The camp festivities were beginning today. There were a number of fun workshops planned before lunch each day this week and some free time after lunch to swim, play basketball, socialize and explore. They started out by decorating camp t-shirts for themselves to wear. After that Nolan went to play paintball. He had played a few times before and really enjoyed running through the woods shooting each other but today’s paintball wasn’t capture the flag. It was a wild west style duel tournament. Nolan had seen that movie, The Quick and the Dead, many times on TV and he loved this idea.
The camp leaders had two matching paintball six shooters, which none of the kids had seen anywhere else. They also brought a couple of cowboy hats and long old western coats, thick enough to protect from the sting of the paintball. With his gun on his hip Nolan stood back to back with a kid from another church. They each stepped off twenty paces then they turned, drew and fired. The other boy shot first but he missed so Nolan took aim at center mass and struck the boy just next to his belly button. He advanced to the next round and the next and one more after that. But Nolan was gunned down in the quarter finals. Fourth place was good enough for him and had an amazing time.
After that they went off to a camp wide team building exercise. The kids at the camp all surrounded a flattened parachute on the ground. One kid at a time would get in the middle and the rest of the kids would grab the edges and pick them up. The kid in the middle was tossed and caught several times. Some would go ten and fifteen feet in the air if they were small enough. Somehow no-one got hurt and it was all a lot of fun. Nolan did his best to pretend he wasn’t bothered when his turn came along but he didn’t enjoy this. Well, maybe by the end he enjoyed it a bit. He never wanted to get on the parachute so he was one of the last to go but he didn’t really want to get off either.
All and all the events of the day were fun and at free time Nolan went straight for the pool. After that he played some three on three with a few of his church league teammates. When it was time to get ready for dinner Nolan walked back towards the old cinder block dorms. As he passed in front of the high school boys dorm he saw a girl from another church that he had shot with a paintball in the second round. “Sorry about shooting you earlier”, he said shyly but with a the slightest grin. “It’s ok, you did good”, the girl retorted. The two smiled and Nolan was not used to being encouraged or treated kindly so he felt a connection to her immediately.
Just about that time a loud commotion distracted them and everyone else walking by. They stopped and looked up at the high school boys dorm. A pillow fight had turned into pillow boxing and now people were putting heavier items in the pillow cases to hit each other hard. It had become an all out brawl. Two older brothers of Nolan friend Vince were pushing and stirring things up like they did at home. They were tough kids and at Nolan’s church many of the high school kids were in gangs and selling drugs as teenagers. They were fighters and the kids from the other churches really didn’t understand why things were escalating so quickly. But the kids had made it back to the dorm before the counselors and this whole thing group was unsupervised.
About 6 boys from Nolan’s church were fighting with 8 kids from another church under the pretense of pillow fighting. A bunk bed had been knocked over and someone had just shoved Vince’s oldest brother into the wall. He was blood and an oldest brother and the whole fight was just fun for him until that point. Nolan asked the girl he was talking to if she thought it sounded like a fight to her. She was about to respond when Vince’s big brother Tony began to punch the kid who shoved him and everyone was yelling. Seconds later the kid crashed backwards through the window right in front of everyone and Tony jumped out on the window behind him and began kicking him down the hill and cussing up a storm.
The counselors were already on the way and they came running by to get Tony off of the boy from the other church. Suddenly, Nolan began to flash back to his dreams. He remembered watching the boys fly backwards out of the through the window the night before he left for camp. He remembered the parachute and the gun fights too. He also remembered that there was more to come and he needed some time to process. It was hard to know things and not be able to tell anyone for fear of being thought a lunatic. The fight raged and the boys were being tackled. Tony would be sent home after it was all said and done and Nolan headed quietly towards his dorm forgetting the people outside of himself. He needed a shower and some time away from other kids so he could think about how these dreams had once again played out in the world around him.