That evening the entire North Side buzzed with excitment and triumph. Everyone was talking and laughing around the fire place in the middle of the cabin ring. Al except Arnold and Gerald, They were both lying on their bunks reading.
" Wanna go watch the sticks burn." asked Gerald finally. Arnold shook his head.
" No thanks." He yawned.
" Okay. I'll see you later." said Gerald. Arnold continued reading. He heard the door open then shut. Then it was silent. Fear and uneasiness began to build up in Arnold's heart. He swallowed hard and read on. The wind chimes began chimming and the trees started creeking. The fear grew more. Now the whispering began. He shut his book and stood up.
" I'v had enough of this." He said softly to himself and walked out the cabin. He walked over to the fire and sat down next to Gerald, Helga and Taja.
" Thought you didn't want to come out." said Gerald.
" I...uh...changed my mind." said Arnold glancing over his shoulder to the Windigo. The wind chimes stopped and the pale moon broke through. Arnold sighed and stood up.
" I'm going to go for a walk. Anyone care to join." He asked.
" I'll come. I want to get away from the smoke." said Pheobe standing up. She and Arnold walked down the trail towards Windjammer Junction. The air was clear and crisp and the full moon shined brightly. Arnold looked up through the trees and sighed.
" Is somthing bothering you?" asked Pheobe.
" No." Lied Arnold. the trees began to thin as they approached the Junction.
" Are you sure?" asked Pheobe. The dead leaves skittered across the ground infront of them as they stood infront of a huge sign with the names of every campsite in Camp Willow Whisp on it and where to go.
" Where to?" asked Arnold.
" Dosn't matter to me." said Pheobe. The cool night wind picked up again and Arnold looked down each path.
" Well," He finally said. " If you're looking for a scenic rout, East Side it is. If you're looking for a long walk, West it is." Pheobe nodded.
" What about the South Side?" She asked. Arnold smiled.
" I HIGHLY suggest we stay away from the South Side right now." Pheobe chuckled.
" That's right. I forgot." She said. The East Side was sparsly covered with trees. A change from the emense forest of the North Side and borderd Windwalker Lake. It was the second lowest point in the camp asides the South Side. The moon dimly lit the path as they walked past the cabins which, like the North Side, were filled with talking. Once the cabins were out of sight, the moon lit the path even more. They reached a fork in the road.
" Which way?" asked Pheobe. Arnold looked down the path that went down a hill and turned then assumed it must be the path to the East Side docks. Then he looked at the path that twisted up a hill.
" How about this one? The other one probably just goes to the docks." He said pointed up the hill. They walked up and up. The tree line all around was decreasing below them. Finally, the path stopped. Both out of breath. They looked at a little wood sign that read:
WHITE PINE OVERLOOK.
" Wanna...sit?" asked Arnold inbetween gasps.
" Yes..that would be...delightful." said Pheobe. They walked further a few steps and stopped. Arnold's mouth dropped open. It was spectacular. They were so high up that there were no trees around them and they could see the entire lake. The full moon shimmered on the choppy waters and made all the land glow. The stars encrusted the deep tranquil blue sky and there was a light breeze rustling the leaves below.
" Wow." said Arnold breathlessly wishing that Taja was there with him. " This is beautiful." Pheobe sat down on a rock.
" I know. This is extraordinay!" She exclaimed. Arnold sat down and looked up at the stars dreamily.
" Extraordinarily beautiful.." He said in a tranced tone and smiled. " Just like--" He added then caught himself. Pheobe smiled.
" I..uhh.." He stammered hoping that the moon wouldn't show him blushing.
" You should take Taja up here. She'd appriciate it." said Pheobe. Arnold backed up blushing even more.
" Well..Uh...It looks like we found Whitepine Overlook." He suddenly said trying to switch the subjects. The sweet smelling wind whipped by.
" Yeah. I wonder why no one else comes up here." Said Pheobe. Arnold shrugged. He looked over towards the North Side. From up here. he was almost eye level with it. He could see a little yellow light and assumed it was the fire. Everything was peacful. No wind chimes, no shadows and no whispering. Arnold sighed. For the first time in two days, he felt calm and serene.
" Arnold?" said Pheobe breaking the silence and making Arnold jump a bit.
" Huh?" He said turning towards her.
" About...last night." said Pheobe looking at her feet.
" Yeah?" asked Arnold.
" Taja couldn't have been having a night terror. I mean, she was un controllable. I'v had a night terror before and I didn't act like she did." said Pheobe. She looked up at Arnold who had a concerned look on his face.
" Do you know what it really was?" She added. Arnold thought for a moment.
" It was me." He said. " I must have scared her in the clinic from what I told her. She had the exact same expression on her face as she did in the clinic." He added half sadly. Pheobe leaned in.
" What did you tell her?" She asked a little nervously. Arnold sighed and wished he had kept his mouth shut.
" The other night." he began then looked out to the lake.
" What happened?" Asked Pheobe even more nervously.
" You won't believe me." said Arnold.
" The piano?" Asked Pheobe. Arnold whipped around.
" You know too?" He said. " Everyone does." added Pheobe. Arnold looked down.
" Pheobe it's true. I'm telling you." He said. Pheobe sighed.
" I believe you. I really do. Last night, I heard this strange whispering that suddenly got really loud and saw this black shadow outside right before Taja started screaming." She said. Arnold looked up at her.
" Really?" He said half shocked and Pheobe nodded her head. They were both silent.
" It couldn't have been you. She calmed down once you were near her." She said. Arnold stood up.
" Want to head back?" He said uneasily.
" Sure." She said standing up. She walked back down the trail. Arnold looked back out to the water and sighed then followed Pheobe.
When they reached the cabin ring, everyone had gone back to their cabins and the fire was burnt out.
" Well, goodnight Arnold." said Pheobe walking towards The Windermere.
" 'Night.." mumbled Arnold. He was alone. The entire North Side was unusually quiet. He stoof there looking over at the Windermere as the sickening feeling of guilt churned in his stomach.
" It's my fault." He whispered. " My fault everyone's uneasy, my fault everyones afraid, my fault Taja-." The he stopped. He felt somthing brush against him. He panicked and bolted towards the Windigo. He raced up the steps then inside. Everyone quietly turned and looked at him.
" Whats wrong?" asked Sid. Arnold shook his head and walked to his bunk with his eyes fixed on the piano. No one said anything. Not even Fox. He sat down. Exhausted and sad.
" Well." said Eugene " I'm going to shut off the lights." Everyone agreed and Eugene shut off the lights. Arnold slipped under his covers and sighed feeling as if he were about to cry. He shut his eyes and went to sleep.
He woke up later in a strange place. He suddenly sat up. he was in his bunk. In fact, there were all the other bunks as well just no one in them. He stood up. He was in the Windigo, except, it wasn't it. The wood was a rich golden color and varnished. Not dark, faded and dusty. The whole cabin was clean and didn't smell musty or filled with cobwebs. The sunlight turned the whole room a bright gold. It didn't have a creepy fefeling at all.
" Wow!" said Arnold. Suddenly he heard the piano again. He swung around and then sighed with relief. The piano had no dust or cobwebs on it. It was black with no padlock. A girl sat on a chair playing it. Arnold walked over next to her. She had long blonde hair which cascaded in curls and pale skin. She didn't seem to notice him.
" You shoulden't be playing this." He said. She looked up at him. She had very dark blue eyes. Almost the color of Windwalker Lake. And she smiled.
" Do tell me YOU believe Jackie." She said in a soft voice and stopped playing. Arnold looked around.
" Is this the Windigo?" He asked.
" Sure is." replied the girl and started playing again. Arnold felt calm and peacful. Just like he did on Whitepine Overlook. He sighed and watched her play.
" You play well." He said.
" Thank you. It's been a long time since someone has told me that." said the girl not looking up. Arnold nodded.
" I'm Arnold." He said.
" Nice to meet you. I'm Emily Thortonveiw." replied Emily. Arnold smiled.
" So Arnold. Do you believe in Jackies story?" She asked. Arnold leaned on the piano.
" What story." He asked.
" That it's haunted." said Emily. Somthing poped nito Arnold's mind but he couldn't understand it. He was too calm and relaxed to think.
" Why does she think that?" He asked.
" She said that she heard it was made from some tree these indians cursed saying that anyone who plays it will come to a grim end. Rubish if you ask me. I'v been playing this thing since last month and nothing has happened to me." She said and played on. Arnold felt extreamly relaxed. Almost painfully. Somthing kept flashing in his mind but everytime it did, a white hot lightning bolt pain would strike.
" You want to play?" asked Emily looking up at him.
" Oh..n..n..no thanks. I can't play the piano. I'm a trumpetist." said Arnold. She smiled.
" Come on. I'll show you." She said and stood up. Arnold walked over infront of the piano.
" Just follow my hands." She said placing her hands on his. Her hands felt warm to the touch and Arnold sighed contently. Never in his life did he feel more relaxed and serene then right now. Emily pushed down causing him to play a chord. The keys pulsated. He felt warm and drousy. Suddenly, the happiness and serenity disappeard and was replaced by saddness and uneasiness.
" STOP DON'T GO ON!!" Cried a voice. Arnold and Emily turned around. The clean varnished look disappered and turned into the cabin Arnold knew. The creepiness built up as the golden light from outside that gave everything a golden glow turned into pitch blackness. A girl burst in and Arnold almost chocked in terror as she stood in the door way. She looked like a carbon copy of Taja but older and even spoke in a French accent. But instead of the warm cheerful glow in Taja's eyes, this girls were cold and bitter. The whispering hummed all around.
" Taja?" He said Softly.
" What? No. I'm Jackie." said Jackie. Her eyes fixed on Emily glowing like lanterns.
" What did I tell you!" She hissed. Emily looked panicked.
" Jackie I--" She said then was interuppted
" NO! I told you to stay away!!" screamed Jackie. Arnold looked up at Emily. She looked like she was about to cry.
" It's okay really. Watch." He said turning around.
" Don't even." Hissed Jackie and Arnold began playing. everything began spinning and Arnold kept playing.
" NO!!" screamed Jackie. Arnold couldn't stop. He heard his name being called louder and louder. Suddn;y and bright white light flashed then.....
Arnold opened his eyes and turned around. Everyone was wide awake staring at him with horror in their eyes. Even Fox.
"W..whats wrong?" asked Arnold.
" Y..you..you." said Gerald too terrified to speak.
" You..played." said Stinky. Arnold felt sick to his stomach.
" God please..." He whispered. He slowly turned around then yelped and covered his mouth. he was standing infront of the piano facing it. A cold sweat ran all over his body. The deep intense whispering shook the cabin windows and walls. He backed up breathing heavily. He felt the blood drain from his face as a feeling of helplessness and terror over came him. His heart beat faster and faster until he was sure he was going to have a heart attack. He felt unbelievebly faint. Just as he was about to black out, he felt someone catch him and lead him to his bed. He laid down and shuddered.
" He'll be okay." He heard Gerald say faintly " I hope."
He closed his eyes with one sickning thought on his mind. That very night. That very cold, eerie night. He had played the piano