The camp was busy with people getting ready for dinner. Newly minted teenagers shrieked and clamored in the early summer air. Hugs were exchanged, plans were plotted and improved, goals were boasted, and comebacks flew spark quick. It was a beautiful portrait of a beginning, vital and chaotic as only the young could be. Chase smiled as he looked out over the grounds of the camp, his camp.
It was the first step, the hopeful one, before the realities of finding one’s place in the world sank in. Kona, his dark furred hound, let out a breath. Chase scratched Kona’s head and chuckled. “I hope you and I don’t have to rescue too many of them this year.”
The hound gave him a skeptical look.
“I know. I know. One can hope.”
The hound chuffed and leaned against his leg. Chase had befriended Kona almost two decades ago on his own journey. Others had been looking for companions who would assist them in earning prestige, dream jobs, flashy skills, or practical purposes. Chase had been looking for a friend and managed to find some of the other benefits along the way. “Well, I’m glad you took a chance on a dumb boy who didn’t know better than to wander into the deep woods without a flashlight or basic camping supplies. And even gladder that you don’t mind helping him pay it forward.”
Kona stood and shook himself, then licked Chase’s hand. The hound turned, walked into Chase’s cabin and emerged with a thick handled brush. He wagged his tail happily. Chase grinned. “Alright. You deserve to shine tonight. Come here.” Chase knelt down and Kona brought him the brush, wiggling happily as Chase took to the serious business of pets and grooming. New beginnings could wait.
I stole this first line off a camp table.