Not Damien

“This camping trip might be the death of me,” I whispered to myself as my headache grew stronger. I had not eaten food since last night and I had almost been awake for nearly 24 hours. I heard the water slosh against my canoe as I kept paddling.

Last night, Dad and Mom dropped me off at Nechez State Park so that I could train to be an official boyscout. I already knew how to track animal foot prints. Now, I just had to learn how to hunt and fish for food without any help. It appeared that the state park was the perfect place to train.

My parents pulled out of the dirt road to head back home. “Bye, sweetie!” Mom said. “See you tomorrow!” Dad replied in unison and tossed me the keys to the cabin. They trusted me to be alone this time in a cabin. At this point, I was sure I had enough survival experience.

Before, they used to insist on coming inside with me but I assured them in the car ride that I’m almost a man now and I don’t need their help.

I walked up the road to the cabin. This is gonna be the best weekend ever! I get to do anything I want. No cell phone. No responsibilities. Just me, myself and I.

I walked towards cabin 103B and inserted the key. Just then I heard footsteps on the other side of the wall and peered into the window.

A large man with a mustache wearing camouflage hunting gear pointed a hunting rifle at the other man’s head. I ducked from the window and closed my eyes. BANG! The shot rang out and I put my hands to my ears to shield them from the loud noise, but it was too late. I heard the other person inside drop with a thud. Silence…The mustache man’s footsteps grew louder coming toward my direction.

“Damien. I’ve been expecting you.” His voice sounded rough.

“I finished the job. Now, I need the payment like we agreed.” His voice grew louder with each word he pronounced.

The door opened outward and I crouched below the window so he couldn’t see me.

“Damien!” He yelled again. His eyes scanned out the woods for any sign of movement.

Just then glass from the window I was crouched underneath crunched beneath my shoes. I looked up to make sure he didn’t hear me. He didn’t have key to get in my cabin because I got it from my mom and dad, so he must have broken in using the window…I thought to myself.

What do I do now? Should I hide in the bushes until morning or take my chance with the river?

He’s got a gun and he’s already killed someone, so I’m better off going down stream with the river, I decide. I can get to the police faster that way.

Besides, I don’t have enough time to make a make shift raft, so let’s see what’s around the cabin…I crept around to the back.

Aha! A found red canoe that leaned against the cabin.

“Perfect”I murmured to myself. I lifted it using all my weight and walked it into the water.

A loud splash came from the canoe and alerted mustache man. He came running out of the cabin with the rifle in his hand and aimed it at me.

“Damien?” He stopped and hesitated with the gun.

“I got a job from an unknown number to kill someone. They said a guy named Damien would pay me in cash. Are you Damien?” He eyed me quizzically.

I held my hands up in the air and entered the canoe slowly as it sloshed in the water.

“Who the f*** is Damien? My name is Mike and you just killed a man!” I yelled back at him with enough courage as I could muster. His eyes grew wide.

“Damn it kid! I wasn’t planning on killing two people today.” He sighed like it pained him to kill another person.

He aimed the rifle at me and squeezed the trigger. CLICK. The gun jammed. He shook his head and threw it to the ground.

Earlier in the night, it had rained so the ground was muddy making it hard not to slip. He landed face first in the mud making him more angry. Cold grey eyes stared back at me. I pushed the canoe away from the shore and began paddling away from my pursuer.

This camping trip will be the death of me. I repeated these words in my mind over and over like a chant while I paddled for my life. Mustache man was closing in. He was fast in the water, swimming like a shark hunting for its prey. Screeechh. The canoe scraped against a large rock and tumps me over. I feel his hands around my mouth trying to drown me.

All I see is the reflection of the clouds on the surface of the water. I didn’t get a good breath. My clothes are heavy on my body and my lungs are burning. Will I die here? Will my parents find my body? So many questions. I just want to live. Live. Live….

My voice trails off into the abyss. GASP. I take a deep excruciating breath of fresh air and open my eyes. I’m back in my bedroom. My clothes are drenched from sweat. My head pounding. I’m cold like the Nechez river. Was it all a dream?

“Mike!” I hear my mom call my name from downstairs.

“Yeah, mom?” I reply.

“The new neighborhood kid, Damien is here and he wants to play with you!” She says excitedly.

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