Hannah Rosalind Granger – Wayland Campsite, England – The Game (Yes, you just lost it)“Right,”
Chris said, raising his voice so that everyone could hear him, “Now that I’ve got all of your attention, I’ll explain how this is all going to work. In a moment you’re all going to draw a piece of paper out of the bucket Louisa is holding.”
At this point, the dark red haired woman smiled. She held up the bucket she was carrying, shaking it so that the folded paper inside could be heard rattling about.
Chris continued, “This paper will tell you what team you’re going to be on, so that there are no arguments. It’s all completely random, so you won’t get to choose who is on your team and who you’re competing against. If all goes well and we have time at the end, we’ll play the game again with the teams switched over, so everyone gets a go. We do have to finish this game by midnight, so it’s really a question of how long this first round will take. If all goes well, we’ll should be able to fit another round of this in. If not, that’s just tough luck, but we’ll see how it goes.” “Come over to me and take one piece of paper each,”
Louisa said, after her brother had finished. There was the chatter of voices as the teens stepped forward, not even bothering to form a line as they crowded in to get to the bucket.
Hannah decided to wait rather than push in. Normally she would have, but she was somehow feeling...unenthusiastic about this game. Although perhaps unenthusiastic was the wrong word to use. If she had thought about it, the feeling she was actually getting, was unease
. Which really made no sense to her; what was there for her to worry about? The girl glanced around again at the trees, frowning...but there was nothing there.
Hannah then felt someone poke her in the sides as they passed by her, almost making her jump. Hannah glared as she caught the grinning face that had done it. It was Matt Blake; the guy that had been on her team for the night hike last night. Hannah breathed out a sigh of annoyance (and, privately, of relief).“Fucking...”
she muttered, not even finishing her cursing as she went to join the now dwindling clump of scouts around Louisa. The eighteen year old picked up one of the last pieces of paper in the bucket, taking it away and unfolding it. HAZEL
it simply read in black marker pen. “Everyone should now have a piece of paper, with either the words ‘Black’ or ‘Hazel’ written on them,”
Chris continued to explain. “I’ll explain the significance of these words in a moment, but these are referring to the teams you are on; there’s the Black team, and there’s the Hazel team.” “Now,”
the scout leader continued, smiling slightly. “Has anyone here heard of ‘Watership Down’?”
There was a small gabble of voices as the explorers reacted to this, some calls of ‘YES!’, as well as a couple of ‘no’s, one or two groans, and some who were just discussing it amongst themselves.
Chris waited for the discussion to die down before continuing, walking around the group. “You lot,”
he announced, gesturing around at the Scouts, “are now all rabbits. And this,”
he moved his arms, gesturing around at the field, “Is now a Warren, where many other rabbits live. Those of you with the word ‘Hazel’ written on your paper, you are now Hazel’s rabbits. This field is now your warren; your home base. Here on the field, your ‘Warren’, you are safe.”
Chris looked to them all. “However, your warren is now under threat from humans. Hazel’s rabbits must now journey into the woods,”
at this point Chris indicated the trees surrounding the field, “in order to find a new home. It’s said that Lord Frith, the rabbit god, will meet you inside the woods and guide any rabbits to a new burrow, and a new home.”
At this point Chris looked over to Louisa, who waved. “Louisa here is going to be playing the part of Lord Frith, and in a moment is going to go and hide somewhere in the woods. Hazel rabbits must journey into the woods to find her, but first, you will each pick up a token, like this one.”
The Explorer Scout leader held up a square of red coloured card. “Pretend that this card now represents another rabbit from this warren. Yes, I’m well aware it doesn’t look like a rabbit, but...just use your imagination, ok, it’s a rabbit, deal with it.”
Hannah found herself smirking at this, and shook her head slightly. Scouts always did have to get imaginative with these games, although even the thought of imagining a small piece of red card was a rabbit was somewhat laughable. “Now, each member of the Hazel team will take one of these ‘rabbits’ with them, and take them to Lord Frith, so that he can guide them to their new home.”
Chris continued, holding up the red piece of card for everyone to see. It may have been night, but since everyone there was already adjusted to the low light levels, everyone could still make out what it was, even in the dark. “Once you’ve escorted one ‘rabbit’ or ‘token’, and have given it to Lord Frith, you will come back to the warren and take another, and begin the process again. Your objective is to get all the rabbits from this warren, safely to Lord Frith. Everyone with me so far?”
Chris looked around at his scouts, the majority of which made some kind of positive response. Louisa meanwhile, was spreading out a big white sheet of paper on the centre of the field, marking it out with the cones that had been previously used as goal posts. Chris passed her the stack of red cards, and she began to place them on the make-shift mat. “However,”
Chris continued to address the group, as Louisa continued to set the game up, “The woods are a dangerous place for rabbits to be. Hazel rabbits are going to have to be quick and clever if they want to survive. This is where the ‘Black’ team comes in. Those of you with the word ‘Black’ written on your paper, you are now ‘the Black Rabbits of Death’. The Black Rabbits will be hiding in the woods, and will try to catch the Hazel rabbits before they can find Lord Frith. Should a Black rabbit successfully tag one of the Hazel rabbits, the Hazel rabbit in question must hand over any rabbit tokens they are carrying to the Black rabbit that caught them. That token is now lost to the Black team, and the Hazel rabbit must return to base for another token. Black rabbits; your task is simply to catch the Hazel rabbits and steal their tokens. Try to collect as many rabbit tokens off the Hazel team as possible. The game will end once all the rabbit tokens have been removed from the warren. At the end of the game, we’ll gather everyone back together and count the tokens; the team with the most tokens at the end of the game wins. Are we all clear?”
“YES” Everyone responded....apart from a few people who thought it would be amusing to reply with ‘no’, just for a laugh. “Now there are a few rules before we get started,”
Louisa continued on from her brother, rejoining the group and speaking out, her voice warm and clear. “Hazel rabbits can take more than one rabbit token into the woods at any given time; just remember that if you get caught by a Black rabbit before you reach me, you will lose all of the tokens you are currently carrying, no exceptions. So it’s up to you to take a gamble with how many tokens you carry. Once you leave base, Hazel rabbits may not exchange tokens with the other members of your team. You must carry the tokens in your possession to me, by yourself; passing a token to another team member as a way of not getting caught with it is cheating, so please keep your tokens to yourself, Hazel team. Black rabbits can tag Hazel rabbits in any way they like, but try not to play too rough. A simple tap or grabbing of the arm or shoulder will do.” “Also,”
Chris said, taking from where Louisa left off, “to make this fairer, Black rabbits can only tag a Hazel rabbit if they are in the woods; any tags made while a player is outside the woods don’t count. Also, to stop Black rabbits from lurking right on the edge of the woods and not giving the other players a chance, I am going to remain at the Warren, and I will have a torch, like this.” He waved his own torch in the air. “I shall be Chief rabbit, and should my torch find any Black rabbits catching a Hazel rabbit, the Black rabbit in question must
allow the other player to get past with their tokens. However, that is only if
you get caught by me. If the Chief rabbit is focused on another area of the field and does not shine their torch on you in time, the tag is acceptable.”“Similarly,”
Louisa stated, “as Lord Frith, I will also have a torch.”
So saying she demonstrated, switching her torch on and holding it up in the air. “I will be located somewhere in the woods, and if my torch falls on a Black rabbit while they’re in the act of catching another player, that Black rabbit will have to let them go, and no tokens will be taken from them.”
Louisa grinned. “So don’t think you can be smart by waiting right in front of me to grab the other team, because it won’t count. To make it harder for the Hazel rabbits, I won’t be staying in one place, either; I’m going to be moving about, so you’re going to have to search the woods for me. Don’t think you can tell your other team mates where I am, because I might have already moved by the time they’ve reached it.” “Right,”
Chris clapped his hands together, “That should be enough of a challenge for you all, so I’ll just give Louisa a minute to get herself hidden inside the woods.”
Nodding to her sibling, the young assistant Scout leader picked up one of the buckets (presumably ready to collect any cards the scouts gave her in the woods), and set off down one of the footpaths, disappearing amongst the trees.
Chris then made a movement with his arms, “I’d like all the Hazel rabbits on this side of me, please, and all the Black rabbits on the other side of me. There will be an odd number of you, seeing as there are fifteen of you divided between two teams, but don’t worry too much about it, it should be fine.”
Hannah made her way to the Hazel rabbit side, passing Matt on her way. “Hey,”
Matt tapped the blonde on the shoulder, “guess what?”
He showed her his piece of paper. BLACK“Looks like we’ll be playing against each tonight, instead of working together,”
Matt smiled. “I hope you’re a good runner. Although, judging by last night, you’ve got quite a little pair of legs on you.”
Hannah pulled a face. “Just don’t start trying to scare the crap out of me again, alright?”
Matt looked at her with mock innocence. “What do you take me for? You haven’t still got a grudge on me after that Slender man story, have you?”
she replied defensively, as though the idea was ridiculous.
The other explorer scout grinned. “You so do. I can tell. Don’t worry though, I’ll stop teasing.”
Then he leaned in and said quietly, in a mockingly dark tone, “But you know, if you do happen to see a tall, dark, shadowy figure with no face—”
Hannah walloped him. “Oh, fuck off Matt,”
she told him. “I mean it, if you start those horror stories again, I will get you back for it.”
Matt grinned again. “I’d like to see you try.” “Hannah Granger and Matt Blake,”
spoke up the dry voice of Chris, “Once you’ve quite finished flirting with each other, can you get into your teams, please?”
There was a small amount of snickering as the two explorer scouts ended their conversation abruptly, Hannah throwing a peeved look in both Chris and Matt’s direction, before making her way over to the Hazel side. She noticed Rachel was also on the Hazel team, and made her way over to her. “Black rabbits, you may now start to make your way into the woods and get into position. At the sound of the whistle, I’ll send the Hazel rabbits in and the game will begin. When you hear the whistle blow twice, that means the game is over, and I want everyone back at the field. Understood?”
The scout leader then waved at the Black team, sending them off. There was the sound of woops and laughter as the collection of scouts ran, scattering into the undergrowth.
Chris then beckoned to Hannah. “My whistle, if you don’t mind please,”
he requested. Hannah at this point, realised she still had her scout leader’s whistle, and taking it off, tossed it to him. Chris caught it easily with one hand. “Hazel rabbits, you may take up your first set of tokens.”
He clicked his torch on, shining it on the white paper where the collection of red card was. “Remember, choose wisely how much you’re willing to gamble.”
Rachel exchanged glances with Hannah, before picking up one card. “Yeah, one card to start off with to be safe, right?”
Hannah agreed, picking up one card from the paper. She stood up and looked around at the somehow menacing trees, rubbing the red card absent-mindedly between her palms. The unease was still there...even though she tried to ignore it. “Ready?”
Chris blew on his whistle. Hannah’s team began to run towards the trees, soon swallowed up in the woods murky depths. After barely a few seconds there was shouting and rustling noises as the first Hazel rabbits were caught. “Congratulations to those of you stupid enough to enter the woods before I got into position,”
Chris remarked sarcastically, walking over to the edge of the field and beginning to shine his torch across the entrance to the footpaths. “If you were caught, go get another token, go on.”
Rachel nudged Hannah. “Aren’t you glad we didn’t do that?”
she laughed. “Yeah,”
she replied, trying to laugh with her friend. “Guess we better make a move, then?” “Yeah.”
Rachel started jogging towards the footpath Chris was currently nearest. “Good luck!” “Good luck!”
Hannah shouted back. Glancing around her, she decided not to let herself hesitate, picking a path at random and running straight down it. After a bit she slowed down, carefully looking out for any movement from the Black rabbit team, as she made her way deeper into the woods. She could already hear the distant shouts and screams as more of her team members were caught. So I need to find Louisa before any of Matt’s team catch me,
the explorer scout thought to herself, While I’m fucking paranoid, too. This should be great fun...