The Camp

A writing exercise where I had to take inspiration from the words hell, train and hole, though they didn't have to be used within the piece.

“They say it only comes at night, and you can only see it when the moon is red!” The young girl half whispered in the creepiest voice she could manage, leaning slightly closer to the fire from her place on a fallen log. They had to be quiet; their parents had told them to go to sleep hours ago, and the adults had long since closed their tent flaps to sleep.

“See what?” Sophie asked disinterestedly as she approached the fire, the five younger children shushing her anxiously, their eyes darting towards the two larger tents. They remained still and dark; the adults hadn’t heard.

“The Locomotive from Hell!” Caroline replied theatrically, pulling a grotesque face and hissing as she leaned towards the fire, the younger blonde girl opposite letting out a small squeak as she leaned away. Sophie sat beside the terrified girl, whose hair matched her own curling locks. She pulled the small girl, who was no older than six, onto her lap and held her comfortingly.

“Caroline! You know Charlene’s too young for those stories!” Sophie chided, feeling that, as the eldest at thirteen, it was her place to keep the peace. The boys, however, had other ideas as they ignored Sophie’s chide and leaned closer to Caroline, who looked nothing like the other two girls with her tanned skin and ebony hair.

“Ignore her! I want to hear more!” Charlie exclaimed excitedly, his twin nodding his agreement as they leaned closer to their sister, sharing her dark complexion and hair. Caroline looked almost smug as she ignored Sophie and turned her attention to the three boys. Her brothers were nine, only a year younger than she was, and the third boy was eight. He was Sophie and Charlene’s step brother.

“In the dead of night, when the moon is red, at the bottom of the lake, a deep fiery pit cracks open!” Caroline exclaimed, her brothers looking amazed as the chestnut haired boy raised a sceptical eyebrow.

“Really…this ‘fiery pit’ opens at the bottoms of a freezing cold pool of water?” He interrupted, Sophie sighing as she foresaw another argument about to begin. On her lap Charlene looked from her step brother to Caroline, who faltered at his interruption before thinking up a response.

“Well…these are the fires of hell Bradley; they’re not just any flames!” She retorted as she eyed the younger boy, the twins nodding their agreement. Bradley all but scoffed at the cover, utterly unconvinced.

“Oh; come on! You think Satan’s so stupid that he’d open a pit under a lake and have water pour into his kingdom? Why would he do that when he could just open it in the forest?” Bradley argued, receiving a pout from Caroline. Charlie groaned his frustration as he looked across at Bradley, scowling lightly.

“Do you have to be such a...Clearly the fires of Hell are so hot that the water would just evaporate! Right Dave?” He argued on his sister’s behalf, looking to his identical twin for confirmation, the other boy nodding his agreement.

“That’s right; the fires of Hell would be so hot that the whole of the lake would disappear in a cloud of steam whenever the pit opened.” David replied confidently, the twins looking smug until Bradley snorted a chuckle, Caroline still scowling as the brunette boy ruined her story.

“So what happens to the lake? If this story was true there’d be no lake at all!” He countered smugly, daring the twins or Caroline to contradict him. Sophie waited for the inevitable, holding Charlene a little closer as she prepared herself. Bradley raised a hand and turned his face as Caroline kicked dry dirt in his face, standing from her log and stamping her foot.

“You’re such a jerk! You always do this! Why do you have to ruin my stories?” She demanded sulkily, her bottom lip quivering as she tried not to cry from embarrassment. Bradley moaned as he got to his feet and rubbed his eyes; the dirt felt like sand scraping the inside of his eyelids. The twins muttered their agreement as they eyed Bradley, not bothering to stand up.

“Why don’t you tell better stories? It’s not my fault your stories are stupid!” Bradley snapped in response, tears rolling down his cheeks as he tried to clear his blurred vision. He felt a hand shove his shoulder, tumbling backwards over the log he’d been perched on. A small grunt escaped him as his back hit the dirt, knocking the air from his lungs.

“Don’t call them stupid! Carol tells great stories!” Charlie insisted, not feeling bad in the least that he’d pushed Bradley over, though David’s anxious expression told him he may have gone too far. Bradley said nothing as he glared up at the older twin, who stared back, daring him to get up and try something.

“You ruin everything! These trips were more fun before you came!” Caroline snapped as she sniffed and wiped her eyes, David quickly putting an arm around her shoulders. Sophie sighed as she got to her feet, lifting Charlene with her as she prepared to return to the girls’ tent.

“Alright, that’s enough! You’ll wake Mum and the others!” She warned sharply, the others falling silent. None of them wanted their parents to wake up; they were supposed to be in bed sleeping, and the adults hated it when they argued. “Let’s just go to bed; come on.” The older girl urged as she walked around the fire, giving Caroline’s shoulder a nudge on the way by. The dark haired girl followed, knowing that Sophie would stay up with her for a while and talk about the boys with her.

“You heard her.” David added as he tugged his brother’s arm, drawing back as Charlie shrugged him off and all but stomped to the tent. “Look…I see your point, but you should apologise…It wasn’t cool the way you made my sister cry…” He said before leaving Bradley by the fire, the brunette slowly pushing himself into a sitting position and looking around the deserted campsite.

“I didn’t want to come camping anyway.” He muttered to himself stubbornly as he took his seat by the fire and glared at the bright flames. There was no way he was about to go into that tent with those boys.

The End

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