He stared egg-eyed out the front windshield of the car. The minivan was alive and breathing with the energy of six girls beaming with excitement for their trip to camp, but the boy in the middle of them didn't share their joy. This yearly scouts strip was formerly a call to be happy. He knew every camper, every inch of the lake they swam in, all the best songs to preform for karaoke night, but things weren't the same this time. A twinge of dread crawled up his back as they turned into the drive. He'd been treated differently, without any respect or regard, ever since he'd asked those close to him to refer to him in a new name and with a new name, and Stellar expected this treat to spread upon his arrival at camp.

Wearing a pair of sunglasses over his thick-rimmed glasses, Stellar was the last one to stumble out of the vehicle. To check in they all formed as neat of a line as possible while catching up with four people at once; Stellar preferred to stick close to his mom today. Old friends were greeted and shrugged off with only single syllable replies. His mother was more than happy to talk in his place, though, and made it her mission to get to the signin counter in his place.

Yes I can tell you Stella is sure excited for camp this year! she cooed to the obviously untrained mentor.

StellAR, he sighed.

See? She thinks this camp is just stellar.

No mom I-

It was then Stellar's mom lost interest in his autonomy and swiftly denied his expression, Shouldn't you go and unpack your things, dear? She then turned back her back to him in favor of speaking to the other if mothers. You know how teenage girls are, she chuckled, never without their rebellious streaks.

Stellar turned heel and came to the conclusion that he was just destined to spend this entire trip with his ears pinned back in disgust. He dragged his bag to the only cabin he's ever stayed in and slunk down into the crevice between the bed and the wall. Photographs were taped to the outside of his bag. All documenting years of camp memories. Snapshots of happy times so cluttered that each individual photo struggled to stand out over the rest. Stellar rested his head on his knees and wondered how people he thought he knew so well could suddenly turn to treating him so badly.

After a few minutes alone, Stella was almost ready to go out and face the others at orientation. He stood up then quickly returned to his hiding place when an aggressively loud conversation walked up the cabin steps. One voice was a camp mentor, and the other, a mystery. Sliding under his bed now, Stella could faintly see this new camper. She had a youthful body but a face so hard and weary she looked many years older than she actually was. This began the downwards spiral of Stellar's life.

No, see? Taken, taken, taken. This isn't your cabin either.

Then which IS? I don't know if I've spent more time touring cabins that ain't for me or waiting around for another one of you to pop up with an excuse.

The mentor coughed, Well I'm sure the troop leader will be able to help you when she arrives for… The rest of the conversation trailed off as they left the cabin, but Stellar no longer needed explanations to how things worked at camp. He slid out from under the bed and quickly prepared for orientation.
Orientation always happened around the main campfire pit in the foreground to the lake. There was a myth that warned campers to not sit too close to the lake at night, lest monsters should come from it and carry them off. Every camper held some essence of fear that this could be true, except Stellar, who, as self-appointed DJ, sat the farthest away from the edge of the lake. He also sat away from the other campers as he alone controlled what music the troop leader's laptop played; a once unliked effect of the DJ role that now served as a mercy.

Lindsey saw this haven and slipped on a suit of annoyance. So you're gonna avoid us all again huh? she said.

Stellar pretended to be busy. Is this about the car? I told you I didn't feel like talking to anybody.

Yeah, and then when we got here you blew us off _again_. We were supposed to all meet up in Misty's cabin and where were you? Gone.

I... I'm just feeling sick; I don't want to give you guys my cold, giving a weak cough.

Sick, yeah, sick of us maybe?

Lindsey!

No! Don't even argue- you've been avoiding us and you know it. You've been acting so strange lately and I'm tired of it.

















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You keep saying that you will boy I wish you would

Thunder c.rackled throught the atmosphere. The twince of electricity left an unplesant note in the teeth of citygoers as their day through the part turned into a damp nightmare. Merciless rain everywhere. Every corner every square. Blitzhund huddled beneath the shade of an umbarella, left wondering why stories always seemed to begin with a storm.

His bus came a bit late and the dog became a lump of heavy, freshly soaked fur in the time spent waiting. He mumbled to himself as he licked his fangs. Today had better turn out to be worth his time or he...

Excuse me," cooed a familiar voice. Blitzhund turned around do see a once unusual face. It was Lucillian, a scientist who had gone from an almost supplier of pain to roommate only a year ago. Neither talked about the events that led them together. "Don't you have better things to do than mumble to yourself all the gorsh living day?" "Lucy. Hello. I wasn't expecting to see /you/ here." Lucy patted the empty seat next to her and Blitzhund obliged; making sure to get the seat as wet as possible. He tugged on the other dog's ghostly sheet and used it as a hankercheif to clean off his glasses.

Having been in a perpetual state of annoyance for as long as she could remember, Lucy ignored the action. She kept on talking, the words drooling out of her mouth, "Well I'll have you know I think you'll be quite pleased to have me along. You see I was just going though your email-

Again?

Again! And I just so happened to see that /you/..." she held onto the final sylable with a snarl and wagged her tail threateningly, "are going to the same place as I! so I took it upon myself to align mine own appointment with yours." She poked.

Blitzhund rolled his eyes. This couldn't be good, not for him at the least. Lucillian going to Blizmo to present the judges with who knows what. She could try and sell anything there, but what did she have at this point? Would she sell death? Her own stinking carcass? If he was lucky she'd just invented the brand new product-everyone-will-think-they-need-but-find-out-that-they-don't-a-month-after-buying-it and the two could trade suburbia for much more comfortable living conditions.

Just as Blitzhund began to doze off the chaotic canine sent a robotic shoulder into his ribs. "SO as I was *saying* we. Have got. Appointments together, yes together. Oh hush down it's you're own fault you're so agitated right now. Who's idea was it to stay up all night on his phone? Not mine. /My/ idea was to set up my appointment to be before yours.

Before? I thought you said they were 'aligned' what's this before about?

I yes I did say aligned. They were aligned on the date, but...I needed to catch you before you left Blizmo for a very important reason: I need you to present my idea with me.

Shifting in his seat Blitzhund chuckled, "Why, so I can tell everyone whatever you've got cooked up won't ki11 'em?"












































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