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)
submitted by tipsy topsy
(November 5, 2022 - 12:14 pm)

Woah! I'm so impressed at all the hard work and dedication that's going into this!

I was super surprised that this was still going on when I (fully) returned yesterday! You're amazing writers with great story telling abilities! This is genuinely my favorite Ski Lodge that I've ever had the pleasure of being apart of! Thank you!!


~ Samantha "Sammy" Everlast  

submitted by Sammy Everlast , age Immortal, The Everlasting Mansion
(November 17, 2022 - 10:52 am)

Wow, Sammy, we really appreciate the comment. It's crazy to think we're still going two years later! We appreciate the compliments and thank you for reading through all of our chapters. We are definitely taken aback that we've made a geniune impact on your ski lodge reading, but we're so glad we did. Thank you Sammy and welcome back!

~Liberté and Basil 

submitted by Liberté and Basil, Camp Juniper
(November 18, 2022 - 12:22 pm)
Frankly, I'm embarrassed at how long it took me to write this chapter. 6 weeks. Truthfully, it's been a struggle. Recovering from surgery, procrastination, vacations, and high school definitely don't help. I'm sorry to anyone still reading for how long it took, and I hope I can get the next one out quicker. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this chapter!
Love, Basil.
Day Sixteen — Afternoon

“Oh my… that’s Icarus, isn’t it? And he’s DEAD! Basil, what did I tell you? I knew he was dead. Just my luck. Do you know how this makes us look? We’ll be on the news! On one of those scandal channels. I can see the headline already. ‘Wholesome Summer Camp Ran by Queen of France, Liberté Reine and her Confidants Snow and Basil Ambrose, goes Deadly— 16 People Dead & Counting.’ Ugh, this is SO embarrassing!” She pauses and the wildness in her eyes fades. She narrows her eyes and makes herself as tall as she possibly can. She paces around the remaining campers. “When I find out who did this… I will make you PAY. PAY I SAY! NO ONE DOES THIS TO—” Basil tugs on Liberté’s arm pulling her back to the counselors’ quarters while she trips over the rubble of the collapsed building. “—THE QUEEN OF— wait, why are you doing that Basil. Stop this instant.” Her voice begins to fade quieter and quieter as she’s dragged away from the campers. “I’m not done! Let me finish. Basil, let me go! I am Liberté Reine. NO ONE does this to the Queen of…”

And then she was gone. 


Snow was the only counselor left behind and eight year olds typically aren’t great with dead people. Snow especially. since she does have a habit of purposely kicking over urns or being very insensitive about death. She just stood there staring at Icarus’ limp body in Sterling’s arms. It was strangely silent. No one really wanted to say or do anything, and they were all still reeling from the whole Liberté-going-insane thing. Snow started to fidget with the fringe of her scarf and avoided making eye-contact with Ari or Sterling, hoping they would take care of the body themselves. However, Sterling and Ari also didn’t know what to do with the body, so they stood there quietly as their arms fatigued from the weight of Sterling’s AE. 

Kitty Cat wasn’t having it though. They wanted nothing to do with Icarus being dead. They weren't the one who dared him to go in the house. They were having fun playing truth or dare, but then he had to go and ruin it. Now, all they wanted to do was take a nap. Somewhere warm, because it was definitely too cold for comfort standing out here and waiting for someone to take Icarus to the cremation room. They didn’t really want to be the person who spoke up, but they were building up the courage to say something, if no one else was going to. They sat in silence with the others for a whole freezing minute before saying something.

“Shouldn’t we take Icarus to Palenia Piper or something? To get him ready for, you know, um, cremation? And none of us are getting any younger or warmer standing here staring at each other like lost puppies. So let’s get a move on, yeah?”

“Right, yes. My apologies. Sterling and Ari, please take Icarus to Palenia Piper and she will take it from there. Sterling, I’m sorry for the loss of your AE, but I’m going to need you to be strong, m’kay? Liberté’s at the verge of a mental breakdown, I’m sure Basil’s not too far off from that, and I’m too young to be a ‘certified’ counselor or whatever, so I’m going to need y’all to take care of yourselves. Go to the lounge. Have some hot cocoa or something. But please, just stay out of my way. That is all. Continue.” Snow says before disappearing somewhere. 

Sterling and Ari carefully make their way to the Palenia Piper, walking carefully so they don’t jostle the body. Something’s different, though. Ari held Braoin’s dead body and he certainly did not feel this warm, full of color,  or this easy to carry. Apart from the blood, Braion’s body had been exactly the same, his body was limp and his limbs sagged. But he felt different. Braoin was almost ice cold, his skin had paled, and he was stiff from rigor mortis. Ari felt deep down that something was wrong, but she didn’t quite have the nerve to say it. After all, Icarus was Sterling’s AE. It could be a touchy subject to bring up the possibility that he was not actually dead. So, Ari left it alone. She didn’t feel like stirring up any more drama. 

In this case, however, she should’ve.


With Adrian seeking care for hypothermia, or frostbite, or whatever, and Sterling and Ari taking Icarus to the crematorium, there were only two campers left: Pine and Kitty Cat. Kitty Cat was already ticked off with the whole Icarus incident and Snow being an incompetent counselor, so she wasn’t going to do any more waiting around for anyone. Pine, on the other hand, was still stunned from the whole Icarus-being-dead thing, still caught up on why he gave Adrian that dare, and still reliving the whole dreamii-getting-killed thing from last night. He was more than happy to blindly follow Kitty Cat around for the rest of his time here at Camp Juniper if it meant that he didn’t have to make any decisions. 

“I’m going to go to the main hall. It’s warm, there’s hot cocoa and popcorn, and there’s comfortable couches with blankets. You’re welcome to come with me, or you can do your own thing, I don’t care. I think we should stick together though, just in case the murderer decides that one person a day isn’t enough. Also for alibi reasons and such. You know. Common sense things.” Kitty Cat says, sarcasm dripping thick through their last few words. 

“Yeah, I’ll go. Hot cocoa sounds nice. Do you think they have marshmallows?”

Kitty Cat almost snaps at Pine, giving him the cold ‘I don’t care’ again, but they’re able to restrain from it. They remember Pine DID just lose dreamii. The guy is probably traumatized. He doesn’t deserve to be treated poorly just because Kitty Cat is annoyed. A pang of compassion and sorrow hits them, and their face softens.

“I’m sure they do. If they don’t, I think I have a bag stashed in my suitcase that we can go get. Come on, let’s get out of the cold. I doubt it’s any good for us.” Kitty Cat says, wrapping an arm around Pine’s waist.

Pine sinks into the touch, fighting back the tears springing into his eyes. A pang of loneliness hits him and his head goes numb. He allows Kitty Cat to essentially drag him to the lodge, sit him on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and marshmallows, and wrap a nice weighted blanket around his shoulders. He chugs the steaming hot drink, burning his tongue only once and sets the styrofoam cup on the end table before melting into the blue couch covered in shag fabric pulled right out of the 70s and falling into a deep sleep.

Kitty Cat watches him fondly. They figured he hadn’t slept the night before. After all, how could you? If you had fallen asleep and woken up to a dead person, especially a dead family member, cradled in your arms, would you be able to shut your eyes without seeing dead people? Pine definitely couldn’t, and it seemed as if the fatigue had crept up on him and allowed him to get in a few hours. Suddenly, Kitty Cat felt a lot less salty about what was going on around them, and they decided it was going to be their job to take care of Pine as if he was their own. Pine was going to be safe.

Or was he?


The murderer feels weird. Normally when the person they’re supposed to kill dies, they can feel it. Their power grows stronger. The urge to kill reduces. However, that’s not the case here. They don’t feel different. They feel like they want another kill. But the rules say one a day. The magic wouldn’t allow them to kill two in one day. Something is wrong. Is Icarus really dead? Or is Camp Juniper growing stronger? They take a long, deep breath and try to shake away the feeling. 

Everything is going to be fine.

Everything is GOING to be fine.



“Basil, nothing is FINE. Everything is going wrong. I founded this camp as a nice camp for kids to get away from school. As a CALM, SOOTHING RETREAT. But no, someone HAD to come ruin it. Who do you think it is? Everyone left is so sweet. None of them would be able to kill someone, right? RIGHT? Is it YOU? Is it? Or maybe is it Snow? She’s scary. Maybe it’s her. Could it be ME? Maybe I’m bewitched. Do you think that could happen? Back in my palace people would get bewitched all the time. The doctor had to treat all these crazy, bewitched people all the time. Basil, what if it’s me? I’m the one complaining all the time about it, it would be funny if it was me. No, it wouldn’t. Sorry. But what if it is? Anyways, the whole murderer thing isn’t my fault. Right? Basil, right? Please tell me it’s not my fault. Unless it is? Basil, is it?” Liberté says, spiraling. 

“Liberté, deep breath. Nothing is your fault. You didn’t know this was going to happen, nor did you cause it. You created this camp with good intentions and you still have good intentions. Also, there is no way you’re the murderer. You don’t have the code that unlocks your room door, I do, and without it, there’s no way anyone, even your bewitched self would be able to get in or out of your room. It’s definitely not me, I can promise you that, and as for Snow, why would a counselor want to kill off all the campers. Sure, she’s scary. But she has a sweet heart. After all, you did list an incentive for creating a juniper branch wreath. I’m sure someone got a little greedy and thought killing was their best solution. I don’t know, though. We can’t look inside other people’s minds, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty, so you can’t really blame anyone either. Everything just got a little out of hand, but we’re going to figure it out. Everything is going to be okay, Liberté. I promise. Now come on, let’s go get you a hot tea and something to eat. Settle your mind.”

“Yes, please. I’m sorry, and thank you. But even though you tell me all of that, something still doesn’t feel right. I know I’ve done everything I can to prevent all the killing, but deep down it still feels like I’ve done something wrong. I feel so bad for those poor kids, too. I wish we could just send everyone home.”

“It’s hard, I know, knowing that basically everything is out of your control. And sending everyone home is the best solution, but if we were able to, you know we would’ve done that the first day. It just isn’t something that we can do. But hey, let’s try to keep our minds off of it for now. What kind of tea would you like?” Basil says, steering Liberte towards the door and trying to get her to leave her room.

“Chai, please.”

“Of course.”

Dead: 16 (Hot Coco, Ydris "Masquerade" Dìomhaireachd, Felix, Inari, Summer, AutumnArtist, Nightfall, Aspen, Luna-Starr, Freak, Zachary, Braoin, Sammy Everlast, NerdFace, dreamii, and Icarus (or is he?). May they rest in peace in the glory of Camp Juniper) 
Alive: 5
Suspects: Liberté suspects everyone. It's all your fault.
Enemies of Snow: Let's be truthful here, Snow pretty much hates the whole world.
Juniper Leader: Honestly, we lost track. It's probably Sterling, though.
submitted by Basil, Camp Juniper
(January 4, 2023 - 6:54 pm)

I didn't realize a new part was out -- wonderful writing, as always! I admire your dedication to this ski lodge -- it's been going on for how long now? about two years? which is very impressive. 

also, good luck with your recovery & everything you're going through :)

also, top!

submitted by pangolin, age she | they, Outskirts of the Galaxy
(February 12, 2023 - 6:21 pm)
submitted by NEW PART OUT!, Finally LOL
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