Chatterbox: Pudding's Place

A Ski Lodge

You flop down onto your bed, exhausted from another long day of school. Is it really necessary for your teacher to assign you to write three essays this week? You have other stuff going on. Life. And you can’t afford to fail this class. Your academic success is hanging on a precipice, and one nudge will send it falling into an abyss so deep that it will never be found if it is lost.

The computer is open in front of you, the white, electronic pages of your word processor beckoning to you. You sit down at your desk.

And then you stand up again and go to the kitchen for a glass of water. You can’t work with a dry mouth. Then, once the water is drained, you grab an apple. It’s slightly withered, but you slice it and slowly eat. You glance over toward the counter where a digital clock squats, its red numbers blinking threateningly. 9:48. If your parents knew you were up this late on a school night, eating old apples, with three essays to write, they would go completely out of their minds.

But your parents aren’t here to boss you around at the moment, so who cares what they’d say? It’s not as if the essays were due tomorrow. At least, not all of them are. Just one.

The apple is gone, and you can no longer think of any stalling techniques. You are fighting a losing battle against yourself. It’s past ten at night, you have school tomorrow, and your teacher is expecting a nice, long essay from everyone’s favorite student.

You walk slowly back to your room and sit down at your desk. You type a few words, yawn, type a few more, open up a web browser, surf Wikipedia for a couple of minutes, yawn again. So far you have only twelve words.

You open up the CB. It’s late, you know, and no one will have posted a thing since you checked last, but maybe you can read an old ski lodge or two.

You click on Pudding’s Place, intending to look for Lake Lelilo or something, when a new thread catches your eye. A Ski Lodge, it says, in those red letters you know so well. You click on the link, and start to read.

“You flop down onto your bed, exhausted from another long day of school. Is it really necessary for your teacher to assign you to write three essays this week?”


You keep reading, watching your own movements of that night laid before you in second person, right up to this very moment.


I’ve got your attention now.

My dear CBer,

You are having trouble at school. You have unwritten essays, and you don’t know what to write.

That’s okay.

We are offering you the chance of a lifetime, the chance to fix everything. Come to Camp Juniper, where you have the chance to be freed from the bonds of school. You will no longer have to study late into the night in order to pass a test. You will no longer have to struggle for hours on end in order to write a good essay. In short, we are giving you a Get Out of Jail Free card. And, if you choose not to accept this card, you will be given a free college scholarship.

There will be competitions throughout the days of camp. Each camper will have the chance to earn juniper branches. Anyone who is able to weave their branches into a wreath by the end of the camp session will earn this freedom.

Sounds nice?

We thought so.

All you have to do is fill out this form. And be prepared to die.


CBer, AE, CAPTCHA, or CAPTCHAE? (Note: CAPTCHAs, and CAPTCHAEs are not allowed):



Companion(s) (up to 2 companions per person) (please fill out a sheet for them as well) (AEs only):


Personality in five words. (Any more or less and you will no longer have the privilege to eat popcorn):



Brains or Brawn?:

Envy or Empathy?: 

Reverie or Realism?:

Luggage, in order from most to least important:

Choose a number:

Choose a color:


We are excited to see you. And yes, we WILL see you.

Your obedient servants,

L. Reine & B. Ambrose

P.S. The popcorn is free, as well.

P.P.S. Please be prepared to participate fully, whatever this may mean.

P.P.P.S. Obviously, this is a ski lodge.

You read over the letter again. Is it worth it? You could die. . . but people always come back to life after a ski lodge. You could be a murderer. . . but who cares about that? It’s just a story. And how hard could it be to weave a few branches into a wreath?

Yes, you decide.

It’s definitely worth it.

And so, you fill out the form.

And then, you press submit.

submitted by Liberté and Basil, Camp Juniper
(October 31, 2020 - 8:09 pm)

Oh wow, that's quite a bit to take in. First, Icarus and I are no longer suspects, so that's cool. I'm also in love with how you portray me. The nostalgia, inability to keep a secret, and flexing about my ski lodge knowledge. It's awesome. :D

I'm very unsure of what to make of this frizzy-haired person. It doesb't look like they're the murderer, but there was a lot about them and what they're doing that was covered up by all the confusion. 

It's too dark to take pictures of actual nature, se here's a paper flower in a mug: 

submitted by Luna-Starr, age 27 eons, Existential Ponderment
(January 27, 2021 - 6:53 pm)
submitted by New Part Out!
(January 26, 2021 - 5:14 pm)
submitted by New Part Out!
(January 26, 2021 - 5:45 pm)

Wow! Amazing part, as always! 

Frizzy hair is veryyyy suspicious...

Also, it appears my AE's have decided to be... quiet...?

Welp, that's also extremely suspicious...

I'm afraid of turning around and seeing The Mansion on fire, so I'm just going to stare at my entry! :D

submitted by Sammy Everlast, age Immortal, The Everlasting Mansion
(January 28, 2021 - 11:15 am)

Interesting... I have several ideas.

Firstly, Felix was just ended, and he was one of the three people who had described their hair as "curly." And, of course, curly hair can become frizzy. The other two people? Sammy and AutumnArtist.

Second, Icarus, Zachary, and Luna are all more or less ruled out as the murderer.

Third, I noticed something odd. First, Hot Coco was ended, and she was from Snow's cabin. Then, Masquerade from Basil's cabin was ended. Finally, Felix was from Liberte's cabin... so if the pattern holds, the next victim will be from Snow's cabin, one of Braoin, Heroes, Kitty Cat, NerdFace, Zachary, or... me.

Anyway, here's my photo! A house in my neighborhood had this little glass chicken tucked under a bush in their yard, and I just thought it was cute.

Chicken in Bush.jpg
submitted by Summer, age tau, Nowhere at all
(January 28, 2021 - 4:40 pm)

Love it.


I'm right here, doofus. I didn't actually die.

I knew that. Totally.

Here's my entry for the contest. Is it alright if I used photo filters?

submitted by dreamiing, lost
(January 28, 2021 - 6:17 pm)
submitted by TOP
(January 30, 2021 - 10:26 am)
submitted by TOP :)
(January 31, 2021 - 10:42 am)
submitted by TOP, age TOP!, Top
(February 2, 2021 - 3:27 pm)
submitted by top!
(February 3, 2021 - 11:12 am)
submitted by Sammy EverTOP
(February 3, 2021 - 7:10 pm)

Liberté will have a part out soon, sorry for the delay!

submitted by BasilTop!
(February 3, 2021 - 11:30 pm)

Author's Note — Apologies for the delay in posting and for the short part, I have been busy this week/month/lifetime and am extremely talented at procrastination. 

Day Three — Evening

It was a dark and stormy night. Nightfall shivered in their bed in the Scarlet Cabin. Despite the heat reflecting sweatshirt, thick blankets, and heavy curtains surrounding the bed, it seemed impossible to warm up, and the slightest disturbance made Night’s insomnia unbearable. So, at just past midnight,, they were sitting stock straight in their bed, shivering, and listening to the emptiness. Luna was supposed to be in the same cabin as them, but Basil and Liberté had taken her away and stored her safely in their private lounge after everyone had started blaming her for the deaths. But then Felix… no, they wouldn’t think about him personally. That would hurt too much. It was his bed that created the most emptiness in the room, an emptiness that seemed almost solid. So, Nightfall whispered, “Felix isn’t dead, just absent. The emptiness is not keeping me awake. The chill in the room has nothing to do with the ghost of a fourteen-year-old boy.”

After the death this afternoon, it seemed impossible that Luna could be the killer. She had been nowhere near the multipurpose room during the funeral. Which ruled out the one suspect who had seemed viable.

Why had she been suspected, though? Because she wrote about murder? So did Agatha Christie, and the biggest mystery in her life was that one time when she disappeared for a week and claimed not to remember a thing about it. For Mystic’s sake, Nightfall themself wrote about murder. And the fact that Luna had claimed that poison was in Coco’s ice cream… well, it was pretty obvious. Everyone had assumed it, anyway. There wasn’t really any other way for her to ingest it.

“Nothing makes any sense,” they whispered, their voice rising. Just slightly, but enough that, across the room, the half-asleep Sammy nodded her sleepy head in agreement. She didn’t understand it either, but chocolate was delicious, and she had won the photography contest that day.

Finally, lulled by the sound of rain hitting the roof, Nightfall drifted off to an oddly populated dreamland.


“This can’t keep happening, Liberté,” Basil sighed, his head resting in his hands.

“Shhh. Keep your voice down, Luna is asleep.” She wasn’t.

“And three people are dead. Three people, Liberté. I don’t know if you quite realize that. Three people have died. We don’t know who killed them, or why, or if they’re going to strike again. What we do know is that we are stuck on an island in the middle of nowhere, with no phone service or Wi-Fi, and no boat scheduled to come near for over a month. There’s no one here with us but a bunch of kids, Palenia Piper, and Snow. And Snow hardly counts. I don’t care if she’s your niece and a miniature genius with the heart and fingernails of a mosquito crossed with a chainsaw, she’s seven years old and she has to crack sometime. I don’t know why we thought this was a good idea, but there’s a high chance that we’ll be dead before we get away.”

“Yes,” Snow agreed, popping her head around the corner. “And we’re out of carpet cleaner. Blood is really hard to get out of white plush.”

Beneath the covers of her cot, Luna scribbled something in her notebook.

“Go to bed,” Liberté murmured to Snow. “It’s late.”

“I had coffee. I’m not sleepy, and you and Basil are talking about important stuff. I’m a part of the camp, too. I lead a cabin, and I have a right to know what’s going on.”

“We really need to hide that coffee. Fine, you can talk with us, but there’s nothing happening.” Liberté reached over and inserted a CD into a player, making Snow cringe.

“Since when has anyone actually used a CD? And why are we listening to Brahms’ Lullaby?” Then, with her mouth still open in protest, Snow’s head slipped to one side, and a quiet snore emitted from her mouth. Beside her, Liberté and Basil slipped into sleep, and even Luna in her cot allowed her notebook to drop and her head to nod. There was no fighting the sound of notes slipping through the air. A moment later, someone quietly opened the door and walked across the floor towards the form of the sleeping girl.

“You are getting too close. If I didn’t have something special planned for you… but this will do nicely.” The figure slipped their hand under the covers and carefully extracted two things. A notebook and a smooth, sanded stick. “I will keep these. In the morning, I doubt you will remember a thing. Sweet dreams.”

The evening had been difficult. Feigning sorrow over the dead Felix, choking down Palenia Piper’s lasagna-pizza-waffle casserole, and then a night of making-sure-no-one-suspects-you. But finally, it was time for a much needed, little deserved rest. And perhaps a bite of stolen chocolate.


The night is the only time to write in a diary.

Besides the fact that being the only person awake during a camping trip makes you uniquely attuned to nature and the world around you in a way that most other people will never experience, having a diary can often associate you with weakness or negative stereotypes of femininity. Only one person knows about my diary… and they won’t tell.

The world around me is quiet and still. In the bed next to me, NerdFace’s breath is gentle but steady. A window is open, and I can hear the sound of rain hitting the ground. Gently, softly, the dripping could nearly lull me to sleep. This is the time when I most feel as if I could just melt into the earth and feel perfectly content. I would see everything, know everything, and, perhaps, I would finally understand the world around me.

Everything is so odd. People are dying, people are collapsing into themselves. Others seem to be nearly unaffected. And then there are the people who are trying to figure out what is going on. I hear little snippets of conversations, ideas and plans that never take off. Earlier, Sammy was interrogating the cook, trying to see what she had to say about the death of Hot Coco. It seems a lifetime ago, but it was only a few days. Sometimes I wonder…

Summer trailed off, her pencil falling to the smooth paper of her notebook. Why did all these people have to die? What was the point? Does it even matter? All at once, the sound of the rain outside became ominous, like a thousand fingernails tapping at the thin glass of the windows. Nerd’s breathing seemed to shift from gentle to rasping and rough, the sound of a monster lying in wait. The air around Summer chilled, as if she was swimming in ice. She pulled her sweatshirt closer around her, unsure if she was shivering or trembling in fright. The thought of being the only one awake was no longer a deliciously romantic idea, but a threat.

Where are you? Summer wrote. Hot Coco, Masquerade, Felix. Are you still here? Still with us? Why did you die?


Sammy Everlast’s dreams were peppered with slips of reality. The flavor of her hidden chocolate. The sound of laughter drifting from the Arts and Crafts shed. The blank stare of her dead Alter Ego, and the cold, calculating smile of the person standing over him. In her dreams, Sammy could see each feature of the person as clear as her own palm. The gleaming teeth — they probably had good mouthwash — and the clear eyes. In her dream, she could see everything there was to see.

But she didn’t know who she saw.


The forest slumbered. Above the trees, the night sky was dark and studded with stars, glinting like rhinestones on a deep blue dress. The world was silent, beautiful, and serene.

In a clearing in the forest, there was a camp. In that camp were three cabins. And in one of those cabins, there slept a murderer.




Dead: 2 (Hot Coco, Ydris "Masquerade" Dìomhaireachd, and Felix, may they rest in peace in the glory of Camp Juniper)


Alive: 19

Suspects: Felix, dreamii, Kitty Cat, Sterling, Icarus, and Luna-Starr

Enemies of Snow: Zachary and dreamii.

Juniper Leader: Sammy (two juniper branches, congratulations on winning the photography contest!)  

submitted by Liberté, Camp Juniper
(February 4, 2021 - 11:38 pm)

Who would dare steal my stick?!?!?!?! This is the biggest crime to be committed so far.

I feel Felix and I could certainly be off the suspects list at this point. :p 

This is really wonderfully written. And I know I've said it many times, but the fact that my crazy ski lodge lady persona is actually in this just fills me with joy. Keep up the good work, lovelies! :) 

submitted by Luna-Starr, age 27 eons, Existential Ponderment
(February 6, 2021 - 2:26 pm)

Wait... we kept a dead person on the suspects list? Oh my goodness, XD. I haven't updated that in forever. You and Felix will be off the list next week.

submitted by Liberté
(February 6, 2021 - 5:19 pm)