“A new comer!" Jancy laughs pointing at a tall girl with chin length red brown hair. Jancy's brown hair flashes in the light of the rising moon as she waves mockingly. An evil grin spreads across my face. I love newcomers to Camp Kopec. We love to scare them. I see Kathie’s blond hair running twords the newcomer.
“Hello!" I hear Kathie’s high pitched voice exclaim as She pumps the newcomers hand too fast and purposefully squeezed too hard. “I am Kathie. Those girls over there are Jancy and Pepper." I need when Katie says my name, Pepper. The newcomer walks over and Smiles shyly. I stare at her intimidatingly. It makes most people squirm but she seems to stand up straighter.
“I am Nova." The newcomer says.
“Hello Nova. Lets show you to our cabin." I say. I hear Kathie giggle. She got to set up the first prank this time. The last newcomer wet her pants a little last time Kathie set up the welcome prank. She would be terrified, Nova looks so gentle. I bet she had bids lang on her finger at her sweet little cottage. I could picture a neat little flower bed with small white rocks. We approach the cabin door. Our feet crunching in the gravel.
“After you." I say opening the door. Nova steps into the entrance. The second she walks in. A fake skeleton is thrown onto her back. A classic. Last time this happened a newcomer by the name of Lilly did not sleep all night. Nova does not scream. She The second after the skeleton hits her unsuspecting back she flips it over her shoulder breaking its arm in the process. The skeleton lands with a thump on the worn wooden floor. She stands holding the broken arm and picks up the skeleton by its rib cage and hands it to me.
“Sorry about your biology homework. I am not one to deny my instincts." Nova looks at me apologetically and it put the skeleton back in the closet.
“Thats all right. I have glue." I look behind me. Kathie looks like christmas has been canceled.
“Do I sleep here?" Nova asks. I nod. If the skeleton did not scare her the evil clown in the morning will. “A nice way to wake up." I say under my breath.
* * *
I wake up before anyone else. The alarm will ring in a few minutes and I can’t waste any time. I smear white on my face and paint a wide red smile on it. Then put black around my eyes and wait behind Novas empty dresser. The alarm rights and Kathie shuts it off. I hear 20 girls getting out of bed. I hear Nova’s feet coming down her ladder. Her feet approach the dresses and I leap out roaring. Nova looks at me like a scary clown pops out of her dresses every day.
“Pepper. You have a little of something on your face." She says sleepily and gets out a green shirt and camo pants. My heart drops. Not even a scream! Lilly looks like the life has been frightened out of her.
The rest of the day I try to scare her. Kathie and Jancy try harder than I have ever seen them try at anything to scare Nova the new commer. That night I am worn out. I have one last trick. This one will work. I need to wake at midnight.
At midnight I am woken up by Kathie.
“Are you ready?" Kathie asks.
“Yes." We creep over to Nova’s bunk. Kathie sleeps right below her. We jump up and grab Novas arm. Nova does not respond. I look over the bunk and see Nova staring at the ceiling. Her eyes are wide open and her breaths are shallow.
“Kathie!" I hiss. “Look!" Kathie peers over the bunk.
“Nova?" She whispers. “Nova?" Nova does not move. I put my ear against her heart. Is she dead? My answer comes in the wrong way. Her arms wrap around my head and I scream. Kathie screams too. Nova lets go of me and laughs.
“That was so fun!" She says. I blush with shame. I am glad it is dark. I probably look like a tomato. I force myself to laugh too.
* * *
We stop trying to scare Nova. She is fearless. We have become friends. It has been 3 months since she grabbed my head at midnight. She has not been scarred since then. I have memorized her laugh and shouts and confidence, but I have never heard her scream. I am lying in bed thinking about things like boys and The pros and cons of pushing my older sister into the lake. So far I have found no cons. Then I hear a blood curdling scream that is coming from the other side of the room. I jump out of bed and run toward the sound. Girls all around me are waking up all catawampus. I locate the person who was screaming. It is Nova the fearless girl.
“Nova what is it?" I ask. I clamber onto her bunk and hug her around the shoulders to help her calm down. She starts sobbing.
“The Netvor." She sobs over and over again. When she calms down she tells me about her life before the camp. She was brought to a sorcerer by her mother. Her mother wanted her daughter to be fearless. The sorcerer said that was impossible. He could make her have only 1 fear but that fear would be the fear of the most terrible thing to walk the planet. She would have to face this terrible thing. Her mother agreed. That terrible thing was the Netvor. The Netvor was in the cabin. I look at her scratch marks on the wooden floor and her bunk. I end up falling back asleep and I am still on her bunk. Maybe she wants protection from her fear.
* * *
I am woken up again that night by the moon. Throughout the night it has shifted across the room and now at 2:47 in the morning, according to my watch, is shining like the sun onto my eyes. I hear the bunk creek and remember that I am with Nova. She had a bad dream or something.
“Pepper! Help…" I hear Nova whisper. She might be sleeptalking. What would she need my help with at 2:47 in the morning? The bunk creeks again.
“Peper, Help! Pepper Please!" Nova whispers again. Her words are oddly clear for a sleep talker. I sit up and see Nova. Then my eyes fly to the other thing in the bunk. At first I think is a very large, very shaggy dog but then I look again. The creature is crouched on its hind legs. The ragged matted fur keeps me from seeing its features claery. I see claws poking out from ragged lumps of fir that look like hands. The claws are dripping with blood that makes great red stains on the blue camp blankets. I get a brief glimpse of two ferocious red eyes and some teeth flash in the bright moon. The thing is huge and it sends shivers down my spine. I could swear it is smiling. Its smile it too wide and then it laughs. The evil laugh is deep and sounds like a roar of a lion combine with the evil cackle of a hyena. With a mighty spring it leaps out of the open window and disappears into the forest beyond. A light turns on.
“Whats so funny?" I hear Kathie ask. Her voice slurred with sleep. I look at Nova. Her eyes are wide. They are too wide and the pupils are glassy. A wide red smile is cut across her neck. I find carved in to her collarbone four red words that turn me to ice.
The Netvor rules all.