March of the Band 4

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Synopsis of March of the Band 4. Jacob (12yrs old) never thought that going to a comic convention, without his mother's permission, would land him at a summer camp only to become lost with three other children. Not only do they have to escape the grips of Mother Nature, they are being chased by two ruthless men who believe Jacob stole something valuable. Will they escape?

Excerpt from Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Crime and Punishment

Jacob, walking towards the main entrance, fished out his cell phone and with his hands shaking from both anger and nervousness, called his mother. He didn't say much on the phone other than they needed to be picked up from the state fairground and not the mall and he would explain more on the ride home. Casey handed them off to another venue staff member after recording both of their names in his tiny black notebook. He briefly told the staff member what had transpired and that the two boys weren't allowed back on the premises for the remainder of the convention.

Jennifer must have broken some speeding laws as she arrived to the front entrance in a matter of no time. She jumped out of the car immediately after coming to a quick stop, quickly putting her car in park, and ratcheting the handbrake. She approached the two boys, both standing on either side of the man in the yellow shirt. Her hands were on her hips.

"Are they in trouble?" Demanded Jennifer directing her question towards the staff member.

"Uh, no, ma'am the supervisor just asked that they be escorted off the premises," replied the young convention employee. He looked like he was barely older than the two boys that had been placed under his charge.

"They must be in some sort of trouble if they were asked to leave,” pressed Jennifer.

"We are not pressing charges; it's just the young man doesn't have a receipt for a comic book."

Jacob couldn't hold his tongue any longer and spoke up saying each word slowly and emphatically, "it was given to him for free, I have comic books in here with no receipts. They give away comic books here to promote their publications."

Jennifer declared, "get in the car, now" and turned to the staff member and stated, "thank you, young man, I have it from here."

The boys quickly got in the car and Jennifer slammed her car door. With teeth gritted and both hands clinched around the steering wheel as if it was someone's neck, she turned to her son and almost in a whisper, said, "Jacob Charles Allen Hart!"

Jacob never understood why he was given two middle names unless it was for circumstances like this when all four names can be rattled off in wrath at once. He couldn't remember the last time all four names were used together. Either way, he would have been happy given only three names. The fourth was way too much.

She went on, "don't" and with a dramatic pause and a menacing index finger in the air, "do NOT say another word." Her face was flush with her cheeks being the most red.

He had seen his mother angry plenty of times, like the time he broke her flowered vase or when he tracked mud on her freshly cleaned carpets, but this was the worst he had ever remembered her being. He had committed a terrible offense and he had no idea what punishment he would have to face.

Jacob under his breath said, "with you, that should be no problem."

She heard her son, but didn't know how to reply and was too angry to say anything that she would later come to regret.

With awkward silence, she drove the boys back to their hometown. The radio wasn’t even on this time. With not so much as a goodbye, she dropped Tyler at his house. Jacob was surprised that she came to a full stop to let him out. Tyler, with his backpack strapped to his shoulder and still carrying his swag bag, raised his free hand and waved it solemnly at his friend not knowing if he would see him outside of class any time soon.

As they settled into the house and Jennifer placed her handbag onto the table she said "okay, tell me everything."

Jacob told her that he took the money to get into the comic convention without ever intending to see the movie. He had this planned for quite some time. He said that he didn't have money for himself and Tyler to attend the convention and he had always wanted to go. He didn't leave anything out, as he didn't see the point of lying anymore and he was ready to accept whatever punishment that would be coming his way.

"How come you never came to me? You could have been honest with me Jacob." Jennifer’s hands were trembling.

"It's easier not talking to you," he sullenly replied.

With several moments of silence as Jennifer tried to find her words, she finally said, "You are grounded for the remainder of the school year, no games, no going out, no television, nothing. You go to school and come home. You ride the bus from now on, both there and back. No more walking to school. No hanging out with Tyler. If you are home, your cell phone goes in my bedroom. You will find some way, young man, to repay me and replace those two-dollar bills that your great grandmother gifted to me, God rest her soul."

Jacob tossed his cellphone on the coffee table and with his backpack still strapped to his shoulder he stormed off to his bedroom. Jennifer fell back into the couch, put her face into her hands, and began to cry.

Several weeks went by and school was coming to a close. Jacob and Tyler only saw each other between classes. It was just brief interactions to see how each other was doing. Jacob, as usual, stayed to himself once he got home barely speaking to his mother. Jennifer tried to start conversations with her son but any dialogue was short and perfunctory. Jacob didn't know what to say to his mother and the truth could be said of Jennifer. They were lost in their own solitary worlds.

Sitting on his bed thumbing through an older comic book one Saturday, a few days before summer break, Jennifer knocked on his door. Without waiting for a reply from Jacob, she walked in with a brochure in her hand.

She slapped the rolled-up brochure on the palm of her free hand and said, "you, my dear son, are going on a two-week summer camp starting June 15th and Tyler is joining you. I already spoke to his dad. One of my instructors recommended this place, she had to make a few calls to get you boys in."

Jacob didn't reply and thought this was just another excuse for his mother to distance herself from him. Without saying anything further, she left the brochure on his dresser.

After she left the room, Jacob got up from his bed and walked over picking up the brochure. On the front page was a picture of two smiling children, a boy and girl, sitting on a canoe in the middle of a green lake surrounded by large evergreens. There was even a fish jumping out of the water next to the canoe. Probably photoshopped decided Jacob. The words "Camp Pertida" were printed on top and Mount Hood National Forest printed below. He opened up the brochure to see more pictures of smiling children doing various activities from swimming, fishing, zip lining, and archery.

Jacob looked at each page and read the contents with a sense of dread. Welcome to Camp Pertida, we are now offering one to two weeks getaways for your child this summer. Your child will explore the forest, go on nature hikes, learn to fish, learn to tie knots, among many other fun, and learning opportunities. This is a co-ed safe environment where your child will learn and grow. Each cabin has entrusted and trained college age counselors who will help guide your child through this wonderful experience. We are excited to have your child in our camp. We ask that campers leave their cell phones at home. More information can be found on our website.

Jacob was not looking forward to the forced group camp. A pit in his stomach began to form and it worked its way up into his chest. He was not excited about hanging out and living with strangers. He tolerated kids at his school, but he never wasted time in becoming overly friendly with any of them. If he was to suffer in this sinister place of the unknown at least he would have his quiet companion with him. This will be a miserable experience he thought as he flung the brochure back on the dresser.

The next few days passed fairly quickly. School for the year had come to a close and that only meant a double edge sword for poor Jacob. He was glad to be finished with seventh grade. He had one more year before he would be a high schooler and one year closer to maybe leaving this small town. There was little fanfare on his last day of school just the normal short day of turning in books and receiving a copy of his final grades. At least his grades were good, therefore not giving any extra ammo to his mother. It was such a small town that there was no point in saying goodbye to any classmates. He was happy to see less of Todd and his annoying presence. The only catch to the trailing edge of the school year was the looming camp his loving mother had signed him up for. He was due to leave in just three days.

Jacob wanted to ask his mother if he would be off restriction after he got back from summer camp. He missed watching television and playing video games with his friend. Jennifer never watched television apart from having it on for the news in the morning for a short snippet of the weather forecast. It was probably turned on for an entire 15 minutes during these times. She detested the television and often told Jacob that it was a waste of money and time. She insisted that it probably destroyed precious braincells with its insidious and driveling programs. The large flat screen television hung silently on the far wall of the living room untouched and only added to the insipid characteristics of their quiet house. Jacob having handed over his cell phone when he was home had no idea what was going on in the real world. He didn't have time to really look at it when he was at school.

On the day before his departure to the detested camp, he woke up hungry and went into the kitchen. It was Friday morning. The television was on. He could hear the weather lady tell the news viewers that intermittent showers were in the forecast and the official start of summer was over a week away. Then he heard the news announcer say, "when we come back after the break more on Ethan Flynn's disappearance." From the kitchen he waited intently on the commercial to be over. He was gutted to hear the television go off.

"You're up early, can I make you some breakfast?" Asked Jennifer as she entered the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. Seeing that her son was pouring cereal she decided to change the subject and then asked, "so, are you excited about summer camp?"

Pouring milk over his sugar laced flakes he replied without looking up, "overly thrilled."