Friday, October 12, 2012

{a horror story from 2003}

I liked camp. 

Growing up, I mean. I liked being at camp. I liked packing a bag and sleeping in a cabin with a billion other girls and I liked eating camp food and I liked camp drama and I liked campfires and I even liked the camp swimming hole, which was actually just a big leech-filled mud pit. 

{Everyone always got leeches on their legs when they went in there, but I never got leeches on me because I was special. I was leech exempt.} 

But the point is not that.

The point is that, you know, I liked camp. I went to camp starting when I was eleven, and I kept going to camp until I turned sixteen and was too old to be a camper and had to be a cabin leader instead. 

So, anyway, a favourite late-night activity at this particular camp was a game called Find the Leaders and it was exactly what it sounds like. And it just so happens that not only was I leech exempt, I was really really dang good at Find the Leaders. My trick: find some tall grass, lay down, fall asleep, wake up when the bell rings. It's the perfect spot because everyone expects you to hide in or behind buildings, trees, the hills looming from the shadows by cabin 8. No one combs meticulously through the field behind the mess hall. Unfailing wins.

And so it was that one breezy july evening found me asleep in a bed of tall prairie grass, the open sky stretched out over me looking as though it could swallow me right up in a single gulp. 

That was the night I almost died.

I'd been there for about thirty minutes or so when I woke up. I was confused, at first. I remember becoming gradually aware of the grass rustling nearby but not completely knowing what the sound was, the way that you sometimes don't hear or don't understand your alarm clock first thing in the morning, or it incorporates itself into your dreams. There are sometimes cougars, I thought. I held still.

Voices then, and a sigh of relief from me. Because, you know, cougars can't talk. 

"Be right back," one of the voices said. A boy's voice. And the rustling came closer, stopping right beside my head. I debated: should I move? The boy would find me then for sure, and I'd have to go play the garbage can game in the mess hall until all the other leaders were found. If I held my breath and waited, I could go back to sleep soon. On the other hand, I didn't want anyone stepping on my face. Did he see me already? Why was he just standing there? He'd probably seen me. Rats. I was just about to make myself known, when I heard it. 



And then the sound of...running water?

Realization. Gasp. Horror. 

I knew then that I definitely hadn't been spotted. And I knew for sure that it was already too late, that I couldn't move, because how would you like it if you were relieving yourself in in a field in the dead of night in what you think is complete and perfect privacy when a 16 year-old girl jumps out of the grass right in front of you and scares you half to death? 

And also because he was standing on my hair.

So, I did the only thing I could do at that point. I shut my eyes and prayed he wouldn't see me and held my breath and hoped that he wasn't peeing in my general direction and pretended to be asleep. 

That's all you can do at a time like that.