Chapter 11 Skipping
Waking up in my room, I wonder if I’m still dreaming. Maybe everything was a dream. Mrs. Simpson would be ok and the fury wouldn’t be real. I’m making all of this up in my head because I like Jon and Miles and I don’t know how to handle it. That’s exactly it! I smile in the mirror. Hmm, no it’s not, is it? I frown. There is a knock on the front door. My mom answers it. I can hear her talking. I get ready, and Violet appears at my door.
“Hi Vi! What’s up?” I ask, struggling to get my boots on. She walks over to the bat to see him.
“I’m scared for you.” She says. Tucking in Louie’s blanket around him.
“Do you girls want some breakfast before school?” My mom yells up the stairs. “Sure, mom be right down.” I yell back to her.
“I know we haven’t talked about any of this. It’s all happening so fast but I’m good, I’m good, really, I’m good. I have Miles.” I say to her.
“And Jon.” She reminds me. We both giggle. My face feels red.
“What am I going to do?” I plead with her. “I love Miles. I mean really, love him and we have been best friends since the day we met and now that I know he’s protecting me, it’s so easy to love him even more. And Jon I mean he is so funny, and he is pretty hot.” I give Violet a look like she knows he is hot.
“Girl, you are in deep. I don’t know what to tell you. But if I were you Id chose Miles. I like the dark and mysteriousness about him.” She laughs. “Plus, there is something weird about Jon. He got really mad at me when I wasn’t going fast enough to meet you. And his face got really red I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head.”
“That’s weird Jon is always so kind and happy. Maybe he’s stressed we have all missed so much school and had to lie about it.” I say, sticking up for him.
“True, we have, but he was really mad. Anyway, just looking out.” Violet says.
“You always do my friend.” I hug her and walk downstairs and into the kitchen where my mom is making breakfast.
“Hi girls French toast?” She asks as she put the plates in front of us. We both sit at the table and start eating. My mom sits down and starts talking about her day.
“I’m volunteering at the Zoo today for the relief fund for the baby lions being born soon. So, I won’t be home until after dinner. But Dave said he’d order a pizza for you, Violet You ’re welcome to join us later.” Violet and I just look at each other. She seems nervous I just shake my head at her. “It will be ok.” I whisper. She nods. My mom leaves us to head over to the zoo herself, and we start to get ready. It feels weird to be ditching school today, but kind of cool, too. I sit putting a belt around my boot I cut it to fit around it and put a pocket knife in it. I pull my jeans down around my boot. Violet has a bat that is sticking out of her backpack. There is a knock at the door. I grab a new Chapstick from the kitchen junk drawer and I walk over and open the door. It’s Jon.
“Oh, hi,” I say. “What are you doing here? I thought we were meeting at the zoo.”
He looks up at me and smiles.
“I’ve been thinking about you,” he says, looking down and kicking some stones off his shoe. He’s so shy, I think.
“Hi Jon.” Violet yells from behind the door.
I give my half smile, grin, and look at him.
“Oh, Hi Vi.” He says he looks like he didn’t want her here.
We all walk around back of the house under the oak tree and wait for Miles.
I open up the new Chapstick and smell, hmm, it’s strawberry. I put some on my lips and Jon leans in and sniffs.
“Mmm, that smells good,” he says, taking my hand in his.
For a moment, everything is perfect.
“So,” I say, getting nervous, “Wanna ditch with me?”
I kind of skip along a little as I say it.
He laughs at me, “Of course, I do!”
“Cool,” I respond. “I have never missed this much school before.”
“I have never missed a day. I always get the perfect attendance award.” Violet chimes in.
“Not this year, smarty pants.” Jon laughs. “Anyway, you’re in tenth grade You ’re supposed to skip every chance you get.” He smiles at Violet.
“Not this girl. I don’t like to miss and not know what’s going on. It makes me feel unworthy to be in honors classes.”
“Violet, you don’t have to do this. You can still make it to school on time. You can meet us later. It’s no big deal. Really.” I reassure her.
“No! I want to do this. I can hear the animals talk to me. I know that’s because of you. I always knew you were special, Opal White. I’m honored to be your friend, more than I need a stupid certificate that no one gives a crap about but me.” Violet gives me a hug and holds on tight. I can feel her crying.
“You are special to me too, Violet, but you ’re putting yourself in danger even being around me. You are too Jon. I understand if you want to bail.” I look at them both.
Violet looks at Jon and Jon looks at Violet. They bump fists and make a whoosh sound as their fists open and fly out. Then they look at me and smile.
“You guys are the best. Really. The best.” I say
Jon hugs me and looks me in the face, pushing my hair around my ear. He looks like he wants to say something to me. Miles interrupted us by jumping down from the oak tree. He must have been sitting up there the whole time on the limb.
“Look over underneath the maple tree.” Miles points. Gesturing to everyone to get down. We all hide behind the oak tree.
“Look over there.” I point to Violet and Jon.
“I see nothing,” Violet urges.
“I see it, it’s in the bark look it’s moving from tree to tree.” I point.
“It’s a fury” Miles says. “Look how it changes shape from bark to grass to bark again gliding over the trees.” He says, taking off his jean jacket handing it to me.
“I still see nothing.” Violet chimes in.
Miles pulls his back up and his wings pop out he tries to do it slowly, but those mechanical wings are so clunky. My favorite band shirt we got together is being ripped to shreds in the back from his marvelous wings. He pulls an arrow from one of them and sets his bow. She points his arrow at the fury it notices him and fog appears he jumps out the window and flies over to the trees so quickly. The arrow ends up in bark of one of the maple trees. The fury slowly turns to fog and then into a dark black mass scrolling the trees. He put his hand to the sun, and a light comes from the sun into his hand as he jolts it at the fury with all of his might. It turns to fog and disappears. He stamps on it until the fog is gone. I look around, hoping the neighbors aren’t home to see that happen.
“Change of plans we are all going to the zoo at 10.” I say to Violet.
“No one goes anywhere alone.” We all agree.
“Uh, my mom is there, at the zoo.” I remember to tell Miles.
“What!?” He says. Shrugging my shoulders and giving my little grin to him.
“She is volunteering there for the relief fund for the cubs being born. What am I supposed to tell her she can’t because we are on a secret quest?” I say jokingly.
“I guess not. We’ll have to be careful she can’t know we are skipping school.” Miles reminds me as we all walk across the street. Miles takes us around the back way. I knock on the fence. Ty lets his trunk down.
“Hey there, buddy,” I say to the elephant trunk, helping us across the fence.
“Hello, Princess,” says the elephant, not really to my surprise.
A little elephant, almost tripping on his long trunk, comes running over. “Hi, Princess.” He says’s, all nasally.
“Hi little guy. Where is Red? We, need to talk to him there is a change of plans.” I say to him in my head.
“Oh no, King Red does not like the change of plans, oh no he doesn’t.” he says back nasally.
“Good to know, thank you for the heads up.” I say.
“But my head is up princess.” The little elephant laughs at me. He is so cute. I tickle his ears. When everyone is safely across the fence, we hide behind the elephant den near the bathroom.
“Ok, remember, we are looking for my mom. Do not let her notice you. And we should watch out for fury’s and muck demons too.” I look at Miles nervously.
“Ok muck demons are like the nurse. They get really gross when they are about to charge at you. They can’t do much damage unless you just stand there and do nothing.” He looks at Jon.” If you pierce them in the brain they will die.” He takes 3 knives from his pack they look like his wings. “Here, take these, stab them as hard as you can. If you see a fury, just call me you can’t kill those. Ok!” We all take our new weapons and put them in our packs. I replace my little pocket knife in my boot with this one. Miles looks out and waves at us to go.
As we are walking in between bushes and enclosures trying not to be seen I finally see my mom she has a zoo hat on and I yellow t-shirt, she is under a canopy with the other volunteers and they are handing out flyers and taking donations. She seems too busy to notice. Hopefully, I think. I point so the others can see her and they nod and keep going. We head over to pass by Horizon. I don’t see him. I’m so worried about him. We are by the monkeys and wait for Red.
I hear Red’s stick slam down, and he approaches from behind the enclosure with Tiny. He looks around before speaking. Many people are over by the lions’ den awaiting the birth of the cubs, so it’s pretty clear by the monkeys.
“Why have you disobeyed me?” He purses his big lips.
“I’m so sorry my mother is here, and a fury attacked us.” I say.
“Hmm, that is not good. Ok what now? Hmm, Go find them! You’re here now, search! We will help you. Hmm. Yes.” Red slams his stick down. “Look around princess, feel for your father, hmm.”
And as if it’s magic, like my father is drawing me to it, I turn and see the seal enclosure. Over the water fountain there is a cosmic sign that says: “Home of the Seals”. There is a stone on it, it looks like aqua. It’s huge and round. I wonder if it’s my dad’s. I gasp.
I wave at Red and I take Jon and Violet to the seals where the huge aqua round stone is staring at us. It’s huge. Maybe this one is my dad’s, I think. Miles is scanning the surrounding zoo to protect me. The sign is pretty high, so Jon and I go down below to see if there is a ladder while Violet stands guard. The seals come to the window and start banging their tails on the window. I put my finger on my lips and shush them. Then they stop and they say things. I can’t really understand them because they are all talking at once.
“Calm down,” I say. “One at a time.”
A big brown seal with a furry nose pops his head to the window and says, “Princess, in the closet.” He put his fin up. And then all the other seals do the same, pointing to the back of the enclosure.
“In the closet.” I tell Jon. Jon opens the closet door and finds a mop and a bucket, a long squeegee to clean the window with, and a stepladder.
We thank the seals and bring it up the steps. Jon stands on it and has to step up on his toes to reach it. Jon takes out the knife Miles gave him and tries to scrape the stone off the sign, but it is stuck good, cemented on.
“Just hit it hard, really hard,” I suggest.
Jon looks at me strangely, but does it, anyway. Pound, pound. It takes a few times, but the stone comes off and breaks apart into pieces to the ground. I pick up the one pale looking piece and hold it to my heart. It’s moon-shaped. It’s grey. It glows when it’s close to my heart. I pull it back and forth, showing my friends how it glows and dims.
“Holy cow!” yells Violet. “Do you see that?”
I get excited. One down.
“Oh, no!” yells Violet. “Look ah, a muck thing, or demon.” She points. Out of thin air come 3 muck demos. They look like zombies, with goo coming from their mouths and flies swarming.
I run over to one of them and stab it right in the forehead. The other two come after me as well. I throw the crystal to Jon. “Heads up.” I yell. Jon catches us gracefully with one hand and pulls his gorgeous hair back with the other. He places the crystal in his jean back pocket. The muck demons instantly turn to Jon instead of me. They are after the crystal. “They want it Jon toss it back.” I yell. He does a funny dance, trying to get away from the two demons and have them run into each other. They get stuck in their own goo and they get angry and bigger before they grow and decay.
Jon tosses the crystal to Violet. She drops it in the grass. She gets on her hands and knees to find it. A thick black fog is spreading along the grass where Violet is searching desperately for the crystal. The muck demons are getting close. As she is on the ground, the black fog grabs her hand. It’s pulling her through the grass. She finds the crystal with her other hand and throws it as she is being pulled in mid-air. Miles goes after the crystal. I run to Violet and hold on to her legs. All the while she is screaming. People are noticing the commotion and come over to see what we are doing. Then screams are heard. The lion is growling, and it sounds close. Over the loudspeaker a voice is saying “Stay calm and walk to your nearest exit. Stay calm everyone and walk to your nearest exit.” We can see people running and screaming.
Miles jumps into the air and has the crystal. The muck demons follow it. He throws it at Jon so he can get a better aim at them. Jon puts it in his pocket.
Miles whips around and bends forward while his wings emerge from his back. They spread out and arrows, one of the putrid smelling muck demons in the neck, but it just keeps coming after Jon.
“Stab it in the head.” Yells Miles. He jumps on a bench and runs to the other end of it and sores through the air after the ugly muck demon and Jon. He reaches behind him to get an arrow and in mid-air, puts his arrow in his bow, and casts the arrow through the muck demon’s head. “Just in time.” He winks at Jon. Jon gives him a whatever look. The other muck demon is growing bigger and is still coming after Jon. Jon hands the crystal to Miles secretly. Miles jumps to the next bench to see if the demon will follow him, and it does.
“They must be attracted to it.” He says. “This is not good.”
Jon runs over to help me pull Violet. Whatever has her has a tight grip, but I see nothing, just black fog. As we are trying to help Violet, MIles stabs the last muck demon in the head.
“ROAR.” The massive Lion growls at the black fog that has Violet and it lets go and moves toward Miles. Miles puts his hand up to the sun and light comes down straight into his hand and his bow he whips his bow around in a circle at the black fog coming after him and shines the light on it. The black fog thins out and disappears into the wind. The lion walks slowly over to us. We all look defeated. Jon and I are on either side of Violet, holding her up. She is holding her arm. Miles put himself together. He kicks the goo that is left on the ground from the nasty muck demons.
“Thankyou!” I say to the lion out loud. Miles comes over and hugs him. He put his head back to show affection.
“You must go now.” Says the lion. He looks around and walks away.
“Why could I hear him?” Asks Violet, still holding her arm. “I heard him too.” Say’s Jon.
“You can only hear them because Opal is letting you, you’re in the circle now. Why did you think you could hear Red before?” Says Miles, inspecting Violet’s arm. “It’s dislocated.” He hands me the crystal. I put it in my pocket for now. I hear shots. We look behind the bushes and see they have put the lion down.
“He’s just asleep. Look, my mom is with him.” Miles shows me.
“Is that really your mom?” Jon asks. He doesn’t respond.
“Violet needs to go to Urgent care and get her shoulder looked at.” Miles tells Jon.
“I’ll take you, Vi. It will be ok.” Jon says to her, helping her. Violet is crying and holding her arm up.
“Thankyou Jon.” I give them both a hug and tell Violet I’ll call her later.
Miles and I stay back to make sure the lion is ok.
“You kid’s shouldn’t be here.” Says a man’s voice. Oh, great, not another guard under a spell, I think to myself.
“It’s ok, their my kids.” Says Miles’s mom.
We sit by her and the lion. I pull my fingers through his mane, he’s so soft. “Thank you for helping us.” I think to him.
“Do you think we’ll have to move him?” Asks the guard.
“He was protecting his mate, that’s all. No need to get panicked let’s see how he is after the cubs are born.” Miles’s Mom tells the guard. He agrees, and they put a hoyer lift pad underneath the lion so they can lift him back into his den. Miles and I decide to hide out in his mom’s office until the end of the school day.
I examine the crystal. It glows when I bring it to my chest.
“This one must be made for me. What do you think, Miles?” He hands me a wire from a desk and he wraps the crystal. I take the chain from around my neck and put the crystal on it and hang it from my neck so it lays perfectly on my chest, near my heart. It shines so brightly you can see it through my shirt. I look in a small mirror by the door. My eyes glow, my back is hunching over as metal wings urge through my skin and through my shirt, ripping both with ease and without pain. Gold metal mechanical wings spread through the room. My ears grow long and sharp like an elf’s. They are entangled with jewels in them. My hands feel strong I clench my fists and open them my left hand has a sun glowing from it my right hand has a moon but it’s not glowing it looks like a tattoo I try to scratch my skin it heals instantly. “Hmm, this might not be the best way to hide it.”
“Really! That’s all you ’re thinking? Trying to hide the crystal? Not that you just transformed?” Miles says, gesturing to my wings.
“How am I supposed to feel?” I say, whipping my wings around to see him. They are so sharp they put a perfect slit through half of the chair and the top falls to the floor.
“Crap.” I say.
Miles laughs. “I’ve never heard an elf say crap before.” He keeps laughing. I laugh because he is laughing. He pulls the crystal from my chest and I turn back in to myself.
“Thankyou.” I say to him.
“You’re welcome. Your wings have to be tamed to move with you. They are a part of you but you still need training so, this doesn’t happen unless you want it too.” He says, pointing to a chair on the floor.
“I guess I have a lot to learn.” I look down at my hands. The tattoo’s, are gone.
“You will princess, don’t worry, you will.” Miles reassures me. “Did it hurt? You didn’t even flinch when your wings came out.”
“No, I barely felt them.” I say, still looking at my hands.
“When you ’re sixteen you ’re supposed to turn full slider/dryad you’ll learn to keep hidden like I do. But until then let’s keep this safe and find the rest, ok.” He puts the crystal in his bag.
“Ok, thanks Miles.” I breathe.
“You’re welcome Princess.” He says softly back.
“Please don’t call me that.” I plead. “It’s embarrassing.”
“But you are my princess.” He says. He walks slowly to me and puts his hands on my face and he kisses me. On the lips. A soft first kiss. I can feel it everywhere, tingling down my face, to my chest, my heart is beating faster and I feel the tingling all the way to my feet. I close my eyes, not wanting to open them. I feel my face getting red. He slowly pulls away and pushes my hair from my face. I open my eyes. He looks at me wide eyed and smiles and takes a step away.
“What! What’s wrong?” I say nervously. Miles takes the mirror from the wall and shows me. I look at my eyes, they are glowing, they are blue and sparkly.
“What is this? What is happening to me? I don’t have the crystal on.” I close my eyes and open them again. Miles hands me his sun glasses.
“Here, put these on until it fades. You’ll be fine. Don’t worry, ok.” He says. I put them on and look in the mirror again. You can still see the light gleaming through the sunglasses but no one will notice, for now, I think.
“It’s been an hour.” Miles says, checking his watch.
“I know, let’s check on Vi.” I get my phone and text Jon. after a few minutes he doesn’t respond. I worry.
“I’m sure they are fine. Don’t worry.” Miles says. “I’m going to need to stay with you to protect you.”
“We can say your mom has to go out of town and you can stay in the spare room upstairs.” I smile. “My parents won’t mind. Dave loves you.”
Miles and I clean up the mess I made while we wait for Jon to respond. I leave Dave a text that I’ll be late for dinner and Miles would join us. And we head out.
“Jon texted back, they went back to school and snuck into PE class, they were playing tag football outside. So, Vi, just pretended to get hurt there.” I smile and text Jon back a thank you.
“That turned out perfectly.” Miles agrees. We keep walking to my house.
“He’s going to meet us back here later to look for the other crystals. I’ll tell him after dinner.” As I’m texting Jon, I feel happy. But I’m still happy to be with Miles here now. Why does this have to be so hard? Miles just kissed me. My first kiss and it was wonderful. I felt it everywhere.
“Stop worrying so much.” Miles says, putting his arm around me as we continue walking.
“I thought you couldn’t read my thoughts?” I question him.
“I can’t read your thoughts, but I can read you, and it’s ok. You can like Jon too.” He laughs.
I punch him in the arm, like Violet would, at a remark like that. And I laugh too. I guess he’s right I don’t need to figure it all out tonight. I put my phone away and we walk up to my house.