"Oh my... You don't say. Why I think that would be wonderful."
Ms. Reardon enters her classroom with a cell phone tucked in between
her shoulder and cheek, her arms filled with books and folders. "Well we
will be more then happy to participate, infact, I'm just getting ready to
start class and tell them all about it. Thank you so much. I'll contact you
on Tuesday to get the keys and the map. Good-bye for now." And with
that Ms. Reardon opens her arms allowing all her classroom articles to
cascade down her chest and fall onto her desk.
Twenty-some faces are quietly watching her as she removed the
phone from her ear. "Well boys and girls", she began with a mischievious
smile on her face, "I have some exciting news for you. I've been working
on this for quite some time now, but didn't want to say anything until I
But now that I am sure... we have been granted the
opportunity to start a weekend camp for kids in distress. It will be an
excellant way to actually get some hands on training. But first we will
have to go up to Camp Crystal Lake this Friday and spend the whole
weekend preparing the cabins and kitchen area. The bus will leave at
8 a.m. and bring us all back here Sunday around 7 p.m. So first things
first, I want you all to come up to my desk and pick up your information
packets along with a permission slip. EVERY... and I do mean every
student must turn in their slips tomorrow. This project will count as
75% of your grade, no exceptions. Any questions?"
The classroom was quiet for the next minute or two. Finally the silence
was broken by Johnny, Ms. Reardons' personal 'yes' man. "I think this will be
one of the finest programs in all of Florida. And I will be more then proud to
be a particpant."
"Excuse me... Doc, but you are kidding aren't you? You do know what
went on up at Crystal Lake don't you? I mean it isn't called 'Camp Blood' for
nothing," blurted out Peaches without waiting for Ms. Reardon to respond to
Johnny's eager and optomistic input.
Suddenly, the entire room was a-buzz with talk. Peaches had opened the
door to chaos. Ms. Reardon deseperately attempted to regain control. "People,
people... We all can't be talking at once. It sounds like we have a room full of
category threes in here."
The class fell silent just as the door burst open and Reggie, late again,
entered the classroom. "Well, Reggie, so nice of you to join us. I hope that
you're not expecting me to go over everything that we've discussed so far?
Because that is not going to happen. You can come up here and get your
packet and permission slip and have a seat. Hopefully, some of your peers
will be kind enough to fill you in after class."
"Now, for the rest of you, if you would like to ask a question, in a
civilized manner, you may do so."
Rachel was the first to raise her hand and as soon as she was
acknowledged by Ms. Reardon, she stood up and began "Let me get
this straight... Doc... you expect us to give up our weekend, drive 5 hours
north, to 'Camp Blood' on Friday the Thirteenth, and spend 2 nights cleaning
up a place that has been abandonned for more than a decade?"
Stacy, not waiting to be called on, added "You must be crazy!"
"Crazy? Yes I must be crazy to think that you guys would really care and
try to make a difference. But I'm not crazy, I'm a teacher. And this, as I said
before, will count as 75% of your final grade."
Taisha, with a deep sigh exclaimed, "Augh! That's not fair!" Several
students grumbled along with her.
Suddenly Mauricio sprung out of his chair, "You guys are nuts! This'll be
a great experience! And it's not like we'll have to spend every waking hour
working. It'll be like a free weekend at the lake."
"Yeah, a free weekend at the lake with Jason." stated Dan as he stood
up making a jabbing motion with his right hand.
"Jason!" exclaimed Crystal, "Wasn't that the whacked out serial killer that
preyed on camp counselors?"
"Well, only us category three types, so you should be safe, Crystal."
"I don't mind helping out, but I don't like the sound of 'Camp Blood' and
the whole Jason thing." stated Krysta.
"Okay folks, this isn't middle school, so I advise you all to quit acting like
a bunch of 13 year olds. I expect 100% participation and all the permission slips
back by tomorrow morning."
Megan sat quietly with her hand raised high waiting patiently to be
acknowledged. "Yes, Megan?"
"Ms. Reardon? You know I'm always willing to help, but this coming
weekend I'm supposed to be helping my grandmother by volunteering at her
church's thrift shop."
"Well, is grandma's thrift shop going to give you 75% of your grade?...
I didn't think so. Now, I'll be breaking you down into three groups. Look for
the posting tomorrow when you come in. If there's no other questions, class is
The week blazed by with Ms. Reardon constantly moving people
from one category to the next, from one group to the other. But, finally
Friday did arrive. And as the kids lined up in the parking lot, Ms. Reardon
had her final list of the three groups. Group 1 consisted of Nicole, Dan,
Wes, Crystal, Krysta, and Stacy. Group 2 was made up of Johnny, Peaches,
Megan, Taisha, Lakysha, Rachel, and Lenny. Group 3 had Brittany, Reggie,
Jackie, Jessica, Heather, Mike, Matt, and Mauricio.
"Has anyone seen Karissa Foren?!" shouted Ms. Reardon across the
"Excuse me, Ms. Reardon, but I heard from a kid in my second hour
who's friends with this guy who's friends with Karissa that she's been out most
of the week with asthma." Nicole, timidly, offered.
"Well, on top of missing out on 75% of her grade and this wonderful
opportunity, it sounds like Ms. Foren will be spending some time in detention."
With that the bus was loaded and on it's way to Crystal Lake. The ride
seemed long and unbearable. Entertainment was scarce. Wes had brought
along a boombox, but no batteries. Lenny had a pack of multi-colored sharpies
and allowed the class to decorate his leg cast. Brittany discussed her musical
likes and dislikes while Jackie and Jessica talked of the upcoming Winter Formal.
Dan amused all by making fart noises with his hand and armpit. And
Peaches did impersonations of various faculty members including her famous
Coach McCulloch pep talk.
As the big hand finally reached the 12 and the little hand was on the
2, the bus bumped down the last quater mile of dirt road leading up to
"All right people, now I've tried to mix the groups to include plenty of
category 1's in each group. These are your task masters. Now I'm counting
on you category 1's to keep everything moving along. Category 2 people, just
remember that caring can come from deeds as well as from the heart.
And as for you category 3 people, shut up, listen up, and don't drag your feet.
Group 1 will start in the mess hall. Group 2 there are 5 cabins, that's where
you're to start. And group 3, there is half an acre of grounds, you will be in
charge of removing all litter and debris from the immediate area. There are
mops, brooms, buckets, rakes, and garbage bags in the shed behind the
mess hall. Let's get to it!"
As the kids gathered supplies and met in their designated areas, Ms.
Reardon and the bus driver headed off to a nearby town to gather some
Nicole was amazed at the level of filth and disrepair of the mess hall,
"What a dump!" Crystal readily agreed, "Yeah, I'm not eating anything that's
been cooked in this kitchen!"
"You guys are such downers! I can't believe that all you guys are
good at is complaining." said Johnny defensively.
"Really!" piped up Lenny, "this place will be jammin' with a little bit of
"And you're going to be a big help with your broken leg." shot back
"I'm prepared to carry my weight same as everyone else."
Meanwhile, Peaches, was having doubts that any kid even a kid in
distress would be willing to sleep on these bunks. But the kids in group
2 pushed forward.
The kids in group 3 had begun their litter patrol down by the dock,
which of course, led to a free for all in the lake.
By the time Ms. Reardon and the bus driver found their way back to
camp, dusk was falling. Ms. Reardon called for all students to meet in the
mess hall, where she planned to surprise them with pizza and soda.
The camp really was looking pretty good for only a few hours of work.
The mess hall did provide an appropriate place to eat. 3 of the 5 cabins
were completed as well.
Once the students were assembled Ms. Reardon did a head count only
to come up short, very short. Out of the 21 students, only 10 had shown up
"What in the devil is going on? Where is everyone else?"
Johnny stepped up to the plate. "Well I know a bunch of people were
going down to the lake for a swim. Me and Lenny tried to stop them but they
"Well, how about you and Lenny go to the lake and call them in."
So off went Lenny and Johnny in search of the 11 missing students.
"Well, I'm not waiting on them, I'm hungry." announced Peaches as she
made her way to the pizza.
lt;Tab/>"Nobody eats until we're all together. Maybe if you people would have
been keeping an eye on one another we could all enjoy hot pizza but, since
that's not the case, we can all wait."
"So, let me get this right... Doc... we're all being punished even though
we continued to work and didn't go swimming." challenged Rachel.
Ms. Reardon didn't even dignify the challenge with an answer. Instead,
in an uncomfortable silence, sat Wes, Crystal, Peaches, Stacy, Brittany, Matt,
and Mauricio as Rachel and Ms. Reardon exchanged glares and the pizzas
cooled to room temperature.
Wes attempted to make things easier by plugging in his boombox and
chasing the silence from the building.
With a thud and and a bang, Lenny and Johnny tumbled in the door
staggering to their feet, panting and sweating, they both made feeble
attempts to communicate their horrible findings to the Doc.
"Slow down! Slow down! I can't understand a word that you are saying!
One at a time! Johnny, how about you tell me what this is all about and where
the rest of your classmates are?"
"I don't know! We couldn't find anyone and Lenny slipped on the dock and
when we looked.. it was blood... it was... it was blood... Len slipped in... blood."
"Blood! What kind of practical joke do you think you're pulling?"
"It's no joke! Johhny's right! There's blood everywhere! They're all... dead!
Dead! They're all dead!" sobbed Lenny.
"Well if everyone else is dead, can we at least eat?" Peaches eagerly
asked. "Yeah, how 'bout it, can we at least have some food now?" chimmed in
"No. We can all take a walk down to the lake and find out whose behind
this immature prank."
And with that, the 10 students, Ms. Reardon, and the bus driver headed to
the door. Suddenly, as they were about to open the door, the door opened from
the other side. Stacy screamed loudly as Brittany grabbed on to her arm, squeezing
it very tight. Through the door came Reggie, "Hey, I'm not too late for dinner, am I?"
"So, Reggie, did you see the other students on your way in here, late as
usual?" inquired Ms. Reardon.
"No, just the bus driver, checking the air in the tires of the bus." replied Reggie.
"For your information, young man, the bus driver is standing right here."
"Well, I assumed it was the bus driver... it was a grown man messing with
the tires of the bus."
With that, the bus driver rushed out the door yelling something about punks
messing with his bus. As he went through the door, he glanced back at Ms.
Reardon and stated that he would be right back.
"Oh, he's a goner." whipped Peaches.
"That's right, we won't see his big butt no more." added Rachel.
"And why is that, might I ask?" sternly questioned Ms. Reardon.
"Everyone knows that you never say 'I'll be right back' in this kind
of situation... you never come back." explained Rachel.
Peaches chuckling, agreed "That's as stupid as saying 'who's there?'"
The next 10 minutes seemed to linger on for hours. Finally, Ms. Reardon
announces that the 11 students and herself would break into 2 groups. Johnny,
Lenny, Stacy, Brittany, Reggie, Crystal, and Mauricio would go to the cabins while
Ms. Reardon, Peaches, Rachel, Matt, and Wes would go search the lake front.
It was a dark night made darker by the canopy of trees that loomed
overhead. The dead silence only broken by the sound of Etnies, Converse, and
Nikes on dead leaves. By the time Ms. Reardon and her group made it to the
water's edge, their search was cancelled by the sound of someone screaming and
running their way.
"I just started running man! I... All the sudden, there was this screaming
and... I just ran for it! I didn't know! Lenny! I heard him fall and I couldn't stop
running!" screamed Johnny in hysterics.
Ms. Reardon was clearly shaken. Her voice had become a dry whisper,
much like the dead leaves around their feet. "All right people, we are going to
quietly make our way back to the mess hall. There, I will use my cell phone
to contact the authorities. And we can just wait inside until they get here."
"Can we finally eat some pizza?" asked Peaches in a sassy manner.
"Yeah, if I'm gonna get carved up in these woods, I'm at least dying
with a full stomach." Rachel stated.
"Girls, let's just worry about getting back, then you can have your
"Ms. Reardon, do you think that on our way to the mess hall, we
could stop by the bus and make sure we still have transportation to get out
of here?" asked Matt.
"Fine. We'll walk over to the bus and make sure that the driver and bus
The group quietly picked their way through the brush, heading towards the
bus. Once at the bus, they all stood staring dumbfounded, for someone had
smeared a thick, dark substance opaquing every window of the vehicle. Rachel
and Peaches, who stood together, near the back bumper seemed to spy
something on the other side. Ms. Reardon turned in their direction to say
something, only to find Rachel and Peaches had departed from the group.
With the actualization that 2 more of the party had disappeared
practically, right before their eyes, Johnny's sense of reality began to waiver.
His knees, involuntarily buckled reducing him to a turtling pile of sobs and
convulsions. Ms. Reardon knelt next to the troubled youth in hopes of being
able to comfort him. By the time Johnny had ceased to carry on so, Ms.
Reardon became aware that Matt and Wes were gone as well. Now it was
her knees that seemed too weak to support her. Hysteria laid thick in the
night air, but Ms. Reardon refused to give way to such a negative force.
As the 2 of them huddled beside the bus, they seemed to
simutaneously note a rhythm and beat of music. Ms. Reardon
seeming revitalized, by the reality of the music and knowing it's
source, began to coax Johnny to his feet. "The mess hall. Johnny, listen,
we have to make our way back to the mess hall. We'll be safe there
until the morning."
The child, too weak from emotional exhaustion, offered no
argument or protest and together they made slow progress to the mess hall.
Once in view, they noticed every light had been turned on and the
music was set at a loud level.
Cautiously, the 2 crept to the door and stood in complete shock
of the scene laid before them.
Ms. Reardon fear and bewilderment soon gave way to anger and rage.
Storming through the door with the boy in tow, Ms. Reardon began to rant
"What do you think this is?! Some kind of sick joke?!"
The mess hall was filled with 20 students and a dancing bus driver.
None of the students spoke or acknowledged the arrival of the last 2 of their party.
Slowly, Dan approached Ms. Reardon armed with a pizza box. "What is
the meaning of this?!" demanded Ms. Reardon once again.
"Well, you see Ms. Reardon, I've never agreed with you categorizing...
or... stereotyping, if you will, us students. I know you've always rated me as
a category 3 student, so I wanted to prove what an effective task master I am."
Dan offered a broad smile as he lifted the lid of the pizza box
displaying the half pizza that he had saved to the 2 last members of the group.