This story arose from a discussion on Nick Scipio’s Yahoo forum about “the truth” of what happened in Vermont. I suggested Nick write that “lost chapter” from the point a view of a different character. Nick challenged me to write it, and, in a moment of foolishness, I agreed.

For this was a significant challenge. Thirteen of the fourteen characters in Devil make at least brief appearances in the Kendal series of Summer Camp Swingers. I’ve had to be consistent with how these characters talked and behaved, even though they were now seen through the eyes of a different narrator. Some were brief enough, like Patricia who isn’t even named in Summer Camp, to give me lots of room to work. Some were so complex, like Gina, that I knew every word would be scrutinized for consistency.

Additionally, my plot was very constrained. I had to match events that happened before and after the trip, again to a level that would survive scrutiny. In the end, with the generous help of Nick and his reality team, I think it all worked out.

However, the challenge was not my only interest in this story. I wanted to examine the struggle to remain moral and “good” in an amoral environment. All too often our behavior changes to conform with our peer group; something heavily documented by psychologists and in literature elsewhere (ex: Lord of the Flies). How would someone who is fairly normal like Jessica handle being in a microcosm controlled by someone like Hayley? How would she “deal with the devil?” The answer to that question is the story that you?ve just read.

I know that not all the loose ends have been wrapped up. I can only say that they weren’t part of the trip. Someday, Paul or Jessica may tell us what happened after Jess and Patricia and Hayley returned to campus, but then again, they may not. In the immortal words of Nick Scipio: “You’ll have to read to find out.”