Camp Burkheart by Jessica Fine
Camp Burkheart was buzzing with noise. Campers scampered all around. The silver crescent moon glowed brightly forcing the stars to fade around it from its blinding light. I walked clutching my bag, I was so nervous my knuckles were white from gripping it so hard. I strided past the archery lane and weapon/armory shed. Kids of ages nine to nineteen came to Camp Burkheart, they came to learn to survive and find the rest of their soul.
I’m ready for this, I encouraged myself. I stood there eyeing everyone while I fiddled with my hair re-braiding it over and over. I checked over all my stuff I needed for tonight, bow, two dozen arrows, some food, clothes, compass, and a pocket knife. That was probably my hundredth time. The cabins around glowed a summery orange from torches that lit up around camp, but the training area was dark, silent, and eerie. Just like the Garboloth Shadow just thinking of him it sent shivers down my spine making me shudder. I could barely imagine the amount of people that disappeared around its cave.
A loud voice boomed throughout the camp, “Please all gather around the fire for dinner.” The leader of Camp Burk Heart continued, “Then we will start the search.”
As I got closer the smell of Bar-B-Q wafted through the air making my stomach grumble loudly. The whole camp was able to fit around the fire, seventy-eight. Everyone conversed and watched the flames dance in the night sky sparks going everywhere. We nibbled on our hamburgers even though we felt as if we lost our stomachs to our nerves.
“Okay,” Marrow the leader said. “As you all know tonight is the night you younglings find your ride or well, the other part of your soul, the lost part. Kids who already have found there’s help others prepare. Don’t be discouraged if this is your third, fourth or whatever, your time will come,” He cleared his throat. “You each will be given what looks like a twig, snap it we’ll will be there to save you from whatever danger occurs in less than five minutes.”
He snapped the twig in half a searing noise came out making everyone cover their ears.
“I think my ears are bleeding!” One muttered in the crowd, making others laugh. Marrow even cracked a smile.
“In twenty minutes gather round in the sparring yard and we will start,” he instructed and walked off well he was pushed off in a bathtub on wheels. Being mer and all.
Only a few stayed at the fire as it died down. I was one of them finishing my root beer. I had twenty minutes to settle my nerve. I was probably the most nervous being my first time. I zoned out watching the flames. I finally relaxed some until a horn blew making me rattled all over again.
We all grouped up and listened for our name to be called by Marrow.
“Alma-Rose Greenwood!” He called at last.
I walked a few steps forward; it felt like I took my first few steps from crawling. He smiled warmly and handed me my stick we called the whistle stick. Soon everyone had theirs. He told us how this all became. How when we are born we aren’t born with our whole soul, we have to find them meaning the rest of our soul basically. This is what this camp does.
“Okay, when I blow the horn scatter off into the woods,” He blew a horn.
We all ran into the woods yelling and cheering. I must’ve run two miles until it was pretty quiet and torches faded from other kids. I wasn’t as jittery now as I slowed to a walk. The deeper I got in the woods the more I heard scampering wild beasts, hissing, and every so often a neigh.
I hoped I wouldn’t share a soul with a Pixie; they were nasty little things, I thought as I hiked through the trees. I didn’t even know how to find my other part of soul . Some say it will come with destiny. My muscles started to ache and I was parched luckily I heard a creek not too far away.
I sat down on my knees on the edge of the shimmering creek. I would have to wade through it soon and it was freezing. I cupped my hands and drank the icy water making my fingers go numb. I looked at the moon’s reflection and the ripples until I heard a crash behind me. I jumped up and turned towards the sound. There he was, the Garboloth Shadow. He looked just like the drawings I saw on a map once. His lair, the most scarce place. He arched his long elegant neck towards the stars like he was a glorious king praising his people. His dark blue scales with silver tips glinted in the moon light. I ran to a tree and hid behind it before he saw me. I heard a few snorts and a stomps then everything got hotter in the air. The Garboloth Shadow was a dragon.
I had left my bag. I turned and looked around the tree to see what he was burning. He was burning trees to a crisp. I watched him burn others till he looked my way. My tree was next.
The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Just as the flames licked my tree I had ran. I grabbed my bag and bow splashing through the creek sprinting as fast as I could. I heard a few crashes behind me a while ago but I kept running. Well, until I ran into someone.
“Oww, watch it!” A boy said rubbing his head trying to sit up.
“Sorry,” I said quickly searching the woods.
“Why are you running, anyway?” the tall lanky boy asked.
“I thought I was being chased by the Garboloth Shadow,” I whispered loudly.
He looked at me like I was insane, “Did you hit your head when we fell?” He went on, “No one has seen him for over a decade. Even if why didn’t you break your stick?”
I had no idea why I didn’t.
“Well, I’m going,” I said. He followed. “We have to find our other part of our soul on our own.”
“We’ll split soon.”
We walked in silence but the night was loud.
“What’s your name?” He broke the silence.
“Ah, Rose,” he looked at the sky. “Red Ravenswood.”
“Alma-Rose,” I said snidely.
“So Rose, this your first time?”
I rolled my eyes, “Yes.”
“Sixth, people say they find you they come with destiny,” He said. “Not me.”
“Have a little faith.”
“Faith, ha I’ve heard that so many times.”
I heard a growl behind us and snarling. We turned ever so slowly. There stood a wolf like creature a black one, with horns, and a spiked tail with red beady diamond eyes. I swung my bow with and arrow and pointed my arrow at it. Red struggled to unsheathe his sword until he stabbed it toward the creature wolf. I shot an arrow wounding its leg; it howled in pain and hurdled away. Red and I nodded at each other and started to run a few step with more growling this time around us. They were everywhere surrounding us in every angle.
“How many arrows do you have left,” He asked.
“Six, I must’ve lost some when I was running.”
I slowly reached for my bag searching for my whistle stick, but I stopped when a huge crash started to get closer and louder I stood frozen while I saw the Garboloth Shadow grab Red’s collar of his shirt and yank him in the air. Finally, I unfroze and grabbed his ankle, yanking me into the air too.
We climbed high screaming as we went up and up. My feet finally stopped clipping the tops of trees. My arm was ripped up, feeling like it would pop out of its socket as I landed on the back of the dragon. I gripped on to Red’s side as we soared through the dark sky with the glow of stars. The dragon couldn’t hold our weight together that much and we started to lose altitude. We finally started to dive down and the dragon struggled to control his wings. Until we started spinning and I lost my grip and fell. I sailed down maybe twenty feet hitting the lake. I breached to the shore and saw Red running my way.
I nodded. The dragon followed him but I scooted away.
“It’s okay she is my other well, part of my soul!” He said I looked at him with a crazy expression. “Everything glowed when I touched her and then I could understand and talked to her with my mind.”
“Her name is Faith.” He said. “She saved us. She’s good!”
All I could do is stare at them wide eyed.
Find information about my next writing contest, interviews, book news and more on my website.