Olivia Tames Terror
A preview of the series Olivia Tames the Legends
When gods invade a public school, they’re not counting on an angry teenage dancer.
by K. Alan Leitch
Something I never understood about detention was why kids who weren’t on detention still hung around. Not everyone had my famous temper or Siobhan’s cruel streak, so not everyone had extra gymnastics practice assigned after school. If I’d had a choice, I would have been home or at Pizzapalooza, or in Miss Crenshaw’s dance studio perfecting the slides and rolls that already made me feel perfect. For some reason, my classmates made different choices. They chose to stay at school, playing chess or preparing debates.
Then there was Kent Hwang, choosing to make Steve disappear.
“Pnévmata,” Kent announced, “párte ton Steve sti sfaíra sou.”
The jargon did what Kent does best: riled me. “You know,” I sizzled across the bare gym, “it’s hard to master an Onodi maneuver with you spewing magic-kit lingo.” Really, Kent’s gibberish wasn’t what set me off. I just couldn’t seem to get him to outgrow the fact that we used to be friends.
While I tried my back-handspring again, he tapped his disappearing booth with one of those white-tipped cardboard wands, but the only thing that disappeared was his smile.
Steve’s taunts crackled at Kent from inside the booth. “Still here, Sargon the Sorry-Case.” Kent whisked back the curtain to reveal him, crammed into a space made for someone half his porky size. “Hey, Livi! Kent thinks he can make me disappear!”
“It’s probably more of a wish.” I made a perfect stuck landing, dismounting the balance beam with my legs in the challenging arabesque pose. “Maybe he should write a spell to vanquish your stink.”
“Did you lift the panel?” Kent asked him, trying to push past.
“Of course I lifted it, Brain-freeze.”
“The talent show’s Wednesday. With everyone watching…”
Kent was inside the booth now, fumbling with something while Steve’s eyes got lost in the folds of his smirk. “It’s not gonna work on Wednesday or Thursday or next Arbor Day.”
“We have to figure it out. Maybe I can increase the girth…”
“It’s never gonna work,” Steve belted at him. “I don’t fit through.”
Somehow, Steve had that way about him, always making things someone else’s fault. It was someone else’s fault that he didn’t get scholarships and that his dad was fired; today, it was Kent’s fault that Steve’s gut was too girthy to squeeze through a secret exit. If Kent had still been my friend, I might have felt sorry for him.
I watched his magician’s cape drape around his skeleton as he slunk from the gym after Steve. “I can face this.” The mantra that helped Kent with his anxiety trailed out after him. “I’m more than my fear…”
‘Anxiety’…what a joke. I was still holding the arabesque pose while they left. I felt like a crane, like a swan, like the dancer I wanted to be. I felt grace in the tightening muscles that held my back leg horizontal, and the contrast with Kent’s and Steve’s clumsiness made me proud. For a minute, I thought it might not be so bad spending my afternoon doing gymnastics.
But a stupid magic act can always ruin my mood.
Kent’s booth leaked a blinding glow from behind the curtain, crawling queasy blue patches across my view of the gym. Numbness tingled through my body like a million ants. I found myself on my knees by the time I could see properly, but it was who I saw that really left me shook.
A boy stepped from the disappearing booth, wearing that glow. It faded when he looked at me. “Tremble before Deimos.”
“Why don’t you tremble before my pepper spray?” I suggested. Someone sneaking through Kent’s booth was so creepy-deep that I fell back on trying to mock him. “Nice robe. Are they having a lot sale at Bed, Bath and, um…?” He took a step toward me, and I forgot about Beyond.
“Where is The Tormentor?”
“This is public school,” I muttered. “You’ll have to be more specific.”
“The Tormentor.” Every step Deimos took intimidated me more. “Siobhan Sullivan.”
“Oh, that tormentor! Siobhan’s in, uh…Dubai, I think. Yeah, way far. Definitely not around here doing detention. She, uh…won the golden ticket in a Wonka bar…”
I was troweling on the sass to cement my crumbling confidence. If he came too close, I might have given Siobhan away; I might have said anything to make him go.
He didn’t go. He came toward me, and I felt my breaths grow shorter with the space between us. A breath or two later, I had my hands on the floor and was staring at his sandals to hide my face.
But I couldn’t hide from his words. “Your dismount lacked finesse, Olivia Olinger.”
He was right. I hadn’t arabesqued nearly long enough to be any kind of a champion. Losing the pose wasn’t graceful, and no gymnast would fall to her knees. His shadow across me darkened my future as a dancer.
I was such a failure that I didn’t even notice this stranger using my name.
It was way after Deimos was gone that I found the legs to race out of there. I felt that tingle again just as I pushed away the gym doors; I saw another glare reflecting off their institutional windows, but I didn’t turn around.
You could say I know better, now.
I’d nearly worn myself out practicing the Onodi, but my feet kept pounding. Was this like Kent’s anxiety? Only after I’d ignored the front-office staff trying to stop me—only after I’d slammed a door behind me—did I stop to pant out my question. “Where…is she?”
Principal Phelps didn’t even look up from his laptop. “If you want to talk to me,” he advised, “my secretary’s outside.”
I forgot to panic and leaned my fists on his desk. “Where is Siobhan?”
Still, Phelps’ eyes didn’t budge. “Now, I’m definitely not her secretary.” His keystrokes timed my silence, but Phelps must have heard the weight of my breathing through it. Finally he glanced at me, then looked more closely at the sweat navigating my widened eyes. “Siobhan is in detention, like you. You know that, Olivia.” Reminding students of their crimes was my principal’s favorite pastime. “You distracted Bethany Choi while Siobhan swapped the drama club’s Othello scripts for episodes of Riverdale.”
The day would come soon when some gods would teach me about pride, and I wouldn’t feel proud of friending a Queen Bee like Siobhan. Back then, though, I was blinded by her thousands of online followers. If I could get tight with her, some of those stats would spill onto my dance career, and that might get me into a performance school like the Renoit Academy.
But only if Siobhan lived to bully another day. “Where is she? Someone’s after her.”
“A few dozen someones, knowing how she makes enemies. Who, specifically?”
“Some new kid. Damo, or whoever. He was glowing.” I paused, struggling to confess something. “He scared me.”
Phelps stopped typing to lift a receiver. “There are no new students. I’ll send security to the Performance Center—Olivia! Wait!” The second Phelps had said where Siobhan was, I was running again, ignoring him as he shouted after me. “Olivia!”
My name got someone else’s attention. “Livi?” Outside the gym, Elsie Essondale stepped in pace beside me wearing her own leotard. “Hi,” she greeted me as if we’d met at the mall. “I finished my debate prep, so I was coming to see if I could help with your gymnastics.”
“Can’t talk,” I panted. “Chasing a creepy predator.”
“Nice,” she agreed amiably. “Great community spirit. Do you mind if I tag along?” That was Elsie, all right: champion debater and gymnast, politely asking permission to put herself in danger.
“Whatever toasts your waffle,” I invited her.
It was a long trip to the Performance Center, which was built as an annex on a corner of the school. We called it ‘The Tumor,’ because it stuck out and filled up with pain. In charge of student productions, Bethany Choi was famous for bringing all manner of boredom and weirdness to the stage for us to revile. Sitting through Bethany’s productions could make a girl question her belief in intermission. Our revenge? We’d messed with her scripts.
I guessed the mop and bucket I spotted through the doors were Siobhan’s punishment. Siobhan wasn’t mopping, though. She was reclined in one of the theatre seats, flipping through a Vanity Fair while bubbles popped in her bucket.
Elsie and I hammered to a clumsy stop just short of her propped-up legs. Siobhan studied us through the mask of a fresh makeover. “Livi, sweetie, what have I said about exercise clogging your pores?”
I glanced around The Tumor for Siobhan’s elusive stalker. Without a band committing crimes against jazz, or actors forgetting their lines onstage, the place had a quiet that molded itself to us like another leotard. I didn’t dare speak.
Always gracious, Elsie spoke for me. “Hi, Siobhan. We’re wondering if you’ve seen a creepy predator.”
“Why, Elsie? Hard up for a date?” Siobhan buzzed, flipping a page.
“Oh, no, thanks. It’s nice of you to ask, but Livi was just chasing someone.”
“Damo,” I remembered.
“Livi-girl. Respect. You know the creepy predator’s name.” Siobhan nodded toward the theatre entrance. “Maybe this fashion assassin is Damo.”
“We are not Deimos,” a voice echoed from behind us, making Elsie and I both whirl toward a whole new stranger. This one wore swords and armor instead of sandals and robes. “Deimos came before. We are Phobos.”
“Did you say ‘hobos’?” I asked. “That tracks.”
“We seek knowledge from The Tormentor.”
Siobhan’s voice at our shoulders wasn’t hers; all the swag had leached out of it, leaving a thin sound. “What’s that bottle in his hand?”
Phobos’ hands seemed empty to me. His lion’s mane of hair shone like it was lit from inside, but he was as small as Kent and as quiet as Elsie. I’ve eaten scarier breakfast cereal. Still, when he came down the steps for Siobhan, she scrambled from her seat and took a spill over the bucket she’d left so full. Lying there in the suds of her detention, Siobhan could only use her elbows to retreat.
That was until I stepped in front of him. “I think you’ve got the wrong Tormentor.”
“He’s holding acid,” Siobhan was babbling. “He’ll burn me. Blister my face!”
But he wasn’t holding anything. I knew that Siobhan valued her looks with psychotic fury, but this was just a pallid kid wearing catlike contact lenses. I squinted into the eerie yellow of his irises, and he asked me, “What do you see?”
“Kind of a freak, to be honest,” I told him.
“Livi!” Elsie was up beside me now, defending the downtrodden as always. “Please forgive my friend. Have you lost someone?”
He looked back at Siobhan, whose mouth opened without words, then he looked up behind him at the exit. “A lost freak,” he repeated thoughtfully. “I smell one now.”
Then Phobos bolted for the door.
I tried to grab him by the plate covering his back, but I’d never seen anyone move so fast. Siobhan’s jaw was clenched but she was safe, so I kicked into full-on chase mode down the hallway. I passed terrified custodians and teachers, all shouting something different about Phobos. He had a gun. His hair was on fire. As I rounded a blind corner, the shop teacher warned me that Phobos might try to electrocute me.
That’s when I tripped over Steve.
“Did you see him?” Steve was on the floor, screaming to Kent. “He had a stocking on his head!”
“I didn’t see any—”
“He was trying to rob me!”
“You don’t even have a wallet—”
“Hey, Kitty-Kent!” I shouted. “Quit arguing with Steve and tell me which way Phobos went.”
They both pointed down a corridor echoing with screams. Steve scrabbled off in the other direction while Kent recited his mantra. My feet tried to follow the shouts until a familiar voice stalled them.
“Not another step, Miss Olinger.”
For the second time that day someone froze me in place with a look. This time, at least, I knew the look; he clasped his hands and gazed at me calmly, as if looking could make me vanish.
“My office,” Principal Phelps ordered as two security guards ran past. “You too, Mr. Hwang.”
Following beside Kent, I complained quietly, “Can’t you at least lose the cape?”
“Well…no. There are tricks in the pockets. Nobody can find out—”
“—how they work,” I finished in a groan. “Stupid Magician’s Code.”
“To summarize,” Phelps repeated. “Two hobos—one with cat’s eyes and another named Damo—came out of Kent’s glowing magic booth to critique your handspring, then proceeded to terrify Siobhan with a bottle of imaginary acid and threaten to rob dear penniless Steve.” He looked up at me through his steepled fingers. “Did I leave anything out?”
“You forgot about the armor.”
“Why would hobos sneak into the school?” Phelps asked. It was more of a plea, really.
I knew the question was hypothetical, but I could never resist an opening. “Why would anyone? Coming in is a waste of good sneaking.”
“But the one I met did say ‘hobos,’ Mr. Phelps,” the most honest of us spoke up. “He said, ‘We’re hobos. Damos came first.’” Elsie had just saved my ass, but she still looked at me apologetically. “I think there was more than one Damo.”
“‘Damos.’ A glowing mane and a lion’s eyes.” Phelps’ mind was churning over something Elsie had said, and he was deciding how to release it. “Are you sure they didn’t say ‘Phobos and Deimos?’”
Kent asked, “Aren’t those moons?”
“No, they’re not moons,” Phelps snapped, then almost rewound an old tape when he heard himself. “I mean—yes, they’re moons orbiting Mars, but those moons were named after two minor Greek gods. Phobos and Deimos were sons of Ares, who would often appear as lions on his battlefields.”
“Well, that’s settled,” I decided. “Battlefields, public schools: same diff, really.”
“Phobos is the god of panic, and Deimos is the god of dread.”
I looked at each of my peers, but they left me to ask the obvious question. “Aren’t those the same?”
“No,” Phelps answered, and for a minute I thought he wasn’t going to explain. Then, with a sigh, he let it all out in one breath. “We panic during danger, but we dread the future. Dread makes us believe we won’t cope. Some say it’s worse, because it keeps us from trying.”
Memories of that feeling came to me. “Like thinking I’ll never be a dancer. Deimos made me sure of that for five seconds.”
Phelps nodded, then seemed to realize what he was nodding about. “If these two intruders are pretending—” Here, he raised a crooked finger. “—pretending to be Phobos and Deimos, then Phobos would be the one who weaponizes acid and robs students, while Deimos would prey on self-doubt.”
‘Pretending.’ Phelps still didn’t get it. Siobhan had always hated anything that blemished her face, and Steve spent his life complaining about thieves stealing from his dad. How could the terror twins possibly know their fears?
“They came through a magic booth,” I reminded Phelps.
“No,” he insisted. “They didn’t.”
This was one of those teacher-student moments that you never see in movies. Here I was, telling him the truth, but here Phelps was refusing to believe it. His adult world of logic had his mind hammerlocked to the point where even being surrounded by adolescents all day couldn’t free him. He just had no imagination.
“Listen to me, you three,” he said to include Kent and Elsie. “We’ve got panic around the school, and I don’t need this World of Witchcraft nonsense muddying the waters.”
“It’s World of Warcraft,” Kent felt it wise to complain.
That brought on the raised voice. “I don’t care! Every one of you reprobates is going home while we find your friends and clean up this mess!”
“‘Reprobates?’” Elsie repeated in horror. “I’m not a—”
“That’s it,” he said, lifting the phone. “Clear out. I’m calling your parents to tell them to expect you straight home.”
So, ‘straight home’ is where we were sent, and that’s where two-thirds of us were heading before I reminded Kent and Elsie of a higher calling. “You,” I said to Kent, “might be the only one who knows where Steve would hide, and you,” I turned on Elsie, “are the school’s all-rounder. Even game shows don’t give out as many prizes as you win.”
“Thanks, Livi,” she said brightly.
“We already know you’re immune to Phobos, and you’re so irritatingly competent that you’ve got to be immune to Deimos, too.”
“Um… thanks again,” she said a little less surely.
“But you heard Mr. Phelps,” Kent worried from the doorway he had half-open. “We’re supposed to go straight home.”
“We’re supposed to do homework and eat vegetables, too, but do we?”
Kent’s teary eyes opened sincerely. “Well, yeah, I do homework. I’d never pass if I didn’t.”
“And vegetables are delicious,” Elsie added, “if they’re steamed properly, or sautéed in a nice béarnaise—”
I arched my back as far as I could for a groan that might startle Ares. “Quit it!” I ordered them both, squeaking my heel over the lino. “Just quit being wholesome and follow me. I know exactly where Siobhan’s hiding.”
It was a haven of sorts, for her: a place where nail polish and hairstyles were elevated from superficial concerns into career paths. If Siobhan felt threatened by some fake vial of hydrochloric, I knew she would go back to the one place where she was respected by the lesser egotists as a queen—as a goddess in her own right. That’s why Elsie and I had come to her safe space. The Cosmetology classroom.
We pushed a door that squeaked on its rusted public-school hinges, then let it scrape shut along a neglected hydraulic closer. Siobhan jumped when she heard the sound but relaxed when she saw it was us. She’d been running her manicured nails over her reflection in one of the chipped mirrors Ms. Stanley had strapped to the desks.
“We’re alone,” I reassured her. That was true. Kent had veered off halfway here to find Steve. We needed all the backup we could gather to get through to Mr. Phelps. “It’s just me and Elsie.”
“I can’t imagine feeling safer. Livi can vault over the psycho when he attacks. Maybe Elsie can debate the ethics of disfiguring cuter girls.”
As usual, her burn reached Elsie as a compliment. “Thanks for your confidence, but I’d need more prep time—”
“It’s not just you,” I interrupted to tell Siobhan. “Teachers are freaking out in the hallways. A math teacher was tearing theorems out of the textbooks, crying that she could never prove them.”
“And the Home Ec. Teacher,” Elsie remembered, “panicking about some kid who was diseased because the range hoods hadn’t been cleaned. If it’s this bad when the school’s almost empty…”
Nobody needed to finish that thought, but I nodded anyway. There were a dozen more examples; grown adults were all over school, either babbling about lethal threats or bawling because they’d forgotten how to do their jobs. “But not both,” I said out loud.
I could almost hear Siobhan’s mascaraed lashes flutter shut. “What vast mental chasm are you leaping now?”
It was Elsie who got my answer. “Everyone is either scared of getting hurt or scared that they’re not good enough to keep trying.”
“Either Phobos or Deimos got to them,” Elsie breathed.
“But never both. Why?”
A squeak and a scrape told us that Kent had arrived, and he towed in Steve as promised. “I found him in—”
“Never mind where you found me, Mind-Grind. What’s this quaint little hall of mirrors?”
“It’s the Cosmetology classroom, Steve,” Siobhan fired back. “I’d invite you in, but you’re far too big a challenge for the class to tackle.”
“Ah,” he nodded, turning his bulk around to take it all in. “So this is where the girls who can’t handle academics go to hide.”
“That’s not true,” I argued. “Boys hide here, too. Can we focus? We just figured out that the kid with the weapons doesn’t scare the same people as the kid with the mind-games. Please explain.”
“That’s easy, Oblivia,” Steve answered with his usual empathy. “Mind games don’t work on everyone.”
“Not if you’re good at them,” Siobhan added in a rare moment of agreement. “I’m too pretty to insult, so ratchets put threatening notes in my locker…”
Steve slanted a suspicious look at her, but finished her thought anyway. “…and I’m too smart, so they hack my dad’s accounts and steal his ideas.”
Steve’s answer brought his own brand of arrogance, but he had a point. Siobhan and Steve had more in common than either would admit under torture. They had no self-doubt. Even Deimos couldn’t bully them, because they were bullies.
It was up to Phobos to make them paranoid.
“Deimos is after Siobhan,” I remembered. “She should hide—”
The mirrors began to shine with a troubling light.
“Greetings, Tormentor.” The unmistakable echo drowned out my voice. Somehow, our visitor had arrived without a squeak or a scrape. “We have need of you.”
“Deimos,” I whispered, already buckling inside. I knew that I wouldn’t have enough to stand up to him. I wouldn’t have enough to succeed at anything: defending my friends or becoming a dancer or even graduating from this low-tier public school. “Kent, look out—”
I was too late. Deimos had taken a stapler from the teacher’s desk, knocking Kent to the floor in a pile of polyester cape. A stapler…
“Come on, Miss Overconfident,” I stammered, knocking over a few glowing mirrors to get behind Elsie. “This is where you come in.”
But Deimos spoke a curse in her direction. “You lack the knowledge to defeat us.”
Elsie grappled my forearms on the way past, twisting the skin on them with a pain I barely noticed. “I can’t,” she panted. “I don’t know enough. I keep trying, but there’s too much to ever learn.”
Somewhere through my own intimidation, I found some curiosity to look her over. Was it possible that I had more in common with the unconquerable Elsie than with Siobhan?
“I’ll never know enough…”
“You speak plain truth. You shall never know anything of use,” Deimos taunted her. “The Tormentor, however, knows the weaknesses of every being inside these walls. We will learn them from her, and battlefield chaos will reign tomorrow.”
“You wanna kidnap a tormentor, Junior Jehovah?” Siobhan finally reacted, circling around Deimos to corral him into the room. “Come get me, then…but from your pasty complexion, I’d say the anemia will get you first.”
Deimos looked at her squarely, trying to reach her self-doubt. “You are not as lovely as you believe.”
“Really? Then why does my Instagram keep getting follows?”
By now, Siobhan had backed him into Steve, who wrapped Deimos in a bear hug that must have smelled like an actual bear. “We’ll take a hard pass on the battlefield chaos,” Steve bleated into his ear. “I’m planning my own revenge on the idiots in this school.”
Deimos closed his eyes. “Then my brother shall render you powerless.”
Suddenly, he wasn’t alone. At the head of the class was that feline kid in tin pants, staring right at Siobhan. “Phobos,” Elsie recognized.
Siobhan made the mistake of turning around, then crashed past a hairdryer away from the luminous little creep. “Keep him away!” she shouted. “He’ll burn my face!”
“Burn you? How?” To make his escape across the room, Steve had let Deimos go. “That’s the thief. He’ll take everything from me. Everything!”
“Hold him!” I shouted. Insecurities were still clawing my flesh from inside, but I could see that we needed to help each other keep these two away. Elsie followed my lead as I took Phobos by one armored limb and dragged him toward the hairdryer. “Cover his head!”
With Phobos’ glow hidden under the dryer, Steve and Siobhan relaxed enough to stop pounding the wall. Steve reached out just in time to pull Deimos back; if he had advanced on us much further, we would have lost the strength to grasp his brother.
We couldn’t do this for long.
“We need someone who can stand up to them both,” Elsie quivered.
“That was supposed to be you,” I complained. “Where’s the confidence, girl?”
“Confidence,” she said. “Right. Why do you think I’m always trying for those awards?”
If we’d had time, I would have digested that silently. As it was, I needed my whole brain before Deimos got any closer. “Why did he knock out Kent?” I wondered. “And with a stapler instead of some juju?”
“You don’t think…”
“That Kent can face them? Let’s find out. Kent!” I shouted, and I actually saw him stir from my voice. The others joined me, shouting his name and pleading him awake, but Kent was too groggy from the blow to really respond. “Kitty-Kent,” I called, using my old nickname for him. “Wake up. I need you. We’re in trouble.”
That was my history with eight-year-old Kent: I would drag him into trouble, and he would cry when we found trouble together. With Phobos fighting out from under the dryer and Deimos breaking Steve’s grip, I couldn’t think of worse trouble to find. Kent needed something to motivate him. Something that he remembered.
He needed his mantra. “We’re all afraid, Kent…but you’re more than your fear.”
My plan worked. Kent was awake and struggling to his feet. “Livi?”
I watched him there, too sensible for Phobos and too sure for Deimos, and I knew what we had to do. “Let them go,” I told the others.
The two of them advanced on Kent, trying every danger and mind-game they knew to make him succumb. They said he was weak and had poor grades; they promised him animal bites and beatings from thugs. But Kent stood his ground until they were both a nose away: Phobos and Deimos, staring down my childhood friend but never once looking at each other.
Never once… “Kent!” I shouted. “Get out from between them!”
They were circling him to stop his escape, but Kent had something going for him that the rest of us would never understand. Kent had the Magician’s Code. He reached into his cape and threw a pellet at the floor that created a screen of smoke around him. Using some trick—some trick he’d sworn to never tell anyone—Kent had managed to make himself disappear.
And when the smoke cleared, the brothers were standing eye to eye.
“There are too many students,” Phobos moaned. “So many. I shall never learn enough to frighten everyone.”
“You wear armor,” Deimos quaked, “while I am dressed in mere robes. Your greater strength will surely smite me.”
Both of them stood there for a minute, stepping toward each other and stepping away, until they seemed to make a decision all at once. They took each other by the throats and pushed each other through the door. It squeaked with Phobos’ self-doubt, and it scraped against Deimos’ paranoia, louder than the voices they choked from each other. While the door staggered closed, I could have sworn I saw a bright flash from the hallway.
The empty hallway, it turned out. By the time Elsie and I got up the nerve to check, Kent was out there alone. A dying breeze fluttered his cape around him.
“How’d you last?” I asked him. “Why couldn’t they scare you?”
He shrugged under the crumpled velour. “What’s to scare? I already know my grades suck, so I just do more homework. And Jimbo Phelps threatens to hurt me all the time.”
This was true. Athletic and ripped, James Phelps might have been the most popular kid in school if he didn’t spend so much time compensating for being the principal’s son. Jimbo was all about breaking rules, and the top of his list was our school’s strict policy against giving Kent wedgies. It was both sad and brave that Kent was used to it.
“Fear is just nothing new,” my friend decided. “It’s been around since the gods.”
“Do you even remember what they looked like?” I asked Elsie while we waited for Mr. Phelps.
“Not really,” she admitted. “I thought Deimos was big.”
“Not as big as Kent.” I knew we’d all thought that, in a way. Siobhan was already putting down Phobos, calling him ‘a mangy kid who needs a stylist.’ As for Deimos, Elsie was right; all those words he’d said to make me feel small just replayed in my mind as small words. “Maybe Kent dwarfed him for us,” I wondered. “Anyway, wherever they came from, he managed to send fear packing.”
“Do you think they’re gone for good?”
I tried to answer her question with a fact, but the only fact that came out didn’t fit. “I’m in the talent show,” I told her. “Some dance scouts from Renoit Academy are coming.”
“Really? That’s wonderful, Livi.”
“Yeah,” I agreed, but my voice was empty of wonder. “I was hoping you could help me practice.”
Sounds of parents pretending to be nice spilled through Mr. Phelps’ door as it opened. We were about to go inside to hear polite adults tell us our punishments before they took us home to yell at us. Next week, at least, we’d be hanging around school together—on detention.
As we went in, a hulking janitor watched me from down the hallway. His beard seemed to flow in breezes that shouldn’t have been, but he was way too big to have come through Kent’s secret panel.
The beard glowed like it was lit from inside before Phelps pulled me away…
Pantheons of gods will bring the fight to Livi’s school,
and she’ll take it right back to Ancient Greece.
In the novel
Olivia Tames Olympus
All characters, settings and situations are registered by the author, K. Alan Leitch, for U.S. Copyright. Olivia Tames Olympus is complete, professionally edited and available for publication.
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