I grimaced. Cam said that before, but he was wrong about that. That was why we were in this shit, uncontrollable mess. The camping trip was meant to be a great experience. Three friends going on an adventure. Nothing can go wrong. He was as sure in his words then, as he was now. Everything will be okay after this. He gripped me on the shoulders, grin widening. No more calm. Almost manic.

Didn’t matter. His words had no effect. Didn’t stop the shivering. Didn’t stop the screams. Didn’t stop me from seeing James hiding in every shadow, lingering in the corner of my vision. Didn’t stop the clammy fingers gripping my arm, nails clawing into my skin. Didn’t stop me from pushing James just a bit too hard on the boat. Didn’t stop Cam from punching him so hard he nearly blacked out. Didn’t stop James from fighting back.

Didn’t stop Cam driving the oar into his head, over and over again. Didn’t stop my sick enjoyment during, and didn’t begin to quell the guilt that bubbled after. He pressed the rope into my hand. Scratchy and rough on the raw skin of my hands. Worse on my neck. Two trees, facing one another. We’d do it together. We’re doing everyone else a favor. After this, nothing could ever go wrong again.