Judel
Camp Maple Creek
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Camp Maple Creek
Here are two excerpts of my YA novel, Camp Maple Creek.  These are two scenes when Deni first meets Fionn:

1st excerpt

“You’re right, this place is amazing.” It’s too amazing.  How can this all be offered for free?  Someone has to be paying for it.
“What’s in the notebook?”
I sigh and slide it closer to me with a shrug.  “Nothing, just personal stuff.”
Amy nods, clearly interested but she respects my privacy.  Her gaze shifts to over my shoulder, and her eyes widen.
“Wow, who is that?”
I almost ignore her whispered question, but then I feel it.  The strange sensation floods through me and over me, and my skin prickles into goose bumps. I cross my arms over my chest and shiver, before turning to follow her gaze.
The guy can’t be much older than us, and I figure he must be another camper, but he wasn’t in the van.  And I’m pretty sure all six of those boys are already seated at nearby tables. As the newcomer enters the cafeteria, it’s as if time slows down. Each step matching the opposite flowing arm, he moves with a grace I’ve never seen on a male before, let alone such a tall one. He has to be almost a foot higher than I am, and I’m considered tall.
His sandy blonde hair is short, but not cropped and slightly spiky with bright golden tips. His eyes are a shockingly pale blue, like Chris Pine blue.  His gaze seems to take in everything all at once, yet he doesn’t focus on any one thing. He wears a loose white button down shirt over black jeans. I can’t tear my gaze away from him and watch as he walks over to the salad bar and grabs something, before turning and leaving the room.  No more than fifteen seconds could have passed, but it feels like a lifetime to me.  It is only then that I realize I have been holding my breath and let it out with a gasp.
“Wow!” Amy repeats, and I turn around in my seat to face her.
I shiver again and stare at my arms as the goose flesh fades.  “Did you feel it too?”
Confusion replaces the awe in her expression as she frowns at me.  “Feel what?”
Shaking my head, I push my food away, no longer hungry.  “Nothing.  I think I’m ready to see our room. You coming?”
She points to her food. “As soon as I finish eating. See you up there.”
My legs shake as I push up from the table.  Taking a deep breath, I force my feet to move as I head for the exit.  Will he still be nearby? I have no idea what to make of that strange sensation that flowed through me as he entered the cafeteria.  It wasn’t unpleasant, but I’m not sure if I liked it either.
Fighting the temptation to run, I walk quickly, looking down each corridor I pass.  A green shirt sees me and smiles.  “Hi Deni, do you need help?”
I haven’t met this counselor, so it surprises me that he knows who I am.  Lauren assured me that everyone would know my nickname, so clearly it is associated with my picture in their system.  I’m tempted to ask him but decide it doesn’t really matter.  There are only ten of us who are new, so it’s not too intuitive that all the employees would know us by sight.
“Yeah, actually, I saw a guy in the cafeteria just now, who wasn’t wearing a green camp shirt.  Are there other campers besides the ten of us who just arrived?”
He listens attentively and nods.  “Yes, of course. There are many campers in the facility.”
“How many?  Will we get to meet them?”
His smile lengthens across his face.  “Certainly, after you all have gone through orientation and have gotten used to the schedule.”
I nod but want more info.  “I’d like to know who the camper was who just now left the cafeteria.  Did you see him?  He was dressed in white and black, blonde hair with frosted tips and the palest blue eyes I’ve ever seen.”
The smile leaves his face. “Fionn was in the cafeteria?” His eyes widen, and his spine straightens as he forces a smile. “I mean the campers were instructed to give you all a chance to get settled in before they swarm all over you.  I’m sure they are all dying to say hello.  We haven’t had anyone new join us since December.”
I stopped listening shortly after he revealed the guy’s name.  Fionn…I say his name in my mind over and over again.  Such an unusual but beautiful name, much like the guy himself.

2nd excerpt

I keep running, looking for an escape.  There’s no front door to use, so I push open the door to the stairs and run up all flights until I can go no higher.  Knowing I don’t have access to the top floors, I sit on the top step and bury my face in my knees.  I let all the frustration and loneliness roll out of me as I cry.  It isn’t fair.  What have I ever done to deserve this?  I want to go home and wallow in my room.  I’m not welcome here and no longer want to stay.  I didn’t want to come here in the first place.
The tears flow and snot drips from my nose, but I can’t stop crying. At first I’m unaware of the hands gently gripping my upper arms, mostly because that strange sensation sweeps over me again. As it cascades through my body, I involuntarily suck in a breath. My sobs quiet and the tears slowly cease. I focus on what I am feeling as the familiar goose flesh erupts on my skin. It’s clearer this time, and not unpleasant at all. In fact it feels good, almost euphoric.  I realize Fionn must be the one doing this, but I’m still unable to lift my head to look at him.  I wipe my face on the back of my arm and breathe in quickly through my nose, which is all stuffed up.
Finally, I peek at him through the curtain of my hair.  His eyes are even more striking this close up, and they mesmerize me.  The pupils are tiny, almost completely surrounded by that impossibly pale blue.
I shiver as butterflies erupt in my stomach.  Fionn crouches on the step two down from mine, with his arms on either side of me, his hands still gripping my upper arms. My brain refuses to work as I can do nothing but stare into his eyes.
“Feelin’ better now?”
My lips part in a gasp of surprise at hearing his voice for the first time. There’s a slight lilt, but I can’t identify the accent.  I want him to keep talking. “I’m not sure.”
His hands release me as he leans slightly away, and he smiles.  “Feel like talkin’ about it?”
‘About’ comes out sounding more like ’a boot’, and I finally return the smile.  “I love your accent. Where are you from?”
He chuckles before standing to his full height.  I suck in my breath and push to my feet, so he isn’t towering over me.  Though I am two steps above him, I’m only slightly taller. He grins at me before moving up a step, which now allows him to look down at me.  I tilt my head back to continue meeting his gaze, and my hair falls away from my face.
His fingers flick a few strands from my eyelashes, before slowly wiping a tear from the corner of my eye. “I’d much rather talk about you. What happened to make you so upset?”
I sigh as his voice flows through me. I want him to touch my face again but don’t dare ask.  I know I should step back, so our bodies aren’t so close but can’t move. His question finally seeps through my foggy brain, and I shake my head and attempt to brush it off.  “Oh, that was nothing.”
His head tilts as a frown creases his flawless forehead.  “Didn’t seem like nothin’.”
I shrug and force my gaze away from him. It’s harder than it should be.  Needing something else to talk about, I remember seeing him in the film.  “Fionn, how long have you been coming to this camp?”
He doesn’t respond right away, so I dare turn to look back into his eyes. His intent gaze is studying my face. “How did you know my name?”
I grin, enjoying his surprise.  I really should have gotten that counselor’s name who was so helpful. “One of the new hire’s told me. So, how long?”
His frown deepens.  “You know you’re not supposed to be up here, right?”
His eyes dilate suddenly, covering half the iris, and I step back with a gasp. In that moment he looks ferocious.  I don’t think I’m afraid of him, only startled at how quickly he can go from comforting to uncomfortable.  That strange feeling I get around him seems to undulate and shift and suddenly I’m nauseated.
“What are you doing?”  Bile fills my mouth, and I grimace, trying to swallow it.  “Please stop.”
Guilt and then concern replaces the irritated frown.  “Are you OK? You’ve gone a bit green.”
I hold up a hand in front of me as he moves closer, and I back away. He clears the last step, and his height this close to me is shocking. He has to be nearly 6 ½ feet tall.  “You should know. Every time you’re close to me, it gets weird.”
He nods and walks around me to the door. He scans his card, and the lock disengages. I think he’s actually going to just leave without saying anything, but he pauses to glance at me over his broad shoulder.  “You shouldn’t get close to me then.  Go back downstairs, Denika. You’re missin’ tennis.”
I’m frozen to the floor as I watch the door close behind him.
--
Jude


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Camp Maple Creek - by Judel - 03-02-2023, 02:41 PM

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