One of the things we do at our area’s Creative Writers group is a timed exercise of writing to a prompt. A prompt can be an idea, a set of words, a full sentence (which sometimes must be used exactly as is), an image. Usually about 15 minutes is allowed.
Here’s from last Saturday.
I don’t know the source of this particular prompt.
- The bus drops off your young character and his friends at summer camp. They walk up the drive to the cabins and find them deserted. The main lodge is empty too. No one seems to be here at all …”
Well, hmm, what might have happened before they stepped off the bus?
So, here’s what I came up with:
In one of those sensory deals where you can’t actually perceive the thing but you know it should be happening so your brain fills in the absence for you, I heard the gravel crunching under the bus tires as we turned from the state road on to the rural gravel road which led to summer camp. What I actually could hear was the transmission downshifting and the change in diesel motor noise as the bus climbed the short but steep grade from the camp’s main entrance to the registration office and dining hall.
At some point the camp had been a Boy Scout property named with what I couldn’t remember was actually a Native American name or one of those pseudo-native creations which were popular for a period. Ho Non Wa or something like that was what it had been officially named but in casual conversation pretty near everyone referred to it as Camp Hole in the Wall. Actually, most of us on the bus weren’t sure that Camp Hole in the Ground wouldn’t be more accurate.
Back to the concept of things which could be perceived, my eyes should have been perceiving activities in the fields along the entry drive. I’m pretty sure the polarization of the bus windows didn’t normally filter out the visible light frequencies reflected off human beings, but yet there wasn’t any. And if there wasn’t any visible light reflected off humans, then it was a pretty fair bet that there weren’t any humans present for the light to be reflected from.
What hole in the ground at Camp Hole in the Ground had swallowed them all? Funny the things which a road-numbed brain can think up.
“Hey, Mike, Erika, are you not seeing the same things I’m not seeing?”
Author’s note: there actually was/is a Camp Ho Non Wa, correct spelling turns out to be Wah, and I actually was there multiple times multiple decades ago; just now looked it up to find it still is an active BSA property. In reality the geography there is a bit shy of steep hills.