already thought she was the last one", Icy said while wiping her hands on her apron.
"I was trying to tell you how I found the camp, not how Kinky joined. Okay? So, I had somehow survived from the explosion or whatever it was, along with a few others. We were bruised, hurt, weak, desperate. We had no home, no family, no food, no place to stay and heal, nothing. Imagine how we felt - our horror! Just one day and poof! We had lost everything we ever had!
Luckily there was still the five of us - me, Sunny, Icy, Shiver and Moss - who sticked together and built up a camp. It was just a little, ugly cottage but soon we expanded it - it's now this Tavern. We built a kitchen, dorms, laundry house and so on.
Not long passed when we found Maple, Dew, Minty, Frosty and Darky from the Forest. We decided to evolve the camp completely. We built the boys' dorms and the medicine house. Then, after a month, we found some more people and so on. After that it was pretty usual to get new campers. However, after Blue came - which was about nine months ago - the arrivals seemed to get rarer and rarer. Icy just mentioned Kinky came six months ago - that's a long time. We thought she was the last one to come."
Kinky looked proud, like she had just earned an award.
"But this time I'm pretty sure", Flo continued. "You are the last one, Swan."
"Oh. Yay?" Swan replied, as confused as always.
Should I feel accomplished?
"You don't understand!" the ravenette snapped, making Swan startled. Flo started to massage her temples.
"This is bad. Very bad. No more newcomers means that - that there's something happening in the City."
Swan felt cold shivers running down her spine. She gulped.
"It wasn't enough that the Monsters are starting to come closer and closer to our camp. The newcomers stopped appearing and..." Flo muttered, her voice fading away.
The atmosphere of the Tavern had suddenly turned very serious. No laughter or any happy chatter was heard. Everyone glanced worriedly at each other and murmured something quietly. The tension weight on Swan's shoulders like a testweek.
"It was just after you had arrived when something unusual happened -" Sunny started, breaking the silence, but Icy quickly covered her mouth. "They don't know about it", Swan heard her whispering in Sunny's ear.
What are they talking about?
Flo shot up from her seat and sprinted over to Sunny. She lowered her head to say something in the brunette's ear. Her face showed clearly that she wasn't happy. Sunny looked pretty awkward, like she had just blurted out secrets. Swan did try to listen, but the two talked carefully, not wanting anyone to eavesdrop. It was pretty difficult though, with the whole Tavern watching the senior members closely.
After a few moments of silence Flo cleared her throat. "Erm, Swan didn't bring anything else than her own cloud of confusion with her. No need to worry", the leader reassured and flashed a this-is-supposed-to-be-a-convincing-smile-but-it-failed - type of smile.
Why thank you for this kindness...
"Yeah, I was just imagining. Too much positiveness it damages my brain!" Sunny exclaimed.
She probably just thought of that brain thing a second ago.
The campers gave her weird looks but they disappeared fast. Everyone was too kind to think anything bad about their friends. The campers seemed to believe Flo's explanation and didn't doubt it anymore. The campers had a big trust for the black-haired leader and knew not to question.
Well, too bad I'm not a camper - not yet anyway. Better investigate this later. I brought the thing with me after all, I'm justified to know.
"So Swan, any questions?" Flo asked with newfound calmness.
"Yeah, like hundred. First I'd like to know the meaning of life and how to defeat Voldemort in case he returns - "
Flo rolled her eyes, sighing annoyedly. "You know exactly what I meant."
Swan's face turned to a smug grin.
"How do you know? I brought a cloud of confusion after all..."
Fallen groaned loudly. "Not this again..."
"I wasn't trying to offend you any way, sorry if I did. Can we please be serious now?" Flo questioned, making her way back to her seat on the couch.
"Sorry, you didn't offend me, I was just trying to be funny -"
"And you clearly failed. Now, the questions?"
Swan answered immediately. She had something on her mind.
"This one's been bugging me the whole time and I can't understand what's the answer, but how on Earth did you survive when you first came to the Forest? I'm pretty sure you were citizens who didn't have any surviving skills at all!"
"Oh", Flo grinned and looked at the others who seemed to be smiling lightly too, "I guess we have to give a little credit to our savior..."
Savior? They prayed for food or what.
Icy came closer and started to speak:
"You're right, we didn't have survival skills. We would have died unless -"
"The borders!" Sunny exclaimed, smiling widely.
What the -
Swan's bewildered face must've been clear, since Icy continued her explanation:
"The borders are the outerior parts of the City. Well, actually they're the place where every item that flew away in the possible explosion ended up. There's everything handy: lighters, not too damaged clothes, tools, cooking items, stuff for building and so on."
"We still visit the borders frequently! We get many things we need for living there", Sunny explained.
"You mean your underwear is - ?"
Swan mentally facepalmed.
First think you think of is their underwear. WAY TO GO, SWAN!
Flo raised her eyebrows really high, her face was covered with a look that expressed are-you-serious perfectly.
"We did have something on when we came here, y'know? We only get extra stuff from the borders, and we do wash them."
Swan felt extremely awkward at that moment. Like, extremely extreme awkward.
"So, you have any other clever comments?" Flo inquired.
"Uh - umm - well - I don't think I do -"
"Excellent! It's starting to get late, so we may enter the dorms."
"And you sleep in the dorms too?" Swan asked Flo.
"Where else?" Flo questioned, slightly confused.
"I thought - since you're the boss and all - that you'd sleep in your personal palace or somewhere near your throne -"
Flo stared at Swan like she was crazy.
"What the heck are you talking about?"
"Uh - nothing!" she laughed nervously.
Swan stood up with the others, still not knowing what the dorms were. She did know the meaning of the word but she was still confused. What a surprise.
The newcomer followed the campers out of the Tavern and Swan was greeted with cold wind on the face. The weather had become even chillier, but it was late anyway. Swan took a last look on the wooden, homely Tavern and turned to look for the boss of the camp.
"Do you see that long, wooden building on that side?" Darkie whispered. She had come to walk by Swan. The brunette nodded.
She did see the house although it was almost covered by trees. Not many buildings were next to it and there was only woods behind it. It looked warm and comfy from the outside.
"That's the house for girls' dorms. You'll be staying there with us - assuming that you're a girl?" Darkie continued.
"Yes, I am a girl", Swan responded, raising her eyebrow. Darkie giggled.
"Of course I knew you were a girl! I was just joking", she laughed.
Flo walked closer to the two, clearly ready to explain something.
"Okay. Girls' dorms are there. The boys' dorms are over there -" the ravenette got cut by a shouting boy running in the opposite direction.
"Good night! Enjoy your cramped lil' house!" the boy - Frosty - shouted and continued to run while laughing evilly.
"And he continues to tease us about their luxuriously big house only shared by two persons..." Flo muttered.
"What do you mean? There's only two boys? Why did you build boys' dorms in the first place if there was only two boys?"
"Not always has there been only two boys..."
Swan's eyes widened and her jaw dropped.
"WAIT - !" she shrieked but Flo didn't let her finish.
"Enough of this. Let's continue." She then dragged Swan closer to the dorms building. The girls were standing near the door - Swan was totally going to question where they found doors - patiently waiting for them to walk over. Flo began to speak:
"Alright. We have already picked a room for you Swan, it's the number five -"
"Yay! We're sharing a room!" Sunny exclaimed, jumping up and down.
"She could've been with us too. Like them, we only have three people", the purple and dark blonde mix - Wavey - pointed out.
"There's just three of us too", Minty noted.
"Ahem. Shiver caused Swan to be in her room. She was delighted to get a new 'S' in the room", told Flo. Swan turned to the girl that was closest to her.
"Psst, Wistep, right? Is Shiver nice? Use plain language, please. Being spooky and 'Shiver' don't ring my bells", Swan whispered.
"She's a skeleton", the ravenette replied, not really paying attention to the newcomer.
I said use plain language!
"What's that supposed to mean -"
Are they starving her or what?
"Hey! Swan, Wistep, come inside now!" Icy commanded and both of the girls did as they were told.
Sunny started to lead Swan's way inside the long building that had only many doors on the dark walls. Swan was about to follow her inside the room number five - which was close to the side wall on the right - but someone grabbed her wrist and made her turn around.
Surprisingly, it was Flo.
"Garlic", she hissed.
"Excuse me?" Swan said, tilting her head.
"It's the way to defeat Voldemort! It works on every vampire."
"I'm sure you know that he's not a vampire -"
Before she had time to finish, her new boss was gone.
These campers are weird. Weird! You hear me? Weird!
"Aren't you coming in?" Sunny asked from the doorway. Swan nodded and stepped inside the room.
It was a small, surprisingly comfy and cozy room with a some kind of home-made closet and four as strange-looking beds. There were two beds on each side, their gables facing each other. The three of them had slightly messy sheets but the last one looked like the bed had just been made.
"Heyo! I guess we're roommates now."
Shivy was the one to talk. She sat on her bed - which was in left corner - and combed her hair furiously.
"I guess so", Swan replied lamely. And where was the famous Shiver?
It was just like Shiver had heard Swan's thoughts. A girl jumped out of nowhere, waving her hands in the air. She had a shortish bob with side fringe.
"Hi! I'm Shiver! I'd greet you with a GIF if I could!" she exclaimed happily.
Despite that odd 'GIF'-thing she looks pretty normal... Not like a skeleton, not spooky...
"Nice to meet you, I've heard a lot about you", Swan said, returning Shiver's smile.
"Glad to know I'm famous! Now here, take these - they're supposed to be your pajamas."
Shiver started to throw white clothes at Swan. She caught them and took a good look at her new pajamas.
"An oversized shirt and shorts?"
"Yep! And nobody has used them before you", Shivy mentioned.
Maybe not here but if these are from the borders...
"You can change behind those curtains on the back", Sunny suggested.
Swan quickly made her way behind the heavy black curtains. It didn't take long for her to change to her new pajamas. She opened the curtains just to see others done with changing too. Their pajamas were similar to hers.
"That bed on the right, near the door is yours", Shivy said and yawned loudly. She fell on her bed and sighed.
Shiver walked to the back and closed the window curtains. In a second the room became much darker, like all the light had escaped when the curtains were shut.
"Is that window -" Swan began.
"Transparent plastic, yes. It was way easier to find than actual glass", Shiver explained.
Swan plopped on her bed an buried her face in the soft sheets. At that moment she didn't care where they were found. Only thing she wanted to was to enjoy the warm, happy feeling.
The bed was cozy. The softness of the sheets and her pillow were like heaven. It felt warm. It felt comfortable.
It felt like home.
"Good night", someone whispered. Swan assumed it was Sunny. She murmured something similar in return. Great, she could finally sleep...
However, the sandman didn't seem to come. The newcomer kept turning in her bed, mind full of thoughts, unanswered questions about their toothbrushes and showers, problems, ideas...
Suddenly something popped in her head.
A question she needed the answer to immediately.
Swan quickly raised her head from the comfiness of her pillow and quietly knocked the edge of the bed next to her. She assumed it was Sunny's.
"Psst, Sunny? You awake? I have a question", she whispered.
A head with black hair popped up from the bed.
"I'm not Sunny but I have all the answers!"
Aaand it's Shiver...
"Sorry to bug you this late but I forgot to ask one thing", Swan started.
"Nobody ever told me the name of this camp."
Shiver sat straight so Swan could see her perfectly. She looked straight to her eyes. Shiver took a deep breath and her lips formed a light smile.
"This is the Blogclan camp."
"Five more minutes, mom..."
"SWAN! Get up!"
The girl turned her back to the terrorizers of her sleep.
"What do we do now? We need to get her up", a voice said.
"I don't know, but we're in trouble if we don't show up soon", another voice continued.
"Let me help with this! She won't see this coming", third, a lot more spookier voice exclaimed.
Someone stepped closer and suddenly the warms sheets were gone.
The sleeper was greeted with cold floor.
"Ouch!" Swan hissed, massaging her elbow.
Three girls were standing around Swan, staring down at her disapprovingly and fully dressed. One of them was holding Swan's precious sheets, smiling mischievously.
"What was that for? You woke me up and broke the rule number one of -" Swan began.
"And Flo will break a few of your bones if you don't show up in the Tavern right now", Shivy interjected, looking serious.
"When did se become a gangster?"
"Pfft, she was kidding! Flo isn't a gangster, she's super awesome once you get to know her!" Sunny giggled.
I'm pretty sure she thinks that way of everyone...
"But no, seriously, we gotta go right now, hop into your clothes", continued Shivy, nervously glancing at the door.
"I'm really tired, what if don't go just now?" asked Swan and yawned.
"Then you don't get breakfast."
"In that case I suddenly feel energetic -"
"Shiver has your clothes", Sunny informed and Swan looked at the girl who was no longer holding her sheets.
Shiver was waving Swan's t-shirt and shorts in the air, waiting for her to take them. Then she threw them and the newcomer caught them in mid-air, stepping closer to the black curtains. "Thanks", she thanked Shiver for the clothes.
"Huh?" Shiver tilted her head in confusion.
"Thanks for handing me these clothes...?" Swan raised an eyebrow. Why was the skeleton so confused?
"Oh, I was actually trying to throw them though the basket, but you're welcome!" Shiver said and smiled widely.
"Wait, you were playing basketball with my - ?"
"Guys! We don't have time for this. We're in a hurry!" Shivy shouted while tapping her foot on the floor.
Geez, I wonder if it's that bad to be late from breakfast...
Swan changed as swiftly as she could. At the second she was ready Shivy dragged her out of the room, muttering something under her breath. Swan decided it was best if she didn't know what the blonde was thinking about her.
When the two got out of the dorms, Shivy started to run, never loosening the grip she had on Swan's wrist. The newcomer stumbled after the camper as she ran to the Tavern.
The day was warmer than the day before, but the sky was as cloudy. The camp was actually very organized, now that Swan could see it in the daylight.
She couldn't scan over the area for long before they were at the door of the Tavern. There was a figure standing in front of it, looking pretty chill.
"You're actually in time, woah", the figure - who happened to be Flo - stated.
"All thanks to Shivy", Swan replied and massaged her aching legs, although they only ran a short distance. She still wasn't completely recovered from her escape.
"I tried to be responsible", Shivy admitted proudly.
"Great, the food's on the counter, take what ya want", Flo told them and turned to talk to Sunny and Shiver who came just after Shivy and Swan. Swan didn't have time to hear what they were saying before Shivy dragged her inside.
The Tavern was as homely as before, but it was brighter because of the daylight. Somehow the atmosphere was more relaxed too.
Shivy immediately started to search for something to eat.
"Hmm, this morning I'm gonna take a - Fallen! Hey, Fallen, I just realized something you'd be interested about!" the blonde had noticed her friend near a side table and ran over to her.
And just like that, Swan was left alone.
Well isn't this great. Thank you, Shivy.
But of course it wasn't Shivy's fault that Swan was now alone. She simply went to her friend, Swan should make other friends by herself and she knew that. Huffing, she just decided to not to care and stepped closer to the counter, looking for something to eat.
There was two kinds of bread, a few fruits, vegetables and a crooked-looking water pot. Swan decided to go with the more orange bread and an apple. She filled her plate and looked for a place to sit.
Suddenly Swan felt awkward standing there. The day before she had been so confident while arguing with the boss. She definitely didn't feel so anymore. She was back to her less social self.
She could go to sit by Shivy and Fallen, but they seemed to be talking about something very important and Swan didn't want to interrupt.
There wasn't many other people she could go to. The newcomer didn't know any of them well and just bluntly going to sit by someone did not fit her style. Swan was starting to get worried, she couldn't just eat and stand there or should she become a loner again?
Suddenly an idea popped to her head.
Swan had talked to Dew and Breezey before! Maybe - just maybe - she could go to them. Quickly she searched the Tavern with her eyes for the two girls. The brunette noticed Dew sitting on the couch with a few girls and a boy, but Breezey was nowhere to be seen. Swan wondered if she actually should go to them.
Okay, Swan. You've got this. Your whole life has leaded you to this point, now is time to show the world what you can do.
Swan took a deep breath and walked closer to their table. She tried to be as normal as she could, knowing she said weird things when she got awkward. When she was near the table, she called out:
"Hey, Dewie-Dewie! Can I sit with you guys?"
And what on Earth was that nickname.
"Oh, of course! Come here", Dew responded and smiled.
She did not even question the nickname.
Swan planted her butt right next to Dew, looking at the others sitting there with her. She knew that the girl in the black hoodie was Wavey, but couldn't identify the others.
"Flamey and Birchy, this is Swan", Dew introduced the newcomer.
"Who on Earth is Swan?" Flamey marveled - no, shouted - and stared at the newcomer weirdly.
"Hey, I'm Swan, I'm on Earth!"
Gotta be the weirdest thing I've ever said. Wow, I feel so awkward right now. Maybe if I scream 'spider!' they turn their heads and I can run away...
"Hi, Swan-on-Earth, nice to meet you", Flamey mocked jokingly. Swan sighed in relief when she understood the boy was only making fun of her.
"She's the newcomer", Wavey specified. The other girl Swan didn't recognize - a blonde - smiled a slight smile at her and speaked:
"Hey, I'm Birchy. Things you need to know about me are I don't like Severus Snape. Well, that's the only thing you need to know."
"Ookaayy... That's a character from a book", Swan stated, slightly confused.
"They aren't only 'book characters'. They're way more than that! A part of someone's limitless imagination - !"
"Yeah, I get it. At least I think I did..."
"You know that book series, right?" Icy - whose presence Swan didn't even notice - inquired.
"I do, I read it back in the City", Swan answered and started stuffing her bread in her mouth.
"One of the only things I dislike here at the camp is the lack of books", Birchy pointed out.
"And no chocolate!" Dew noted.
"Come on guys, I agree I miss reading books, but isn't surviving enough? And we have each other", the food boss queried.
"It is, I'm not complaining, but we can still miss those old days..." sighed Dew and bit a piece of her bread.
"Wait, you remember things that happened in the City? You remember your past life?" Swan's eyes were wide, she didn't expect anyone to remember.
"I do, I never lost my memory in the first place", Icy said, sipping her drink.
"Oh right, you were one of the founders!" the newcomer realized.
"Yep, but despite that I don't recall everything. Most parts, yes, but things are starting to fade. I think the explosion did something temporary to my brain and memory, too."
"But you remember your family?" Swan asked, hesitant to dig up the sensitive subject.
"My family... Yes, I think..." Icy's eyes stared at nothing and she completely zoned out.
"What about you? Have some of your memories come back?" Swan asked, turning to the others, still eating her bread.
"Some parts have, but I don't think I recall as much as Icy does", told Dew.
"I remember quite a lot. I'm pretty sure I can even picture our home in my mind." Wavey's words were muffled by her chewing.
"You remember so much while I hardly recollect anything. I do remember the amount of people in my family but their names and appearances are covered with mist", Flamey said, taking large bites of his fruit.
"How about you, Swan? What do you remember?" Birchy questioned the newcomer.
Swan was startled a bit. What did she remember, if anything? She hadn't tried recalling her life yet. "I don't know..." she quietly said.
"Try closing your eyes and going back to the days when you were still a happy citizen", Wavey suggested and surprised Swan with her cleverness.
Swan closed her eyes and tried to reach out to her past life. The blankness before her eyes was somewhat familiar; not as heavy as the darkness she saw when she blacked out in the Forest, but yes, it did hold something she knew in itself.
She tried imagining pictures of her family, friends, home, school; anything. Every time she thought she recalled some little strand of her past, she tried chasing after it in the labyrinth of her mind, but all the pieces of memories were as slippery as soap. They ran out of her reach, jeering at her while doing so. Each time she struggled hard to get those flashbacks back to her head, but unfortunately she was lacking success.
She gave up randomly running after distant memories and began to do proper search. At first she focused on the familiar blackness. Why was it so familiar? Where did she experience such calming pitch black darkness?
Suddenly it hit her like a semi-truck hits people in death generators.
She remembered something...
"Get your lazy butt here you stupid little girl!" a female voice squawked loudly. A brunette approached the source of the command, her hands shaking in fear. The image of the person - a female - who yelled at the younger girl was blurry, covered in the mist of amnesia. However, the person had a powerful vibe which was notably daunting.
The girl shivered in fear as her commander stepped closer and her unrecognizable, ugly face scrunched in disgust. The frightening female grabbed the girl's hair harshly and pulled her along, not paying any attention when the girl whimpered in pain.
The person dragged her target with her until they reached a big heavy door. The torturer opened it with ease and pushed the girl in. She stumbled down the few stairs before the female dug her nails on the brunette's skin and tugged her against a wall.
The girl let out groan when her back hit the wall roughly. Her captor glared at her and took a key out of her pocket. In a second heavy chains were locked around the girl's wrists. She didn't fight back, just fell strenghtlessly on the cold floor.
The scary woman stepped away from the girl and started to walk around the big room, scanning every millimeter with her mad eyes. The girl watched her carefully, eyeing the other unrecognizable creatures in the same room. It was hard to see if they were even humans; the light was very dim.
After squinting her eyes for a moment, the girl realized she wasn't the only one in the situation. Her terrible case wasn't special at all! The room had many other people in it too, chained to the wall. People with horror in their minds, scratches on their body and scars on their souls.
The torturer had finished her checkup and was now exiting. She climbed up the stairs and opened the door. The girl knew that once the criminal was out, the prisoners would be greeted with a moment of peace, have their little amount of daily calmness without their conscienceless captor. They'd be resting in relaxing darkness for a short time, but it felt like heaven. They could finally sleep.
The woman closed the heavy door slowly behind her. All the tiny amount of light escaped the room when the door was shut. The last ray of light hit the girl's face and it was visible for a short moment.
It was Swan's own face.
Swan snapped out of her trance, breathing heavily.
What the heck was that?
Surely it couldn't be a memory from her home.
And who were the others? Who was the woman? What was it all about?
"You ok, Swan?" Dew asked, tapping Swan's shoulder. Swan looked at the others on her table, her eyes wide.
Everyone seemed to be worried.
"You were zoned out for at least ten minutes. What happened?" Wavey questioned, waving her hand in front of Swan's face.
"I - I remembered something!" Swan exclaimed, glancing at the campers' expressions.
"There was a room. A dark room. There were people in it. And a woman - a scary one too - who kept everyone as prisoners! I couldn't see their faces, but I'm sure I was there. Maybe some of you were too!"
Nobody said anything, they just stared at Swan with wide eyes.
"Wow", Icy broke the silence.
"That's honestly -" Birchy began. "Creepy", Flamey finished.
They seemed to have tensed up.
"It might've been just my imagination though", the newcomer reassured.
It still felt real...
"There might be some kind of sense behind it. I need to talk to Flo about this -" Icy muttered.
Suddenly Dew let out a surprised cry.
"Guys! I think I just realized something related to Swan's memory, I might -"
"SWAN! You've eaten? The tour's about to begin!"
Of course Flo had to interrupt Dew.
"Yes!" Swan yelled back to her - although she hadn't finished her breakfast - and shot up from her seat.
"Thanks for the company!" she called out and sprinted over to the boss.
"Ready for the tour?" Flo asked. "As ready as I can be", Swan answered.
"But promise you won't argue with me all the time", Flo demanded, but she was smiling slightly.
"I won't.... too much", Swan smirked and Flo rolled her eyes playfully.
"Who's my guide?" Swan continued, looking around the Tavern.
"I was about to guide you myself, but then I decided it's best if I let others join. You need to get to know everyone", Flo explained.
"But... That's actually pretty smart. Who are you and what have you done to Flo?" the newcomer raised an eyebrow.
"Ha ha, very funny. Now come, the others are waiting outside."
The brunette followed her new boss and stepped outside of the Tavern. There were a few people standing there, waiting for the two.
"I'll repeat the names in case you forgot, I'm not sure what your intelligence level is", Flo began and started to point at the people one by one. "Darky, Fallen, Robbie, Darkie, Wistep, Breezey and Blue."
Oh great, double Darky. I must be really careful now.
"Hi Swan! I'm Blue. Welcome!" a girl with thick dirty blonde hair came closer to Swan and smiled widely. A bit too widely, Swan wondered if she had something else than her smile on her face.
"I would've met you yesterday unless BIRCHY wouldn't have spilled Icy's precious spice collection on the floor and we had to cover the damage -" Blue explicated, before stopping and staring at the Tavern door in horror.
"Wait. What did you do?" Icy demanded. She was looking serious, but by no means mad.
Blue gulped loudly.
"I mean - It was - We accidentally - IT WAS BIRCHY!"
Blue glanced around trying to find the 'guilty' so she could point at her.
"Calm down. I'm not mad. I guess I'm just a little disappointed, but hey, it was an accident. No harm done", Icy reassured and patted Blue on her shoulder. The girl let out a deep sigh.
"But I feel guilty, I'm so sorry! You spent a long time searching for those spices -"
"Don't worry, I can always find more."
Then the two hugged to make a reconciliation.
Wow, Icy's so calm. I would've thrown Blue to the river.
"Alright, now this cute moment is over, can we begin the tour?" Flo sighed, tapping her foot on the ground.
Icy straightened her shirt. "Yes, sorry. I just came to tell you that Sunny -"
Flo looked a tiny bit annoyed.
"Sunny? Don't tell me she spilled out more secrets -"
Icy's eyes widened and she shushed loudly. "Shhhhhh! Just come inside for a second."
Flo sighed, but obeyed. "Alright. You guys begin the tour, I'll be back in a few."
I wonder what's going on... Sunny seems like a person who doesn't want to cause trouble, so what has she done?
After the two entered the Tavern, Wistep clapped her hands. "Okay. Where should we start?" the ravenette said.
"The beach?" Robbie suggested.
"Good idea! Let's go", Breezey started to lead their way through the glade.
"You have a private beach?" the newcomer asked Wistep, she seemed nice.
"I guess you can say that. There's a river and we get our water there and - well, soon you'll see", the ravenette answered and quickened her pace to catch up with Breezey.
Swan eyed her surroundings. She had already seen the houses and soon she'd get to know them closer, so she didn't pay much attention to them. They crossed the sandy glade and the view to girls' dorm was broken with trees.
"That's the kitchen", Darky - or Darkie, Swan wasn't sure - noted and pointed at a - surprise surprise - wooden house on the left.
Before Swan could reply, another voice interjected them. "This is where the Path starts and it leads us to the Beach", Fallen told the newcomer.
The Path wasn't sandy; it was awfully muddy. The long blades of grass tickled her legs and she wished she had escaped in longer pants. The brunette was terribly afraid of ticks at that moment.
The walks was silent. Only the rasping sound their shoes made was heard. Swan observed the tall trees around her. She identified pines, spruces and birches, not else. She just wasn't that good at biology.
Swan realized she hadn't seen any animals yet. Not even birds, if she remembered correctly. The newcomer decided to question the closest camper, who happened to be one of the double Darkies.
"Um, Darkyy-ee?" she tapped the shoulder of the girl with chestnut hair. She turned around immediately.
"Darky at your service."
So the chestnut is Darky. Got it.
"Erm, I was wondering if there's any animals here?"
"Of course! You just don't see them very often. Mostly we see squirrels and common birds, like magpies and sparrows. Near the river there's waterfowls. Sometimes we see hedgehogs or voles, rarely even foxes and raccoon dogs!" Darky listed, counting with her fingers.
"Thanks, you really pay close attention to -"
"Yep! No problem, always happy to help. Just ask me!" the camper finished the conversation.
Suddenly everyone stopped.
"We're here", Fallen informed and Swan stepped forward to see the view.
The first thing she saw was an extremely tall cliff behind the river. There was no beach on the opposite shore, only the steep, displeasing cliff.
The river was pretty wide. It looked beautiful in the daylight, shining like thousands of crystals. The water was clear, but it floamed a lot. Although the flow was probably very fast, the foam looked soft, like clouds or the beard of Santa Claus. It'd be impossible to swim across that river.
Soft, pale sand felt nice under Swan's shoes. She resisted the urge to throw her tennis shoes away and run closer to the river.
"This is where we get our water from. The bottom of the River is full of rocks so sand doesn't mix up with the water", Breezey explained.
"See those houses? The one on your right is the laundry house. We do our laundry there", Fallen continued.
"Usually doing your laundry means you take off your clothes, put on something temporary and then wash your own stuff by yourself. We don't have many spare clothes so after you're done you basically just sit there, waiting for them to dry. On the other hand, having a shift in the laundry house means washing the pajamas and towels and so on", Robbie lectured.
"And you have soap?"
"Kinda. It's some kind of thing Moss and Lily made of plants", told Darkie.
"And that on your left is the wash house", Wistep informed.
"Wait, 'wash house'? That name's unbelievable lame", Swan blurted, a little rudely.
"We know. What sounds better then? 'Shower house'?" Wistep raised an eyebrow.
"Why does that 'house' have to be at the end of every name -"
"It's a tradition. We don't have many rules or things we follow, but that's kind of one of the 'traditions', along with the fact we don't hunt."
"Why don't you hunt, where did that rule come from? I mean - I get it, I definitely wouldn't kill off some animals just like that, but for example, there's plenty of edible birds", Swan said and pointed at two geese on the waterfront.
"You'd eat geese?" Darky asked, raising her eyebrow.
"If I was starving, yes. But my question was: where did the rule of not killing anything came from?" Swan inquired and looked at everyone.
"Well, you understood we don't want to kill, but we don't also want to become targets", Fallen explained.
"Targets?" Swan was confused.
"Look at those two geese. What if they attack us if we kill their friend? What's even worse, what if they unite and come after us?" Fallen gasped at her thoughts.
Swan raised her eyebrows really high. "Unite? Geese unite? Like what, a Goose Army? That's... ridiculous."
"You never know about geese..." Fallen mumbled.
"Hey girls, stop that fowlshaming and let's move on. We were talking about the wash house", Breezey interjected.
"Yes sir! So, the wash house is the place where we freshen up. Usually on every other day, which means today is girls' turn, but if you're feeling sweaty you can go there without a turn. You just take your own water inside and use the same 'soap' as in the laundry house", Blue lectured and played with her ponytail.
"Questions?" Darky asked and looked at Swan. "Not at the moment", the newcomer answered.
"Great. We've seen the Beach now so let's get back to Camp", Darky continued and leaded the group back to the Forest.
The Path felt much shorter now that Swan had used it before. She couldn't even take a good look at the trees before they were already standing at the edge of the Camp. Fallen took the lead and walked to their right, to the kitchen.
Fallen stopped in front of the house ruled by Icy and turned around. "Alright, Swan, do you want to take a closer look at the kitchen? Wanna go inside?"
"Is there anything to see?"
Fallen tapped her chin. "Hm, old pans and pots, places to do fires on, leftovers, water buckets, dry ingredients, cabinets..."
"In that case, I don't feel the need to."
"You'll take a good look on the interiors once you have a shift there with Icy", Wistep said and her tone was a bit... warning?
"Are the shifts nice? How's Icy as a commander?"
"Just wait and you'll see", Robbie's face glowed mischievousness.
"They can't be bad. Icy seems calm and friendly."
"Pfft, come on guys. That's not funny; I doubt Icy turns into a monster in the kitchen."
Darkie lowered her voice. "That's what the innocent newcomers think before..."
A moment of silence which was filled with intense staring was experienced.
"Boo!" Breezey shouted behind Swan, hitting her shoulders. Swan jumped in surprise. The campers started laughing.
"That was not funny", Swan muttered.
"Don't worry, only thing you will have to beware is the hair", smiling Darkie said while tapping Swan's shoulder in a friendly way.
"What do you mean? 'The hair'?" Swan was extremely bewildered.
"No, it's the hair", Darkie corrected.
Swan frowned. "What is it?" she repeated.
"When you're at the kitchen shift you usually have to keep an eye on the food... In case of the hair. Picking every strand of it from the food is tiring, but very rewarding."
"Trust me, you don't want any hair in your food. Especially when it's green", Breezey noted.
Swan's mouth formed an 'O'. "I think I got what you mean. Why don't you have hairnets?"
Breezey looked at her like she had just told a ridiculous joke.
"Moving on. See that building halfly covered by trees? There's the boys' dorms", Wistep continued the tour and began walking.
Swan saw the house, although the view was almost blocked by tall spruces. It looked just like the girls' dorms. She nodded.
"Wanna visit?" Wistep tilted her head.
"If it's exactly like the girls' dorms, then I don't need to."
"Actually, I've never been inside the boys' dorms", Wistep confessed. "Me neither", Fallen and Blue agreed and the case was same with the rest too.
"What? Why?" Swan asked curiously.
"It's their kingdom. A no-go area. Private luxury."
"Blue is right. They never let us in! Remember when we tried to barge in from the window?" Wistep asked the other campers.
"Yep, and the secret passage we tried to dig. Too bad they were prepared..." Fallen mumbled and slightly glared at the dorms.
"We've heard many rumours about that place though. The most plausible one of them tells they have an own unicorn", Blue continued.
If the most plausible one includes a unicorn... I don't want to hear the rest.
The group began walking again and passed the boys' dorms. Swan stared carefully at the plastic windows, in case there was something vomiting rainbows inside.
"That small room right in front of us is the boys' WC", Robbie told and pointed forwards.
"And the same-looking thing behind it is the girls' WC. Go ahead and try", Darky said, smirking.
"Um, later", Swan murmured awkwardly.
"Inside the WC there's a spare toothbrush for you too", Robbie noted.
"Toothbrush? You have toothbrushes?"
"Yep, although they were the hardest part to find... Flo already thought of toothbrushes made of grass and sticks!" Darkie giggled.
"Hope you don't mind a little used toothbrush", Wisep laughed.
Swan grimaced, and there was only one word in her mind: ew.
"Hey peeps! You visited the Beach already?" a voice suddenly yelled behind them.
The voice belonged to Flo.
"We did", Darkie responded. Flo came closer, and she was accompanied by Kinky and Goldi.
"I took these two with me so they don't cause trouble."
The two glared at their boss.
"Just kidding! They were doing nothing so I thought they need to join." Flo glanced at everyone. "We're continuing?"
"Yeah. Swan, when we go a little forward we see a house almost fully covered by trees", Blue said and the group moved on.
When they were in front of it, Swan wondered: "What's it's name?"
"The choice house", Goldi replied.
"Choice house? That's just... horrible."
"Don't diss! I made up the names with very much effort!" Flo cried out dramatically.
"You made up the names? Oh... That explains the quality", Swan smiled evilly.
"I'm considering hard right now whether to throw you to the River or not", Flo answered with a smug face. Swan was about to open her mouth and say something, but Kinky stopped her. "Let's just explain to her what the choice house is", she said.
"Right. Do you make your 'important choices' there?" Swan turned to Kinky, her voice a little mocking.
"Um, no. The name is 'choice house' because it changes it's purpose when we need it to. It's like an extra place", told Kinky.
"Very interesting..." Swan mumbled.
"There's nothing to see inside, it's like a warehouse for furniture and stuff", Goldi explained.
Then the group kept on strolling. They approached another building, and Swan remembered she had been inside it. It was the medicine house.
Moss was sitting on the ground in front of the door, examining something carefully. She had something on her hands, but Swan couldn't see it because Moss had her back facing the group.
"Heya Moss!" Flo called out to a fellow founder.
The healer jumped, looking terribly startled and stared at the campers with wide eyes. She quickly hid the object in her hands behind her back.
"O-oh hi! Um, on a tour?" the blonde asked.
"Yep, although Swan has already visited this house", said the boss.
"R-right. Hey Swan, I hope you enjoy the tour", Moss greeted, but she didn't even turn her head to the newcomer. What was making her so nervous?
"Flo, I have something to show you, just a second..." Moss whispered and leaded Flo behind the corner. Flo signaled that she'd be back soon.
I wonder what they're talking about...
But before the newcomer could inch towards the corner, Fallen stopped her and began lecturing.
"We kinda explained what medicine house is for and you know what's inside, rooms for our 'medicine' and patients. You might wonder where Lily is today. She went to the Forest to find some plants. Not too far so it's not dangerous, don't worry. You will visit the Forest soon too, Flo has it all planned out -"
Swan toned her ears off and slowly backed away from Fallen, towards the same corner that had the seniors hiding behind it. Nobody noticed since they were all chatting happily about who knows what. When Swan was so close to the two's spot that she could hear them, she stopped and listened. She couldn't look at them so she stared at gabbing Fallen, but she didn't see, only her ears were working...
"Oh, my god, Moss. This is absolutely - Gosh."
That was Flo's voice.
"I know! Oh, Flo, what do we do now?"
It was Moss, and she was panicking. Hard.
"I don't know", Flo admitted, and Swan heard shuffling, like she had run her hand through her hair nervously.
Moss bemoaned quietly before continuing:
"I found it not far from our camp! We're in -"
What did she find? The thing she had in her hands before?
"I need to discuss this with the others. Just be quiet about this; if anybody finds out about this, it causes a huge wave of panic!"
Flo's statement caused shivers to run down Swan's spine.
"Got it. I will tell Lily though -"
What Moss was about to say stayed as a mystery to Swan because of Fallen.
"Hey! Are you listening? What are you doing there anyways?" the girl asked, confused.
"Nothing! Will we continue? It seems like Flo needs a moment.."
"Works for me!" Goldi interjected.
"Hey Flo! We're moving on!" Kinky called out to the boss and the campers kept on touring.
"That lil' house you see in front of us is the rogue house", Breezey said after a moment of silent walking.
"Rogue house?" Swan questioned, frowning in confusion.
"It's the place where the newcomers stay when they're first found. The healers treat them there", Robbie explained.
"Huh? I wasn't in the rogue house!" Swan realized, even more confused.
"That's right", Robbie realized and looked at the others, searching for an answer.
"Ahem, Flo told me the reason for this. She said you're the last one to come and was pretty sure about it, so she saw no need to lock you to the rogue house", Wistep explicated very knowingly.
"I still don't get it..." Swan muttered.
Wistep took a deep breath. "Look, when a new camper is found we take them to the rogue house where they get their private room. They are healed by Moss and Lily if they have injuries and overall stay there a week. So, during that time we keep our eyes on the newcomer to see if they're dangerous or something like that. In our case, Flo thought you're the last one and not able to cause much harm."
"So Flo didn't think I'm able to perturb. Should I be offended or grateful?" Swan raised her eyebrow. "I think I'm grateful, phew; you did not put me in quarantine!" she finished and chuckled.
"The rogue house is kinda vain now. We'll see what Flo decides to do for it", Darkie remarked.
The next - and final - stop was the warehouse. It had a nice and peaceful, tree-covered corner behind the rogue house. The building sure was big, it must've needed a lot work to build it. And getting all the materials from the borders must have taken a while.
Breezey walked over to the building and knocked the wall. "Here's the warehouse. This is where we keep our foos."
Swan furrowed her eyebrows. "What did you say?" she questioned.
"I said we keep our food here", Breezey repeated, raising her eyebrow.
I swear, this place is making me hear things!
"We keep our food fresh with ice that can be found near the River. Of course we never fish more than we need. Vegetables and fruits and other stuff we have here don't have to be kept cold", informed Darky.
"It's annoying to have ice getting shift and fetch the ice from the River, especially when it melts so fast", Blue added. The campers agreed with her.
"This was it, Swan. You've seen the whole camp now", Fallen announced.
"Thanks for the tour! I must say, your camp is very organized. You've literally solved every problem you could have!" Swan exclaimed, impressed by the cleverness of the campers. They started to make their way back to the Tavern.
"Many thanks to Flo and the senior members", Goldi gave the credit.
"How did you realize all the ways to overcome the troubles? What's your secret?" Swan asked Darkie while walking.
"Our motto is to go with the Flo."
"Oh so you just casually do what others do -"
"No, we go with the Flo, not flow. Flo pretty much decides everything with the seniors."
"Does that mean Flo bosses you around? She said she isn't any more important than the others, but from what I've heard she seems to be a queen."
Darkie shook her head. "No no no! She ain't a dictator. She just takes the biggest burden, discusses stuff the senior members and newer ones too. Makes stuff happen."
Darkie's other half appeared. "Many of the others have their own roles too which they're responsible of. For example, Frosty is in charge of fishing and all stuff involving that. There's plenty of people who help Icy in the kitchen very often, like Sunny, Shivy, Fallen, Robbie, Shiver, Maple and Goldi. Some of them master baking and some of them just enjoy to be in the kitchen."
"Alright. Oh and by the way, Shiver told me yesterday that this is the Blogclan camp."
"Correct", Darky said.
"But she never told me why that's the name."
Darkie looked at her namesake. "One of the senior members made it up. They got inspiration of a book series they read back in the City. The series is called 'Soldier Kitties'."
"I've read Soldier Kitties! It's a good series", commented Swan.
"We have too! I think everyone here has, though", Darky pointed out.
"We're all book worms and we also loved internet..." Darkie sighed at her memories.
They were already standing in front of the Tavern. The group stepped back to the Tavern. Some of the campers weren't there anymore, probably doing some shifts.
"SWAN (insert heart-shape eyes emoji and many exclamation points here)!" a familiar voice yelled.
It was Sunny, who came from the corner table where she had sat with Flo, Moss, Shiver and Icy. Flo sure was a quick one to change her places.
"How did you like the camp?" Sunny asked and smiled widely.
"It was cool! I think I might be able to enjoy my time here", Swan replied and returned the smile.
"You sure will! We're like one big family!"
The other seniors stood up from the table. Moss, Flo and Icy headed out but Shiver came closer.
"It's gonna be spooky!" she said to Swan.
Not this skeleton thing again...
"Your time here! It's gonna be spooky!" she repeated.
"What do you mean by 'spooky'? I'm going to see ghosts?"
"No, with spooky I mean... spoooOoooOooky."
That totally explains it...
"Yep, I hope I have really spooky time here", Swan muttered mockingly, a little irritated. However Shiver didn't notice anything.
After that they sat around a big table in the middle and began chatting. There was many people, the ones from the tour, Sunny and the skeleton, healer 2.0 aka Lily, Frosty the fish boss and others. It was really nice, everyone seemed to be very friendly and caring. Swan though that maybe - just maybe - she could someday call the place her home.
Maybe, she could grow fond of the campers and enjoy her time there.
Maybe, she could get used to the life and jobs they had there.
Maybe, she could live there in complete peace, as great as the one in Harmonia.
She hoped so. She believed so.
But of course, that couldn't happen.
It was already proven by the next morning.
Chapter three Edit
"Oh my god! Oh my, oh my gosh. Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!"
That's a nice sound to wake up to.
"God, I don't understand! This is - horrible!"
"We need to go right now. Someone wake Swan up."
"How? You remember how hard it was yesterday? Wait, Shiver, throw her to the floor!"
"Like right now? Isn't it kind of rude?"
"Since when have you thought about that? Then scare her! Think of a creepy meme! Do something you're good at!" one of the people was starting to get anxious.
"How to scare her? '''Being spooky doesn't mean I'm actually spooky!"
Someone let out a long, stressed sigh. "ARGH!"
A third voice joined the converstation. "Shush! No need to be complicated, just doing this works..."
Cold hands grabbed Swan's shoulders and shook her furiously. Swan's eyes shot open.
Sunny was staring at her, and her face looked horrified.
"What's going on?" Swan mumbled and sat up straight.
The three campers stared at the newcomer and they all seemed somehow shaken. It was silent for a second before Shivy spoke:
"Something has happened."
Swan gulped nervously.
"Is it bad?" she asked nervously.
"We'll see. Now dress up, quickly! We're needed elsewhere", Shivy commanded.
Wow, in this place you really gotta learn to do your morning routines in a millisecond...
She put her clothes on with a ninja method and in a minute they were already running out of the dorms.
"Someone explain me now, what's happening?" Swan shouted after the running campers, trying to keep up with the speed.
Shiver turned her head. "Kitchen. Something happened in the -"
Shiver's sentence ended with a loud gasp.
Everyone stopped in an instant. They stared in horror.
The kitchen was terribly mangled.
There was big, deep clawprints on every wall. They were as long as Swan's arm and as wide as her palm.
Icy was standing in front of her beloved kitchen, pulling her hair in every direction. Flo and Moss were behind her, not hiding their fear very well. Other campers had gathered around the kitchen too.
Darky appeared behind Swan and gasped in horror. "Oh my, Hamilton!"
"No, you mean 'Oh my Once Upon A Time'", Blue corrected.
"Ahem, for your information -" Darky was cut off by Minty and her demand for the two to take it easy.
Darky sighed. "Minty is right. We need to be more chill. We've got worse problems now", she said and Blue nodded.
Swan pondered if she should step closer and investigate. She really wanted to see the damage closely, but she was just a newcomer. The founder members probably wouldn't let her very close, just because she wants to 'see what has happened'.
"Flo!" Sunny yelled and ran to the boss.
Wow, there's just one word to describe how Flo looks right now - a goose. Wait what I meant to think 'horrified'. Gosh, those geese from yesterday might've really damaged my brain... What if Fallen was right about their revenge!
Swan shook her head, annoyed with herself.
What on Earth am I thinking! Swan, what are you? An idiot? Focus, this is important! Wait, am I talking to myself now? But I'm thinking and not talking... Wow, I really have to stop now, I'm confusing myself.
Swan snapped out of her thoughts just to see Flo running her fingers lightly over the cuts on the wall. Other senior members were around her too, Icy was still pulling her hair, Sunny trying to cheer everyone up and Moss looked too shocked to do anything. Shiver was shivering. The non-seniors were circling around the kitchen, muttering in disbelief.
Not caring if the founders didn't want her close, Swan approached them. Luckily nobody told her off. Swan tapped Icy's shoulder. "Any clues on what's going on?"
Icy pulled her hair even harder. "Not at all! I'm usually calm but this kind of thing makes me rip my hair off! I think I've already lost all of my hair", she sighed and let go of her brown hair.
Well, it will take a liiittle longer to pull all of that hair off your head...
"Can I help?" Swan asked. Icy shrugged. "Sure, we need all the help we can get. I warn you, there's no clues, but gotta be optimistic!" She smiled a slight smile, a little sadly.
Swan nodded and moved over to Flo, who was observing the clawprints and muttering something under her breath. She clearly wasn't happy.
"Hey Flo, can I offer a helping hand?"
Flo turned around, not looking like she wanted someone to distract her at the moment.
Flo sighed heavily. "Your hand? We have enough hands. Well, enough nails anyway. You see these clawprints? They are HUGE. Do you have any idea what has done this?"
"Of course you don't. Okay, so listen carefully. I don't want others to hear but - the monsters! They've done this! They came to our camp last night!"
'I don't want others to hear'. I practically saw the exclamation marks, Flo. And isn't it pretty self-evident anyway.
Despite her thoughts, shivers ran down Swan's spine. It was fightening - the monsters! They had been in their camp! Why did they destroy the kitchen, though? What was the reason?
Unfortunately, those questions stayed as mysteries.
"T-There's absolutely no clues?" Swan continued asking, now more scared. There had to be something!
Flo's answer was simple. "No."
The ravenette continued observing by beginning to walk around the house. The other campers followed her, bemoaning while doing so. Swan didn't go after them. She needed to take a look at the clawprints.
The cuts were unbelievable. Unnaturally long and deep, they were something you did not want to see when you first woke up. Their scariness unbearable, like their pure existence could darken the already clouded sky.
Swan shivered. She took a step closer and examinated the clawprints carefully. The brunette lifted her hand to touch them. For some reason, she hesitated. What if there were poison in the cuts?
No, Flo touched them and she was still alive. At least a minute ago.
Confidently Swan brushed her fingers over the cuts. They felt like they were cut with a knife; that's how clean they were. The edges were sharp and not rough, although there was a little coarseness that proved that the cuts weren't made by a human.
'Not made by a human', geez this is getting creepy!
The next thing the newcomer did was not giving up. After not finding clues on the cuts she examinated the other part of the wall. Still not spotting anything, she got frustated.
It seems like Flo and Icy were right.... Absolutely nothing useful here!
Swan grunted and glared at the clawprints.
Those stupid clawprints couldn't even leave a single clue! I'd suppose that with those huge claws they would leave some kind of tracks - wait. Claws? Tracks? What if the Monsters have claws on their feet? They'd leave big tracks!
Excitingly Swan observed the ground, looking for any kind of footprints. Nothing was seen near the kitchen, but the newcomer didn't get discouraged. If there had been tracks near the kitchen, the others would have seen them. The footprints - if there were any - must've been further.
Swan started to think carefully.
Okay, so the biggest clawmarks are on this side wall. The others have been clawed too but not this hard. What could this mean? Maybe the monsters - or monster, no idea how many visited the Camp - came from that side and clawed the first thing they saw! Maybe then they realised they could destroy the other walls too and that's why the other cuts aren't that deep! Wow, what a smartie I am. This makes sense only if the monsters didn't plan their attack or chose their target at random. Maybe they don't even have brains. I gotta test this theory!
Swan studied the area with her eyes. Where the tresspassers could possibly have come from? Left or right or the other left or right...
There was faint prints on the ground a little further away from the kitchen. Their shape was weird and sharp-edged.
And they definitely weren't made by humans.
Getting interested, Swan sprinted over to them, behind the back corner of the house. The others had disappeared somewhere, but the newcomer was too excited to care. She was very glad that she noticed something.
When she looked at the footprints closer, she realised they weren't any animal's she knew. They were so near to the trees that their shape was clear in the mud. Mud covered the edges of the grassy camp, and at that moment it was very useful.
Following the tracks into the woods, Swan understood she couldn't go very far by herself. Expect for the time she was running for her life she had never been in the Forest.
I can't go by myself or I get lost, I have to tell somebody about this.
It was just like she had shouted her thoughts aloud since Maple was calling Swan's name behind the corner.
"Maple? I need everyone here right now! I found something important!" Swan yelled back to the messy haired girl. Her expression turned into a hopeful one and she disappeared.
Swan didn't even have time to shift her gaze back to the muddy ground when a big bunch of campers ran to her direction, looking curious.
"Swan, did you actually -" Flo's sentence cut off when she saw what Swan was pointing at. Her eyes widened.
"Oh my god. These are footprints of a monster!" Minty shrieked. The group of campers gasped loudly. Panic started to spread.
"Let's calm down everyone!" Icy raised her voice, "there's no need to panic. The monsters are gone now and there's no evidence if they're coming back or not. We can rebuild the kitchen and find a solution in case they are coming back, like guarding shifts at night. For now, we need to focus on this problem."
The campers let out a agreeing murmur.
"But we have to know where the Monsters came from! Aren't you even a tiny bit interested in knowing where everything started?" Swan was desperate to know everything that was going on.
Flo shook her head. "What we need to do is focus on the situation. Focus on surviving. We have to start rebuilding - luckily there's spare planks stored in the choice house."
"Come on! This can be the key to solving this whole case!" Why couldn't they understand?
"Swan, you're just a newcomer. Every new camper is desperate for answers, but us older ones have accepted to wait. Just let go, we will understand everything later." Flo's face was serious, she clearly didn't want to argue and cause more problems.
Swan was too stubborn to care.
"If you don't want to go, I can! I'll search for answers meanwhile you rebuild the kitchen."
It's like offering them that I will go to an amusement park and they stay home doing all the work. I should've worded that better...
Flo was about to respond but Icy did it first. "It's too dangerous for anyone. Swan, you have to understand, everyone wants to know what's going on but even if we figure that out, what can we do about it? Blogclan is just a bunch of teenagers trying to survive in the wilderness. I'd love to follow the tracks and kick some monster-butt, but we just have to stick together and fix our own problems. Let it go for now." Icy's voice was soft, but Swan was pretty sure she was also mildly annoyed with her.
Arguing with Icy after the nicely worded speech would've been rude, so Swan shut up. "Alright..." she muttered. She wasn't pleased and planned a protest.
Icy smiled, knowing she had won.
"Great, this is solved. Now everyone who has finished breakfast has to come with me to the choice house and see what we can do with the resources", Flo announced. The campers started to move away.
Swan's feet were glued on the ground. She saw Moss going over to Flo and whispering something to her ear. Flo nodded and said something Swan couldn't hear, but seemed worried. Maybe it had something to do with the healer's discovery?
Swan watched when Lily dragged Moss away from Flo and started to discuss something. Nobody even noticed her staying behind.
Great! Let's see if I can do something...
"Swan, hey! Aren't you coming?" Sunny had stayed behind from the others and seemed to be waiting for her.
Sunny frowned and walked over to Swan. "You're planning something", she stated.
"Pfft, no, of course not! What could I be planning?"
"Running to the Forest."
Swan didn't reply. What if she wanted go? There's nothing bad in that. She was not a prisoner.
Sunny looked worried. "Please don't! It's dangerous. We need you here! What if something bad happens? I would miss you and everyone would too! You are important like everyone else."
Swan snorted. "Don't try to sweet talk me."
"I'm not sweet talking, I'm telling the truth!"
"That's your over-positive truth. I'm not important before I do something important, like finding the Monsters. And I'm doing it now." Swan took a step away from worried-looking Sunny and walked into the Forest, keeping an eye on the footprints.
"If Flo gets to know about this you're doomed!" the camper yelled after her.
"That happens only if you tell her!"
"What if I do it?" Sunny shouted again.
"You won't. You're too nice to do that."
The silence told Swan she had been right.
Focusing on the footprints Swan continued to walk deeper into the twilit forest. The trees curved over her head and created a depressing atmosphere. Shivering, she hoped Sunny had come with her, but didn't look back.
After every step the prints were harder and harder to see. The trampled grass had already taked back its shape, so Swan had to go where brackens seemed cut by claws. It was extremely hard for her, a girl who had zero experience of tracking. Luckily brackens cut by monsterclaws looked pretty weird.
Suddenly she heard a crack. The brunette froze. She shivered in fear.
Someone was after her.
She pondered if she should turn around or not. Maybe she should run? Her heart hammered in her chest.
Swiftly Swan snatched a branch off a nearby spruce and squeezed it in her hands. The needles tingled her palms. All kinds of plans ran in her head.
A louder crack.
Swan jumped around and pointed the stick at her follower. "Hands up! I have a gun!" she screamed and took a tighter grisp on her branch. Her eyes widened when she saw what she was pointing at.
Sunny was standing there, her hands in the air.
"Put it down! That's a scary stick. Please don't kill me with it!" the camper pleaded.
Swan dropped the branch out of her hands. "Sunny?" Her voice was startled.
Sunny nodded. "At your service."
"What are you doing here?"
"I couldn't let you go alone! You don't know this forest. If we die, we die together!" Sunny's voice was more cheerful than it should've been.
"We won't die. This is just a regular coniferous forest. Nothing to be afraid of."
Sunny raised her eyebrows slightly and smiled. "Really? Because from what I saw, you were sneaking around like a scared cat. Yep, nothing to be afraid of."
Swan stuck her tongue out to the girl. "Stalker!" she exclaimed, but started to smile.
Sunny smiled too.
The moment was quickly over. "Alrighty. We have to continue now or we aren't home before everyone starts to get worried. I kinda lost the tracks already so if you know anything about tracking, do your tricks", Swan said.
"We better be home before the dark. Flo will definitely kill us if we get caught. As for the tracking part..." Sunny kneeled down near a bracken with claw-cuts. She examinated it carefully. Swan waited.
Sunny gasped. "Hey! Did you notice this white powder near the bracken?" she asked, looking very confused.
"Yes, there was something white on the footprints too. I don't see anything special in that." Swan was confused.
"Where did it come from? Why there's powder on their footprints? What is it?" Sunny questioned.
Swan shrugged. "Maybe the Monsters have a lot of dandruff."
"Don't you understand? This is a clue! Now we only have to follow the white powder!" Sunny exclaimed and smiled brightly. She stood up and dusted her clothes.
"Why's everyone here so smart?" Swan muttered and followed Sunny, who took the lead, glancing at the ground every two seconds.
They walked in silence for a while. Sunny was too focused to talk and Swan got lost in her thoughts. No matter how much she thought about the problems, she was always left with no answer.
"Look!" Sunny whispered. Swan turned her head to the direction the camper was pointing at.
She saw the River.
"Don't tell me we only got to the River and not further!" Swan groaned. Did she only walk as much as the Path is long?
"No, can you see that building there, on our right? It's the wash house. We've already walked past it! We're making progress!", Sunny informed and smiled happily.
Swan squinted her eyes and yes; she did saw a wooden wall pretty far away from them. Swan remebered clearly the day before when she had used the place for the first time.
"It looks like the monsters followed the River to get to our camp. It means they didn't know where they were going - maybe they had been instructed to follow the River!" Swan realised.
"That's creepy to think about! It'd mean they have - a leader!" Sunny gasped. Swan's eyes widened in realization too. They stared at each other, thinking about the thing they realised, before Sunny shook her head and went back to tracking.
The two began their journey again. They followed the River, but didn't go anywhere near the waterfront. The campers stayed in the woods. The River and its beautiful flow couldn't be seen, only the fresh scent told them they weren't too far from it.
The walk was still silent. Sunny couldn't stop focusing on tracking, and Swan examinated everything around her. She scanned trees, branches, grass, moss, bark - everything. If there was a clue in her surroundings she would find it.
After they had journeyed for about fifteen minutes - that's what Swan estimated - Swan realised they had drifted further from the River. She couldn't smell its scent anymore or hear the quiet noise of splashing water.
Now that she tought of it, they were pretty far from everything. Of course Swan didn't know the place and wasn't sure - plus all the trees looked the same - but there were other hints telling her they were further. The wind sounded different - not that she had that good hearing, the sound of the wind was very notably peculiar. The clouds in the sky seemed way darker too.
She turned to Sunny for answers. "Did you realise we're very far from the River? And the wind and the clouds, everything looks weird", Swan spoke to the brunette ahead of her.
Sunny turned around. "When the distance with the Camp grows, everything starts to look different and odd. Don't worry about it - near the borders the sky is almost black! I don't know why but we haven't seen the sun in months."
Swan frowned in confusion. "What do you mean? You haven't seen the sun in so long?" she asked.
"No idea why! But don't worry, I replace the sun!" Sunny smiled very brightly. Swan couldn't help but laugh.
They kept going and didn't say anything. The two quickened their pace. The two brunettes wanted to find the place and get home as quickly as possible.
Swan was starting to get worried. What if they never found the place where the tracks led? What if they went all the way to the City? Swan shivered.
They walked for what felt like forever. It couldn't be much longer than half an hour, but when you're in a dark, creepy forest looking for monsters time doesn't fly. At all.
Suddenly Sunny stopped like she had faced a wall.
"Look!" she whispered, her voice a little scared. Her index finger - that pointed forward - trembled a bit.
Swan looked over Sunny's shoulder and her jaw dropped.
They had found something.
Swan shook her head in disbelief. Was this the place?
Did they find the place where the Monsters came from?
It looked creepy. Swan understood completely why Sunny had been afraid. The tall trees curved over it, making a somewhat daunting atmosphere. Long, thick vines climbed up the walls.
It was a tall, old silo.
The wooden walls were covered in vines and moss. They looked pretty rotten too. The metal-looking parts were horribly rusted. There was no door, just a thing that looked like a window without glass, and it was very high, near the pointy roof.
"Is this the place?" Swan quietly asked.
"I don't know, but look at how much of that white powder is beside it", the camper responded, observing the silo carefully.
Swan took steps closer.
"Stop! What if it falls down and crushes you? It looks old and rotten!" Sunny warned, trying to stop Swan from walking.
"We need to take a closer look!" Swan argued and kept on moving. She reached the silo and looked up.
It really was tall.
She touched the mossy and greenish wall. It felt wet and disgusting, so Swan pulled her hand away quickly. The whole place smelled sickening, rotten and just plain horrible.
"Come away from it!" Sunny shouted.
Swan shook her head. "No, you come here!"
Sighing, Sunny came closer. "Sometimes I wonder if I'm too nice", she muttered.
Swan laughed. "That's the best part in you!"
She walked around the silo, but there wasn't anything behind it. No door there, or windows. There was no way to get inside. Yet she was sure she needed to go there.
"What do you think, are those vines strong enough to handle my weight?" Swan asked when she got back where Sunny stood.
"Hm, yes, they look pretty steady - wait - don't tell me you're going to climb!"
"It's the only way to go inside."
"Why do you have to go inside?"
"There might be something there!"
Sunny clasped her hands together. "Exactly! How do you know what the 'something' is? It can be a monster, a crazy cat lady, a gigantic goose, a mad scientist who came from the future -"
Swan put her hand on Sunny's mouth. "There's nothing to be afraid of."
"Besides, if you want, you can climb up with me", Swan continued.
"No way! I'm here to catch you."
Swan was pretty sure Sunny couldn't catch her if she fell, but didn't argue.
Sunny tried to convince Swan to keep her feet safely on the ground. "But what if the building brokes? You might die! This silo is old and made of rotten wood!"
"My death won't be made of wood. Now tell me which vines look the strongest."
Hesitantly Sunny pointed at the most big vines. Swan put her hands around the little trunk and pulled. It seemed pretty steady.
Swan had always enjoyed climbing in trees, but she was never very talented in it. She had a slight fear of heights, and the silo was tall. Luckily not too tall, so she wasn't scared. Not yet.
Taking a deep breath, she took a tight grasp. She pulled her body to the air, placing her feet on the biggest vines. Her hands were already sweaty. She started to wonder if she could actually succeed; the task seemed harder with every passing second.
Brushing the doubting thoughts away, Swan took a good grip and began to move upwards. It was easier than she thought. The vine leaves tickled her arms and feet and the hideous smell of putrid made her scrunch her nose in disgust, but there wasn't anything too bad that could stop the brunette from reaching her destination.
After slowly dragging herself from branch to another, she finally made it to the top. The large glassless window was now right next to her - she had to plan how to go through it.
"Be careful!" Sunny shouted from the ground.
Swan placed her body right beside the hole in the wall. Quickly she put one foot in. The vine she was holding onto let out a loud snapping sound. Swan gasped and held on tighter.
Don't look down, don't look down, don't look down...
Another crack - now even louder.
The vine loosened in her hands.
Screaming, Swan jumped inside, hitting her foot that was already there on the floor harshly. She groaned.
"You okay?" Sunny's voice came from the outside. Swan put her head out of the 'window'.
"I'm fine, don't worry! Just a sec and I'm back", she promised, backing away from the window.
She was standing in a dark, big room. No living creatures, no furniture or windows, stairs, boxes - nothing. Only the nasty smell that was unbearable, it made Swan cough. And a huge amount of dust.
She was lucky the floor didn't crash down.
There was so black that Swan could barely see anything. Now she really hoped the sun would come out of the clouds. Maybe there was something she couldn't see, so she started to investigate.
Swan took a couple of steps forward. She waved her hands, hoping they'd touch an interesting thing. Suddenly her foot hit something and she tripped on snow.
At least it seemed like snow.
Swan stood up from the soft whiteness. She dusted herself.
What did I land on? Surely there's no snow here? What did Sunny say again about the things that might be in this silo - did she mention a mad scientist from the future? Could a mad scientist form snow out of nowhere? Wait, is there snow in the future? This could possibly be the scientist's poop too - wait yuck!
Swan snapped out of her thoughts and hit her forehead hard.
Idiot! What are you thinking about again! Focus!
Swan looked at the white thing again. From afar it looked like snow, but when she was close she realised it was - white powder! Just like the one in the footprints!
Oh, more monster dandruff!
Her nose scrunched in disgust.
I was sitting on monster dandruff.
Swan told herself the powder wasn't anything like that. She had to investigate the powder, but didn't know how. Surely she couldn't taste it? She had touched it though - nothing special in that, it was just soft.
But - she could smell it!
Swan kneeled down and took a handful of the powder. She opened and closed her fist, watching as the white, soft thing dripped through her fingers.
It looked harmless. How could a thing like that have anything to do with horrifying monsters? How did it get there at the first place? Why did the tracks lead there? So many questions, not many answers. Screw that - there were no answers.
Not thinking any further Swan shoved her nose close to the powder - so close that the two things almost touched. She took a deep breath, taking in everything the smell could offer.
A sickening stink.
Suddenly the brunette gasped in horror.
She stumbled backwards, gaping for air. The girl held her throat, starting to cough uncontrollably. Her eyes filled with water.
"Swan? Are you alright?" Sunny's worried voice came from the window.
However, Swan couldn't answer. Her lungs refused to work, breathing became harder and harder, the coughing began to get louder and louder...
What happened? What was the powder made of? Thousands of questions ran through Swan's panicking mind.
Her vision started to get blurry from the lack of oxygen. She breathed heavily, trying to get even a bit of air to her lungs. She had to lie on the floor to keep conscious.
This couldn't be the way she would die.
She saw black spots, darkness, the world began to spin.
Suddenly she remembered the last time she thought she'd die.
She was running. From a monster - or monsters. She saw the darkness, the black spots, she remembered the breath on her skin, bruises, the cage, black figures - wait.
Where did she see a cage? What did a cage have to do with her monster escape? Were there a cage in the forest? Was she in a cage? Was the monster in a cage?
Swan couldn't think anymore. Her brain ached in pain. The darkness became heavy - oppressing - it was too much. Her consious was about to fade when a Monster ran out of the black world, growling. Swan screamed on the top of her hurting lungs and closed her eyes, ready for the impact to come.
However, it didn't.
Swan opened her eyes slowly. The darkness she saw just a second ago wasn't there anymore. She breathed heavily, but her lungs felt okay.
She could breath normally!
But - how? What happened?
"Swan!" Sunny's voice was panicking.
Swan stood up. She felt a little giddy, but fine. She was fine.
"I'm okay!" Swan shouted back to Sunny.
Now she had to figure out what on Earth just happened.
She turned to stare at the powder on the floor.
When I smelled that, it smelt really sick. I can't smell that from this far, even though the powder is right next to me. That means the effects happen only if you go really really close.
What are the effects? Hallucinations? The monster sure was one, although it could've been a memory that attacked my brain when I saw the familiar blackness. But what about the coughing? Breathing trouble? That wasn't a hallucination. Maybe the powder just has that kind of effect on people, along with the hallucinations.
Sunny's distant voice came from the outside, snapping Swan out from her thoughts. "Swan! Can you come down from there? I'm starting to worry!"
"Don't worry! I'm coming."
Swan decided to not take any powder with her. It was some kind of drug after all.
She covered her tracks - the footprints - and fixed the powder pile she had touched. Then she leaped out of the window and got out, now using the other side of the silo. No more broken vines for her.
The way down was easier now that she had done it before, just a minute and she was on the ground, standing next to Sunny.
"What on Earth happened? I heard you scream!" Sunny questioned, worriedly.
"Something strange. There was more powder in the empty room, and I smelled it." Swan continued to tell the whole story. She tried to add in every detail, the cage included. Sunny listened carefully.
When Swan had finished, Sunny sighed. "Why's this so complicated!"
"I know right! Mysteries after mysteries. Feels like we're in a story."
"Yes! Right, a story! A fanfic - about - about vampires! What if they're here watching us now?" Sunny twilred around. "Which one is my best side?"
"Both!" Swan laughed.
Sunny giggled too. "Phew, I'm glad we can add jokes to this depressing situation. Like the way we came here, the unrealistic stepping sound you made to scare me, it was kinda funny. Lightened the mood."
"What sound? I didn't make any sounds."
Sunny tilted her head in confusion. "But I'm sure I heard faint, weird sound all the way here! It was too unrealistic to be human's steps, so I thought it was you pulling pranks on me."
"I didn't hear anything... I was deep in thought."
'Too unrealistic to be human's steps.' Wait - oh no.
Swan froze. Sunny looked horrified too.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" she asked with a shaky tone. Swan nodded slowly, her eyes wide.
They were being followed.
As they stared at each other in horror, a little voice echoed in the forest.
Sunny gasped. "That's the voice!" she whisper-shouted. Swan gulped.
They backed away, closer to the silo. Swan grabbed a big stick from he ground and raised it. Sunny looked like she was ready to kick - or run.
Another odd noise. It came from a nearby bush.
Swan tensed up. She felt her heart beat heavily against her chest. Sunny inhaled next to her.
Something unhuman raced out of the bush.
The campers screamed multiple times.
They got ready for the fight.
Swan was ready to throw her stick at the attacker, but she stopped herself and stared at the strange thing before her eyes.
It was a bird.
And not any bird - it was a waterfowl.
More specifically, a goose.
With a purple collar.
"What the heck!" Swan yelled, "Is this a joke? Who's pulling pranks on us!" She threw the branch she was holding aggressively to the ground.
Sunny looked amused. "We were scared of a simple bird, haha! The sound I heard came from its swim fins!" She began laughing.
"It's not funny. How did a bird follow us in the first place? By foot?" Swan frowned. "Why does it have a collar?"
"It must belong to a camper!" Sunny realised.
"That's true. It probably saw us leaving and followed us, because it has small bird brains. To who it belongs to?"
"Someone who likes animals - no idea! It doesn't matter." Sunny looked up to the sky. "We just need to go home now, before it gets dark."
Swan looked up. The clouds were as dark as before, no change there. She couldn't tell what time it was.
"Do we go the same way back or...?" Swan questioned. Sunny tapped her chin.
Suddenly the goose grabbed the hem of Swan's t-shirt. It began to jerk her to the direction of the bush it came out of. "Stop!" Swan exclaimed and tried to remove the annoying bird from her shirt's hem.
"It looks like it's trying to show us something!" Sunny muttered.
Swan was annoyed. "To me it looks like it's dumb and trying to rip my shirt!" She snatched her shirt out of the bird's beak.
"No, let it show the way. Come on - what do we have to lose?" Sunny smiled.
"A lot..." Swan mumbled, but Sunny had stopped listening. The girl began following the bird, that moved forward the direction it came from.
Sighing, Swan followed.
The goose was surprisingly fast with walking. It led their way, Sunny right behind it, looking interested and Swan after them all, looking annoyed.
That stupid bird will just make us get lost!
They must've looked pretty strange, a multicolored goose leading two brunettes through a silent forest. Swan huffed in frustation. What was Sunny thinking?
They probably walked for a long time. Swan tried many times to tell Sunny she was doing a mistake, but the camper was determinded to find what the goose was going to show them. Swan was sure that the goose was just pointlessly wandering around, but Sunny didn't listen.
However, the bird seemed to know where it was going.
After walking for a while, Swan started to hear quiet voices. She tapped the senior camper's shoulder. "Did you hear that?"
Sunny nodded. She had a knowing smile on her face. Swan had no idea what she was missing. Shrugging, Swan didn't continue the converstation before the voices became even louder.
"Sunny! Do you know where we are?" Swan asked, very confused.
The brunette's face told Swan Sunny did indeed know.
Sunny and the goose seem to have a conspiracy against me.
Just after Swan had thought of that she realised where they were. Her jaw dropped when the trees left behind and a clearing opened before their eyes.
They were at the Camp.
How was it possible? They didn't come back the same way. They had followed a GOOSE!
Sunny turned to Swan. "We took a shortcut. I know who owns the goose now - she has taught the bird tricks. It has quite the brain."
"Hmph.." Swan didn't want to admit she was wrong.
"Come - we need to find the others and tell them what we found!" Sunny grabbed Swan's wrist and dragged her to the Tavern. The goose was left behind.
Sunny ran through the glade, Swan stumbling after her. Nobody was outside - at least at her sight. The sky wasn't as black at the Camp, it must've been already mid-day.
Sunny pushed the Tavern doors open with a rush. "Guys! I have huge news! We found something big!" she shouted excitingly.
The campers were sitting around a bunch of tables that were put next to each other. Flo was in the middle, looking like she was running a meeting. The ravenette looked at the two with raised eyebrows, surprised.
"Sunny, Swan? Where were you? We were searching the whole Camp for you!" she looked relieved, but also annoyed with the brunettes.
Everyone on the table turned to look at the two, with weird expressions.
Sunny became explaining. "You will understand! We found something important! We followed the monster's footprints -"
Flo raised her hand, signaling Sunny to stop.
"Wait. You followed the footprints? I - Icy - everyone - told you not to go! Sunny, I thought you were more responsible!"
Flo seemed disappointed, annoyed - she was that kind of Flo Swan didn't want to meet.
"When Swan went I obviously had to go after her. Now, listen and understand. This is helpful", Sunny promised. Flo smeed like she wanted to argue, but she was still the boss - she was still smart and open to all kinds of information that could help the campers.
And then Sunny went on and on about the journey - how she found the powder on the tracks, how they discovered the silo and what Swan found from the inside. She told about everything, including every little detail, often asking how Swan had felt during the situations and what Swan had seen.
The campers listened carefully. Flo had her eyes closed. Icy asked extra questions. Frosty, Maple, Minty and Blue let out the most of the surprised sounds. Wavey, Wistep, Dew and Breezey had theories. Lily wanted to know if they were injured.
Shiver said their discovery was spooky. With multiple o's.
"What was the powder? Swan, what do you think?" Goldi asked.
"Scientist poop - monster dandruff - I mean - some kind drug, maybe." Swan covered her rambling with a cough.
Flo nodded, like she had just decided something.
"I think we need to go there. Tomorrow. Sunny, you lead us. Swan stays here, no more adventures for her", the boss announced.
"Is this a punishment?" Swan was disappointed. She couldn't investigate? Why?
"Sorry Swan, but you've done enough. I'm not saying it was wrong thing to follow the tracks - thanks for finding this thing out - but we did tell you to not to go. You didn't listen - it's kinda your fault. I gotta keep strict, sorry."
Swan mumbled something for her defense, but she knew perfectly well Flo was right.
"Tomorrow at dawn, Sunny leads us there. Lily, Maple, Minty, Frosty, Robbie and Darkie. You come with us", Flo listed.
The selected campers let out cheering sounds, others groaned. Everyone wanted to see the place.
"I want to come - Flo, you're in debt for the extra pancake! I will never give you one of my pancakes if you don't let me come!" Wavey demanded.
Flo cleared her throat. "Right. Then Wavey comes too."
Wavey seemed proud.
"What is this? I have told you Flo, you don't need Wavey's pancakes, you can take extra from the kitchen! You just have to ask. How many times I've told you, you still eat the other one for Wavey", Icy chided, raising her eyebrows.
"Wavey always has the most syrup!" Flo argued.
The girl with multicolor hair smiled proudly.
"How's that possible?" Icy's face was confused.
"Guys, guys! No need to argue, but I'm at Flo's side; Wavey has the most syrup always! It's a funny coincidence", Sunny laughed. Then she turned to look at Fallen. "Hey, and Fallen, could you come outside for a second?"
Fallen nodded and stood up. She seemed a little surprised. Sunny led Fallen outside. Swan followed the two curiously.
Swan spotted the goose in front of the Tavern.
When they were out of the sight, Sunny started to speak. "Fallen, we found your pet. It followed us to the Forest - luckily it knew a nice shortcut back here! You really taught it awesome tricks, it's a genius!"
Fallen turned to look at the goose and let out a happy sound. She kneeled down to hug the bird.
"Wollow! I was worried!" Fallen exclaimed happily.
"Does that thing have a name?" Swan asked, raising her eyebrow.
"Well of course! I named it Wollow." Fallen informed.
"Wollow? Why did you choose that? It doesn't mean anything."
"It - well - it just - called me. Like she was destined to be a Wollow!"
Swan tilted her head. "It's a she? How do you know? You need to know the colors well for genderizing."
"I know my geese, thank you very much."
Sunny interrupted. "But thank you Fallen for teaching Wollow, she really helped us! Such a wise goose!"
"One question - why didn't you tell the others about that thing, Wollow and how it helped us?" Swan questioned the founder.
Fallen looked awkward.
"Uhm... Others don't know about the pet... I kinda - uh - shouldn't have it as a pet..." she muttered.
"It's a wild animal. You shouldn't trap it", Swan lectured.
"I know! And I don't even have her trapped. She's wild and free. She just comes back to me, I feed her, teach her tricks", Fallen said, petting her goose. "I even found her a cute collar!"
"We meet at the River. Not every day but pretty often", she continued.
"That's why you were defending geese yesterday!" Swan realised and the other girl smiled.
"Hey Swan! Could you come to the medicine house for a sec? I need to check if you're okay!" Moss yelled from the door.
The brunette followed her healer to the house. Moss showed her the way inside, to the lobby. Decorated with couches and many many closets full of medicine plants, it looked comfy. Swan remembered the place well.
Moss began her check, tested arms and legs for bruises and asked her to do little things like cough to show if she had something in her throat.
Moss looks so calm now, the last time she was panicking - wait! I can ask her about her discovery now!
Moss looked up. She was checking Swan's knees.
"What did you find yesterday? I heard you speak. You said it would cause panic. You said you found 'it' not far from our camp. What is it?" Swan demanded.
Moss went pale.
"I don't know what you're talking about", she stated blankly.
"Think again. I will tell the others what I heard and then they're all demanding the answer from you!"
Moss shook her head. "You're m-mistaken."
"I know I'm not. Tell me or the panic will spread!"
Life goals: blackmailing - achieved!
Moss stood up and glanced worriedly around. "Please, Swan... Don't make me do this..." she pleaded, with a sad look in her eyes.
"I won't tell anyone", the newcomer promised.
Moss took a deep breath.
"I found a claw. A claw of a Monster."
Swan tensed up excitingly. She would hear all the answers!
But of course, it couldn't happen.