Camp Ferguson: Chapter 2

In which our hero meets someone new and discovers some unexpected things. Namely, that you can be a wizard and not really want to be.

 

CHAPTER 2: DANNY, INTERRUPTED

 

With a rattle and squeal of metal on metal, the train hit some bumps in the tracks and for what must have been the millionth time, the wooden armrest of the bench jumped up and smacked Jack in the back of the head.

“Uhh—oww,” he groaned, trying to slide further down on the threadbare, scratchy, and altogether sketchy-looking cushions he was currently laying on, but finding that the only purpose this served was bunching up his knees even more against the wall of the cramped cabin, he gave up and shifted back again. “Seriously, guys, can you drive the train a little straighter or something? I’m trying to sleep here.”

He patted at his pockets for a moment, searching for his phone so he could at least kill time by shooting someone a text or listening to music. He scowled as he once again found nothing and remembered that his phone had been confiscated by the BMA agents before they had taken him to the train station in New York. Sitting up to check the view outside the window behind him, he saw rocky outcroppings and sheer cliffs moving past them in a mountainous landscape. At least it was a change from the forests they’d been driving through a few hours before. And the open plains a few hours before that.

“Come on,” he sighed, flopping back onto the bench. “Where are we even going, anyway? Man, I hate trains. So if there are wizards and they have magic and everything, why can’t they just, like, snap their fingers and zap us right to wherever we’re supposed to be? Nah. That would make too much sense. But I probably shouldn’t judge. I mean, I could’ve been a train in another life or something. Is that how that whole thing works?”

Frowning thoughtfully, he pulled off his baseball cap and held it up in front of his face, staring at it in deep contemplation for a minute before shoving it back on. Folding his arms back once more and putting his hands underneath his head, Jack took a deep breath and closed his eyes. But the calm lasted mere seconds as there was a sudden commotion outside the cabin: the sound of little feet running and the lock being jimmied. Then, the door slid open just long enough and wide enough for a small boy, panting and sweating with exertion and with a panicked expression on his narrow face, to duck inside and slam it behind him. He collapsed against the door, taking a puff from an inhaler he produced from the pocket of his shorts and pushing his plastic-rimmed glasses back up on his nose.

“Oh, man,” he moaned in a high, reedy voice that instantly grated on Jack’s ears. “This is not good. This is so not good. I’m toast.”

“Look, dude,” Jack mumbled, “I don’t want to be a jerk or anything, but didn’t anyone ever tell you it’s rude to disturb the dead?”

The new boy jumped, scrambling to his feet and keeping his back pressed against the door as he stared bug-eyed at his unexpected companion.

“Crap,” he said, using his right hand to grasp for the door handle. “I’m so sorry. Seriously. I didn’t realize there was anyone in here, and I was just in such a hurry. I’ll get lost, I swear. I’m going. Just don’t hurt me.”

Noticing the desperation and fear in his voice, Jack sat up and held up his hands, giving the boy a smile.

“Whoa, slow down, man,” he said, in a much friendlier tone. “It’s okay. I’m awake anyway, so I might as well be social, right? You don’t have to go. Sit down. Take a load off.”

“You really mean it?” the boy asked, blinking at him in surprise. “But don’t you, like, want to sleep or something?”

“No way. I get, like, thirteen hours a day back at home, so I think I’ve got enough stored up to last me a while.” Jack chuckled, but stopped when he realized his new friend wasn’t laughing. “That was a joke. Why does nobody get this stuff?”

“Uh-huh,” the boy replied, still not looking convinced, but slowly sliding down on the bench opposite. “Well, anyway, I guess I’m Danny. Danny Falco.”

“Then I guess I must be Jack Ferguson,” said Jack, grinning to ease the tension. “Glad we got that figured out. I was getting confused.”

“Right,” Danny said uncomfortably, pushing some of the brown hair that was plastered to his forehead with sweat up again. “Nice to meet you, I guess. So you’re going to Camp Prospero too, huh?”

“Going where?”

Danny frowned.

“You know,” he said slowly, as though explaining to a child. “Camp Prospero. For our magic training. Summer program for three months. Right?”

“Sure,” said Jack with a shrug. “I mean, I don’t really know. I didn’t pay that much attention to all the suits after they zapped me and made me take all those dumb tests. Who does multiple choice anymore?”

“They Tasered you?” Danny asked, trying to keep a lid on his clear curiosity. “Wow. Did you try to fight them or something?”

“Nah. I think they just didn’t like my jokes. Some people have no sense of humor. But I wasn’t all that crazy about going with them, if I’m being honest. They seemed like tools. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t have to do all that stuff when they gave me a physical, either.”

“What stuff?”

“It was pretty invasive, man. That’s all I’m saying. I think it was revenge. There were a lot of needles involved.”

“Yeah, I get it,” Danny nodded, looking down at his striped shirt. “When they came for me, I was under my bed trying to give myself a lobotomy with a piece of Silly Putty.” His shoulders slumped, making him look miserable beyond belief. “It’s so not fair. I don’t even want to be magical. Why couldn’t it just have skipped over a generation?”

“Wait,” said Jack, confused. “You’re a wizard, and you don’t want to be? But having magic is, like, the coolest thing ever. Right?”

“Not for me,” Danny moped, putting his head in his hands. “My whole family’s magical: my mom, my dad, even my brother Sam.” He said the last name with a visible grimace. “They always put so much pressure on me, and I can’t handle it. I just didn’t want to be magical so I could be normal and stop disappointing them all the time. Now it’s just one more chance to screw up and prove what a loser I am.”

“Hey, calm down, buddy,” said Jack, patting him on the shoulder as Danny appeared about to burst into tears. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You seem cool to me.”

“Yeah, right,” Danny sniffled, looking away and blinking furiously. “That’s all Sam. Mr. Perfect. He’s good at everything, like grades and sports and having friends and stuff, and everybody always likes him. But nobody can stand me. On my last birthday, do you know my mom had to send out, like, fifty invitations just to get three kids to show up? And they just came for the cake and ice cream.”

“Well at least you get to spend some time away from home, then. Look at it that way.”

“I would. Except Sam goes to Camp Prospero, too. He’s a third-year. A senior.”

“Huh,” said Jack, whistling. “Big man on campus, huh? Yeah, that’s a bummer. Sorry.”

“Thanks,” said Danny, looking grateful. “I just feel like a total failure compared to him. Speaking of, you know those tests they gave us that you were talking about? Sam got a perfect score when they first brought him in.”

“Nice,” said Jack, raising his eyebrows. “I barely passed mine. But that might be because I doodled on most of the pages when I got bored.”

“Uhh—right. Sure. Me too. Totally.”

“Don’t sweat it, bro. Standardized tests are a bunch of crap anyway. That’s why I stole a steamroller and drove it through Central Park instead of taking my SATs.”

“What?” Danny exclaimed. “Why’d you do that?”

“I couldn’t get a cab.”

“Okay,” said Danny, unsure of what to follow up with and trying to change the subject. “I’m not dumb or anything, I swear. I’m just so bad at taking tests. No matter how hard I study or know the material, I panic once I get the paper in front of me, and I blank and get it all wrong. I guess that’s why we’re going to Camp Prospero, though.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, boy.” Danny looked at Jack with sympathy. “You really don’t know how this whole thing works, do you? Here.”

He pulled a wadded-up tri-fold brochure from the back pocket of his shorts and tossed it onto the bench beside Jack. He then stood up, moving over to the door and opening it just a crack to glace outside as Jack straightened it out and scanned the contents.

CAMP PROSPERO

ALL EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE ACCEPTED, NO EXCEPTIONS

The rest of the brochure, as far as Jack could tell, was filled with more slogans of similar caliber, garishly-colored pages of generic-looking people smiling out at the reader, and beautiful vistas that were both obviously retouched and printed in what appeared to be the cheapest way possible.

“So it’s an actual camp?” he asked, scratching his head. “I mean, this is where we’re supposed to be learning about magic and everything, right? I guess I was kind of expecting, I don’t know, some kind of fancy school or something.”

“They make it sound like a camp,” said Danny, not looking away from the door. “But I don’t know. It sort of seems more like boot camp to me. There’s a bunch of them all over the country, but everyone I’ve ever talked to says Camp Prospero is the worst. It’s where they put people who weren’t good enough to get into the others. The loser camp.”

“What? Come on,” Jack scoffed, tossing the paper over onto the cushion beside him. “That’s ridiculous, Danny. I bet you’re just worrying too much. Besides, if it’s such a lousy place, how come your brainiac brother’s going there?” He waited for an answer, but didn’t get one. “Danny? Hey, Earth to Danny. What’s going on with you? Did you lose something?”

“No, but I’m going to if I’m not careful,” Danny hissed, frightened. “Okay, so I kind of have a confession to make. When I first came in here, I was trying to hide.”

“Hide? From who?”

“These third-year guys. I ran into them after Sam ditched me at the train station and I needed a seat. I tried to be nice and everything, but all they did was make fun of me: laughed at me, called me names—” The boy’s face flushed at the memory. “It just made me so mad, you know? But I couldn’t do anything about it. They were bigger than me. But that’s when the toothpaste floated out of the one guy’s bag and exploded all over them.”

“Ha. Nice,” Jack snickered. “Sounds like they totally deserved it. Good one.”

“But I didn’t mean to!” Danny insisted. “Really, I didn’t. I was so angry, and then before I knew it, it was just happening. The magic took over, and I couldn’t stop it. So they got super pissed and started chasing me, so I ran all the way down here to the back of the train to throw them off. I must have been like the Flash.”

“Right.” Jack blinked, uncomprehending. “The what now?”

“You know, the Flash. Runs really fast. Has, like, lightning powers. Fastest man alive?” Danny snorted. “Well, I mean, besides Superman. Nobody’s faster than him. That would be crazy.”

“Dude, seriously, did you just start speaking in Chinese or something? What are you talking about?”

Danny moaned, shifting from foot to foot and looking like he had to go to the bathroom.

“Does nobody else read comics?” he asked, his distress reaching a breaking point. “Those guys said the same thing. They were so mean, and I’ve been running so long and I’m so tired and I can’t fight back, and I don’t know where Sam is, and I can’t—”

“Hey, hold up, pal,” Jack said quickly, cutting him off before he could start hyperventilating. “You really need to calm down. Try some deep breathing or some yoga or something dumb like that. You know, this is the kind of situation that separates the men from the boys.” He frowned. “At least, that’s what my psychiatrist in the mental hospital used to say.”

“Yeah, I know,” Danny whined, shutting the door and flopping down on the bench. “They’re going to kill me when I’m still a boy and I’ll never get to be a man. I don’t think I’ve even hit puberty yet.” He covered his face with his hands. “I knew this whole thing was a bad idea. I just knew it. Sam was right: I’m never going to make it at Camp Prospero. I bet my parents think that, too. I should’ve just given up before I started and—”

He looked up again sharply, just registering what he had heard.

“Wait a second. Did you say you were in a mental hospital?”

As if in response to his mood, the overhead fluorescent light hummed and flickered ominously and the pamphlet on the seat next to Jack suddenly levitated several inches into the air before fluttering down again. Jack slid warily away from it.

“What? No. Forget it,” he said quickly, trying a new tack. “Look, man, you’re bumming me out. Quit it with all this getting down on yourself. You can’t let other people get in your head like that, even if it is your brother. If he actually spent some time with you, I bet he’d quit being such a jerk. I mean, I don’t think you’re a loser.”

The light above them suddenly stabilized as Danny put his hands down and looked up at him, uncertainty and hope in his narrow, haggard face.

“Really? You mean it?”

“Duh.” Jack cracked a grin. “You’re hanging out with me, right? I’d say that gives you a pretty good bump on the cool scale. And hey, even if you don’t get along with your brother and your parents, at least you have some. All I’ve ever had is foster parents. A lot of them.”

“Yeah, I guess,” said Danny, sitting up and looking at him guiltily. “Foster parents? I’m sorry. That must be—uhh—rough.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Jack said, leaning back and waving off his concern. “I’ve been in the system since I can remember, but I never last long with any one family. I don’t think they get me.”

“Like, what do you mean?”

“Okay, so the family before my last family, right? In Brooklyn. They kicked me out just because I got a few chickens online with their credit card and let them loose in their brownstone while they were at work and school. Numbered them 1, 2, and 4. They went crazy trying to find number 3.” He laughed to himself. “It took them, like, weeks to figure it out. Man, were they pissed.”

“Umm—wow.”

“I know, right? Some people just can’t take being pranked. I don’t get it. Who doesn’t like practical jokes?”

“Yeah,” Danny said, biting at his lip. “I don’t know. So did you, you know, ever meet your real parents?”

Jack frowned at the question, his hand drifting subconsciously up to stroke the brim of his baseball cap.

“No. I mean, I don’t think so. Maybe. It’s weird. A lot of things are kind of fuzzy from back then. But you’d think that would be something I’d remember.” Noticing that Danny was looking at him funny, he shoved his hand back in his pocket and shrugged. “But whatever. If they didn’t want to know me, that’s their loss, right?”

“Uh-huh,” Danny murmured, looking doubtful. “So you’re from New York City, then?”

Jack laughed, tipping the cap back. “What gave it away? You?”

“Oh, I’m from Wisconsin. Outside Madison. I guess you don’t know where you got your magic from, then. I’ve kind of been dealing with it my whole life. You sort of get used to it after a while. Well, mostly. My mom’s a clerk at the BMA, and my dad’s in recycling.”

“Recycling?” Jack echoed. “What does magic have to do with recycling?”

“Well, did you really think that people could just make, like, jeans and stuff out of plastic bottles all by themselves?”

“Huh. Okay, good point. But how come nobody knows about all this? Those agent guys who brought me in were going on about how super top secret everything was, and that the whole magic thing is classified.”

“It’s the only way we can be safe,” said Danny. “That’s what my parents say. If everyone knew that wizards were real, they’d come after us.”

“Like they don’t already?” Jack asked, sarcastic. “And anyway, I think people could handle it.”

“No way. If people found out about magic and stuff, we’d get, like, registered and thrown in concentration camps or something. They’d be afraid of us. It’s like in District 9. Or Civil War.”

“Yep. Still not getting the references, man.”

“Seriously?” Danny groaned, but before he could say anything more, there was a commotion outside the cabin, with the sounds of yelling voices and stomping feet.

“Check in all the cabins,” someone barked. “Craig, you go left. Hector, you go right. Find that little runt Falco now. That’s an order. And I’ve got an order of knuckle sandwich with a side of his teeth all ready.”

Danny’s eyes bugged out and his lower lip started quivering as he rushed into the corner near the window and curled up in the fetal position.

“No, no, no,” he said, rocking back and forth. “It’s them. That’s Chad. They found me. I’m so dead. I shouldn’t have stayed this long, but you got me distracted and now they’re totally going to murder me. I’ve got to get out of here.”

He jumped up and stared around frantically, about to start climbing the walls in search of an exit. But Jack, with no hesitation whatsoever, got up, straightened his plaid shirt, and headed for the door.

“Relax, Danny. I’ll handle this. You just sit tight and be quiet, okay?”

“Jack, no. What are you doing?” Danny hissed, but it was too late. Jack tugged the sliding door open and stepped out into the hallway, closing it behind him just as three tall and muscular scouts elbowed their way out of the next few cabins down to stand before him. While they were all big and mean-looking enough to probably punch out a garbage truck instead of just driving it, they were made a bit more difficult to take seriously by the little bits of sparkly pink toothpaste that stuck to their uniformly crew-cut hair, their cleanly-shaven faces, and the bright red jackets with silver trim that hung off each of their massive shoulders and covered their bulging chests.

The one in the lead, only differentiated from his comrades by the fact that he was slightly less repulsive and sweaty, stepped forward and stared Jack down, reeking of too much body spray.

“What’re you looking at, punk?” he demanded, with a condescending smirk. “See something you like, or what?”

His two muscle-bound minions snickered behind him, but Jack just grinned along with them.

“Nah,” he said. “But I figured you guys did. Might explain the whole color-coordination thing. And the glitter. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m totally cool. I could hook you guys up if you’re looking for something like that.” He glanced between the three of them suggestively. “I mean, as long as you don’t have that covered already. Seriously, no judgment.”

The boys just froze, stunned, as the various other people who had poked their heads out of cabins up and down the train car to see what was going on gasped and gave each other disbelieving looks.

“What?” the head boy growled, his fists tightening and his already ruddy face growing redder by the second.

“Hey, you can’t talk back to us, rookie,” one of his sidekicks said, thrusting a meaty finger at Jack.

“Yeah,” the other one chimed in, his unibrow knitting closer together. “You know who you’re talking to? He’s Chad Fordman, Centaur Troop commander, and—”

“Shut up, Hector,” Chad snarled, silencing him. “You too, Craig. Morons. I’ve got this.”

He took another step toward Jack, raising a fist threateningly.

“Oh, you’re funny, rookie. Real funny. I bet you’d be even funnier trying to make jokes with a broken jaw, jerkwand. Maybe if you get down on your knees and beg like the little girl you are, I’ll think about not kicking your head in. But before you do, I want to know: have you seen a little scrawny, asthmatic, geeky kid with glasses in here? We checked all the other cars, so he’s got to be around here somewhere.”

“Nope,” said Jack, without skipping a beat. “I don’t think so. Why, what did he do? Did he beat you up and steal your lunch money or something? You always have to watch the quiet ones.” He stuck out a hand. “By the way, I’m Jack Ferguson. You’re Chad, right?”

“That’s Chad, sir, to you, loser,” Craig grunted, but Chad shut him up with a glare.

“What’s your malfunction?” he seethed. “Don’t you make fun of me. Why aren’t you afraid right now?”

“Afraid of you?” Jack chuckled, looking Chad dead in his muddy brown eyes. “Come on, man. No offense, but I’ve seen Girl Scouts selling cookies that I was more worried about than you. In context, though, I’m pretty sure they put drugs in those cookies or something. I mean, how else are they so addictive? But I guess you get that from all the ‘roid rage you’re on.”

Now the blank stares of the onlookers turned to snickers and giggles as they covered their mouths to keep from laughing out loud. Chad’s eyes widened and his forehead pounded, looking like he was about to burst a blood vessel.

“Hey, that’s not true,” Hector spoke up. “Nobody in Centaur Troop does steroids. We just have a good workout schedule. On Mondays, we lift. Then on Tuesdays, we—”

“For the love of God, what about ‘shut up’ didn’t you understand?” Chad shouted, cowing him into silence. “Don’t give away our workout secrets to the enemy.” He turned, grabbing Jack by the collar and pulling him a few inches off his feet, reaching inside his blazer with his free hand and pulling out a long wooden stick covered in strange runic symbols.

“All right, Ferguson, you asked for it,” he said, jamming the stick under Jack’s chin with a sadistic smile. “I’m going to give you till the count of three before this wand blows your head off for you to tell me where that runt Falco is. I know you know. And I know that you know that I know.” He considered his words for a moment before nodding. “Yeah. Right. So, you want to talk now, or what, laughing boy?”

Jack sighed, not appearing stressed at all by his situation.

“This is just a guess, but we’re not going to be friends, are we?”

“No way,” Chad snarled. “Why would I be friends with a loser like you?”

“Okay. Just had to ask.” Jack closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and then opened them again, his brow wrinkling slightly from the effort as he concentrated all of his focus on the Centaur scout.

“You don’t need to find him,” he said, sounding both perfectly reasonable and impossible to ignore. The air between the two boys suddenly grew thick with tension as Chad faltered, blinking furiously as his eyelids started to droop.

“What?” he stammered, looking confused. “Huh? I mean, yeah. Sure. We don’t need to find him.”

“These aren’t the geeks you’re looking for.”

Chad’s grip slipped and his knees buckled as a bead of sweat rolled down his cheek. He let go, dropping Jack lightly to the floor and backing off a step, shaking his head as though trying to clear it.

“Uhh—right,” he said. “These aren’t the geeks we’re looking for.”

“Boss?” Craig asked nervously. “What’s going on? What are you talking about?”

“Yeah,” Hector piped up. “You okay?”

Jack didn’t move, still staring at Chad hypnotically.

“You’re wasting your time here,” he said, still perfectly calm. “Move along.”

Chad ground his teeth and his jaw tensed as he momentarily struggled against the overwhelming compulsion to obey before finally snapping out of his trance. His familiar scowl returned as he shoved the wand back inside his blazer.

“We’re wasting our time here,” he grunted. “Falco probably got back around behind us, the little creep. And I’m not standing here talking to this moron all day. We’ve got better things to do.”

“But boss—” Hector began, but Chad gave him a shove back the way they had come.

“Move it, wand-noser,” he said, turning to glare at Jack, who had also stumbled a bit as though exhausted before propping himself up against the wall. “Since you’re new here and all, I’m going to let you off easy this time. But once we get to Camp Prospero, you better watch your back.”

“Sure,” Jack replied, grinning gamely. “Beats watching yours. I bet nobody’s shaved you since the last time you guys were on the Nature Channel.”

Chad swore under his breath and flexed his fists, but didn’t make a move.

“You haven’t heard the last of this, Ferguson,” he said, turning to stalk away and push Hector and Craig in front of him.

“I bet I have!” Jack called after him, waiting until the three boys passed through the door to the next car up and out of sight before ducking back into his compartment, ignoring all the excited whispers of the other onlookers. He then collapsed onto his bench as Danny just stared at him in shock.

“Holy cow,” the smaller boy breathed, his eyes as wide as dinner plates. “That. Was. So. Awesome. Jack, you totally whammied him or something. That was, like, full-on Jedi mind trick stuff. So I guess you’ve seen Star Wars, at least.”

“Huh?” Jack asked, raising his head to give Danny him a blank look. “Nah. I could never get into it. It was just too weird. I mean, how can it all happen in a galaxy far, far away with spaceships and junk if it’s supposed to be a long, long time ago? And how come there are British people in space?”

“Forget it,” Danny sighed, smacking his forehead with his palm. “But you definitely did something. What was that?”

“I don’t know,” Jack said. “Honestly, I was as surprised as you were that worked. The agents told me I had some ability that lets me make people do things, but I’ve never really tried to do it. So this time I did. Actually, I think I’ve felt it before. I was all kind of tingly, like when your foot’s asleep, but my whole body. It happened at the pool, too. But I figured that was just, you know, hormones.”

“That’s just what I felt like right before the toothpaste blew up,” said Danny. “Figures. I explode random household objects, but you can magically make people like you and do whatever you want. I’d be such a lame superhero.”

“Yeah,” Jack snickered. “The master of all things mundane and useless. Better watch your back, or he’ll get you with toothpick. No nail clipper is safe!”

“Hey, that’s not funny.”

“Dude, come on. It’s a little funny.”

“Seriously, though,” Danny said, walking over and sitting down next to Jack. “I really wanted to say I appreciated you sticking up for me and stuff. You could totally have ratted me out to get in good with those guys, and you didn’t. You almost got destroyed trying to protect me, and you don’t even know me. So yeah—thanks.”

“No problem, man,” said Jack. “You would’ve done the same for me.”

“Well—probably not.”

“You know, some people just won’t stick up for themselves. They just let other people walk all over them. I’ll never get it.” Jack reached up and punched Danny’s shoulder lightly. “Good thing there’s guys like us, right? By the way, the toothpaste was genius. They looked so stupid.”

“Didn’t you hear me?” Danny asked, frustrated. “I didn’t do it on purpose. I’ve never stood up to anyone in my life. Why doesn’t anyone ever listen to me?”

“Huh? Did you say something, Danny?”

“No,” Danny grumbled, folding his arms sulkily as the wheels once again screeched underneath them and there was a bump as the train began to slow down. Jumping up with renewed energy and looking out the window, Jack grinned with excitement as the rocks fell away and he spied the campground in the distance.

“Sweet,” he said, glancing over the expanse of rolling grass surrounded by dense woods, dotted all over with colorful clusters of tents and a lake with a waterfall at one side where the edge of the camp butted up to the foot of a mountain. “Looks like we’re here. Space, sunshine, water—dude, we’re set. It’s going to be awesome here. Well, wherever here is.”

“Great,” Danny said, pulling his knees up to his chest. “So it’s too late for me to jump off the train and go AWOL, then.”

“Lighten up, buddy,” said Jack, turning his cap backward on his head. “Where’s your sense of adventure?”

“I must have left it at home. You know, with all the other stuff I don’t have.”

“Just think about it. The great outdoors. Free swimming. Campfire jams.”

“Bug bites. Grass stains. Bathrooms with no doors,” Danny finished for him, shaking his head. “Yeah, I am thinking about it. Gross.” He sighed again. “Sorry, I’m just not ready for this. Sometimes I just feel like I’m invisible—like no one’s paying attention to me or even knows I’m there. But I guess that’s better than the other times, like when they’re making fun of me or trying to murder me and stuff. It just really means a lot to talk to someone about it, you know? You know, Jack?”

He looked up and realized that he was talking to thin air as Jack had already vanished out the door of the cabin, pushing his way into line with the other campers as they got ready to disembark.

“Or not.” Danny chewed at his lip for a moment, unsure of what to do, and tapped his fingers on the seat until he finally couldn’t take it anymore. “Aww, man. Not again. Jack! Hey, Jack. Wait up!”

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