True Tall Tales from Camp Kranky Musky Part 5
Here we all were, sadly snacking, holding back tears, and all truly wanted to call out for our mommies like 3-year-olds. No one would blame us, because flitting shadows in the woods and missing comrades was not what most kids hoped for when they arrived on the first day of camp. All 6 of us were having our own separate meltdowns and internal dialogs that’s when Jeff spoke up and pulled us back to reality. “Do you guys think we should bar the door?”
Absolutely the most important next step and none of us had thought to make that a priority. I immediately stood up and said, “Let’s do it.” So, all of us kids went to work. It’s not a common thing for kids to need “barricading” skills but we were convinced that we should give it a try. I, along with Conner stepped toward a corner chair immediately, as we’ve all seen the chair prop method in a movie or two. Surely, no one would use this method if it didn’t work? So, I grabbed the chair, while Conner followed close behind and we took turns securing it the best we could under the doorknob and then kicked at the feet for a tight fit.
Next came the camp beds. All six kids took our places around the sides of the first be and managed to stand it up on its short end and shove it in front of the window. The mattress was cast aside to be dealt with later. Bed number two was shoved up next to the doorknob chair to provide a little extra weight against probable intruders. It took only ten minutes to sort out both of these tasks. There was a third bed, and Becky suggested that we throw it on top like a sort of rubble pile. It couldn’t hurt to add the weight, so we all pushed it toward the pile. We removed the mattress, added it to our growing floor campsite, and managed to flip the last bed on top of the other near the door. Honestly, for six suburban emotionally distraught young people, this was the best we could manage and it wasn’t half bad.
Well, we got the cabin as fortified as a handful of preteens could, and now there was nothing to do but wait. All six of us retired to the back of the cabin at the furthest wall from the door. We laid down the mattresses, they were more like cots providing a whopping 2 inches of relief from the hardness of the cabin floor, but we were grateful for the small amount of comfort. We came up with a plan for a sleeping vs alerting rotation, but all that went out the window as it was apparent that no one would be able to sleep through the night.
As I mentioned at the very beginning of this story, it was in fact July, so without a fan or an open window, even the shade and sundown provided by the woods weren’t enough to keep the cabin from getting stuffy instantly. The boys had stripped down to their undershirts and Becky had rolled her pant legs to her knees. We all thought better of removing our shoes and socks as there was likely to be some sort of confrontation during the night. We’d need those shoes to make a break for it if it came to that.
As we sat in our circle of mostly newly-made friends, the tension had begun to lower in the room. No one was interested in speaking slightly above a whisper, but our childish minds drifted outside of the confines of the cabin as we reminisced about our homes, friends, and the next school year. Just when we were getting cozy and starting to lean back and relax, a loud banging started. It started in the distance on the North side of the Camp slowly thudding along like the bass drum of a marching band. As it got closer, it sounded more like marching feet and they were approaching the location of our cabin.
It was the rear of the cabin that felt the first impact. The banging turned into bashing and reverberated throughout the room. Our formerly whispered voices were now screaming in terrified tones. Some of us had our ears covered while others stood and paced in panic. The thuds and bashing continued around both sides of the cabin until they reached a crescendo on the entrance side. Within minutes the window crashed, broke, and fell to the floor. Fortunately, the bed frame was holding up and no one could see either out or in. We were all terrified but slightly grateful for the rush of cooler air. This sentiment lasted for all of 30 seconds because the realization of impending doom hit as the door knob also began to wriggle. It was jostled hard, turning left and right in rapid succession, but like the window’s bed barrier, the chair wedge and weighted bed pile were able to hold the line.
We were backed into a corner now. Unprepared for what was coming, but there was nothing to do but put on our “big boy” pants and pull from the bouts of George Foreman. Backs against the wall, unbeknownst to each other, we began to take up fighting stances. I looked left, and despite a growing wet mark on the front of little Richy’s pants, he was ready to punch his way out. I glanced the other direction and Jeff was attempting to instruct Becky with head nods and hand signals on his best imitation of an Orthodox Boxing Stance.
So, this was it, our final moments before the barrier broke through, and then we were swinging wildly. The door and window entrances broke through simultaneously. Beds were strewn and chair legs were snapped. We saw them. ALL OF THEM. In crawled and walked hordes of creatures; all with various different musky-human warped bodies. They had flared gills, and sharp teeth, and were technically incredibly cranky! Some had arms and legs while others were left with nothing but fins. All were ready to rip our throats out. I saw a flash of hair and several pairs of sneakers among the hoard that I recognized, so they must have converted all of the wayward campers and counselors.
All at once, our group let out individual versions of what must have sounded like a Viking’s battle yell, and for lack of other options, we ran at the hoard with intentions of fighting through the pack I guess, and subsequently making a run for it, but the group was too large and too compact at our one entrance. Jeff struck musky flesh first with I must say a strong right hook. The rest of us followed suit while yelling indistinguishable words, threats, and obscenities, mixed with various screaming. These mixed-up monsters were slimy and hard to make good contact with. They snapped and the ones that had remaining arms aimlessly grappled for us like zombies.
Jeff and Conner were holding their own. Wrestling, boxing, and kicking their way through many of the musky mutants, but the rest of us, myself included were being driven deeper into the cabin. To my dismay, early in the fight, I felt the back of my sneaker press hard against a mattress on the floor, and before I knew it, I was on my back. Looking up I watched as a mutant matched my fall and landed right on top of me. We wrestled hard. Both seeking the upper hand. His breath smelled like hot garbage and his scaley skin gave me the heebie-jeebies, but it was fight or die now. So, I swung and punched and bit and headbutted, but being on my back gave him the upper hand. He was able to get his hands around my head and bash it on the floor. As the room swirled, I saw my friends some in similar shape to me and some still on both feet. Then he bashed my head again and all was lost.
I opened my eyes and my head bopped on the backseat window of Jeff’s mom's station wagon. The ruts of a gravel road knocked my head against the glass. I sat up startled. Looked around. Todd sat beside me, Jeff in the front passenger seat, and of course, his brother Tommy drove. My brain seemed to briefly misfire and then it all made sense. I had fallen asleep in the car on the way to Camp Kranky Musky. It had all been a horrible nightmare. There weren’t any musky mutants, or crushing last stands. We hadn’t even arrived yet. That had been the worst and most vivid dream of my life and I was hesitant to believe that none of it was true.
Tommy pulled into a small parking area and helped us all unpack to start our weekend at camp. Upon observation, the camp seemed vaguely familiar, though buildings were set slightly differently. I took note of the similarities but decided that all camps were generally the same. I walked down the path toward the group of kids starting to assemble, when our group was stopped by a young counselor. She introduced herself. “Hi, I’ll be your camp counselor, my name is Amanda, but you can call me Mandy for short.”