A Frightful Night
The boys were asleep. They all felt a little better since they snuck out to swim in the cold lake. The fans were blowing warm air, but at least it was fresh. Kenny had called all the counselors together outside.
“We must get rid of that woman,” Kenny whispered, so as not to wake the boys.
“I have an idea. When we went to the shed to get the fans, I found the projector that we used last summer for outdoor movies. I also found some props from last Halloween when we hosted fright night. I think we should try to frighten that nasty old woman into leaving, and hopefully, never coming back.”
“Oh no!” squealed Carla.
“What if it doesn’t work and we just make her mad?” whispered Gina.
“Let’s do it!” yelled Greg and Tony.
“Ok, this is what we will do,” Kenny whispered.
After everyone was given instructions from Kenny, it was time to put on a horrific show. Carla sneaked into the kitchen to grab some Catsup to use for fake blood. Greg and Tony put on the werewolf costumes, and Carla and Gina poured the catsup all over themselves. Kenny snuck outside of Mrs. Weatherby’s cabin window to set up the projector.
The projector would cast eerie, very realistic looking ghosts floating in the dark. Kenny sneered when he noticed that Mrs. Weatherby’s cabin had the air conditioning unit going full blast. What a selfish woman, he thought as he pointed the projector up toward the trees. He hoped this would give her a big scare.
Carla and Gina stood under the trees outside of Mrs. Weatherby’s window, waiting for a signal from Kenny. It was late, and the fog was setting in, so the projected ghosts looked especially creepy. Gina lay on the ground covered in fake blood. One of the werewolves took their place over her. The other monster was to chase Carla when it was time. First Kenny would have to wake Mrs. Weatherby so that she wouldn’t miss the frightening show.
Mrs. Weatherby sat at the small table in her cabin. She had just finished putting the chore list together for the next day. She was pleased that she had made everyone’s day at camp especially miserable. Tomorrow would be no exception. It was her duty to reform those ungrateful spoiled boys. She had no patience for out of control children, and she especially hated boys. Mrs. Weatherby laid down in her bed, turned out the light and fell fast asleep.
“what’s going on!” Mrs. Weatherby mumbled still half asleep.
Someone was knocking at her door, loudly. She could hear someone screaming. She jumped from her bed and ran to the door. She swung the door opened and gasped as she saw Kenny standing there. He was panting heavily and was hunched over, holding his bloody catsup covered arm.
“We gotta get outta here!” screamed Kenny.
Kenny barged through the door and ran to the window. “They’re out there! Where are the keys to the bus?”
“We gotta get those kids outta here! Kenny panted heavily.
“I came to warn you! The others are getting the kids out. I need the keys to the bus now!” Kenny squeezed his arm, making the fake blood squirt out horribly. Mrs. Weatherby thought she might faint. Her heart was beating through her chest.
“What happened? What are you talking about?” She screamed frantically.
“There’s something out there,” Kenny whispered hauntingly.
Mrs. Weatherby ran to the window, her mouth dropped open, and she let out an awful scream. Mrs. Weatherby could see one of the girls on the ground, and there was a terrible wolf-like creature on top of her. Suddenly, she heard screaming. Mrs. Weatherby could not turn away from the window. She was frozen from fear and couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
There was another girl counselor. She couldn’t tell which one, it was too dark to see clearly. She was running and there behind her came another one of those horrible creatures.
A horrified Mrs. Weatherby turned around toward Kenny. He was bleeding profusely from his arm. Mrs. Weatherby ran to the nightstand and grabbed the keys to the bus and threw them toward him.
“Here, take the keys and get out of here. I don’t know what’s going on here, but I am leaving, now! “She could still hear the screams coming from outside.
Mrs. Weatherby looked again toward the window and saw horrible ghost-like apparitions floating in the darkness and coming closer to her window. Mrs. Weatherby couldn’t take it anymore, without wasting another minute, she was out the front door, running and screaming toward her car. Kenny could hear the screeching of her tires as she sped away, out of sight, leaving everything behind.
“It worked!” “She’s gone!” Kenny yelled out, running toward his ghoulish friends.
Everyone was laughing and jumping up and down with glee.
“I can’t believe it worked!” squealed Carla.
“I’ve never seen anyone so scared in my life!” “Mrs. Weatherby was white as a ghost.” laughed Kenny.
“I don’t think we’ll see her again. She’s probably halfway to Georgia by now!” snickered Tony.
Everyone celebrated a job well done, slapping high fives and hooting proudly.
“Listen, guys. Let’s get this stuff cleaned up and get to bed. We have a big day tomorrow. I will turn the air to the cabins back on at the fuse box. You guys make sure to close your windows. It will feel cooler very soon,” Kenny said.
“Yeah, good night and don’t let the werewolves bite!!” snickered Greg.
Everyone headed back toward the cabins. Kenny stayed behind to get a few things together. He went back into Mrs. Weatherby’s cabin to find the keys to the office and the kitchen. Kenny would get to the office in the morning and make some phone calls. There was much to do in the morning, and he needed to get some sleep.
Kenny walked down the path toward the cabins where the boys were asleep. Kenny was very quiet. He didn’t want to wake any of them. Kenny opened the door to the cabin slowly. It was dark, but he thought he could see someone moving in the middle of the room. Kenny pointed his flashlight toward the shape. It was Cameron. What was he doing?
“Cameron, what are you doing up? Cameron, can you hear me? Cameron?” Kenny walked toward him and touched his shoulder and gently shook him. Cameron turned and walked back toward his bed mumbling something about trolls. Kenny thought he must be sleepwalking through a bad dream.
Kenny woke before dawn. It had been a long night. Cameron kept talking loudly through the night. He had never dealt with a sleepwalker before. Kenny wondered if there was anything he could do to help him. Kenny would have to remember to speak with Cameron about his dreams. He just hoped he wouldn’t continue to walk around in his sleep. It made him nervous.
Kenny walked outside and stretched his arms over his head. He needed to head over to the Pavilion and get the kitchen opened, so Carla and Gina could get some coffee going and start breakfast. The sun was beginning to peek out through the foggy morning. It was a beautiful morning. Gina and Carla were waiting in the pavilion for Kenny to come and open the kitchen.
“Good morning” Kenny yawned.
“Good morning” the girls replied.
Kenny let the girls into the kitchen and sat down at one of the picnic tables waiting for his coffee. Kenny had a lot on his mind. He certainly hoped that Mrs. Weatherby would not return. She was the meanest woman he had ever met, and he expected that he wouldn’t have to deal with her anymore.
Gina came out of the kitchen with two cups of coffee in her hands. “Can I join you, Kenny?” Kenny gratefully took the coffee from Gina and motioned for her to take a seat next to him. “What are we going to do about Mrs. Weatherby? Do you think we should call the police?” Gina asked.
“I’ve been thinking about that all night. We will have to call them. We can’t take full responsibility for thirty kids. We need to find out what we can do legally. I will let you know what becomes of it. We may end up getting the kids on the busses and heading back to South Carolina,” Kenny answered, sadly shaking his head. Kenny wanted to stay. He was the oldest counselor at nineteen, and he just wasn’t sure if he would be allowed to take charge. It would be best to notify the authorities.
Gina went back into the kitchen to help Carla with breakfast. The kids would be up soon. They would have to announce Mrs. Weatherby’s departure to the children this morning. The children were all seated with their breakfasts of biscuits and gravy. The boys were unusually quiet. Kenny knew that they were dreading their day. They were all afraid of Mrs. Weatherby. Kenny had to let them know.
“Attention! I have an announcement!” Kenny yelled. “Mrs. Weatherby is gone. She left late last night, and we don’t think that she will return.”
There was a moment of dead silence as the kids looked up from their breakfasts. Their eyes grew wide as they all cheered and laughed. Kenny smiled.
“I want you all to know that we will be contacting the authorities. We must report this, and I want to assure you that I will request that you all stay under my guidance. The children all applauded happily. Kenny was thrilled to see the change in the kid’s demeanor.
After breakfast, Kenny sent everyone back to their cabins to get their swimsuits. Tony and Greg would keep the kids busy while he made a phone call to the police.
“Hello, this is Kenny Davis from Camp Chatawa. I need to report that our camp director left late last night. There are thirty kids here and five counselors. We don’t believe that our director will be returning. We need to know if we should stay here or load the boys up to take them home.” Kenny was told to hold while they transferred his call to the police chief. A few minutes later, the Chief came on the line.
“Hello, this is Chief Richards. Are you at Camp Chatawa? Did you report a woman missing?”
“yes, our new director. She said she purchased the camp from Mr. Dempsey, Harold Dempsey,” answered Kenny.
“You say she left there?” asked the chief.
“yes, late last night,” answered Kenny.”
“I am going to have to come out there. There is something fishy going on here. I will be there in about an hour,” said Chief Richards.
Kenny hung up the phone. He wondered what was going on, and He hoped they weren’t in trouble for scaring Mrs. Weatherby. Maybe he went too far. What if she went to the police. Kenny had a bad feeling about this.
Chief Dempsey was puzzled. “Who was this Weatherby person?” He wondered.
Harold had just been reported missing last night. His wife had called and stated that she had called the camp office to speak with Harold and some strange woman answered. The woman snapped at her and told her that she was the new Director. Then, to add to the confusion, he got that phone call from Kenny just as he was heading out of the station to go to the camp to talk to this Weatherby person. There was something not right about this whole situation.
The Chief was driving quickly down the bumpy dirt road toward the cabins. He could see a mob of kids in the lake. He rounded the bend and pulled his patrol car in front of the Pavilion. Gina and Carla met him outside the kitchen to tell him that Kenny was waiting in the central office on the other side of the Pavilion. The chief thanked them and walked around the corner to the office and rapped on the door.
Kenny swung the door open. “Hello, I’m Kenny. I called you over here because yesterday A woman by the name of Mrs. Weatherby announced that she was the new owner of this camp. She was an awful mean woman and treated us all very poorly. She left late last night, and we have not seen her since.” Chief Dempsey was standing in front of the desk facing Kenny. He was taking notes and shaking his head.
“Okay, we need to get this straightened out. Do you mind if I have a seat, this could take a while?” Said the Chief.
“Oh, yes, please do.” Kenny apologized for being rude.
“Do you know why this Weatherby person left here?” asked the chief.
Kenny explained how they had scared Mrs. Weatherby out of her wits, and that she left there in a hurry. Kenny hoped they wouldn’t get in trouble, but he had to tell the Chief the truth.
“So, you’re saying she left here in fear?” asked the chief.
“yes, and we hope we never to see her again,” Kenny explained how she had treated the kids the day before and that they had to do something to get her out of there.
Chief Dempsey opened a folder that he had lain on the desk and pushed it toward Kenny. “Have you ever seen this woman?” he asked.
Kenny’s eyes were wide in disbelief. “Yes, Sir, that is Mrs. Weatherby.” Kenny looked up at the chief with a look of confusion.
The chief stood up and pulled his radio from his belt clip.” I need officers down here at Camp Chatawa, on the double. We need as many as we can get. We need to search for Harold Davenport, he is missing, and I suspect foul play.”
An hour later, there were officers everywhere. The Chief hadn’t told Kenny what was going on yet and he was quite worried. The Chief told him to get everyone out of the water and take the kids to their cabins right away. It was now a possible crime scene.
The Chief asked Kenny to get the counselors together for questioning. Kenny was puzzled. How could this be a crime scene? They had only scared Mrs. Weatherby. They didn’t hurt her.
All the counselors were in the office now to meet with the chief. They were all nervous. They all thought that they were in serious trouble. Gina couldn’t help thinking that they might have killed that crazy woman, maybe she had died from fright. She didn’t want to go to jail. The chief was now seated behind the desk. Chief Richards had a severe look on his face.
“All right, I had a meeting with Kenny, and he told me about that nonsense ya’ll pulled last night, but that’s not the problem here.”
The Chief held up the picture of Mrs. Weatherby and asked, “Do you know this woman?”
“yes, that’s Mrs. Weatherby” Gina stammered. Now she was terrified that they were in trouble.
This is not is not Mrs. Weatherby” The chief stated firmly. “Her name is Sara Maxwell.”
Everyone gasped. “What?”
The chief continued. “This woman escaped from A mental hospital a couple of nights ago. She killed one of the nurses there and stole her car. We got a call last night from Mrs. Davenport that her husband, Harold was missing.” The Chief looked at each one of their stunned faces. They didn’t know how lucky they were to have gotten rid of her.
“Oh No!” Carla gasped, everyone was shocked.
“I took a look at the files of past campers on the computer over there, and I found this.” The chief threw a paper on the desk.
There was a young girl on the printed page. She looked to be about twelve, maybe thirteen years old. Kenny picked up the page and asked, “Is this Mrs. Weatherby?”
“No, but it is Sarah Maxwell” answered the chief.
The chief had a big mess on his hands. Some of his officers were now dredging the lake for a body. He had divers out there looking under water and another team scouring the nearby woods. He wasn’t sure, yet what he was going to do with all the children.
Kenny had volunteered himself and the other counselors to stay with the children until all the parents were notified of the events taking place here. He knew that he would have a bunch of concerned parents calling him, so The Chief told Kenny to wait and call them later when he had more information. The last thing he needed was a parent panic.
Kenny was with Gina and Carla, helping them to prepare lunch for the boys. They were worried about Harold. They hoped that he would be found alive. Kenny was deep in thought. How was he going to explain all this police activity to the boys without causing a panic? They would surely want to know what was going on.
Kenny walked over to the bell and rang it loudly, bringing boys running out from their cabins and into the pavilion for lunch. After all the boys were seated and had their dinner in front of them, Kenny called out “Attention, Attention! Now that you all have your lunch let’s bless the food and then I have a couple of announcements. We have a situation here, and it involves the police,” explained Kenny.
”The officers are going to be here for quite a while to get things sorted out. We don’t know what’s going on yet, but as soon as we do know, we will announce it. I don’t want you guys to worry, but you will have to stay in your cabins today until the officer’s leave. Play board games and be patient until this is over, okay?”
The boys all hollered out “Yes, Sir” and then continued eating their food.
After lunch, Greg and Tony took the boys back to their cabins to wait for news. Kenny walked the trail down to the lake to see what was happening. He was glad that the boys seemed fine. The poor guys had it rough, and Kenny hoped that they would be able to stay for the rest of the month. He wanted to show them a good time. They deserved it.
Officer Boyd was working hard on his assignment. The chief had put him on a research mission. He hated desk work and wanted to be out at the camp, searching for Harold. He sure hoped he was okay. All the officers and town folk knew Mr. and Mrs. Davenport well. They were a huge part of this community. Harold was a deacon at church and Sally was the organist. They ran Camp Chatawa for troubled boys. Mr. Davenport’s camp helped children for many years. It used to be coed, but now it was just for boys.
There had been some trouble about fifteen years ago when a group of rowdy boys had played a cruel prank on one of the girls. Harold decided after that incident that he was going to make it an all-boys camp. Officer Boyd had to look up files on the camp from at least twenty years ago. The chief had discovered that Sarah Maxwell had attended the camp when she was thirteen years old.
Officer Boyd’s job was to find out what happened to her and where she lived since her time at the camp. He was hoping to find a family member that might know where she ran to or maybe shed some light on this case.
Sarah had spent most of her life at the Florida Mental Health facility. He would start there. Officer Boyd picked up the phone and dialed the mental health facility. A woman answered the phone. Hello, this is officer Boyd. I am working on the case for Sarah Maxwell.” The woman on the line transferred his call to the criminally insane floor and told him that he needed to speak to Dr. Henderson.
"Dr. Henderson, this is officer Boyd. I am working on the Sarah Maxwell case. I know it’s a mess down there now with the murder of one of your nurses. We have some other unfortunate circumstances at the Camp for boys that involve Sarah Maxwell,” the officer explained as he doodled on a scrap of paper sitting on his cluttered desk.
“Yes, she was here. but she left last night, and now, we have a missing person. I need any information you can give me on any family members that we could notify. We have a lot of questions.” Officer Boyd explained.
“Officer Boyd, this woman is very dangerous as you well know,” explained Dr. Henderson.
“I will get her file and call you back. I’m not sure if she has any family. Her Mother used to visit when she was young, but we haven’t seen or spoken with her in at least twelve years. Ms. Maxwell has a trust fund that is overseen by her Aunt. It pays for her care here, but we have never seen the Aunt.” the doctor explained.
Officer Boyd thanked the Doctor as he hung up the phone anxiously. He would have to wait to hear back from the doctor.
Kenny couldn’t believe what he was seeing. One of the divers had come up from under the water. He was motioning that he had found something below. The Officers rushed over in the motorboat that was waiting for a signal from a diver.
Kenny watched in horror as they pulled a body from the water and into the boat. There was already a coroner there to check the body for clues and haul it off. Kenny ran to one of the officers.
“Is it Harold?” he asked choking back tears.
“I’m sorry to say, yes. We all know him well.” The officer wiped a tear from rolling down his cheek.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the entire group of officers and detectives. It was a very close-knit community, and Harold was a beloved member. It took a while for the detectives to search Harold’s body for clues to his death before they loaded him up into the hearse and drove away, slowly.
Kenny headed back toward the pavilion. He needed to pull himself together and let the other counselors know that they found Harold. The chief sent a couple of officers to give Sally Davenport the terrible news of her husband’s death. The Chief knew it would be tough.
The Chief had a team out looking for Sarah Maxwell. He was sure that she would be heading north. She had grown up in Jacksonville, Florida and he figured that she would, more than likely go to a familiar place. He had officers in North Florida on red alert.
Because she was driving a stolen car, they had the tag number and description of the vehicle. Chief Richards could only hope that she was still in the same car and had not stolen another one.
The Chief headed over to the pavilion to find Kenny. He needed to let him know that he would be assigning a couple of officers to stake out the camp entrance. He didn’t think that Ms. Maxwell would come back here, but he wanted to be cautious.
Officer Boyd was still sitting at his desk. He had just heard that Sarah Maxwell had an Aunt that was still living. Dr. Henderson had given him a name. Phone number and address. She lived in Jacksonville which was about four hours away. He thought he should call Mrs. Hardy before he drove all the way out there.
Officer Boyd was getting close to Mrs. Hardy’s house. She lived in an upscale neighborhood in Jacksonville. She sounded pleasant on the phone, and let the officer know that she would be waiting for him.
Officer Boyd pulled up to a grand gate and pressed the call button. A man’s voice answered the call and opened the automatic gate, so the officer could drive the long driveway and up to the regal mansion. A man was standing outside of the massive door, waiting for him. The officer parked in the circular drive and walked up the curved stairs toward the man.
“I am Edward, and I am the caretaker here for Mrs. Hardy. She will see you in the library.”
Edward opened the massive front door and led Officer Boyd inside through the foyer and into a grand room. Officer Boyd thought he could probably fit his entire house in that one room. They crossed the grand room, where Edward slid a pocket door to one side and bowed to a small elderly woman that was sitting at a large window overlooking a garden.
Mrs. Hardy looked up and thanked Edward pleasantly and motion, Officer Boyd to sit in a chair across from where she was seated sipping tea and watching the birds outside.
“Would you care for a cup of tea, Officer?” Mrs. Hardy motioned toward the fancy tea service that sat on a table next to her.
“Oh, no thank you, Mrs. Hardy. I won’t take much of your time. I’m here about your niece, Sarah.
“Oh? How is Sarah? I hope she is all right.” Mrs. Hardy replied.
“Well there has been some trouble, and I am afraid it is quite serious,” said Officer Boyd.
“Oh, my!” gasped Mrs. Hardy. Taking a shaky sip of her tea.
The officer continued to tell Mrs. Hardy about the escape and alleged murder of a nurse at the hospital. He felt terrible giving her such awful news, but it was needed. I need to know any information that you have on Sarah.
“Do you know where she may have gone? Are there any other living members of her family?”
Mrs. Hardy looked visibly shaken to her core. Officer Boyd felt terrible for upsetting the poor old woman. He could hear her cup rattling on its saucer. She was shaking terribly.
Mrs. Hardy had always loved her niece. It was such a shame that she had such an awful childhood. She always tried to help the girl, but it was no use. Her sister had married a ruthless and horrible man after Sarah’s father had died.
“I’m afraid I was too late to help the poor girl.” She had already gotten into a world of trouble by the time I figured out what was going on with that man. No one bothered to tell me what was going on under my sister’s roof. When I learned what was going on, I had him arrested. Poor child, she kept running away from home. I wanted to help, I did.” Mrs. Hardy had tears rolling down her cheeks now.
“The authorities finally sent her to a camp down in the Lakeland area.” continued Mrs. Hardy. “I believe the camp was Cata” …
“Chatawa,” the officer corrected her.
” Yes, that’s right. Something awful happened to her there. Some of the boys from the camp had played a cruel joke on her, they gagged her and tied her to a tree outside in the dark. No one found her until the next morning. It Nearly scared the poor girl to death! Mrs. Hardy shook her head as she recalled the sad events.
"She was never the same after that. Poor Sarah was sent to that awful mental hospital and never came out. She was only nineteen years old. My sister tried to visit with her for a time, but it would set the poor girl off on a tangent. The doctors thought it best if she would stay away until they could work with her.” Mrs. Hardy was shaking her head and trying to keep her voice from breaking as she held back the tears.
“Sarah’s Mother died a few months later in a car accident. That sent the poor girl into a full-blown state of mania. She attempted to break out of that place, but the guard caught her before she could escape. She almost killed the man with a makeshift knife." Mrs. Hardy was breaking down in sobs now.
" That’s when they put her in that awful ward for the criminally insane. There is no reaching her now." Mrs. Hardy explained, trying to keep her voice from breaking from the sadness of her story. The memories came back to her and made her feel sick to her stomach. She would need to rest now. She had Edward show the officer out.
Officer Boyd pulled up in front of the police station. He had not found anything to help with the case. There were no other family members. She could be anywhere. The officer needed to get back to his desk. He hadn’t heard anything on the police radio about Sarah Maxwell. No one had found her yet. He hoped they would get her in custody soon before she hurt or killed someone else.
The Chief was still out at the camp, tying up loose ends. It was getting late. Kenny had been calling the children’s parents to let them know about what had happened. There was no way for them to leave currently. It was a ten-hour trip to South Carolina.
The parents were distraught, and he could understand their concerns, but he assured them that the police would not let anyone in or out of the camp and that they would probably have Ms. Maxwell in custody soon. He promised them that he would keep them informed of anything related to the incident.
It took him hours to get everyone contacted. It was just a horrible mess. His head was pounding with worry. All the officers were gone now. Only the Chief and two officers remained. Kenny was glad that there would be a couple of officers assigned to night watch. He didn’t quite know what he was going to tell the boys. He thought that he should probably not say anything about poor Harold. The less they knew, the better.
Kenny walked over to the pavilion where the Chief was sitting at one of the picnic tables drinking lemonade. The Girls were getting dinner cooked. Kenny could smell something delicious. He was starving. He had not eaten anything all day. Kenny sat down next to the Chief and let out a loud sigh.
The Chief shook his head. No one spoke a word until Gina poked her head out of the kitchen door and announced that dinner was ready and to ring the bell to bring the boys out. Kenney got up and rang the bell and waited for all the kids to get seated. He knew they were probably very concerned over all the police activity.
After the boys ate, Kenny stood up and yelled to get the boys attention. When everyone had quieted down, he told the boys that Mrs. Weatherby was gone and that she would not be back.
Kenny explained the officers were here looking for her and making sure that she would not be back. He also told them that they would be leaving to go back home early tomorrow morning. It made Kenney sad to think about going home so soon. He wished that he could keep them longer, but all the parents were nervous about their children’s safety and he could certainly understand.
It was getting dark out. It had been a long day. The boys wanted to know if they could go swimming in the lake. Kenny had to tell them no. He couldn’t stand the idea of going anywhere near that lake.