I struggled against the bonds in the dark, but made little headway before the thick, wooden door flung open. Of course, I could only assume this was what had occurred because of the change in colour of the light filtering through the t-shirt tied around my eyes. I stopped moving, knowing my stillness would be a much more effective way to communicate just how much trouble the children were going to be in.
“Oh my gosh! It’s going to be okay, I’m going to help you. Just hang on, I’ll…”
In the moments it took for the words to be said I quickly came to understand two things: One, the person speaking was not one of the children and two, he was about to make this situation a whole lot worse.
“No! Don’t!” I shouted, although I suspect it came out sounding a lot closer to, “Mm! Hm!” once the cloth tied around my mouth was factored into the equation.
“I know, I know. It’s going to be alright, just let me —”
Slam! The glow of light through the t-shirt had disappeared.
I took a deep breath in and out through my nose feeling my shoulders gently rise and lower as I tried to reconcile that the situation had, in fact, gotten a whole lot worse.
“Um…” the male, non-childlike voice said.
Just before the door swung shut, I had felt his hands reach around the back of my head to fumble with the knotted shirt. This would have been a lot less unfortunate if the closet was any larger, but there was hardly room for one person in here, let alone two. I could hear as he tried to shift himself backward, but found his back coming up against the door.
“Geez,” he said.
I listened patiently as he rattled the door handle, just waiting for him to realize that the thing can only be opened from the outside. He figured it out soon enough.
“Dang! Lights, lights … where’s the light?”
I rolled my eyes. At this rate, we would never get out of here. I rocked forward, so that my knees jerked into his legs.
“Right! You’re stuck. Um, just hold on one second. I think this might, um, here,” he mumbled as he returned his focus to freeing me. It took everything in me not to groan at his clear clumsiness, but I was in no real position to criticize. Luckily for both of us, the first piece of cloth he pulled at was the one that had been stuffed into my mouth. I drank up the fresh air greedily.
“Sorry for hitting you. I just thought you would want to know the light switch is outside the closet,” I said. “And the door is locked on the outside, so by letting it close you effectively just trapped us both in here. But I think you sort of got that part.”
I could hear as the boy suddenly became very quiet. As the silence stretched I started to worry, although I doubt it was much longer than a few seconds. What if he was spiralling into some sort of claustrophobic panic? With my hands tied up behind my back, there was so little I could do to help either of us. “Hey!” I said.
Crash! Something hard struck me on top of the head.
“Ow! What was that?” I said.
“Sorry! You startled me and I jumped and it’s just so tight in here…”
“I thought you were in shock or something! I was trying to snap you out of it,” I said.
“What? No. I was just trying to figure out how long we’ll be stuck in here,” he said. Something in his tone made me frown. Not because he sounded panicked, but because he sounded like he was calculating something.
“Is there a reason why if we just started screaming no one would let us out?” I asked.
“Ah yeah, well, uh, see, thing is,” he started.
“What?” And then it hit me. The fishing trip. If the campers had all just left they wouldn’t be back for at least a few hours and if they decided to stop at the island for a campfire that would add at least another hour to that first estimate. “Oh no.”
“Yeeahhh. I was last-check, so, um, no one’s coming back,” he said.
I bit my tongue before I could demand to know why this random guy had been assigned to last-check because even as I had the thought it occurred to me that it most likely would have been my job had I not been locked in here in the first place.
“Huh. Well, I guess it’s gonna be a long afternoon then,” I said. “Think you could at least try to get my hands untied here?”
“I can try. Are your hands … here?”
“That’s my elbow. Down a bit. Yeah, yeah. Feel the rope?”
“Wow. These kids don’t mess around. Forget about calling parents if they’re acting up, just set them loose on each other,” he said.
I laughed, not expecting his sudden change in tone. “Seriously,” I said. I could feel him working at the knot in the rope and waited for it to loosen around my wrists. The silence felt a little stifling as I was sandwiched between wooden shelves and a complete stranger. I decided to break it. “So, how long have you been working here?”
“Today’s my first day actually,” he said, sounding relieved by the casual conversation. “My Mom told me if I spent one more summer playing video games in the basement she would kick me out and burn them all, so, uh, I got a job instead,” he said.
“What, actually?” I asked.
“No. That’s just what I tell the guys. Honestly, I always wanted to go away to a camp like this as a kid, but never got the chance,” he said.
“Well, you sure picked one heck of a camp,” I laughed.
“Yeah, no kidding. The mosquitoes here are awful,” he said.
“That wouldn’t be my first complaint, but yeah, I guess that’s true,” I said.
“The mattresses could be a little better.”
“You do realize you came to camp right?” I asked. I was a little surprised at myself for saying it, wondering when exactly teasing him had become so easy.
“But the lake is beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen water that blue. And the forest … I’ve never felt so free in my life. It’s this feeling of like, if I scream, no one would hear me and, I guess this’ll sound really strange, but that feeling of no one knowing where you are or being able to find you just makes you feel so connected to the world, which sounds pretty counterintuitive I guess, but it makes sense in the moment. Um, plus, the ice cream here is insane. I don’t know what kind they bring up, but whatever it is? Mmmm.”
For a second I was stunned. Not because of his comment about the ice cream - that had clearly just been tacked on in embarrassment after rambling about feeling connected to the forest - but because I knew exactly what he meant. Unlike him though, I knew how to play it cool.
“Right?” I said. “Have you tried the Rocky Road?”
“Yes! That’s got to be my favourite,” he said.
“Mine too. Absolutely. Oh, have you been introduced to a Sammy S’more?”
“Uh, no,” he said.
“Don’t sound so worried. Sammy’s a counsellor too and I’d tell you his special ingredients, but part of the fun is making new people guess, so …”
“Well, if you somehow just know that it’s a mix of honey, caramel and peanut butter, you didn’t hear it from me,” I said.
“Okay, deal,” he said.
“My name’s Ryan by the —”
“That’s my foot.”
“Sorry! I think I’ve almost got it.” Ryan tugged at the rope a few more times before it slackened. I rubbed at my wrists gratefully and quickly got myself free of the blindfold. Having it off hardly made a difference though; the closet was near pitch-black, without so much as a crack of light under the door. “Are you all untied now?”
“Mostly. They did my legs too, that’ll just take a second though,” I said. True to my word, I had the rope untied in less than a minute. Without the distraction of being bound, I had to try harder to ignore how tiny the closet was. I could smell the campfire smoke that clung to Ryan’s cloths and feel the warmth of his breath tickle my cheeks.
“So what do we do now?” Ryan asked.
I felt my cheeks heat up as he broke through my thoughts and was glad for the cover of darkness. “Well, do you happen to have your phone on you?”
“No, I put in the safe so I wouldn’t have to worry about dropping it in the water. You?”
“I wouldn’t have asked if I had mine,” I replied.
“Right. Um, got a wand? Alohomora?”
“Alright, take it easy Hermione. No. No wands.”
“Oh! This is a supply closet, right?” Ryan asked.
“Well, shouldn’t there be supplies in here then?”
“Oh my gosh.” I hit my forehead with my palm, but I doubt he got the gesture in the dark. “Of course. There should be a screwdriver in a toolbox somewhere on these shelves behind me. If we can find it we should be able to get the door off its hinges,” I said.
Ryan and I must have both stepped towards the shelves at the same time because the next thing I knew, my body collided into his. I nearly flew forward over his foot, but he managed to catch my shoulders in time to steady me.
“Sorry! Are you okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Um, maybe you should just let me look for a minute,” I said.
“Right. Not a bad idea,” he said.
I could hear him tapping his foot as I felt my way along the shelf, searching for a familiar metal box. I had been in this cupboard before and knew what I was looking for, but it took some time for me to get oriented enough to find it.
“Hey, can I ask you something?” Ryan said.
“Does this happen a lot? You getting locked in a closet, I mean,” he said.
“Not usually. My little cousin’s here this summer though and her and her friends have been a bit of a handful.’m the monitor for their cabin, of course, so they have no end of opportunities when it comes to this sort of thing.” I said.
Just then my hand hit something tube-shaped. I couldn’t believe my luck. I grabbed it, flipped the switch and spun around to face Ryan.
I had to make a conscious effort to keep my jaw from dropping. Let’s just say there was no way this boy, if I could even call him that, had spent all his past summers playing video games from his mom’s couch. He stared back at me with a set of deep, almond-shaped eyes and the most genuine, tentative-looking smile I had ever seen.
“Grace?” he asked.
“Yeah?” I breathed. “Wait. How do you …?”
“The welcome video. You introduce yourself,” he answered quickly.
“Of course. Why don’t you hold this? I’ll find the screwdriver,” I said. I proceeded to dedicate all my attention to finding that tool while Ryan shone the light around the shelves, desperate to distract myself from the fact that I wasn’t just trapped in a closet, but trapped in a closet with what had to be the most handsome guy at camp.
With the help of the light, finding a screwdriver took no time at all. Using it to get the door of its hinges was a little more awkward, but still a relatively easy task when I held the light and Ryan worked at the hinges. I was almost a little disappointed it came off so easily, knowing I had no reason to stay and talk to him anymore.
Ryan held out his arm with a smile as if to say “after you” and I clicked off the flashlight as I stepped through the doorframe. Ryan immediately got to work putting the door back in place. I was able to help this time since we had more space to work.
“Thanks. I really owe you one,” I said once we had it safely secured.
It was then that I noticed Ryan’s nervous expression. The way his eyes were glued to his shoes and his hands twisted together. What on Earth could he have to say to me? A thousand possibilities went through my head making it nearly impossible to hear it when he asked,
“Maybe we could get some of that rocky road together sometime?”
I could feel my lips turning up into a smile as my face seemed to recognize the meaning of his words ahead of my brain.
“I think that could be arranged,” I said. “But I think we should try to catch up to them now.” I took a deep breath. “Otherwise, one of us is going to have to explain why we were together in a closet all afternoon.”
We both laughed at that, but there was something unspoken behind it, and as we left the camp for the lake I had a feeling that this summer’s adventures were only beginning.
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I love your story, it was so suspenseful! I was relieved when it turned out to be naughty campers instead of something more sinister. Great entry!
Thanks! I've been writing some suspense recently that's been a little more on the thriller side, so it was nice to work on something that turns out a little lighter!
very well written. easy to read. i like how it unfolds and that at the very beginning it could be any reason that she was tied up in a closet and she could have been in grave danger. it's nice that it was just some mischievous girls who tied up their counselor/monitor. of course you know the cousin was the instigator in that. it was also neat that the boy/man counselor just happened to be the most handsome one in camp. i could see this as a scene in a movie and of course Grace is so pretty as well. i can't wait to see how Ryan and Grace...
Thank you so much! I really liked the idea that the beginning of the relationship between these characters has nothing to do with Ryan's appearance (even though he IS the most handsome counsellor at camp), which would usually have been a factor that Grace could have gravitated towards, or shied away from. I wanted to play with the idea of the two people getting to know each other on a more meaningful level before that came into play, but without taking it to the internet, which might be more typical for a meeting like that. I'm so glad you e...
Great story! I love the premise!
Thanks! Glad you liked it!
Absolutely loved this Lyn :) - Made me feel warm and fuzzy and blushy and EVERYTHING!!!
Aw that’s so great to hear! Thank you so much.
I really like this story! There's one thing that bothers me, though. Closet doors, especially ones on tiny closets, open outwards. That means the hinges are on the outside. There's no way they could have reached them from the inside.
Oh no! Yes, you're totally right about that. Thanks for pointing it out.
I'm feeling déjà vu here. I just said this to someone else, but it's true again. I don't usually go for romance, but yours is awesome. I love the way you made them meet without being able to see each other, and all the awkwardness in the closet was really cute. And I could totally see children being naughty like that. I love children, but some of them are untamed evil on the inside.
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Maybe the difference for you here was that I didn't really set out to write romance, but as the situation unfolded it just felt natural that the characters might become interested in each other, so I don't think that aspect was too overbearing? And yes, absolutely. Kids get up to crazy things sometimes.
Yes, I think you got it. Most romance is much cheesier and less realistic. This was real.
I enjoyed this story and you did a great job with it as well ^^ i liked everything about this and whenever you have the time you should make more stories whenever you have the time and aren't busy ^^ so guess what? i'm going to give this story a 10/10
Thank you so much, that really means a lot to me! I will definitely be continuing to write.
i was also wondering if you could check out and give a review to some of my stories? ^^ i'd love to see what you have to say if thats alright. "Useless" and "together" are the names
Thanks ^^ i'm excited to see what ya say
loved your story beautiful
Very sweet. Nice dialogue.
Wonderful ending. Well written, Lyn. The suspense was really keeping me reading your story. Keep writing. Would you mind checking out my new story? Thanks.