In Creation Camp by Jaylah A. Hall

“Woah—what are you doing?! Amara, this is insane!” Kenny yells.

I shush him.

There’s rustling behind one of the trees, but I can’t tell which one. 

It’s been following us the whole time. 

It shifts behind a shrub, as if it’s trying to get a better angle. I catch the sounds it makes as it hastens itself across from us. It sounds wounded, like it can’t run properly. Many small branches break as it cuts through the woods, the sounds seemingly irregular—and perhaps even broken—as it passes through.

Where on earth did it come from?




I look around my room, nearly losing my mind, attempting to find the final piece. One more left, and the invention is complete. 

“Mara! Mara, come here, now!” 

I feel my head start to hurt as my impatience creeps in and my mother’s accent gets thicker and thicker as her voice grows louder and louder. My family is always calling me to do something when I’m busy, but such is life. I take a deep breath. “I’ll find that piece. It’ll be around here somewhere…”


I duck and look behind me, nearly forgetting I suddenly had somewhere else to be. 

“Coming, mummy!” 

I roll down the stairs and greet my mother in the kitchen. She responds by handing me the broom. “I have an appointment on the phone in less than a minute. Sweep ‘deh floor fi mi deh, mi dawta,” she says hurriedly. She pats me on the shoulder and shuffles over to the next room. It’s been over 20 years since she first came to Canada from Jamaica, but she keeps firm in her roots. This country could never take that away from her. The phone begins to ring. “Oh hello there, Mr. Baker! Yes, this is Ms. Remington speaking,” she says, her voice going an octave higher. I laugh at the change. 

I look at the breadcrumbs on the floor that she left me to sweep and my mood shifts, the impatience beginning to take over again. I’m tempted to sweep it under the fridge as I hustle and get the dustbin, my head still in my room. I try to remember where I last saw the antenna. I finish-up and slide the broom between the crack of the fridge and the counter. I put the dustbin under the sink.

Where is it, where is it? I search frantically for the piece. I don’t want the sun to go down before I get a chance to use my innovation. As I open the fridge, I stop. I’ve officially lost my mind trying to find this thing. I grab a snack anyway, might as well. 

I close the fridge door and walk back upstairs to my room before realizing I had the antenna on my dresser the whole time. No time to be disappointed. I place the final piece onto the rest of the model and start it up. 

My monitor works perfectly.

I feel my spirit fill with colourful, supernatural love, joy, and peace. 

I don’t know what I’ll find yet, but I just know that this is the beginning of a new journey. I get my jacket on, fix my hair, grab my bag, and run back downstairs. I catch my mom on the phone again, chuckling at her business call. She motions to me and snaps. “I need a pen! A pen!” she mouths. She hurriedly looks at me once more, and I know I have approximately 5 seconds to find one before she becomes a geologist and begins breaking through the walls to find raw graphite. Thankfully, I have one in my bag. She relaxes herself and smiles at me, kissing my forehead. I wave and she waves back as she walks into the kitchen again. I head out the door and hop on my bike. I’m glad my dad isn’t around right now to tell me to wear a helmet. I put one on anyway, knowing that it’s only right—my poor afro. I put my earbuds in, allowing the music to form patterns and colours in my mind and I begin to pedal, eager to find out how the day will end.


“Yo! Check up!” 

I bounce the ball to Liam and put my arms up. One basket more, and I win. We’re nearly tied in points. I’m on defence. He dribbles up the court, practicing his handles and I try to get the ball out of his hands. It’s officially the last day of summer. 

“Show off,” I say, smiling. 

“Yeah well, you’re one to talk Kenny.” He watches my legs, trying to find a way to get past me to the basket. It’s quiet. The sun is nearly beginning to set, and the soft breeze makes our clothes ruffle against our skin. For a moment, all I hear is the sound of the ball bouncing in front of me, and some kids playing in the park away from us as I attempt to catch my breath. I peek to the left.The gravel on the pavement nearly matches with the colour of the metal basketball hoop pole. The sun shines on the white chipped paint that marks the half-court line Liam is standing at. The court beside our old school hasn’t changed a bit. A perfect Tuesday evening, in my opinion. He backs up a bit, crossing up and preparing to drive to the net. I’m ready. 

A flash of a hot pink bicycle helmet catches my eye. I see a girl ride near the park on her bike. She makes a turn coming our way, and I can’t help but feel like I’ve seen her before… 

Before I know it, Liam drives around me and makes a perfect layup, landing him an easy 2 points. I kiss my teeth. “Man, I was distracted.” 

“Yeah, well that’s what you get for not being focused. Take the L, K.”

 The score is now tied.

 “This is getting to your head, Liam.” I chuckle, accepting my loss, knowing that losses turn into lessons. Liam smiles. He’s becoming even better with every practice. He wants to join a professional team some day. My parents want me to become a doctor. I love them, but there’s so much more that I could do with what I’ve been given. I remember his words. He’ll make it for sure, no doubt about it. 

The girl makes a loop and parks her bike at the cubicle nearby. 

As he checks the ball at me, I feel myself losing focus again as I try to remember where I last saw her. She looks incredibly familiar. 

Liam’s watch beeps, and he sighs. “Aw man, you know what? I gotta go home. See you tomorrow, Kenny.” 

“Yeah, aight. See you.” I say back. We dap. He grabs his backpack and hoodie, and rides away on his bike. I watch him, and I put my chin up and smile to say one last goodbye.

Left alone at the court, I won’t be home anytime soon. Feeling tired, I sit on my basketball and lean my back toward the pole of the net. I stare back at the girl who is examining this hefty piece of metal in her hand and leaning against the cubicle, one foot crossing the other. I can hear it beeping as she smiles. She has a very pretty smile. I squint and hope she doesn’t notice me staring at her like some creep. That’s when I realize—it’s the super smart one from physics class, Amara. I check my phone.


I got time.


It works. It actually works. The monitor beeps again and again. I wonder what it’s trying to pick up. That’s when I notice the boy who was sitting alone on his ball at the court put his phone in his pocket and begins to walk toward me. I’m confused. It’s Kenny, from physics class. Always making the teachers laugh. He was never that funny, though. As he gets closer, I continue focusing on the monitor.


I hope she realizes how smooth and casual I’m being. The last thing I want to do is look like a fool in front of someone I don’t even know. 


I hope he realizes how odd he’s being. He doesn’t know me too well, why would he walk over? Maybe I’m just too closed off. I don’t mind him coming over here, I may need another pair of eyes anyway. 

“Hey. Amara, is it?”



My mind goes blank.

We both pause.

“I’m kidding. Yes, I’m Amara. You’re from Physics class, right?”

My breath unhinges and I laugh.

“Yep! Kenny,” I say as I take my hands out of my pockets.

“Right,” she responds happily. Amara continues to look at the monitor. It beeps slowly. “What’s that?” I ask, curious to see what all the fuss is about over this chunk of metal. 

“It’s a monitor, I made it myself! Just testing it out.” She points to the antenna and smiles. I have to say, I’m rather amazed at it. She’s very sure of herself in spite of the fact that she’s never met me before. I think she’s cool for that. “So dope,” I say, attempting to ease the tension. This is just a classmate. 


I’m glad he’s playing along. I’m not a fan of small talk, but I refuse to demonstrate that. It won’t do me any good here. Besides, I still have to figure out what the monitor is trying to say. The clouds hide the sun, and the monitor begins to beep at a walking pace. I stop focusing on Kenny and begin to walk with it, moving forward. 


Before I can say another word, she’s already walking away. I look at my watch again, and decide to follow her to where she’s going. She gets her bike and my eyes follow as she looks at me again. “Coming?” 

I blink. “I mean, you can’t just walk away from a conversation like that. This is getting interesting,” I respond. She rolls her eyes and keeps moving. We both get on our bikes and  Amara tries to follow the beeps which are beginning to speed up slightly in pace. She bikes down the road and I follow behind, taking in the way the neighbourhood looks during the late summer evening.


I end up near the forest close to the plaza. I come here from time to time, but I don’t really know why the monitor is leading me back in. I place my bike near a tree where it would be safe and I walk inside, nearly forgetting Kenny was behind me. I continue moving forward just as my mom taught me. I don’t think this is what she meant, but I couldn’t care less at the moment. This is getting interesting. We go deeper into the forest, and the monitor beeps faster and faster, now at a jogging pace. It glitches. I must have flunked this. I push my doubts and frustration aside and keep following the beeps as they start back up again. 


I try talking to her again. She’s mad quiet.

“So… you come here often?” 

She isn’t listening to me, too busy paying attention to the monitor. I still can’t believe she built that thing herself. It’s beeping a lot faster now than it was when we were at the court. 

Frustrated, she strikes it with her palm. I done near ended up in tears, trying to hide my laugh. She looks funny when she’s mad. “Come on, come on…don’t stop working now! Are you kidding me?” Amara whisper-yells to the monitor, as if it would ever try to talk back to her, and strikes it again. 

We go deeper into the forest. I look up. The trees here are colossal—they nearly scrape the clouds. It’s beautiful, for sure. 

I move forward, closely following Amara’s footsteps. We see a small stream. It is quite peaceful, tiny waves tossing to-and fro as tadpoles find a way to the pebble shore. To them, I bet it seems like an ocean. 

We keep going, the ground beneath us becoming less rough and more earthy, and for a moment, all I hear is the stream and the monitor beeping faster and faster. 

As the smell of pizza from the plaza fades away and we can’t even see the entrance to the forest anymore, I wonder where we are and why I never noticed this place before. 

A branch breaks in the distance. 

That must be why. I prefer to live. 

I flinch but I roll my eyes, collecting myself as I remember: I’m not alone in this creepy forest. 

The branches break again.

“Ha ha, very funny, Amara.” 

I look around at her. 

She isn’t standing near any branches. 

“That wasn’t me…” she says sternly, her voice beginning to creep up on me as she becomes more and more quiet with each breath.

We’re not alone in this creepy forest. 


I gasp as the sound of the branches chip again. No one ever comes around here. Ever. 

The monitor begins to beep even faster. I didn’t even know it could beep that quickly. I nearly catch myself in disbelief, the situation becoming intense as Kenny comes closer and sees what’s going on. “No way, man. It’s not really picking up anything this crazy, is it?” I mutter under my breath. 

This thing—whatever it is—must be incredibly close. 

I’m scared, but I can’t let Kenny know that. I can’t turn back without finding out what’s following us. My mind wouldn’t dare let me.

I figure there’s only one thing left to do. 

I grab Kenny by the arm and we zip through the forest, following the monitor, our first—and maybe our very last—hope. 


I got no idea how I allowed myself to be dragged into this. 

            No, seriously. This girl’s got mad grip. Her nails nearly cut my skin! This is freaking me out. We keep running, then we stop. I try to talk some sense into her. 


“Woah—what are you doing?! Amara, this is insane!” Kenny yells.

I shush him.

There’s rustling behind one of the trees, but I can’t tell which one. 

It’s been following us the whole time. 

It shifts behind a shrub, as if it’s trying to get a better angle. I catch the sounds it makes as it hastens itself across from us. It sounds wounded, like it can’t run properly. Many small branches break as it cuts through the woods, the sounds seemingly irregular—and perhaps even broken as it passes through. My heart begins to beat faster and faster, my breath nearly hinging itself to my throat as it zips through the forest and for a moment I wish my eyes could follow just as quickly. 

I caught it’s legs.

They look like mine. 

What is it? 

Who is it? 

Where on earth did it come from?

Kenny looks just as shocked as I do. 

It steps closer.


I stop breathing. 


Kenny looks at me. He just might be the last face I see. 



I begin to pray. 


It reveals itself. 4c hair, an afro just like mine. Vitiligo on it’s right cheek, it’s left eye a periwinkle blue. I don’t remember there ever being a mirror in this forest. She looks just like me. 

Whoever she is, she’s definitely an imposter. 

I look her in the eye. 

She’s exactly who I’ve been looking for. 

She looks back for a moment, and I focus on her eyes. I hear Kenny trying to get my attention, but I don’t listen. 

So they have been watching us after all. 

The monitor beeps faster than I can count it.

It’s about to explode.

Before I could get a closer look, my heartbeat melts as if it was attached to the device, nearly burning in my hand.

Kenny grabs it, and throws it at the girl as she steps back.

Then, we run.