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)

Ooh, way to pique my interest! I can't wait for this to start! :D

Are you two Summer and Kitten? 

submitted by Luna-Starr, age 27 eons, Existential Ponderment
(November 29, 2020 - 2:24 pm)

Thank you, and no, we are not Summer and Kitten, or any combination of those two people.

submitted by Liberté
(November 29, 2020 - 4:59 pm)
submitted by to the top, and beyond!
(November 29, 2020 - 12:32 pm)
submitted by it starts tomorrow!, topity top
(November 30, 2020 - 10:42 pm)


submitted by to the top, and beyond!
(December 1, 2020 - 11:24 am)

Over the course of our days at Camp Juniper, there will be many contests. The winner of each contest will be awarded a juniper branch. We will warn you that each of you, and your AEs, if applicable, will need to participate fully in each of these contests, or else you will win no branches. We would also like to add that some of the branches will be awarded based on merit, and others will be awarded based on what flows best with the story. Some people will seem to get a lot of branches, and others will receive very few. Please do not take any of this too seriously, because, as we said, a lot of the contests will be at least partially affected by the flow of the story. However, we will also ask that you still do your best to participate as much as possible. Many ski lodge participants merely read along, and this is an attempt to allow you to interact as much as possible with the story.

Day One~ Morning

Sterling stands completely still for an instant, still afraid that any motion she makes will be repeated by the other CBers and AEs. In fact, everyone stands as still as a statue, until Felix sneezes. It's loud, more of an explosion than a sneeze. Anyone can tell that he has been holding it in for as long as he possibly can. No one wants to be the person who sneezes, and, what with everyone being afraid that they are still in second person, Felix does not want to be that guy, the person who makes everyone else sneeze. But, despite the group's fears, no one else sneezes.

"Bless you," Nightfall whispers. They look down, and see that, in their hands, along with assorted other items, is a handkerchief. Vaguely, they remember writing the word "handkerchief" on a form some time ago. But, even as Nightfall remembers, the memory fades away, leaving them with nothing more than the knowledge that Felix has just sneezed. A moment ago, they had known so many things, but now, everything is forgotten. To push away the disconcerting feeling, they speak to the AE, who is trying to wipe his nose on the sleeve of his hoodie without actually getting snot on it. "Here." They fish the handkerchief from the pile of stuff, and hand it to Felix, who blushes bright red, but accepts the offer gratefully, blowing his nose with such vigor that it turns bright red. Nightfall makes a mental note to wash it thoroughly at the first chance available.

"Chop-chop," Snow snaps. "We don't have time to exchange niceties. You need to meet the camp directors in," she looks down at a watch that Sammy is certain had not been on her wrist a moment earlier, "five minutes and fifty-seven seconds. And you do not want to see Liberté Reine when she gets impatient."

"I don't really want to see Snow when she gets impatient, either," NerdFace whispers to the person next to her, Hot Coco, who does her best to stifle a giggle. It's true, but something inside of her seems to tell her that whispering would not help Snow's mood.

The girl in white shoves the guests toward one side of the meadow, surreptitiously poking anyone who gets too close to her. Kitty Cat winces. That girl’s nails are abnormally sharp, and Kitty did not enjoy being on the receiving end of the pokes. At all. As the group walks farther, they began to see a large building, seeming to form from the thin air. The closer they get, the more in-focus it becomes, until they can see that, in fact, it is not just one building, but three, connected by intertwining gardens and courtyards. In the front is a large yard with three tall flagpoles. Each one supports a flag, all in different colors but made of the same material, a light silky thing that looks so soft that Aspen wants nothing more than to clamber up the pole and rub her face against it.

Standing beneath the first flag, a red one, is a short woman with painfully pale hair and a dark blue dress. Leaning awkwardly against the third is a tall young man who seemed to be shifting uncomfortably, fidgeting with the sleeve of his black blazer. Snow runs away from the group, causing Freak to sigh in relief. He had been on the receiving end of a few too many of her pokes for comfort.

"Welcome to Camp Juniper," the woman says. Her voice is sharp, and it carries to the back of the clustered group of CBers, piercing and loud. Adrian covers their ears with their hands, trying to escape from the sound, but to no avail. It's as if she has speakers blasting her voice into everyone's faces. "I am Liberté Reine, the director of Camp Juniper."

"Co-director," the man whispers.

"And this is Basil Ambrose. You already know Snow. We will be your counselors during your time at camp. Here at Camp Juniper, we pride ourselves on our many different activities, such as hiking, archery, life-sized board games, and our renowned craft hut. We also pride ourselves on our service and ability to keep everything in order. Every day, you will be provided with a bulletin board that contains the daily schedule, a camp map, and cleaning assignments. We expect you all to follow the schedule to the second in order to keep everyone safe. There are mandatory quiet hours spanning from 10pm-7am to make sure we keep you children healthy and rested. We don’t have many rules here, but the rules in place are a necessity to your survival. You may not enter the forest without a counselor or after 8pm. We do not know what lives in the forest, nor do we want to know. You must stay in your cabin until quiet time is lifted. The third rule is you must stay away from any uncharted territory, as this is for your health and safety during your stay. Fourth, you may not run activities without the help of your cabin counselor. This also is for your health and safety during your stay. Fifth and finally, after you are settled into your cabins and are going to come for lunch, the temperature will drop to insane temperatures that humans cannot live in. Because of this, we will provide protective sweatshirts with the color and number you have provided on your entrance form.”

Snow leaves into the building behind her and as she does, Liberté continues.

“You must always wear this sweatshirt, unless you want to freeze to death and never see the light again.”

Wow, Autumn Artist thinks to herself. Talk about being dramatic.

Snow returns with three separate boxes and places each one in front of each counselor, the color of the box matching with the color of the flag, before returning to her own position.

“There are twenty-one of you here and three cabins, which means that you will be separated into groups of seven. In order for you all to get to know each other, we have separated CBers and AEs that have come together. For those of you who are worried about never seeing your AE or CBer again, we have allowed many free time slots where you will be allowed to see them.”

She stops, thinking for a moment about what she may have missed.

“It appears I have finished with the boring part of Camp Juniper. We will now move on to sorting all of you into your cabins where you can store your luggage before coming to lunch.”

All three counselors reach to their boxes and pick up a piece of paper that has their assignments listed on it. Liberté speaks first. She is, apparently, the leader of the three leaders, whether they like it or not. "In my cabin is Aspen, Sammy, Felix, Nightfall, Luna, Inari, and Icarus. Please come stand in a neat line underneath the flag."  The seven CBers and AEs reluctantly leave their safe spots in the midst of the group and go under the flag, fighting quietly amongst themselves, trying to figure out who would have to stand next to Liberté for the next half hour. It takes so long that Liberté merely reaches out an arm and tugs Icarus to her side. The poor AE wiggles uncomfortably, but no one wants to disagree with her verdict. Basil continues.

"Masquerade, Pine, Sterling, Ari, AutumnArtist, Freak, and Adrian will be in my cabin." This time, there is no hesitation. It seems obvious that Basil is the least scary of the cabin counselors, and his campers breath nearly identical sighs of relief.

Then Snow speaks, although it is unnecessary. NerdFace, Zach, Heroes, Hot Coco, Braoin, Summer, and Kitty Cat have already reluctantly come beside her, dragging their feet. Nothing is more embarrassing than having a seven-year-old be your camp counselor and being afraid of her.

Each of the counselors hands out the sweatshirts to their campers. “Navy blue for Masquerade, green for Pine, of course, blue for Sterling,” Basil mutters under his breath.

“Shut up!” Liberté snaps, slapping his hand and causing him to drop Ari’s black sweatshirt onto the dusty ground. The girl grabs it from the ground and rolls her eyes. Some people have absolutely no hand-eye coordination.

“These are really nice,” Luna says, trying to break the awkward silence following Liberté’s outburst, as she fingers the light, heat absorbing fabric of her azure sweatshirt. “Can we keep them after we leave?”

“Of course,” Basil says, just as Snow announces that they are far too expensive to get thrown away like that.

"Whatever, keep them if you want. Just follow your counselors now, you sweet honey bunches of oats," Snow says, already walking away from the flagpoles. "We're showing you to your cabins." Cringing at the clumsy endearment, Zach follows her, along with his other cabin mates, away from the camp entrance. As they walk, Snow points out parts of the camp. "Over there is the bulletin board. Like Liberté said, everything you need to know is right there. In our cabin, there will be a map on everyone's beds in case you get lost, custom-made by Peregrine. Please do not lose it, those things are expensive to print out. And I know it's cliché, but never go into the Unknown Territory. It's tradition."

On the other side of the path, Basil promptly began to hum “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof, groaning as he did so. Once something gets stuck in his head, it’s impossible to get out without chewing gum, which Liberté has outlawed. “It’s not rustic enough. Or nature oriented.”

“Neither are heat absorbent sweatshirts,” he had protested, but no, she would not listen, and now he would never get that song unstuck. Unless someone said something about not being satisfied.

"Why in the world," Braoin whispers, "would you warn us away from an unknown territory for tradition?" He didn't mean for anyone to hear, much less Snow. Of course, what people mean to happen is rarely what occurs.

"Because I said so," the girl says in response. And that, of course, is the end of it. When a tantrum-prone child with pointy fingernails puts her foot down, you don't have any choice but to listen.


Dead: 0

Alive: 21

Suspects: ???

Enemies of Snow: None (yet...)

Juniper Leader: None

bulletin board.png
submitted by Liberté, Camp Juniper
(December 1, 2020 - 3:15 pm)

This is really good! I can't wait for more, and also, I hate getting poked... *internally cringes*

submitted by Kitty Cat, age teen, Gotham City
(December 1, 2020 - 6:51 pm)

All right! No worries, Cabin Snow-- we got this!

I can't wait for the next installment. 

submitted by Summer, age tau, Nowhere at all
(December 1, 2020 - 11:22 pm)

We sure do got this, Summer! xD 

And wow you guys, that was so good! How often do installments come out? 

submitted by NerdFace, age infinity, in the void
(December 2, 2020 - 11:02 am)

Every Tuesday a new part is released. 

submitted by Basil
(December 2, 2020 - 12:29 pm)

*clapping* Oooh, interesting! 

submitted by Nightfall
(December 3, 2020 - 1:12 am)

I get to keep a lovely azure jacket forever! Oh joy!  XD

Your writing is lovely! I also love how one of your categories is "enemies of Snow" XD

Are one of you Bakerloo? 

(My CAPTCHA, Boo, says "kapao")

submitted by Luna-Starr, age 27 eons, Existential Ponderment
(December 4, 2020 - 1:55 pm)

Nope, neither of us is Bakerloo, although he does have another wonderful ski lodge going on right now. Everyone, thank you so much for the lovely comments! We're so glad you are enjoying this.

submitted by Liberté
(December 4, 2020 - 6:59 pm)
submitted by FIRST PART OUT!
(December 1, 2020 - 3:16 pm)

Whoa- I love this! Great job! :D

submitted by Sammy E, age Immortal, The Everlasting Mansion
(December 1, 2020 - 8:29 pm)