*Part 4/7 of The Safest Summer Camp in the World. If you haven’t caught up, click HERE.
Over the past day I’ve gotten to know the kids a bit better. Most come from well-off paranoid families.
K finds me at night.
“The kids really like you,” he says. ”
I nod, “good.”
“Yes, they said you electrocuted yourself on the fence. That’s good!”
I shrug. “I’m coming to terms with it.”
“Coming to terms?”
He smiles. “Good, it’s nice to find an American who really cares.”
He shakes my hand before he goes. He stops and turns, “oh, tonight the kids are making museum exhibits in their rooms, do you want to come?”
“Sure. In a minute.”
I stay down by the river, smoking a cigarette. It is beautiful. I’ve been in a city so long I forget–
I turn, C is standing, leaning against a rock, she is picking something out of her teeth. I jump a little, tossing my cigarette aside. She laughs.
“Oh don’t worry, I’ve done much worse here,” she says, smiling.
I chuckle, “good.”
She looks at me, longer. “This camp is special, you know?” she says.
I nod. “How long have you been working here?”
“Oh, too long, much too long, longer even than K,” C sighs.
I frown, “that means you must have died–like a lot?”
“Does it get any easier?”
C looks out over the water, she looks about to cry then, she snaps a smile, her teeth glint in the soft sunset. “Yes. So did K tell you about the museum?”
“Alright, I’ll see you up there.” She turns, taking a path through the trees I hadn’t noticed prior.
A few hours later I am with the other councilors. We start in a room of boys. They are having a rap battle, it is all in Russian but it’s intense either way. It is pretty aggressive. Eventually they are yelling, just like those rap-battles on YouTube. K is clapping, S sits next to me, nodding along. As it gets to its most intense, both the boys pull out handguns and blow each other away. One of them even says “Bang-bang!” as he is firing.
The councilors all clap. I do too, my hands a little wet with blood. The rest of the rooms are similar. Some horror–one, a hospital room, another is a war of cowboys and Indians. One of the rooms is an alphabet search, I am apprehensive to elaborate on how they made the letters.
We move on to the next cabin. The first room is a bit light hearted; a commercial for instant noodles. At the end of it, they all stand there. No one claps. K frowns. He starts yelling at them in Russian, I don’t understand, but they don’t seem happy.
He shoots each of them between the eyes and we move on. The last room we come to has been turned into a giant fort. The kids all sway and there are candles everywhere. One of them plays guitar, another reads a story.
C is sitting next to me and she whispers in my ear to help me follow along.
“Once upon a time there was a peasant who fell in love with a princess. The princess, seeing him as so weak and unworthy, cast her from the kingdom simply for taking sight of her. This peasant began to study magic, the most powerful magic; fire. Each day this peasant burned a piece of himself away in the flames, only to replace it, little by little with fire. His power grew and he burned so brightly that the princess could see the light from her kingdom far away. She sent men to retrieve the source of that power. They brought the peasant to the princess, aflame. He had burned away every piece of himself. He stood there, a God. The princess fell in love, and she proclaimed it, prostrated. But the God of fire could not love a creature so weak. He answered with a whisper that burned her kingdom to ash.”
At the end, everyone claps just before the girls knock over the candles. The whole room goes up in flames.
Burning turns out to be my least favorite way to die so far.
TO BE CONTINUED…