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Billy at Camp '08

by Nadine
(Sydney, Australia)

Earlier this year my whole grade and a few teachers went off to a bush camp that they said would bring us 'closer together'. It did, it was a night none of us will ever, ever forget.

It was the end of autumn so it was still relatively warm. We went off to camp, thinking that three days away from school would be so much fun! I was bunking with four of my friends and was happy about it. So on out first night we played this game called 'Commando'

We crept slowly, crouching, making sure we didn't make a sound and couldn't be seen. We heard leaves crackle under the weight of a foot, and lay down on the ground near a tree stump. At the time I was the only one who could feel it but it went cold all of a sudden, which was unusual, and it remained cold for the remainder of the night. I looked ahead, next to the stump, and saw something lying there, and next to it something bouncing. In the silence that was all I heard.

"Can you hear that?" my friend asked. I looked at her and was silent while the rest talked.

"Shut up!" One of the others said, already afraid.

"Can you see that there?" The third one whispered. We all looked in her direction and I couldn't take it anymore.

"Come on, let's go," I told them getting up. We were all holding hands out of fear so when I stood up so did the rest of them. They all were quite as they gave me weird looks. But there was a sudden gush of wind and we heard someone quietly crying. They didn't bother to fight anymore and we began to run.

When we were a good 20 metres away from the tree stump I told them what I saw.

"You know how you saw something" I asked my friend as she nodded. "When we all looked that way, the figure I saw actually smiled at us." I looked down carefully, as we came closer to our campsite.

Commando was over. I had thought that was where this story ended. But there was more.

We collected our flashlights and found our other friends. We took our respective seats around the campfire and listened to one of the instructors as he told us a story, a story about a boy named Billy.

The story went:

Billy was from a small school out in the country who had come to stay at the camp (where we were) for a little summer vacation for his school. There school was divided up into three groups of 25 and Billy was put into an instructors group, his name was Adrien. Well they were fencing in this hall where there was a small yellow basketball in the corner. Adrien was going through all the instructions, telling them how to do this and that and Billy just randomly got up and began to bounce the ball. Adrien got annoyed so he began to ask

"Hey, put that ball down and sit," Adrien told him, but Billy wouldn't listen.

"Put the ball down and sit!" Adrien said again, angrily this time. Billy just kept on bouncing.

Adrien, annoyed beyond h*ll, was about to walk over to Billy and tell him off, before he was tackled by one of the teachers. After dusting himself off, Adrien asked angrily, "What was that for?!"

"That boy," The teacher pointed to Billy, "his name is Billy; he was our star basketball player."

"Okay, what does that have to do with this?" Adrien asked

"Well, before we came to this camp, it was a basketball competition and we had made it to the finals and Billy was allowed to make a penalty shot. We were down by a point and if Billy had got this in we would've won. But he choked and we lost. Billy has never gotten over it, so every time he sees a ball he goes and starts bouncing it." The teacher recounted, while adding, "It only lasts for about 10 minutes"

"I can't do this, teach the class while he is bouncing that ball away," Adrien said frustrated. Adrien just ignored it and went back to teaching the other kids how to fence. After another 10 minutes or so, Adrien told them to pair up and give it a try.

That was when Billy came up to him and asked, "Can I join?"

Adrien looked down in disbelief and told Billy "No, you didn't hear any of the precautions."

"Ask me anything!" Billy said defensively.

And Adrien did, he got every question right so Adrien had no choice but to let him play. So the day went on and Adrien let the experience slip his mind.

So that night they played commando, like us, and were put into teams. They all sat in their groups and listened to the instructions. One of the instructors, Jay, had just come back from basketball practice and thus had a basketball with him, so Billy went up and started bouncing Jay's basketball.

"Hey give that back!" Jay said angrily, about to grab it from him, but Adrien tackled him and retold his experience. Jay let it go and listened to the commando instructions. After all the teams were put together, Adrien was approached by Billy, "Can I go find my team now?"

Jay, who was standing with Adrien, scoffed and asked "You don't know the rules!"

"Ask me anything!" Billy said angrily. And Jay did, and Billy got every question right.

"Fine" Jay said, not having anything against Billy, so he just let him go.

So afterwards, they collected all the kids and they all sat around the campfire. The instructors did head counts. There should have been 75 kids. But after counting about 10 times they only got 74.

Group one was accounted for. So was group two. Adrien's group, group 3, only had 24. So Adrien did roll call. He went down the list and everyone was accounted for except for Billy. Adrien went again but there was no Billy.

Over the next few days, they sent out teams. Teams on instructors, teams of students, teams of teachers and even the local police force but there was no sign of Billy. This affected Adrien a lot, he felt so guilty about losing him. It was a sensitive subject for Adrien.

But things got weird for Adrien when some of the fellow instructors told him they could hear basketball's bouncing in the dead of night, and someone saying "Ask me anything". Adrien thought it was a horrible joke until it happened to him.

That was the end of his story. We assumed that was the end of the scary aura. But it wasn't.

As we made our way back to our cabins, some people swore they could hear the line 'ask me anything'. We all ignored it and kept walking. My cabin mates and I were scared so we pushed our beds together and slept like that. We all went to sleep pretty easily, I guess.

I woke up in the middle of the night, hearing something outside our window. I opened my eyes and saw my other cabin mates sitting in their beds, huddled together all staring at the window. And that when I heard it.

Ask me anything? A small shrill voice said. In the background we could hear a ball bouncing. It asked one more time, before it went silent again. We were all relived that it was gone, until we heard the ball bouncing. This time it was closer, it was in our room.

Since I was the only brave one, I turned on the flashlight and flashed it at the door. There was nothing there. Believing that nothing was there we hid under our blankets went straight back to sleep. We knew this was the end, no more Billy.

In the morning we found a basketball near the door. None of us were sporty enough to bring a ball with us to camp. As scared as we were we just assumed that a teacher had left it here by mistake. We all laughed weakly as we took the ball outside. Every morning one of the instructors waits by a fire in case any of us need anything. We gave him the ball, in our pajama's mind you, he took it eyes wide and sent us back to our cabin.

That was the end of our experience and camp was perfect after that, although we did feel sudden gushes of wind, but we ignored it and went on with our day. I will never forget that night, and I will never forget Billy.

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