The Ghost of Camp Halloween Adventure
“There are thirteen of you tonight. Tomorrow, when you wake up, one will be gone.” I paused and panned the open-eyed faces of the boys sitting around the campfire cross-legged, Indian style. “Thanks to Camp Halloween Adventure’s resident ghost.”
“Sure,” the chubbiest one said. “Like there’s such a thing as ghosts.” He snorted in disdain.
“It’s true,” another one said. “My friend told me about it. He was here last year.”
“So I guess you didn’t believe him. . .since you’re here,” chubby said.
I know I’m not supposed to use words like chubby, but if I didn’t one would assume I like kids. I don’t. I like their parents’ money.
“It’s my mother who doesn’t believe in ghosts,” the boy said, wiping sweaty palms on his jeans.
“Well,” I interjected. “We’ll all find out in the morning—won’t we?” They looked at each other, most unsure what to think. “It’s too bad, too, since tomorrow is the day you get to go rafting and zip lining, and maybe rock-wall climbing, if you’re not too tired.”
“But it’ll be cold.” Guess who. “And we’re not strong enough or old enough to go rafting.” Chubby looked at the others. “We’re only ten.” He paused again to survey his fellow campers’ faces. “And we could drown,” he said, looking at me.
The others nodded and made various sounds of agreement.
I held up my hand, as if taking an oath. “We’ve been running this camp for years.” I smiled reassuringly. At least, it was meant to be reassuring. “We know what we’re doing.” The boys glanced at each other, their necks on ball bearing swivels.
“Anyway, you have to worry about our ghost first. He’s in one of you right now.” They gasped in unison. “That’s right. He always inhabits one camper’s body.” I looked at Chubby. “Usually the one who complains the most.”
Chubby peered at me across the campfire, his eyes two slits, the rising heat augmenting their meaning. “You’re full of sh—.”
“Ah, ah.” I wagged a finger. “Remember, only nice words at Camp Halloween Adventure. You read the rules with your parents like instructed, didn’t you?
Chubby closed his mouth.
“Anyway, our ghost reads the inhabited camper’s mind to find out which one of the others he likes the least.” I scanned the group, pausing to look each one in the eyes. “That’s the one who turns up missing in the morning.”
Chubby said, “You’re so full of it.” He pushed himself off the ground and walked away.
“I guess we’ll just have to wait until morning to find out.” I stood. “Of course, the ghost can only take one of you away if you’re all asleep.”
The remaining campers huddled together, whispering to each other, while I went to get rid of Chubby. Little did he know he’d picked himself to be sent home early. No harm would come to him. He’d simply stop being a pain in my ass.