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Camp Nightmare
Mysteries by Kids 10: July 1999
by Puppyzzz

We were just settling down in our tents after setting up camp by the river when we heard a strange noise-- a noise that definitely wasn't human!
I sat straight up in my cot. I nudged Jamie, sleeping next to me. Jamie was my best friend. She had only agreed to go to this stupid survival camp because I had.
"What? What?" Jamie whispered loudly.
"I heard something," I whispered.
Jamie collapsed back onto her cot.
"Just Counselor Jake, probably."
"No, no. Listen."
She stayed quiet for a minute and then I realized that she was asleep. I pulled on my sweater and sandals and crept outside.
Movement! But it disappeared just as quickly as it had come. What had it been?
I slipped behind it and started to follow it. It led me far away from out camp. And soon I realized that it was heading for the cave. The forbidden cave of silence! All the camp knew about it. You never go inside that cave if you want to come back out... Never. When it reached the cave, a bit of moonlight shone on it's face. It was covered in shaggy, brown fur.
I gulped. It entered the cave and I stayed outside, waiting for a howl or a scream. But there was nothing. So I cautiously stepped inside, half expecting to be grabbed and ripped to shreds.
Inside, the cave was pretty empty. A few old bones here and there. But the smell was unimaginable. I couldn't have guessed what made it. I didn't really want to know.
Then, in the corner, I saw a huddled figure. Counselor Jake! I ran over to him. He was not tied up, but was unconscious. I shook him.
"Counselor Jake!" I whispered.
"Hey!" someone behind me said.
I spun around. Facing me was the ugliest old thing I ever saw. It walked on all fours and was covered in a sort of brown material. And his hair! His hair reached all the way down to the floor and then some.
"What are you doing here?" it asked.
I wanted to run. But my legs were lead weights.
"I..." I stammered.
He looked down at himself and laughed.
"I suppose you've never seen a troll before, have you?" he asked.
I shook my head.
"Who are you?"
He looked confused. Like he was lost. "I don't know, really. It has been so long since I've talked to anyone about myself... I hardly remember where I came from anymore. And I haven't talked to another living soul for... well, centuries. Well, take your friend here. I found him in the gully. And at first I was so excited to see another living thing! But then I realized he was knocked out."
He motioned to Counselor Jake, who was mumbling.
I looked back to him.
"So, you were the phantom everyone was gossiping about?"
He laughed.
"Guess I scared a few people, huh?"
We stared at each other for a moment and I found myself feeling sorry for him. The poor guy. All alone out here for who knows how long.
He seemed to read my thoughts.
"Now don't you be feeling sorry for me. I like it here. And look," he patted his chest, "I'm quite comfortable."
"Why don't you come back with me? You could write an amazing novel," I plugged my nose "And take a bath."
"No, I like it here. I have everything I need."
I turned away and began dragging counselor Jake back.
Then I turned back to the troll.
"If you won't come with me for any of those reasons, will you consider this one?" I asked.
"What is it?"
I grinned.
"You could be in the world record books for the longest, smelliest, grimiest hair."
Congratulations, Puppyzzz !
from Mysteries by Kids
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