Camp Wacko: The Drones of Summer (8 page)

BOOK: Camp Wacko: The Drones of Summer
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Ignoring my last snarky remark, he calmly answered, “Back in Pennsylvania. He’s been doing a fairly good job of keeping an eye on things. As for the others, Cattie’s mother found out about what had happened to her daughter and had her removed immediately. The rest had been released by the time I went back to the school. I made sure to check that they were OK. None of them were harmed, but from what I understand they are all being watched very closely. I think my dad may have done something to their parents. No attempts have been made to remove them from the school. Not even for the normal vacation periods given in the year.”

Satisfied with my salad now, I took a bite. Delicious. “Sounds like your father is tightening his hold on his students. When you say Marcus is keeping an eye on things, what do you mean exactly?”

He leaned in close, like he was afraid someone would overhear. “He’s trying to see if there’s been any weird disappearances like before.”

Scrunching my eyebrows, I froze mid-chew. “Well, have there been?”

Dustin absentmindedly picked at his burger. The big room was filled with chatter. Somewhere in the background, I heard True giggle loudly. I continued to stare at him, but he refused to meet my gaze.

Finally he said in a low voice, “Yes.”

The food turned to dust in my mouth. “How many?”

He rested his head in between his hands. “At least two every week, sometimes four. They never come back, either. If they keep it up, the disappearances will become obvious to everyone.”

I swallowed, letting my fork fall with a clatter onto my plate. “We really did fail, didn’t we?”

Dustin’s eyes slowly made their way to mine. His lips parted and he took a breath to say something, but nothing came out. He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t want to admit this was true, but we both knew it was. We had meant to save innocent kids from his father’s experiments, but we hadn’t been able to do it.

The room suddenly felt stifling. I had to get out of there, think about something else. I surveyed the room. There weren’t any guards around. Only the lunch ladies were there, tending to the kitchen. As far as I knew, there were no locks on the doors, or alarms. I even spotted a few others getting up and walking right out, taking their lunches with them. Was the campus really this open, or were there guards lurking in the bushes, waiting to catch someone attempting to leave, like Anderson? Maybe that’s why nobody tried. Or was that because most were here for a summer camp? The thought of invisible danger brought back memories of that force field encircling the Pennsylvanian campus. Was it the same for this place, or had the crazy headmaster come up with something even more painful than an invisible force field?

Biting my lip, I decided to check it out. Besides, I needed a backup plan in case the FBI couldn’t come through with their side of the deal. What if I somehow found myself stuck here with no one to help me but myself?

I shot a quick glance at Dustin. He had gone back to picking at his food, showing no sign of even noticing my presence anymore. Face drawn and eyes downcast, he had receded back into his own world, and frankly it kind of scared me. But I couldn’t worry about that now. There were other matters to attend to first.

I quietly pushed back my chair, threw out my lunch, and marched right out the door.

Outside, people sat on the grass either eating their lunch or chatting with friends. Their nonchalance made me wonder if they really were here for summer camp. I waved. Many waved back, while others smiled and nodded. A few even beckoned for me to come sit with them. The offer was tempting, but I had to find out what I was up against. So I moved on.

Remembering that the administration building was near the driveway, I headed in that direction. The walk wasn’t that long and I kind of enjoyed it. The sun shone bright and the sky was a beautiful shade of blue, lightening my somewhat darkened mood.

Soon I had passed the administration building. Now I could see the driveway. I picked up the pace, adrenaline pushing me forward. However, I was careful not to run. The driveway wound downhill until it came to an abrupt stop at the tallest gate I had ever seen. The metal barrier was a nasty concoction of curving designs and tall spires ending with pointed spikes. Chain-link fencing topped by barbed wire was attached to either side of the gate. From as far as I could tell, the fence surrounded the entire area.

I was debating on whether to try to climb it or not when

I heard someone coming up behind me. Quick as a whip, I whirled around in a spinning kick, knocking whoever it was clear off the ground.

He fell on his butt with a soft thump. “Oof!”

When I saw who it was, I laughed, helping him up.

“Thanks,” Dustin joked, breathing hard. “I needed that.”

“No problem,” I shot back with a smile.

He wiped the grass off his butt. Eyes following the span of the fence, he frowned. “What are you doing out here, anyway?”

I turned back to the fence. “Just trying to find a way out.” With that said, I reached for it.

Dustin grabbed my arm before I could touch it. “Don’t.” His grip was surprisingly strong. I couldn’t shake him off.

I scowled. “You better let go of me before I kick you in a place that you really do not want to kicked.”

He let go and stepped back. Rubbing my wrist, I asked him why I couldn’t climb the fence. He explained that if so much as the tip of my finger had touched that fence, about one million volts of electricity would have shocked my body. Was there any way I could avoid this? Of course not.

Despite the discouraging news, I wasn’t about to let this get me down. I was going to come up with an escape plan.

If I couldn’t get past the fence, then I would find something else. This couldn’t be the only way out, right?

Dr. Wacko

AFTER EXPLORING THE grounds for a little while longer, I headed for my room. I needed to talk to a certain FBI agent.

Climbing up the Stairs of Horror wasn’t so bad, but I still flopped down on my bed in exhaustion and lay there for a few minutes before moving to the bathroom. Although I had seen it once before, I was still mesmerized by the technological wonder of my new glasses. Due to the rhinestone cameras in the frame, Agent Cooper was already aware of the pending meeting with Dustin’s notorious father. His advice wasn’t exactly reassuring, but confident. I would need to get as much information as possible. This meeting would be crucial for the case.

“Lily?” True knocked on the bathroom door.

After a hurried goodbye to the agent, I left the bathroom to casually sit on my bed.

“Were you talking to someone in there?” she questioned, jumping onto her own bed and lying on her stomach to stare at me.

I raised an eyebrow. “No, why?” She gave me a funny look. “Really, because I was sure I heard—”

“So what was with your attitude today?” I blurted, cutting her off.

True’s eyes turned into slits, forcing me into a staring contest before she decided to let it go for the moment. “I was getting information. If you wear the right clothes and say the right things, boys are like putty in your hands.”

Not quite buying this, I said, “That’s a little sexist, don’t you think?”

True shrugged. “Maybe, but it worked.”

“So, what did you find out?” I asked, a little reluctant.

Her face lit up. “Lots.”

She told me how most of the campers were from other schools of Dr. Wackerson’s. Only a few seemed to be normal attendants here for sleepaway camp. There was a rumor going around that everyone was being rallied over here from the other Wacko schools for a reason. Something big. People had their suspicions, but nobody really knew what it was. On top of that, there were kids who had gone missing.

I massaged my temples. “Talk about déjà vu.”

True sighed in agreement. She stared up at the ceiling.

“Do you think I should tell Dustin?” I asked her. “I mean, he did tell me he had Marcus looking for strange disappearances at the other school. True, there are even more than before. I have a really bad feeling about this.”

True didn’t answer at first. She continued to stare up at the ceiling. I figured she was thinking.

After several seconds she finally answered, “I know. I have a bad feeling too.” She sat up to face me. “And I think he might already know. To tell you the truth, I don’t think we can trust him anymore. If we are going to try to get out of here, it will probably have to be just the two of us.”

Of course, that thought had gone through my mind. Maybe Dustin had been setting us up the whole time. Setting me up. It couldn’t be true, though. He really didn’t have much to gain from such a deception. I knew what had happened to Cameron had really affected him, making him think even less of his father. He may have become a recruiter again, but this didn’t mean he was working to double-cross me.

“Look, I know he’s messed up a lot, but that doesn’t mean he’s not on our side,” I reasoned.

True hopped up and stretched. “If that’s true, then how did his dad know about our plans to escape? Don’t you think it’s strange how he managed to get that map so easily?”

I frowned, mulling it over in my head for a minute. I had to admit it was kind of fishy. I had been wondering the same thing. Part of me really didn’t want to believe Dustin could be deceiving us. That was a bigger possibility than I wanted to admit.

We dropped the subject, deciding to get ready for the pavilion meeting. I picked out a light and flowing lavender beach dress. True wore a midnight blue cocktail dress along with a light blue sweater. The selection of shoes blew our minds. We had more than two shoe stores combined in our closet. Out of all the dressy shoes, I chose a pair of flats. They were the easiest to walk in. True bested me by wearing Converse tennis shoes, which so did not go with the dress.

I made sure everything was set with the recording device firmly in place, choosing to do so in the bathroom. I still wasn’t sure whether to tell True the whole truth about my intentions. Hopefully, after tonight, I wouldn’t have to. If Agent Cooper kept his word, this meeting could possibly give me enough information to shut this whole place down.

By six-thirty we set off for the pavilion. We hadn’t gone far when Dustin came riding up in a golf cart.

“Thought you girls might need a ride,” he explained.

He sported a blue-and-white-striped button-down shirt rolled up at the cuffs over khaki shorts. Positioned on top his head was a chic pair of sunglasses. They were almost identical to the ones he had been oh so carelessly twirling around that day my fate had been sealed. There was something about him and a good pair of sunglasses that was oddly attractive. I quickly smothered the thought, coming back to reality.

True climbed into the golf cart and I scrambled in after her. Usually at night the temperature is supposed to drop a few degrees. Tonight was a different story. The weather seemed to be just as hot as the daytime, if not hotter. At least while we rode in the cart a breeze lightly brushed against our faces.

Half of the pavilion building was enclosed within glass, while the other part remained open to the outdoors. We entered the enclosed portion. Dozens of lanterns hung from the ceiling. Right in front of the big glass window, a table had been set with fancy tablecloth. A huge bowl of fruit salad sat in the middle as a decoration.

Dustin led us to the table, and pulled out a chair for each of us before sitting down himself. Minutes ticked by and nobody dared to touch the fruit except for Dustin, who started to nervously pop grapes into his mouth. I kept fidgeting and clearing my throat. True’s eyes wandered the room while she repeatedly crossed and uncrossed her legs.

Finally, after what felt like two hours, the grand doors opened and a man strolled in. He had thick, richly dark, curly hair that had been gelled back a bit away from his face. His skin was an exotic milky brown, smooth and practically flawless. He had a stocky build, but still maintained a fairly lean figure. The man wore a blue blazer and black business pants. I assumed this to be the great Headmaster Wackerson.

Dustin immediately stood up, swiftly swallowing the pieces of fruit he had just been juggling. True and I stood up too, standing as stock still as Dustin. We fixed our eyes on the man as he leisurely made his way toward us.

Once he had come to an abrupt halt in front of us, I noticed he and his son had the same eyes. Only his were colder somehow, meaner. He had the gait of someone in charge. He continued to look us over like a general would his troops. One by one we were given the stare-down.

When Mr. Wackerson’s gaze fell upon me, I tried my best not to show any fear, although he scared me silly. Our eyes met and he smiled. It wasn’t warm. This smile was cold and menacing. He looked at me with some sort of knowing hunger, like he already had plans for me and couldn’t wait to see them fulfilled. I fought back a shiver.

Grudgingly I observed he was handsome. I could see Dustin’s face in his. Picturing Dustin with the same cold eyes and smile as his father almost frightened me more than the man himself. Would he become like his father? I hoped not.

After sizing us up, he took a step back. “I suspect my son has spoken of me?” he questioned, voice booming and thick with an accent I didn’t recognize.

BOOK: Camp Wacko: The Drones of Summer
8.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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