Our writing Guest of Honour in 2011, Rikoshi, has helped us continue the story started by our fake B-Movie series “It Came From Camp Feral!” Please consider the four videos (Parts 1 through 4, as well as Bloopers and Deleted Scenes) as the introduction, which will be continued by Rikoshi’s story here and printed in the conbook. The final story…well…that’s up to you guys! Read on!
It Came From Camp Feral! – Part 5
Mist hung low to the forest floor in the not-quite-light of the early morning. Nary a ripple disrupted the smooth, glassy surface of the lake. The trees were still, and the only sounds in the air were the occasional chirps and squeaks of various assorted woodland critters, enjoying their lackadaisical lives out here in the wilderness, in a land unblemished by the touch of man.
Well, except for the fact that there was a camp built nearby, so it was technically, in fact, blemished by the touch of man. Except that makes it sound rather one-sided, like the touch of man is inherently a bad thing and that people are the villains in all of this, which isn’t the right implication and all. So forget all of that.
Mist hung low to the forest floor, and the lake was nice and smooth and it was all early in the morning, so it was quiet, for the most part. There were some animals making noise, sure, and some of the camp staff milling about, including Potoroo (whose mohawk was loud, but not in a literal making-noise sense, and he’s not actually important right now, but he will be later, so just keep him in mind).
But yes, the scene was a quiet and tranquil one, one that gave no hint as to the true, horrible, sinister nature of what was really going on. After all, it wouldn’t be a very good mystery if you could tell right from the beginning what was really going on.
A swank and stylish 1987 Plymouth Reliant pulled up to the campsite, its wheels churning dust and dirt into the air as it skidded to a stop. The engine kept humming as one of the back doors flew open, and out stepped none other than Black Teagan, Guest of Honour and all-around rad party chick. She kicked the door closed with one foot, and she didn’t even need to look behind herself when she did it. It wasn’t even that bright out, but she whipped out a pair of sunglasses and put them on because that was the cool thing to do. The car then peeled away, making Teagan’s jacket billow behind her.
Potoroo stepped forward to greet her, hand outstretched. “Ah, Teagan,” he said, smiling a big, winning smile that was overexaggerated in order to hide the fact that he might be nervous about what was going on, even though Teagan had just arrived and therefore couldn’t know that there was even anything for him to hide. “Just got in from Buffalo, I see.”
“Yes,” Black Teagan replied. “It’s a fascinating city, really. Did you know that they held the Pan-American Exposition there back in 1901? It was powered by a system invented by Nikola Tesla, and President McKinley was assassinated there.”
“That’s very interesting,” Potoroo said as he mentally added ‘Tesla’ and ‘the vengeful ghost of William McKinley’ to list of possible causes for why his staff was freaking out. “Come on, then. Let’s get you settled and safe. I mean comfortable.”
Less pleased to have a busload of campers on site was Timber. He’d pleaded (well, sort of) with Potoroo to have camp canceled for the year, but between all the bickering amongst the counselors, he’d hardly gotten a word in edgewise. Before the proverbial and literal dust alike had even settled, the bus had already shown up, and so the best chance of getting the campers to safety had already passed.
The green goop out in the woods was, he was quite sure, nothing good. The fact that his boyfriend Growler was under the impression that was as animal of some sort was a pretty strong indication of that. Convincing anyone else that this should be treated as a serious problem had been oddly difficult. Sure, maybe in theory, thinking you were turning into an animal might be kind of cool, but not like this. This was weird, and not funny weird, but more disturbing weird, like the kind of stories you hear from old people, like, when they just sort of ramble on and you’re not really sure where the story is going or what the point of it is and you just sort of smile and not until it’s over.
So, yes, having the campers getting caught up in that—the green goop, not stories told by old people—was not going to be good for anyone. Having to deal with Growler alone was bad enough; image if dozens more people had the same thing start happening to them.
Speaking of which, where had Growler gotten himself off to? He’d been there a minute ago, Timber was sure, but now he was nowhere to be seen. Or heard. The latter of which was more alarming than the former, because it meant that, wherever he’d gotten off to, it wasn’t anywhere close by.
No, Nayo had bigger things on his mind. He stroked one finger along the plastic edge of his trusty hairbrush-shiv. Nobody needed to get stabbed up quite yet, but that was only a matter of time. Before that, though, there were more important things to take into consideration. Like the establishment. Or the lack thereof.
If recent events had proven anything, it was that nobody could be trusted to be in charge. Certainly not Potoroo; hell, that punk hadn’t even had the cojones to put his foot down in the face of whatever-the-fuck everyone else was all complaining about. But hey, those losers could let themselves fuss and worry about whatever they wanted. So much the better for Nayo, really. If they wanted to leave themselves wide open, that was their own problem. Zabbu might have been okay if he hadn’t gotten all whiny about having his ass kicked, and if something as minor as ‘almost getting stabbed’ turned him into that much of a crybaby, then he was pretty much useless.
As he kept fondling his beautiful stabbing implement, Nayo eyed the busload of newly arrived campers. Now here there might be potential. Most of them were probably a bunch of no-good losers, too, but fear was an excellent motivator, one that made it possible to shape even the most malleable mound of clay into a razor sharp blade (which actually isn’t a good idea, since even properly fired clay doesn’t have anywhere close to the structure or substance of metal, but you get the idea).
Anyway, the point is that these campers were ripe for the plucking, and Nayo needed to get ready to, well, pluck. And maybe stab someone, whether because it was necessary or because why the hell not.
Like, it wasn’t just moving all on its own like it was alive or anything. Well, it was kind of moving like that, but not really. It’s hard to explain. Actually, no—think about those baking soda volcanoes that everyone seems to make in school. It was a lot like that, only it was a lot slower and it made you think you were turning into an animal and didn’t actually involve baking soda.
So that was happening. And it was only a matter of time before someone else was unlucky enough (or stupid enough) to come in contact with it.
It Came From Camp Feral! – Part 6
The Ascent of Nayo
(Originally published in the Feral! 2011 Conbook)
The ooze had been spreading like a bad Internet meme: popping up in random, seemingly unconnected places, and covering ground faster than anyone was really comfortable with.
Potoroo had been mainly concerning himself with damage control. Unfortunately for him, “damage” meant campers finding out about the green ooze, and not campers running into the green ooze. Which was a problem since, again, the ooze was spreading like Advice Dog through web forums, and in this case, the advice read something like, “TOUCH THE OOZE, TELL YOUR FRIENDS.”
Well, not literally. It didn’t say anything, and there weren’t any words, and it certainly didn’t use netspeak, but the intent was clear: the ooze wasn’t just spreading—it wanted to spread, and what better way to do so than by taking control of the weak-minded.
Coincidentally enough, that line of thinking was very similar to Nayo’s, which isn’t immediately related to the rest of this, but it fits in nicely later on, so just keep that in mind because it will totally pay off later.
“I heard that Black Teagan brought a shotgun.”
“Black Teagan did not bring a shotgun.”
“She totally did. I overheard Yennix telling Zabbu that Potoroo told him that Black Teagan totally brought a shotgun. And like, nunchucks or something, too.”
“That’s stupid. Why would a Guest of Honour bring nunchucks?”
“I dunno, because she’s a super-ultimate badass or something. Same reason she’d bring a shotgun.”
“She did not bring a shotgun.”
“She did too! Like I said, Yennix said to March that—”
“You said it was Zabbu!”
“Whatever! The point is that she has a shotgun.”
“Look, whether she brought a shotgun or not, we’re not using it to put down Growler.”
Khaz watched Timber stumble and slog through the woods from a safe distance. No doubt he was searching for Growler; whether that was “again” or “still” wasn’t immediately obvious.
What was obvious was that the staff was trying to keep something from the campers. What that “something” was, well, that was anyone’s guess, but Growler was only the first of a few people who by now seemed to be quite taken with the idea that they were animals. Which, like, wouldn’t ordinarily be all that unusual for furries, if it weren’t for the fact that they seemed more preoccupied with communing with nature than with cuddling and scritching.
Even though he’d been to Camp Arowhon before, Khaz had gotten himself turned around in the woods and couldn’t quite figure out his way back. Not that there was anything to be scared of out here, of course. Well, except for whatever it was the staff was so keen on covering up.
Khaz had heard some tales from the other campers earlier in the day. Someone claimed that they saw some CSIS agents patrolling the area earlier. Another camper said that, no, that was just Black Teagan, but yet another camper pointed out that, unless Black Teagan was two people at the same time, that didn’t really explain it. Someone else made a comment about how they thought that Black Teagan was two people at the same time, and so still another camper explained that, no, they were thinking of Kenket.
If CSIS agents were out in the woods, though, that certainly wasn’t what Khaz was seeing now.
What he was seeing now, weirdly enough, was the largest woodland critter he had ever seen. It was some sort of dog, most likely, and it walked on two legs, like a person, even though right now it was just standing and not actually walking. It was backlit by a bright, green glow from deeper behind the trees, and it held up its hand-like paws, gesticulating wildly in the direction of the light as the whole scene pulsated.
Maybe it was possible, though probably kind of farfetched, that the CSIS employed magical animal-people, but to be on the safe side, Khaz decided to high-tail it out of there. Glowing green things, after all, don’t really do anyone a lot of good.
Nayo dipped his hairbrush into the puddle of green ooze. He made sure it was good and coated, and then he flicked a big dollop of it right into Zabbu’s face.
Zabbu brought his hands up a second too late, the sticky goo dribbling down his front. “What the hell was that for?”
“Because shut up, that’s why,” Nayo said, wiping the hairbrush clean on the ground before flipping it around to hold it with the shiv-end at the ready. God, hopefully that stuff would kick in soon.
There had been some B.S. earlier about how Nayo was supposed to be the one to help make up for the campers’ individual weaknesses. Well, as it turned out, weaknesses could be exploited. They would be his strength. Plus, on some level it was just fun to push people around.
“Nayo, I don’t think this stuff is good for you,” Zabbu pointed out as he stood there, green goop still dripping from his face down onto his clothes. “It’s making me feel kind of funny.”
With an exasperated sigh, Nayo scooped up some more of the green substance onto the hairbrush and flung it at Zabbu again, this time striking him square in the chest. “If you don’t like it, go wipe it off on somebody else.”
And as Zabbu left, Nayo smiled, hoping that that was exactly what Zabbu was going to do.
(Okay, so Potoroo, the scene that’s supposed to go here is one that’s really important to the plot. I’m still tweaking it because it needs to be absolutely perfect. This is where the big reveal about Pawnee comes in, and without it, the rest of the story doesn’t make sense later. Also, I know that this whole thing is already basically my love letter to Nayo, so of course there’s more cool stuff for him in there. But I also still need to smooth it out so that not everyone who reads this can tell. So yeah, just trust me, the scene that goes here is awesome. So yeah, make sure that the version you print in the conbook has the actual scene here.)
Howling filled the air. Only it wasn’t the howling of woodland creatures, but instead, the howling of people who just thought they were woodland creatures. Well, and since they were howling, the actual woodland creatures wound up howling, too, but mostly it was the people.
Black Teagan hunched behind a fallen log, nunchucks clutched tight in her hand. To her left huddled Khaz, his brow covered in sweat, his mind racing as the strange lights flickered by overhead through the darkness. To her right was Mr. Kit Silver, keeping an eye out at ground level for anything that might come storming out of the woods for some kind of lame and cheap scare effect.
“I don’t think this area’s contaminated yet,” Black Teagan said after several seconds of quiet tension passed. “But it’s not going to stay that way for long. We need to find another uncontaminated zone to make it to.”
Khaz wiped the aforementioned sweat from his brow. “I don’t know if I can run anymore, Teagan,” he said, panting to indicate the tiredness that would make him incapable of running. “Besides, this is exactly the sort of time where one of us would trip and fall and get caught by the aliens, and I think that person would be me.”
“Don’t be silly,” Kit replied. “There’s no such thing as aliens. It’s ghosts that are causing this.”
“Why would ghosts want to make people think they were turning into animals?”
“Why would aliens?”
Khaz gestured with a jerking thumb to the green miasma past the treeline. “It’s green and glowing,” he pointed out. “That means aliens.”
“Ghostly stuff glows green, too,” Kit countered. “Haven’t you ever been on the Haunted Mansion ride?”
Black Teagan swatted them both on the shoulders, then took up her nunchucks again. “Argue later,” she said. “If we don’t get to a safe zone soon, then it won’t matter if it’s ghosts or aliens or whatever.” She then whipped out her sunglasses, put them on, and broke into a jog through the trees, the others soon following her lead.
The light of the full moon shone down brightly upon the clearing, the scene faintly greenish due to the clouds of mist floating overhead. At the center of the clearing stood Nayo, proudly stroking his shiv as he looked out over the small army he’d amassed.
It had almost been too easy, he reflected. Fear was something that could be all too readily twisted into bringing wayward souls over to his cause, and dozens of campers had flocked to him willingly under the notion that they would be safer under the arm of the figurative prison queen than that of the figurative warden. Trust was another thing that could be manipulated, like when villains appeared to heroes in the guise of their friends to help mislead them. Which isn’t to say that Nayo could literally do that, because he couldn’t, and besides, enough people were already convinced that they were animals that a trick like that might not even work on them anyway.
But Nayo had his army, and he had his own assuredness, which made him look really awesome, especially in the light of the full moon, because, like, damn. “Okay, bitches,” he called out, standing up tall on the tiny little hill that made him stick out more from the assembled crowd. “Just stick to the plan. You remember the plan, don’t you?”
The assembled campers nodded in a hypnotic daze. They did remember the plan, because Nayo had explained it to them off-screen already, and under the entrancing light of the full moon penetrating through the green mist, they would be unstoppable. Maybe.
Pawnee didn’t have a glade or a full moon like Nayo did, but he did have a small army of campers. Getting his point across to the assembled masses was difficult without the power of speech on his side, but a hefty dose of evocative pantomiming really went a long way in conveying what he needed to convey.
Seriously, it was pretty impressive how he was able to get such detailed concepts across by just waving his arms and hands and doing little dances. Like, you totally had to see it, because words wouldn’t do it justice, but it was pretty awesome.
Also, it’s kind of weird how the people who didn’t think they were turning into animals were better able to understand animals, but I guess that’s an example of dramatic irony. (Note to self: expand on this motif for the director’s cut.)
It was probably dawn the next morning. Khaz and Kit were still together, and Khaz had Black Teagan’s nunchucks, but Teagan herself was nowhere to be found. Maybe they’d split up in their search for the elusive Blackfeather Tanfur, or maybe Teagan had already had something bad happen to her. It wasn’t entirely clear.
Luckily, after many long hours of careful searching in the woods (which were arduous and perilous but would have taken too long to fully show), in one of the other secluded, non-contaminated areas, they found what they were looking for.
How Blackfeather had managed to become the camp’s wise man was a mystery. It just seemed like all of the other campers—the ones who could still talk, at any rate—spoke of him like he was the one who could solve their problems. That didn’t explain why he’d been so hard to find, or why he’d come into the narrative at such a late juncture, but that’s how it was, and now he’d been found.
He was sitting in the shade of a large tree, his legs crossed, his hands outstretched, his eyed closed in either deep meditation or sleep. After several moments of silence, Kit tapped him gently on the head with the folded-up pair of nunchucks.
Blackfeather opened just one eye. “Ah. There you are,” he said. “I was wondering when you’d get here.”
“You knew we were coming?” Khaz asked.
“I knew someone would be. Things have been far too strange for people to just leave things alone.”
“Yes, but that doesn’t explain how—”
“Anyway, you’ve come with questions, I can tell,” Blackfeather said.
Kit scratched his chin. “Well, yes,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out what’s going on with this green ooze stuff and what to do about it.”
“Ah, yes, the green ooze stuff,” Blackfeather replied. “Nasty stuff, that.”
“The people who come in contact with it seem to start thinking that they’re turning into animals,” said Khaz.
“Well, that’s simple enough,” Blackfeather noted. “In that case, I’d recommend not coming into contact with it.”
Kit hummed to himself. “I guess that makes a certain amount of sense.”
“Nayo seems to be controlling people somehow, too,” Khaz pointed out.
“Well, then I’d recommend staying away from Nayo, too,” Blackfeather said.
“That also makes sense,” Kit said. “Do you know how we might stop any of this, though, or what might be causing it.”
Blackfeather shook his head. “Sorry,” he replied. “Can’t help you there. I suppose it could be any number of things, really.”
“That’s okay,” said Khaz. “Two out of three ain’t bad, right?”
“I think I heard that in a song once,” said Kit.
And so with the next sunrise, the lines were drawn. It was almost epic, in a Braveheart sort of way, only with far fewer people and a lot more woodland critters. But there was still hair dye and face paint, and lots of people shouting.
Birds chirped. Animals and people howled. Nayo shouted colorful insults that were not fit to print. Pawnee gesticulated creatively. Dead leaves rustled under feet and under paws, twigs snapped and branches swayed in the wind. Some people threw stuff, which wasn’t very nice.
The ensuing battle was sure to be a monumental one. Even if Black Teagan didn’t actually have a shotgun.
Watch the conclusion in theatrical form from the 2011 Cabin Skits!