Will thought my idea was extremely stupid, he said so as soon as the mention of espionage came out of my mouth. I wasn't even talking to him at the time, so I was slightly offended that he would shoot down my idea when it wasn't even for him to hear. It's no surprise anyway, he didn't seem too concerned about the mice, and was only interested in talking about training and what time it began in the morning. He tried to change the topic of conversation several times, but everyone was pretty much stuck on the mice.

Really though, Will had only been off the courts for three days and already it was becoming a national emergency. I keep telling him that he spends way too much time thinking about tennis and that if he actually opened up his eyes a bit, he could do something more with his life. Like maybe get a girlfriend. Not that I think it was an entirely good idea, but he hadn't even noticed poor Nora making goo-goo eyes at him throughout all of dinner.

I, on the other hand, was fully aware that Ari had not once looked in my direction, save for the one time he'd craned his neck to scan the room for someone else.

Anyways, Will wasn't buying into the whole idea of sabotage, even though Richard and I thought it was entirely possible.

"The mice were probably in the pails when they came in on the truck," said Will after an unsuccessful attempt to get any tennis-related conversation going. The five of us had finished dinner and were wandering out of the mess hall into the coolish evening air. The sun was still peeking out from behind the snow-capped mountains, making the sky a deep orange as it shone through the treetops.

I shook my head, "if the mice had been in there all that time they would have been dead, Will." I nearly gagged just thinking about it. Dead mice in the food. Ugh. Then again, I suppose live mice aren't much better.

"Plus, why would there be a bunch of mice in one bucket, and none in the other?" Said Richard

"Whatever you guys," said Will, picking up his pace so that he was now walking in front of us, "can we just not talk about the mice anymore?"

"Yes, please," Nora agreed. She was walking slightly behind us, next to Pete. I rolled my eyes, thinking that, had Will not been there, she would have been a willing participant in the conversation. Honestly, girls.


We spent the rest of the evening walking around parts of the Farm. Right past our dorms and down a short, steep bank was Sasquatch Lake. It wasn't very wide across, with the foot of a mountain creeping right down in to the deep, frigid waters. The length, however, stretched beyond what we could see. The lake was gorgeous; it's midnight blue surface was as smooth as glass and a calming, muffled silence hung over the valley like a tepid bath. Together, we decided to walk up the stony shore and explore the area. We wandered for more than an hour, climbing over larger boulders and dipping our fingers in the chilly waters. We eventually stopped to rest on a large piece of driftwood and I decided to take off my socks and shoes to test the lake out a little more thoroughly. It was so cold, my feet ached. I couldn't convince anyone else to join me.

We ended up just sitting and staring out across the lake, chatting idly; nobody wanted to walk back. I thought it was strange how I had only just met these people a few hours ago. Already it seemed like I had known them for months. Even Will had relaxed a bit and was talking amicably with Pete. I guess being out of a familiar environment does that to people; someone you wouldn't dream of talking with at home you find is your best friend in a strange place.

Our conversation soon turned to friends and family back home. Pete was going on about his two golden retrievers who he was missing terribly. I had always been rather sore because our parents never let us have so much as a goldfish. I remember throwing the biggest tantrum over a hamster I had seen at a mall pet store, but my mom was a pro when it came to kids trying to get their way, and no matter how much I screamed, I wasn't getting the rodent.

Richard, on the other hand, had practically a zoo living in his house.

"Three cats, two dogs, a guinea pig and two canaries," he said, counting off the animals on his fingers, "and about a hundred fish."

"Any mice?" I said, giving him a sly smile and earning myself a glare from Will.

Richard grinned, shook his head and looked down at his hands, "nope."

I asked Nora if she had any pets at home.

"No, my mom doesn't think it's very safe," she stretched out her legs so that her toes of her pink runners barely skimmed the icy water.

"Not safe?" I said, "why, are you allergic?"

"Nah, our house borders a wildlife sanctuary. My mom's afraid that if we had a dog or something, it would get eaten by some wild animal," she scrunched up her nose and rolled her eyes, "it's really stupid."

"Like what? Coyotes and stuff?" I asked.

"Yeah, plus she's totally convinced there's a sasquatch running around."

"A sasquatch!" Laughed Richard, "what makes her think some mythical creature is going to hunt down a yappy little poodle?"

Nora turned to give him a knowing look, "this area's got the highest percentage of sasquatch sightings in all of Canada. People have been reporting encounters since before the Europeans came."

Richard continued to look skeptical, but did not argue with Nora. The whole idea of a sasquatch was completely new to me. I had been somewhat concerned of bears and wolves before I came, but that was it.

"You mean, like a bigfoot?" I asked.

"Same thing, different name," said Nora clearly enjoying the attention she was receiving with her specialized knowledge. Even Pete and Will had stopped talking to listen to her. "Where do you think this lake got its name from?"

I had no idea. And to be honest, I hadn't even thought about it. "So do you believe they exist?" I asked Nora, ignoring Richard's haughty looks.

She raised her eyebrows and looked around at us conspiratorially, "well. . . I'm not totally decided on that. I mean, it sounds pretty stupid. How could a species so big go unnoticed for such a long time? How come there hasn't been any conclusive evidence pointing to their existence? Then again, there are lots of people who would swear on their mother's grave they've seen one. In fact, my next door neighbour back home says he's got a picture of one."

"Have you seen it?" Asked Pete. I couldn't tell whether he was genuinely interested or was asking just to humour Nora. He had a twitchy smile on his face, as if he was trying not to laugh.

"Yeah," she said, "you can't really tell what it is though. It's pretty blurry. He said he was camping when it ran across the road by his campsite."

"And he just happened to have his camera out and ready?" Will seemed to be siding with Richard on this one. I wondered what he would say if the sasquatch had happened to be carrying a tennis racquet.

Nora shrugged, "I guess so. The guy's a bit of a nut though, so I dunno."

Believer or not, Nora had everyone's attention. It seems we were so fascinated by her story that most of us jumped at the sound of leaves crunching in the trees behind us.

"Crap, that scared me," I said, laughing nervously.

No, for your information, I did not think the sound was a sasquatch. It just scared me, is all.

Will shook his head, smirking to himself, "Lil, you're such a freak."

"What?" I squealed defensively, "I was startled, ok? Besides, we should probably start walking back." I stood up from the piece of driftwood and brushed the dust off my bum. Everyone else followed suit and soon we were retracing our path back to the dorms.


Sleeping at the Farm was kind of weird.

I was used to street noises, dogs barking and the sound of my younger sister's radio drifting down the hallway at night. Here: nothing. Absolute silence. I've come to the conclusion that the absence of sound is almost as loud as a jet engine. I know that sounds weird, but there must be some truth to it. Otherwise, why would I have been lying awake till 2 in the morning before I finally fell asleep?

I guess the excitement of the day had really gotten to me. So much had happened, and my brain would not shut up when I wanted it to. I kept thinking of everyone I'd met and all the things we would be doing over the summer. I was so excited and could barely stop from tossing about, making the bed wobble violently. Nora didn't say anything to me, but I can't imagine she could have slept through Lily-induced earthquakes.

We woke up bright and early.

Seriously. It was bright. The sun shone straight through our thin white curtains right into my eyes. And it was early. Like, 7 a.m. Okay, not that early, but for me it is.

Jane was already dressed and ready to go by the time I crawled out from under my covers. She had chirped a quick good bye and left the room in better spirits than we had seen her the night before. I have officially given up trying to understand that girl. From then on, I promised myself to always expect her bad side but be happy when the good decides to make an appearance.

Nora and I got ready pretty quickly. I don't usually spend too much time on myself in the morning. A quick shower, brush my hair and teeth and I'm good to go. Nora didn't seem too concerned with make-up and whatnot either. I was happy because the last thing a room with three people needed was a bathroom hog.

We ate breakfast in the mess hall and then broke for our respective training sessions. One of the handouts Sarich had given us the day earlier had instructed everyone to meet in the foyer of the main building at 8:30 sharp. Of course, I had lost my handout (somehow, I wasn't really sure how I'd managed it) and was relying on Jane's. They were the same anyway, so I wasn't worrying.

I found Will in the drowsy crowd and stood next to him, happy to see Ari only a short distance away. Will had a freshly scrubbed look about him and was obviously eager to get out and start working. Sarich didn't disappoint. It wasn't even 8:31 when she called us to attention; three sharp shrills came from a silver whistle she had on a string around her neck and a few dozen heads snapped up, all chatter came to an immediate stop.

"Good morning all. Happy to see you all decided to join me," she called out in a sarcastic tone, completely unnecessary, I thought

"We have a lot to do today so please listen carefully."

I tried not to make it too obvious that I did not like this woman. I knew she was looking directly at me, though speaking to the entire group. Maybe I was being paranoid, but I could have sworn she did not take her eyes off me the whole time. I tried to smile as she continued.

"Outdoor activities is a huge part of operations here at the farm. It is also what people spend the big bucks for. The kiddies don't come to the Farm to make milk carton bird feeders, that's only for the rainy days, they're here to have fun."

Why does it occur to me this woman has never had a day of fun in her life?

"So, I expect you people to be giving 110 per cent everyday. Clear?"

No one answered. I had the urge to salute and snit, "Sir, yes sir." But I didn't.

"Please open the red folders I gave you yesterday to see where you are to go. You may familiarize yourself with your stations and wait patiently for me to come around and give you specific instructions."

There was a quiet rustling as everyone pulled out their red folders and flipped them open. Everyone except me, that is.

"Shiiii- - " I slapped my forehead and groaned. Dammit! I always do this. Closing my eyes, I could clearly see the red folder, sitting nicely at the foot of my unmade bed, waiting ever so patiently for it's absent-minded owner to pick it up and BRING IT TO TRAINING.

Luckily Will had his open, he hadn't even noticed I was missing my papers, as he was intently concentrating on a map of the grounds, trying to figure out where the courts were.

I pulled the folder down to my level. "What's it say?"

Will grunted and pull it back up and out of my eye-line.

"Come on," I whined, "I forgot mine. What do we have to do?"

A now familiar, nasal voice answered my question. "Well, Miss. Campbell, I don't know about your brother, but it seems you'll be running back to your room to retrieve your folder."

I felt that familiar heat creeping up my cheeks once more and turned to see Sarich walking towards us with crossed arms, a smug look plastered across her face. My insides boiled as I bit my lip, trying not to spit out some nasty response I would regret.

"But Ms. Sarich, Will has the same information as I do. Can't I just borrow his for now?" I attempted to say this with some sort of confidence, but it came out all mumbled. Figures.

"No," snapped Sarich. "How is it that everyone else here managed to remember to bring their folders? Miss. Campbell, why are you the only one?" She said this loud enough for most people in the foyer to hear.

I was speechless. What had I done to make her despise me so? I'd barely been there a day and already I was her personal punching bag. I seriously thought I was going to cry.

She grimaced, "I hope I can expect better from you for the rest of the summer. Please run and get your folder before you hold us up much longer."

She shooed me towards the door with one hand and immediately turned to a different group of people, ignoring me. I glanced at Will out of the corner of my eye, happy to see his expression of disbelief. At least he was on my side this time. This was unfair persecution!

I managed to limit my sulking to a bare minimum before reaching the metal door and escaping outdoors. I had no intention of making my journey swift, and so took my sweet time, strolling casually through the trees as I walked off my anger.

The dorms were quiet, everyone being at their training sessions. It was pretty creepy walking down the dark green hallway all by myself. Had somebody told me a ghost story about the building, I would have been jumping out of my skin. But they hadn't, so I was mostly fine. Reaching my door, I saw a band of fluorescent light seeping out from the space at the bottom, which was weird because I didn't remember even turning on the light that morning. Confused, I swiped my card through the slot and pushed open the door.


A blonde, pig-tailed head popped up in surprise. She was sitting on her top bunk, rummaging through a green canvas backpack. Her expression was guilty, as though I'd caught her doing something illegal.

"What are you doing here?" I asked, casually shutting the door behind me. "Aren't you in training?"

"Yeah," she said quickly, "but it - - it got cancelled till this afternoon."


She put down the bag and pulled its drawstring top closed. "Termites in Saskatoon Saloon. That's where we were supposed to train, but they had to shut it down to fumigate. Mr. Wells wanted to wait until this afternoon in order to get organized."

"Oh," I said, "that's weird though. There was no one else in the hallway. Where are the rest of the indoor people?"

Nora seemed to be at a loss for words and just shrugged. Her silence was shortly interrupted by a loud crash coming from the hallway. I opened the door a crack and peeked out. A group of boys were racing up and down the corridor passing a Nerf football back and forth.

"Nevermind," I smiled.

Nora returned the grin and I began rifling through my bedspread in search of the damned red folder. It had somehow lodged itself between the mattress and the bedsprings and I wondered how my mind had come up with the image of it sitting nicely at the foot of my bed. Denial, I thought to myself, as I pulled it triumphantly from its hiding place. Not wanting to further infuriate Sarich, I immediately turned to leave, but stopped short when Nora piped up, frantically waving an envelope in my direction.

"Someone left you a letter," she said, tossing it down. It fluttered a bit and missed my outstretched hands before sliding gracefully halfway under the ancient bureau.

I crouched down to pick it up, wondering who would be sending me a note. I hadn't been expecting one and Will didn't mention anything to me about it. It was light, almost as if it was empty. Curiosity thoroughly piqued, I ripped open the top and peeked inside. A single piece of paper fell out.

"What is it?" Nora was leaning over the wooden railings of her bed. If she wasn't careful, she'd topple right over.

I squinted at the typed letters in the centre of the paper. "It says, 'Robin in the rain' and then has a little cartoon drawing of a bird on it."

I felt an inexplicable feeling of butterflies in my stomach. This was moderately weird. It certainly didn't have a stalkerish feel to it, but why would someone send me this? It didn't make any sense. Still, I kind of liked it.

"Does it say who it's from?" Nora giggled.

"No," I said, smirking as I examined the envelope and the rest of the paper.

"Looks like you have a secret admirer," she said practically bursting with glee.

I shook my head, unable to comprehend how "Robin in the rain" constitutes a secret admirer. The mention of it made me flustered and I tore back across the room, tossing the paper under my pillow before pulling the door open.

"I have to go," I stammered, "see you later."

Nora just laughed.