Chapter 3

We were falling. I braced myself on the seat on front of me. There were screams of terror, and… joy? Like how you would scream on a roller coaster. Nathan was freaking out too. I grabbed on to him without thinking. He held me in a way that made me feel safe, protected, even though we were going to die. I looked out the windshield to see the ground rushing at us at an unbelievably fast rate. I couldn't stop looking. I was hypnotized by my own death, but a split second before we crashed into the hard, unforgiving rock below a huge purple circle opened up, swallowing the bus. The bus slowed and leveled out as I looked out the windows dumbstruck. Why am I alive? I thought to myself. We were in a bright, glittering, purple tunnel. It was like those tunnels they use for the time traveling scenes in movies. We drove through for a couple of minutes before the tunnel opened up revealing a normal looking camp. Danny and Vanessa just looked bored.

Ms. Peachy and some other counselors ushered us off the bus and into a large building with the words "Camp Element" above the large double doors. It turned out to be an auditorium. We took our seats as the other campers walked in. Some of them were bored, like Vanessa and Danny but others looked as confused and mesmerized as I was. Ms. Peachy walked on stage along with a big tough man that looked like he belonged in a high school gym, a hippie, and a woman that could pass as my grandma.

"Welcome boys and girls to Camp Element! We are all happy you are here and we are ready to get right down to business." She said speaking into a microphone. "For those of you who are seasoned campers, you know that we like to do things to the max around here." She said pumping her fist in the air for enthusiasm. "But if this is your first year you may be a little confused. This isn't really a dance camp or music camp or whatever else your letter said. You are all very gifted children with special powers that may someday change the world! You are what we like to call Hybrids. You are half human, half animal. Please look at your necklaces ladies or rings men. If it is a pink necklace you're a fairy, half human half butterfly." Vanessa was a fairy? Wow! Talk about first impressions can be deceiving! "All fairies will be working with me in the dance studio and in the pink training center. Men with red rings are dragons." I looked over at Nathan. He had a red ring. "They will be working with Coach Jones on the sports fields and in the red training center. Green rings and necklaces are centaurs. Half horse half human. They will be in the band room with Tom." She pointed to the hippie. Danny's dark green ring was sparkling in the light. What type of place was this? "Finally girls and boys with blue necklaces are mermaids." What? I was a mermaid? There was no way! I could never be a mermaid and Nathan could never be a dragon! "They will meet in the chorus room with Ms. Alexander and the blue training room." She continued, pointing to grandma.

She went over some rules and the camp map. There were 40 cabins, five people per room. They were divided by "hybrid" and gender (duh.) They put each "hybrid group" in a different corner of the camp along with their training room and "practice area" (ex. Sports fields, dance studio, ect.) The mess hall, auditorium, and a lake were all in the center. The whole camp was surrounded by forest.

I was still trying to get my mind wrapped around being a mermaid. Was this really true? I figured I was in a dream but no matter how many times I pinched myself I couldn't wake up, and Ms. Alexander kept talking about "mermaid this", and "mermaid that". I finally accepted the fact that I was going crazy and needed to check into an asylum in the near future.

"Now if you will all go to your cabins and make your selves comfortable we can start with some basic 'get to know you' activities. The cabin assignment list is on the bulletin board outside. That is where you will see all camp announcements." Ms. Peachy said returning to the microphone. "You may be dismissed."

Everyone stood up, grabbed their bags and headed to the doors. I walked over to the list, saw that I was in cabin M-08, and started to walk up the gravel trail to the mermaid cabins. I walked in and saw 3 other girls about 14 or 15 (which was my age) "Hi I'm Clara."I said putting my bags on an empty bunk. "Hi I'm Kylie!" a tall red-headed girl said from the bunk above mine. "I'm Nina." Said a brunette next to me. "And I'm Kayla. It's nice to meet you." A blonde said shaking my hand. "You're new aren't you?" she asked. "Yeah." I said meekly. "Is it true, about the mermaids and fairies and stuff?" "Absolutely!" Kylie said. "Don't worry. Ms. Alexander is really nice. She will talk to you if you feel overwhelmed. She will take good care of you."

I unpacked and started to make friends with some of the other girls. Nina was from North Carolina and had two dogs. Kayla was from Kansas and had been going to this camp for three years. Kylie was from Jersey and played a ton of sports. They all said this camp was a ton of fun and that the 6 weeks flew by really fast. That had to be the most reassuring thing I had heard all day.