“Wow! A three days survival camp without a leader or teacher. Cool! Mum, can I join this camp?” I asked my mum eagerly. My mum, who was observing the book section, turned around and looked at the poster, “This?”
“Yes,” I explained, “It’s a three days hiking camp. I will hike with another two people from an over-sea scout team.” She examined the advertisement for a moment and said, “But there aren’t any teachers following you.” “That’s why I’m so keen to join this camp,” I exclaimed ardently. “This is the time when I can really use the skills I learnt in the past two months, surviving in the wild. And if I really have problems, I’m sure my amiable team mates can help me.” My mum studied the poster for a few more moments and finally said, “Well, if you’re so willing to join this survival camp, I will let you.”
I kept on telling my parents how happy I was like a parrot at dinner time, but my dad’s facial expression stopped me from repeating. He had a small encouraging smile on his face, which looked pretty normal, however when I looked deep into his eyes, I could see that he’s worried. “What’s the matter, dad?” “Umm…nothing much. It’s just that I had a dog’s life the last time I had a survival camp, but I’m sure the one you joined is much better. Hope you have fun,” my dad hesitated strangely. I stared at him for a few seconds, figuring what’s that statement about. Slowly and uneasily, I replied, “Course I will.”
The field day was a warm sunny day that you could get plenty of wind, perfect for hiking. When I arrived to the starting point, the team leader approached to me and informed me about my team mates who are both French but speak fluent English. Around five minutes later, two teenagers were heading to this direction. They both wore the scout suits but I was more interested on their badges. From what I could see, they had at least three rock climbing prizes, which show that they are brilliant at climbing.
The team leader went to them and said, “I assume you are Dominic (pointing at the taller one) and this is John (point at the fatter one),” they both nodded, “and this is your team mate Kelvin.” I put out a hand for shaking, but they just stared at me like a foreigner. The leader ignored their reaction, and continued on his speech, “Before you guys set off, I want to ask you a question, have you got your map with you? (We all nodded), good, do you know where you’re going? (We all nodded), good, then I will leave and you may start now. Good luck.”
During the next hour, I tried lots of ways to make friends with them but they just didn’t respond and what annoyed me the most is their language. I remembered very clearly that they both spoke fluent English, but what I heard is French, pure French. They chatted to each other and laughed very often while I walked on my own. I tried to calm my anger by enjoying the view, but everytime I felt better, they laughed loudly and exclaimed a phrase in French. I just couldn’t stand it anymore.
I stomped to their side and asked, “Don’t you guys speak English? I’m also your team mate and I don’t understand one damn word you’re saying. Can you please switch your channel to English and show me some team spirit?” Dominic and John gazed at me for a few seconds like I was a stranger who just interrupted their great conversation, then they went back to their talk. After another fifteen minutes, they started scowling at me, spoke a few sentences to each other, and started smirking. The smirk made me saw the handwriting on the wall but the only thing I could do was to be more careful. I kept observing them to find out what they’re playing at but there’s nothing wrong for an hour, so I stopped the observation and went back to luxuriate the view.
All of a sudden, I heard a loud shivery scream from Dom then I descried a furry gigantic animal being thrown at me out of the blue. An animal I fear the most, spider. I quickly dodged away and screamed as loud as I could. Then, under my shriek, I could hear two people laughing; Dom and John were guffawing their head off. John said breathlessly, “Do you see how scared he is? That’s the loudest scream I ever heard.” Dom nodded, went to the spider and picked it up. Was it my illusion or what? Did I just heard a language that I understand? And how came the spider didn’t struggle when Dom picked it up? I thought of a second then everything just came together at once. It’s true that they spoke English and I had just been tricked. The spider is fake! I looked at them disgustedly, rushing past them as quickly as I can. Their unbearable action just made me detest them more and didn’t even want to look at them.
For the rest of the day, I walked in front of them without saying a word or trying to revenge. I decided not to disturb them and desired they would not irritate me, but this never happened. They kept on insulting me on everything I do. I tried to sing quietly to relax, and they cried stop and emphasised what a bad voice I had. I wished to rest for a moment, and “suck” was the reply. I walked wearily until evening when they wanted to stop and started setting up the tent.
The tent was quite big and needed at least three people to set it up, so even though Dom and John wanted me to do all the work, they helped. They got in first and blocked the entrance with their back-pack. “No filthy Chinks allow in this clean tent,” John yelled. I stood there, looking blankly at the tent, and then a wave of anger filled me like a tsunami. I kicked the tent fiercely and tried to turn it over, but this action didn’t last long, John whirled out and grabbed me by my collar. “You’re not welcome in this tent, you Chink,” John shouted and threw me to the ground. I stared up at him, terrified as he thumped back into the tent.
I got up slowly, examined the environment, trying to find a place without too many rocks. After lots of effort, I found a place with little amount of rocks near to the tent, I put my mat on it and lied down. Though there’s a mat, I could still feel the hardness of the floor, and the tiny sharp stones stinging my back. Small ants crawled on my right leg and bite, but I was too exhausted to scratch them. I looked at the dark blue sky, thinking about the horrible day I had just experienced, then my dad’s word faded into my mind, “…I have a dog’s life the last time I join a survival camp…”
Although today was not as bad as a dog’s life, it’s not better. “I should listen to dad, he’s always right. I wonder what he is doing now; maybe he’s watching TV with mum…” I thought of the cosy bed in my room that doesn’t has any insects in it. I thought of my friends who respect me and never leave me alone. When I thought of my buddies, I could feel tears cascaded down my face. My friends and team mates were like angels and devils; two kind of extreme creatures. I kept on thinking of the good I had with my companions; how we laughed at each others’ jokes and helped each other out, and slowly I dozed off with a smile on my face.
Next morning, I walked in front of them as usual, staying quiet. Not for long, we arrived to a slope narrow rock wall. The wall is similar to every wall you can see in the wild but this one have a rope hanging from the top. “This must be the string to tie up my safety lock,” I thought as I open my back-pack and found the lock. Dom looked down his nose at me and teased, “You suck at everything. Why do we need a safety lock for a short wall?” I ignored him, and continued to find the lock. Dom and John jumped on the wall and started climbing. Five seconds later, I heard a shriek of help above me. I quickly looked up and the sight stunned me. About five metres up the mountain, John was trying to make a big leap. Unluckily, he missed for only a few inches, so he tried to clutch on something, but fail.
Everything seemed to happen so quickly, he fell on the ground, hand first, then blood started dripping from his hand and knee.
Dom slowly got to the floor and looked at his injury but did nothing about it. “Don’t you know how to do first aid?” I questioned. They looked at each other shamefully and shook their head. I really wanted to laugh at them but I knew I should not. They didn’t show me respect but that didn’t mean I needed to do the same thing to them. I took out my bandage from my first aid box and wrapped it around John’s injury arm. I also took out a bottle of ethanol and washed the wound with it. After first aiding, my team mates both looked at me thankfully, “Thank you…um…a…sorry about what happened yesterday. W…we don’t mean it.” I put out a hand and say, “so can we be friends now?” They nodded and shook my hand. From then on, I didn’t hear a single insulting word or French from them, and the rest of the journey continued to be remarkable, in a good way.
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