This is a new series that is co-written with seven other writers. Most of the posts are written in first person, which is a little new to me.
Welcome, one and all to Camp Haven!
Have you ever felt…different? Cast out from your peers because you could do things that they couldn’t? Have you ever been able to bend something to your will, be it water, air, fire, earth, or something more? Well don’t worry, this is the place for you! We have a fully equipped camp for everyone. We have a training ground, where our highly trained staff, who are just like you, will teach you how to control and master your gift! We have cabins for every type of bending, and they are very comfortable! We have a wonderful dining hall, with meals that enhance your mastery of your gift, as well as a fully stocked medical facility for whenever you have an accident. We also have special events every week, but you will have to come and see what they are for yourself! We can’t give everything away here can we? Worried that your parents wont let you come? Don’t worry! We are open 24/7, so your family can come and visit whenever they want!
So, if you have a gift, and you want to meet other people just like you, and make lasting friendships, then come to Camp Haven, where everyone is safe!
*RIIIIING* I lashed out with my fist and sent the alarm clock sailing across the room. I knew exactly what time it was by the sun just coming over the horizon. 6:30am. It was time to get the camp ready for the new arrivals. I stretched as I walked into the shower. As the hot water cascaded around me, I checked my skin for signs of hemorrhaging. Being a Haemokinetic, or Blood Bender as we are referred to as, I had to constantly check my body for internal “leakage”. I got out of the shower, and looked over at the shattered alarm clock. I reached out with my mind, and began to reassemble it. I was a Ferrokinetic as well, meaning I could control metal, but I rarely used it. I picked up the assembled clock and put it back on the nightstand. As I headed for the door, I grabbed my black counselor uniform, which consisted of track pants, a spandex undershirt and a hooded sweatshirt, off the counter in the kitchen and pulled it on. None of the other counselors were awake yet, which gave me some time to head to the training ground and meditate. “Here’s to another year, Tim, make the best of it,” I muttered as I walked across the cool grass toward the grounds. “Let’s just hope the kids have more common sense this time.
It was around 7:00am when I finally reached the training grounds near the entrance to the camp. I took a deep breath in and looked around. I could see that the medical pavilion and dining hall staff were preparing for the arrival of the campers near the north side of the grounds. The medical pavilion’s white-washed walls were a stark contrast to the rising red sun, and the dining hall was nearly invisible due to the dark blue paint job. I looked back at the cabins on the west end of the grounds. The counselor cabin, being the only two story building in that area, dwarfed the other cabins by comparison, but they look almost alike. “They almost look like Lincoln log cabins” I muttered. I turned back towards the entrance to the camp, on the south end of the compound. I sat down in the sand and gravel fighting pit, and waited to hear the sounds of cars pulling into the lots.
“I wonder if there’s more here?” I muttered to myself as I took inventory of the medical supplies. My hands ran along the boxes of saline, sterile gauze, bandages and dressings of various sorts, and I frowned at them in thought. “We’ll go through most of this in a single busy week, I’d wager.” I reached back and ran my fingers through my hair nervously, my eyes darting up to see the time. 7:00 am. They’ll be here soon.
I found the hair tie nestled against my wrist and used it to fashion a disorderly bun at the nape of my neck – disorderly enough to match my thoughts. I began to add some last-minute necessities to the cabinets and hummed quietly as I did so. The light, wooden cabinets added a more homey touch to the otherwise white interior of the building. I took a deep breath, and even from within the pavilion there was a faint hint of cedar lurking in the air. My favorite. Well. My thoughts corrected. Only second to coffee. The sun shone through the windows valiantly, somehow livening up the quiet space. Actually – I thought to myself, after a few moments of calm – I bet there’s more supplies on the backup cart. I glanced toward the large closet space near the back of the medical pavilion that I’d yet to venture into. It’s worth a look.
My arms could barely reach around the stack of boxes containing excess supplies after I’d stacked them, but I somehow managed to get the boxes and myself to the back room – what I could only assume was the supply room – in one piece. I clumsily opened the door, nearly dropping a box of 0.9% Normal Saline bags in the process. I set the boxes down just inside the door and felt around for a light switch for a few moments before they gratuitously turned on. They were the kind that sensed movement. Well, that’s handy. I thought, walking into the room in search of more sterile gauze.
Waking up at 6:40 am. I rolled out of my bed yawning and scratching my eyes. I checked my skin for any burns which was a daily routine for a Sergekinetic, or the ability to make and control acid. After taking a shower, I brush my hair and then brush my teeth. Putting on my Counselor uniform I run out making sure all the cabins were clean and organized. Going to the kitchen I make myself a cup of coffee and sigh “Well hopefully this is a good year” toasting to myself as I slowly sip my coffee.
Going to the training grounds to check on some small minor things, I stumble upon my superior Tim”Good morning Tim” Briefly talking to him I get my clipboard of the names of the campers and stand at the entrance waiting as the campers came in.
“Shit!” I exclaimed as I tripped over something while exiting the supply closet. Twelve small packages of sterile gauze flew everywhere, like some odd confetti. I reached out with my hand and caught the door jam, turning on my back so that it could take most of the blow. After the air had been knocked from me as I connected with the ground, I looked to my palm. I’d scraped it on something – probably the door jam, somehow and it began to burn as soon as I looked at it. I propped myself up on my other hand, looking to find the offending object that had tripped me – the boxes I’d left by the door. I frowned at them, as though they had done something wrong and quickly stood up to nudge them further inside the supply closet with my foot, closed the door, and gathered my confetti gauze.
After placing the packages in the cabinets, I glanced at my skinned palm again. It wasn’t really bleeding, but I grabbed an alcohol swab to place against it anyway. It was true that nursing school was largely responsible for making me almost germaphobic. I sucked in a breath at the sting of alcohol and patted the scrape dry with a piece of gauze, before placing my other hand over it. Better get some practice. I thought to myself, my palms pressed together in a sideways-praying sort of way. With the ability of vitakinesis I can induce healing – speed it up, even, within reason. Pain control was another bonus. It helped to focus on nothing but the injury, and making it yours to control. Inhaling slowly, I imagined the edges of the scrape turning inward, and coming closer together. While exhaling, I imagined the pain leaving as my breath did. It was like meditating, almost. After a few moments of this, the burning had turned into little but a dull ebb, and I stopped to examine my handiwork. The scrape had subsided into a small area of light discoloration, which went away after a day or so if the injury wasn’t deep enough to scar.
I sighed and closed the cabinets that I’d left open. “I need some coffee.” I turned down the hallway toward one of the smaller pavilion entrances and stepped out into the crisp air, headed toward the dining hall. Turning my head, I saw two male figures in the distance and waved. They looked to be counsellors, and I wasn’t sure if they were among the ones I’d already met or not. I wasn’t even sure if they’d seen me, and hopefully they hadn’t been near a window to see the tumble I’d taken. Glad none of the kids were here to see that. I thought as I continued toward the dining hall.
I nodded to Jerome, and looked back at the entrance. The campers were slowly beginning to file in. I recognized a few of them, as they had been with us for years, but most of the faces I was were unfamiliar to me. I saw a boy about the age of 16 hug his mother good-bye and grab his suitcase. I glanced to my left and saw a girl no more than 10 crying as she said good-bye to her parents. I smiled. “Jerome, check off the names of the campers who arrived. I’ll gather them around the fighting pit. It’s time for orientation.”
Nodding I go to the entrance of the camp and and set up a table and pulling out a chair I take out my clipboard and check off the names of campers who had already came.” Let me see… Ah yes the new campers” Looking at the group of newcomers. “So we got Thomas, Lilly, Ashton, and Bray” checking off the names. I direct all the campers to Tim”Showtime buddy” Patting him as I walk back to the entrance to make sure if any latecomers come.
Eris walked out of the dining hall, a fresh cup of coffee in hand – which somehow made this already fantastic morning a little bit sweeter. She smiled at the campers walking in as they started getting their bearings, said their farewells to their families, and began their introductions with one another. She didn’t want to go back into the pavilion just yet with all of these new faces around, and so she followed the crowd of campers to where Tim was gathering them, taking generous sips of hazelnut coffee on the way.
She walked alongside the group of new campers. “Hi there.” She said with a gentle wave. “I’m Eris. I’m the registered nurse over at the pavilion.” She made a vague gesture with her hand toward the direction of the large white building. “I’ll be coming with you guys to the orientation, but if you ever get injured, or don’t feel well, come to the pavilion and see me. I’ll get you fixed right up.”
When all the campers were finally gathered around the fighting pit, I stepped in the middle and addressed the newcomers.
“Welcome to Camp Haven. I am head counselor Richards. This” I pointed to my right “is Jerome. He is one of the other counselors at this camp. If you need any help while here, or just want to come and talk, our door is always open. Eris already introduced herself. If you need medical treatment, she is the best around.” I walked around the circle of campers. “However, do not take our charity for idleness. This is not a resort. You are here to learn about your gifts and master them. If you hurt each other on purpose, you will be sent to the penance hall.” I pointed to the second floor of the medical pavilion. “You will stay there until you have learned your lesson.” I went back to the center of the pit. “Now, I give this offer to all newcomers who arrive here. Who wants to show me what they can do?” I step back further into the pit. “If you can hit me, just once, I will kneel and call you master of your gift.”
I listened to Tim as he spoke. “Eris.” I said quietly in a low voice, as he mispronounced my name. It wasn’t a common name, so it was understandable enough. One of my professors in college had always pronounced it ‘Eeris’, with a long E sound – so if I had to choose between mispronunciations it would be Eric, any day of the week.
l took my hair from it’s confined bun and let the wind do with it what it wished, and then looked around the circle to see if there were any campers willing to take Tim’s offer. I could imagine that in a group with such varied ages, there were at least a few who were brave enough to put themselves in such a position.
I woke up as soon as the sun streamed across my face in lines reflected across the shades on the window. Rolling over I glanced at the alarm clock I frequently relied on to wake me up. The clock read “7:45” and my face contorted in surprise as I realized the ramifications of what this meant. “Oh crap, Tim is going to have my head when he realizes how late I am! My stupid clock didn’t wake me up on time.” Throwing the covers back in lightning speed, I quickly dressed myself, brushed my teeth, raced down the stairs and grabbed something from the refrigerator to quickly eat on the way over to the fighting pit.
I noticed as a man with black hair strode over to the group and bit my lip, wondering if the boss man was going to call him out, and feeling sorry for the latecomer in advance if he was called out. I afforded him a friendly smile and wave. We’ve all had those days in our lives where we’ve run unfortunately if not fashionably late.
Long before the rest of the staff had even gotten out of their beds, I had decided to get in a five mile run by taking to the forest trails that were part of the Camp grounds fitness trail. Today was going to be a long day. I knew that Eris had the task of checking the medical supplies first up, and knowing her as I did, she would have it done in record time. If she managed to have a coffee. Girl could be like a bear with a sore head without it. It was one of the quirks that I liked about her. Oh yeah, the kids thought she was great and had a wonderful bedside manner, but he knew that behind the sweet facade there could be a real tiger.
Jogging down the dirt trail, wearing my sweats and jogging shoes – I turned in for my dorm and took two steps at a time, before stopping to check my heart rate. I’d raised it enough to have worked up some sweat, and I lifted my arm to take a whiff.
~Pwoahhh~ I thought to myself. Yeah, I stank. A good shower and then I’d be able to join Eris at the Training ground. It was always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the latest group of campers, and also check in with Tim.
Tearing off my shirt, I hopped across the lino covered floor as I took off my pants, and then whipped off my briefs, before I got in under the shower. The jets of water were a welcome relief, and after washing my hair and body thoroughly, I stepped out of the glass cubicle, releasing a cloud of steam into the bathroom. As always I fogged up the mirror, and with a large wipe of my hand, I was staring at my dripping features. A good rub with the towel and I was able to dry myself down, shaking my head as water droplets cascaded all around me and onto the floor. The cleaning staff loved me. I gave them something to do.
Sliding open the door to my closet, I had a row of cotton shirts, all in light shades. Nothing flash really. I wouldn’t be what you regarded as a sensitive new age guy. I dressed for practicality, never fashion. Dressing in a white shirt, with jeans and of course my old faithful pair of boots – I slipped on my brown leather jacket and was now ready to face the day, and Eris.
It was a short walk down towards where Tim had a group of new campers at the ready, and it was pretty easy to spot Eris in amongst this lot. Having just released her hair from her trademark loose bun, it was actually nice to see her with her hair down. Sauntering up beside her with my hands buried deep in my pockets and I noticed that she was holding a cup of coffee. One that she must have been enjoying.
“Hazelnut? Where’s mine?” I joked with a slightly raised brow, before I turned my attention towards Tim and the campers. “Are we going to have enough bandages for this lot?”
I could have well answered that question myself of course, but there was nothing like making light of the first day back at work.