“Bear!” Kaylene Patton, a primly proper pre-teen, probably in the woods for the first time in her life, stood in the dining hall doorway and shouted at the top of her lungs. The girls in her cabin jumped up from their table and raced to greet her, squealing as they ran. Three or four counselors followed, but refrained from screaming.
Ritch watched the spectacle from a distance while dumping ketchup onto a skinny cheeseburger patty.
Shane, one of the campers in the Mustang cabin looked over at Ritch and said, "Some girls sure do act kinda crazy, don't they?"
“Guess so," Ritch responded.
Paul and Pete Stone were rookie counselors from Daytona Beach, Florida. As Counselors in Training, or CITs, they didn’t have specific responsibilities for any single cabin, but helped out here and there, wherever needed. They both fancied themselves as avid surfers, skateboarders, and professional videographers, even paparazzi. In their first week at camp, they proclaimed themselves the camp historians, filming every major event, and lots of minor events, throughout the summer. For reasons only known by the camp staff, the two had been dubbed, the “stoner brothers.” Paul chased after the crowd that had surrounded Kaylene while Pete filmed the incident with his video camera.
“There’s a bear on the trail!” Kaylene yelled again, pointing to the east, adding a bit of dramatic flair, a trait she had obviously mastered long ago.
Christine was the first adult to reach the hysterical eleven-year-old. “It’s okay, Kaylene. Now tell me what happened.” Christine wore the official camp director T-Shirt – a Camp Safe Harbor shirt with the words, “Camp Director” on the back and knee-length pink shorts. A gleaming silver whistle dangled from a lanyard around her neck.
Kaylene was out of breath, or at least appeared to be out of breath. “My cabin hiked to the waterfall this morning. My counselors and the other girls came back, but I took a little longer. Eventually, I came across a giant bear on the trail. Oh, my God, I was so scared.”
“Did the bear chase you?”
“I don’t know. I think so. As soon as I saw him, I ran back to camp. He was so mean, with big fangs and claws.”
Paul pointed a microphone at Kaylene and asked, “Was the attacking carnivore gigantuous? You know, as tall as Grey Rollen?” His brother kept the camera rolling during the interview.
“I don’t know.”
“Was he big? Say, as big as….” He turned to look at a heavy-set counselor. Then he continued, “As big as Billy?” Everyone knew Billy was one of the laziest and largest of the camp horses.
Pete focused the camera on the crowd of girls and continued filming the interview, shifting back and forth from Kaylene to the other campers.
“Is anyone else still out there, Kaylene?” Christine asked.
“No. I was the last one.”
"Yes, camper fans, the sole survivor of a confrontation with the evil predator of Camp Safe Harbor tells her story exclusively to us, the Stone brothers," Paul said into the microphone.
Melinda, who never hung around with Kaylene, was not one to let her have all of the attention. At the first break in the conversation, she announced, “Last year, I was walking down the trail and a giant deer attacked me! I thought he was going to eat me alive.”
Pete didn’t bother filming Melinda’s story. Paul didn’t comment on it. The campers seemed just as disinterested.
Christine took advantage of the awkward moment. “Let that be a lesson to all of us." She raised her head and voice so everyone in the dining hall could hear.
Pete crouched down, shooting up at Christine. Ritch realized that angle would make her look almost cartoonish.
"We should not leave our cabin groups. We should stay together at all times. There are lots of dangers in the woods and we have to be careful and always look out for each other.” She emphasized her words with jabs in the air with one finger. “None of us wants to be hurt.”
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