*Part 2/7 of The Safest Summer Camp in the World. If you haven’t read part 1, click HERE.

I open my eyes in bed. S stands over me.

“You were–” he coughs a few times. He holds out a spray bottle.

“For your,” he rubs his throat. Everything is a haze. I spray the bottle down my throat. The itch cools. I close my eyes. I feel S place a blanket over me.

“It often happens the first time,” he says. Then, I fall asleep. I have no dreams.

When I wake, S is gone. I step out into the main den. All the campers are mulling about. One camper is playing some Russian hip-hop on a portable speaker.

“Good morning,” one of the braver campers says to me. I wave, almost vomit–step back inside my room. After twenty minutes of swearing at a wall and coughing, someone knocks on my door. I crack it. K is standing there putting ice cream into whatever is hiding behind his beard. He takes one look at my face.

“Shit,” he says. “They didn’t tell you.”

It wasn’t a question, so I didn’t answer.

“Can I come in?” he asks, holding out his half-eaten ice cream as a peace offering. I step back. He doesn’t come in but instead speaks from the door.

“So–uh, what did they tell you?”

I sit down and look at my hands. They are shaking.

“Oh,” he says. “I see. Hm, okay well this camp is kind of like, spelled?”

I look up at him, “huh?”

“A bad spell.”

“A curse?”

“Ah!” he snaps his fingers. “Curse, yeah. It is cursed. No one under thirty can stay dead here.”

His eyes go wide. “You’re not thirty are you?”

“Twenty-eight,” I mumble. He sighs.

“Oh good. Well, while we are here we all have to die at least five times. And the curse will keep going. Parents send their kids here to prepare them for different deaths. So they will, well, know–you know? Not only that, but they can die as many times as they want, making us the number one safest summer camp in the world.” He swells with pride.

I try very hard to make my face show clearly that no, I do not know. He doesn’t seem to get it.

“So, you understand.”

I shake my head. “Shit, no–I’m leaving.” I stand up. My bag is still sitting on a chair, packed. He holds his ice cream out at me, like a shield.

“Ah–well, see, you already died once, and so you have to die at least four more times. If we do not all die at least five times by the end, we will not be able to leave this place.”

“Like, ever?”

He nods. “Like ever.”

He notes the look on my face. He steps closer, places a hand on my shoulder and says, “don’t worry, it will be fun. Today we go to the lake!”

I put my face in my hands.

“It will be fine, and look–it will prepare you for when the time comes. Just try to enjoy it. Set a good example for the kids? Okay? Other Americans who have come here have been pretty bad, we had to shoot one of them five times on the last day.”

I look up at him, trying to make my face do something. Instead my mouth just says “uh-huh.”

K looks guiltily at his ice cream. He sighs.


He nudges one foot with the other. “Well–you weren’t at breakfast but we had a choking competition.”

I frown, sliding back away from him as he pulls a gun from his pocket.

“Oh come the fu–”

But he shoots me between the eyes before I can finish the sentence.


A Writer and an artist living in Russia

18 Comment on “The Safest Summer Camp in the World 2

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