* Open: Looking for two thoughtful and entertaining writers.
Diary of a Journey|
Eva - JaiLee
Rafe - mirror on the wall
Alexander - Jason Simmons
Phillip - JoeStrong
The story follows a basic journal format and allows free, thoughtful writing. There is no set storyline.
Note: For every day there is a new assignment picked from the deck of cards that can be anything from "Make a new friend" to "Make turtle-shaped cookies." They will throw the dice and move on to a new destination when they get bored and feel like moving on.
*The campfire is open.
Diary of Eva
"I've got a headache. No! Don't write that . . . oh great, just tainting your new journal now and it's all my fault."
"But this is gold! Pure golden potatoes. Haha." I write it down and she looks over and reads what I've written.
"Oh . . . okay," Rafe itches her neck. Silence follows. One of awkward... "I've got something better for ya! Wanna start anew before I forget? Oh, fuck it. I've lost it now." Hear that frustration. "Eva! Stop writing about me...it's very...distracting."
Probably not the word she wanted to use but she's under pressure now.
"But listen!" I write and say in my mind, "Can't you hear the dialogue? This is what writing is all about. What really goes on is just this!"
Rafe says: ". . ." Nothing at all, it was coming but I might write it down and that would annoy her.
"You're damn right it will! You're taking this journal assignment way too seriously. My journal entries will probably be a line long about how crap this assignment is. I can't believe we came all the way to this shopping centre just to buy nice new journals which we had to pay twenty bucks for just so we could give Mr. Brooks his jollies."
I laugh and make her laugh as well even though she tries not to.
I'm at home now. I don't plan on showing anyone else this journal. Maybe Rafe every now and again. She knows everything about me anyway so it doesn't really bother me. But you never know. Firstly, I'm not surprised that Mr. Brooks set us an assignment like this one. He's our Advanced English class teacher and he's pretty cool (hey Mr. Brooks if you're reading this, I'm not trying to gain extra points or anything by sucking up, I swear, just doing the assignment like you said), anyhow, my point is that he's not like your usual teacher. He likes us to do things that will 'help us in spirit and mind, help us to gain real wealth in the future and not just a wage' for the rest of our lives which is alright with us. Makes us feel like he actually cares and when he makes jokes he's actually funny. With this journal he says we're supposed to "record what you see and hear and what you really think and by God, please don't start off with your name, who your parents are, your classes and what you like to do for fun."
We can write whatever we want, even if we talk about cigarettes or alcohol or whatever else it is teenagers do because he's not going to read the whole thing. We get to pick out bits and pieces that he can read to show we met the assignment criteria. So, cool...I mean, shit! Hah! He can't tell me off for swearing. Oh wait, I better not swear too much or I'll have to chop up this whole journal just to give him one paragraph without swearing in it. Shit.
Anyway, that was Rafe earlier. Short for Rafael but she'd kill you and your mother if you named her "after a freakin' ninja turtle" as she puts it. Ah, Rafe. My best friend and personal school ground bodyguard since kindergarten. Not that I even know if I would have gotten bullied if she wasn't around, but I never have so it may have been her and I'd like to let her think so. She's as mean as bricks. I don't know how mean bricks are but anyhow. . .
It's not that she looks like she could pound you with her fists, she's built like a dancer not a boxer, or that she has a mouth with words that could shred apart your soul, no, she doesn't need all that.
It's her eyes. She scares people off with her freakin' eyes man. That's scary, if you ask me. Since kindergarten if people got in her way she'd just turn these dead cold eyes on them and they'd get scared and miraculously disappear. She could even scare adults off so everyone leaves her well alone.
We happened to take a liking to each other and become friends because as I recall (this is my version of the story anyhow, Rafe begs to differ) in kindergarten they used to make us play hide and seek right before nap time, and one time I went through a door I wasn't supposed to, and ended up in the staff kitchen. There, with her head in the fridge already, was Rafe. Apparently she always spent hide and seek time in the staff kitchen and ate whatever they happened to have in there. Ice cream, whipped cream out of a can that was as fun to press as shaving cream, chocolate, cake with colourful sprinkles; all manner of things that four year olds love and aren't supposed to have (or steal for that matter). So I was allowed to join her as long as I kept the secret. I don't know how long it took for the teachers to realize what was going on but I'm pretty sure we were in there everyday for months and it wasn't because food was missing that we were finally caught, they were trying to figure out why they couldn't get me and Rafe to actually sleep at nap time and did a little investigating. I can't imagine how hyper we were on all that sugar. Maybe that's how me and Rafe ended up with broken arms at the same time that year...
I can't remember what her version of the story is exactly. She says we became friends differently, something about cats and cream, and that happened after we were friends but I don't know for sure.
Oh yeah, big news, but I thought I'd save it till it was relevant but then I don't see how it would just happen to be relevant if I only just started this journal and had to start with other subjects and if it's sudden news how would it become relevant anyway... or anything like that, oh shut up Eva and get on with it.
Okay, big news!
All the year twelve students are going on a trip to Papua New Guinea! I sound excited! But I'm not going! Yay!
Uh huh, what happens to all the students that can't afford it or just don't want to go on a school trip with a bunch of immature pricks? I mean, they're not all bad, but the ones that are make up for the rest that aren't and that's just not worth my time. We get stuck at school to study on our own for two weeks until the school holiday starts. I mean, how unfair is it that they get to go on a trip and if we happen to not be going, we still have to go to school and don't even get classes to waste our time away? They reckon that we'll have an advantage over the other students come exam time but who gives a shit about that when they get an extra holiday while we get stuck at school when we could study at home anyway.
Fifteen in the entire year level aren't going - seven of us in the Advanced English class included (and there are only ten people in that class which says a little about the kind of people in it - yes, we may be different from normal year twelves - smarter, wiser - I like to think so, but then I might be completely wrong.) Anyway, after the half a dozen of us were ranting and raving about the injustice(ness?) of it, Mr. Brooks came back after lunch with a great idea. A great idea that, he says, "will take the remnants of this amazing class on a journey of self discovery and ultimate wisdom" - I think he's thinking we're going to reach zen by the end of it or something the way he talks. This is the real big news. After much deliberation, this is what is happening as of Monday just as soon as we can talk our parents into it, with his help, of course:
The seven of us are packing our bags and our tents and our money.
We're taking a school 20-seater mini bus.
He's giving us a deck of cards he printed up himself, a map of the state with numbers all over it, and three dice.
For one whole month, the seven of us are going to travel together wherever the dice take us.
And we have to take our journals with us (and he recommended our study materials so we don't lose our advantage come exam time. Please.)
I know, I was thinking the same thing. Would our parents really let us do this? Well, here's another reason why Mr. Brooks is so cool. He's helping us convince our parents by telling them he's coming. He's not. Although, he's not as irresponsible as he sounds. He'll be traveling around too and might drop in and see how we're doing every now and again, and we have to call him every night so he can check up on us. He could get fired if anyone finds out we're bending the truth (a.k.a lying) but we said we'll be careful (and destroy anyone who would dare tell someone who cares).He says he trusts us as young adults, another reason why we wouldn't be so stupid as to get someone who trusts us into trouble. Adults don't often give us as much respect and trust as he does. That's awesome of him. I barely trust us. What is he thinking? What a dork! Doesn't he know what teenagers are like? What if the driver*, who only just got their license, crashes the mini bus and it'll be all his fault that seven students died? What, is he crazy? Yes, and it's so freakin' awesome!
(*By the way, I'm the designated driver. Rafe and me are alternating.)
We spent the whole class discussing it and drawing up a plan of how it would work. It sounds so fun, the other three students are completely jealous and don't want to go to Papua New Guinea anymore. Hah! Too bad. Suck on that for gloating when we were stuck behind. Me and Rafe have been talking about it quite a bit and thinking how much fun we're gonna have without our parents, just traveling around on our own like we've always wanted to do. And then we kind of remember that there are five others that we don't know very well coming as well. We don't dwell on that too much. We've always stuck together and kept others out, that's just how we've always been, that's why we don't know them even though we've been to school together for the last five and a bit years. We might have to stick to our own, we'll have each other at least if the others drive us mad. In addition to that, we're the drivers so we can just drive away and make them chase the mini bus, trailing behind pathetically on the deserted road on their two legs.
Enough excitement for one day, I'm out.
Saturday. Not much to say since I don't feel like writing tonight. Sleepy. I'll write tomorrow.
Today is Sunday and I finally finished packing. Oh yeah, did I mention my parents were totally fine with me going on a road trip with six students and a teacher? Mr. Brooks is an amazing con artist, you should hear the way he talks about the things we're going to learn and the discoveries we'll make and the strong bonds we'll form with our peers - so much more beneficial than being stuck at school. This is a time of exploration as youth. His words weren't quite so fluffy but man he's good. I was listening on the extension phone. I've already packed and I spent the last hour talking on my mobile with Rafe while I was doing it. I'm so jittery I don't want to go to bed, I know I'll just lie there thinking about what we're gonna see and do this next month. It's all happening so quick!
Oh yeah, almost forgot it was April Fool's Day today. Nothing even happened. The anticlimax of so-called special days I tell you.
This morning at school was bright blue. I was up early and waiting with Rafe and a bunch of others as we were made to watch the other year twelves get on the buses to the airport. Our little group of fifteen looked pretty morbid compared to the others who were filing onto the bus, only because we had these looks of distaste on our faces watching them scream and laugh excitedly and every now and again, give us expressions of mocking pity. Rafe had her long brown hair down, the gold tips in them glinting in the bright sun. We were both leaning with our shoulders against the fence languidly, arms crossed. If we weren't at school, she'd probably have a cigarette in her hand.
Sun, one of the guys in our class coming on our road trip came up to us and nodded, joining me and Rafe at the fence uninvited. He's quiet most of the time, part of the cool asian crowd and hard to figure out since he doesn't talk to any of us. I was kinda surprised he came to join me and Rafe at all, and thought he might have decided we'd be the easiest to get along with out of the seven.
He followed our gaze and watched with us, seemingly forming the same opinion about the guys as they pushed each other around like fools. One of them was slammed so hard against the side of the bus he must have lost a hell of a lot of brain cells and the guys in his group just laughed like jackals. He joined in the laughter after shaking his head to recover some lost brain and started laughing along with them, which told me he didn't recover a damn thing. It made us feel even better about not going with them.
"You guys looking forward to the trip?" Sun asked us.
Rafe shrugged. "Mm. Yeah."
"Yeah, what about you?" I asked.
"Don't know yet. I'm only going so I don't have to be at school."
"Why aren't you going with them?" Rafe motioned with her head towards the bus without looking at it.
I crouched down and leaned back, my shoulder was starting to hurt.
Sun ran a hand through his hair. "Couldn't afford it. I have a job but I was saving up for something else."
"Oy-Oi! Sunny boy!" one of the idiots on the bus yelled out suddenly.
The three of us turned at once and saw some guy shoot something towards us. They were aiming for Sun but the cork hit Rafe on the shoulder instead.
Her eyes flashed with that look of death as we tried to figure out who it was and the guy on the bus suddenly disappeared, probably ducking for cover. A couple of idiotic smiles in the windows faded.
I overheard two teachers murmuring nearby. "Oh. He hit Rafe." She tsk tsked.
"Looks like Adrian won't be coming back from Papua New Guinea now," the other teacher laughed.
"No great loss."
Rafe relaxed and turned to me. "Let's go. I need a cigarette."
"Mind if I come?" Sun asked, shifting his weight to the other foot.
"Do you smoke?"
He grinned at me. "Maybe."
I smiled. "Disgusting habit. Join the club. But we usually go to the female toilets."
He made a sound like 'psh' and rolled his eyes. "I got somewhere better and you won't get caught. Come with me."
"Where're we going?" Rafe asked.
He laughed. "My house. It's across the road."
I won't go into that part. We had a cigarette each and talked a little about Mr. Brooks. He didn't take us into his house, just through the gate into his backyard. His older brother was home but Sun assured us he would stay glued to his computer chatting to his girlfriend in Japan.
"Are you Japanese?" Rafe asked.
"Oh. Okay. Nice house."
For some reason he has a really nice lawn. The grass is so green it looks fake. I wanted to ask but what kind of question is that? I just felt psyched out that I was having a cigarette when I could see the school and teachers through the fence across the road. Despite all that, I came to this conclusion: we all smoked, we'd all get along just fine.
Back at school, Mr. Brooks looked relieved as though he'd been looking for us for a while and then pointed. "You two, come with me."
Me and Rafe looked at each other.
"I have to make sure you know how to drive a mini bus otherwise I can't let you go."
He took us both on a test run in the mini bus, which I have to admit was quite luxurious, like a big van with twenty comfy seats, and the driver's seat and passenger seat next to it are separated from all the passenger seats behind. That's mine and Rafe's compartment, even now I have a big grin on my face because it suits us just fine. I know how to drive big vehicles fairly well, my parents have a van that I always practised in and Rafe's parents have a four-wheel drive. Anyway, Mr. Brooks gave us a few pointers as we drove and finished with 'as long as you drive slowly and safely, you won't be responsible for the deaths of seven other kids.'
Me and Rafe rolled our eyes at that. Thanks a lot Mr. Brooks.
It's only then that I realise he said seven other kids. That makes eight. What the? "Ah Mr. Brooks, don't you mean six other kids? I know you're an English teacher but your maths can't be that bad."
He laughed and then shook his head. "No, I meant seven. Seven from our class and one from a completely different school. A private school. You all don't know him. Kail Brooks."
"Yes, you've guessed right and please don't look so horrified." There was a noticeable pause. "He's my son."
Rafe still looked horrified as we started leaving to find the others. "You spawned children?"
The disapproving frown on his face made for a kodak moment.
I still remember what Rafe said later. "Holy shit, I hope he's not a clingy geek who's gonna try and be everyone's friend."
"Mm. I hope he's not Mr. Brooks idea of a chaperone either." Great, he could be a clingy, chaperone private school geek for us to enjoy for a whole month.
We met up at the bus and shoved our bags and stuff on the spare back seats. Michelle was waiting on the bus already with her mp3 player, her feet up on the seat crossed over at the ankles in front of her. Her journal was open on her lap as she wrote. She took up the whole two seats, not that it mattered anyway since there are so many seats no one has to sit together.
She's one of those cool alternatives, sometimes known as goth, and sometimes not, apparently they prefer alternative. In my opinion there are many types of alternatives/goths. There are the stylish ones and there are the ones who were dorky, want to be different and are still not very cool. She's in the cool category. Her hair is styled almost like soft blades and it's dyed ultra black with red tips at the ends so it looks like fire.
On free-dress day when not in school uniform she wears awesome black skirts with chains hanging off, corset type tops with lace, and always, always, she has some kind of ribbon in her hair somewhere, usually black but sometimes red or purple. She doesn't have friends at school but probably has her own group outside of it somewhere. There is one piercing at the top of her ear, a four-leaf clover, but that's all I can see and her make-up is usually dark eyes and rose lip gloss.
I heard a rumour about her once upon a time, back in year eight when she was still dressing the same as everyone else, that her parents hate her. I thought that was a nasty rumour back then and now, and I have no idea if it's true but she doesn't seem like an entirely hateful person. I know I would probably be. She seems to like people enough, it just doesn't seem like it's possible for her to love anyone, only because she doesn't seem to let people in. This is only my observation of her though. I really wonder what the next month will be like with her.
Okay, so we forgot to bring food and water for the trip. We decided to stop somewhere and buy it on the way but seriously, who wants to pay for water when you can steal it from the school? This part is definitely not going to be for Mr. Brooks eyes.
While the teachers were off doing their teaching thing, Sun and Rafe snuck into their staff room and hauled away an entire bench top water cooler and two 15 litre bottles of spring water. Seriously, no one would guess we were actually stealing water if they saw us so there was no problem along the way, except that we couldn't stop snickering and making jokes. Some things don't change, me and Rafe are still stealing stuff from the staff room. I was there too and yes, as an accomplice. I stole the plastic cups. And plate of frosted cupcakes. And three cookies. One for each of us.
When we got back to the bus, Michelle was falling asleep on the window, still listening to her own music, and Alexander was there. He'll bite your head off if anyone calls him Alex, it's Alexander, people. Only his mother can call him Alex because she has said it enough times to warrant the exception.
He gave us a wave as he jumped off the mini bus and raised an eyebrow at the bottles of water and we only smiled in response as we munched our cookies.
Anyway, it's been a long day and I won't go any more into how everyone else from school got there.
We were all seated by 11.30am, me in the driver's seat and hanging out the open window, Rafe next to me, and the five others in the back. Mr. Brooks was in the back too, pretending like he was coming with us but we were supposed to just drop him off at home.
"Where is this guy?" Sun finally moaned. We'd been waiting quite a while and getting impatient to be away from school and on our way.
Mr. Brooks sighed. "He should be here soon." He had put his son's belongings in the back, now all we were waiting for was him.
Rafe was playing around with the stereo. Everyone else was either lounging around on separate seats, reading, listening to their own music, or daydreaming while staring out the window.
This Kail guy wasn't making a great impression on us already, and as an outsider, that wasn't a great way to start.
A few minutes later, there was a rev of an approaching engine and we all turned and stared out the windows as a yellow and black motorbike, it read: Kawasaki Ninja, sped into the parking lot and came to an abrupt halt next to the bus. We watched as the rider switched off the engine and leaned on one foot, taking off the helmet. It was a young guy, our age, and he grinned. "Hey dad."
Apparently he's going to follow us on his bike and when he gets tired, it rains, or he feels like it, he'll put his bike on the bus and sit back and relax.
I heard some sighs of relief that we could finally go.
Mr. Brooks sighed. "Take your time. We've been waiting for you, where've you been Kail?"
He didn't look the slightest bit concerned and messed up the mess his helmet made of his hair. "I'm here now, what does it matter? I'm ready to go if you guys are." He gave a little wave at the people on the bus and the clingy, chaperone private school geek gave this little sniff of laughter at us as he put his helmet back on, I swear, as though we were the clingy, chaperone school geeks. I must have been the only one who noticed since I was hanging out the window closest to him and damn was I offended.
Mr. Brooks last words stuck in my mind as we dropped him off at home and said goodbye, it just keeps going through my head as I sit here and write. I've never seen him look so serious.
"Don't make me regret my decision to trust you all."
He also said not to pick up any hitchhikers but we aren’t that stupid.
The eight of us sat around in the back of the bus at the parking lot outside the supermarket after we had gone in and bought food and drinks for the trip, mostly junk food, the healthiest item being Kail's one apple which he crunched on while we talked, and I took out the map and dice Mr. Brooks had given us. They decided since I was driving, I was the one to throw the three dice.
"Let's see where the dice of fate take us today, " Reese said. She smiled at me as I shook them in my hand and threw them.
I get the impression Rafe never liked Reese much, although I don't know why. Michelle and her seem to ignore each other. Apparently alternative and popular don't mix. Reese seems like a nice enough girl, but she hangs out with some prissy girls who call themselves popular. I don't know much else about her except that she's pretty and I caught her looking Kail's way more than once. She talks to Alexander the most out of the group.
"Thirteen." I let Phillip check the map and everyone leaned in closer to see where thirteen was written on it. "Lake Surrey. There's a camping ground by it, surrounded by forest. It's about three hours away so we better get started as soon as possible."
Everyone is letting me look after the stuff Mr. Brooks gave us. Maybe it's because I'm the driver or something. Gee, I'm special. I took out the deck of cards and let Reese choose one. She read out our assignment for the day: "Flour Fight."
"Huh?" we replied.
No one in class knew what that meant but Kail laughed knowingly. "This will be fun, but it'll have to wait until we get to the lake. I'll explain it later."
I don't know how much I can write but so much seems to have happened today I don't want to leave anything out. I'm so tired I can barely see and torchlight isn't great for writing. Rafe is writing in her journal too, we're sharing tents, and she seems to be writing much more than one line about how crap this assignment is. I've been here for hours writing this one entry and I've decided to finish this off tomorrow morning. I'll make today an exception.
Okay! Good morning.
After we got to the lake, we discovered the flour fight assignment was self-explanatory. Kail took us to a clearing among the trees after we set up our tents and campsite for the day. It was about 5pm by then and we had two gigantic 20kg sacks of white flour with us (unbleached plain flour, 100% durum wheat) and an empty ice cream container each. Mr. Brooks was even kind enough to provide us with eight pairs of safety goggles, all of which have 'Property of the Science department' written on them. What follows is two hours of complete childish powdery fun among eight people, most of whom barely know each other but can happily laugh, run around on the grass, hide behind trees, and throw handfuls of flour at each other. There are spots of white all over the grass and I think my lungs have turned into a lovely white dough.
Funniest thing ever. After two hours, me and Rafe, Sun, Michelle and Kail fell exhausted on the white grass next to the empty flour sacks. We decided to have a cigarette while the others went to wash off in the lake since we were all white as sheets. Kail doesn't smoke though, and didn't say a thing when Alexander, Reese, and Phillip told us what they planned to do, but I noticed his grin.
After our cigarette, me, Rafe and Michelle stood up to go and wash off when Kail stopped us.
"I wouldn't yet, if I were you. I've had a flour fight before."
"What do you mean?" Michelle asked. "I'm not staying like this, I'm covered in flour." She walked off before he could finish but me and Rafe stayed behind. Sun stayed seated.
"What do you think happens when water and flour mix?" he asked.
Rafe looked and me and a smile grew on her face. We burst into laughter and not a moment after, the others came over in bad spirits with the warning not to go wash in the lake. Lucky for Michelle, she saw them as they were coming out of the lake and changed her mind, following behind like a white ghost.
"Walk around more and brush it off like so. Let it puff off you as much as possible before you decide to jump in the lake," was Kail's advice. He and his dad apparently have flour fights often.
The three of them were pretty annoyed and spent a lot of time rolling bits of dough out of their hair and skin while we sat around laughing at them and making jokes about baking them over the campfire and adding a pinch of salt to make scones. Best school assignment ever.
Reese seemed the most concerned about her appearance and spent hours making sure all the flour was gone. The guys didn't seem to give a shit after a while and just walked around the camping grounds with dough bits all over them.
I just remembered a really strange rumour I heard at school once about Reese. She comes from a rich family and her dad is from Denmark or something. She's apparently in an "arranged marriage" situation and her parents want her to marry some guy over there. I don't know, weird rumours go around and it makes me wonder if there's any about me or Rafe, and if any of them are true.
For dinner, Sun cooked! No one knew this, and it's the greatest news ever, but Sun can cook! He made us all dinner and even bought his own spices and stuff. He anticipated that no one would know how to make a good meal and didn't want to spend the next month eating crap. I think we're in love with him. We had baked fish and rice and for dessert we just roasted marshmallows and melted chocolate. I felt sick afterwards, I think we all did.
And guess what we made for breakfast this morning with stolen water, Sun's salt and fighting flour? Scones! Haha!
Diary of Rafe
Damnit Diary, that’s its name. Got a problem with it? It was expensive, so it deserves a name. Wait… let me emphasise that word, expensive. It makes me wonder why the school didn’t just supply us with notepads as an alternative. I would have been happy with notepads. Then I wouldn’t feel bad throwing it away.
So, what else am I meant to write? I shrug.
No, damnit, it’s just too weird writing my actions as I do them. Eva might think I’m taking this too seriously. God, I hope nobody saw me shrug to no one. I’d better keep an eye on myself to make sure I don’t do something that could ruin my rep. The last thing I want is to be called ‘jerky’.
Some people have brought out their journals. What could they possibly have to write at this hour? Nothing’s happened yet… It’s practically dawn.
I am the exception. I’m not sitting on this partially damp log, tackling the sting of smoke from the fire writing in my Damnit Diary because I want to, I have to. I spent all of April 2nd thinking up Mr. Brooks (or Brooks, as I like to call him) Aprils Fools Day joke, which I creatively displayed nicely on the front page… Triumph! I was able to hide my smirk that time. Problem is; it probably won’t mean shit by the time the teacher sees. A joke, wasted. So, officially, this is the start of the Damnit Diary.
So here I am, preparing my hand to write and re-counting bits and pieces of yesterday and the present.
I’m going to light a cigarette. And I’m going to smoke it, and enjoy it. Never thought I’d say that to a teacher (sort of ‘say’, anyway). It’s not me to brag of bad habits. A shadow has stopped over me as my pen's moving. I’m expecting it to move along, but it hasn’t. I wonder who wants my attention. Whoever it is isstealing my warmth.
“Hey.” The voice is male. It’s vaguely familiar. When I looked up, it was Sun. He was holding out a scone. I look over seeing Eva excited over the steaming tray of scones on the table. Well… I have a pen in my right hand, a cigarette in my left. No hands. I was almost tempted to open my mouth and force him to feed me bite by bite, but you know… there’s that pride issue. Got to save all my dignity.
I shook my head and said, “I’ll get some later.”
Guess I’ll get to the point. We did our first challenge yesterday when we arrived. A flour fight. Personally, I would have loved it to have been a paint-ball fight. It was fun. Was. Still haven’t brushed all the flour out from my hair yet. Black hair and white flour, great contrast. It wasn’t life changing though. But I guess we will see when the month is up. Who knows what could happen in that time. Did I learn a thing? No. Unless you count ‘how to make human sized and shaped dough’? Don’t mix flour with water and humans? Great advice.
Someone is watching me. Yeah, I’m sensitive to stares. I automatically sense them. It’s a natural gift, okay? What scares me is I look up for the culprit, but there isn’t one. No one is even paying me attention. There’s only one other person who knows this, and that’s my dad, Train. He doesn’t doubt my gift. He once tried to explain to me that the eyes of people don’t necessarily have to look at me for me to feel them. That it could initially be someone thinking of me, either that or the eyes of ghosts.
Train and I aren’t like normal fathers and daughters. We see each other as cool friends. I prefer him as a cool friend than a dad. Maybe because we’re both private persons. He hates that I smoke, hell, so do I. And I hate that he smokes.
Wonder what the next challenge will be…
Wow, can’t believe I wrote utter worthlessness down. I could have eaten by now, but incredulously, I chose to sit on my ass while it got colder and wetter. What a waste of time. Why did I bother? Obligation?
Today was alright. It was partly sunny, bit cloudy. Could have been better, could have been worse. It was around 1pm when we decided to do the challenge. Can’t say you’re not creative, Brooks. You were the one who wrote these up, weren’t you? I’m going to assume so.
I was standing around, waiting for Michelle to pull a demon out of the hat that would announce the subject. Nothing of the sort happened. A demon didn’t really come out of the hat. I just had those thoughts at the time because of the clothes she wore today. Or maybe I had my hopes too high that something of the sort would happen. I’m smirking. You don’t have to believe me; I’m just telling it like it is. I’m the only person still up, and it’s partly your fault, Mr. Brooks (being 2:30am). The topic was ‘Catch your OWN dinner’. We were lucky that there was a stream near by, or else we would have had to cut up poor animals. I knew straight off I wouldn’t feel the least bit guilty killing fish, but if we didn’t have the stream, what the hell were we meant to do? The thought of it makes me dizzy. If you tell anyone, I will hunt you down and I won’t feel guilty.
So, Michelle announced our daily quest and we all walked to the stream in a herd, with Alexander directing us with the map. When we got there, we all just spread out. Reese, Phillip and Alexander crossed to the other side over some slippery looking wet stones. I was surprised none of them slipped and fell. It would have been funny if they had, but that’s just like me to laugh at someone’s misfortune. It’s nothing personal. I even laugh at my own. I don’t mean laugh, as in outwardly in the open. I mean to laugh inside. Yeah, I don’t laugh much.
Everyone’s general idea was to find a branch long, strong but slim enough to spear fish with. Surprisingly, all the guys had brought knives with them, as if they had been expecting this. I highly doubted it. So what’s with the knives?
There was one thing I didn’t like about the place, and that was how bumpy and uneven the ground was. The surface was raised in some places like small mounds, and indented in others. Really frustrating to walk over, but I kept my cool.
Kail looked as though he had done this before too. Why am I not surprised? He was crouching down, carving flecks of wood off the tip of the branch to make it needle sharp. He looked dead focused, more so than the other guys here; and that’s saying a lot. But I’m just glad he wasn’t that clingy geek I first thought he’d be when I heard he was to tag along. Hmm… then again, I’ll reserve judgment for later. He could be worse than a clingy geek. Oh shit, sorry Brooks.
“Rafe!” I look around and saw Sun and Eva teamed up. I don’t think that was the point to the challenge. I pointed it out to them. Eva, who was not even listening to me, was doing a terrible job at spearing the water. Sun shook his head, snatched the branch back, trying to hide the grin. “You’re crap,” he told her truthfully, but was amused by it. “I should have teamed up with someone else.”
I’ll say this now, in case I forget later. Eva and Sun caught their dinner, but we know, and so do they, they cheated badly. While Eva fished, Sun had picked up some rocks and threw them where we were all fishing, scaring the fish even more. I say even more because with the noise we made, and the commotion carrying on, I don’t think the rocks were necessary.
Michelle got annoyed and yelled, “You better count your fishes because I’m going to be stealing some.” And stalked off. I wish I could just give up that easily, but like I’ve mentioned before… there’s that pride issue. If I didn’t catch anything, I would starve the night. In fact, I was the last one to leave the stream. Some of the others offered to share their food with me. If I’d 've said yes, it would be like handing over some of my dignity. I’m not helpless, or I try not to be.
Guess what? I didn’t catch anything. And it’s going to be morning soon. I’ve been awake because I’m starving, but I can feel myself getting over starvation and becoming tired.
Hmm. I have that feeling again, just like this morning. Eyes. I look around and saw Eva trying to get my attention from our tent.
“What are you doing? What time is it?” she asked.
“Writing in my Damnit Diary, and it's past 3am,” I replied. I must have looked like the sitting dead. Well, I am sitting, so.
“Damnit Diary?” she laughed softly. I took a moment to respond, ‘cause I’m writing it down as I’m going.
“Yeah, suits it perfectly… Ah, fuck this.”
And the book is closed till tomorrow.
Diary of Phillip
April 4th, 9:30am
The first thing I would like to say is that I never imagined I would actually be using this journal for anything other than doodles and the like. I do not generally believe in the practice of recording daily events. I feel that we were given memory for a reason, and it’s up to us to remember our lives. Otherwise, we’re already on the road to Alzheimer’s. Plus, it’s hard writing for so long.
Nonetheless, I feel that, given the events of the last few days, it’s important that I write some of this down. The past few days have been one big climactic upheaval for me. I thought after being unable to go to Papua New Guinea that I would not be doing ANYTHING for a few days. Boy, was I wrong about that. Hearing about Mr. Brooks’ trip, and exactly what it entailed, was quite a shock. Going on it has been a different shock altogether.
The people on the bus with me are all people in my writing class. Every day I watch them come in, I speak to them when Mr. Brooks calls on me and I listen to them speak. All of a sudden, we’re riding in a bus out into the wilderness, with no clear idea where we’re going, all hanging out together, having FLOUR fights and hunting for our dinner together. Do you have any idea what that feels like? I’d say it feels like The Lord of the Flies, but I’ve never actually read the book.
Of course, this is especially surprising for me because I have never socialized with these people once outside of class. Socializing is simply not something that comes naturally to me. It used to be that I couldn’t even carry a conversation without making some off-color remark and have people look at me like I was insane, and whether that is the case any more I don’t know, because I haven’t tried for a while. It’s not something I’m happy about, just to clarify; it’s just very hard to overcome. It’s made worse by the fact that I stick out in a couple other ways: everyone else here smokes, I don’t smoke. Everyone else here has a cell phone. I don’t believe in cell phones. Most of the other people here can drive. I never got around to learning. Finally, everyone else caught fish the other day, and I’m a vegetarian. So instead of eating fish, I ate the last 3 pieces of food that I had brought from my house: an apple, a Clementine and a packet of marzipan. I found a loophole that let me eat all three: tossing each of them into the air and grabbing it before it hit the ground. So technically, I did CATCH my own dinner.
Despite this, I have genuinely been trying to mingle. These people are nice. Sun is an excellent cook, and God help me for saying so, but Reese, I think, is VERY pretty. Just from this first day, I don’t notice any such distinctive talents about the others, but suffice to say they seem very friendly. I didn’t expect to talk to anybody this trip, which is why I came with about five books, but most of my time so far has been spent trying to hang out.
Same day, 11pm
Mr. Brooks, you sneak! I am willing to bet my life that you rigged this deck of cards so that we would get the expedition card when we were only on the third day. Sure enough, this morning, Sun drew the third card, which said, “Look around you right now and find the highest point in your line of vision. Make your way towards it and back.”
And, of course, we’re in a forest, so the highest thing has to be a small mountain. Needless to say, we were more than a little reluctant. Eventually, though, we set off.
I was in front for the first hour. I generally start off in front during long nature hikes, I just move the fastest. I suppose that has something to do with the fact that every hike I’ve ever been on has been a struggle to keep up with my long-legged father. It was a nice walk for that first hour, sunny. It was around the time I slipped on a muddy rock and scraped my leg that the bugs began to come out. And the permanent clouds appeared.
For a while it was excruciating, and I almost dropped to the very back of the line. Finally I stopped to clean the mud out of the open cut, and that helped a little bit. But I never got back in front again until the very end. Stupid rock!
By the beginning of the third hour, we were all hot, sweaty, cramped, cut, bruised and constantly swatting away hordes of fierce mosquitoes. Finally Michelle tripped over he fifth root, fell face down in some mud, and swore several times before sitting up slowly.
“What’s the matter?” asked Sun as we moved closer to help her up. “Never been on a nature hike before?”
“Hikes are walks. Like, on beaten, straight paths. This is a death march through a jungle.”
“Would you expect anything less from the educational system?” I asked. Everyone laughed at that. The thing is, I don’t remember now if I meant it as a joke or as a serious remark.
By this time we had come to the steep muddy elevation, and the rest of the way up would be a climb. By this time I had made it back to the front of the line, and was the first one to hoist myself up the muddy embankment via a loose root. That whole climb up I was always the first to climb up and helped everyone else up after me. It was nice to feel useful like that.
Somewhere along the muddy climb Rafe made the first significant discovery of the day. “Hey, guys, what’s that thing in the mud?”
“Shit, do NOT touch that!” said Reese, jumping away. “It could be a snake, or a dead animal or something.”
“It doesn’t look like a dead animal,” said Rafe, inching closer to the mud-covered object. I was unsure whether or not to intervene.
“Rafe, seriously, step away!”
Too late. Rafe scooped up the object. It didn’t immediately writhe and twist in her hand, so it wasn’t alive. After a minute of examining the thing, Rafe brightened. “It’s a wallet!”
“A wallet!” she said triumphantly holding it up. “I found some guy’s wallet!”
“Let’s not open that yet, Rafe,” said Eva. “Let’s just get to the stupid hilltop so we can go home.”
An hour and a quarter later, I stepped onto the top of the hill. Towards the top it was a lot wider and narrower than we had expected, and for a while it looked like we were going to end up trying to walk up the hill at a 90-degree angle. Finally, though I got to the top and sat down on a rock to take everything in. For all that work, the forest actually did look spectacular from that height, even without the sun. It was scenic enough to distract me for a while, then an audible gasp brought me back to my senses.
Everyone else was looking at a shape further down the hill, a good 30 feet below us A big black shaggy form was trekking through the underbrush, carrying something in its mouth. When it had gone we all looked at each other.
“Was that a BEAR?” asked Sun. There was no doubt it was.
“But what was it carrying?” asked Reese. This we could not agree on. Either way it was freaky. First we hadn’t wanted to go. Now we were too scared to make the walk back.
Eventually it began to get darker and darker and greyer and greyer, and I finally took off down the hill before anyone could stop me. I had forgotten how steep the hill was, and had to run all the way down, narrowly missing several trees, but the others quickly followed and we got back without incident. It was actually really starting ot get dark, so it’s kind of a good thing we didn’t start back later.
We arrived at the bus just in time for the most spectacular thunderstorm any of us had ever seen. It was like Nature’s fireworks display. The downpour was tremendous, and the lightning was ethereal! Somehow the light was reflecting off the leaves, lighting them up like Christmas trees. Most of us decided to wait in the bus for the rain to pass, but a few brave souls decided to walk around outside in the rain, taking advantage of the natural shower to wash off the dirt and sweat from the hike. Perhaps I will join them when I finish writing; sleeping in this itchy gritty sweater seems now to be a fate worse than death.
All I can say in summation is, Mr. Brooks, I still have no idea what the purpose of this journal was. And if all your cards are as back-breaking as this one, I hope you’ve hired a good lawyer!
Diary of Alexander
OK. I really don't understand this journal thing Mr. Brooks has us doing, but oh, well. He's a good guy, a good teacher. And this field trip, just the six of us and him. Hell yeah. Anyway, since I have to write something, I guess I'll just write about how the day went. Kinda boring at first, just driving along, but it was ok.
I don't even remember why I signed on for this trip. Wait. It was to get out of school. Awesome. Thanks Mr. Brooks. Anyway, like I was saying, boring to start with, but we had some fun. Eva, as usual, our great leader (seriously, she's like awesome) knew exactly what to do in order to have fun on this trip(beautiful too, and smart, did I mention that?)
We did a few things here and there. I mean, nothing like uber special, but still fun and totally worth having to write my thoughts in. Well, as you can see, I'm not much with Journals, so I guess I'll just pass this to the next.