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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6. CHAPTER 6: THE APPLICATION

They ran all the way to Tom’s front door and pressed the doorbell. Athena could hear it chime inside and Joey the one year old Irish terrier barked.

“They must’ve gone out” Tom panted. Athena didn’t want to go back to her house because of Hilary; she was still mad at her. Relief swept over her as Tom led her round to the back gate instead. He squeezed past the mangled hedge and clicked open the gate. Joey came bounding towards him, his great ginger ears perked up and his curly coat of glossy fur glistened on his back.

“Hey Joe-Joe” Athena laughed as he placed his large bear-like paws on her hips.

“Mum must’ve known we’d come back, wouldn’t of left Joey out here otherwise” Tom guessed.

“She left the door unlocked?”

“No, no but I know where she keeps the key” Tom bent down to the plant pot of tulips by the door “hiding the key under the pot’s too obvious” he pointed to the base “so” Tom pulled out the card with the tulip information on it and there was a small piece of brown string visible, Tom gave it a tug and a little wooden box was hauled out. He opened it up to reveal the small silver key, soil- tinted, but still gleaming “we hide it in the pot instead” he finished.

“Wow” smiled Athena “surely it’s a hassle though?”

“Oh no, this key’s in here all the time, emergencies, you know, easier that way” he unlocked the door and hopped in, Athena followed leaving Joey chasing a sparrow in the cosy garden.

“So how are we going to research it, Thee?” Tom asked.

“Well, the internet is a wonderful thing” hinted Athena. They strode into Tom’s front room and perched on a little desk in the corner was a laptop, printer, and a variety of other gadgets. Pushing the switch, the machine blinked and came to life. It took a while to load, but once it was done, Tom sat on the swivel chair and opened up Google.

“What shall I type in?” he questioned

“Camp Thárros” Athena verified “that should do it.” Tom tapped away on the keyboard and clicked the search button. “There” pointed Athena. A website opened up. The background to it was a sort of scaly brown, like dragon hide and on the top it read ‘CAMP THÁRROS’ in gleaming golden letters and next to it was a symbol, two arrows crossing over each other with miniscule words written on them. The left arrow said ‘Thárros’ and on the right one it said ‘Team’. Both her and Tom exchanged curious glances and proceeded in reading the page.

‘Camp Thárros, originally set up in 1892 by Krios and Priska Priskos, is a delightful summer camp where its occupants spend time-’

Athena stopped reading, so did Tom, they knew all that already, so Tom scrolled down.

‘To apply you must be high school age 11-16 and have parents permission as well as a signed and posted form in to us by December 25th’

 “Blah Blah” Tom said and he scrolled down further to a sub-title: ‘TEAMS’

“What’s this?” Athena queried, peering over Tom’s shoulder, he looked at her, then back at the screen.

‘The teams are a most important aspect of Thárros, they teach leadership, friendship, hope, belonging and most important of all, what the camp is all about: courage.”

Athena wasn’t too worried about leadership, although it would be nice to feel it, she had friendship with Tom, but it’d be nice to expand it. She had learnt hope the day Anna died, her dad taught it to her, that was second nature, but belonging, that was different. Athena had never belonged, or felt like she had; her and her dad had always been outsiders, but at least they were together. She never felt like her house was her home, or that school was what she should learn, maybe ‘Camp Thárros’ was her way out, maybe she belonged there.

 

‘There are six teams

Griffin- who are well known for their noble bravery

Phoenix- who are well known for their determination, humour and knowledge

Centaur- who are renowned for their competitive streak and their instincts

Minotaur- who are associated with cunningness and being ready

Pegasus- who are well known for their compassionate sensitivity and flattering, manipulative ways

 And Hippogriff- who are renowned for their proud patience and respectable loyalty

Each team is associated with a colour

Gold for the griffin in the flame

Red for the phoenix and its healing ways

Green for the centaur’s wilderness works

Grey for the Minotaur’s battlement turf

Purple for the Pegasus in the sun rising sky

And blue for the proud hippogriff that flies on by

Upon arrival at Camp Thárros the member will be determined their teams. They will each be distributed a coloured band as a symbol of belonging and loyalty to their team. They will each earn points for their team through activities and classes. At the end of the six weeks, a reward above all else shall be given to the team who earns the most point, this is a most high honour, however in the unlikely event that two teams earn the same amount of points earn the same amount of points, a tie-breaking event shall take place...’

“Wow” breathed Tom “high honour, that’s awesome”

“It is” replied Athena “I want to go” she decided suddenly.

Are you mad?” Tom began

“No, but Tom, I feel like I belong there, look, see? It says they teach belonging, I’ve never belonged anywhere or to anything or anyone”

“You belong to me” Tom muttered so quickly and so quietly that Athena could barely hear him. She smiled

“That’s sweet Tom, but you know how it is, since dad died” the words were hard for her to speak, like someone had choked them up inside her throat and dried it out, but Tom gave an encouraging smile so she persisted “I, well, I’ve never belonged or felt like my house was... home, it’s just like where I have to go or else I’ll cause trouble” she thought about this morning’s episode with Hilary “pah, well, even more.” Tom gave her a grave look.

“But what if it’s not what it seems?”

“Tom, it can only get better”

“I know, but... it’d be like school” he looked revolted

“At least it would be fun, and like home” she pointed out

“I don’t know, you’ve only had the book two seconds, what if this ‘Camp Thárros’ aint safe”

“Tom your parents know about it and you know how much your mum fusses, she wouldn’t let you go within two miles of a place if it was the tiniest bit unsafe.”

“I know Thee, but” he looked sad

“I want to go Tom, I promise I’ll write to you every day if you want, giving you full accounts of-”

“What do you mean?”

“Well... Camp Thárros”

“Obviously I’m coming with you, you don’t think I’d let you go to a creepy old place like that on your own do you?”

“Oh Tom!” Athena flung her arms round him.

“One slight problem Thee”

“What’s that?”

“You need parent’s permission”

Athena was reminded of the mornings shouting match with her mum

“I’ll figure something out” she said “I’ll make mum sign it somehow, or if not then your mum can”

“I don’t know-”

“Oh come on, you can’t go without me”

“We’ll make a deal, if one of us can’t go, then neither of us will, agreed?”

“Agreed” confirmed Athena.

                                                                 

                                                                   ***

 

They were sat on Tom’s bed, pouring over the book.

“I wonder who Diávolos is” Athena stated

“Dunno, but he sounds like a right nasty piece of work” Tom jeered

“You don’t know that” argued Athena. Tom yanked up the book, flicked back a couple of pages and pointed at a one sentenced paragraph, then read it aloud.

“Look” he said “Diávolos is an ancient evil above all else. We do not speak of his treacherous betrayal”   

“Oh”

“See Thee? I don’t exactly think he’s Father Christmas” Athena giggled pathetically.

“I still wanna find out more about him”

“Somehow, if he’s some ‘unspeakable evil’ I don’t exactly think Wikipedia will have a dedicated page-”

“We could try”

“We could, but you’d be wasting your time, plus, this is mythology, I’ve never heard of him before and it’s likely that this Charles guy is promoting Camp Thárros to the curious, nosy, big-heads, who think that scary things are fun. It’s just to frighten people, it’s not real.”

“Well Camp Thárros is real, so he could be too, like some mass murderer of some description”

“And that would make him unspeakable how exactly?”

“Oh I don’t know, there could be loads of reasons”

“Name me one”

“Well, maybe they just have a different culture...”

“Thee, they are English”

“Teaching about Greek stuff”

“Even if this Diávolos is real, remember where Charles said he ‘stepped down’, mass murderers don’t just think ‘I went on a killing spree yesterday, you know what, I think I’ll turn myself in’”

“Well no but-”

“Exactly, why would he ‘step down’, surely he’d go on the run, I would”

“Maybe he felt guilty and gave up”

“Again, that doesn’t explain why he’s unspeakable”

“Well maybe he lost power and went to prison”

“Thee, you’re wasting your brain cells” Tom decided, Athena kept quiet with the questions verbally, but in her mind, they whooshed around like a question carousel.

 

                                                                   ***

 

Both Athena and Tom were now in the kitchen getting food from the over-spilling cupboards when Tom plucked a note from the icy fridge door, it read:

‘Joey needs a quick walk, make sure you have lunch and lock the door when you go back out, love mum xxx’

“Looks like we’re going back to the river Tom announced

“Why?” asked Athena, Tom handed her the note as he bit into his apple, she read it carefully. “Well that’s good, maybe we’ll run into Greg, there’s something I’d like to ask him”

Then the two set off. Tom clipped Joey’s lead to his red collar that clashed vibrantly with his red fur and then put the glistening silver emergency key back in its plant-pot-box.

Together they set off for the river, back down the alley and they finally set off along the bank. Tom let Joey off his lead and he ran with his perky ginger ears pricked up, his tongue lolling out his mouth and his long curly tail wagging happily from side to side.

 

“How far along do you need to go before we turn back?” Athena asked

“Wow Thee, we’ve only just got here” Tom laughed

“I know, I was just- curious, never mind” and it was true, she was curious, mainly because she wanted to run into Gregworth because he knew about almost anything and Athena was always welcome to ask him questions and he seemed to constantly know the answers, or if he didn’t he was open about it. He would never shout. Athena had a feeling that Greg loved being asked questions and also enjoyed knowing the answer, as well as talking about the ‘good old days’.

“Why the long face Thee? There’ll be a lot more treks at Thárros, better get used to it” Tom giggled. Athena smiled in reply, but still said nothing; she was anxious to find Greg and was thinking of how she’d word the questions that burned on her tongue. “Does icle Thee need to be carried, are her icle legs hurting?” he mimicked in a baby-ish voice. Athena smirked. Tom went a bit more serious and then said “well you know, you could do with some exercise”

“Cheers Tom, you’re a real good friend, you know that?”Athena said sarcastically.

“I know” grinned Tom, Athena sniggered, then grabbed a nearby, climbable tree and then pulled herself up.

“So good in fact that I might even go as far as to say, you’re almost the best friend in the world” Athena exclaimed, still sarcastically.

“Well, I’m you’re only friend Thee, it’s not hard, you’re easy to please” he said, panting as he clambered up the tree after Athena.

“Easily pleased, are you kidding?”

“Well actually, you are quite stressy” he climbed a bit higher, but Athena was on the branch just above and as Tom scrambled up, Athena said:

“I’ll show you just how stressy I can be” and with that she kicked Tom’s leg and he was left hanging onto the branch by his hands. Athena jumped from her branch and down onto the leaf-carpeted floor. Joey barked at the tree up at Tom. In this short time Athena turned as she landed to see Tom struggling up in his branch before dropping and falling on his face. Athena stifled a giggle but as Tom got up and brushed off his knees, he glanced over at Athena and she immediately knew what was coming. She span on her heel and ran as fast as she could. Tom was fast, but she had, had a head start and could just about out run him due to that. Joey bounded along happily in front, as if to prove that he could run faster than both of them. Tom was gaining on her as she slowed up a bit; he grabbed her round the waist and threw her behind him.

“Uh-ho, you are going to pay for that” Athena muttered as Tom had already run on, but Joey panted beside Athena as she caught her breath. “Come on Joe, let’s get him!” together Joey and Athena bounded happily after Tom who was way ahead now. Naturally, Joey the Irish terrier got there before her and he jumped up at Tom, placing his bear-like, curly, soft paws on his hips. He playfully barked and eventually overpowered Tom, leaving him on the dirty, muddy floor.

He was yelping things like “Ow Joey, you’re supposed to be my pet!” or “bad boy, down Joey” Athena just stood there laughing until she decided that she better help him. Grabbing Tom’s sweaty hand, she yanked him up and dusted some of the grubby dirt off his jeans and t-shirt.

“I think Joey got you back real good Thomas” Athena laughed

“Very funny” Tom sarcastically muttered.

“Ha-ha, stressy actually” Athena grinned as she offered her hand to Tom who was covered in dirt now, he took it and they ran along the secluded river bank, with Joey yapping softly at their heels.

Eventually, once both of them were completely worn out and a bit sweaty, they decided to cool off in the river. They waddled down the steep bank, helping each other as they did so. Joey followed, a little less gracefully than most dogs, but once he had splashed into the river, he paddled round as happy as ever.

“What are you going to say to your mum, about Camp Thárros?” Tom asked, rolling up his jeans.

“Well” began Athena, rolling up her jeans too “she always moans about how I don’t mix in with any kids other than you and how I never do anything productive with my time”

“Tell her cheers for that”

“No, it’s not you; she likes you like a son”

Likes me as a son, likes?”

“Well, you know, you aren’t blood...”

“Well, that’s the kiss of death, likes!”

“Tom!”

“Sorry, yeah good plan” he said as they paddled, ankle deep, in the shimmering winter water, that gleamed like a smooth glacier of ice. The frosty cold bit at their heels but they were oblivious as their faces were still red from all the running.

“What about you?”

“Well, she’ll probably let me go, if it was a good thing that she said about it before. I just hope she doesn’t go all protective mother on me”

“Wishful thinking” giggled Athena

“Hey!”

“It’s true! You know what she’s like”

“Yeah but...”

“No buts Thomas, I just hope you can go so I can; I’m not breaking the deal”

“Me neither, I’m only going because of you”

“Does the protective gene run in your family?”

“Hey! I’m the witty one, quit while you’re ahead, Athena”

“I’m way too far ahead to quit now!”

They laughed and joked all the way back up the river. When they reached a corner, where Pebble cottage was just visible, Athena made out Gregworth with a basket, going through his front gate. Tas, the black tan and white Border collie dog was at his side. She suddenly splashed out the river, causing Tom to jump.

“Gregworth!” she called “Greg” Athena ran after him. Greg turned around, his wispy grey hair sticking out from above his ears.

“Oh, ‘ello Athena dear, what’s wrong? Are you hurt? Is Tom okay?” he asked with a tone of sympathetic panic in his voice.

“No, I’m fine, we’re fine”

“Oh you had me worried there, where is Tom anyway, I hardly see you apart?”

“Oh, he’s...”

“Here, phew, Athena you scared the hell out of me, alright Greg?” panted Tom. Athena hadn’t realised just how mucky Tom was until now.

“I’m fine thanks, look at yeh!” he barked “both of yeh, filthy!” they glanced awkwardly around. “What ‘appened?”

“Well urr, urm, she, I” stammered Tom

“He fell over, into the river, and I’m muddy because, I urr” Athena stuttered

“She helped me” finalised Tom.

“Hmm, I see” said Greg, with an unconvinced look “well, Grettle’s out with Mildred from bingo so, so as long as she don’t see, I think it’ll be alright for you two to clean up and warm up inside”

“Thanks Greg” smiled Athena

“Cheers” coughed Tom. They followed Greg in through the front garden. “What about Joey?” Tom interrupted

“He better wait in the garden with Tas, she’s a good girl, could give your one a couple of pointers, I’ll tell you that” replied Greg, waving his hand towards Joey. Tom rolled his eyes as Greg unlocked the door.

They made their way into the conservatory, and Greg went back out to the front garden to let the dogs into the back garden, where Joey yapped hopefully at Tas, who padded around proudly, ignorant to him. Eventually, Greg came back in and pointed towards the patio door that led out of the conservatory and into the garden.

“I’ll hose you down like the good old days” said Greg, unravelling the hose pipe

“Hose us down?” Athena cried

“Yeah, yeh filthy, both o’ you” Greg replied

“But a hose?” complained Athena

“Yeah, it’s a bit extreme” muttered Tom

“Man up Thomas, don’t be so lily-livered” Greg dictated

“What?” Tom answered; a little bit speechless “but, I... its winter” Greg was oblivious.

“How do you turn this thing on?” he said, fiddling with the hose pipe tap.

“I’ll help” declared Athena. She thought that if she could delay the whole pandemonium then Grettle may return and save their skin, quite literally. Lazily, she wondered over to where Greg stood with the hose pipe in arm. Greg had turned the tap on what should’ve been full-blast, yet it wasn’t working.

“Let’s make sure it’s secure” Athena advised, bending down and pressing the hose pipe closer to the tap.

“Oh, okay” Greg agreed

“Yep, that should do it” she glanced around awkwardly but he just shrugged in a panicked return.

“What else?” questioned Greg

“Check the other end”

“Oh alright, yeah, that’s all good”

“Urm...” Athena was now struggling to buy time any time at all.

“Oh you silly fool” Greg laughed “the second tap, o’ course” Greg slowly twisted the second tap and water could be heard, dripping softly. Athena let go of the hose pipe; she knew what lay ahead. Jumping away, she clasped a hand to her mouth as the hose pipe roared into life and water gushed out of the end. As it was on full-blast it writhed on the floor like a struggling snake, spraying both Greg and Athena. It then turned for its next victim: Tom. Tom screeched, but there was nothing he could do, he just stood there doing some sort of weird, hopping dance. He tried yelling ‘turn it off’ but whenever he tried, water sprayed in his mouth and after about 30 seconds of it being on full blast, Greg finally managed to twist the rusted taps back off. Athena mouthed the word ‘sorry’ to Tom, but he stood there, motionless, arms slightly raised and mouth, gaping open. He was drenched. Water droplets ran off every inch of his body.

Finally Tom managed the words:

“Greg! It’s December”

“Sorry about that” croaked Greg “I was going to warm it up and have it on spray so hardly anything came out”

“I think a bit more than hardly anything did come out though”

“At least you’re not filthy anymore Thomas”

Tom shook it off and accepted the towel that Greg threw to him as they re-entered the house.

“I’ll fetch yeh a mug o’ the old cocoa, that’ll warm you up Thomas” Greg grunted and with that, he side-stepped out of the room, leaving Tom shivering in the towel and Athena quivering with guilt.

“Sorry” she whispered as she sat down beside Tom on the conservatory couch.

“Its okay” although he didn’t look like he thought it was okay. Athena was tired, she snuggled into Tom as his towel was soft “it’s always me I swear” he continued.

“I wonder why” Athena giggled

“Shut-up it’s my birthday in two days, you should be nice”

“And so you keep reminding me”

“Urm, first time I think actually” he said sarcastically

“Really?” Athena raised her hand from his shoulder, he nodded in reply “we’ll see” Athena continued. At that moment, Greg backed into the room carrying a slick white tray, decorated with pink roses. On top of the tray were three mugs of cocoa and a plate of homemade, sweet-smelling shortbread that were presumably crafted by Grettle.

“Here we go” he said, setting the tray down on the coffee table. They each took a mug and sipped gently from it.

“So, Tom it’s your birthday soon I hear?” Greg asked

“Yeah” Tom choked on his drink “Yeah it is”

“And so close to Christmas, how lovely”

“Yes, I suppose it is”

“Well here’s a little something from Grettle and I, son” Greg passed Tom a rectangular package with a card attached to the top.

“Wow, you really didn’t have to”

“Well, you’re like the grandson I never had”

“Thanks a lot Greg”

“Thought I’d give it to you now seeing as I probably won’t see you before your birthday, it’s nothing special but I think it’ll come in useful” Tom placed the gift in his lap.

“Thanks” he said again

“I know it’s not your birthday quite yet, but I don’t think your mum would mind if you open it now.” Athena wasn’t quite sure that Demmy would approve of Tom opening his gift two days early, but Tom himself would be only too happy to oblige to Greg, thinking of it as some sort of command that he must follow.

“Urr well, it should be okay” Tom replied

“Whatcha waiting for boy, open it!” Tom had always been terrible at opening presents. The gift was wrapped in musty brown paper and it was tied at the top with some itchy, woven, cream string that hung limply round the present. He peeled his way through the cello tape in the corners and untied the bow. There in the wrappings sat a large bulky book, which was entitled: The secrets of ASTRONOMY and what you never knew. It was a hard back and the bindings were blue and polished. The writing was engraved into it and was finished off with glistening silver. On the front cover was also a picture of a galaxy of stars that shimmered and swirled in a cloud of glitter. The copy seemed brand new, yet there was an air of oldness about it. Tom looked confused and rather awkward.

“Thank you Greg, you really shouldn’t have...” Athena sensed a slight air of sarcasm.

“Oh it’s the least I could do, it’s an extended edition, you don’t see many of them nowadays, and it’ll tell you the truth Thomas.”

“I’m sure”

“Grettle wanted to buy you games vouchers, said it’s what kids liked these days, o’ course I hushed her down, told her she was talking a load of rubbish, I said there’s nothing like a good old book, and what’s better than the old mother nature, something about galaxies, stars, distant universes and constellations...”

“Nothing... yeah that’s great Greg” Tom interrupted, but Greg was oblivious to this and so he went on:

“What we can’t see with the naked eye, that which we feast upon to teach us about our own earth and any others that might be out there, diverse life-forms, ancient beliefs. O’ course some still believe the stars tell our future and our past, course ‘ow would we know, life is like a leopards spots, you can’t change what has been imprinted there for centuries, no matter how hard you try.”

“Oh, please continue” Tom said so sarcastically that Athena was surprised that Greg didn’t get the hint, but of course he rambled on as usual, for what felt like hours. Usually, Athena wouldn’t have minded Greg going off on one of his speeches, considering she valued the stars and astronomy very much and because to her it was so very interesting. After all her and her dad, Andreas, had loved the stars too, the used to gaze at them for hours, talking about life and Anna. They would spy through her dad’s old brass telescope that he kept in his study. He would bring it out in the garden occasionally and they would stare at Jupiter and its many moons.

Jupiter was Athena’s favourite planet, she never knew why, but perhaps it had something to do with how her dad had always confused it with Anna’s star. She fell into the memory.

The two of them were looking through the telescope, pointing at stars and giggling as he confused Anna’s star again.

“You’re hopeless” she had said

“Yes, but at least I know which end to look out of a telescope” he had replied

“One time!” laughed Athena “I was 6, I’d never seen one up close before, how was I to know?” Andreas had laughed and threw Athena over his shoulder as they spun on the lawn together.

Athena came back to ‘earth’ again, she hadn’t realised that she was staring into the garden and hadn’t blinked for a while. Strangely, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t break her gaze with it, until Tom realised and nudged her. She grunted slightly then pretended to, once again, be listening intently to Greg.

The reason Athena was not really listening on this most interesting subject was because she only ran to meet Greg to ask about Camp Thárros, but now she was bored and fed up and for a minute she wanted to go home, until she remembered the argument with her mother Hilary, and then she just wanted to sit in a far distant land, or at Camp Thárros.

“So yeah, that’s how I came across my first telescope, been fascinated by the stars ever since, amazing really.” Greg finished, Tom agreed with a grunt of sarcasm. “What’s the matter with you Athena? You haven’t said much today” this was her chance to ask her questions, so she leapt on it.

“Actually Greg, I had something to ask...” but Athena was cut off when the door clicked open and Grettle and her friends made their way to the kitchen. Athena’s last words were muffled and forgotten by the ominous sounds coming from the front of the house.

“You two best be off, I’ll let you out the back, Grettle and her lot will be wanting tea”

“Oh” Athena looked dismayed. Tom abruptly stood up and pushed the packaging of his present to one side, clutching the book and envelope containing the card. Greg shunted them out of the door, and Tom hesitantly clipped Joeys lead on before making his way to the gate.

“Were you saying something Athena?” Greg asked

“Urm y- I” she began “It doesn’t matter”

“Oh, alright, well happy birthday Tom, have a merry Christmas, both of you”

“You too!” they chirped “Merry Christmas Mr Handsan” with that, they vacated the property. Neither of them spoke a word to each other until they reached the alley way.

“A book on astronomy! Is he bloody barbaric?” Tom yelped hysterically.

“Oh come on, don’t be so ungrateful Tom, he tried” Athena replied

“I could’ve had a games voucher, think of all the video games that I could’ve bought in place of that mangy old book.”

“It’s not that bad”

“It is”

“I thought you liked astronomy”

“No Thee, you like astronomy”

Athena shrugged because it was true, she loved astronomy, but she still thought that Tom was being unreasonable.

“Still” she said “Greg tried and there’s no denying it”

“You’re just upset that you didn’t get to ask him about Camp Thárros”

“What’s that got to do with anything? But that reminds me!”

“What?”

“The closing date for the application is Christmas day, the 25th, Tom we have 5 days, including today!”

“Shame, maybe next year”

“No! I will go, and you’re going to help me” she grabbed Tom’s hand and pulled him, at running pace, towards his house.

“Okay, I’ll ask my mum” Tom panted

“Thank you!” Athena threw her arms round him. They walked placidly into the house and Joey was let off his lead by Tom; he was sent yapping up to the back door. Tom replaced the key in the pot and opened the door, Joey bounded in first, and then Athena and then Tom last. Closing the door behind him, Tom called out:

“Hi mum!” Demeter came running down the stairs.

“There you are, how are you two?” she said

“Not bad” replied Athena

“What Happened?” she said, eyeing their soaked, and still slightly muddy, clothes.

“Long story” replied Tom

“I’ve given up listening to them” Demmy laughed in a slightly hysteric tone. At that moment, Tom’s dad, Timon Noble, walked in.

“Hello” he mused

“Hello” Athena and Tom replied in unison, Athena caught Tom’s eye and he knew what to do.

“Mum, dad” he began “we all know how much I’ve always wanted to go to a summer camp”

“News to us” said Tim, glancing over to Demmy who was folding some washing round her arm.

“I’ll say” Demmy retorted “just last year I asked you about Camp Thárros, you weren’t interested, too busy with your computer games, ‘too many things to do’ as you put it” Athena’s golden eyes glinted with a longing for excitement.

“See, about that” Tom’s said “I’ve decided I wanna go, me and Athena, we wanted something to do this summer, I mean it’s about ancient Greece, right? And you know how much I love history”

“I’ll go fill out the application form” smiled Timon and he departed from the room.

“I mean I know it’s a hassle but... wait, what?”

“Well we, me and your father, went there as children, it’s how we met, we know it’s safe, you can go”
“Thanks mum” cheered Tom

“What about you Athena, will you be going?” Demmy asked

“Of course”

“Wonderful” Demmy looked as if her son had just won an Olympic gold medal.

“Well, I best go now” stated Athena

“So soon, aren’t you going to stay for dinner?”

“No, I’m afraid not, there’s something I’ve got to do!

“Well if you’re sure”

“Yes thank you”

“Okay” and Demmy swayed out of the room.

Athena picked up the box containing the book that remained unnoticed on the counter and shoved it under her arm.

“Come on” sighed Tom “I’ll walk you home”

“I live down the road”

“Even so” Athena took his arm and they strolled out the front door.

“Looks like you’re going” mumbled Athena

“Why so sad then?”

“Because after this morning, mum will never let me go”

“She has to”

“She doesn’t” after a small period of silence Athena continued “I know!”

“Oh no, not another one of your plans Thee”

“I’ll fill it out myself, and then tell her when she’s in a good mood, she can’t stop me then”

“I don’t know” Tom sounded unsure

“It could be my only hope”

“You could just ask”

“And then get shouted at for going against her too, no, this’ll be in secret”

“Fine, but don’t say I didn’t warn you” they approached her front door

“I won’t need to” she laughed.

“Whatever you say, see you later, Athena”

“See you on your birthday, Tom” they hugged and then Athena closed the front door behind her and placed her key on the cupboard in the hallway.

“Hello” she called. No reply. Her mum must’ve taken everything to the rubbish tip, perfect timing.

Athena logged onto the computer and found the ‘Camp Thárros’ website. She filled out an application form to every last detail. There was no stopping her now. Quickly, she logged off again and ran upstairs to message Tom. This was it; she was finally one step closer to going.

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