With her index finger and thumb Cassie rubbed over her eyes, as if to erase what she had seen from her sight. It was simply too weird, too unbelievable, for her to find it funny - though she barely found anything concering this summer funny.
Her efforts to forget what was happening around her failed, when her father let out a surprised whistle and half smirking said: 'Well… this is not what I expected.'
Cassie pressed her eyes shut, a deep frown cutting her face into a distorted mask of calmness. No, this wasn’t what anyone had expected. And she was about to throw a fit.
'How could you not have expected this?!' she kept her voice at a shallow minimum while sounding terribly passive-aggressive. 'You were the one who chose this… camp for me. You signed me up for this…this freak show – how could you not have expected this?!!'
Her voice pitched at the end, alarming her father of what was to come.
'I… must have overlooked that part while signing you up. I was in quite a hurry that weekend, you know.'
'Overlooked…' Cassie opened her eyes and stared at the shrugging man beside her defiantly. 'Overlooked?! How could you just have overlooked such a crucial detail?!'
'Cassie, I’m sure it’ll be fun anyways…' he tried to calm her, but even he sounded worried then. Cassies cheeks flushed red with anger as she pointed at the imposing banner that marked the entrance to the summer camp.
'A Zombie-Apocalypse-Training-Camp?!! Seriously, Dad?! You really think it could be fun?! You have got to be kidding me!! I’m leaving! I will not spend my summer, surrounded by freaks and idiots!!'
'Hey now, no need to be rude.' an unfamiliar voice called to the two. It came form a man who was striding towards them in hunched manner; though still he retained his towering posture. Being almost a giant in comparison to the feeble 4’10 that Cassie was, she was silenced by his sudden appearance. Cassie guessed him to be around 6’10.
'You are Professor Harrison I presume?' the giant asked. His voice was surprisingly friendly and soft now that he wasn’t trying to be heard. It didn’t quite fit the image of a giant with a mop of curly, white-dyed hair and black clothes. 'Because you’re early, I thought, it must be you.'
Cassies father nodded, at first confused, then beaming the man a smile. 'I hope it’s not a problem. It’s just, because of my classes, I couldn’t—'
'Oh no, no problem.' The giant interrupted the man. 'I’ve read some of your papers...I’m a fan of your work. Glad to make, no, I mean, glad to meet you.' He seemed genuinely flustered for a moment, almost shy.
In an attempt to get the attention of her father Cassie folded her arms in front of her chest, threw back her auburn hair. 'Dad, we’re leaving.' she hissed.
'No princess, I’m leaving. I already told you, you will stay at this camp. And you will have fun.'
Rarely seeing her father react sternly or serious, Cassie felt the need to shout, as well as break out in tears. She hated this camp – she hated the giant – but most of all she hated her dad.
'Cassie, Princess, just give it a try. You can call me anytime if you need help. And if you really, really can’t stand it, I’ll pick you up and bring you to your aunt.'
'And if you need to talk to someone, I, and the rest of the staff will always be there to lend an ear.' The giant chimed in. His gentle smile only angered Cassie. With all her anger though, Cassie could not think of anything to say. Blankly she stared at her feet, unwilling to admit that she had lost the argument.
'Oh, excuse my manners. I just realized I never told you my name. I’m Harry Winchester. But everyone just calls me Garry.' the giant proudly announced. 'Let me help with your bags, I can show you where you stay right away if you’d like. I remember you wrote in the email that you have to leave soon.'
Cassies father nodded. 'I’d almost forgotten. Need to get going soon. We took longer than I expected. I’m sorry that I have to get going so soon, princess. But call me once you’re settled, alright?'
Cassie hmpf-ed and shook her head. Afraid of her voice giving away that she was about to cry, she merely continued staring at her feet. As her father stepped closer to hug her she pushed him away and yelled: 'I hate you!!'
Cassie stood there, fists balled and teeth clenched for all the time Garry helped her father unload. She already hated Garry, hated his attitude and his admiration for her dopey father. Yet she also knew that he would be around her quite often during her stay at this camp.
'Alright princess, here's your stuff. I’ve got to be going now… How about one small hug before I go?'
Cassie sneered at him as best as she could, which only made her father sigh and shake his head. He had expected such behaviour. That’s why, even though Cassie refused, he quickly pulled her into his strong arms and hugged her very tightly. Cursing and flailing like an idiot, Cassie tried to make him let go. But her father was determined to hug his princess before setting off.
Upon being released Cassie had to gasp for air. He had nearly squished her. Like a bear trying to hug a cat.
'Come now. Garry even said he’d carry your bags to your room.' her father said as substitute for ‘goodbye’.
Cassie remained unwilling to move an inch. 'I’m not going.'
Her father’s expression darkened. 'Cassie. Don’t make me repeat myself. Give this camp a chance. I know it’s not as we thought and I know you’d rather spend your summer on the beach – but you have to trust me on this. This’ll be good for you. And we’re a team, so if you really can’t stand it, I will pick you up. But I want you to give it a try first. Now go with Garry and I’ll call you tonight.'
Garry smiled apologetically as he picked up her bags and nodded to the rebellious teen. 'Let’s go Cassie.'
'I hate you…' she muttered once more before spinning around on her heels and stomping off.
Garry wasn’t sure if she was talking to her father or to him. He quickly said goodbye to the professor before striding back onto the camp grounds with Cassie by his side.
'Let’s first take care of your luggage, then I’ll show you around. It’s almost time for dinner, too.'
Cassie kicked a small stone. 'Go to hell.' she whispered.