Monster Camp

For @DaHob’s Prompt

Finnegan is a character in Addergoole

Efrosin, Niassa, and Arna are characters in Addergoole Year Nine.

After Ghost story (LJ) and Seeing Ghosts (LJ).

Doug was waiting at the gates when the last campers had been packed off.

“Did good,” he told them, in a rough grunt. Finnegan and Efrosin shared a glance, and then looked back at the man.

“Thanks,” Finnegan offered. “Even…”

“Very good.” He nodded sharply. “So. How long before college?”

“Three years.” Efrosin was, Finnegan had noticed, a bit of a smartass. Then again, being Shiva’s brother, he supposed that made sense.

“Three weeks. I go back just before Eff goes back to Addergoole.”

“Got more camp for you two.”

“I was kinda hoping for a vacation…” He wasn’t sure what the younger kid had been hoping for. Maye more camp was perfect for him.

Doug shrugged. “Don’t want to kill monsters? Fine with me.”

“Oh,wait!” He stepped forward, almost reaching for the man. “Monster hunting? Like…”

“Yeah. Like them. Running a training session, you two, couple others. Figure you know all the book stuff already, considering.”

“Yeah. Considering.” Considering his first-year Keeper and her sisters had been Addergoole’s primary monster hunters while they were in the school. Efrosin, he wasn’t so sure about, but the kid had potential. “Who else?”

“You’ll see. You in or out?”

Efrosin was, he realized, looking at him to answer first. Finnegan weighed the idea in his head, comparing spend three weeks monster hunting to spend three weeks reading bad books and playing in the water.

“Yeah, I’m in.” He’d have his whole life to play in the water.

“Me, too.” The way Efrosin moved closer to him made him wonder if the boy had a crush on him. He’d Kept another guy last year, after all, thanks to his sister’s interference. “Shiva…”

“She’ll be there. Come on, you’re all packed.”

~

Efrosin hadn’t realized how out of shape he was until he was put up against Doug’s training camp. Leo would love this; maybe next year he’d talk Doug into letting Boom – or part of Boom, maybe one at a time? – attend. Efrosin… well, he was a lazy tomcat, to quote his mother, his sisters, and anyone else who knew him. And compared to the rest of the people here, he was a scrawny out-of-shape runt.

“Come on, midget, keep running.” Niassa grabbed his arm and urged him over the obstacle course. “Look, once you get through Dad’s Basic Training, nothing will ever look like a real challenge again.”

“I’ll be dead, I won’t need challenges.” He let her haul him over one hurdle, and then, pride pricked, took the next two on his own. “I don’t think I belong here.”

“Move your feet, Arna!” Doug’s shout echoed over the course. “Finnegan, it doesn’t care if it can’t see you!” He took his eyes off the course to stare at the others, or at where Finnegan ought to be, at least.

“Watch out!” Niassa gave him a shove; Efrosin jumped four feet in the air, missed the water trap, and landed on a tree branch, looking down at her, resisting the urge to hiss in indignation.

The lean girl only laughed. “We’ve got our skills and you’ve got yours. You’ll do fine, once you stop whining and pay attention. Come on, I’ll race you to the end.”

“No fair, you’ve got wings.” But he was already going, skittering down the tree branch. Maybe he’d manage to get another “did good” before the summer was over.

Maybe even from Finnegan.

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