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)

Happy August readers! 

I'm kind of embarassed that it has taken me just short of 8 months to finally get this part out to those of you still following along, but a lot has also occured for both Liberté and I, so I'm trying not to worry about it too much. After all, it is finally finished, so dwelling on my procrastination in the past isn't the important part here. Anyways, I'll let you get to the story. Thank you to everyone still reading, I appreciate your patience with us as we continue to slowly put out more and more parts. We only have three days left— 12 chapters— which is crazy to think about since we've been going since October of 2020. We're almost done, and without more of my tangents, here is day 16's evening!


Day Sixteen — Evening

Icarus is not dead. 

The camp was alerted by the long and sharp scream from Palenia Piper herself, the one person who has yet to show any emotion. Of course everyone came running once they heard the scream, eventually finding Palenia Piper and Icarus in the crematorium.  Icarus was still unconscious, but he was mumbling to himself, the words fading in volume before becoming coherent. His breaths were sharp, causing his chest to rise high and sink low into his body. He was obviously very alive.

“Basil. Basil. BASIL BASIL BASIL. He’s ALIVE. He’s NOT DEAD. This is a miracle. A miracle! Can you believe it? Icarus is alive. I’m not a failure. This is going to make me look so good. Basil, Snow, help Palenia Piper take Icarus to the hospital and get him hooked up to all those fancy machines I bought. Basil knows how to work them. Let’s get Icarus’ breathing back on pace and get him woken up. I’m going to go write this down. Everyone else, keep yourselves busy. And stay safe. There’s still a murderer on the loose.”

And with that, Liberté scurries off back to her room. The other campers glance between each other: Pine, Kitty Cat, Sterling, Ari. They share words without speaking. The survivors always have their own way of communicating. They’ll stick together of course, even until they go to the lodge for a cup of cocoa after the long day. The murderer will slip a bit of a sedative into their hot chocolates, and late at night, they’ll sneak out to finish their unsuccessful kill. But we’re not there just yet.


Basil lifts Icarus from the stone bin and holds him cradled in his arms. Palenia Piper leads the way to the hospital room, and Snow stays behind. “To keep an eye on the kids,” she claims, but we all know Snow very well by now. If she could spend negative hours with the campers, she would. So, of course, staying behind has ill intentions.

“So. Ari. Sterling. Were you trying to kill Icarus? Did you set a trap in that house to try and kill Icarus and when you realized it didn’t work you thought it would be a good idea and just fry him to death? What kind of monsters are you?”

They stay silent, mostly in shock. Well, until Sterling has enough time to come up with her response back.

“Do you really think I would try to kill my own AE? I get that maybe I’ve been a little too competitive lately, but he is literally a part of me and if he ever died, it would definitely not be by my own hand. Also, I trust Ari and I was with her the entire time, I think I would’ve known if she tried to kill Icarus. Obviously the house was very old, Ari probably shouldn’t have given him that dare, and I shouldn’t have pressured him into it. However, it happened, he did the dare, he almost died, but he didn’t. He’s fine. Honestly, I think we should all just move on.”

“Yeah. Maybe I was a little too harsh. I shouldn’t have taken advantage of Icarus’ adventurous spirit especially when it would lead him to something dangerous, so I’m sorry for that, Sterling.”

“Don’t worry about it, girl. He’s fine, and I’m not one to hold grudges, unless someone accuses me of attempting to murder my own alter ego.” Sterling responds, glaring daggers at Snow who is seemingly oblivious to how hated she is at the moment.

“Oh well, I was just asking. Anyways, it’s getting late now. Don’t you think you all think you should go to bed?”

“It’s not even dark out yet. Can we at least go get some hot cocoa before we have to go back to the cabins?” Kitty Cat offers. “And also maybe go and visit Adrian?”

“Ugh, fine. Go by yourselves though, I’ve had enough of all of you for the time being and probably for the rest of your time here. Don’t get killed or whatever.” Snow says before storming off to who knows where.

“She makes me so confused. I never knew a seven-year-old could act like this, but then again this whole universe is practically upside-down anyways so what do I know.” Pine remarks. 

The other campers mumble their agreements. Silence creeps between them all and eventually Ari moves first, walking towards the lodge. Sterling follows, while Kitty Cat and Pine are more hesitant since, you know, they aren’t entirely sure that the two of them aren’t actually murderers. Also, they did just come from the lodge not too long ago, so it wasn’t like they were in dire need of more hot cocoa. However, Kitty Cat figured that they probably wouldn’t kill anyone if they were all together, so they followed. And since they followed, so did Pine. 

When the four of them got there, it seemed as if they all had forgotten about visiting Adrian. Well, for starters, Kitty Cat was hung up on the fact that the once clear pot of cocoa was now replaced with a stainless steel one. They probably wouldn’t have noticed normally, however, the pot had always been clear and they had become fascinated by the material. It couldn’t be plastic since it would melt, and when they touched it, it definitely wasn’t glass. And now, it was none of the above. It was steel. It threw them off for a moment, but once Sterling poured them all a nice steaming hot mug of cocoa, they forgot all about their concerns. Except, before they faded into bliss, they noticed one of the campers didn’t have a single sip of their hot chocolate. Who? They wouldn’t have been able to say.


Darkness had quickly fallen on the camp and the three other campers had fallen into sleep long ago, thanks to the sedative in the cocoa. The murderer takes a quick walk around, double checking that everyone was truly out. They didn’t need anyone following them. After some loud clapping and excessive waving in front of the eyes of the campers, the murder decides that everyone is in fact sound asleep. They grab a certain spice jar off the drink bar and leave the lodge, headed for the hospital. 

They’re angry, of course, that the earlier kill failed; however, there’s a small part of them that feels like this is wrong. There were only six of them left, and after this, five. There had been 22 at the beginning. 22 lives. They weren’t one who liked to kill, except sometimes, when the urges grew so great and the music was so loud. It was so contradictory and confusing and in brief moments, they wished they never had to kill at all. There was some greater force, they were sure of it. All these thoughts began to fade and they turned the glass bottle of spice in their hands.

With their mind blank, the murderer moves on.

The hospital was just a short minute’s walk, but to them, it felt like hours and seconds at the same time. Even with the urge to kill so strong, they felt such guilt along with it. It never felt like this, but it would make sense, since the matter was so… personal. However, there was a task at hand to complete, and because they had failed the first one, there was not much time left. It was indeed nearing midnight, and if the murderer didn’t kill before then, well, they didn’t know what would happen to them. It would just have to happen. And soon.

When the murderer arrives at Icarus’ bedside, they take a moment just to watch his chest rise and fall a few times, to watch his eyelids flutter as he dreamt, to see him alive once more. They almost want to walk away, to choose another on their own accord, but they know they can’t. They reach out and lightly shake Icarus awake. As he tries to open his eyes, they grab one of Palenia Piper’s teaspoons and a glass of water and return to his side. 

“Hey sleepy, I’m helping Palenia Piper out tonight. I’m just here to bring you some medicine.”

“Who… are you?” Icarus says, trying to rub away the sleep from his eyes.

“It doesn’t matter.” The murderer says, gleeful Icarus doesn’t realize who they are. “Why don’t you sit up for me. I’m gonna give you two spoonfuls of this powder, it might not taste very good, but after you do you can wash it down with water okay?”


The murderer opens the glass bottle and pours the first teaspoon of the course, brown powder. Icarus opens his mouth and swallows it down quickly before coughing out a small cloud of brown-tinted air. He then accepts a quick sip of water before they feed him another spoon of the “medicine.” It tastes like Christmas, Icarus thinks.

Well, it’s definitely not Christmas for Icarus.

He’s given the rest of the water and the murderer just stays by his side, watching him. They do, however, make the mistake of setting the spice down on a countertop that Icarus can see. He doesn’t notice at first, and it takes him a while to, as he’s still fading in and out of sleep from the other medicines that Palenia Piper has him on. Eventually, Icarus’ heart monitor moves from the steady beeps of a good pulse to faster, more urgent beeps. The spice is setting in. The murderer sits on the bed and Icarus leans back on them. They instinctively wrap an arm around him, caring for him almost as if he were their own brother. 

Why is this taking so long, the murderer thinks, I don’t have that much time.

Of course, just as the worry and guilt starts to sink in, Icarus sits straight up with a frantic look in his eyes. He swings his head around, scanning the room.

“Did you see that?” He says, paranoia thick in his voice

“See what, bud?”

“Nevermind. It’s gone now I think.” 

The hallucinations are setting in, but this spice still isn’t working fast enough for them. They check their watch. 10 minutes until midnight. This isn’t going to work. They’re going to run out of time. They can’t run out of time.

“Wait, is the medicine you just gave me nutmeg? Can’t nutmeg kill you when taken in a high enough dose? Are you trying to kill me?” Icarus says, sending the murderer deeper into their spiral.


“Okay, bud. Tell me why you gave me nutmeg or I will call Palenia Piper.”

“No. And no you won’t.” The murderer pulls a pillow out from under him. “Because unfortunately, you’ll already be dead.”

It all happens pretty quickly. Icarus sees the pillow and his mouth drops open, ready to scream, but before he can the pillow is over his face. Muffled screams come out, but nothing you’d be able to hear from far away. The murderer releases for one moment, but keeps Icarus’ mouth covered.

“I’m really sorry to see you go, Icarus. I will miss you, truly. No sarcasm. But I have to do this. I’m sorry.”

“No… you… don’t.” 

They give no response. And Icarus says no more. The pillow goes back over his face and pressure is applied. Forced asphyxiation typically takes one to two minutes for the victim to lose consciousness and five to six minutes for them to lose a pulse. The murderer only has four minutes to midnight. That’s not really going to work. But they’re also oblivious to how all the medical stuff works. A single tear slides down their face, but their eyes are stone cold. They press harder and harder against Icarus’ struggle, until all of the sudden there’s a sharp crack and he goes limp. His neck has broken. The heart monitor flat lines.

“I’m so sorry, Icarus.” The murderer says out loud, allowing the tears to come, and freely. They have to get out of here. They crawl out the window and run into the darkness.

Icarus is dead.


Dead: 16 (Hot Coco, Ydris "Masquerade" Dìomhaireachd, Felix, Inari, Summer, AutumnArtist, Nightfall, Aspen, Luna-Starr, Freak, Zachary, Braoin, Sammy Everlast, NerdFace, dreamii, and Icarus. May they rest in peace in the glory of Camp Juniper) 

Alive: 5 (Ari, Sterling, Kitty Cat, Adrian, and Pine)

Suspects: Liberté has gone crazy. She blames everyone. Even herself.

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
(August 2, 2023 - 10:14 pm)

aaah i'm sorry i was on a short unannounced hiatus and i didn't see there was a new part--

but WOW. this chapter was a bit of a rollercoaster - Icarus was miraculously alive, only to be dramatically killed again at the end. I loved how intense the last bit was - the way you guys write the murderer's internal struggle is so captivating and unique. 

Oh, I love the relationship between Kitty Cat and Pine - it's so sweet! <3

idk if I've said this before, but either way it's worth saying again - Liberté is amazing. As are Basil and Palenia Piper. And Snow. (well, she's scary. but amazing in her own way)

Ari is veeeery suspicious, and I feel like she might be a little too obvious to be the murderer? Unless the reveal is more about the accomplice or the reason Camp Juniper is dying or what is making the murderer kill or something.

Sterling is also suspicious, tbh

Anyway, this is absolutely incredible. The storyline, the writing, the characters, the humor, everything. I can't believe there are only twelve parts left! I both can't wait for the finale, and don't want this to end! 

Keep up the excellent work, you two!! And good luck with all you're going through. <333

submitted by pangolin, age she/they, Outskirts of the Galaxy
(August 8, 2023 - 4:40 pm)

Finally back on the first page!! Enjoy :)

submitted by NEW PART OUT!!, Camp Juniper
(August 2, 2023 - 10:15 pm)

Yay new part! Btw, love this ski lodge!

submitted by CelineBurning Bright, age As Needed, The FireMist Sea
(August 2, 2023 - 11:38 pm)
submitted by TOP
(December 10, 2023 - 11:34 pm)
submitted by top <3, camp juniper
(January 27, 2024 - 5:48 pm)