Camp Thárros: A New Beginning

13 year old Athena Williams believes she is an ordinary kid with nothing special about her or her life. But one day she finds a book on Greek mythology in her basement and discovers secrets about herself and her past that she never thought possible. She embarks upon a summer trip to Camp Thárros, only to find that these hidden secrets are not quite what they were cracked up to be and that a darker and more mysterious force is at work. She must complete a wuest along with her friends and encounter things far more ferocious and dangerous than any book could begin to describe.

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3. CHAPTER 3: DETENSIONS, TRAUMAS AND TERRORS

Weekend wars were over and it was a dreary Monday morning. Athena was woken by the calls from her mother, Hilary, and then the dawning terror that was the early Monday morning made Athena groan and flop lazily out of bed. Any school in the world could be better for her than Palmer Road, it was on the edge of town, it was run down and it was surrounded by stupendous amounts of spiked fences and barbed wire. To Athena it very much resembled a prison or a concentration camp.

Trundling down the stairs, she cursed as her mum had made a death trap with some books that she tripped over. Athena glumly picked up the scattered books and trudged to the sparkling clean kitchen for breakfast.

“Morning sweet” Hilary declared

“Morning” Athena said blankly, shoving cornflakes in her mouth

“Did you have a good sleep?” Hilary quizzed, trying to make mother-daughter conversation

“No” Athena casually retorted

“Whys that?” at this point Athena gave a deathly glare at her mum as if to say ‘seriously? I’m pretty sure you know’. “Oh right the dream” she brushed off. Athena just rolled her eyes, before scooping up the last of the cornflakes and dithering out of the room.

“Tom will be here soon” Hilary called

“Okay mum” Athena yelled impatiently back.

She was right, before Athena knew it, Tom had arrived.

“CAR” yelled Hilary. Athena and Tom exchanged apprehensive, but giggling glances, before trudging out the battered green front door, to the black Corsa on the driveway. Tom swung open the door and Athena begrudgingly clambered inside of it, Tom at her heals. Hilary spun out of the door with an abundance of bags, locking it trickily behind her. She too, then climbed into the car. It rattled as Hilary reversed down the driveway, and then they sped off to await their fate.

Together, Tom and Athena approached the gates, both hoping that the day would go as quickly as the weekend had gone. They had only three more weeks left at school before the Christmas holidays were thrust upon. They had a lot of assessed tasks and tests for English, Maths and science, plus a few other subjects whose teacher hated them. The first lesson of the day was French with Mr Slie, he wasn’t particularly nice to Athena, or anyone at all really, apart from the student whom he favoured the most. That particular student was Tom as he was clever at languages. However Athena herself was not so gifted and usually she would muddle up two cognates, as they called them, and was subsequently given extra homework for so called ‘help’. Although, Athena was lucky compared to timid Timmy, he was picked on by every teacher.

As usual, French went quickly and Athena was first to leave the classroom, shortly followed by Tom and Timmy. Next on the agenda was I.T with Miss Shodnog whose hopeless monotone voice normally sent the class to sleep. Her lessons always dragged on for what felt like hours and they were never in the least bit interesting. Not to mention her name, it’s a bit unfortunate to say the least. After their hard earned twenty five minute break, they had science with Mrs Lawrek. Lawrek was a timid frail young woman and she could never control the class and her limp scraggly hair always looked bushy from stress, even when it was in one of her slick pony tails. After that it was Athena’s least favourite lesson; maths with Mrs Goleson. She hated Athena and would always find an excuse to yell at her or give her detentions.

As the lesson began, she reminded them all of the homework that was due in today and the whole class groaned. However, being the spiteful cow she was, Mrs Goleson told Athena off for apparently groaning too loudly and louder than the rest. That boring lesson passed though and they headed out for their lunch break. Once it was over, Athena and Tom grudgingly made her way to English class, where Mr Fendulle stood impatiently stomping his foot, hurrying them in.

“Right class” he stammered boringly, “today we are going to be analysing poems”. By this point Athena’s mind had already wondered off. All she could hear now was a distant droning murmur coming from Fendulle’s moustache covered mouth. He was babbling on about poetry and its many forms, neither of which came of any interest to her. “Now if you could get out your books, we will have a crack at writing a single effective sentence for each of the three main types” he buzzed.

Athena was still glaring anxiously at the boring surroundings of the school. Everyone around Athena was getting out their books and stationary, but she herself seemed oblivious to this and persisted in gazing wondrously out of the window. Suddenly, memories of her dad’s car swerving over gushed through her mind, accompanied by an ear piercing screech of the tyres. She wasn’t sure whether she could think of it as a memory, Athena herself was never there, she was at school.

“Where’s your book young lady?” a voice droned, she casually ignored it.

“Athena” a voice called

“Huh what?” she stammered, it was Tom, he nodded his head towards a figure behind her

“Well, where is it?” Fendulle demanded

“I’m sorry, where’s what sir?”

“Your book” he bellowed

“Oh, in my bag, I’ll just get it” Athena did pull the ragged thing out, but she was unsure of what to write, so she glared at the page, wishing that it would magically form poetic words before her eyes. No such luck came. The lesson dragged and Athena’s mind had just shut down, not one thought came to her, she was stuck. It was unusual because Athena was rather good at poetry.

At the end of the lesson, everyone packed away and stuffed their books into the green box, before rushing out of the door to get home. Athena was the last to pack away and as she was about to shove her book in the box too, Fendulle spoke:

“Athena, a quick word if you please”. Athena did not plead, but she looked at Tom and told him to go ahead without her. After that, she warily made her way over to Fendulle’s desk, still clutching her book.

“Yes sir?”

“May I have a look” he said, gesturing to the book. Athena reluctantly handed it over. Fendulle opened it carefully, flicking through the pages, “what’s this?” he said as he came to today’s work. Athena gazed over the book, trying to get a better look, hoping against hope that words had magically formed there. However, all she saw was a sketch of a swerving car, a locket, a girl on a swing and something that was over all of the pictures that resembled fire. “Well” he continued. Athena stood silently, staring into his eyes, and he into hers.

“S’nothing” Athena lied, grasping out for the book, Fendulle pulled it away, just in time.

“May it perhaps have something to do with your father?”He said glancing at the skidded car. Athena said nothing, she just turned her head towards the window, suddenly the two pure white doves outside became very interesting. Fendulle must’ve picked up on this.

“Look, I know it must be very hard for you, I can’t even begin to imagine, but...”

“No, you can’t” Athena muttered “that’s the problem. No one here can imagine at all”. Silence.

“I have been talking with your mother and she and I both agree that perhaps extra support may be needed...”

“I don’t need a councillor!” she bellowed “he’s been dead for three years!”

“No, no, we were thinking of Literacy support, seeing as it seems that you are struggling with it at the moment”

“Struggling? English is my best subject!” she roared defencively

“And that’s exactly why we agree that it may be what is best, look you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do”

“Well then why did you even bother asking?” With that, Athena strutted out the room, fuming with the idea of going to support classes.

“At least think about it” Fendulle called. ‘Oh I’ll think about it alright’ Athena thought. Turning a corner, she bumped into Tom.

“I thought I told you to go on” Athena muttered

“You did, but i was never going too. Anyway, what was that all about?”

“He wants me to take literacy support classes, you know, one to one rather than teacher to class”

“That’s pathetic; English is your best subject”

“That’s what I said”

“He needs his head checking Thee, You’re doing just fine” Tom mused, putting his arm around her

“If only he thought that”.

                                                              ***

The next days flew by and before anyone knew it, it was the last week of term. Monday went on forever, as usual. Tuesday went a little quicker as they had Drama with Miss Keelnot, geography with Mr Primce, another woeful English lesson with Fendulle, a D&T woodwork class with the impenetrable Mr Nillod and to finish it off, history with the foreign teacher Mrs Varyeh. It wasn’t eventful, it was quick and non-exciting, a lot like Wednesday. To start that off, another predictable D&T lesson, a pathetic work out P.E lesson with Mr Limne, a pretty cool music lesson with Mr Rocdon, maths with the despairing Mrs Goleson, who gave Athena detention for ‘not paying attention or completing the work’, (which meant she missed almost all of lunch and had to eat most of her sandwiches in last lesson) and finally, a leisurely lesson of boredom with Mrs Lawrek.

Thursday went as quick as its predecessors, science first thing was an experimental disaster, and R.E was quite enjoyable, with the happy go-lucky Mr Cape. Varyeh’s history lesson was alright as they had to watch a documentary about world war one, which meant that Athena and Tom could pass comical notes and plans for tomorrow evening to each other.

The fun soon ended when their French lesson was as boring as ever, even doing what Mr Slie called ‘fun French word searches’. The truth was Athena found nothing about French fun, and was no doubt the last to finish. Then it was English again, Mr Fendulle had devised a quiz about Christmas related things and the class was split in two. Athena and Tom, despite being relatively close to each other in the seating plan, were placed on different teams. Tom’s side eventually won and his side each got a small bag of sweets. Athena didn’t mind though, she could be competitive if she felt like it, but she hardly ever won, so she saw no point in it.

Then at last it was Friday; the last day of term. Athena was in her room fumbling around for her bag, it was non-uniform day so she had pulled on some jeans, a white top with a short sleeve dark purple top over it and her black converse. Fashion was something Athena didn’t really care about, but she still wanted to look nice.

Her first lesson was P.E, they didn’t have to change the bottom part of their clothes, and they just had to wear a baggy white vest with the school logo on. They got to play dodge ball and people snatched the balls off Athena and shoved her to the back like a piece of dirt. Tom could see this, so when he next looked at her, Athena gave him a ‘throw the ball at me’ look. Tom shook his head disapprovingly. Athena shot him a dangerous glare, so Tom lobbed the ball and Athena pretended to dodge it, but it hit her leg.

“Oops” she sighed. She then shrugged her shoulders at team Captain: Tilly Letton, before cunningly smiling her way off court. ‘Thanks’ she mouthed to Tom. ‘My pleasure’ Tom mouthed back. Athena grinned laughably, Tom did the same. When suddenly, out of the blue, a ball was hurtling towards Tom, he wasn’t paying attention and it hit him in the side of the face. This caused him to drop the ball he was holding and grimace. Athena however, found this hilarious and laughed cheekily at Tom, who was now hobbling off court with his tongue between his teeth in a ‘it’s not funny’ smile.

Next was geography with Mr Primce, they got to do Christmas crosswords and puzzles, along with sitting wherever they liked. Athena and Tom sat next to each other, Athena still humoured at the whole P.E bonanza. Maths was as boring as usual because Goleson had made them continue with the ordinary curriculum, saying that ‘it was still school’ and that ‘it would be a waste of a lesson’ and of course ‘it’s not the holidays yet Williams’. That particular remark aimed at Athena.

“Of course she’d hate to think people were actually having fun in her lesson” Athena grumbled

“I’m guessing she’s a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas” Tilly whispered to Athena, right in front of Miss Goleson’s vision. Athena didn’t even have to open her mouth before Goleson said anything.

“Williams, why are you talking?”

“Miss, Athena didn’t” Tilly began, but she stopped after Athena shook her head cautiously at her.

“You think just because its Christmas next week that you can lark around in my lesson, strutting about the place”

“No, sorry”

“Sorry, what?”

“Sorry Mrs Goleson”

“Better”

After that it was art with Mr Hassmob, who told them to create a nativity scene and that they could use any material or tools they liked and that a prize would be given to the best one and a prize to the most creative too.

Athena didn’t talk to Tom much that lesson, she was too concentrated on coming up with ideas as she enjoyed art and she was also relatively good at it.

In the end, Athena had decided to draw the outlines of each of the characters in the story and then glitter the outlines. The three wise men were glittered gold, the shepherds were a kind of bronze colour, Mary and Joseph were blue, the sheep was green, the donkey and the cattle were purple, baby Jesus was red and the star was silver. It looked quite good.

“Okay, time to announce the winners I think” cried Mr Hassmob “The most creative goes too...Hannah Lean” there was a small outburst of polite applause. “The best one goes too...Emily, Petra, Paula, Kristen and jade” it wasn’t surprising, they all worked as a group to paint a massive portrait, but she couldn’t lie, it did look the best. Hannah deserved the other prize, thought Athena. She had made a movie poster, that said ‘Now showing, Nativity: a Christmas story’ with a little picture of a nativity scene underneath it.

“Well done Hannah” Athena congratulated as Hannah walked out of the door.

“Athena, can I just have a word?” Hassmob said

“You aren’t going to send me to extra support too, are you?” Athena mumbled

“What’re you talking about?”

“Nothing, what did you want?”

“Just to say I very much liked your nativity scene and if I could display it with the others at the art opening evening tonight?”

“Um, yeah sure” Athena stuttered

“Splendid! I don’t suppose you’ll be coming along?”

“Ur” she had arranged to meet Tom “we’ll see” she said

“Wonderful, it will be in the town hall in the Christmas exhibition, along with Hannah’s and the other girls’”

“Okay”

“Ahh, I forgot to give you this” he tutted as he handed her a pack of haribo “just to say well done for your excellent work this year, and for making the exhibition”

“Urm, wow, thank you sir” she thanked

“Oh don’t mention it, well you best be off, your friends are waiting”. Athena hurried off, thanking him one more time as she almost tripped out the door.

“Where’s that from?” Tom asked, pointing to the haribo.

“Hassmob, He liked my work and he’s displaying it in the Christmas exhibition at the art open evening in the town hall tonight. I think I should go and support him, like he has with me”

“But I thought we were going for a hot chocolate, besides he’s only a teacher”

“Please Tom; your mum’s going isn’t she? My mum will too if my work’s there, we don’t have to go for long, just sort of show our faces, then leave” Athena claimed

“But we have to dress up smart” Tom said, looking disgusted by the idea.

“Not if we help set up...”

“Oh no, you haven’t agreed to do that too, have you?” Tom revolted

“No, but I’m just saying we wouldn’t have to if...”

“Okay, Okay, I’ll dress smart. My mum will force me into a tux, I know it”

“Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, Tom!” Athena cried flinging her arms round him.

                                                                        ***

That night she told her mum about it and her mum put on her best frock and agreed to come along. However, Athena did not have such a good time picking her outfit as she had hardly any suitable clothes; the idea of wearing a dress made her cringe. Eventually, Athena found a black dress and put it on , along with a white cardigan and one of her mums long necklaces, grey tights (to tone it down) and her black converse as her black pumps had half a dozen holes in. Her mum put Athena’s hair in a neat bun, leaving two strands of hair out at the front, which she then curled.

Ding dong! The door bell rang.

“Tom’s here!” Hilary called “I’ll get it!”

“You look very nice Mrs. Williams” Athena heard Tom say.

“And you, that’s a wonderful tux” her mum mused. Athena made her way downstairs. She giggled a bit at the sight of Tom in a tux.

“You look lovely too” he said sarcastically                                                                                                 

“Shut-up Athena muttered, snapping out of her giggling.

When they arrived, they went straight to Mr Hassmob’s Christmas display to show their support.

“Ahh Athena, you made it, I was beginning to think you weren’t coming, and look, you brought Tom along, how splendid” he joyfully said.

“Well, really, Tom brought me along sir, any excuse to wear his tuxedo and he’s there” Tom glared at her.

“Well you do look wonderful, and please, we’re out of school hours, call me Brian”

“Urm, okay” Athena sighed awkwardly as Tom sniggered.

“your work is here, many people have praised it, and the others, I must say we are doing well to get ourselves and the department recognised this year, Athena, thank you ever so much for your support.”

“Oh it’s nothing urr... Brian”

“Yep, there’s no other place I’d rather spend my Friday evenings” Tom sarcastically said, Athena stomped on his foot.

“Thank you very much Thomas” Hassmob thanked, blatiently oblivious to Tom’s sarcasm.

“Oh my pleasure sir” Tom scoffed.

“Please, what did I say to Athena? Call me Brian, outside of school”

“Urr Brian” Tom finished

“Well if you don’t mind, there’s someone over there that I need to have a quick word with, thank you once again for showing up” he declared, before he strolled over to a posh-looking bearded man.

“Because that wasn’t awkward” breathed Tom

“Ssh!” hushed Athena.

“Well lets be off, the humiliation of this tux is killing me”

“Don’t be selfish”

“What? You said all we had to do is show our faces, then leave”

“Well we’re here now, so we might as well look around”

“Unbelievable” sighed Tom.

They looked around for a bit, and then decided that they needed some fresh air, but, near the exit, they ran into Toms mum.

“Are you looking for your mother Thee? She’s just gone to the loo” Demmy (Toms mum) proclaimed

“Urr no... Actually I was just looking for you... to say how wonderful you look” Athena chirped.

“Oh you” Demmy chuckled embracing her in a breathless hug. “You look very pretty Athena, Tom’s lucky to have a ‘friend’ like you” she winked at Tom, he flushed crimson.

“Well mum, we’re going now so pick me up from Athena’s house okay” Tom interjected

“You live round the corner, you can walk” Demmy decided

Fine” Together they strolled out the door

“And don’t be late!” Demmy called after them.

“Wait here” Athena demanded

“What? Where are you going?” Tom began

“Got to say one last goodbye to Mr Hassmob, so he knows that we’ve left”

“Pfft Brian” Tom mimicked. Athena made her way through the exhibits to Hassmobs Christmas one.

“Ahh Athena, back so soon” he chuckled

“Ha-ha” she forced a laugh “Urm actually me and Tom are leaving now, but thank you ever so much for displaying my artwork”

“Oh it was nothing; the crowds have adored it, thank you once more for showing your gratitude”

“That’s okay, urr, goodbye sir”

“What have I told you, Brian will do, and merry Christmas”

“Merry Christmas” and with that Athena waltzed out of the town hall and joined Tom.

“Where are we off to now?” Tom asked

“Town” said Athena “Come on, you’ll see”. They reached town and walked straight through.

“Where are we going? Thee! ”

“To the beach!” mused Athena “It’ll give us some cool, fresh air, it’s what we need”

“You’ll use any excuse, won’t you” laughed Tom.

They leapt over the wall. It was dark now and the sky was a misty navy. For a while they walked along the beach. After a while, Athena slowed up.

“Anna loved it here” Athena whispered. Tom frowned in a concerned sort of way.

“Then let’s make the most of it, it’s what she would’ve wanted” with that, he pulled of his bow-tie and ran off, flailing the bow behind him as it whipped delicately in the wind. Athena pulled out her bun, before running after him, her hair flowing behind her, golden eyes ablaze. They chased each other, both grasping for the bow-tie and giggling. Athena took off her shoes and Tom took off his. Running to the sea, Athena beckoned to Tom, but he was busy rolling up his trousers, so that they wouldn’t get wet. They both paddled in the shallows of the sea, splashing each other all the while.

After lots of childish behaviour and giggling, they put their shoes back on; then trudged off the beach and back home. As Athena shivered in her thin cardigan, Tom took of his tuxedo jacket and settled it around her shoulders.

When they got home it was 10pm, so they dried off then spoke about Toms birthday plans, before Tom made his way home at 11pm. Athena herself took a shower, changed into her pyjamas, then got in bed. She was tired, it had been a long day, but it was the end of term and she couldn’t have spent it a better way.

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