August 27, 2016,
What happens next is hard for even me to believe. I am not even sure how to explain this to myself. I guess the best thing to do is just write down exactly what happened.
I was lying on the tube and the water just stopped. I felt like I had to get out of the water quickly as it was dangerous to stay in the water.
The tube was still tied to the tree. I carried it out of the water and pulled on the other end of the rope. I was hoping that my friend, I just realized I never asked his name, was hanging on to the other end. What was on the other end was the clip that he had taken off the tube and put on himself to pull me to safety. I was safe, but my friend was gone.
I saw my shoes by the edge of the stream. How strange that my parents would leave my shoes there. They must have been looking for me. I can’t believe they would still be at the campsite after so long. The next thing I noticed was the pan bumping up against a couple of rocks. It looked like it wanted to get out and float downstream. At least I wasn’t going to have to explain how I lost a perfectly good pan.
I put on my shoes and decided I would hide the tube. I knew if I left it out it would look like it was abandoned and someone would probably take it. I untied the rope and pulleys from the tree, walked into the woods and hid it under some brush. I thought I would come back with my dad and show him the tube. It was the only thing I had to prove the story I was going to have to tell them. This was not going to be an easy story to believe.
I figured I would take the path back to where we had camped, find a ranger and explain that I was lost and have them contact my family. I took the pan and headed back to the campsite.
When I got to the site, my dad was there! He was at the fire making supper. He looked up at me and said, “I was just about to go looking for you. Supper is almost ready and if you are going to tell a story tonight, we need to eat soon as it looks like it is going to rain.”
I just stared at him. How could he be so calm when I had been gone for days. Why was he still here?
“I thought you were going to get some water? How come you came back with an empty pan? We need the water to boil so we can use it. Go back and get the water and this time come right back. No playing around.”
I still didn’t move. What was going on?
“I said go now!”
I turned and went back to the water and filled the pan. I made sure that no part of me touched the water. I hurried back to the campsite and gave my dad the water. I went to my tent to sit down and think. When I got to the tent my other siblings were outside. They just nodded to me as I went into the tent. No one acted at all surprised to see me. I went over to my sleeping bag and sat down to think. That is when I noticed the diary, the same diary that I had written in about the shopping trip to get supplies. How did it get here? You have to know that I would never bring a diary on a camping trip! Who would even consider that to be a good idea? Well maybe one of my teachers but give me a break, a diary on a camping trip!
I opened it and there were several entries. I started to read it and it was exactly what had happened to me. The last entry was posted on Aug. 26, 2016. I did not write those entries. We always have to spell out the months and I would never think to abbreviate August as Aug.
My dad called everyone to supper. I put the diary down and then thought I had better hide it in a safe place. I put it in the bottom of my backpack.
When we all sat down for supper, I decided to ask the question that was going to prove if I was losing my mind.
“What is the date today?” I asked.
“July 28,” my mother said. “Why?”
I just looked at her. My stomach did not feel very good. How could it be July 28?
“Are you alright?” she asked.
“He is just counting down the days to when he has to go back to school,” my sister said.
“Yeah, I just didn’t realize the summer was going by so fast,” I said.
“Are you ready with your ghost story?” My dad asked. “It may get cut short if it rains.”
“I will wait until tomorrow then, if that is okay.”
“What? You passing up a chance to tell a story? I can’t believe it,” my mother said.
“Let’s go over to the fire. It is getting dark. If you get interrupted with the rain, you can continue with the story tomorrow night.”
We moved to the fire and we were sitting around it. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do.
“Excuse me,” a voice said from behind us.
I turned around but it was too dark to see who it was and he was too far from the campfire. My dad got up and went over to him.
“What can we do for you?” he asked.
“We are looking for a lost boy.”
“How awful!” my mom said. “It is dark and he is missing.”
He was moving closer to the fire and we could see that he was a ranger. Being lost at night is not a good thing in the woods.
“He was spotted down by the stream earlier in the day and I am checking with everyone to see if maybe they saw him.”
Suddenly he was in the light of the fireplace. I could see his face. It was the same face that the shape had turned into. The shape that had grabbed my leg!