“Dipper, could you get the mail?” Mrs. Pines called from the kitchen. He put the short story he was writing down on the coffee table and went outside. The black mailbox at the front of the yard had some papers sticking out of it.
He emptied the mailbox and looked through the contents as he walked inside. An envelope caught his eye, as it was addressed to him. The return address was from somewhere in Michigan. He slipped it into his pocket, to read later. The next letter was from the same place, but for Mabel.
He went back inside and gave his mom the mail that wasn’t for him and his sister. He left Mabel’s letter where he knew she’d find it, and hurried back into the living room. As he sat down, Dipper tore open the letter. Inside was a small packet of papers. He scanned the first page, and his eyes found something in the fourth paragraph.
You can rest easy. This is good news.
You’ve been accepted into AuthorQuest. Included you’ll find a list of things to bring, a registration form, and a medical information sheet.
A small shriek escaped his throat. He’d been expecting this letter since last summer.
A scream filled the air. Mabel sprinted into the living room, clutching her letter tightly.
“I GOT ACCEPTED TO AUTHORQUEST!!!!!!” She screamed.
“I did too!”
The two jumped around screaming happily until Mr. Pines looked into the room.
“Did Mabel see another spider?” He asked. Mabel shook her head, her eyes practically glowing. She handed the twins’ dad her letter, and Dipper handed his over as well. Their father read the letters, and then looked up at them, his eyes twinkling. “I’m very proud of you two. You can definitely go.”
Mabel started screaming again. Dipper was content to watch her, but that didn’t stop the joyous tears from welling up in his eyes. This was a dream come true.
August 3, 2013
The Pines twins were waiting at the airport. They were flying to Petoskey, Michigan, where they would be picked up, to get used to the time gap before camp on the 7th. A family friend, Patricia Lange, had agreed to let them stay at her house and drop them off at AuthorQuest, seeing as she’d also be dropping off her granddaughter.
Their plane began boarding. Their parents had tapped into their college funds and got them first class seats. Dipper shoved his carry-on bag into the small compartment, and then helped Mabel with hers. He sat down, a notebook on his lap and pencil in his hand. He was writing a new story to share with the other campers, counselors, and instructors. Mabel brought one of her old poems to share.
As soon as he could, Dipper turned on his iPod and plugged in his earphones. He set it on shuffle and went back to his story.
It was about an order of people who gathered in a forest, performed spells, and sacrificed humans from time to time. He couldn’t figure out what to call it yet.
He must have dozed off. When his eyes cracked open and he checked the time on his iPod, four hours had gone by.
“We’ll be landing in Petoskey in two hours.” A voice said over the intercom. Mabel was shaking in her seat. Dipper glanced over at her. She was grinning manically. He managed a smile, and then fell back asleep.
“Dipper… Wake up…”
Dipper groaned as he opened his eyes. Something was different. They weren’t moving.
“We’re here?” He asked groggily, wiping sleep out of his eyes.
“Yeah.” Mabel said softly. Dipper quickly felt more awake. He sat up and grabbed his bag from the overhead compartment. The twins hurried off the plane and to the baggage claim. They found their bags, and went to look for Mrs. Lange.
They found her quickly, seeing as she was shouting their names. Dipper and Mabel hurried over. She was accompanied by a skittish looking girl with chunky black glasses and slightly wavy brown hair. The girl gave a little wave, whereas her grandmother enveloped the twins in a hug. When she let go, she turned to the girl.
“Aren’t you going to introduce yourself?” She asked. Her granddaughter sighed.
“Fine. I’m Gabby, also going to AuthorQuest, and if you think that you’re going to get any more out me, you’re sadly mistaken.” She snapped. Mrs. Lange gave her a sharp look, but she only shrugged and muttered something about not liking to talk to people.
‘How would she be able to share a story if she couldn’t talk to people?’ Dipper thought. Awkward silence was pushed aside; however, as the group of four left the airport and went out to Pat’s red van.
Gabby went to open the passenger door, but her grandmother stopped her.
“Don’t you think it’d be more polite to sit with them in the back?”
“Don’t you think if I wanted friends, I’d try harder?” She muttered, but still closed the passenger door and climbed into the back. Mabel climbed in after her, followed by Dipper. Mabel had claimed one window seat, and Gabby had the other. She was staring out of the window, whispering words that Dipper couldn’t hear even though he was right beside her.
Mrs. Lange started the car, and they peeled out of the parking lot. She kept the radio off, so they were surrounded by an almost tangible silence. Gabby was completely ignoring Dipper and his twin, instead of attempting to talk to them; she had pulled a notebook out of her bulky purse.
“Hey, Gabby, wouldn’t it be cool if we were bunkmates? Then we could talk all night!” Mabel chattered.
Dipper sighed. Waiting with this girl for four days was going to be terrible. He found himself stunned by how much Gabby looked like Mabel, if Mabel got glasses and turned emo, that is…
2 hours later
The van pulled into the driveway of a wooden house. The second the car stopped, Gabby burst from her seat and out the door. She jogged across the street and sat on a wooden bench by a fountain, writing again. Dipper looked at Mabel in confusion.
“I can get her to talk to us. I can feel it.” Mabel said as they climbed out of the car. Dipper rolled his eyes. Mabel thought all that it would take to crack a person’s shell, no matter how strong, was to find something they had in common. Looking from the cheerful girl in front of him to the gloomy girl by the fountain, he would guess that the only thing they had in common was the need for air, food, and water. That wouldn’t really make for a great conversation…
Pat ushered the two inside.
“You’ll be sleeping on the couches, so you can leave your stuff out here. When you’re not sleeping, everywhere but the office is fair game.” She explained. The twins thanked her and set their stuff down. Mabel quickly called the longer of the two. They sat down on their couches just as Gabby pushed open the door. She hurried though the green carpeted living room, her eyes never straying from the floor. She turned down a hallway and vanished from sight.
“I’m really sorry about her. She used to love talking to people.” Pat said quietly. Dipper shrugged, while his sister frowned.
“Maybe she’d talk to me about writing.” She muttered. Dipper glanced over at her. Mabel gave him a confident look and got up to try to get the practically mute girl to speak.
She didn’t come back for a while, so Dipper assumed it was going ok. He heard soft singing coming from the room. About a half hour later, Mabel skipped back out to the living room.
“So, she writes songs and lives by Detroit. That’s all she’d tell me.” She said. “I mean, at least I got something out of her.”
“Yeah...” Dipper trailed off. If that was all she could get in half an hour, he doubted she’d ever tell them anything interesting.
This was Saturday. Here’s Wednesday, the 7th
They were all shaken awake at eight in the morning. While Dipper knew that they had to be at camp by 9:30 am, he still was reluctant to get out of bed. Regardless, he got up and got dressed in his usual orange tee, blue vest, grey shorts, and blue and white hat. Gabby was already sitting at the table, swirling some soggy cereal around in a bowl.
Dipper walked over tiredly and cracked a smile when he saw what she had been eating.
“So, are you cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?” He asked sarcastically. Gabby shot him a cold look.
“Shaddup and let me be nervous!” She snapped. Dipper rolled his eyes, now used to her rude remarks. Mabel skipped over to join them at the table.
“Morning, guys!” She chirped. Dipper smiled, while Gabby nodded.
“Hurry up, kids. We’ll be leaving soon.” Pat said as she walked into the room. Dipper and Mabel both poured bowls of cereal and began eating as Gabby dumped the rest of hers into the sink. Once he was finished, it was 8:45. They’d be leaving in fifteen minutes, so he pulled his notebook out of the bag resting at his feet and looked it over. Once he decided that it was ok, it was nine o’clock. Mabel was nervously tucking her hair behind her ears and smoothing her llama hair sweater, whereas Gabby was writing on her hands and forearms.