The Cedarville Review 2024

54 FICTION A six-foot chain-link fence ran around three sides of the property and down into the swampy marsh they called a lake, locking the world out and all of us in. Two cinder block bunkhouses stood in a line with the dining hall and an ‘allpurpose building,’ the glorifi ed shed that housed everything else. “I get the bottom bunk.” Sean dumped his duffl e in Pat’s arms and stormed off to the boys' cabin. Pat ran after him and disappeared in the trees, yelling that he wasn’t going to sleep on the top bunk ever again. I hurried down to the girls' cabin, praying there was a bottom bunk left. Girls and fl ies swarmed in the cabin, and Danger Zone sputtered out of a portable radio like a warning. I weaved my way in and out of Sears and Roebuck sleeping bags, desperately searching for a bunk. In the corner, shoved up against two whitewashed cinder block walls, was the last bed, the top bunk. “Gag me with a spoon!” I groaned. “How am I gonna do this for another summer?” ~ I saw Sean and Pat across the dining hall at dinner; based on Pat’s face, he had lost the bunk argument. I shared an icy shower that night with a family of spiders over my head and then climbed into bed. Sweat trickled down my temples as I lay in the sticky blackness— then I froze. Pop, pop, pop, sounded across the fl oor, and my stomach started to churn. Then up the wall, then across the ceiling, pop, pop, pop. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t see them, I knew an army of tree frogs was staring back at me from above. Anytime I began to drift off, one of the frogs would move and jolt me back awake, terrifi ed that the humidity would make those sucky-cup toes lose their grip. ~