Chapter One: Revenge
Five years ago, the Care Bears had thwarted the plan to destroy them and made Darkheart’s human form into a…good person. This drove Darkheart out, where he remained in the catacombs that they assumed to have vanished when they escaped it.
But, no. No, the dark creature remained, lying in wait and gathering his strength. For, you see, Darkheart had no human form; he just took several different forms, a human being one of them. You could never truly turn darkness into light, only weaken it and force it to slink away into the shadows until you let down your guard.
As the years dragged on, the cruelty of man started to overtake the goodness and happiness those wretched Care Bears had created. Bullies, that one murderer in the woods two years ago, broken hearts and lost friendships…yes, things had really gone downhill since Dawn, John, and Christy – those good-two-shoes that sided with the Care Bears over HIM – had left the summer camp that he called his home, taking his previous host with them.
“In order to control the humans…” He said, hissing softly as he lay coiled in a python form. “I will need a new body. A new host. Someone that I can use, that people will listen to no matter what. Perhaps…someone that is already a leader.” He raised his head up and images begin to appear in the air of all places. “I must get to a position of power…but to leave this camp I must first take over someone in here. Someone…I can use.”
His eyes widened as the image changed to a familiar blonde figure unpacking a station wagon just outside the camp. He was older, taller, and no doubt stronger now. “John…” He hissed the name with spite, remembering how the boy had assisted the Care Bears with freeing Christy of his control and forcing him to this pathetic, weakened state. He could only change into two forms aside from the red cloud right now, the python and the fox. They would have to do. He changed into the fox and hopped off the throne, heading for the only way in and out of this place.
Granted, John may not be the best choice, but perhaps some observing would change that opinion. After all, why would he come back to the camp now that he wasn’t attending it? The boy was now a young man, maybe nineteen or twenty. He had no reason to be back here. And really, there were others he could choose.
But, revenge tastes so sweet when you’re doing it with the body of someone perceived as a friend.
“John!” A man came out of one of the cabins, waving to the blond that just arrived. “Thank goodness you’re here! The other counselor is just…useless!”
“What did I tell you, Luke?” John said as he reached in his pocket and pulled out a hairband. “If you want someone to be a counselor at a camp, you have to get people who know the camp.” He tied his hair back, and then grabbed his bags. “You have a shirt for me, right?”
“Duh. What do I look like, you?” Luke said with a playful grin. “C’mon, it’s in the cabin. I’ll be so glad to be rid of the idiot that you’re gonna replace.”
“Don’t use such harsh words.” John said as he walked behind him. “I thought you were taught different when the Care Bears were here?”
“Right…Care Bears.” Luke stopped and turned to him. “John…please do you, me, and everyone else a favor and don’t talk about them to the kids. People thought we were NUTS when we talked about them! I was taken to see a therapist for years and finally had to act like I didn’t know what they were!”
John frowned. He’d also had to deal with people not believing in the Care Bears, and had had to pretend he was taking medication for his delusions and promise to consult his botany book before he ate any strange plants in the following years. “But…they were real…”
“I know that, you know that, and so does everyone else that attended that year. But, no one else knows about them or believes they exist.” Luke sighed, shaking his head. “During the year that Camp Champ went from me to Christy, and then all that…things just got crazy when Cristy was in power.”
John nodded. “Because of Darkheart…”
Luke frowned. “Okay, that’s the part I never saw so I have no clue if it was real or not. THAT could’ve been you guys eating something funny.”
“So, where did Brian come from, then?” John challenged.
“Shh!” Luke held up his hand as they approached the cabin door. “We’ll talk later. Time to eject the other counselor.” He opened the door and walked inside. “Alright, David! You’re free! Go back to whatever you were doing before you got sent here, because I got someone WAY more competent than you!”
“Yeah? Well, screw you too!” A man yelled. John decided that closing the door and waiting outside was a good option.
“You’re not going to stay any longer! You’re rude, abusive—why did they even SEND you?” Luke snapped back at the man. “Get your things and get out!”
John stepped back from the door, wanting to give it space in case it slammed open. As expected, David came storming out with his bags and nearly knocked over John as he passed, giving him the worst “if looks could kill” glare he could muster. Luke stepped out a bit later, slapping imaginary dirt off his hands.
“Wow. You haven’t really changed.” John commented, picking up his bags again. “Still as brash and rough-natured as before.” He walked into the cabin and went to the bed that had just been vacated.
“Well, it gets the job done.” Luke said as he walked in after him and shut the door. “Alright. Now, about Brian. He was an amnesic kid that was lost in the woods and that’s the story he has been telling everyone and we’re going to stick to it. He hasn’t been saying anything about ‘Darkheart’ since he first went home with Christy. So, whatever he has to do with ‘Darkheart’, it’s not important.” He went to the desk in the middle of the cabin, picking up a notebook. “Besides, you said so yourself that Darkheart is gone. Or that Brian used to be Darkheart but now isn’t. So, no need to even bring him up.” He passed him the notebook. “Here. David never filled out his logbook, so it’s yours now. That binder there has medical info on all the campers, the first-aid kit is on the wall—“
“Luke.” John held up a hand. “I know where everything is. It hasn’t changed since I attended, after all, and I helped out the counselor the year before I left.”
“Still, review the rules, check the binder, and I’ll see you outside. Your camp uniform is in the desk drawer and I’ll see you at the docks.” He waved and walked out, shutting the door.
John watched him go and then turned to the drawer, opening it. Inside was an adult-size version of the same blue camp shirt he’d worn years ago. Next to it was a folded pair of blue pants. He pulled out both and checked the sizes before he pulled off his shirt and picked up the blue shirt.
Memories came washing back of when he’d last seen the Care Bears, images of terror, happiness, sadness… ‘Christy…almost died.’ He thought, gripping the shirt tightly. “If it wasn’t for the Care Bears…she might be dead.” He said quietly.
“True. But, if it wasn’t for the Care Bears, she wouldn’t have even gotten hurt.” A voice said behind him. He gasped and looked over his shoulder, but saw no one.
“…What…?” John frowned and pulled on his shirt, then changed his pants and shoes. Now in uniform, he headed out of the cabin and went towards the woods.
Darkheart watched him leave, smiling as he thought of all the ways he was going to break the boy’s will. “First…trust.” He hissed to himself, slithering away.