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Authors: R. L. Stine

Camp Nowhere

BOOK: Camp Nowhere
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The Nightmare Room

Camp Nowhere

R.L. Stine



“I don’t want to talk about Forbidden Falls,” I said.


We all gazed up to the top of the rock…


I knew it was a snake.


“Ohhhh.” I landed hard on my back.


I let out a frightened scream and shook my whole…


After lights-out, Marty, David, and I were lying in our…


A few days later, in the early morning, Ramos and…


The night before our trip to Forbidden Falls, I dreamed…


I flew up—then bounced down hard, back into my place.




Ramos’s screams echoed off the trees.


Our paddles splashed in the water. The canoe felt empty…


My scream rang out as the canoe pitched forward.


We dragged the canoes up the rocky shore. Just past…


“Did they slide into the water?” Charlotte asked.


“This is totally freaking me out,” Erin said. She crossed…


Should we keep walking? Or should we wait here to…


Cries of surprise. Startled shouts. The campers all jumped up.


“Huh? What are you talking about?” I whispered.


“Trying to make a call?” he asked. His tiny round…


I heard footsteps thudding fast on the path.


A shaft of pale moonlight washed over a tiny shed.


A metal combination lock dangled from the shed door. I…


And then we were moving through the blackness. Pushed and…


I gasped.


A strong gust of wind burst through the campgrounds. In…


The flames leaped high off the shrub and licked at…


Around me, the water bubbled. It chugged like steam. Wave…



Hello, I’m R.L. Stine—and that’s my friend Russell Franklin over there by the river, pulling on a life jacket. Russell and some fellow senior campers from Camp Hawkwood are about to take a canoe trip to a place called Forbidden Falls.

Russell has been stressed about this trip all summer. Why?

Well, for one thing, all the counselors say that the falls is treacherous and deadly—a steep, white-water plunge onto jagged rocks below.

One other problem: Forbidden Falls is said to be haunted, by the ghosts of campers who never returned.

Russell doesn’t know what to think. Those stories about the falls—they’re not true. They’re just camp legends. Or are they?

As he picks up his paddles and prepares to push off, Russell doesn’t realize that he’s taking a canoe trip…into

“I don’t want to talk about Forbidden Falls,” I said. “I’m sick of talking about it. I’m ready to

My friends laughed. “You mean you’re ready to go
!” David said.

More laughter.

The five of us were trudging back to camp through the woods after an afternoon hike under the blazing sun.

“When we go down the falls, Russell wants to sit in
of the canoe—in case he changes his mind!” David added.

“Ha-ha. You’re so funny,” I sneered. “Remind me to laugh later.”

Marty stepped up and slapped me hard on the back. My Camp Hawkwood T-shirt was damp with sweat. The slap made a hard, wet
and sent me staggering forward.

“Hey—what’s that for?” I cried.

“For good luck,” Marty said. “When you ride
down Forbidden Falls.”

“You hit me for good luck?”

Marty grinned his toothy grin. “Maybe I just like to hit you.”

“We’re all going to need good luck,” Erin said. She tugged her blond ponytail behind her shoulders. “Ramos says the falls drop straight down. Straight down onto jagged black rocks.”

“Ramos also says the falls are haunted,” Charlotte said. “You don’t believe everything Ramos says—do you?”

“He’s a counselor. He’s not allowed to lie,” David said with a straight face.

Marty put a heavy hand on my shoulder. “Russell, we’re riding the falls in one week. Have you written a will?”

Charlotte grabbed Marty by the shoulders and pushed him away. “Give Russell a break. Why are you always on his case?”

Marty grinned again. “Because he’s a wimp?”

“I’m not a wimp,” I protested. “I’ve just had some bad luck this summer.”

“You didn’t even want to come back to Hawkwood this year,” Marty said. “You told me you wanted to go to computer camp instead.”

I shrugged. “What’s the big deal? I just wanted a change.”

Marty shook his head. “No way. You knew you were a senior camper this year. And all senior
campers have to canoe to Forbidden Falls.”

Erin sighed. “Hel-lo? Can we talk about something else? This is getting kind of bor-ring.”

David giggled. “Let’s talk about the camp-out last week when Russell screamed for help because he thought Ramos was a bear!”

“It was totally dark! I couldn’t see!” I protested.

“How do you spell
?” David asked. “R-U-S-S-E-L-L.”

“I think we should lighten up on Russell,” Charlotte said. “Give him a break.”

“Okay. We’ll pick on you instead,” Marty said.

Charlotte raised her fist. “Pick on
, Marty.”

He danced around her. “Ooh, I’m so scared! Are you going to fight for your
, Charlotte?”

Charlotte blushed. “He’s not my boyfriend!”

One reason Charlotte and I have been such good friends at camp each summer is that we both have red hair. And pale white skin. And we both start blushing when anyone
at us!

All five of us have been together for five summers at Camp Hawkwood—since we were eight. We don’t see each other during the rest of the year. But we keep in touch by e-mail.

Marty and David are both taller than me. Marty has wavy black hair, dark eyes, and a great, friendly smile. He’s very athletic, an awesome swimmer and tennis player. All of the girls in the lower camp follow Marty around like he’s some kind of superstar!

David is African American, lean and lanky, always in motion. He has short hair, dark brown eyes that always seem to be laughing, a mischievous smile, and a silver ring in one ear.

He is the funniest guy I know. He never stops making jokes. He thinks he’s pretty funny, too. He has a high-pitched giggle that scares the birds out of the trees!

Erin is the quiet one. She’s hard to get to know. She is awesome looking, with light blond hair and big green eyes.

I don’t know whether she’s stuck up or just shy. But she is always rolling her eyes when the rest of us get rowdy. Always telling us to “grow up.”

The five of us took a short break under the shade of some tall trees. We sat down on the ground, stretched our arms and our aching shoulders, and slurped warm water from the canteens we carried at our waists.

Sweat poured down our foreheads. A million tiny white gnats flew around us. I swatted a mosquito on my arm.

“Man, it doesn’t get any better than this!” David joked.

Erin raised her canteen over her head and let water trickle onto her hair. She wiped the water over her face. “Let’s keep moving,” she said. “Too many bugs here.”

Marty squinted at me. His eyes grew wide. “Look
out, Russell!” he whispered. “Don’t move! Tarantula—on your shoulder!”

I started to leap up—then stopped. I shook my head. “No way I’m falling for that one, Marty,” I said.

The others laughed.

Charlotte patted me on the back. “Way to go, Russell.”

Marty shrugged. “Bet I get you next time.”

A few minutes later, we started hiking again. The sun rose higher in the sky. The back of my neck prickled from the heat.

The dirt path curved away from the woods. We followed it through a wide clearing of tall weeds and shrubs.

Soon we found ourselves walking single file along the bottom of a low rock cliff.

I led the way. Charlotte and Erin were close behind me. The rock wall stretched three or four feet above our heads. The sun reflected off the smooth wall, making it shine.

The path narrowed. We walked quickly, following it along the wall.

I gazed up, trying to see what was on top. Were there trees up there? Caves?

“Oh, no!” I cried out—and stopped so suddenly, Charlotte bumped into me.

“I don’t believe it!” I gasped. “Look who’s up there!”

“He—he’s going to fall!” Marty cried.

We all gazed up to the top of the rock wall.

Harvey, the camp dog, stared down at us.

“How did he get up there?” Charlotte cried. “Did he follow us from camp?”

The big mutt started to bark wildly when he saw us. His eyes were wide with fear. His brown fur bristled on his back.

“The stupid dog is trapped up there,” Erin said. “How are we going to get him down?”

Marty cupped his hands around his mouth. “Jump! Harvey—jump!” he shouted.

The dog tilted back his head and barked ferociously.

“He’s terrified,” Charlotte said. “The poor thing.”

“He can’t jump. It’s too steep,” Erin said. “What are we going to do?”

I squinted up at the frightened dog. Can I climb the wall? I wondered. It isn’t that high. If I rescue Harvey, maybe they’ll stop calling me a wimp.

I took a deep breath. Then I grabbed the solid rock on the side of the wall and started to pull myself up.

The stone was smooth and slippery. I dug my hands deeper into the cracks of the rock face and hoisted myself toward the top.

“Russell—wait!” Charlotte called. “You’ll fall and crack your skull open!”

“We’re not supposed to climb up there. Remember?” Marty shouted.

“Right! The snakes!” David shouted. “Remember what the counselors told us? About the snake caves?”

I gasped. Yes. They told us the caves at the top of the wall were infested with poisonous cottonmouths.

I stopped halfway up the side of the wall. My heart started to race.

Above me, Harvey made pitiful whining sounds. His tail was tucked tightly between his legs. His eyes were wide with terror.

“That’s just another camp legend,” Marty said. “There aren’t any snakes up there. Besides, you’re not afraid of snakes—are you, Russell?”

I knew what he was doing. He was challenging me.

If I backed down now, Marty would be on my case for the rest of the summer.

I looked down. My friends were staring up at me.

“Come down, Russell,” Charlotte shouted. “If there really are snake caves up there—”

I couldn’t hear the rest of what she said. Harvey’s terrified barks and cries drowned her out.

Digging my hands deeper into the cracks in the stone, I started to climb again. I have to do this, I decided. I have to stop their jokes.

“Oh—” I cried out as one boot slid over the smooth stones. I grabbed onto a jutting rock to keep from sliding all the way back down.

“Go, Russell! Go, Russell!” David and Marty were chanting below me. Charlotte and Erin were silent.

Harvey barked and cried. His fur stood straight up. His body trembled with fear.

“I’m coming, boy,” I groaned. I moved slowly, making sure I had a good handhold before I pulled myself up another notch. “Don’t be afraid. I’m coming.”

“Go, Russell! Go, Russell!”

Finally, I threw my arms onto the top of the wall—and scrambled up onto the ground. Yes!

The narrow ledge was covered with tall weeds. Behind the ledge stood another sloping wall of rocks, with low caves at the bottom.

I jumped up quickly, breathing hard, and brushed off my T-shirt and the front of my shorts. Then I moved toward the terrified dog.

“It’s okay, Harvey,” I said softly, holding out my
arms to him. “It’s okay, boy. I’m going to carry you down.”

Harvey lowered his head, whining, his eyes wild with fright.

“It’s okay,” I whispered. “You’re going to be okay, Harvey.”

I took a step closer. Then another.

Wailing, the terrified dog backed up against the rock wall.

“It’s okay,” I whispered. “I’m your friend. Don’t you remember me? I fed you that hot dog at the campfire last night?”

Holding out my hands to him, I took another step.

Harvey started to growl. A low, menacing snarl from deep in his throat.

“Hey, boy—what’s wrong?” I asked.

Why is he so terrified? I wondered. Harvey and I have been pals all summer. Why is he growling at me and acting so weird?

“Harvey?” I whispered his name.

And then I felt a tingle on my calf.

A feeling…something wrapping itself around my leg.

BOOK: Camp Nowhere
12.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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