The Setting: Night, a dying bonfire, nairy a soul but two girls talking, trees all around and the whole world asleep…or was it?
The Surprise: As we laid there on a green blanket, reveling in our ingeniousness of camping out while everyone slept on dusty, dirty mattresses inside, there was a noise. The voice of a man.
“Ruth, did you hear that? There’s someone over there!” I whispered.
We looked to the trees, and there was a single, shirtless man standing on the edge of them.
“Rachelle, get down!”
We flattened ourselves on the blanket, breathing heavily and trying to slow our racing hearts. Suddenly, all hell broke loose.
The trees exploded with men. Men with naked torsos, their shirts wrapped around their heads and faces like ninjas or sheiks. Men with dark skin that blended into the night, their white shirts shining out like beacons. All silently running toward us brandishing half-filled bottles of Coca-Cola and Sprite and water. We lay there, our mouths wide open in shock, hardly believing our eyes.
They did not stop at us. They kept running, jumping over our bodies as though we were only obstacles in the way of their grand scheme. One man slowed, but only to put a finger to his lips and say, “Shh.”
They stopped at the dorms where all the other girls were sleeping with the vented windows as their targets. They aimed straight and true, soda and water splashing through onto the beds inside. As soon as they came, they went.
They streaked back to the trees like a thousand bolts of lightning, jumping over us again, our bodies now rolling around in laughter and disbelief. They disappeared, and yet, even with the intensity of their attack, no one woke. The lights remained unlit, the sleeping souls remained unstirred.
And so with that, we knew they would return. And they did. With hoses and buckets, this time going to the side of the building where most of the windows lay, and most of the beds. They turned it on at full capacity, leaving just as quickly as before.
The screams. Oh, the screams. They echoed into the night and into our minds, softly at first, but then growing as the owners of them became more aware of their circumstances. Their beds, their bags, their bodies: drenched.
The rebuttal was slow in coming, the plan was incomplete. They smeared their faces in toothpaste, white cheeks glowing in the dark. They passed us, not noticing us as we stood there watching the excitement and revenge in their furious eyes.
They crept of the stairs to their prey, not realizing that their prey was really the predator, and it was lying in wait. Hostages were taking, the rest of the army turning tail and running back to safety. We were joined by two others, Evangeline and Ann. We hid in the shadows, having done nothing and hesitant to have something done to us. The girls went by and came back shrieking with a horde behind them. The horde then saw us crouching there.
We, the original two, hid inside a hollow building. We saw our compatriots surrounded and splashed. One took off bellowing after a cowardly male, and the other was too tired to do anything but stand there as she was covered head to toe in toilet paper. We were curled in a corner, hoping they wouldn’t see us through the empty window.
One did, causing us to panic. We moved to a different corner to avoid being soaked near the window. Ann the bellower entered. We took a chance as we were forgotten by the horde, and ran to another hiding place where we had stashed the green blanket in the heat of the battle.
As soon as it all began, it was halted. Leaders came pouring out of the doors, awakened by the cries in the night. They ushered us girls inside, and then back outside, where we did push-ups until someone dropped. Then we did jumping jacks until someone dropped. Then sit-ups until someone dropped. Then we ran in circles until finally they told us to stop, and made sure we had learned our lesson about breaking curfew. It was five in the morning. Ruth and I had been awake the entire night, having been up talking until the war started. They woke us at six. All in all, I had thirty minutes of sleep, Ruth beating me by fifteen minutes.
They never punished the men.