Every summer at the cottage we kids would be shuffled out of the bedrooms and into a tent or series of tents in the side yard of our cottage. This typically meant that Happy Bunny, Brenna, Jennie and I would fill our trusty tent with industrial-strength sleeping bags, the worst of the cottage pillows and an assortment of folded up blankets, air mattresses and water flotation devices. We would giggle ourselves to sleep telling scary stories, overusing the flashlights, whispering secrets and planning rabid games of capture-the-flag for the next day.
My aunt owns a cottage directly behind ours, and my cousins -- who would have been early twenties at this point -- were having a bonfire on the beach one night, walking back and forth past our tent while we slept in blissful ignorance.
Since this story is told from my perspective and not theirs, I am not sure who noticed first but eventually they must have come to the inevitable truth of the situation: There was an entire tent full of very gullible, incredibly vulnerable kids capable of projecting the most bone-chilling girly screams ever created. (Brenna can still produce these. She is a master of her craft.)
Jennie was the first to wake. She was the oldest of us four and the most protective and alert. She says that she woke to "mooing" and thought that a cow had wandered down from the farms on the hill and was very confused and terrified of being trampled. Brenna woke soon after, since she was always forced to the outside of the tent as her legs were shorter. Soon the walls of the tent were shaking and groaning and terrible creepy noises were all around us. I don't remember at which point I woke up, only that someone reached in the front flap of the tent and grabbed for our legs.
In silent terror we tried to wake Happy Bunny. We nudged her. We tapped her. We shook her. Someone from outside reached in and grabbed her leg and shook it.
She never woke up.
I take partial credit for this since she probably built up this insane ability to sleep through anything by sleeping beside me her entire life (see: image #1 where I have my arms flung in every direction).
Eventually Jennie, Brenna and I heard snorts of laughter over the growling and hissing and rattling of the tent walls. We also heard muttered curses as my cousins tripped over the tent lines and clued in. Suddenly our lack of reaction became not so much a point of terror as a point of pride. We are not our fathers daughters for nothing. And if stubborn mute silence, huddled in the center of a tent while we abandoned Happy Bunny to the outer perimeter was our only method of revenge, so be it.