Chapter One – My Favourite Stranger
There were two things that Ethan Scott disliked; long journeys and dicks. And fortunately for him, the bus ride to Camp Tenebris seemed to have both. He sat about three or four rows back from the front of the bus, beside the window, an empty seat beside him. He only knew one person on the bus, and it seemed that Elara was avoiding him, which left him by himself.
Elara was a childhood friend, I suppose you could have said. The two had known each other since they were four, but had only really spoken due to the fact that their parents were friends. After all, Ethan was the ginger loser and Elara was the sarcastic babe. Who would you rather be friends with?
Ethan also hated punishment and injustice, both of which were waiting for him once the bus parked, which made him think that maybe the bus ride would be the best part of this experience. He didn’t even know what happened at the camp or how long he was expected to stay; just that it was a long time.
He didn’t even belong here. Camp Tenebris was for the worst of the worst, all the kids that were under eighteen, but should be locked up. Mostly murderers, thieves and rapists. He was none of the above, yet there he sat.
He glanced around at the people he would be sharing a camp with for a while. At the front of the bus, where Ethan sat, were the more quiet and timid ones, the ones that liked to keep to themselves. One person that stood out in Ethan’s mind was the small boy that sat across from him, keeping his head low. He had dark hair and only looked about nine. Ethan was both worried and curious about what had sent the boy here at such a young age.
The loud, obnoxious and laid-back people sat at the back of the bus, so obviously that was where Elara sat. She was in the very back, her feet propped up on the lap of the boy sitting next to her, a very excitable blond guy who looked about fifteen. Ethan just rolled his eyes and pretended it didn’t bother him.
Ethan had just drifted off to sleep when a voice called from the top of the bus.
“Get off your lazy asses and get movin’!” the man yelled at them, with a hint of a Scottish accent. He had a short, white beard and a Yankees cap on. Ethan’s eyes groggily opened and it took him a moment to realise where he was, though a glance out of the window would have told him he was in the middle of nowhere.
As soon as Ethan got off the bus, a sinking feeling appeared in his stomach. There were two large buildings; a three storey building and a five storey building, and wooden cabins speckled all around them in seemingly random places. There was nothing but sand for miles, until it finally broke off into a very dry and dismal looking forest.
The area was nothing compared to the heat, though. Ethan just wanted to get inside before he was drenched in sweat, and being a red head, he was going to get some major burns if he didn’t have sun screen. It was almost hard to breath, with the humidity and smell of sweat in the air.
“Follow me,” the bearded man grumbled. Ethan thought it was odd, for it to be so easy for us to run off. There was only one of him, and about seventy of them. What was stopping them from trampling him down, even if he did have a gun? He had made that very clear; pulling back his trench coat – Ethan still wondered how he managed to wear such a heavy coat in the sweltering heat - to reveal a long rifle along his leg. Or rather, Ethan called it a rifle. He didn’t really know enough about guns to say what make it was.
Then it dawned on him – where would they run? If they hadn’t died of thirst by the time they had reached the forest, then it would have been a miracle. One boy, however, decided to ignore all logic and try and escape anyway – it was the nine year old that sat across from Ethan on the bus journey. The boy casually turned around and started walking back towards the bus. A few people hesitated to see what he was doing, but the boy ignored them. Ethan glanced over at the bearded man. If he had noticed the boys change in direction, he hadn’t reacted to it.
The boy then hopped on the bus, and then a few people seemed to realise what his plan was. Some people started to jog back as well, trying to get on the bus after him. By now, the bearded man had stopped and turned around to watch the escaping boy, looking more amused than worried.
Ethan squinted to see through the grimy windows of the bus, and could see the nine year old pulling the elderly bus driver from his seat and throwing him out of the bus door. He sat down on the bus driver’s seat and just stayed like that for a moment, looking at something on the dash board. He slammed a fist against the dashboard in seeming annoyance, before casually strolling off the bus yet again.
The few boys that had started to head over to join him looked confused, and a few turned around. The rest of them kept going, and the bearded man had seemingly gotten bored now, as he finally pulled out his gun and shot into the sky. Most of them froze or turned around, except for one girl, who seemed to have a dangerous look about her for some reason. She continued walking as if nothing had happened, and had short hair that was dyed pink.
The bearded man didn’t seem too happy about that, so he aimed the gun at her and shot. A loud bang echoed in Ethan’s ears and he quickly closed his eyes. When he opened them again, everyone looked stunned, and silence had fallen. He risked a look in the pink haired girl’s direction and could see someone lying on the ground. His stomach churned and he quickly turned away before he could see anything else.
“Now hurry up before I shoot the lot of ye’,” the bearded man grumbled again, continuing his walk towards the three storey building. There was little commotion as the group followed him inside, and an uncomfortable silence fell amongst the teenagers.
When they got into the building, Ethan was surprised to see that compared to the dull grey walls of the exterior; the interior of the building was quite pleasant. It looked almost like a hotel lobby, complete with a receptionist behind a desk; a short woman with brown hair tied back in a bun, who looked in her late twenties.
“Just tell Judith yer name and she’ll assign yous a cabin,” the bearded man muttered, before leaving the bunch inside the lobby by themselves. It was the first time that Ethan noticed the slight limp in the man’s walk.
As soon as he was gone, the rowdy bunch from the back of the bus made themselves comfortable on the lounging chairs that littered the lobby. Ethan looked over at the small nine year old boy, and saw him rolling his eyes at the lounging teenagers, before his eyes flickered to something in the corner. Ethan followed his gaze and saw a tiny camera in the corner of the room. He had to admit, he was impressed that the small boy had seen it.
Ethan decided that he might as well head to his cabin – after all, it would get him away from this bunch, even if it was just for a little while. He walked up to the receptionist, wringing his hands together as he wasn’t very good at social interaction with strangers.
“Um, Ethan Scott...” he mumbled. The receptionist, Judith, looked up.
“Sorry, could you say that louder?” she asked politely, giving him a small smile. Ethan blushed, before saying louder, “Ethan Scott.” The woman gave him a nod and started typing something on her computer.
“Ethan Scott… Cabin Eight. Here, wait,” she added, clicking something else on the screen. The printer started to make noise and after a moment of waiting, Judith handed Ethan a map with Cabin Eight circled on it.
“Thanks,” Ethan mumbled, before walking off. He was tempted to wait around the lobby a bit, as the ceiling fan gave a refreshing breeze, but soon the loud comments and laughing became too much for Ethan and he headed outside into the sweltering heat and walked over to his Cabin, one of the furthest from the three storey building, but one of the closest to the five storey one which looked equally as miserable from the outside. Ethan wondered if they kept them grey for a reason or just weren’t bothered to paint it. Most likely the latter.
In the five minute walk to his cabin, Ethan had managed to turn his arms into red beacons of burns. Ethan scoffed aloud at his metaphor, which sounded absolutely ridiculous. He hoped that tomorrow would be cooler, or at least that they would get some sun screen or something. Now that he thought about it, some water would be good too. He hadn’t drunk in three hours and this heat was making him parched.
As soon as Ethan opened the cabin door, it was evident that he was not going to be alone in this cabin, though he hadn’t really been expecting to be. It seemed almost the opposite to the TARDIS on Doctor Who – from the outside, the cabin had seemed large but inside, it was probably about 8x8 metres. Which, to be fair, was a lot of room, but seeing as there were four bunk beds and a desk in the room, it was considerably smaller. Not only that, but he would clearly have to share it with seven other people, which would be a squeeze.
He walked down to the very back of the room and saw a door on either side of the cabin – one pink and one blue. He opened the blue door first and could see a small area with a bench around the room that stank of sweat. There were two showers on the opposite end of the room as well as another door that presumably led to a toilet. After he looked in there, he decided it was best to leave the pink door, as it was most likely the girls shower room and toilets.
Ethan lay down on his bed - or rather, a random bed he had decided to lie on whilst he waited for his cabin mates – and found that even though he hadn’t really done that much, he was surprisingly tired. His first roommate walked in five minutes later, but he was already half asleep.
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