And then There Was Book Camp...
Avery, Age 12, Vancouver, BC

The last thing I remember was the book camp, a room filled to bursting with girls and boys gifted with writing. “Children, children quiet down, quiet down!” The camp coordinator’s voice rang out over the racket. “Thank you for coming to this year’s public library book camp. I am pleased to welcome--” The lights in the underground room flickered and went out, and the darkness was suffocating. “Children, there is no need to panic we have everything under control.” But I knew they didn’t. People rustled and ran about screaming, trying to open the doors that encircled the room. They were locked shut. I sat perfectly still.

“Lexy, are we going to die?” Someone grabbed onto my arm. “What do you think, Vanessa?” I said. “No?” I laughed and ruffled her hair. “Good answer.” Most of the time they only allowed children between the ages of 12-18, but my little sister, Vanessa, at the age of 10, was an exception; we were born into a family of very gifted writers. The ground shook a little and one of the lights in the room crashed to the floor. Some people sitting next to where it fell screamed. “Do you take it back?” Vanessa shuddered. “Never.” But I knew Vanessa was smart beyond her years and would obviously see through my straight face and calm voice, even in the dark.

“Children, I’m glad to finally meet you,” a sinister voice echoed through the room, which was weird since without any power the P.A. system couldn’t be on. “Because from now on you will be my minions, my henchmen, my slaves, who will help me take over the world!” Someone stood up. I couldn’t see well in the gloom, but I knew it was Phoebe, the fearless girl who felt free to say whatever she wanted, regardless of the consequences. “Why do you want us?” Phoebe’s voice shouted in the murkiness. “Because, you will be my perfect helpers; genius children are just the thing for taking over the world!” said the voice. And at that I stood up, shaking Vanessa from my arm. “Lexy.” she whimpered, but I paid no attention.

“We are not scientists! We are word junkies! We live for the English language! What do you want us to do? Write a best-selling fiction book to help you take over the world?” I was standing proud and tall as the others cheered things like “Go Lexy!” or “Show him what you’ve got, girl!” I’ve got to say, I was feeling pretty good about myself, and I had almost forgotten why I was standing in the dark, amongst a sea of children all cheering me on, until the voice said, “Silence! You imbeciles! You will do as I say!” The voice was loud and menacing at first, but then it changed to a softer, yet more upsetting, tone that sent chills up my spine. “Now my minions sleep and I shall see you soon!” And with a terrifying cackle it was gone. I looked around trying to find a way out when I saw a gas like substance filling the air. I began to suddenly feel light-headed. “Lexy, what’s he going to do to us?” asked Vanessa. “I don’t know, I really don’t know.”

I awoke sometime later with Vanessa lying beside me, and some other children scattered about the room — that was somehow much smaller than before -- totally knocked out. The area was different I realized; there was a wall down the middle of the room now, making it look evidently smaller. There were also torches placed around the place giving light to the space, so I was able to see how the walls were so caved in that it looked like I was in a huge ancient tomb, or something. And then I saw it: the one thing I was looking for; a vast hole in the right side of the wall, my escape. I had one mission; find out who this “Mystery Voice” was, find out his plan, stop it, and save all the children from certain death. It couldn’t be that hard, right? Wrong. But I am Alexa Palmer, and armed with a pen and paper, I can be lethal.

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