Murder at the Campground

by Dagny Fisher, age 13
Murder at the Campground Is a student at St. Peter's on Capitol Hill. Likes sports, including basketball and track. She loves to write mysteries, is a fan of Agatha Christie, and had read all of the Nancy Drew books.

“There was a massive flagpole where they had all dropped off their cars and a couple of rustic looking cabins. The place smelled like pine cones and mold. On the edge of the camp was a body of water that was a gross, murky brown. From the looks of it, this was not a resort.”

Carolina Mayorga was a struggling artist who lived in an apartment building in Boulder, Colorado. She was originally from Bogotan, Colombia but moved to the US when she was going to college. Carolina watched the sun come up from behind the mountains as she sipped her coffee. “Bob?” she called to her husband. “Are you ready for work yet? It’s almost seven.”

“Coming honey,” he called back. Carolina walked over to the table where she had set the mail down earlier. As she flipped through it, she saw a mysterious envelope with her name on it. She quickly opened it and it read:

 

Dear Carolina Mayorga,

You have received an all expenses paid trip to “King’s Resort” in Orange County, California! Please arrive on July 17th. Do not bring any guests.

Sincerely,

  1. Smith

 

Carolina set the envelope down, went to her room, and started packing her things. She knew she had nothing better to do.

James Bell was a wealthy businessman who was planning on building a grocery store on the empty lot outside of his $1.5 million dollar home in Arlington, Virginia. He was a bachelor, and knew that he would always be a bachelor. When you’re 55 years old it, dating gets a lot harder. “Keys, keys, keys, where are my keys…” he sang to himself. As he was looking for his keys, he saw a strange letter sitting on his porch. He went outside and opened it. Inside it said the same thing as Carolina’s had. He went back inside and set the letter down on the kitchen table to be looked at later.

Kristin Christiansen lived in Juno, Alaska and worked at a helicopter company. She lived with her husband Jason who was away for the next three months on a business trip. They lived in an average sized house. Kristin believed that her life was a fairytale. She was from Yankton, South Dakota and had a loving and fun family. Her sister was her best friend, and she married the man of her dreams. What more could she ask for? “This is weird,” she said as she looked at the strange letter in her hand from J. Smith.

Zachary Clemens was a factory worker in Louisville, Kentucky. He was 38 years old and hadn’t gone to college. He lived in a dungy apartment in a not-so-nice neighborhood known for murder and gang violence. But the rent was cheap and working at a factory didn’t give you that much money. Zachary was your typical loner, no friends and you don’t really know that much about him. Zach walked over to his nightstand and stared at the mysterious letter he had received from a mysterious person.

Claudia Fitzgerald was a hairdresser in NYC. She spoke in a thick New York accent. She was 26 years old and had a boyfriend named Andre. When Claudia was a teen, she worked with many modeling agencies. She was on the the cover of Teen Vogue twice, and had worked with Bobby Brown on their cosmetics line. But when she turned 19, everything changed. She ended up having a baby and had to quit modeling to take care her little girl, Lauren. As Claudia took her daughter out to the school bus, she picked up an envelope sitting on the door mat.

Alex Perez worked for a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. If you were to ask someone to describe him in one word, that word would probably be “scrawny.” All through middle school and high school Alex was bullied about his size. He mostly kept to himself and was a very clean cut person in general. He had never done anything daring or extraordinary in his life, until he got a letter from J. Smith.

Gerald Sheth was a hardcore criminal who was known for robbing banks. On the streets, he was known as the “Money Maker” for his work in making counterfeit money. He had just gotten out of jail and was trying to change his life around for the better. He had bought an apartment (with real money) and was working at the local grocery store in Riverby, North Dakota. As he walked out of his bedroom to get the mail, he saw something weird in the pile. A pink letter from J. Smith.

 

…………

 

Carolina walked over to her husband. “Hey hun, did you get this letter too?” she asked.

“What letter?” Bob walked over to her and peered at the letter. “Nope, didn’t get one. What does it say?”

“It’s inviting me to stay at a resort, but I can’t bring any guests. Are you okay with me going? It’s just that I’m so stressed and none of my art is selling-”

“Sure! Go ahead, you work so hard here. I think you should get a break every once in a while. Get a massage and just relax.”

“Are you sure, because I can always just stay here and do something with you-”

“I’m positive. When are you leaving?”

“Friday.”

“That’s in four days! Have you packed yet?”

“Already finished.”

“Well it looks like you’re set for a trip to California!”

As James Bell, sat in his airplane seat, headed to LAX, he thought about something. He thought about Sarah. He hadn’t thought about Sarah in years. He remembered the way her hand felt in his. He remembered the yellow sunflower dress she would always wear. He remembered the car accident that took her away from him. She had been the one for him.

As Kristin pulled up to the gates of King’s Resort, she got a weird feeling in her stomach. Her dad had always told her that she should trust her gut. Thinking about him made her want to think about the funeral, so she stopped. She ignored the feeling and headed into the resort, ready for what was next.

As Zachary drove into the resort, he saw six different people there, three women and three men. Two of the men were well dressed and the other one looked like he had just gone dumpster diving. There was one Latina woman, one woman who had makeup caked all over her face, and one woman who was gorgeous. So far he wasn’t threatened by any of them.

“So, what are your guys’ names? I’m Alex.”

“Carolina.”

“James Bell from James Bell Constuction.”

“Hi! I’m Kristin!”

“Hey, I’m Gerald.”

“Claudia.”

“Zachary.”

“Did all of you guys get a pink letter from a guy named J. Smith?” asked Alex. A bunch of yeses followed the question.

“I think we’re at some weird campground. I thought this was supposed to be a resort, not a girl scout sleepover,” Claudia said, clearly aggravated.

“Is there a front desk because I would love if someone could take my bags to the hotel,” said James while looking around for a hotel.

“I don’t think anyone else is here. So if I were you I would stop looking,” Claudia replied.

“Why don’t we look for the mysterious J. Smith. It will be fun!” gushed Kristin.

The place where they were looked like a deserted campground. There was a massive flagpole where they had all dropped off their cars and a couple of rustic looking cabins. The place smelled like pine cones and mold. On the edge of the camp was a body of water that was a gross, murky brown. From the looks of it, this was not a resort.

“Okay. Why don’t me, goldilocks-”

“My name is Kristin.”

“Why don’t me, Kristin, and loner boy come with me and look on the west half of the camp and the rest of you can look on the east side of the camp,” said Claudia.

“Sounds good with me,” said Gerald.

“Me too,” replied Zach.

Everyone split into their groups. Claudia, Kristin, and Zach were going to search the west side and James, Carolina, Alex, and Gerald would search the east side.

 

…………..

 

“So! Where are you guys from?” Kristin asked.

“New York City,” Claudia answered.

“Louisville,” Zach said.

“Cool! I live in Alaska,” Kristin replied.

“Was anyone else a little creeped out that you can’t find King’s Resort online?” Claudia asked.

“That is a little weird, but there’s probably an explanation,” Zach replied.

“I just thought it was really rustic so they didn’t use computers,” Kristin said. As they searched through the camp, all they saw were cabins and pine trees, but no J. Smith. As they kept walking they saw an old barn.

“That. Smells. Disgusting,” Claudia said with a disgusted look on her face. “I am not going in there.”

“Relax,” Zach said. “It’s probably just really old and has a funky smell because of mold from the wood getting wet.” Zach opened the barn door with a grunt and they all walked in.

“This is kind of gross,” Kristin said, frowning. There was a bunch of wet hay on the ground and the building was pretty much falling apart on the inside. They searched the barn, but found nothing.

“This is a waste of time. I’m starting to think this whole ‘resort’ thing was a scam,” Claudia said.

“Yah. me too. Let’s go find the others,” Zach replied.

 

………….

 

“This trip is weird,” said Gerald.

“I know right! We should have been allowed to bring a guest! I wanted to bring my husband,” Carolina said with a frown.

“This place is really dirty,” James said, clearly appalled.

“C’mon guys. Let’s just pick up the pace and look for this J. Smith guy,” Alex said, motioning the group forward with his arm. As the four of them speed walked, they stumbled upon a cabin that was bigger and much nicer than the others.

“Maybe this is the front desk,” Gerald said. They all walked towards the door and Alex opened and they noticed something weird. This wasn’t the front desk. There were four rows of bunk beds set neatly next to each other with about one foot of space between each bed. Each bed was made with military like precision. There were four blue beds and three pink beds. The blue beds were on the bottom and the pink beds were on the top. Each bed had a pink or blue quilt with your name stitched onto it.

“This is creepy,” Alex said.

“I think it’s nice,” James said with a smile. Suddenly, the door opened again and the rest of the group came in.

“This is freaky,” Claudia said.

“It’s late and I’m tired,” Gerald replied as he walked over to his bed and layed down. “But I’m definitely leaving tomorrow.” A chorus of “me toos” was said back.

“I’m gonna go for a walk. Clear my head,” Zach said.

“Have fun,” Claudia replied. After Zach left, Carolina walked over to the lamp and switched it off.

 

…………..

 

Gregory slowly opened his eyes to the bright daylight. Everyone else was still laying down except for one person. Zachary. The bed appeared to be untouched. Gregory got up and walked over to Carolina’s bed. “Carolina!” he whispered loudly, shaking her, “Caroli-”

“What?!” she yelled. Everyone slowly got up after being woken up by Carolina’s screech.

“It’s Zach. He’s not here. He went on that walk last night and and didn’t come back. Look his bed is untouched.” Everyone turned their head towards the empty bed and gasped.

“He probably decided to leave,” Alex said, rubbing his eyes.

“These beds are really comfortable!” said James.

“Let’s go check and see if his car is there,” Kristin said. Everyone got up and walked towards the door. As they walked towards the cars, Kristin moved herself towards Gregory.

“Do you think he’s dead?” she whispered.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Everyone stopped.

“The car is still there,” Claudia said, eyes wide.

“Everyone stay calm,” James said. “Let’s look by the lake.” Everyone slowly walked towards the lake and gasped.

“Oh my god,” Kristin said. Claudia screamed. There, lying on the ground, was Zach’s dead body.

“I think I’m gonna be sick,” Claudia said with a groan. Zach’s body was a light shade of blue. He was facedown in the water, his hair flowing with the current. He was caught in seaweed by the shore of the lake.

“What are we going to do?” Alex asked, stunned.

“Like before, everyone stay calm. I’m calling 911,” James said.

“There’s no service,” Kristin replied, eyes wide.

“There’s a gas station a couple of miles away from here. I can drive over there,” Carolina said.

“Good idea. I’ll go with you,” said Gregory.

 

………….

Carolina and Gregory got into Carolina’s car. “I’ll drive,” Carolina said.

“Fine by me,” he answered. Carolina shot onto the road and drove down the driveway, then skidded to a stop. In front of them was an electric fence, turned on.

“What the heck!” Carolina screamed. She got out of the car and picked up a stick. She then threw the stick at the fence, frying the stick. “What are we going to do!?” she wailed. She climbed back into the car and shot back down the driveway.

“Calm down,” Gregory said. “We’ll figure out a way out of here.” When they got back to the cars, they both ran back to the others and told them what had happened. Since they had been gone, no one had touched the body.

“Someone has to turn him over,” Alex said, gulping.

“I’ll do it,” James said while stepping over to the body. He rolled up his shirt sleeves and poked Zach with a stick.

“Stop being chicken and flip him over!” Claudia yelled.

“Okay, okay..” James pulled Zach’s body onto the sandy shore and flipped him over. Zach’s eyes were still open and his face and lips were blue, like cotton candy. “Well, he doesn’t appear to be stabbed anywhere and there’s no bruising on his neck-”

“He probably drowned,” Kristin finished.

“Do you think he killed himself, or was it something else?” Alex asked hesitantly.

“Well, considering the indentation in the back of his head he was probably murdered,” James said. James flipped Zach back onto his stomach and showed them the indentation in the back of Zach’s head. “Zach was probably walking along the shore and someone came up behind him and smashed a rock into his head. They then pushed him into the lake and hoped he would drift away and not come back. Since this has happened, I should probably tell you guys that I’m actually an undercover cop. I thought this was just going to be a nice vacation and that I wouldn’t have to tell anybody that. Oh well,” James finished.

“Well, that’s good luck,” Gregory said.

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