Original fic: Camp Out (the story)
This was started as a response to challenge #13 at fictionland . We just had to write for 10 minutes and post what we wrote. Pretty simple. At the time my oldest daughter, Meagan, was having a camp out in our backyard with her sister and two friends (4 kids in our HUGE 10 person tent… it fits 3 queen sized mattress with room to move around, lol). This came easily after spending 30 minutes putting the tent together. At least it’s getting some use, I guess (the kids have slept out there almost every night since then).
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Sarah and Tucker spend the night camping out in the backyard.
don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.
“Hold it steady,” Tucker grumbles. He’s outside trying to get the poles to slip into their slots. It’s not as easy as it looks. Or so he tells Sarah.
Sarah has never camped for real. Her parents didn’t have time for those kinds of adventures. The closest she ever came to a tent before Tucker was stringing her blankets and sheets over all the furniture in the living room. Her mother made her take it down when she saw it. Said it was messy. But their summer weekend ritual is enough for her now.
Tucker finally snaps the last pole into place and Sarah feels the weight of the tent leave her hand. She hops down and pokes her head out of the rounded opening. “Took ya long enough.”
Tucker glares at her. “You could have been more helpful.”
“I stayed out of your way. Gram says that’s the best thing to do when a man is on a tear.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Tucker puffs up at the insinuation. Or maybe it’s because Sarah just referred to him as a “man”. Either way she finds it kind of cute. She feels her face flush and is thankful that it’s too dark for Tucker to see the change in color. At least she hopes it’s too dark.
Tucker doesn’t seem to notice. He’s gone back to unpacking the bag he brought. A pillow whacks Sarah in the head followed by a sleeping bag. She tosses the things aside and looks up just in time to move out of the way as another pillow careens towards her head. “Watch it!”
“Well, get out of the way then.” He shoves a second sleeping back into the small opening and pushes past Sarah, knocking her over. She kicks out at him, catching him in the side. “HEY!” In seconds he’s on top of her, fingers poking and tickling in all her most sensitive spots. Tucker knows her way too well and she thinks she should remember that by now. After a few moments she’s begging for mercy but he won’t let her up until she actually says the word, “uncle.” She’s never understood his obsession with saying the word but if it gets him off of her…
Sarah slowly catches her breath and watches as Tucker goes right back to setting up the tent as if their ticklefest hadn’t just interrupted his diligent work. She likes to watch Tucker when he’s like this–caught up in his thoughts and actions. He seems freer than any other time. He methodically unrolls the bags and places them side by side, setting a pillow at the end of each. She notices the pillow cases match–both Spiderman. Must have come off his bed. The sleeping bags are brown and gray on the outside, respectively, with hunting and fishing scenes on the soft inside.
She doesn’t own her own sleeping bag. Gram has promised to buy her one but she always forgets. Sarah doesn’t mind borrowing Tucker’s, though. They smell musty and like burnt wood and pine trees. Like they’ve actually been to the woods not just set up in her back yard.
After the bedding is in place Tucker strips out of his sweatshirt and jeans. Sarah pretends not to look while he changes into flannel pajama bottoms and he, gratefully, keeps his back to her as she slips into her pajamas. Now dressed they sit cross-legged on the sleeping bags. Outside the sun is gone and the last dwindling light fades to a starry blackness. They don’t really need flashlights—there’s enough light coming from their houses to see each other but Tucker pulls an ancient yellow plastic flashlight from his pack and flicks it on. His face lights up—a demonic, red distortion adding to the creepiness of his story.
Sarah’s heard this one before but chews on her nail and hugs her knees and squeals in surprise at all the right spots until Tucker suddenly clicks off the light and quiets.
She sees him shake his head—his silhouette just a shadow inside the tent. “Nothing. I just don’t wanna scare you.”
Sarah bristles. “I’m not scared.”
He tosses the flashlight aside and squirms into his sleeping bag. Sarah continues to frown at him but he can’t see that so she knocks him with her foot. “I’m not scared.”
He props himself up on an elbow to look at her. “Then what’s with all the nail biting?”
“That?” Sarah snorts. “It’s just fun to play along. You’d be disappointed if I didn’t look scared.”
“Why would I want you to be scared?”
Sarah frowns deeper. “Isn’t that the point of ghost stories?”
They are both quiet for awhile then Tucker sighs. “Let’s just go to sleep, okay.”
Sarah hunkers down into the soft, woodsy bag so that she’s facing Tucker. He’s on his back now with his hands tucked behind his head. It’s still cool this early in the summer and his breath forms a little cloud over his face as he huffs out. “Are you sure maybe you weren’t scared?”
Sarah snickers. “Right. Big, bad, tough Tucker isn’t afraid of anything.”
She can’t see it but she can imagine the glare he’s sending her way in the dark. “Go to sleep, Logan.”
They settle down and, eventually, the lights from the houses wink out leaving them in near absolute darkness. Sarah stares blankly at the wall of tent. The wind kicks up some and the tent sways around them making whooshing and creaking noises. She swallows hard. It’s not like this is their first camp-out. Or their first storm. Her heart is starting to hammer against her chest as she thinks back to the story when suddenly something touches her hand. She’s about to scream but then realizes it’s just Tucker.
His fingers wrap around hers and the creepy shadows disappear and the noises quiet and the night calms. She squeezes his hand to reassure herself. And him. And slowly they both fall asleep, their hands never leaving each other’s the entire night.