Capture the Flag in the Kettles
Haley, Age 11, Dousman, WI

“We’re going the wrong way, guys!” I called to my team. “This is the Lights' territory!”

“No it’s not!” said an annoying girl. “How do you know, anyway?”

“Listen to Haley!” Caitlin shouted. “She’s done this before!”

Caitlin and I and some annoying girls from another tent were tromping through the upper part of the forest, getting ready to play Capture the Flag. We had arrived early, so we were trying to figure out exactly where we were. After asking for directions (I was right, we were on the wrong side) more people started to arrive. I’d never been on the Dark side of the forest - or at least not much - so we still had time to explore our side before the game officially started.

It had rained the previous night, so everything was wet and muddy. I had also hurt my ankle earlier that day, so every time I stepped on a large rock or a stick, I felt a twinge of pain there.

After going through a boggy place, the girls from another tent went off on their own, probably to catch someone. “Caitlin, look!” I pointed to a large hill. “We can probably see a whole herd of Lights over there.” We climbed to the top and, sure enough, there was a whole pack of Lights. I ran down with Caitlin and grabbed the nearest person.

“Don’t catch us!” she said and backed away.  “We’re looking for her glasses.” She jerked her thumb in the direction of a girl.

I grabbed a girl smaller than me. “You can’t catch me! This is the neutral pass!”

“No it isn’t,” I said, stepping onto a thin line of grass. “This is. I started to take her to the end of the trail, where she would be counted as a point. She grumbled about it all the way there, but I gripped her arm hard.

I met up with Caitlin and we decided that after all that work, we wouldn’t catch any more people. We would just explore some more.

For a while we stood at the bottom of the hill. I stared at a forest-like hollow that looked like it went downhill. “Let’s go down there!” I said to Caitlin.

She agreed, and we started down the hill. We reached the bottom and looked around. I didn’t recognize this part of the forest. It was muddy and dark. “I’ve never seen this part of the forest before,” I mused. Then I looked up. I stared. In the field beyond the hollow, a Light girl was staring at us. “This is Light territory!” I shouted to Caitlin. “Run!” We ran as fast as we could to the top. After we safely reached this destination, we stood panting at the top, relieved we hadn’t been caught.

Then the horn blew. Capture the Flag was over. As we headed back, I thought it really didn’t matter if we won or lost. We had had fun. (Our team did end up winning, though.)

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