6 - Where the Crazy Camper Appears Again

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6

         When we packed away everything left over from our traditional barbeque dinner, we headed to the showers and washed up for the night.

         My mother slept soundlessly on the other side of the tent, lying still on the air mattress. I appreciated my mom’s silence when she slept, but snoring wouldn’t have added much.

         The rowdy group of people to the left of our camping lot were still up and about, shouting and laughing and making a ruckus. For some reason, they didn’t understand that night meant sleep.

         I wasn’t feeling the least bit sleepy. My eyes were wide open, open for the last two hours I’d lain in the tent.

         With a resigned sigh, I bundled myself in a thick sweater, slipped on my shoes, and tumbled out of the tent. Maybe if I went for a short walk it would help me fall asleep once I lay down again.

         I paused for a moment, eying the forest around me. I hadn’t bothered taking a flashlight with me, so it would make sense not to wander too far. Nonetheless, the point of the walk was to clear my head.

         I set off at a steady trot, my shoes crunching on gravel. The further away I walked from our tent and our noisy next-tent neighbours, the better I felt. Forests smelled amazing, all crisp and clean, and the scent of marshmallows we had roasted hours before still lingered and added to the pleasantry.

         After several deep breaths, a grin began to spread across my face. I wouldn’t have trouble falling asleep once I made it back. I contemplated turning around and heading back right there, was about to, when I heard a rustle.

         I wasn’t a paranoid person; it was just that I had an…overactive imagination.

         Okay, yeah, I am paranoid.

         I stopped in my tracks and squinted at the spot where the noise had come from.

         Are there coyotes in this part of town? I thought nervously to myself.

         Badgers? Skunks? Tasmanian devils?

         The underbrush rustled again, and all the muscles in my legs tensed, ready to help me flee if a monster came lunging out of the forest.

         I relaxed when I heard voices, then tensed again when I recognized that one of them belonged to Jacoby.

         I couldn’t help it. I wanted to earwig so badly.

         I inched closer to where I assumed they were standing, making sure to step carefully once I left the trail. If a twig snapped, they would notice me, indefinitely.

         Okay, Jasslyn. Time to play it like a pro. Like 007. Like… like…

         I inched forward, looking ridiculous as I stepped on the grass-only parts of the ground. Or tried to, at least.

         Snap!

         I froze.

         Oh, fudge.

         Before I could give Jacoby and whomever the other person was the satisfaction of catching me red handed, I whirled around and ran back onto the gravel trail, stepping on several branches in the process.

         Snapsnapsnap!

         “Who’s there?” said a rough male voice.

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