NOTE: This is the first of the journal entries I’ve recovered from the files labelled “The Chronicles of Taras”. It’s dated “Feb. 8 2009”, apparently the day Sandra Janssens arrived at Camp Moric. Nothing significant happens and it bears no light on where, exactly, Camp Moric was located. I presume it to be in a colder place, as Sandra describes a desert reaching “Sub-freezing” temperatures during the night (though she could conceivably have been exaggerating). I’ve left names intact in case anybody wants to come forward as someone who was at Camp Moric at the time with Sandra or Taras or any of the people mentioned here, or if anybody has any information. Hoping someone can shed light on what happened there.
- N. Somniack
Episode #1: “CAMP MORIC”
Feb. 8 2009
MY NAME is Sandra Janssens. I’m from Connecticut, and now I’m here at a place called “Camp Moric”.
I don’t know what I did to end up here. The camp must be cheap, since I was the only one on the bus here. And it was one of those short buses, with smiley-faces painted on the lights and sides for ‘special’ kids. I felt like a reject back home, and I felt like a reject now. The short bus sure didn’t help that feeling. I think whoever designed these short buses wanted the ‘special’ kids to feel even more defective than they were. Wouldn’t be surprised, not one bit.
The minute I got out of the bus, I saw what the “Camp” - if you could call it that - really had.
No Trees. Just pebbled ground. There are a few spires off to the South that might once have been trees, but from what I can tell, it’s just a big Desert. And a cold one, at that.
Everything looks like it’s made out of scrap-metal. Yep. Scrap-metal. What the Hell kind of a place is this? Is this for real? The best thing they could come up with was scrap-metal. I at least figured tents or something. But nope: Scrap. Like from a Junkyard.
I sincerely hope I’m getting punk’d. I really do.
A Counselor (I guess) came up to me the minute I got out of the Short Bus. I was pretty embarrassed to be getting off a bus designed for retarded kids, but what was even more embarrassing was the fact that I turned tomato-red, like I always did whenever I got scared or embarrassed back home.
This one time a guy who was dating the girl who I accidentally tripped in third grade came up to me and spit in my hair. I’d just washed it that morning, and don’t think I’m crying for sympathy here (but I really would enjoy some, thanks) but I was hoping this “Camp Moric” turned out to be a new opportunity to get a better social standing that I had back in Connecticut.
“I assume you are……..” The Counselor looked through his notepad.
“Miss Jenssens?” He said with a big, fake smile.
“Janssens,” I corrected him. “Sandra Janssens, yeah.”
Ya know, now that I think about it, I don’t think I saw him walking up to the bus. But then again, I was trying not to pay attention to anything after I just got out of a Short bus, so maybe I was just being stupid.
“Well, Sandra, I’m Mr. Taylor. You can trust me to be your friend, your guide and your ally.”
Huh. Well, at least the staff had nice morale. Could always be worse, right?
I shouldn’t have said that. The other girls here were worse - a lot worse.
“There are five cabins.”
That’s funny - all five of the scrap-metal dwellings looked completely different. And not one of them looked like a cabin, at all.
“You’re in Moric Prime. Remember that. Let me introduce you to your Cabin-mates, Come…..”
Well, as friendly as he seemed, the girls in Cabin Moric Prime were not.
The first two I met were walking along, minding their own business when Mr. Taylor waved them over.
“Serena! Lyla! Come on over and meet your new Bunk-mate!”
Oh, god, this ain’t gonna be fun. It’s bad enough being under five feet tall at age fifteen. It’s bad enough that I’m a little chubby (or so everyone tells me). It’s bad enough I freeze up and can’t talk at awkward times. But the girls coming towards me - Jesus Christ. I Think this may not be a typical Summer Camp.
“This is Serena. This is Lyla. Serena’s been here three months and Lyla…”
“Almost a year,” the five-foot-three, pure-white skinned blonde girl said. Her voice was whispery and scratchy, like she never drank a drop of liquid in her life. She wore a Dark, grey hoodie that seemed to permanently overcast her face with an ominous shadow. She resembled, to me, what a Satan-worshiper would look like; all dark, hooded cloaks and pale, almost albino skins.
In the dim light it was hard to see, but I think she may have had some kind of freckles. I’m not sure yet, I’ll have to keep my eyes out for it in the future.
The other girl was almost six feet high, and had skin an almost night-black ebony. Curly, satin-black hair fell down to her chest. She had on fingerless, black gloves with openings where her scarred, callous knuckles were exposed. I hoped she got those from something other than beating the living shit out of other, helpless people.
Both of them wore dark clothes. I think I remember my Science teacher saying black and grey absorb more light than other colors - that might be why they wore them. To get as much heat as possible at the sun.
“I’m Ghost,” said the Hooded Albino Girl. “That’s Star-Scar.” She motioned her head to the Black Girl’s direction.
Mr. Taylor laughed, which looked like it pissed off ‘Ghost’ beyond her limitations.
“They all have their cute little nicknames.”
“It ain’t no nickname,” said Serena/StarScar (either way, pretty bitchin’ names, if I have a say in it). “My name is StarScar, hers is Ghost. Ya dig?”
Mr. Taylor just nodded patronizingly. They must’ve thought he was a dick.
“There’s five more girls in your Cabin, Sandra, but right now I’ll let you get used to the place. That over there is the Counselor’s Cabin,” He pointed to a Hexagon-shaped, dull silver building in the dead center of all five Scrap-Metal ‘Cabins’. There were dirt paths leading up to each side of it, five from the Cabins and one from the road where the Short Bus had dropped me off.
“That’s where you’re gonna tattle on us, if you’re a goody-two-shoes,” the Albino said with a mocking tone: High-pitched, with a lisp. She put her chin on both her hands, which in turn were clasped over the top of the pick-ax-type tool she’d been carrying along.
“And you’ll die if you’re that freakin’ stupid.” Serena/StarScar laughed along with Ghost/Lyla.
Ghost spun the Pick-ax-type tool in the ground, since it was almost as long as she was tall, and they both left for the inside of the cabin.
I know it was Summer when I left home - My Mom had talked about camp, here and there, but I never remember agreeing to it.
“Over there’s the Lounge.” He pointed to a building that looked to be made of Cargo-container stacked up on top of each other with what looked like animal clawmarks on the sides. “We got a generator in there, so there’s light and heat and such. And over there’s the showers. You are permitted one nine-minute shower for three days every week. Do not use them all up in a row. That’s the best suggestion I can give you. And remember: Work starts tomorrow at exactly three-thirty, sharp, so be ready.”
I must have looked like a pretty stupid, dumbfounded animal, because he started up another monologue. “You are here so you can be reformed. This is not a Summer Camp, but a Juvenile Detention Camp, so you will begin work at exactly three-thirty in the morning tomorrow.”
“In the MORNING?!” I said, stupidly.
All the other girls - at least, any that were out at that time - caught wind of that, and started laughing at me. Mr. Taylor gave me what I think was supposed to be a sympathetic look, and said that I was here for a law I broke. When I told him I hadn’t done anything, he just laughed.
What the Hell is going on here?
“Now, you and I both know that’s not true, Miss Janssens. You’re gonna have to face obstacles in life, and I can gauruntee you that if you do wrong, god will cut you down. So let’s not play that, shall we?”
Oh, SHIT. Oh, FUCK. Oh, GOD IN HEAVEN, SOMEBODY HELP ME.
“You’ll begin work in the obstacle course at three-thirty, like everyone else. I suggest you get some rest, now. You hear?”
There was nothing I could do.
In the ‘Cabin’ - which, by the way, just had four cheap bunk-beds for all eight of the girls in it, no sink, no bathroom, only a hamper and one light - I met the rest of the crew.
“Sandra, these are Tawna Jones, Julie Steinberg, Yan Jun, And Miss Lara Carroca.”
“No,” said Ghost, grinning and shaking her head. “No, no, no, no. NO. That’s Cutter, Jaws, Stone, and Yuma.
The one called ‘Cutter’ had a bunch of scars on her arms and legs. But she wasn’t emo. She wore a green sports Jersey with the number ‘8’ on it and jean-shorts. She had a huge mass of curly blonde hair, and she regarded me with a big, scary smile. She seemed almost proud of her cuts.
Julie/Jaws grimaced at me. She had braces - but before she turned away, sulking, I took notice of how mangled the metal in her mouth was. It looked like it might’ve been slashing up her gums.
The Chinese Girl stuck all her dirty clothes in the hamper at the end of the ‘Cabin’ and just gave me a cold stare.
‘Yuma’ was a Portuguese girl with a nasty look in her jade-green eyes.
“So where am I sleeping?” I asked Mr. Taylor.
That was when the jolt went through the room. Everyone of the others all looked scared, all of a sudden.
“She’s sharin’ a bunk with Taras Jacobs,” said the Chinese Girl, Stone. Her affect was unchanged - no expression at all. ‘Cutter’, the blonde girl, whipped around her shaggy, blonde hair. “Somebody’s gawna diiiiiieeeeeeeee…..” she teased. Her Australian Accent was either very thick, or very exaggerated.
“Just stay the Hell away from Taras Jacobs. You don’t wanna mess with her. She’sKILLED people over little, stupid shit. She’s directly out of her fuckin’ mind, do you know that? Swear-to-god, she’s directly out of her fuckin’ mind!”
“Now, Serena, we don’t know that.” Mr. Taylor threw a disarming smile my way.
“Oh, yes we do!” Said Yuma, the Portuguese Girl.
What the Hell? This girl got away with murder? And nobody’s doing anything about it?
“She was never found guilty……”
Thanks. I feel so much better now.
That was when someone came in, and I got my first good look at the supposed killer.
Taras Jacobs was almost as tall as StarScar. She had sparkly, blue eyes; but that was hard to notice past her glassy, insomniac look. Her hair was coppery red and seemed to become spiked at the ends - a haircut is apparently not high priority for a homicidal sociopath.
She wasn’t ugly. But it was that look - that half-dead, jaded look too-old-for-her teenage-face look that gave away something was wrong.
She had an aged, yellowed band around her forehead and a T-Shirt with the ‘Disturbed’ band’s mascot on it, grinning his insane, scarecrow grin. Her jeans were black and dirty and, in a holster on her belt was a long, rusted hunting blade.
I do not want to be sleeping in the same building as this girl.
But that was that. At Seven-thirty we were ordered to go to sleep, to get a full eight hours before we started work in the mornings.
Before bed I was able to get out to the Counselor’s Building. I knocked on their door, but nothing came of it. I just wanted some answers - but when I turned around, I got more questions.
The Girl with the Black Hood and the almost-albino skin was standing right there. I never even saw her coming. Ghost, she said she was - fitting name. She was only a little taller than me, but I knew she was like a princess to the other ones. Even if she was the most lowly fucking princess I ever saw, she still walked around like she was in control of everyone else, all the time, ever.
She asked me where I was from. I answered. She asked me how far I had gotten started in the ‘obstacle course’. I answered. She asked me what I did to get in here. I answered.
That was when she threw me up against the wall of the Counselor’s ‘Building’. The Sheet of metal that made the wall vibrated and made a loud, awful CLANG!
I was hoping the Counselors inside heard that, but like I said before, I more unlucky than a black cat under a ladder on Friday the 13th.
“Bullshit!” Hissed Ghost. Her scratchy, raspy voice scared me more than anything else.
Apparently “I don’t know what I did” wasn’t a good answer for Ghost.
She leaned into me, holding my by my shirt. She whispered her raspy, scratchy, awful whisper right into my ear, her breath smelling like some kind of metal.
“I’m gonna find out why you’re here, just like I’m gonna find out why I’m here, and why StarScar and Yuma and all the other girls here. I know Taras killed someone. I know it, and you know it and Taylor knows it. But I’m gonna figure out the rest of this shit one day. You hear me?”
I forced myself to a stupid, slow nod.
“Lay your shit low, Jumpy. Lay your shit, LOW.”
What did I do to get here? I don’t mean the law I supposedly broke - I would remember something like that. But I mean, did I really do something to deserve this? I feel so helpless, I don’t understand a goddamn thing that’s going on -
I miss my Mom’s Belgian Accent. It was something that always made me feel safe. I never really thought much about it until one of my friends brought it up to me. He said “Why does your mom talk so funny” and I said “What are you talking about?” I never thought of it as anything out of the ordinary until then. When my Mom explained what an accent was, I felt like she was defective, but later on I started to see it as unique. It made her different from all the other moms; better. Mine.
I miss my Parents. I wanna go home.
I’m gonna either call or send a letter to my parents tomorrow. They’ve gotta know there was a mistake. They’ve gotta help me. I don’t belong here.
I’ve decided to stop writing in this journal now. I don’t know if Taras Jacobs is as bad as everyone says. But I don’t wanna risk upsetting her with any noise this pencil might be making.