“Has anyone climbed before?” Will asked, I raised my hand and had a look round, a few others raised their arms. “Okay great, where have you climbed Zac?” he asked me, “Climbing wall or rocks?”
“Rocks, Indonesia doesn't have a whole lot on the climbing front but there are some pretty decent descents in Java,”
“Nice,” Adam patted my bad, “I only climb occasionally with my cousin Pete, he lives in Devon,” Will nodded in approval.
“Well we still have to go through the safety talks, you know protocol...” As Will explained I couldn't help but pay no attention to what he said, my mind was winding back to the morning of surf – but it wasn't the waves which had won my attention, it was Blake. Growing up in Indonesia I was always the foreign guy with the weird accent, I always wondered why I'd had so much attention but I saw the same happening with Blake. Her being American was attractive, it added an element of mystery. I usually didn't go for girls like her, but something here was different and all I could blame was her nationality, maybe her accent a little.
“Any questions?” Will asked the cabin, I shook my head and followed Adam to get kitted out.
“Hey Adam?” I asked as he passed me a harness,
“Do you know that girl Blake?”
“Do I know her? She made a pretty big name for herself in the dinning hall, remember?”
“Yeah I remember, anyway, what do you think of her?”
“I don't really know her, I mean she hasn't made the best impression what with fighting that Bianca and all... Why?” he asked. I tightened the harness and clipped the carabina onto the front.
“No reason,” I muttered,
“You know there's like a dating law, that law states that no relationship...”
“...Yeah I know, I know!” I snapped, Adam raised his eyebrows and then smirked,
“Calm it bro,”
“Let's go climb,” I almost growled and walked off. I didn't know what was wrong with me and I immediately wanted to apologize to Adam, I just didn't have the opportunity that session as I was partnered with the one and only Fred. No disrespect to him or anything but seriously he shouldn't be at a behavioural camp, he should be in a mental home. From my little knowledge I knew that autistic people found it hard to read emotions, usually spoke their mind and were often fascinated by particular things. The severity of the disease, if it was a disease, often varied and Fred was the worst case I'd ever come across. He began by staring at me as I fastened the safety rope onto my harness,
“Okay Fred, I am going to climb first. You have to tighten the rope every time it becomes slack in case I fall. You got that?”
He nodded but I knew he was too busy watching something behind my shoulder. “When I call 'release' you slowly feed the safety rope back and I'll abseil back to the ground and then you can go up. Right. Okay. Don't reply. I'm climbing!” I placed my feet in the cracks and my fingers in the crevasses and began to make my way up. I peered down and saw Fred watching me but doing nothing with the rope.
“Fred, tighten the rope!” I called, he nodded and obey. I kept climbing with a little more confidence that Fred was actually not going to allow me to die. I got to the top and then climbed onto the ledge. I was about 15 metres above the group, I couldn't see a whole lot but I suddenly realised that Fred was stood talking to another guy and he'd unharnessed himself from the safety rope which now hung slack. I had no choice but to sit and wait for someone to help me out. No one else had managed to get to my height and I began to lose patience, some guys were skimming stones into the sea and others were exploring the caves and very few people were still climbing. I was hidden by the ledge. I looked up and realised that the top of the cliff was only a few metres away. I undid the harness completely as it wasn't doing much anyway and climbed the remaining metres until I'd escaped. I headed towards the cabins and then saw Fred coming towards me calling my name, I quickly ducked into another cabin and was met by two sets of wide eyes. “Blake? Cayden?” I almost stated.
“Looks like we've got another to join our party,” Cayden smiled,
“Why are you bunking off activities Zac? You're the most keen guy here!” Blake grinned.
“I'm not bunking off, I did the activity and now I'm hiding from Fred,”
“Fred, my climbing partner who's - no offence to him - totally bonkers!”
“Right,” Blake muttered,
“Take a seat my friend,” Cayden tapped beside him. “You can help us plan,”
“Plan what?” I asked,
“A secret party,” Blake added,
“Tomorrow night in the woods after lights out, it's not an open event so don't go telling everyone.” Cayden explained “Bring alcohol,” he added,
“I don't have any, you know I'm trying to give up,”
“Okay just bring yourself,”
“Who else is invited?”
“That's what we've got to decide...”