Camp Quibblonian

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Chapter 1

The Realization

by: Hyouka
There is nothing more unexpected to me than a random call from Alex at 3:00 in the morning. Mainly because, among other things, I don’t recall every giving her my phone number and how she managed to get a hold of it is a complete mystery to me.

I roll over and pick up the phone, already preparing to get out of bed, as I don’t recognize the number and will probably have to hand it off to my mom. Most unrecognized numbers are for my parents. But as I brush through my hair with my fingers, I finally understand who it is on the other side through the jumble of words that I can barely hear in my tired state. Alex.

Her voice is frantic as she talks, which is generally unlike her. Alex’s voice is generally carefree. She gets excited about things. If she were to be complaining to me, she would speak her sentences in a strung-out manner, saying each word slowly like she isn’t moving her mouth barely at all.

But now, I don’t have any idea what she’s saying. Her words are all strung together and she speeds through every sentence with a ferocity that is usually lost on her. The only word I can recognize through the jumbled speech is “Quibblo,” which doesn’t dawn any sort of clarity as of why she’s calling me at 3 am.

“Germany,” I put my head in my hands and stare at my reflection in my closet, which is made of mirrors. “Germany!”

“What?” she breaths hard through the speakers and stops talking. Suddenly I understand why my parents always complain to me about speaking too fast.

“Calm down! What is going on?” I smile to myself, waiting for some sort of ridiculous response like she’s seen Slender Man in her bedroom or she got tickets to a concert. But she doesn’t say anything like it.

“You need to come outside.”

“What? Why?” I reflectively glance out my window at the pitch darkness, expecting to see her face. “Where are you?”

“There’s something here. You need to run. Now.”

“What do you mean, ‘something’? Are you at my house? Alex!”

“I’ve gotta go. You just need to run.” I hear something breathing in the background and she says, “Crap! Move!”

The phone beeps. Connection lost.

I sit in stunned silence, staring at my reflection in the darkness. I have no idea how to comprehend what just happened. Somethings here? What’s here?

CRACK.

I jump and reel backwards onto my bed. Something just hit the window.

Scrambling off the bed, I claw at the wall until the light turns on and I blink the strain from my eyes. My room isn’t any different than it always has been – the huge white tree branch in the corner layered with my drawings, the disheveled low-to-the-floor bed, and the papers spelling out my favorite Owl City quote tacked to the wall. But somehow things seem different. Like they’re off.

I kneel in front of my collection of stuffed animals and dig out a huge old wine jar filled to the brim with pennies and other coins. It’s the heaviest thing that I own, and I figure I might be able to ward something off with it – whatever it may be.

Wielding the jar, I approach the window. My bedroom isn’t very big and there isn’t much room between my tiny little desk and my bed, so I step cautiously around a pile of my junk and peer through the glass to the rock pit below.

I see nothing for a long time. But as my eyes adjust, I can almost swear that I see something in the shadows below.

I’m frozen in place as it moves into the porch light. I don’t see much, a flash of hair, a wave of what looks like scales. I can’t move. All I can do is stare.

There’s nothing there, I know there’s nothing there, and yet I can’t shake the thought that I’m seeing something I’m not supposed to. Every time I try to look, its like I have to look away – my eyes unintentionally flicker back as if somebody was casually averting my gaze. Could there be something there?

I blink hard and look back out the window. In the light of the porch, I can see a wave of scales glistening blue, fuzzy as if I’m not wearing my glasses but I know I am. They sharpen the longer I look.

And then a face.

I see nothing but pitch-black eyes and teeth. Sharp teeth. Long, stringy brown hair hangs over the womans bare shoulders. I stare at the figure for a long time, unable to look away.

And then it pounces.

The face hits the window with a crash. Blood drips from her fangs. She claws at the wall, growling, her eyes pitch black. The screen shakes in its frame. I can hear her nails against the window pane, scraping. This is not simply my imagination. Nothing this real could be a dream.

I make the highest pitched noise I think I ever have and scramble backwards onto the floor, trying to regain my footing. I can hear her screaming outside my window as loud as she can, screeching like some kind of demented banshee. No sooner have I made it to the end of my bed when my bedroom door slams open and two people rush in.

I sit against my dresser breathing hard as I try to recognize faces. The first one is Alex, looking confident, some sort of reed pipes hanging around her neck. And her legs…

Whoah.

“No asking questions,” she says, her face serious. “I’ll explain later. Just please, bear with us.”

The second face I don’t recognize at all. A boy, slightly tanned, brown hair. He’s much taller than she is. On both hips he has what look like some sort of sheaths. I could probably live my whole life without knowing what’s inside of them, but as I watch, he reaches to them and pulls out two long, curved daggers. They glint bronze and black. Nothing too fancy. Simple enough to get the job done. Whatever it may be.

He steps forward to the window and slices clean through the glass like it's nothing but mist, like the wall doesn't exist at all. The demon woman claws at him, reaching for him through the window, but he lunges forward with the daggers and catches her wrists, pushing forward.

I close my eyes, waiting for blood, but nothing comes. The demon screeches at him and falls back from the window, and I watch as she drags herself away, back towards the cow pasture that borders the back of my yard. Her tail, scaled like a mermaid, glints in the moonlight. I wait for her to disappear before I dare breathe again.

The kid standing at the window takes a deep breath and re-sheaths the daggers with a clean sound like metal against metal. When he turns to look at me, I notice that one of his eyes is brown and the other is green. It’s familiar somehow.

“Are you alright, Gaibe?” he asks.

I stare in shock and confusion at his t-shirt. The shirt is made in a familiar fashion, bright orange and printed with the words CAMP QUIBBLONIAN. A Quibblonian who knows my nickname...brown and green eyes…

“Mikey?”

I stare in shock at him. Mikey, one of my closest friends from Quibblo, lives in California now. I never dreamed I would see him here. Ever. Never in a million years.

But he nods anyways, and I realize that it really is him. But…he has swords.

“What was that thing?” I ask. “And Alex, why are you…?”

She collects her blue-and-white tipped brown hair into a single bunch and begins to put it into a ponytail as I stare at her legs again. They’re furry, rounded at the top and skinnier at the ankle…and they end in…hooves?

“Yep, I’m a satyr.” She opens her mouth and smiles. “Surprise!”

And everything hits me at a million miles an hour.

Greek mythology. Gods. Religion. The ancient legend of Lamia, the fish-tailed woman that ate children...

All real?

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