Mr Ishootdeerforfun

Submitted into Contest #143 in response to: Set your story in the woods or on a campground. ... view prompt

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Creative Nonfiction Friendship Funny

“Monday mooching with the magnolias, Tuesday time spent with the tulips, Wednesday walking down to the water lilies, Thursday thinking with…” A loud bang from the door signalled the end of my free time. I quickly rolled up my weekly schedule and hid it inside the drawer in the desk. It wasn’t my desk, but I was sure the owner wasn’t going to find my paper. The owner was part of the summer camp that I attended over the holidays. There were definitely pros and cons to staying there. For one it was nice for me to be living next to the bush again after moving to the city, but there was also a con. A massive con. And it was coming through the small log cabin’s door right that second.

In a book, a dining hall would be the size of a mansion with suited servants and fancy guests waltzing round the polished floors. The summer camp dining hall (or mess hall as it was more commonly known) was as far from that fantasy as uranus is from earth. In comparison the ‘hall’ was around the size of two cabins and should only have held around that many people.But to fulfil the ‘authentic’ experience, head counsellor Brant Meatloaf (I nicknamed him Brant Ishootdeerforfun for his habit of stuffing poor defenceless animals) made the brain-dead decision to fit all 82 campers into a roughly 20 person space. Not only did this take up room, but it made the sound level 150 decibels. (the amount of sound a jet makes when it takes off.)

To cope with this uncomfortable space I stuffed small balls of pineapple leaf into my ears for the sound. Luckily room wasn't a problem, as everyone sat on the other picnic tables leaving me in my own bubble. 

A fancy black BMW with tinted windows rolled up the camp's muddy dirt path. As per-usual, Brant was nowhere to be seen. He turned up only at mealtimes. So when the kid in the snazzy car was shoved out just before it sped away, (also as usual) he was standing alone in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people. I would usually join everybody else walking away but maybe it was the look on the boy's face that suggested that he was used to being the odd one out. Or the slight twinkle in his eyes that hinted a sliver of excitement was growing in the boy's stomach. I started a slow walk towards him that gradually turned into a jog then a run.

The moment my father pushed me out of the car with only a hug, I knew that I had to make the most of my situation. After all, it would be a long 2 months before he came back. With that mindset, the fact that nobody had greeted me wasn’t actually too much of a downside. Although in the corner of my teal blue eye I saw a girl about my age obviously debating herself whether or not to come to me. I walked over to her; so to spare her time deciding. I hope she chose the same as me. I hope she didn’t just walk off because everyone else did. I closed  my eyes imagining a fate where we end up best friends and skip hand in hand. Well, not exactly that friendly but… close.

Crunch! We collided and fell in the mud at our feet. The boy started laughing but I just stared at him, wondering what on earth possessed the kid to make him giggle while lying in most likely leech infested ground. Seeing my stare he pushed himself up and held out his hand. In a toffy english accent he announced, “I’m Christopher. Christopher Hathway.” Upon seeing my almost giggling face, he went for a less formal approach, “but you can call me Chris.”

I can’t believe the girl and I collided. One second I was in dreamland, the next I was next to a girl in the mud who couldn’t stop giggling at my proper manners! She didn’t even accept my attempt to help her, and just simply lifted herself out and imitated myself (terribly if I must say) she said, “Well Christopher, Iris is greeting you.” The cheek of it!  Anyway she invited me to her cabin, which was surprisingly empty. It was something I definitely had to investigate! 

I invited ‘Chris’ back to my cabin! I can’t believe it! Oh, why did I do it? Once he figures me out he’ll be gone faster than you can say goodbye! I left him to unpack and went to check up on my flowers. I trekked the mucky bush, with the wet, spiky plants hitting me every few steps. I got to the clearing where my flowers were planted and noticed a few extra buildings along the perimeter. My stomach knotted. Why did he have to do this? “Arrrg” My scream darkened the clearing with all my anxiety, annoyance, and sadness like a wet dirty cloth wiping a clean wall.

When Iris left me to go who knows where, I decided to map out the area a little bit. I found a clean sheet of paper in Iris’s desk and a sharp pencil. I started to make a map. I had all the cabins down, the mess hall, the office/sick bay/lounge when I saw a man walking towards the bush. He was built very thick and had a meaty sort of air about him. What I thought was strange was that he was carrying some blue paper and a builders kit. (a box filled with nails, a small hammer, a screwdriver, screws etc.) In case there was a building that I had missed and just because of pure curiosity, I followed him. 

I was finished tending to my garden and had started to trudge back to my cabin, when all of a sudden I heard the bush crunching. A faint outline of two people going the opposite way to me greatly intrigued me. I followed them back all the way back to the clearing that my flowers were in. The person in front started to jog to one of the buildings and struggling to catch up, I bumped into somebody for the second time today!

How do I keep crashing into Iris? The man had entered one of the buildings now, and he may have locked the door. The further and further I had hiked through that bush the more suspicious I had become. Why would a camp building be down here? Due to my curious spirit there was only one thing to do. Except Iris had to come in and ruin it for me! The man had come out of the shed now and was holding two large burlap sacks. I wondered what they were for. 

Chris and I must have made a lot of noise falling because the next thing I remember was being shoved into a large bag and pushed into a ditch. Quietly I checked if Chris was there, “Master Hathway are you in the near?” I said it in my english accent which sounded pretty accurate (to me anyway, I did see Chris flinching when I first did it). 

When I heard that terrible imitation of my accent I knew that Iris was near. My concentration was on getting out of the sack however, so I didn’t have time to answer. Iris started to sing next to me which definitely did not help, but I couldn’t complain because she didn’t even know I was next to her. I got out of the bag and began to untie Iris’s when I heard a squeal behind me. 

I had just gotten out of my bag and saw Chris twist out of his. We were in a hole around the depth of 2 metres, which was way too high to climb out of. Someone would eventually come looking for Chris (yes I know not me) and I decided to wait for them instead of injuring myself trying to climb out of the hole. 

Iris sat down and looked like she wanted to talk. I didn’t want to talk about meaningless things however. I wanted answers. Why did she have an empty cabin? Why was she near the buildings? And most of all, what were the weird looks that everyone gave her? 

I could tell Chris was bursting to ask questions, so naturally I asked him some first.  “ What’s your favourite food? Your favourite colour? Your pet? Do you even have a pet?” I didn’t give him room to answer each question. I just fired them at him like a cowboy with a love for his pistol. 

Iris kept asking me unimportant questions. I answered them patiently and then asked for my turn. I started with the easiest to answer.  “Why were you near the buildings?” She answered quickly, seemingly wanting to get over it. “I have a flower garden just over there.” She pointed to the far side of the clearing where I could indeed see colourful dots. The next two questions just rolled off my tongue. “Why is your cabin empty and why does everyone give you weird looks?” 

Chris’s question was the query I had avoided answering for the past 6 summers. I decided to go with the truth. Hopefully he’d still be my friend. Small pain, big gain. “ 7 summers ago, just before I started coming here, Brant Meatloaf bought the park from a man named Thorn Thistlewait. Thorn had the land functioning as a nature reserve where he collected endangered flowers and planted them making sure that they didn’t go extinct. One of his benefactors died and Thorn no longer had the money to keep the land. He sold it off to a summer camp business and now here it is.” Chris seemed confused by my answer so I took a deep breath and continued.

“My name is Iris Thistlewaite. Thorn is my father” Her words echoed through my brain. Everything made sense now! The kids avoid her because Brant Meatloaf doesn’t like her and they don’t want to get on his bad side! I was so busy understanding that I didn’t see Iris’s warning looks until it was too late. The man had come back and picked me up by my shirt. Luckily he didn’t see Iris as she had hidden herself just in the nick of time. 

The head counsellor was holding a camper by his shirt. Brant could kill Chris! I didn’t want to interfere as it would make everything worse but I did have one trick up my sleeve.

1 year later,

A  familiar fancy black BMW rolled up the path and a familiar action of a kid being pushed from the car was seen. This time however Chris had a sleeping bag under his arm and a smile on his lips as I greeted him. The campsite had been bulldozed and trees and flowers were placed in its place. I was so proud of myself for getting this to happen. That night at the campfire in a familiar clearing two friends recounted their greatest story. “And then when Brant picked you up, I recorded him! Then, we sent it to the summer camp business who agreed to let my dad run the park!” I was practically squealing even though the excitement had happened nearly a full year before. “And we made it into a half nature reserve too!” Chris imitated my accent for a change. I was too happy to care. 

Mr Ishootdeerforfun had been defeated. 

April 29, 2022 09:24

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3 comments

Rachael Gifford
15:49 May 03, 2022

That was an amazing story. i like the different perspectives.

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Charlie Murphy
18:02 Apr 30, 2022

Great story! I love the eco-friendly ending.

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Tricia Shulist
14:47 Apr 30, 2022

That was fun. I liked the different perspectives on the events unfolding in the camp. Thanks for this.

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