Monday

This was going to be the worst summer ever.

Monica glared at the people around the campfire. She was an expert at things being the worst thing ever. For example: summer camp. More specifically: Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. Also: the people in the camp.

"Everything makes so much sense if you think about it in terms of how psychic powers were used," some boy in an oversized trench coat was saying to anyone who would listen. "Like, it wasn't a magic bullet, it was just being controlled by telekinesis. And the-"

"Could you hold still for a moment?" a girl in a suit asked him. She took out a cellphone and pointed at him, pressing a button. "Okay, carry on," she said, walking back to her spot on a log.

A kid with glasses in the front row was pestering a girl in a cat hat who was roasting a marshmallow. "Hey, Bergan," he said. "Can I have a marshmallow?"

"No can has," she said, clutching the marshmallow bag to her chest.

Monica sighed. "This is going to be the worst summer ever," she said, burying her head in her hands.

"Tell me about it," the boy next to her said. She raised her head and looked at him-hair in his eyes, guitar by his side, and not a hint of a smile on his face. "I'm Skye, by the way."

"Monica," Monica said, a slight flutter in her chest. She resisted the urge to check her hair-her pigtails looked like pompoms at the best of times, and she was sure the humidity was making them frizz even more. "My Mom made me come here when I accidentally blew out all the power in the house."

"Cool," Skye said, flicking the hair out of his eyes.

"Yeah, it-"

All the lights went out. Even the fire seemed to dim a bit. A single spotlight hit the main stage, illuminating an empty patch of wood.

"At this camp," a disembodied voice echoed, "you will learn to harness your psychic powers. You can be the world's greatest leaders, fighters, entertainers. You can learn the powers of telekinesis, levitation, pyrokinesis, mindreading, clairvoyance, and psychic shielding. If you can master all of these powers, you, too, can become a Psychonaut. I did it in one day. Let's see what you can do."

The trees above the stage rustled ominously.

"My name is Razputin Aquato, lead agent of the Psychonauts and Head Counselor of Whispering Rocks Psychic Summer Camp." The trees rustled again, and a man dropped out of its branches, executing a perfect double backflip before landing in an extremely photogenic pose. He grinned rakishly.

"But you can call me...Raz."

The entire camp burst into wild cheers. Psychokinetic fireworks shot through the air. Hats were tossed by specially created hat-tossing machines. Several campers fainted.

"You ever heard of him?" Monica asked Skye, her voice deliberately cool and disaffected.

"I'm new here too," Skye said at the same time the kid in glasses squawked, "What?"

"Now come, my young psicadets! Let's go set things on fire with our minds!" Raz shouted, beckoning to the campers.

Everyone cheered again, even louder than before, and rose as one to chase after Raz.

A tall man with large muscles and an even larger hat walked to the front of the stage and held up a hand. "One moment," he said, and looked at a list on a clipboard. "First year campers, names: Quentin Schrute, Bergan Taylor, Skye Dempkowski, Sully Bluestone, Jane Smith, Monica Jones, please stay for remedial training. All others, sorry for delay, please continue with the burning things with mind and the howling like lost hyena trapped in mongoose hole."

Monica watched as all the other campers raced off to have fun and she was stuck with five losers-well, four plus a kinda cute emo kid.

"My name is Mikhail Bulgakov," the man said, his Russian accent nearly tripling as he said his name. "I am Psychonaut agent currently on probation as camp counselor in charge of training little firsties." His eyes grew distant. "Half deadly double knee squeeze, double deadly half knee squeeze...such a small difference." He focused on the kids again. "No matter. Sleep well tonight. Tomorrow, training begins."

He walked away, leaving the six kids staring after him in stunned silence.

After a moment, the girl in the kitty hat said in a plaintive tone of voice, "Eff tee ell."

Monica didn't know what that meant, but she agreed with the sentiment.

This was going to be the worst summer ever.