A Campground Story?

Prompt the first for Ego’s Blog Challenge! Apologies for not getting something up sooner, the migraine this week… killer. Anyway, plenty more ahead, hope you enjoy this little thing that came of three random story elements.

Write a story including the following three elements: A stolen ring, fear of spiders, and a sinister stranger.​

The drizzle had progressed into a real rain by the time the sun set, making it rather unpleasant to be lingering out of doors, but there was little else for it. Scott had been promised actual money if he could find out who had stolen nana’s ring, and it meant he was going to nose about the family’s camper until he found something. So far he had a dislike of all the other campers in the vicinity and a growing fear that spiders were the least of the horrors crawling about in all this wilderness. Yuck. Why couldn’t the family have vacationed at Disney World or something like that? They weren’t nature-loving enough to go camping the real way, so what was the point of this parking in a squalid yard along with other similar people who couldn’t do vacation right? Weren’t there enough people just parked in trailer parks at home?

A splat on his shoulder made him flinch, and then he leaped out of the current bush doing a jig as he tried to unstick the large spider from his raincoat, ideally without having to touch it with his bare hands. He heard a giggle from the girls that lived in that camper year-round, and wished himself dead. Their giggles followed him as he left the area, luckily divest of the arachnid at this point (though he had a feeling it was on his back where he couldn’t keep objecting to its presence). Seemed like the girls thought it wasn’t as big a deal as it was, but if they had a solution, it would’ve been nice of them to share. Maybe he should go back? No, making conversation with them would only make his humiliation worse. Best to move on.

The mystery really was that nana’s ring had been on his mother’s finger that morning, and she didn’t remember taking it off, so someone had to have been pretty tricksy to get it away from her without her noticing. That begged the question whether his mother was the one who had taken it, but that would be silly, and she wouldn’t be pitching a fit the way she was. Scratch that theory.

More likely she hadn’t been paying attention when she took it off, so she’d either been on the phone or watching the tiny TV the camper included, like what was the point of sitting in the camper and watching shitty local television? If they were going to be stuck out here for a week, the least she could do would be to explore the questionably-termed “campsite” or try and talk dad out of whichever fliers had caught his eye. Like today’s was the place where you could go get a chance to drive construction equipment, but not in a really fun way, no, that’d mean insurance and dangerous areas for other tourists. No, you could just go sit inside and move the front-end loader arm to dig in the ground, or drive a closed obstacle course in one of the little ones which didn’t have any moving parts. And dad had chosen that over going to a monster truck show that Scott wanted to go to? It didn’t make any sense.

Neither parent was of much use, but that meant he could wander around without one of them expecting him to ‘check-in’ every so often. If it would just quit raining he might even solve the mystery of nana’s ring and have some pocket money to go buy candy at the bingo store. (He didn’t want to sit with the old people in the rec room and actually play bingo to redeem for candy, that would be boring.)

“Hey, new kid!” A group of four teenagers were slumped under the roll-out awning of one camper, staring sullenly out at the rain.

Scott had to assume the older boy meant him, since he was looking at him. “Me?”

“You’re new, ain’tcha?”

“Been here a few days already.” It seemed silly to claim anyone was ‘new’ in a place that had a rolling clientele, but whatever made the other kid happy. “What?” Maybe the other kid had some interesting suggestions of who might steal things around the park?

“You wanna get us all pizza? You cin hang wit’ us.”

Scott shook his head. “Can’t, stuck doing stuff for my mom. Sorry.” That was easier to sell as a reason not to hang out with the apparently self-deluded ‘cool kids’ of the campsite. Not that he’d want to hang out with them if he ran into them again tomorrow, but he’d have another excuse then.

“Lame,” decided the teen girl who showed up about then to plop herself down in one of the boys’ laps.

Scott just made sure he checked her fingers for a familiar emerald ring before moving on. Too many choices to pick from. So many random people thrown together in one place, it was hard to even know how any one of them might have picked his grandmother’s ring out of his camper in the first place. They would’ve had to break into an occupied camper to find it to begin with, and it wasn’t all that valuable, really. Mum just kept it because it was her mother’s, not because it was fancy. He decided to turn back around and head closer to home. Anyone who didn’t spend time in the nearby campers was too far away to have noticed it to begin with.

At this point it was raining hard enough that there probably wouldn’t be anyone around except inside their campers, so it was almost a waste of time looking. The teenagers had been the closest to outside of anyone except himself that he had seen in a couple blocks, and they’d at least been out of the rain. He didn’t want to give up on that pocket money, though, so he wasn’t quite ready to give up.

A car pulled past him, a shadow with floating tail lights in the rain as far as he could tell, but the headlights revealed a man leaning against a trailer ahead in the dark, just standing there in the shadows for no good reason and smelling like an ash tray to boot. He looked like the lights had blinded him, so Scott was able to scurry to the other side of the dirt road down the block of trailers and get away from whatever reason someone would stand there in the rain like it didn’t matter that they were soaking wet and miserable.

When he made it back to their camper, their car was parked alongside, so dad was back. Scott raced for the door and shook himself free of his rain boots and coat as he made it inside, feeling like the world was a lot quieter in here without the pattering of rain (or spiders) on his hood. “Hey, dad,” he called, wondering where in their rental camper his father had gone, since he wasn’t in the main room (also known as Scott’s bedroom). He was probably in the bathroom.

“Hey, Scottie,” came the response as his father exited the tiny bedroom.

“Dad, mum can’t find nana’s ring, and I was wondering if you’d seen it earlier? She promised me twenty bucks if I could find it for her.”

“Ha! Twenty bucks, Rosie, that’s on you. Don’t you come asking me for it.” This was directed toward the bedroom, making Scott frown. Had they found it already? What a waste of his time, out in the rain with the spiders! His father turned back to see his son’s frown and laughed again, but this time he added the important details. “Your mother dropped it down her shirt while she was asleep on the couch, Scottie. She’d fallen asleep watching whatever passes for daytime TV out here.”


6 thoughts on “A Campground Story?

  1. So… He gets the $20 right!? Poor guy, subjected to the elements for something his mom already found. I really liked Where you took the prompt. Thanks for sharing with us! (:


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