*Part 3/7 of The Safest Summer Camp in the World. If you haven’t caught up, click HERE.
Sunlight on a lake puts everyone in a good mood; kids, doubly so. There are about fifty of them, My Mother used to sing a song when we’d go to the beach as a kid:
We’re going to the beach!
I love the beach- weee…
She was a lawyer. A group of kids have a Frisbee. The tell me in Russian that it is called “Flying Plate.”
I play a bit. A few of them are doing gymnastics on the side. We are beside a horse farm, occasionally the Frisbee will go over. One kid or another chases after it to the tune of “Oh come on!”
They duck under the fence. There is a sign with a lightning bolt on it, something written in Finnish. The kids are allowed to swim in shifts. Eventually the Frisbee players are called into the water. I walk to the shore. S is splashing about among them with a floating Go-Pro.
“Come!” he calls.
I shake my head. He gives me a disappointed look. He rallies the kids until all are chanting for me to get in. I sigh, take of my shirt and walk over to where S is standing.
“Yay,” I say–toneless and shivering.
I splash about a bit, go under. It feels nice. Then, someone cries out. I turn to find all of the kids holding each other under, one by one. I look at S, he is coming toward me, arms outstretched, smiling.
“You’re turn,” he says. His hands are on my shoulders. The body of a kid named Misha floats by.
“Wait–no!” but it’s too late, he has me under. I struggle and manage to get loose. I come up, choking. S is advancing.
He looks confused–a bit sad.
“But, didn’t K tell you?”
I don’t respond.
“So you must?” he says. I sigh and don’t move. He takes it as a sign and comes closer. I am under for forty-five seconds–it’s hell. Then, I’m being pulled up. The water is blurring my eyes. I hack up a bunch of water. S is still holding my arms.
“Sorry–” he says, “but what is this called?”
“This.” he pushes me back under the water, then pulls me up.
I claw at his arms and back away. “Drowning! it’s called freaking drowning, man.”
S smiles. “Ah! I like that word.”
He comes closer. I hold up my hand.
“No! Hell no,” I start walking to shore, nudging the corpse of Misha out of my way. S calls after me. “Wait! We have to.”
I turn with some pretty dark language loaded into my tongue. But, from behind S, one of the other councilors dunks him under. I watch him die, shaking my head. I walk back to the kids playing Frisbee. It’s a group that have all died already. They are looking at me, disapproving. No one throws me the Frisbee. So, I go and stand beside the horse pasture. One of the younger students, a girl with glasses named Dasha, comes up beside me.
“Why didn’t you–” she points at the lake. I sigh.
“I just don’t like it,” I say, controlling my tone.
She frowns. “You’re not a fun teacher, are you?”
She walks away before I can respond. I feel somehow guilty. I look at the fence–the kids, the fence.
“Dasha?” I call. She turns.
“Check this out then,” I say, managing a small smile.
I grab the fence.
I am dead in seconds.
TO BE CONTINUED…