Rescue of The Ruby

January 27, 2013
By Anonymous

My name is Avery, Avery Johnson. I’m 17 and well....... unusual. You see, I don’t go to school like most normal kids do, I don’t learn things most normal kids learn and I’m most definitely NOT normal. My school, Coldlake Academy for Special Kids, is a school that specializes in well, special kids. You’re probably thinking, “great, a delinquent kid with problems.” But that’s not what I mean by special. When I say special I mean kids with powers, kids who can do things like control fire or be able to hear someone coming from three miles away.
There are only twenty- two kids at my school, including me. Most of which have one power, a few have two, but never has there been a kid with three, until I came along. Having three powers is something unheard of in all 367 years Coldlake has been teaching special kids; it’s extremely dangerous and very, very uncommon.
At Coldlake they teach us three main subjects; powers, weapon training and hand-to-hand combat. Everybody learns how to use a knife or how to shoot a bow and arrow and everybody has to have at least one weapon on them at ALL times. We have three professors; Howard specializes in weapons, he can just look at a person and he knows exactly what weapon will work the best for them. He told me I was an archer; turns out, well, he was wrong about the archer but that’s just because one of my powers is weapons. Kennedy is the hand-to-hand combat teacher he’s only 19, but he’s very good at what he does, no smart person would doubt him in battle. Marcus is a strict, but kind old man who teaches each student about their powers; how and when to use them. He’s also Coldlake’s headmaster.
Out of all twenty- two students at Coldlake only nine of us are old enough to fight the Shadow demons: Darwin, James, Maggie, Nicole, Kendall, Aiden, Jasmine, Kaitlin and me. We train in the afternoon from one to six and again after dinner from eight to ten. In the mornings we take the basics; math, science, reading and writing. On weekends we are free to do as we please. Almost every Saturday we all go out and play sports, but nobody leaves campus that often. It’s dangerous outside of campus; anybody who leaves has the risk of being captured by the Shadow Demons.
Shadow Demons are dark, evil creatures that hide in the darkest of shadows; they feed off peoples fear, anger and hatred. They look like normal people, but their skin is a sickly grey color and they dress in all black. Shadows are inhumanly fast, strong, are very excellent fighters and are very competitive. Usually when a child shows the smallest hint of power their parents send them off too Coldlake, but there are those few unfortunate children who get stolen by the Shadows. You see, the Shadows are very power hungry; they have been trying to take control of the government for about 370 years.
The very first time the Shadows attacked they almost succeeded in taking over the government, almost….. If it wasn’t for Micah, a very talented Power, (he had two powers; excellent fighting skills and he could control water). the Shadows would have taken over and the outcome would have been terrible. After that Micah founded Coldlake and Coldlake has been training Powers ever since.


I step outside and breathe in the fresh morning air. I then make my way across the lawn to the courts. Today we are playing basketball, one of my favorite sports. My dad and I used to play basketball; we would play almost every day up until I was eight. That’s when it happened; my first power.
My dad and I had been playing basketball together one day and the ball had rolled across the street into the neighbor’s yard. It took me only four seconds to bring the ball back to my dad. After that everything happened so fast. Two hours later I was standing on the front steps of Coldlake watching my parents drive away, not knowing I would never see them again. That had been the worst week of my life, knowing my parents never wanted to see me again, that they thought I was a freak. Good thing they never knew I had three powers.
“Hello! Avery?” I hadn’t realized that my two best friends, Kaitlin and Jasmine had walked up and were trying to get my attention.
“Sorry”, I mumbled.
“Girl, the games about to start and you don’t want to miss! You're our best player!”
“Jasmine,” I said, “shut up.” She was right though, I was the best player and my powers made sure of it. Besides being inhumanly fast I was graced with excellent fighting skills and was good with any kind of weapon. I was the best student at Coldlake; the only one who could beat Kennedy in a fight.
When we arrived at the court James turned at grinned at me, “sweetheart! You decided to show”.
“James, when has Avery ever missed a basketball game?” Jasmine asked, glaring at James. James is that one person who thinks that all the ladies will LOVE him, but really nobody does. He also calls every girl he knows sweetheart; it gets really annoying.
“Avery, Kaitlin and Jasmine meet Roman, he’s the new bad boy. He’s a very excellent fighter. Heck, he could probably beat even you Avery”. James announced, pointing at a guy I assumed was Roman. He was tall with tan skin, dark brown hair and piercing green eyes. He was very well defined and muscular; gorgeous.
“Yeah right, nobody can beat Avery.” Kaitlin scoffed.
“Want to bet? ‘Cause besides being a graced fighter he can also control water. ” James shot back, making strange hand movements at the word water.
“I don’t believe that.” Jasmine said, shaking her head.
“You would believe me if you saw them fight.”James pointed out.
“You forget that we are standing right here, and I’m not going to fight him if that’s what you're getting at.” I said glaring at James.
“Why? Afraid to get your butt kicked?” James asked. I glared at and then sighed, rolling my eyes.
“Fine! I’ll do it!” I huffed.
“Sounds good.” Roman agreed, shrugging his shoulders.
“Ok, how about in one hour at the training gym?” James asked.
“Sounds great,” everybody agreed. I turned and headed off to my room, maybe I’d take a nap before the fight. I then heard it, a scream. Sophie!

The first time I left campus I was 14. I had decided I needed to get away from Coldlake for a while so I went shopping. When I first walked into the mall bathroom I wasn’t expecting it to be pitch black and I most definitely wasn’t expecting the small whimpering noises coming from the corner. I had somehow managed to turn on the light and spot the little girl, about 5, curled up in the corner before he spotted me, The Shadow. I still remember the look on the Shadows’ face when he attacked me only to find out how fast and how good of a fighter I really was; he ended up knocked out on the floor. After that I managed to get the girl to Coldlake without running into any more Shadows, haven't seen that particular Shadows since.

That little girl, Sophie, and I became each other’s only family; I love her and have done everything I can to protect her. So naturally, when I heard her scream I freaked out and took off running.
Following her screams I found myself in the auditorium; it was very large and hardly ever got used. I easily found her and to my surprise a Shadow; the same Shadow from the bathroom three years ago. He was towered over Sophie’s tiny frame, holding her by the neck. He hadn’t seen me yet. I quietly made my way up to him, grabbed him by his neck and flipped him over my shoulder, stealing Sophie from his grasp. He was momentarily surprised but recovered quickly and was back on his feet in mere seconds. Shoving Sophie behind me I turned on the Shadow and pounced. I pinned the Shadow to the ground, pulled out my knife and plunged it straight into his heart. I stood up, watching the life drain out of the Shadow. I then realized everybody from the court, plus Howard, Kenny and Marcus had arrived on the scene and were staring at me in utter disbelief. Shadows were supposed to be really hard to kill and I had just killed one as if it were a ragdoll.
Ignoring everybody’s stares I turned around a kneeled in front of Sophie. Giving her a hug I whispered, “Are you ok?” She nodded.
“How did it get in here?” I asked, directing my question at Marcus. Shadows weren’t supposed to be able to get into Coldlake, it was protected by Kathleen. Kathleen’s power is, well, she’s kind of like a witch and she can cast all these crazy spells. She cast an intricate spell that would protect Coldlake from the Shadows. But, in order for the spell to work, Kathleen would have had to stay on campus and would have never been able to leave. So, she transferred the power of the spell into a small ruby the size of a marble. The ruby protects Coldlake and as long as the ruby stays on Coldlake’s campus Shadows aren’t able to get in.
A stony faced Marcus turned around, glared at Roman, then sternly said, “Roman, Aiden, Jasmine, Kaitlin and Avery come with me, everybody else go make sure all the others are ok and bring them to the dining hall.” He turned and stalked away leaving everybody no choice but to follow his orders.
I slowly stood up and said, “Sophie, stay with Maggie and Nicole”. I then turned and walked away following Jasmine and Kaitlin.
We walked to Marcus’ office in silence, still surprised by the Shadow inside Coldlake’s grounds.
When we arrived at Marcus’ office he quickly ushered us in and closed the door, locking it. He guided us to the chairs, “sit down, please”.
“The ruby has gone missing.” Marcus said looking defeated.
“How long has it been missing?” Jasmine demanded.
“Hold up, what ruby?” Roman asked. Right, he doesn’t know. Jasmine, Aiden, Kaitlin, Marcus and I are the only people who know about the ruby, so why did Marcus bring him?

After my parents dropped me off at Coldlake I wandered around the school for what seemed like hours; didn’t see a single person. I finally came across an open door and inside was Marcus. I was the only student, just me and Marcus. He became my father, one that wouldn’t abandon me. Two years later three kids showed up on the front step; Jasmine, Kaitlin and Aiden. Aiden and Kaitlin were twins and Jasmine had been their friend since kindergarten. We all became great friends and for four years it was just the five of us, one happy family. The second year after Aiden, Jasmine and Kaitlin had came to Coldlake, Marcus sat the four of us down and told us about the ruby, told us why it was important to protect it. That’s the year Howard came and we all started training.

“The ruby is what protects Coldlake from the Shadows and it’s been stolen. Which means Shadows can get in. Coldlake’s not safe anymore.” Marcus explained.
“What are we going to do Marcus?” I asked.
“We need somebody to find the ruby.”
“Is that what you need our help for?” Jasmine demanded.

I was told Avery was a fast runner, but I never imagined just how fast she was until we all heard that scream. James, Aiden and I were heading back to the dorms, when a scream echoed around the campus. Everybody was surprised, but none as surprised as Avery. She took off running before anybody could say anything and was out of sight in about two seconds. As we followed Avery, at a much slower pace Aiden explained to me why she took off running so fast.
“When we were fourteen; Avery, Jasmine, Kaitlin and I were the only four students here at Coldlake. It was the four of us, Marcus and Howard. One day, Avery decided to go shopping, by herself. Normally Marcus wouldn’t have let her go, but the past four years had been very hard for her”.
“Why” I asked.
“Kaitlin, Jasmine and I had to come Coldlake four years earlier, and throughout those four years our parents came and visited at least once a month. Avery’s parents, well, when she was eight they abandoned her at Coldlake, never visited her again”.
“That’s terrible.” I replied.
“Yeah…… Anyway, she left and was only gone for about two hours. When she came back she had a little girl about 5, Sophie, with her. Said she found her in a bathroom with a Shadow. Ever since then she has done everything she can do to protect her. That scream sounded just like Sophie”.
“Wow. ….. Just the four of you? You must be pretty close” I said.
“Yeah, we're like family. Kaitlin is actually my sister, we’re twins”.
We then walked into the auditorium, it was a large, very large room filled with rows and rows of chairs covered in red velvet. It took me a moment to scan the room, but I found Avery just in time to see her flip a Shadow over her shoulder.

“Wait, is that a Shadow? I thought they couldn’t get into Coldlake?” I asked, confusion worming its way through my thoughts. But everybody was too distracted to answer my question. Somehow the Shadow had gotten up, but Avery pounced before it could make a move. The Shadow was clearly struggling under Avery’s grip; I could see it from where I was standing, but Avery was stronger. I watched in awe as she pulled out a knife and stabbed the Shadow in the heart. A fighter, I liked her even more. When I had first saw her I had instantly thought, wow! She was tall, but not as tall as me and her hair was long, and strawberry blond. Her eyes were a beautiful sky blue color and muscular.

“How did it get in here?” Avery asked. I looked up only to meet Marcus’ eyes. What did I do and why was he glaring at me?

“Roman, Aiden, Jasmine, Kaitlin and Avery come with me, everybody else go make sure all others are ok and bring them to the dining hall.” Marcus said, then he turned and walked away, not giving me the chance to ask what I had to do with any of this. I guess I had no choice but to follow behind him, just like everybody else.
When we arrived at his office he quickly closed the door, locking it. He ushered us to a few chairs in the middle of the room, next to a small mahogany desk. “Sit down please”.
“The ruby has gone missing”. Marcus said once we were all seated.
“How long has it been missing?” Jasmine asked rather rudely.
“Hold up, what ruby?” I asked even more confused than I was earlier.
“The ruby is what protects Coldlake from the Shadows and it’s been stolen. Which means Shadows can get in, Coldlake’s not safe anymore.” Marcus explained to me. A ruby protects Coldlake? Doesn’t seem very safe.
“What are we going to do, Marcus?” Avery asked.
“We need somebody to find the ruby.”
“Is that what you need our help for?” Jasmine demanded.

Not going to lie, I was excited to fight Roman. Maybe I would finally have a match, someone who I could train with, someone who matched my skills. Not to mention the fact that he was gorgeous. I was excited…… until I heard the scream. It would have to wait, the fight, especially now that Marcus needed us to find the ruby.

When we arrived at the dining hall James, Darwin, Maggie, Nicole, Sophie and Kendall had managed to round up all twelve other students along with Howard, but Kennedy was missing.
“Where’s Kennedy?” Marcus questioned Howard.
“I don’t know, I couldn’t find him anywhere,” Howard replied.
“You five,” Marcus said, pointing at the five of us who had just been in his office. “Go get ready and meet back here in ten.” Jasmine, Kaitlin and I walked to our dorm on the in silence; I had always thought it would be good to get away from Coldlake for a while, but I never wanted it to be like this. When we walked into our dorm, Jasmine, the first to walk in screamed, scaring the crap out of Kaitlin and Me.
“What the......” I started to ask and then I saw it, a Shadow. He was standing, frozen in front of the open window, bag in hand. Bounding across the room I reached the Shadow in two steps. I grabbed the Shadow and pulled him back before he could jump out of the window. Pinning him to the ground with my knees I grabbed his neck.
“Why are you here?” I questioned.
When he didn’t answer I looked over my shoulder, “Kaitlin, check the bag”.
Turning back to the Shadow I dug my knee into his gut. “It would be wise to answer my question”.
He was quiet for a minute, debating. He then said “Drake sent me”.

“Why? And who’s Drake?” I demanded.
“Drake is our leader, he needs as much information on you as he can get.” mumbled the Shadow.
“Why?” I asked, digging my knee deeper into his gut.

“You are very valuable girl, you should do some good and help Drake”, he grunted. I tightened my grip on his neck and he coughed, choking for air.
“Ave, you might want to see this.” Kaitlin said from behind me.
“One sec,” I said and I reached into my back pocket, pulling out my knife. When the Shadow saw the knife his eyes went wide and he started to struggle, but it did him no good, he just wasn’t strong enough.
“Drake will get you, you know. You can kill as many Shadows as you want but he will still find you.” The Shadow gasped.
“Cedric, what’s taking you so long…… ohhh”, a voice asked, drifting in through the window. I looked up to see two Shadows looking in through the window, surprise written all over their faces. Crap, two more, just what I needed. Without hesitation I slit the throat of the Shadow under me, rolled over and stood up. Taking a running start I dived out the window, rolled to stand and took off after the other two Shadows. I easily caught up to the first Shadow and grabbed him from behind. I slit his throat. Throwing my knife at the second Shadow I hit him square in the back, right where his heart was. Walking over to the Shadow in a few quick strides I pulled my knife out of his back, wiping the blood off on his shirt. Did I mention Shadows’ blood isn’t red? It’s ice cold and black.

“Avery watch out!” Kaitlin called. I had made my way back over to the first Shadow, but apparently he wasn’t entirely dead. Before I could realize what was going on a hand shot out and grabbed my ankle. The first Shadow, the one with the slit throat had somehow managed to get back up. He knocked me off my feet, pinning me down with his knees, and grabbed my throat. I almost laughed at the Shadows feeble attempts to strangle me. I swung my fist up and punched the Shadow in the face; I could hear the crack of his jaw. While he was still dazed I rolled over, and stabbed the Shadow in the jugular with my knife.
“Awwww, gross!” I groaned as blood squirted everywhere, getting all over my hands and face.
“Avery, that was amazing!” Kaitlin exclaimed, poking her head out the window.
“I think you scare me more than the Shadows Ave.” Jasmine said quietly.
“Come on guys, we better get ready then tell Marcus what happened.” I said climbing back through the window. Stepping over the Shadow I checked to make sure he was really dead. Then, crouching down I peered into the bag; the Shadow had managed to pack everything I owned into the bag.
Half an hour later I was ready; freshly showered, bag in hand and equipped with my bow, arrow and knife. Jasmine, Kaitlin and I headed down to the dining hall where everybody was waiting. When we walked in everybody turned to stare at us; Aiden and Roman has already returned.
“Does it really take that long for girls to get ready?” James asked.
“Shut up James”, I said.
“Your right Jaz, she does scare me more than Shadows.” Kaitlin announced. I ignored Kaitlin and walked over to the table, sitting down. I really didn’t feel like talking about this. People think I’m some cool killing machine, and no, I don’t like killing people.
“Want to know what took us so long?” Jasmine asked. Great, when Jasmine tells stories she gets really dramatic, I mean really, really dramatic.

“Want to know what took us so long?” Jasmine asked. I have a feeling she’s about to get really dramatic.
“Well, when we got to our dorm there was a Shadow standing in front of the window. Avery went all ninja on it and killed it. Don’t worry though; I think she got him to talk.” Jasmine said.
“Would you care to tell us what he said Avery?” Marcus asked turning to face her, but she wasn’t there.
While everybody was momentarily surprised I slipped out into the hallway and headed towards the training center. I knew when I was sad or angry I would train, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to see if that’s where she went. When I got there sure enough, she was sitting on the floor in front of a very large glass window.
“Stars sure are beautiful tonight.” I said walking over to sit down next to her.
“Yeah,” she sighed. It was quiet for a moment, when suddenly she jumped up.
“Hey, I know a better view.” She then ran over to a ladder I hadn’t noticed before and quickly started climbing. I realized why she was so desperate to leave the room; I could hear voices coming down the hallway. I started climbing the ladder myself and when I reached the top I realized we were on the roof. I walked off and sat down next to her, looking up at the stars, it was a very clear night.
“How long have you been at Coldlake?” I asked her.
She was quiet for a moment then said, “The first time I showed signs of power I was eight. My parents freaked out that day and they brought me here to Coldlake. I never saw them again after that; they abandoned me. They didn’t care about me or what would happen to me.”
“That’s probably not true, they probably still cared.” I reasoned.
“They never visited me; if they still cared they would have visited.” She replied.
“Maybe they didn’t know they were able to visit.” I pointed out.
“When they dropped me off they didn’t even check to see if there was anybody here, I wandered around campus for what seemed like days. The only other person here was Marcus. I have been here ever since, and still haven’t heard a single thing from my parents.” she said, looking at me as if to prove her point. “If they still cared they would have made sure there was actually someone here.”
She looked over at me, “How about you? How did you get here?”
“I never knew my dad, but about a year ago when I first figured out about my powers my mom and I were attacked by two Shadows. My mom told me to go to Coldlake, but at that time I had no clue where Coldlake was so I stayed behind to help my mom. They killed my mom, the Shadows, so for a year I was on the run, trying to find Coldlake without running into anymore Shadows. Yesterday, by luck, I found Coldlake.”
“I’m sorry about your mom.” She said sounding truly since.
“That’s ok, at least I found Coldlake.” I replied.
“How old are you?” she asked, taking me by surprise. It wasn’t the question I was expecting.
“I’m 19, how about you?”
“17”, she said. It was quiet for a few minutes as we looked up at the stars.

“Sometimes I wish I didn’t have powers, life would be so much easier.” She sighed.
“I don’t.” I said.
“Why?” she asked.
“Because then I would have never met you,” I whispered. I wasn’t ever sure she heard me until I saw her blush. I started laughing.
“What?” she asked, giving me a confused look.
“You look cute when you blush.” I said making her blush again, but this time she smiled.
“Someone look on the roof!” a muffled voice sounded from beneath us.
“Crap,” Avery said hopping up. “Come on!” She grabbed my hand and pulling me to the other side of the roof. We ducked behind a vent and jumped to the next roof over.
“What? Like me too much to leave?” I asked teasing her.
She didn’t say anything but she still blushed. I wasn’t until we were hiding behind another vent that she answered, “I love Jasmine and Kaitlin but sometimes I just need a break. Plus, I like talking to you.” She said it so quietly I barely heard her.
“Can you really control water?” she asked. I nodded.
“Can I see?” I just so happened that there was a small puddle of water on the roof; it must have rained really early this morning, so I showed her. We then sat and talked for what seemed like hours; laughing the night away.

Talking to Roman was a nice change, plus he was funny. We just sat on the roof and talked and laughed, it was nice. I hadn’t realized how late it was until Jasmine and Kaitlin found us.
“What have you two been doing?” Jasmine asked as they rounded the side of the vent, scaring the crap out of Roman and me.
“Jasmine!” Kaitlin warned, she then turned to Roman and I and said, “We better get going, Marcus is really mad you guys left.” Great, Marcus is mad; he gets really scary when he is mad. We quickly made our way back to the ladder and climbed down.
Waiting at the bottom was a fuming Marcus, “Why did you leave, I bet this is entirely your fault”, he shouted, pointing at Roman.
“No, it was my idea. I went up on the roof first.” I said.
“Well, that wasn’t very responsible; you could have been attacked by Shadows.” Marcus scolded.
“I’ll be more careful next time. Now, when are we leaving?” I asked.
“You will be leaving first thing in the morning.” He told us. “I advise you to get a good night sleep; you have a rough couple of weeks coming up.” We all traipsed to our dorms, man I was tired. As soon as I shut the door behind Jasmine and Kaitlin, they started questioning me.
“So, what happened up on the roof,” Kaitlin demanded.
“Nothing, we just talked.” I said.
“But you were up there for two hours!” Jasmine exclaimed.
“So!” I said, but I could tell I was blushing.
“Are you guys dating?” Kaitlin asked.
“No. I just met him today!”
“So you are dating!” Jasmine asked excitedly.
“No! We're just friends!” I said exasperated. Really, we weren't dating, or anywhere close for that matter.
“Girls, go to bed NOW!” yelled Marcus from outside the door, we looked at each other and started laughing.
“Night guys”, I said, climbing into my bed.
“Night.” Kaitlin whispered.
“Love ya’ll.” Jasmine said.
“You too.” Kaitlin and I whispered in unison.


“Avery, wake up. Marcus wants to talk to us before we leave.” Kaitlin said. I groaned and rolled over taking a peek at my clock.

“Five o’clock!” I exclaimed. “Can't I have another five hours of sleep before we go?” I questioned.

“Marcus said that if you don’t get up Roman won’t be able to come with us.” Jasmine explained as she walked through the door.

“I’m getting up! I’m getting up!”

“Knew it would work! And she says they're not dating.” Jasmine said, giving Kaitlin a high-five.
“Jerk! And we’re not dating! ” I said, really! We weren’t dating! I threw my pillow at her, and she just laughed at me. I slowly crawled out of bed and got dressed. Grabbing five of my best knives, I put one in my pocket and sat the others in my bag. Then the three of us made our way to the dining hall. I wasn’t going to take my bow and arrows; they would just get in the way.
When we reached the dining hall the only other people up were Aiden, Roman and Marcus. Dropping my things down by the door I made my way over to the table and sat down.
“Eat,” Marcus ordered point to the food on the table. We all ate in silence; the food was amazing, as always. When we all finished eating Marcus left the room for a minute and came back with five bags.

“There’s a weeks’ worth of food and some extra money in each bag.” He said, handing each of us a bag. “Also, here’s a phone.”
“I thought you said using a phone makes it easier for Shadows to find us?” Aiden asked.

“They do, so only use it if you find out something really important or need serious help.” Marcus said. He handed the phone to Kaitlin, “don’t lose it”.
“Let’s get you guys going.” Marcus said, turning around and heading out the door. We got our things and followed him outside.
“The Shadows hideout is somewhere in Charleston so I’d start there. I’m not sure if that’s where they are keeping the ruby but it’s the best place to start.” Marcus said as he hugged each of us.
“Ready guys?” I asked, I then turned to Marcus, “we’ll see you in a few weeks, I promise.”
“I sure hope so,” he whispered, barely audible. Then, speaking up he said, “Don’t fail me; I can’t afford to lose you guys”. I stood there for a minute and watched Marcus turned around and walked back into the school. I hear someone walk up next to me; Roman.
I turned and smiled, “let’s go”.
“We’ll make it back,” he assured me.
“I really do hope so.” I said. Charleston was almost halfway across the country; I don’t know how Marcus expected us to get there and back in two weeks. There are no houses, or any buildings for that matter, near Coldlake. I think the closest one is more than twenty miles away. Not that we will take anything like a bus or car. Marcus said that for some weird reason almost anything electric goes haywire around a Power, cell phones are one of the few things not affected. He also said it would be best to stay away from people without powers, a lesser chance of exposing ourselves. If we were exposed it would be a nightmare.


“Why can’t we use cars or busses?” I asked Avery, it would be so much easier if we didn’t have to walk across half the country to get to Charleston.
“Whenever somebody with powers gets close to most electronics they go haywire, there are a few small things like cell phones that aren’t affected though.” she replied. We had been walking for hours, hadn’t see a single person, building or vehicle and it was already getting dark.
“Hey guys, there is a small cave over there we should get settled down for the night.” Kaitlin said pointing over to a hill a few meters away.
“Ewww, that’s gross, who knows what is or has been in that cave!” Jasmine complained.
“Man up Jaz,” Avery said.
“Hey, I don’t have some man to hold me when things get dark and scary.” she remarked, making Avery blush, it was hard not to laugh.

“You have me Jaz,” Kaitlin said.
“That makes me feel real safe,” she said sarcastically.
“I know, you could get Aiden to become your man!” Kaitlin pointed out.

“Shut up, Kaitlin!” Jasmine whispered, punching Kaitlin in the arm. “If you ever tell your bro I’ll set the air against you”.
I must have looked confused because Avery leaned over and said, “Jaz can control air and Kaitlin can be very persuasive if she wants to.”
“What about Aiden?” I asked.
“He controls fire; pretty scary when he is mad.” She whispered.
“All safe.” Aiden announced walking out of the cave.
“Nothing gross in there?” Jasmine asked.
“Nope, I checked just for you,” he replied, making her blush.

“No problem,” Aiden said “Will somebody help me get some firewood?”
“I’ll help”, Jasmine volunteered.
“Be careful of the creatures that go bump in the night Jaz,” Avery said teasingly.
“Oh shut up you guys.” Jasmine exclaimed.
“Don’t worry, I’ll protect her girls.” Aiden promised, winking at Jasmine.
“You better be careful or you’re going to make her faint.” Kaitlin warned. Jasmine turned, glaring daggers at Kaitlin, and then followed a smiling Aiden out of the cave.
While Aiden and Jasmine were collecting wood, Kaitlin, Avery and I made ourselves comfortable. I looked through the pack Marcus gave me; it included a weeks’ worth of bread, dried meat, apples, some nuts and water. Grabbing my only weapon; a small knife. I sliced a piece of bread, grabbed a strip of meat, an apple and water and started eating my feast of a dinner. I was only halfway through my dinner when Jasmine came running back to the cave.
“Hurry, Sha- sha- shadows! You have to help Aiden; I don’t think he can hold them off much longer.” She gasped, breathless.
“Where?” I asked, hoping up
“About a qua-qua- quarter of a mile that way,” She stammered, pointing straight out of the caves’ entrance. Avery was already off and running. I knew I couldn’t catch up to her but I still followed her outside the cave. She was nowhere to be seen but I knew exactly where she had gone. It was hard not to; up ahead bursts of fire could be seen, obviously Aiden. When I arrived at the scene the first thing I noticed was the Shadows. There were about ten, all surrounding a crazed Aiden. He was spinning in circles shooting flames at any Shadow that got too close, but he was tiring, and fast. He won’t be able to hold them off much longer. Searching, I found Avery crouched down behind the Shadows, they hadn’t noticed her yet. She caught my eye and motioned for me to go to the other side of the circle. I nodded and made my way around the circle. As I quietly crept I felt my powers kicking in. There was a large body of water somewhere nearby; that could come in handy. A loud groan echoed around the open field it was Aiden, his strength was failing him. Gripping my knife I prepared for what was going to happen next.
“Now!” I heard Avery shout. I flung myself at the nearest Shadow, tackling him and stabbing him in the heart. Standing up I saw three dead Shadows littering the ground, she was fast! The Shadow closest to me charged I waited, and waited and when he was about to leap I dodged to the right. Narrowing my eyes I waited for his next move. He charged again, like a mad bull. I feigned jumping to the right and he followed. Grabbing his arm I swung myself around onto his back, using my knife I slit his throat. Jumping off his back before he hit the ground I turned, all the Shadows were dead, except two. They were both attacking Avery; well it was more like they were trying to attack her. Every strike they made, she deflected. I knew she could handle them on her own, but I couldn’t just stand around and watch. Before I could do anything, both Shadows lunged on her. The Shadow on the right had something, something dangerous, what it was? I had no clue. She deflected the strike of the first one, but the second Shadow slapped a cuff on her wrist before she could defend herself.
“AHHHHHHHHH!” Avery’s scream of pain was worse than I thought possible. As she fell to the ground, I lunged, stabbing the first Shadow in the back; straight through his heart. The one remaining Shadow was hovering over Avery, he grabbed her other wrist and forced another cuff around it, her scream was even worse than the first. He then turned and lunged at me. Dodging to the right I gripped my knife, turned around and waited for him charge again, and he did. I dodged again, this time to the left. As I waited for him to dodge again I closed my eyes, feeling the pull of the water nearby. Whoosh! I opened my eyes as water rushed around me, hitting the Shadow square in the chest. He was knocked backwards, landing hard on his butt. I then leapt onto his chest and stabbed him in the heart.
“Nooooooo! Got to get the girl to Drake!” he cried, it came out gurgled and he started twitching and moaning. A minute later he fell silent and stopped moving. I ran over to Avery and knelt down next to her, she had blacked out.

The pain hit me like a giant wave; too big for me to escape, so it just dragged me under. I wasn’t even sure how a small metal cuff could inflict so much pain. It was hard to focus, but I thought I saw Roman kill the first Shadow, but as he did the other Shadow hovered over me, grabbed my wrist and put a second cuff on. I was already drowning and the second cuff pulled me deeper under the surface. The last thing I remember before blacking out was a pair strong arms picking me up, I wasn’t even sure if it was Roman.

I was standing on top a hill in the middle of a great storm. With a great BOOM! A bolt of lightning struck me, and I went tumbling, falling, rolling down the hill. Sploosh! I landed in a lake, and thin bony hands grabbed my ankles. I struggled and screamed, but my lungs filled with blood and I started sinking, drowning, pulled down by boney fingers. Suddenly, a giant wave came, the boney fingers lost their grip and I went tumbling through the water. The lake suddenly spit me onto the shore, and as I lay there coughing and hacking I noticed a Shadow and a man fighting not too far off. I watched as the Shadow stabbed to man in the heart. “NO!” I screamed as I realized the man now lying dead upon the ground was Roman. The Shadow turned, looked at me, smiled and started walking towards me. “No, no, no.” I mumbled to myself scooting backwards. I shivered as I felt water; I was trapped between the boney fingers and the Shadow. With nowhere else to I curled into ball and started to cry. Roman was dead, I was weak and helpless, and I had no idea where I was or where anybody else was, I was terrified. Expecting the Shadow to run me through with his knife, I opened my eyes, looked up and found myself in a small dark room. A man was standing across from me, his back facing me. As he turned around I realized he was a Shadow, not a man, he walked up to me, standing only a few inches from me. He was very tall, muscular and intimidating; the same Shadow who killed Roman. In a very deep voice he said, “You cannot hide from me forever. I will find you and you will be mine. With you I will take over the government and with the government I can give you anything you want.” He put a hand on my cheek. I went to slap his hand away from me and found I couldn’t move, I started to struggle but it did no good, he just stood there laughing, he stepped closer and I struggled even harder. I didn’t want a creepy, killer Shadow touching me! He leaned towards me and the scene dissolved.

I sat up, screaming, shaking, sweating and frightened out of my wits. A hand touched my shoulder and I freaked. Slapping it away, I curled into a ball and started to cry. The dream had felt so….. real. Heck, I wasn’t even sure if I was dreaming, maybe it was reality.
“Hey, it’ll be ok.” I realized I was back in the cave, not the dark room as I had thought. It was Roman’s hand I had slapped away, Roman, not dead. He was kneeling next to me, a look of concern on his face. He then sat down and pulled me into a hug, trying to comfort me. I put my head on his shoulder and cried myself out, my body ached all over and I felt like I had been run over by a truck. I sat right there; in his arms until I finally stopped crying.
“Feeling better?” he asked.
I looked up and nodded, “A little.” I still felt like someone ran me over with a truck, but I wasn’t crying and I wasn’t as freaked out. “What happened?” I asked.
“Well, what do you remember?”
“I remember the two of us killing almost all the Shadows and then they attacked me and I felt a lot of pain.”
“Well, one of the Shadows from three days ago…”
“Wait, how long have I been out?” I asked, interrupting him.
“Three days”. He replied.
“Three days!” I exclaimed.
He nodded, “Anyway, the Shadow put a metal cuff on your wrist, I have no clue what it was, but it knocked you out.” I looked down at my wrists; I could see faint burn marks in the shape of a cuff on each wrist that I hadn’t noticed earlier.
He nodded, “Your wrists were a lot worse two days ago”.
“So what happened after I blacked out?”
“I carried you back to the cave and when Jasmine and Kaitlin saw you the freaked.”
“What about Aiden?” I asked.
“He’s fine, just a little shaken with a few bad cuts.” He said.
“Good thing he’s ok.” I said.
“Yeah. Anyways, once I brought you back we called Marcus. He was just as surprised about the cuffs as we were, took us forever to get them off. Oh, and right before the second Shadow died he said something about Drake.” I shivered, I was pretty sure the strange Shadow from my dreams was Drake.
Roman noticed my shivers, “what’s wrong?” he asked. I told him about my dream and the mysterious Shadow. He listened the whole time, didn’t interrupt; didn’t say anything until I was done telling my story.
“Well, no creepy Shadow king will take you, at least not when I’m around.” He promised.
“Thanks.” I said, but it went deeper than thanks for the promise. It was thanks for saving me from the Shadows, thanks for comforting me, thanks for listening, thanks for understanding and thanks for being there for me when I really needed it; I hope he understood.

Picking up Avery I carried her back to the cave; she was out cold, it must have been pretty bad to knock her out. When the cave came into view Jasmine and Kaitlin came running.
“What happened?” Kaitlin asked breathless.

“I’ll explain later, but you might want to go get Aiden he’s still back there.” I said nodding back to where I had come from.
“You just left him there!” Jasmine exclaimed and took off running.
“Sorry about her, she’s been freaking out ever since you guys left.” Kaitlin explained “So, what happened?”
“I’ll explain when Jasmine gets back with Aiden.” I said walking past her into the cave. “Will you help?”
“Sure,” she said as she laid a few blankets out on the floor.
Laying Avery on them I pointed to the cuffs, “Don’t touch those.”
“Why?” She asked, but before I could say anything Jasmine came in, painting and helping a weak, pale faced Aiden. He was bleeding profusely in a few places; a deep gash along his forehead, and stab wound in his lower thigh. I grabbed a few blankets, spreading them out for Aiden to sit on. Kaitlin walked over and kneeled next to Aiden, first aid kit in hand; she was the only one smart enough to actually bring one.
Handing a cloth to him she said, “Lie down and hold that on your head.”
“Got it sis.” Aiden replied.
“Tell us what happened.” Jasmine quietly said, looking over at me.
“Ok,” I said, “But before I do I must warn you, whatever you do don’t touch……”
Too late, “Oww”, Jasmine squealed, flinching away from the cuffs. “What are those?”
“I’ll get to that, just don’t touch them again”. I need to tell them what happened as fast as I can, we need to get those cuffs off her. I explained what happened as fast and as best as I could.
“Wow! What’s wrong with those Shadows, I mean where did they even find cuffs like that?” Jasmine asked.
“I think we need to call Marcus, he may not know and this is really important.” Kaitlin said.
“I agree.” Aiden panted, Kaitlin was cleaning his cuts; the gash on his forehead was deep and kept gushing blood all over the place.
“Jaz, the phone is in my bag.” Kaitlin said, pointing towards a bag across the cave.
“Got it, Roman, you want to call?”
“Sure.” I took the phone from her hands. “Number?” I asked.
“It’s already programmed into the phone.” Kaitlin said, not looking up from her work. I found the number and pressed talk, it rang for what seemed like hours until Marcus finally picked up.
“Hello! Is everything ok?” Marcus said sounding worried.
“Kind of,” I replied.
“What happened? Tell me everything.” Marcus demanded. So, I told the same story for the second time today.
“Cuffs? What kind?” Marcus said, surprised.
“I don’t know. Any ideas on how to get them off?” I asked. “Oh, wait there is a key hole.” I said as crouching down next to Avery to examine the cuffs.
“Well, find that key, but wait till the morning. Shadows are more likely to attack at night or when it is dark. And if you can’t find the key, the only way you’re probably going to get them off is with heat, immense heat. Have Aiden heat the blade of a knife until it’s really hot and try cutting through the cuffs.”
“Ok, thanks.” I said.
“Call when you get them off or if you need any more help”.
“Ok, bye”.
“Bye.” He said, I then hung up the phone and handed it back to Jasmine.
“Marcus said to go look for the key…..”
“And how do you suppose we do that? We have two injured and the Shadows could attack again!” exclaimed Jasmine.
“You didn’t let me finish. Marcus said to wait until the morning. Shadows are less likely to attack during the day or in the light.”
“Oh, well in that case we all better get some sleep.” Jasmine said.
“Someone needs to keep watch, we can switch every couple hours.” Kaitlin stated.
“I’ll take first watch.” I offered.
“Ok,” Kaitlin and Jasmine agreed. I sat facing the entrance of the cave as everyone settled into their sleeping spots. Kaitlin handed me the flashlight, I turned it off and sat down. I didn’t need it, plus I didn’t want to waste the battery.


The morning came; bleak, grey and wet. Kaitlin and I searched every Shadow looking for the key and it wasn’t until the last Shadow we searched that we found the key. It was the same Shadow who put the cuffs on Avery. It was small, silver and just as I had suspected, couldn’t be touched without feeling immense pain. Back at the cave I took off the cuffs, Kaitlin wrapped them in cloth and we buried them deep within the ground. Where the cuffs had been on Avery’s wrists there were really bad burn marks, I mean really bad burn marks.
The next two days passed the same; we ate, talked, slept, waited, talked, slept, ate and waited. It wasn’t until three days after the fight that Avery woke up. It was late at night on the third day, everybody was sleeping, and I was on watch duty. I was just sitting there, staring off into space chewing on strip of meat.

“AHHHHHHHHH!” Avery screamed sitting up, scaring the crap out of me. I looked over; Kaitlin was the only one who woke up. I shook my head at Kaitlin, stood up and walked over to Avery. I touched her shoulder, trying to comfort her but she slapped my hand away, curled into a ball and started crying.
“Hey, it’ll be ok.” I said, crouching down next to her. She looked up at me and I realized she probably thought I was a Shadow. Scooting closer to her I pulled her into a hug. She laid her head on my shoulder and cried, I sat there, holding her until she finished.
“Feeling better?” I asked.
She looked up at me and nodded, “A little, what happened?” she asked.
“Well, what do you remember?”
“I remember the two of us killing almost all the Shadows and then they attacked me and I felt a lot of pain.”
“Well, one of the Shadows from three days ago…”
“Wait, how long have I been out?” she asked.
“Three days”. I replied.
“Three days!” she exclaimed, looking started.

I nodded, “Anyway, the Shadow put a cuff of metal on your wrist, I have no clue what it was, but it knocked you out.” She looked down at her wrists, there were faint burn marks on each wrist.
“Your wrists were a lot worse two days ago”. I said.
“So what happened after I blacked out?”
“I carried you back to the cave, and when Jasmine and Kaitlin saw you the freaked.”
“What about Aiden?” she asked.
“He’s fine, just a little shaken with a few bad cuts.” I replied.
“Good thing he’s ok.” she said.
“Yeah,… Anyways, once I brought you back we called Marcus. He was just as surprised about the cuffs as we were, took us forever to get them off. Oh, and right before the second Shadow died he said something about Drake.” I noticed that once I mentioned Drake she shivered.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. She told me about the dream she had had while she was out.
“Well, no creepy Shadow king will take you, at least not when I’m around.” I told her.
She looked up at me, “Thanks”.
“No problem” I said smiling. It was quiet for a minute and when I looked down; about to say something I realized Avery had fallen asleep. I laughed, and then leaning against the wall; closing my eyes.

After Roman and I talked I admit I fell asleep in his arms. I was so tired and sore that when we stopped talking for just a minute I crashed. When I woke up I was surprised to see that I was still in Roman’s arms. I glanced over towards Aiden, Kaitlin and Jasmine only to realize Jasmine, Kaitlin and Aiden were already up; I blushed.
“Girl, you got to tell me these things!” Jasmine exclaimed, making me turn an even deeper shade of red.
“Shut up Jaz,” Kaitlin said, then turning towards me she asked, “How are you feeling?”
“Ok.” I said. Just then Roman yawned and stretched.
“Morning guys,” He said smiling. He looked down at me asked, “Feeling better?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“So, are you guys like, you know, dating?” Jasmine asked staring intently at me.
“No.” I said, but I could feel myself blushing even more.
“Well, if you were paying attention last night, you would have heard Avery scream her head off.” Kaitlin said; she was obviously annoyed with Jasmine.
“What happened?” Jasmine said looking surprised, she knew Kaitlin was annoyed with her.
“I’d, uh rather not talk about it.” I said. Jasmine didn’t say anything but she still narrowed her eyes at me. She knew I told Roman, so why shouldn’t I tell her? Why? I didn’t want to. That’s why.
“We’re behind schedule, really far behind as a matter of fact, so we should really get going soon.” Kaitlin said breaking the tension. “You got half an hour to get ready then were leaving.”
“What are you going to do if we’re not ready by then?” Jasmine asked.
“Tell some certain people personal things,” Kaitlin said looking straight at Jasmine and then to an oblivious Aiden. One look at the look on Jasmine’s face and I started laughing.
“You wouldn’t.” Jasmine said narrowed her eyes at Kaitlin.
“Oh yes I would.” Kaitlin said sweetly. Jasmine glared at Kaitlin and turned around to get ready. Climbing my way out of Roman’s arms I stood up and stretched. I was so sore, those stupid cuffs. Turning around I helped Roman up then I walked over to my bag, pulled out some jerky, bread and an apple. I hadn’t realized until now, but I was famished. Sitting down I quickly ate my food. Half an hour later everybody was ready to go. We headed out across the hills; it’s going to be a long couple of weeks.
We had walking for two or three hours and I was starting to feel restless, I needed to take a run.
“Hey guys, I’m going to run for a little while.” I said.
“Ok, be careful.” Kaitlin said. I took off running, losing sight on everybody. It felt so good to run, I hated sitting for too long and walking for too long made me feel restless, running was my only solution. I ran for hours passing a few small villages and towns, keeping my distance. I finally turned around when a large city loomed up ahead, I ran for another hour until I found Kaitlin, Roman, Aiden and Jasmine again.
“How far did you go?” Kaitlin asked.
“Until I saw a very large city.” I replied.
“Did you run straight or did you take detours?” Kaitlin asked again.
“I ran in a straight line. Why?” Kaitlin was looking down at the phone.
“Looks like you found Charleston.” Kaitlin said looking up.
“But knowing how fast Avery runs we probably won’t get there for another day or two.” Jasmine remarked, she was still mad at Kaitlin.
Looking back down Kaitlin said, “as long as we don’t stop longer that needed we should get there by tomorrow afternoon.”
“Let’s not delay then,” Jasmine said angrily and she stalked ahead of the group. We walked for a few more hours until dusk where we settled down under a clump of trees on the outskirts of the first small village I had seen while running earlier. Lying down, I stared up into the sky. I had a beautiful view of the stars; it was a really clear night. I sat up, leaning against and drawing my knees up I rested my head on them; I’m too restless to sleep.
“Can’t sleep?” Roman asked sitting down next to me, I shook my head.
“Stars are pretty tonight”. He observed. We sat there for a few minutes staring up into the sky.
“Thanks.” I said.
“For what?”
“For not telling anybody about last night.”
“Oh, well I figured that if you wanted anybody to know you would tell them yourself.” he said looking down at me. We sat there, staring at each other when suddenly he leaned in and kissed me. We broke apart and I felt myself blushing. Truth is, I really liked Roman but I have never had a boyfriend, never kissed anybody. I have always been too afraid that I would fall in love with somebody and then they would run away screaming when they found out I had powers, just like my parents did. It had been hard enough to lose my parents at such a young age and I don’t want to lose anybody again.
“Avery, will you…..” he started to ask but was interrupted a scream coming from nearby. We looked at each other, startled, and jumped up. Waking up the other three we went to find the problem. A house on the edge of town was burning and two people were being chased around by someone. We all took off running, I of course made it there first and when I did I stopped in my tracks. The man was already dead when I realized they were my parents.
“No!” I screamed, too late. Taking off again I chased the Shadow, too bad I overtook him, tackling him. Sitting on top of him I put my hands around his neck.
“Why?” I screamed. Kaitlin, Aiden, Jasmine and Roman were standing a few feet away looking surprised at my anger. I didn’t wait for the Shadow to answer, snapping its neck I hopped up and took off running back to our camp. Sitting down I curled up and cried. My parents may have abandoned me but that didn’t mean I wanted them dead, that didn’t mean I still didn’t love them, I had someday hoped to patch up our relationship but that wouldn’t be happening anymore. Sometimes I really wished I didn’t have powers. A few minutes later when everyone arrived back at the camp I felt the shadow of someone come across me.
Roman kneeled down in front of me, lifted my chin until I was looking him in the eye and asked, “What happened?”
“They were my parents.” He needed no other explanation.
“I’m so sorry,” he said pulling me into a hug, I hugged him back. Looking over his shoulder I saw the Kaitlin, Jasmine and Aiden staring at me.
Sighing, I pulled away, “Sorry I freaked on you guys, I just wasn’t expecting it, my parents I mean”.
“Wait, those two people were your parents?” Jasmine asked, surprised. I nodded.
“I’m so sorry Ave.” she said as she and Kaitlin walked over.
“Group hug?” Kaitlin asked. Jasmine and I both nodded and the three of us group hugged. Even though Kaitlin and Jasmine got really annoying sometimes, they always made me feel better.
“I’m really sorry about your parents, sis.” Aiden said walking over to give me a hug. We weren’t really related but he acted like he was my brother, I didn’t mind.
“It’s ok,” I said.
“I’m really sorry about your parents Ave, but we really should get some sleep now.” Kaitlin pointed out, “It’s getting really late and we have a ways to travel tomorrow.” Sighing, I laid down, tonight’s going to be a rough night, it’ll be a surprise if I get any sleep.

“Avery, will you…..” I started to ask when we heard a scream coming from nearby. We looked at each other, startled and we both jumped up. We quickly woke up the other three and then we went to search for the problem. A small house on the edge of town was burning and two people were running away from a Shadow, atleast it looks like one We all took off running, Avery made it there first and she stopped straight in her tracks when she did.
“No!” I heard Avery scream, taking off again she chased the Shadow. She quickly overtook him, tackling him. Sitting on top of him she put my hands around his neck.
“Why?” she screamed. Kaitlin, Aiden, Jasmine and I were just watching, surprised. Why was she so angry at the Shadow? I know he just killed two innocent people, we were all mad, but why was she so mad? Avery didn’t wait for the Shadow to answer, she snapped his neck, and took off running towards our camp.
“We should put the bodies in the fire so people will think it’s an accident.” Kaitlin said, she was right, what would people say when they found the Shadows’ body? It could turn out bad. When we got back Avery was curled up, crying. I walked over to her and kneeled in front of her. I gently pulled her chin up so she was looking me in the eyes.
“What happened?” I asked.
“They were my parents.” She whispered.
“I’m so sorry,” I said pulling her into a hug. I really, truly felt sorry for her, she lost her parents when she was eight, they thought she was a freak so they abandoned her and she just watched them get murdered by a Shadow.
Sighing, she pulled away, “Sorry I freaked on you guys, I just wasn’t expecting it, my parents I mean”.
“Wait, those two people were your parents?” Jasmine asked, surprised, Avery nodded.
“I’m so sorry Ave.” she said, Kaitlin and her walked over.
“Group hug?” Kaitlin asked. Jasmine and Avery both nodded and the three of them group hugged.
“I’m really sorry about your parents, sis.” Aiden said walking over to give her a hug. I knew they weren’t really brother and sister, but they acted like it. I had always wanted a sister.
“It’s ok”, she said.
“I’m really sorry Ave, but it’s getting late, we need to get some sleep. Plus, we have a ways to travel tomorrow.” Kaitlin said.


Snap! I sit up, startled. Snap! I hear it again. I look around and see nothing. Everybody’s still sleeping, it was probably just an animal, I was being paranoid. Lying back down, I closed my eyes, maybe I could get a few more hours sleep before we had to go. Snap! That was definitely not an animal. Crawling over to Avery I woke her up. She sat up, confused, and then Snap! She whipped her head towards the right staring into the trees.
“Go wake them up.” She said quietly, standing up to face the noises. Snap! She waited, Snap! Snap! Snap! I quietly made my way over to the other three waking each up. SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! Whatever it was it was really close. Without warning Avery pounced, disappearing behind the trees. A minute later she reappeared from behind the trees holding a rabbit.

“Guys, you better come see this, quickly and be very quiet.” she whispered, looking startled. She set the rabbit on the ground and watched it hop away, then turning around she disappeared into the trees. I followed behind her and I saw something that stopped me in my tracks.
“Get down!” Avery whispered, pulling me down into a crouch. “Shoot! Go Back!” Nobody needed telling twice, we all turned and ran. We quickly started packing up our things. If you're wondering what could make a bunch of powerful Powers go running. The answer? Shadows. Not just one, not just ten, were talking about thousands of Shadows. They were only about 100 yards away and heading towards us, fast.
“Hurry up Roman!” Avery said, frantically. I realized Jasmine, Kaitlin, Aiden and Avery were already up and waiting on me.
“Sorry.” I said grabbing my things and stuffing them into my bag. “Let’s go.” We turned and ran.
“I’m going to run ahead and see how far it is to Charleston”. Avery announced, and she took off running.
Stopping for a minute to catch my breath, I turned, “Crap!” the Shadows were catching up and fast. “Go! Now!” I said, turning around. We took off running, we needed some sort of miracle or they were going to get us before we got to Charleston. We ran for another five minutes when Avery popped into sight, a few yards away.
“Charleston is only half a mile away” she said, running up. “We better hurry if we are going to make it there in time.” If we make it to the city before the Shadows reach us, we can then hide out in the city. They would still be able to find us but they wouldn’t be able to march in. They would have to come at night and in groups of two or three, they would be easier to kill then. Crap! They are getting really close! Wait, I can feel water somewhere nearby, maybe I can hold them off. I stopped running and turned to face the Shadows. The closest Shadow saw me stop, squealed in delight and ran faster.
“What are you doing Roman?” Jasmine yelled.
“Go! I will hold them off” I yelled back.
“Are you crazy!” Avery screamed, “You’ll get yourself killed!” I turned, smiled and winked at Avery then turned back towards the Shadows, closing my eyes. Concentrating on the pulse of water running through my veins I directed the water towards the Shadows. Whoosh! Opening my eyes I watch as the stunned Shadows go down under the giant wave. It won’t keep them down long but it will give us enough time to make it to the city. Turning around I ran, Jasmine, Kaitlin and Aiden were already running but Avery was standing there, staring at the Shadows in shock, her face had gone a ghostly shade of white. I grabbed her hand and ran, dragging her behind me. I took her a minute, but she started running again, not as fast as she normally did, something was wrong, she wasn’t herself.

I finally got to a peaceful sleep; no Shadows haunting my dreams, only to be woken by Roman. I almost slapped him for waking me up when I heard it. Snap! I sat up, confused and then I heard it again, Snap! I turned towards the right staring into the trees.
“Go wake them up.” I said quietly, if it was a Shadow I could kill it, easy. I stood up facing the trees, crouched down and waited. Snap! I kept waiting, Snap! Snap! Snap! I saw Roman quietly waking the others up out of the corner of my eye. SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! It was really close, but I still waited, SNAP! I pounced, disappearing behind the trees, only to tackle a rabbit. I stood up, guess it was just an animal, not a Shadow. Oh, but how mistaken I was. For exactly 103 yards in front of me (How I knew? I don’t know, I can just tell) stood hundreds of Shadows and they were making their way towards me. I quickly turned and dashed back into the clearing.

“Guys, you better come see this. Quickly! And be very quiet.” I whispered, setting down the rabbit. I turned and walked back through the trees, crouching down behind a bush. They followed.
“Get down!” I whispered, pulling Roman down into a crouch. They might see him.
“Shoot!” I whispered, “Go Back!” They had seen us. How did I know that? One of the Shadows near the front smiled at me and started walking faster! We ran back to the clearing and started gathering our things.
“Hurry up, Roman!” I said, frantically. Jasmine, Kaitlin, Aiden and I were ready, Roman was standing there, mid-pack staring off into space.
“Sorry.” he said grabbing his things and putting them in his bag. “Let’s go.” We ran.
“I’m going to run ahead and see how far it is to Charleston”. I announced, and I took off running. Within five minutes I passed the second small town, and ten minutes later Charleston rose up on the horizon. It was about half a mile away. Again, I could just tell. Turning around I ran back towards Roman, Jasmine, Aiden and Kaitlin, it took me only ten minutes to find them.
“Charleston is only half a mile away,” I said, running up. “We better hurry if we are going to make it there in time.” We have to make it to the city where it will be harder for the Shadows to reach us. I turned to see how everybody else was doing only to notice Roman has stopped running, he was now facing the Shadows.
“What are you doing Roman?” Jasmine yelled.
“Go! I will hold them off” He yelled back at Jasmine.

“Are you crazy?” I screamed, “You’ll get yourself killed!” he just turned, smiled and winked at me. If we weren’t being chased by Shadows I might, just might have freaked out. But I did stop running, we all did. What was he doing? I was about to run over to him, he couldn’t face that many Shadows on his own when I heard it. Whoosh! A second later a giant wave of water came from the north, blasting the Shadows. Of course! I forgot Roman could control water, I’m so stupid!
In all the chaos, I noticed one Shadow in particular, Drake; he was still standing, staring at me, at least I was pretty sure it was him. He smiled when he caught me looking at him, but instead of coming to me he turned to help his fellow Shadows, thank god. I never wanted to be in the same room as him, never, ever. Something about him made me feel off, weird, like things won’t ever right again, especially when I was around him.
I then realized Roman had grabbed my hand and was dragging me along, up ahead Jasmine, Kaitlin and Aiden were already running. I started running again, but at Romans’ pace, it took all I had not to stop right there and cry, let alone run, though a few tears did get out while we ran. How does Drake do this to me? Make me feel scared, frightened and out of place?
We finally made it to Charleston around noon, the Shadows were still following us, but they made no means to capture us. If they had wanted to, they could have easily overtaken us, I’m glad they didn’t try. We arrived at a small bank where Kaitlin, Jasmine and Aiden disappeared inside. What were they doing? I had no clue.
“Are you ok?” it took me a second to realize Roman was talking to me.
I shook my head, “No”.
“Want to talk about it?” I was about to reply when Kaitlin, Aiden and Jasmine popped back out of the bank.
“The banker said there’s a very large hotel two blocks down”, Jasmine announced, pointing south.

“Why are we here? Won’t we screw up everybody’s technology?” I asked.

“Yeah, but it’s a big enough city, nobody will look to blame us for the problem.” Kaitlin replied. I guess that made sense, but I wasn’t sure, I was still too frightened to be thinking straight. I don’t know why, but seeing Drake really unsettled me, and he was the only Shadow who really frightened me. Why?
“Yoo-hoo, Avery!” Kaitlin and Jaz were standing in front of me, waving their hands in front of my face.
“Oh, sorry.” I said. Man, I really needed to stop doing that! That was the third time I blanked out in less than two hours. It’s just, Drake is so creepy. No, I’m doing it again, I have to stop this!

“Avery!” it was Aiden this time.
“Sorry! Let’s go.” I started walking before I blanked out again. We walked the two blocks in silence, watching for anything abnormal. As we rounded the corner of the second block a bright blinking sign read White Lotus Hotel and Spa. Great, a spa! Just what I needed. Really, a spa sounded great, you have no idea how grimy you feel after traveling for a day, then spending three knocked out and then traveling for another day and a half.
“Warm bed!” Aiden groaned.
“Showers!” Jasmine yelled. We all but pretty much ran into the hotel. As soon as we burst through the doors we were blasted with cool air and the smell of white lotuses.
“Two suites, please.” Kaitlin said to the man behind the front desk. He looked at us and had to do a double take. I wondered what we looked like from his perspective. Five dirty, battered, teenagers in a prime and pristine hotel, checking out two suites.
“How long will you be staying?” the man asked.
“Uh, two or three days, maybe more.” Kaitlin replied.
“Ok.” The clerk replied, though he still looked skeptical. He then handed us two room keys, “Have a great stay!” he yelled at us as we headed up to our rooms.
Man they were nice rooms, in Kaitlin, Jasmine and I’s room there was a queen bed, a twin bed, two walk in closets, a mini fridge, a TV, and the bathroom was a whole other story. The tub was the size of a small pond; it included a showerhead as well. Aiden and Roman’s room was similar, but with only one bed, king sized. The hotel had not only a spa but a giant pool and hot tub. If we weren’t hiding from Shadows, and if we didn’t have to find their hideout, I would have enjoyed this hotel, if.
“Do you mind if I take a shower first?” Jasmine asked.
“If you take a quick one.” I replied.
“Never mind, you can go first.”
“No, really, go ahead and take one, Kaitlin and I will talk plans.” I said ushering Jasmine into the bathroom and closing the door behind her.
Just then Roman walked in, “Jasmine taking a shower?”
“Yeah, hope she takes a fast one.” We sat on the floor talking about plans for only five minutes when Jasmine popped out of the bathroom, clean and freshly clothed.
“Oh, my gosh! Jaz just experienced her first five minute shower!” Kaitlin said jokingly.
“Shut up and get in there or I will get back in and never come out.” Jasmine said, shooing Kaitlin through the door.
“Those showers are the best!” Aiden said, walking through the door.
“You can go first if you want to.” Roman said turning to look at me.
“No, I’m fine, you go.” I replied.

“Ok.” He said as he walked out the door.
“Done.” Kaitlin said walking out of the bathroom. How long had she been in there? Three minutes? Was it even possible to take a shower that fast? Apparently. I hopped up and walked into the bathroom closing the door behind me. Once the door was shut, I let my guard down. Ever since we reached the hotel I have had my happy face on, though really all I wanted to do was cry. This past week has been so stressful and crazy, and now I’m finally starting to crack.

The White Lotus hotel was very nice, but it would have been even more enjoyable if it weren’t for those stupid Shadows. The showers were even better that the rooms, they were so warm, and I finally felt clean for the first time in almost a week. When I went back to Avery’s room they were all sitting on the bed, except Avery, she was probably in the shower still.
“What’s the game plan?” I asked sitting in a recliner.
“We get a good nights’ sleep and eat lots of good food then start looking for the Shadows’ hideout.” Jasmine said. Just then Avery walked through the door and sat on the bed, she looked as though she had been crying.
Aiden noticed too, “Anybody hungry?”
“Yes! Glad you asked!” Kaitlin said, eyeing Avery as she hopping up off the bed. She had noticed too.
“Come on Jaz; let’s go check out their food.” Kaitlin said, as she followed Aiden out of the room, Jasmine obliged, running out after them. Avery stayed sitting. I stood up, walked over to the bed and sat down next to her.
“What happened?” I asked, there was no point in asking her if she was ok, she obviously wasn’t.
“Yesterday, when you blasted water at all those Shadows, I noticed something. There was one Shadow in particular who caught my eye, Drake. He just stood there and stared at me, and when he did it made me feel weird, out of place, like everything was twisted and nothing would ever be right again. That’s the first time I have really been scared since I was eight. This past week has just been so stressful and chaotic; I can’t wait until this is all over.” She mumbled. I don’t know who this Drake guy, well Shadow thinks he is, but he’s starting to sound like a real creep.
She looked up at me, “You started to ask me something the other day before we were interrupted?” Oh yeah, I almost forgot about that.
“I was wondering, um…. if you would like to be like my girlfriend?” I stammered, ok yes, I did get nervous. Is it wrong to get nervous sometimes? She just started laughing.
“What?” I asked.
“It just wasn’t the question I expected.” she said, still laughing. Then looking up at me she said, “Yes.” I almost got up and did the happy dance; I probably would have if Aiden, Jasmine and Kaitlin hadn’t walked through the door at that exact moment.

“Yes what?” Jasmine asked. Boy was she one nosey girl.
“Jaz, if they wished to tell then they will.” Kaitlin said, but she still looked at me and Avery curiously.
“Oh, Roman just asked me a question.” Avery replied.
“What question?” it wasn’t Jasmine this time, but Kaitlin.
“That is personal” she replied, but she still smiled.
“What kind of-----” Jasmine started to ask but Avery interrupted, “Anybody else as tired as I am?”
“Me.” I said. If there was one thing I hated more than Shadows it was people prying into other people’s personal business.


I woke up to the ring of sirens, tons of sirens, everywhere.
“What the-----?” I started to say, but I then looked out the window and saw the wreck. About six or seven cars piled up, smoking. There were scraps of metal and rubber strewn in various places up and down the road. I hopped out of bed and walked over to Avery’s room.
“That was our fault, wasn’t it?” I asked walking into the room.
“Shhh.” Jasmine said, pointing to the bed. Avery was still sleeping, but Aiden Kaitlin and Jasmine were sitting in a circle on the floor, talking.
“Sorry.” I said as I joined their circle.
“Yes, that was our fault.” Kaitlin whispered.
“Which means-----”
“Which means we need to get cracking and find those stupid Shadows’ home.” Jasmine said interrupting me in the middle of me sentence.
“Thanks for finishing my sentence for me, Jaz” I said sarcastically as I glared at her.
“No problem.” She said smiling sweetly.
“Knock it off you two, you're acting like little kids.” Kaitlin said.
“That’s because he is one.” Jasmine murmured under her breath.

“Jasmine Marie Grace! Knock it off!” Kaitlin exclaimed. Jasmine stopped talking but she continued to glower at me. What was her problem?
Ignoring her I glanced out the window, “So, what happened?”
“Five car collision, I’m guessing the engines all went haywire, and yes it was probably our fault.” Aiden said, speaking up for the first time since I had walked in.
“As soon as Avery wakes up we should eat and then get going.” Kaitlin said. Kaitlin was the most sensible of us all.

“I’m up, I’m up! What’s going on?” Avery asked, sitting up groggily.
“See for yourself,” Jasmine said angrily, she was still glaring at me. I just smiled.

“What’s your problem?” Avery asked, looking at Jasmine.

“Your boyfriend is being annoying.” Jasmine said matter of factly.
“Oh.” Avery replied. Jasmine scowl became even deeper than before. She was probably angry that Avery hadn’t told her that we were dating yet.
“Wow! Is that our fault?” Avery asked pointing out the window, she looked a little down. Aiden nodded.
“Anybody hungry? Because we need to get going.” Kaitlin said. Everybody nodded, and then Aiden and I stood up and started back to our room to get ready. Five minutes later the five of us headed down to the hotel cafeteria to get some breakfast.
As we walked I slipped my hand into Avery’s, “Are you ok? You look a little down.” I asked.
“Sometimes I wish life was so much easier, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a normal life.” She sighed and smiled at me, though it didn’t reach her eyes. We then walked into the cafeteria, got some food and ate. Man, they have good food; bacon, eggs, toast, fruit, potatoes, pancakes, waffles and so much more. If I stay here much longer I’m going to get fat.

When I woke up this morning my first thought was ‘oh my gosh! I’m dating Roman’, and I was happy. But then I heard the sirens and I saw the wreck. Why did it have to be this way? What I would give to have a normal life, one without powers. I mean, I have great friends and I love them dearly. But I never got to really know my parents, I don’t remember what it’s like to wake up and not have worry about when the next Shadow will attack, I don’t remember what it’s like to live a normal life.
As we headed down to eat breakfast Roman slipped his hand into mine, “Are you ok? You look a little down.” He asked.
“Sometimes I wish life was so much easier, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a normal life.” I sighed, then looking up I gave him a half hearted smile.
As we entered the hotel’s cafeteria we were blasted by a million different scents, breakfast! I hadn’t realized how hungry I was until I walked in here. Food! When we all finished eating we headed to the doors, passing through the lobby. When we walked outside we were hit by a wave of heat, it wasn’t even that hot out, but being in the air all morning made it seem even hotter.
“Where do we start?” Aiden asked.

“I say we call Marcus, see if he has any ideas on where to start.” Kaitlin suggested.
“Sounds good.” Roman added.
“Since when does your opinion count?” Jasmine asked Roman.
“Really Jaz, what’s your problem?” I asked.
She turned on me, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Tell you what?” I asked.

“About you two!” she said exasperated. I walked a couple yards and ushered Jasmine to follow, the other three stayed where they were.
“Is that why you so mad? Because I didn’t tell you?” I asked.
She nodded her head, “Yes.”
“He only asked me last night and I was planning on telling you this morning, but the wreck happened and you figured it out on your own. If I would have known it would make you mad I would have told you last night.”
“Sorry, I was probably overreacting, I just thought he asked you that night on the roof, and was wondering why you kept lying to me.”
“Oh, no he asked me last night.” I said, then a second later I asked, “Are we all good?”
“Yeah, were all good.” She replied. We walked back over to the others.
“Marcus said to find, well, you know how every city has that one section where it’s dark and creepy, hobos everywhere? Yeah, well he said to start there.” Kaitlin said.
“And how are we supposed to find that?” Jasmine asked.
“I don’t know, wander around for awhile, ask some people.” Kaitlin suggested.
“Yeah, because I going to walk up to a stranger and say, ‘just wondering, where do all the hobos live?’” Jasmine said sarcastically. We all started laughing.
“Let’s find a map. The areas where there are fewer buildings or where poor, shabby people live will be more likely spots than places where there are more buildings or where rich people live.” Aiden said. He had a good point.
“I’ll go ask the clerk for a map.” I offered, when nobody objected I turned around and walked back into the hotel.
“Do you have any maps of Charleston?” I asked the clerk.
“No, I don’t, I’m sorry my dear.” He replied.
“Do you know any place that would have one?”
“There’s a little tourist shop just down the road, they might have some there.” He said.
“Ok, thanks.” I said, bowing back out of the door.
“The clerk said there was a little tourist shop down the road, it’s a good place to start.” I said, as the door swung close. We headed up the street until we found the gift shop. Bertie’s tourist gift shop was plastered across the front of the shop in bright green letters.
“Let’s go find a map!” Jasmine said, pushing the door open. It was a small, cozy, little shop that smelled like cinnamon. Wracks of trinkets, and apparel were scattered everywhere. We wound our way through the racks to the front desk where a squat, little old woman was standing behind the counter.
“How may I help you youngins?” the lady asked.
“Do you have any maps of Charleston, uh… Bertie?” Kaitlin asked sweetly, looking at the lady’s name tag.
“As a matter of fact, I do!” Bertie said coming around the counter, “got a shipment today so were freshly stocked.”
She guided us over to a rack, “Now, we have ones that show you the greatest tourist attractions, or just regular maps, or population maps, or….” she looked over at Kaitlin, “What kind you looking for my dear?”
“Um........ The population map would be good, thanks.” Kaitlin said shyly.
“That’ll be $2.50 please.” Bertie said as she walked back to the counter. Kaitlin Followed and handed over the money, she was handed a map.
“Thanks Bertie.” We all said as we filed out the door.
“Ok, let see….” Kaitlin said, unfolding the map. “It looks pretty populated over here, but not over here.” She said pointing to a few different places on the map.
“Great, let’s start there.” Aiden said.
“Where? The more populated area?” Jasmine asked, confused.
“Oh Jaz, my dear Jaz, we just went over this. Less populated areas are more likely than greatly populated areas.” Kaitlin said, shaking her head.
“Looks like we have a ways to walk, let’s get going.” I said looking at the map. We headed up the sidewalk, northward.

We finally made it to the dark side of town around noon. We searched, and searched with no luck. I don’t know what we were looking for, a clue, a hint of something, but if there was a clue, we didn’t find it. We did find a large number of homeless beggars and there were a few Shadows lurking in the shadows, but none of them attacked, they just stared. A few did growl though.
“Nothing!” Aiden sighed.
“I say we head back and search again tomorrow.” Avery said.
“But it’s only noon!” Kaitlin exclaimed, “We should go look someplace else.”
“I’m sure we are all tired and hungry, plus we don’t know this city very well, it will be easy to get lost, our best and safest bet is to head back now.” Avery reasoned.
“Fine.” Kaitlin sighed. We turned around and started the way we came, I fell into step beside Avery, a little ways behind the others.
“How you doing?” I asked her, I knew things were tough for her.
“Fine,” she sighed, “things will be a lot better when this is over and I can finally relax.” She slipped her hand into mine, “I hope we just make it out of this thing alive”.

“We will, I promise.” I assured her.

“I sure hope so.” She replied

“I do too.” I said quietly, so quietly I’m not even sure she heard. We walked in silence as we passed the Charleston concert hall, Charleston University and Charleston’s library. Two hours later we made it back to the hotel, and into the air conditioning. We then made our way to the cafeteria for a late lunch; the food was delicious and very filling.

“We have a few hours to do whatever, want to go to the spa girls?” Jasmine asked.

“Sure.” Avery said.
“Sounds great,” Kaitlin added.
“Ok, let’s go!” Jasmine said and the three of them left.

“Want to go check out the hot tub?” Aiden asked.
“No, let’s go to the spa!” I said sarcastically.
“Are you serious my man?” Aiden asked, surprised.
“No! I was kidding!” I said laughing; he actually thought I was serious. We headed back to our rooms.
“One problem, we have nothing to wear.” Aiden pointed out.

“They’ve got to have a hotel gift shop somewhere, let’s go check it out.” I said. So we found some swim trunks and went the hot tub, it was so relaxing.
An hour later we stopped by the cafeteria for a snack, the only thing available was fruit and tacos, I wasn’t really in the taco mood. We both got a bowl of fruit and headed back to our room.
We were sitting on the floor eating fruit when Jasmine, Avery and Kaitlin walked in.
“Those some good grapefruits?” Jasmine asked, of course, that’s the first thing she thought of.
“Oh yes,” I said, “they’re excellent!” She just glared at me.
“Want some?” Aiden asked, holding out a bowl of strawberries and grapes. Jasmine just shook her head and walked over to their room.
“Ok guys, it’s already 8, we need to get a good night's sleep. we have a lot to do tomorrow.” Kaitlin said, “I’m going to bed”. She then walked out the room.
Aiden stood up and walked to the door, “I need to talk to Kaitlin, be back in a minute.” He then left. I turned around, Avery was looking out the window, the sunset was beautiful; a mix of reds, oranges and pinks. I sat down and watched as the last rays of light disappeared behind the city.
It was until then that Avery said something, “I’m scared,” said it so quietly that I barely heard her. “What happens if we don’t make it out of this alive or if we never get the ruby back?” she asked, looking up at me.
“Hey, we’ll make it out alive, and we’ll find the ruby, I promise.” I said getting up and walking over to her. I pulled her into a hug; she hugged me back, hesitantly. A minute later she pulled away, and when I looked down she was staring up at me. She surprised me when she reached up and kissed me, not like the short peck we had shared a few days ago. When we broke apart I noticed something out the corner of my eye, the stars. It was a clear night and the stars were beautiful.
“Hey, want to find the roof and watch the stars?” I whispered. She nodded. Taking her hand I lead her out the door, we quietly slipped past a slightly open door. I caught a glimpse of Aiden, Kaitlin and Jasmine inside; they were sitting on the floor talking. We traipsed down hallways, looking for a way onto the roof; we got lost a few times before we found a door. The door was situated at the top of a short set of stairs; it read ROOF in big, red letters. I tested the knob to make sure it wasn’t locked, it wasn’t. I pushed the door open and gasped. The stars were even more brilliant up here; they were big, bright and breathtaking.
“Wow! They’re so beautiful!” Avery sighed, “I love stars, something about them is so, so calming.”
“Good way to get away from it all.” I said. We walked a little further onto the roof and sat down. I wanted to tell her about her mom, but she seemed so happy up here that I just couldn’t do it.
She looked over at me, “we never got to fight.” I stood up, smiling and left her standing there to walk a little ways across the roof.
I turning to face her, “now’s our chance.” She smiled and ran; I blocked her attack and attacked myself. She blocked my attack and it went on like that for a while; blocking, attacking and blocking again. Finally, she took me by surprise and managed to tackle me, trapping me on the ground. I didn’t last too long, and before long I had her trapped. She swung her fist at me; I blocked her attack and started tickling her.
“Hey, that’s not fair!” she said, laughing.
“I won.” I said helping her up.
“No, you cheated!” she exclaimed.
“Fine, it was I tie.” I said.
“I was wondering….” she started to say when suddenly she reached over and tickled me. I started laughing, ok yes, I was very ticklish.
“There’s someone up there!” a muffled voice said, two sets of footsteps grew louder, they were heading this way. I grabbed Avery’s hand and we ran, we probably weren’t supposed to be up here. We hid in the shadows as two men burst through the door. It was some creepy looking Mexican. He had dark hair with a big bushy mustache and a very, very long rat tail. When he had gone a very long way away from the door we ran for it.
The door was just swinging closed behind us when we heard a, “Hey!!!!!” coming from the mexican. We ran laughing, down the stairs and into a hallway. The door banged close behind us and we ran through the nearest door, it was the cafeteria. We got quite a few mean looks as we ran through the cafeteria to the door on the other side. Five minutes later we came bursting through the the door to Avery’s room, laughing and out of breath. Scaring the crap out of Aiden and Kaitlin and making Jasmine scream.

Roman pushed the roof door open and I heard him gasp, but I was too distracted with the stars, they were breathtaking. I thought they were beautiful when I watched them from the roof of Coldlake; well they were a thousand times bigger, brighter and more beautiful.
“Wow! They’re so beautiful!” I sighed, “I love stars, something about them is so, so calming.”
“Good way to get away from it all.” Roman said, so true, that’s what I did when I needed a break at Coldlake. We walked just a little bit further before we sat down. Sitting up here on the roof reminded me of Coldlake, and the fight. The fight!
I looked over at Roman and said, “We never got to fight.” He stood up, pulling me up with him, smiled at me, and walked a little ways away.
He then turned to face me, “now’s our chance.” I smiled and took off running; I attacked him, but he was quick to block. He then attacked and I blocked it with almost no effort. He attacked, I blocked, I attacked, he blocked, and it went on like that for quite a while. I finally, took Roman by surprise and tackle him, trapping him on the ground. But it didn’t last that long, a few minutes later he, managed to trap me on the ground. I swung my fist at his shoulder, I just needed enough power to knock him off, but he blocked my swing. I wasn’t expecting it, but he started tickling me, I giggled.
“Hey, that’s not fair!” I said, gasping and laughing at the same time.
“I won.” Roman said as he helped me up, yeah right, he was such a cheater.
“No, you cheated!” I exclaimed.
“Fine, it was I tie.” He said, no I won, cheater. He was going to get it.
“I was wondering….”I started to say, but I changed tactics and leaned in, tickling him. He was surprised but a second later he started laughing.
“There’s someone up there!” a muffled voice said. Crap! One of the workers probably heard us laughing; we were probably being really loud. Roman grabbed my hand and we ran. A man popped up through the door, he had a mustache, a rat tail and was very creepy looking. He was mexican.
The door had just swung closed when we heard a, “Hey!!!!!”. We ran down the stairs, laughing, and came out into a hallway. I heard the door open and close behind us, they were close behind, so we ran through the nearest door. It was the cafeteria. We quickly ran through the cafeteria and out a door on the other side. Five minutes later we made it back to our rooms, scaring the crap out of Jasmine when we came bursting in panting and laughing at the same time.
“What happened?” Kaitlin asked, surprised.
“We went on the roof, and got chased around by a creepy Mexican.” I gasped. We finally stopped laughing and managed to catch our breath, and just in time too. For a minute later a knock came on the door. Kaitlin walked over and opened the door, standing outside was the Mexican, panting and red faced.
“If you see a young man and woman running around laughing, bring them to the front desk, immediately.” He demanded, then he quickly turned around and stalked away.
Once the door was closed we all started laughing, “Wow! He was creepy!” Jasmine exclaimed.
“Ok, hate to ruin the fun, but we have lots to do tomorrow.” Kaitlin said. Aiden stood up, “Night everybody.” He quickly walked out.
“Night.” Kaitlin, Jasmine and I said at the same time.
“Goodnight.” Roman said walking over to me, he then lightly kissed me.
“Goodnight.” I replied, as he headed towards the door.
“Ohhhh, girl.” Jasmine said, once Roman had left.
“Shut up and go to bed.” I said throwing a pillow; it hit her in the face.
“Oww.” She complained.
“Oh come on, it’s a pillow!” I said.
“It still hurts!”
“Whatever.” I laughed. “Night!”
“Night,” Kaitlin and Jasmine replied.

“Roman! Get up we need to leave soon.” Aiden said, poking me in the face.
“Oww, watch the eyes please.” I groaned, rolling over. “What time is it?”
“Sorry about your face, oh, and it’s 6.” Aiden replied.
“6!” I exclaimed, “Why so early?”

“Kaitlin wants to start early so we can go to more places, we need to find these stupid Shadows soon.”

“Oh, I’m getting up.” I said hopping up, I went to the bathroom, took a shower and got dressed.

“Ready.” I said walking into Avery’s room.

“Took you long enough.” Jasmine replied, her, Kaitlin, Avery and Aiden were already ready, they were waiting for me.

“Sorry, well let’s go!” I said. Kaitlin lead the way and we all headed down to the hotel cafeteria. Bacon and pancakes for breakfast today.
As we ate Kaitlin pulled out the map, “I already looked at likely places, there are two I think we should start with.” She pointed to the two spots, one in the southernmost part of the city and one toward the west. “This one is closer”, Kaitlin said pointing to the spot towards the west, “So, I think we should start there.”
“Sounds good.” Jasmine said. We finished eating and headed out, I had a feeling that today was going to be a long day.
“Maybe today will be our lucky day.” Aiden said.
“Hopefully, I can’t wait to go home.” I replied. The walk was shorter than I thought it would be, it only took about an hour and a half. We searched. Any clues? Nothing, nothing at all. It wasn’t even noon by time we were finished.
“Let’s try the other spot and if we don’t find anything we can head back.” Kaitlin suggested.
“Ok.” We all replied. This time it took almost three hours to reach the southernmost part of the city. We searched, and searched, and just when it seemed hopeless I spotted something. I thought it was just a normal door, but when I looked closer I noticed it was made out of steel. You're probably thinking, ‘what’s so special about a steel door?’ Well, the door shimmered, not like sparkly shimmering, like magical shimmering. The ruby! When I had first passed into Coldlake’s I had noticed a faint shimmering in the air, at first I thought it was nothing. Once I figured out about the ruby I realized it was the ruby’s’ protective spell, like a giant shimmering bubble around the school. That’s why I didn’t see it on the way out, the ruby had been stolen.
“Guys, you might want to see this.” I said.
“Did you find something?” Kaitlin asked as she came running.
“Yes.” I said, pointing to the door.
“What? It’s just a door.” Kaitlin pointed out.
“That’s what I thought at first, but if you look closely it shimmers.”
“Oh! Guys come here!” she exclaimed.
Two minutes later Aiden, Jasmine and Avery rounded the corner, “What’s up?” Avery asked.
“This door, it has the protection from the ruby.” I pointed.
“What?” Jasmine said, confused.
“Well, when I first got to Coldlake I noticed a shimmering in the air around the edge of campus, like a giant bubble. It was the ruby’s protection, that’s why we didn’t notice it on the way out, it was stolen. That’s the way we need to go.” I explained.
“We shouldn’t go tonight though, we should wait until tomorrow, get ourselves prepared first.” Aiden said.
“You’re right, we should go back to the hotel first.” Kaitlin said, pulling out the map, “What road are we on?”
“Uhh,” Jasmine said walking down the street, “St. Mark’s Avenue.” Kaitlin located St. Mark’s Avenue on the map and we headed back.
“We need to get a good night’s sleep a leave early.” Kaitlin said as we walked.
It took us about four hours to get back to the hotel and it was already seven by the time we returned. We headed to the cafeteria for a meal of shrimp gumbo, it was delicious.
Jasmine was done first, “I’m going to head up. I’m tired.”
“I’ll come with.” Aiden said, finishing his last bite. They took care of their trash and walked out of the cafeteria. The three of us ate in silence for another five minutes until we were done eating, then we headed up to the room. The door was ajar and when we walked in Aiden and Jasmine were standing in the middle of the room, kissing. When they heard the door open they pulled apart, Jasmine blushing.
Avery laughed, “Who’s the one keeping secrets now?”
“Sorry.” Jasmine said, blushing even more, Aiden just smiled.

“Goodnight ladies and gent.” Aiden said, he then gave Jasmine a quick kiss and swept out of the room.
“I’ll leave you ladies to your business.” I said as I walked over to Avery.
“Goodnight.” She whispered, I leaned down a kissed her, it only lasted a few seconds, and it would have gone longer if Kaitlin hadn’t cleared her throat and coughed.
“Night.” I said walking to the door.

Once the door closed behind Roman, I turned to face Kaitlin, “What?”
“Get a room.” Jasmine said.
“You’re not the one to talk! How long have you been dating?” I questioned.
“Two days ago.” She replied.
“Oh, ok.” I said rolling my eyes as I turned and walked to the bathroom. “Jasmine, you have to know EVERYTHING that happens to Kaitlin and I but you never tell us about anything that happens to you.” I said turning back to face her. “ So don’t get mad at me when I don’t tell you everything.” I then slammed the door and took my shower.
When I left the bathroom Kaitlin and Jasmine were sleeping. Jas was probably mad at me but right know I didn’t care.


“Avery, wake up! We have to go!” Kaitlin said shaking my shoulders, she then moved over to wake up Jasmine. I sat up stretching, and looked around.
“What time is it.” I said, alarmed, it was still dark outside.
“Four.” Kaitlin replied.
“Four!” Jasmine exclaimed, sitting up abruptly.
“We have to get everything ready, and at first light we are heading out.” Kaitlin explained.
“Oh.” Jasmine said laying back down, “I’m going back to bed.”
“Oh, no you not! We have stuff to do!” Kaitlin exclaimed, she walked to the bathroom and came out a minute later carrying a cup of water. Jasmine had already managed to fall back asleep when Kaitlin dumped the water on her head.
“AHHHHHHHHHHH!” Jasmine screamed, jumping out of bed faster than I have ever seen her move. Kaitlin and I started laughing.
“What was that for!?” Jasmine exclaimed, shaking water out of her hair.
“I told you, we have stuff to do!” Kaitlin replied. Jasmine just glared and ran to the bathroom.
A second later Aiden and Roman came running through the door, “What happened?” Aiden asked, searching the room.
“Kaitlin poured water on Jasmine’s head because she wouldn’t get up.” I said, laughing.
“Oh, you had us worried when we heard the scream, thought it was a Shadow.” Aiden sighed in relief.
“Nope.” Kaitlin said cheerily.
“Going to go get ready,” Aiden said, walking out the door, Roman followed.
A few minutes later Jasmine walked out of the bathroom, freshly showered, and glaring at Kaitlin and I. Making a run for it I reached the bathroom just before Kaitlin, closing the door behind me. I took a quick shower and got dressed. I dressed in black; black shirt, black pants, black boots, you get where I’m going. If we were going to find the Shadows, we want to do our best to blend in, not be seen.
As soon as I opened the door to the bathroom Kaitlin slid past me shutting the door in my face. I slowly turned, preparing for Jasmine’s wrath, but when I turned around, she had fallen asleep, again. I decided not to wake her, so I finished getting ready; I combed my hair and braided it. When I heard the shower turn off I decided to wake up Jaz.
“Jaz, Jaz! You might want to get up before Kaitlin dumps more water on your head.” I said, shaking her shoulders.
At the mention of water she shout of the bed, “I’m up, I’m up!” she exclaimed. Just in time too. A minute later Kaitlin walked out the bathroom, looking as cheery as ever.
“Boys ready yet?” She asked.
“I don’t know, I’ll go ask.” I replied, then turning towards Jaz I asked, “Want to come with?”
“Sure.” She said, following me out of the room.
I knocked on Aiden’s and Roman’s door, and heard a faint, “Come in.” I opened the door, and noticed Roman was sitting on the bed, dressed in black, just like Jasmine and I. Aiden was nowhere to be see, I was guessing he was in the bathroom.
A second later Aiden popped out of the bathroom, “HI!” he said cheerily.
Walking over to the bed, I sat down next to Roman, “Morning!” I said.
He replied with a light kiss. “Morning to you too.” He said once he pulled away. I looked over at Jaz and Aiden; they were making out, again. She really needed to stop telling me to get a room, and get one herself!
“Kaitlin’s waiting.” I said looking over at Aiden and Jaz.
“Oh, right.” She said, pulling away from Aiden and turning a dark shade of red. I stood and helped Roman up, we all headed back over to Jaz and I’s room.
“Took you guys long enough.” Kaitlin said, exasperated.
“Sorry. We ready to go?” Jasmine asked.
“Yeah, just need breakfast now.” Kaitlin said. “You can just leave your stuff here, we’ll be back later.” She added, picking up a bag and slipping it on. On the way down to the cafeteria I grabbed Roman’s hand, he smiled at me. I surely do hope we make it back.
“It’s only six, I hope the cafeteria’s open.” Roman said. Just our luck, the cafeteria was just opening when we got there; the food was freshly made and extremely delicious. Almost as good as the food at Coldlake, I can’t wait for this to be over, to see Marcus, Sophie and all my other friends. I even missed James, just a little. We finished eating and quickly left, the creepy Mexican was at the front desk, and he kept eyeballing us suspiciously. Man, he was really creepy!

“AHHHHHHHHH!” that’s what I woke up to this morning. I jumped out of bed and looked over at Aiden, he was up too.
We dashed over to Avery’s room, and burst through the door, “What happened?” Aiden asked, we both searched the room.
“Kaitlin poured water on Jasmine’s head because she wouldn’t get up.” Avery laughed. She looked beautiful this morning, it made me smile.
“Oh, you had us worried when we heard the scream, thought it was a Shadow.” Aiden said, what a relief, no Shadows. They really did have me worried.
“Nope.” Kaitlin said, she was very cheery this morning.
“Going to go get ready,” Aiden said, as he walked towards the door, I quickly followed. I wasn’t going to give Avery a hug, let alone kiss her like this; I really needed a shower. That’s exactly what I did when I got back to the room, hopped in the shower. When I got out Aiden went in for his shower.
A few minutes later a knock came from the door, “Come in.” I said, and sure enough Avery opened the door, I smiled.
Just then, Aiden came out of the bathroom, “HI!” he said, he was really cheerful too.
Avery walked over and sat down next to me, “Morning.” She said.
I just gave her a light kiss, “Morning to you too.” I added, as I pulled away.
“Kaitlin’s waiting.”Avery said, I could tell she was annoyed with Jasmine.
“Oh, right.” Jasmine said pulling away from Aiden; she turned a very dark shade of red. Avery stood and helped me up, we all headed back over to Avery’s room.
“Took you guys long enough.” Kaitlin complained.
“Sorry. We ready to go?” Jasmine asked.
“Yeah, just need breakfast now.” Kaitlin said. “You can just leave your stuff here, we’ll be back later.” She added as she picked up a bag and put it on. As we headed down to the cafeteria Avery grabbed my hand, I gave her a reassuring smile.
“It’s only six, I hope the cafeteria’s open.” Roman said. Well, apparently the cafeteria opens at 5:30 in the morning, so the food was still hot. It was really good but I think Coldlake’s food is better.

Fifteen minutes later we headed out of the hotel and started towards south, we walked for what seemed like days. Really it was only a few hours. We finally reached St. Mark’s Avenue. The door was still there, still shimmering, still as dark and creepy as ever. I definitely didn’t want to go through that door.
“Ready?” Avery asked, squeezing my hand, I nodded. Really I wanted to run away screaming like a little girl. Something terrible was going to happen, I just knew it.
“Here we go!” Kaitlin exclaimed as she reached for the door. I held my breath as she grabbed the knob, turned the handle and thrust the door open. We all peered through the darkness, nothing could be seen. Kaitlin handed each of us a flashlight, and slowly stepped through the doorway. We all followed behind her, piercing the darkness with our flashlights. The walls were black brick, old fashioned.
We walked for miles, and miles and came upon nothing, absolutely nothing but black bricks. Finally, up ahead a small pinprick of light appeared. We shut off our lights and kept going for another mile or so. Torches set in braziers appeared lining the walls. We must be getting close. We walked yet another couple of miles with nothing but torches and braziers until we saw the first door.
It was just like the door we came through; steel.
“Let me go first.” I said. Avery and I were the best fighters, but if Drake really wanted Avery then there was no way she was going first.
“Ok” Kaitlin said as she made room for me, I walked up to the door, Avery followed close behind. I slowly opened the door and shined my light in, nothing! Well, there were things in there but no Shadows like I had expected. The room looked like a normal sleeping chamber; a bed sat I one corner, a dresser in the other and a doorway led to the bathroom.
“Let’s search for the ruby, I mean, it probably won’t be in here but we can never be too sure.” I said, and we searched. Nothing, we found nothing. We went back to the hallway and kept going. Every door we saw we opened and searched. Each room was the same; bed, dresser, bathroom, but no Shadow. Not a single one! So, where we they all?
My question was answered a few minutes later when the tunnel took an unexpected turn and we were thrust into the light. Crap! I pushed everybody backwards and we all landed in a piling heap, luckily we were out of the light and back into the safety of the dark.
“What was that for?” Jasmine groaned. I just shushed her and helped Avery up. Let me guess, you’re probably thinking, ‘yeah, what was that for?’ Well, we almost got seen by thousands upon thousands of Shadows.
“Just around the corner is a balcony overlooking a large room that contains thousands, maybe millions of Shadows.” I explained. The thing is, it’s the only balcony in the whole room, which means Shadow King Drake will probably pass by right where we were standing. We need to get out of here!
Too late.
“I have been waiting for you all.” A smiling Shadow appeared out of the shadows. Avery shivered and stepped closer to me, I grabbed her hand.
“You especially.” he said, walking up to Avery and caressing her face.
“Don’t touch me!” she growled, slapping his hand away.
“Oh, she’s feisty! Even better!” he said smiling even bigger.
“Keep them here; I need to talk to my comrades before we get down to business.” He said, and fifty or so Shadows came out of the darkness surrounding us. That’s just great!

I knew we would probably run into Drake at some point, but I didn’t think it would be this soon. We walked down an empty hallway for a couple of hours only to run right into a trap.
“I have been waiting for you all.” that’s all Drake had to say and suddenly my world went dark, either I wasn’t making it out alive or my friends weren't. I really don’t know how he does it, make me feel so empty, terrified and out of place. I felt Roman slip his hand into mine as I stepped back towards him.
“You especially.” he said, walking up to touch my cheek.
“Don’t touch me!” I growled, slapping his hand away.
“Oh, she’s feisty! Even better!” he said smiling at me. I glared.
“Keep them here; I need to talk to my comrades before we get down to business.” Drake said, turning towards the darkness, out came about fifty Shadows and they surrounded us. He then stepped onto the balcony and out of our sight, but we could still hear him.
“My fellow comrades! How nice it is to see you all looking fit and healthy!” he said.
“You all know what’s coming! The government will soon be ours!” the Shadows cheered, “First, we must start preparations, I want you all to train extra hard and make sure your weapons are freshly sharpened and mended. We now have our Power and she will help us take down the Government!” The Shadows cheered even more. I wanted to scream, yell, shout that I would not help them, but it may be the only way to get my friends out alive.
“Go my comrades and prepare yourselves! And tomorrow, for your enjoyment and a little pre battle cheers, you will get to watch four extra Powers battle to the death!” More cheers erupted, filling me with a sense of dread. Whatever happens tomorrow, my friends dying will not be one of them.
“You hear that my dear?” Drake said, he was back and standing right in front of me.
“If you cooperate I’ll make sure it’s an easy, painless death for your friends. If you don’t cooperate their deaths will be long and painful, and I will make you watch.” he then turned and walked through a small doorway I hadn’t noticed before, motioning for us to follow.
Through the doorway was a set of narrow, stairs. They went on and on for what seemed like forever until finally we came to a small landing. There were two doors, he opened the one on the right and ushered us in. It was a rectangular room made out of metal, the same metal as those cuffs, because as soon as I walked in my energy level decreased greatly, all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and sleep. But I couldn’t, not when my friends were in danger, not when my friends were going to be killed tomorrow.
“Put the four of them in the observation room, I need a talk with this one.” Drake said, motioning to Roman, Jasmine, Aiden and Kaitlin. The Shadows took them, ripping Roman’s hand from my grasp and ushered them through the door of the observation room off the side of the room. I could still see them through the glass, but the distance made me jumpy, nervous, and scared.
“How are you my dear?” Drake asked once the door to the observation room was closed.
I turned on him and glared, “First off, I am not your ‘dear’, and second, you think I am going to answer your questions?”
He stared at me for a second then stood up and walked over to me, “Yes, I do expect you answer my questions!” he said caressing my face.
“Didn’t I tell you once? Stop freaking touching my face!” I growled, slapping his hand away.
He just smiled, “You are quite the feisty one aren't you?” I just glared.
“Now, are you going to help me or not?” He asked, stepping closer to me. I automaticly shook my head no, there was no way I was going to help him, none at all.
He narrowed his eyes, “You sure about that? I could make it three competing and kill one early?” He turned and motioned to one of the Shadows. A second later two Shadows escorted a bloody faced Roman. Someone or some Shadow, had punched him quite a few times in the face. The Shadow on the right pulled out a knife, holding it up to Roman’s neck.
I finally let go of the flow of tears I had been holding in, I just couldn’t do it anymore.
“I’ll help you, on-only if y-you let my friends g-g-go.” I stammered, he turned to look at me. His face softened, if that was even possible for a Shadow like him.
“My dear, why are you crying?” he asked, I glared at him.
“You come into my life, plan to kill all my friends, then expect me to help you? And why try to kill Sophie and why did you actually kill my parents?” I asked accusingly.
“Ah, you mean your sister?” he said.
“What?” I asked, confused, I didn’t have a sister or any siblings for that matter.
“That little girl, Sophie as you say, the one I tried to have killed at Coldlake, she was your sister. As for killing you parents, that wasn’t meant to happen.”he replied.
“Then what was meant to happen? You don’t send Shadows to people’s houses for no reason, or do you? Is that because your Shadows love to kill?” I asked, now I was really mad.
“I sent a Shadow to bring your parents here, not to kill them.”
“What did you need them for?” I asked, still angry.
“Your mother was pregnant, her baby might have been very powerful, and we wanted it when it was born. Your friends never told you? They knew.” He asked. I shook my head, the tears coming down faster, how long had they known? Why had they never told me? I walked towards Roman and as I walked Drake tried to stop me; I slapped him across the face. Next time he touched me I was going to beat him to pulp! The Shadows let Roman go, he slumped to the floor, only half conscious, blood running down the side of his face.
I kneeled in front of him, “Is it true?” I whispered, “Did you know she was pregnant?”He shook his head no.
He looked up at me and whispered, “If I don’t make it out alive I just just want to let you know that I love you” he then leaned up and kissed me.
It lasted for a minute then Drake pulled me away, “I love you too.” I whispered.
“You are not to kiss others, you are to be mine!” he growled.
“You can kill all my friends and take away everything I love, but I will never be yours.” I said, I don’t know where the courage to say that came from, but I did know that it could get Roman killed.
“Take them away, they will all be killed tomorrow, very painful deaths,” then he turned on me, “and you my dear will watch.” The Shadows took Roman, Kaitlin, Aiden and Jasmine and left with them. Ten Shadows stayed behind.
“You will watch your friends die tomorrow and then help me take over the government. I will give you one last night with your friends, but first I want you to know, in the end you will be mine.” He turned around, addressing the Shadows, “Take her away.”
He then left, my Shadow escorts and I following closely behind. I slowed down just enough for him to round the corner. In less than ten seconds I had knocked out four of the Shadows and killed the rest. I slowly crept to the corner, peeking out. I watched as Drake entered through a door a few feet down the hallway. Once the door was closed, I crept up to it, putting my ear against the door, nothing. I slowly inched the door open and poked my head in, nothing. I realized there was noise coming from a connecting room, the bathroom I was guessing. I scoured the room for any sign of the ruby, nothing.
The only things in the room were a bed, a dresser and a bedside table. I dashed in and searched the desk drawers. No such luck. I searched the tops of the desk and bedside table, which were piled high with papers. Nothing. My last resort was to check the bed; I checked the cracks and under the pillow. Wow, how was I not surprised when I reached under the pillow and came out holding the ruby? Under the pillow, typical.
I quietly crept to the door and excited, I only made it a few feet when I was met by twenty Shadows. I could have, and would have killed them all, but the hallway was so crowded it was like trying to fight a hundred instead of twenty. I gave in and they dragged me to my friends.

There was a set of narrow, winding stairs inside the archway Drake lead us through. We walked on, and on, and on, and on for what felt like years. We finally made it to a landing with two doors, Drake opened the one on the right and we filed in. The room was rectangular and metal, I instantly felt tired as I walked in. That’s weird.
“Put the four of them in the observation room, I need a talk with this one.” Drake said to the Shadows, pointing at Jasmine, Aiden, Kaitlin and I. The
Shadows ushered the four of us from the room and I lost my grip on Avery’s hand.
“How are you my dear?” Drake asked Avery once we were locked behind the glass. I could still see and hear Avery everything that was going on, but I really wanted to be standing next to her.
I saw Avery glare at him, “First off,” she growled, “ I am not your ‘dear’, and second, you think I am going to answer your questions?”
Drake was quiet for a second then he stalked over to Avery, “Yes, I do expect you answer my questions!” he stated as he touched her face. I took all I had not to run in there and punch Drake in the face.
“Didn’t I tell you once? Stop freaking touching my face!” Avery screamed at him, slapping his hand away.
“You are quite the feisty one aren't you?” I heard him ask.“Now, are you going to help me or not?” He added, stepping closer to her. She shook her head, no.
“You sure about that? I could make it three competing and kill one early?” He asked her, then he turned and motioned to one of the Shadows standing near me.
Two Shadows came at me; I punched the first one in the face and the second in the gut. More came at me, seven or eight. I could have easily killed them all, but this room is too small and I didn’t want Kaitlin, Jasmine and Aiden hurt. So, when they came I didn’t put up a fight, that didn’t stop them from punching me. Once in the nose, I groaned, it was broken, another in the jaw, SNAP! I felt my jaw crack and felt pain. A third in temple, and a fourth in the gut. Half conscious they dragged me out of the room and in front of Avery. The Shadow on my right pulled out a knife, and held it up to my neck. Avery started to cry, tears streaming down her face.
“I’ll help you, on-only if y-you let my friends g-g-go.” she stammered, No! Whatever you do don’t help him! I’m going to die anyway.
“My dear, why are you crying?” he asked her, taking a step closer to her, reaching for her face.
“You come into my life, plan to kill all my friends, then expect me to help you? And why try to kill Sophie? Why did you actually kill my parents?” she asked him.
“Ah, you mean your sister?” he said.
“What?” she asked. I didn’t know she had a sister.
“That little girl, Sophie as you say, the one I tried to have killed at Coldlake, she was your sister. As for killing you parents, that wasn’t meant to happen. “He told her.
“Then what was meant to happen? You don’t send Shadows to people’s houses for no reason, or do you? Is that because your Shadows love to kill?” she asked. Man she looked really mad.
“I sent a Shadow to bring your parents here, not to kill them.”
“What did you need them for?” she asked, looking confused.
“Your mother was pregnant, her baby might have been very powerful, and we wanted it when it was born. Your friends never told you? They knew.” He asked, looking over at me. She shook her head, crying even harder. She then walked towards me. Drake’s hand shot out to stop her, but she slapped him across the face. The Shadows on my right and left let go of me, I sank to the floor.
She kneeled in front of him, “Is it true?” she whispered, “Did you know she was pregnant?”
I shook my head, I never knew.
I looked up at her, and whispered, “If I don’t make it out alive I just want to let you know that I love you.” I reached up and kissed her. Suddenly, she was being pulled away by a furious Drake.
“I love you too.” She whispered as he dragged her away.
“You are not to kiss others, you are to be mine!” he demanded, glaring at Avery.
“You can kill all my friends and take away everything I love, but I will never be yours.” Avery replied, looking just as angry as Drake.
“Take them away, they will all be killed tomorrow, very painful deaths,” Drake said, motioning to Aiden, Kaitlin, Jasmine and me, “and you my dear will watch.” He added rounding on Avery. The Shadows grabbed me and dragged me away. Out the door, down the hallway, through another door, down some stairs, into yet another hallway, we turned left, then right, and left again, coming to a stop in front of a large doorway. One of the Shadows opened the door and shoved me through; I stumbled and landed, hard. Jasmine, Aiden and Kaitlin followed.
“Are you ok?” Kaitlin asked, running over to help me up.
“I’m fine.” I said, leaning up against the wall. I got my first good look at my surroundings; the room was small and carpeted, weird. There was a small basin filled with water on a table in the corner. There was only one very large bed, the kind of bed fit for a king. I slid down the wall, I needed to sit and take it all in. It had all happened so fast, I mean I knew I was going to die, we all did. But I never expected to die like this; just when I was finally figuring my life out, finally had someone to love.
BAM! The door burst open and Avery was thrown in, except she landed gracefully on her own two feet, unlike me. Her eyes met mine, one look and she ran to the other side of the room. What? Did I do something wrong? I then realized she was carrying the basin of water over to me.
“Do you still have you bag?” She asked Kaitlin. Kaitlin nodded.
“Can I have a cloth?” Kaitlin threw Avery a cloth. Avery took the cloth and soaked it in the water then she gently started to clean the blood off my nose.
“This might hurt.” She whispered, popping my nose back into place. A sharp pain pierced my nose, and then disappeared into a dull throbbing; I groaned and winced, the slightest noise I made sent fresh waves of pain from my jaw.
“What?” Avery asked, looking concerned. She gently touched my jaw and I winced again.
“Broken jaw.” She mumbled, then turned to face Kaitlin, “Know how to fix his jaw? It’s broken.”
Kaitlin came over and kneeled in front of me, touching my jaw, “It’s not broken, just popped out of alignment.” Then without warning she grabbed my jaw and jerked it, POP!
“Owww!” I groaned, rubbing my jaw.
“You’re welcome.” She said as she walked over to sit on the bed, right next to Jasmine and Aiden who were making out, again. I didn’t blame them though; we probably won’t be alive this time tomorrow.
“Thanks.” I said. Then, looking up I met Avery’s eyes, she was silently crying.
“Hey, it will be ok.” I said pulling her into a hug.
“No it won’t, they are going to kill you tomorrow and-----” she started to say, but I leaned up and kissed her, stopping her flow of words.
“I love you.” She said as we pulled apart.
“I love you too.” I whispered. This time she kissed me; I kissed her back and pulled her closer. If only there was a way we could all make it out of this alive.

CRASH! One of the Shadows threw the door open and literally threw me through the door. Despite their best efforts I still landed on my feet. I looked up and met Roman’s eyes, man he looked rough. His nose looked broken and blood covered his face. I felt the stone in my pocket, had to make sure it was still there, then I scanned my surroundings. All I saw was a very, very large bed was on one side of the room and there was a small basin of water in the corner. I ran to the basin and carried it over to Roman.
“Do you still have your bag?” I asked Kaitlin. She nodded.
“Can I have a cloth?” Kaitlin threw me a cloth, I took it and soaked it in the water. I then cleaned all the blood off Roman’s face. Once the blood was gone I assessed the damage, sure enough, he had a broken nose.
“This might hurt.” I whispered, and then I popped his nose back into place. He groaned and a second later winced.
“What?” Avery asked, looking concerned. What else could be broken? Maybe his jaw. I touched his jaw to test my theory, he winced again.
“Broken jaw.” I mumbled, I don’t know how to fix a jaw! I’ve never had to fix one before. I turned and looked at Kaitlin, “Know how to fix his jaw? It’s broken.”
Kaitlin walked over and kneeled down in front of Roman; she touched his jaw and said, “It’s not broken, just popped out of alignment.” It surprised me when she jerked his jaw to the side, I could hear the pop as she realigned his jaw.
“Owww!” Roman groaned, rubbing his jaw.
“You’re welcome.” Kaitlin said, walking over to sit next to Jasmine and Aiden. They were making out again. I didn’t say anything though; they won’t be alive tomorrow, unless I can come up with some life saving plan. I realized this would be my last day with my friends and I started to cry again.
“Thanks.” I heard Roman say to Kaitlin. I looked down to meet his eyes.
“Hey, it will be ok.” He said, pulling me into a hug.
“No it won’t, they are going to kill you tomorrow and-----” I started to say, but he interrupted me with a kiss. It was very nice.
“I love you.” I said pulling away from him.
“I love you too.” He whispered back. I leaned in and kissed him, ‘he wasn’t going to die tomorrow,’ I promised myself. I was going to come up with a plan.
That night I fell asleep in Roman’s arms, we slept on the floor.

I woke up to a sharp yank of my hair, I opened my eyes, it was Drake.
“Watch the hair!” I said, slapping him in the face.
He growled, “I thought I told you not kiss others!”
“You have no proof that I kissed others.” I retorted.
He glared at me, “You did kiss others though, right?”
“You want answers?” he nodded. “Then yes, I did kiss someone.” I replied.
“Who?” he asked.
“Not you.” Oh, man he looked angry, furious.
“Hey, I have a proposal for you.” I said before he could do anything,
“What?” he asked, looking unsure.
“Fight me.”
“What?” he asked again, looking very confused this time.
“We fight. If you win all five of us will become your slaves, do whatever you want, and I will never kiss another again. But, if I win my friends and I get to go and you must promise to never attack, hurt or do anything to another Power, never, ever.” I said. There was a possibility that this would work; it was our best shot.
“Well…. Is this a fight to the death?” he asked.
“That or until someone forfeits.” I replied. He was quiet for a minute, contemplating my suggestion.
After a few minutes he finally spoke, “Ok, we will fight at two, the only weapon, a knife. You have four hours to prepare yourself in any way possible.” He then turned around and left, the rest of the Shadows followed.
Once all of the Shadows left the room Roman walked up to me, “Are you sure you want to do this?” he asked. I nodded; he bent down and kissed me. I pulled away and looked over at Kaitlin, Aiden and Jasmine; I hadn’t really talked to any of them last night.
I walked over to Kaitlin and Jaz, “How you guys doing?” I asked.
“I don’t want to die like this.” Kaitlin said, starting to cry. I have never seen Kaitlin cry, so I was just a shocked as Jaz. Kaitlin is like a rock, she’s always there for anybody who needs help, but this time she was the one who needed the help.
“Hey, it’s going to be ok.” I said hugging her.
“Yeah, we won’t let you die, at least not until you get a boyfriend.” Jasmine said, walking over and joining in on the hug.
“Oh thanks, that makes me feel so much better.” Kaitlin said sarcastically. We all laughed.
The next four hours passed in a blur; we talked, laughed, tried our best to be happy and Roman and I kissed quite a few more times, until it was time to go.
The door burst open, “Are you ready my dar---?” He chose the perfect time to come and get me, because Roman and I were kissing.
As soon as Drake saw us his face went red and he screamed, “WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT KISSING OTHERS!”
I just laughed and kissed Roman again, “Hey I can kiss whomever I want.” I added.
He glared and growled, “Not when you lose and become my slave, now come.” He motioned for me to follow.
I kissed Roman on last time and said, “I’ll see you later.” Then I reluctantly untangle myself from him and walked towards the door. I looked back one more time, Roman smiled, I smiled back and left the room.
Drake led me down a hallway, he must have been pretty confident that I wouldn’t run because there were no guards. But I would never do that to Roman, or Kaitlin or Aiden or Jaz. We turned right, then left, then right again, and we climbed a set of stairs, through a door and into a hallway. The same hallway that Drake’s room was in. We passed the door to his room and I reached for my pocket, touching the ruby. He must not check under his pillow regularly because if he did he would have found it last night. We finally made it to the end of the hallway where there was one last door.
He held the door open for me, “Ready?” he asked as we walked into the room. WOW! I was standing in what looked like the Roman Coliseum, but bigger and creepier. A cheer met my ears as I walked in, and I could see Roman, Kaitlin, Jaz and Aiden sitting in the front row along with thousands of millions of Shadows. This is going to be interesting.

The four hours leading up to Avery’s fight were tough for me. I talked and laughed along with everybody else, but if it were up to me I would hold her in my arms and never let her go.
Too soon I knew it was almost time for her to go, I kissed her one last time, it was a long lasting kiss, and right in the middle the door burst open and Drake came in.
“Are you ready my dar---?” He took one look at Avery and I and he blew.
Avery laughed at him and kissed me again, “Hey I can kiss whomever I want.” She said after she pulled away.
He glared at her and growled, “Not when you lose and become my slave, now come.”
We kissed one last time and Avery said, “I’ll see you later.” She stood up and walked to the door, all I really wanted to do was pull her back, keep her in my arms. She looked back at me I smiled reassuringly, but I was mostly trying to reassure myself.
Once she left with Drake sixty Shadows came and escorted us to the watch the fight. They lead us down hallways and up stairs until we reached a very large doorway. We walked through and were immediately blasted by very loud cheers. Millions of Shadows were sitting in a very large coliseum like arena. The Shadows ushered us down to spots in the front row, every Shadow turned and stared as we passed, I am not looking forward to this.
“OK, CHANGE OF PLANS! THE POWERS WILL LIVE, BUT I WILL BE FIGHTING MY SPECIAL POWER!” Drake shouted, pointing to Avery. The crowd roared.
“WHEN I WIN WE WILL HAVE FIVE POWER SLAVES, USE THEM WISELY.” he added. He turned to face Avery and said something, I don’t what, I couldn’t hear over the shouting and screaming of the Shadows.
“WE WILL NOW BEGIN!” Drake addressed the crowd, setting off another set of cheers. Avery and Drake faced each other, everything was quiet, then Drake charged.
I held my breath as Drake lunged at Avery; she dodged at the last second, barely missing a knife in the gut. Before Drake could do anything Avery knocked his legs out from underneath him, tackling him. He quickly flipped over, trapping Avery. She somehow managed to kick him off her, and she flipped up to standing. They circled each other for a minute. Avery lunged this time. Drake countered her attack, catching her mid air. They rolled around on the ground until Avery managed to get on top. She punched him in the face, once, twice, thrice, four times.
He groaned, and managed to punch Avery in the shoulder, knocking her off him. She rolled up, and turned, standing face to face with Drake. His knife whipped around, aiming for her gut. She blocked with her own knife and punched him in the gut. He stumbled back, groaning. She charged, knocking him to the ground, he rolled over, pinning Avery to the ground, and brought up his knife, aiming for her heart. Before Drake had time to stab her, she whipped up her own knife, and stabbed Drake in the gut.
He doubled over, groaning in pain. Avery pushed him off her and stood up, catching my eye. She was crying. All I wanted to do was run down there and hug her, never let her go but there was utter chaos in the stands.
“QUIET!” a Shadow shouted, he was standing next to Avery. The crowd instantly went silent, he must have been important. The Shadow bent down next to Drake, talking to him for a minute. Drake was losing blood, and fast, he only had a few minutes left on him.
“I say break the stupid promise, those Powers are ours!” a Shadow shouted from the stands.
“WE CANNOT BREAK THIS PROMISE, DRAKE MADE A SACRED OATH.” The Shadow standing next to Drake’s body said. I watched as Drake took his last shuddering breath and fell still.
Gasps were still echoing through the crowd, a sacred oath must be something important. The Shadow down by Avery motioned to someone and a second later a Shadow was grabbing me by my arm.
“Come.” Was all he said. Kaitlin, Aiden, Jasmine and I were escorted out of the stands, through a couple of hallways and through a doorway, by twenty Shadows. They had taken us to the arena.
When we first stepped through the doorway, Avery was standing right there, waiting for us.
She ran up to me and I enveloped her in a hug, “What’s wrong?” I asked.
Before she could answer the Shadow, the one that had been standing next to Drake walked over.
“Hello, I’m Marvin. You will get to go home and us Shadows will never bug you again but, there is someone who wants to talk to you guys before you leave.”
The Shadows led us to a room down the hallway and let us in, closing the door behind.
“Ah, I have been waiting for you all.” said Howard.

Drake caught me off guard when he lunged the first time, I narrowly avoided a knife in the gut. I need to pay more attention. I knocked his legs out from under him and pinned him to the ground. He struggled for a minute and finally managed to pin me to the ground. He was really strong. I kicked him off and clambered up, facing Drake. I lunged, and he did too. We collided in the air and landed hard on the ground. We fought hard at who got on top; I somehow managed to pin him down and punched him in the face four times. He groaned, and punched me in the shoulder, I felt myself go flying.
When I managed to get back up Drake was already up, waiting for me. He swung his knife, aiming for my gut. I blocked him with my own knife and punched him in the gut. As he stumbled backwards I lunged, bring him down. He used my momentum and rolled over, pinning me down. He pulled out his knife, aiming it at my heart, but he was too slow. I whipped out my knife, and stabbed him in the gut before I even realized what I was doing. He doubled over in pain, blood seeping everywhere. Gross! I pushed him off me and hobbled up. I looked up and met Roman’s eyes, I then realized I was crying. I could have died, then Roman, Kaitlin, Jasmine and Aiden would be stuck here forever. I can’t let that happen.
“QUIET!” someone shouted, scaring the crap out of me. The crowd went quiet as soon as he said it. I looked over and there was a Shadow standing next to me. I looked down at Drake, he was still breathing but barely.
“Marvin, Marvin.” Drake rasped. The Shadow bent down and started talking to Drake.
“I say break the stupid promise, those Powers are ours!” somebody shouted from in the stands.
“WE CANNOT BREAK THIS PROMISE, DRAKE MADE A SACRED OATH.” Marvin shouted. Gasps echoed around the stadium, a sacred oath. What was that? I looked down at Drake and gasped, he was really struggling on each breath he took. He suddenly shuddered and fell still, he was dead.
Marvin motioned to somebody in the stands then turned to me, “Your friends are being brought here.” That was all he said. Marvin was actually nice, surprising for a Shadow, and I had killed his leader. Even though I absolutely despised Drake I felt bad for killing him, I don’t like solving problems violently.
I tried my best to hide my tears as the door opened. Roman, Kaitlin, Aiden and Jasmine walked in. I ran over to them, acting as if nothing had happened. Once I reached them I quickly walked into Roman’s open arms.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. But before I could answer Marvin walked up.
“Hello, I’m Marvin. You will get to go home and us Shadows will never bother you again but, there is someone who wants to talk to you guys before you leave.” We were out of the arena and down the hallway. Marvin opened a door and ushered us in, closing it behind us.
“Ah, I have been waiting for you all.” Howard said.
I gasped, “You, y-y-you! I was you this whole time!”
“You are one smart girl, how did you figure it out?” he asked.
“I had always known someone from Coldlake betrayed us, how else could the ruby have been stolen. Shadows can’t get in, and nobody outside of Coldlake knows about it. But I never would have guessed it would be you.” I said.
“Why?” I whispered. Why? I had always thought of Howard as, well he was kind of like my brother, though a lot older. He was always there when I needed help, so why did he have to do this?
“Well, one day I took a trip away from Coldlake. I interrupted two Shadows talking about you.” He said, pointing to me.
“They immediately knew I was a Power, they almost killed me, I didn’t want to die, I’m too young to die.” I realized just how selfish, and how much of a jerk Howard really was.
“I told them I could help them, I told them about the ruby. They said that if I brought them the ruby I would get a reward, I would never be attacked by a Shadow. I have done them good, but you had to go kill Drake and ruin it all, so, there is no way I’m letting you go.” he said, and without warning he dived, tackling me. I gasped as I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my thigh. I punched Howard in the face, sending him flying. I sat up and looked down at my thigh, a small dark knife was lodged at least two inches in. I bit back tears as I pulled the knife out of my leg.
“ Avery! What happened?” Kaitlin screamed, running over to me. Roman, Jasmine and Aiden followed.
“Watch out for Howard.” I gasped.
“Don’t worry,” Aiden said, Roman and I will take care of it.” They got up and walked over to Howard, he was still lying on the ground, I didn’t think I hit him that hard.
“Um, Avery? What exactly happened after he jumped on you?” Aiden asked.
“He stabbed me in the thigh and I punched him in the face, why?” I asked.
“Well, you must punch hard because he’s out cold.”
I was about to answer when a sharp stab of pain came from my leg, “What are you doing!” I exclaimed, gasping in pain.
“Cleaning your wound,” Kaitlin replied.
“A little warning would be nice next time.” I said through gritted teeth, man that disinfectant was painful.
“All good.” Kaitlin said a minute later, patting my tightly wrapped leg.
“Oww,” I gasped.
“Sorry.” She said. I glared at her and she smiled.
“We should go; we need to get back to Coldlake.” Aiden said as he and Roman walked over.
“What about Howard?” I asked, gingerly getting to my feet with a little help from Jaz.
“He’s still out; we should leave before he wakes.” Aiden replied.
“No, we can’t just leave him here; I say we take him with us and let Marcus decide what to do.” I said.
“Why? Why take him, why not leave him here?” Aiden asks.
“Even though we left he’s still going to try to wreak havoc on us. He’s never going to leave us alone until we stop him.” I said.
“Fine, but we need to leave, now. Will someone help me?” he asked, walking over to Howard. Jasmine abandoned me, and walked over to Aiden. To keep myself from falling over I put more weight on my injured leg than it could stand. I gasped in pain and would have fallen over if Roman hadn’t caught and steadied me.
Jasmine looked over, realizing what had happened, “Oh, Ave! I’m sorry!” she wailed.
“It’s ok Jaz.” I replied, gritting through the pain.
“Let’s go!” Kaitlin said, opening the door and leading the way. Jasmine and Aiden followed Roman and I brought up the rear. We were finally on our way home!

I never really knew Howard or anybody at Coldlake for that matter; besides Aiden, Kaitlin, Jasmine and Avery, but I never imagined anybody betraying Coldlake.
We somehow made it out of the Shadows’ hideout without running into a single Shadow, Howard was still out cold. It wasn’t until we were miles away, heading back to the White Lotus hotel that I thought about the ruby.
“Avery, what about the ruby?” I asked. She stopped in her tracks, a look of panic on her face and patted her pockets. Relief swept across her face and she smiled, pulling the ruby out of her pocket.
“How did you get that?!” I exclaimed.
“I’ll explain when we get back to the hotel.” she said, and we started off again.
We reached the hotel two hours later. When we walked through the lobby; a bunch of rugged, scraped up teenagers with an older man, knocked out. We got quite a few strange stares. I helped Avery up the stairs, her leg was pretty bad, she could put barely any weight on it without groaning in pain. I’m just glad she wasn’t killed.
“Avery, I want you to take a shower first so I can re-wrap your leg.” Kaitlin said as we walked into their room.
“Ok.” She said, sighing. I helped her into the bathroom and left, closing the door behind me.
“Is it ok if I go take my shower?” I asked, turning around to face Aiden.
“Yeah.” he replied. I headed over to my room to take a shower. I’m glad we all made it out ok, I don’t know what I would have done if we were trapped there, forever. When we were in the Shadows hideout it was as if I would never be happy again, everything was so dark, and gloomy. Though I don’t think it affected the others as much.

When I got out of the shower I walked back over to Avery’s room, she was sitting in a chair staring and a still knocked out Howard.
“Where is everybody?” I asked her.
“Aiden and Jasmine took very fast showers and went down to find something to eat. Kaitlin just got in the shower.” She replied, but she was out of it, she was off, she wasn’t herself.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, kneeling down in front of her chair.
“I…. I just never expected it to be Howard.” She sniffled, “I always thought he was better than this, I mean he was part of my family, I loved him.” She started crying.
“Hey,” I said, pulling her up and into a hug. “I’m really sorry about your parents and Howard. But, if Howard betrayed Coldlake, betrayed you just because he didn’t want to die then he’s a coward, a jerk.”
She looked up at me, “Yeah.” she sighed, “it’s just a lot to take in; these past couple of weeks.” Before I could say anything more she reached up and kissed me, a soft sweet kiss.
Three things happened just then, as we were kissing; Kaitlin walked out of the bathroom, Aiden and Jasmine charged in with bowls of food in their hands, and Howard woke up, yelling, “WHERE AM I AND WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?”
Avery and I broke apart and started laughing, Howard scared the crap out of Aiden, Kaitlin and Jasmine, and the looks on their faces were priceless. CRASH! We all looked back at Howard; he was laying face first on floor. This time Aiden, Kaitlin and Jasmine started laughing too.
He sat up groaning, “Where am I? What is going on?”
“You are at a place far away from the Shadows, and we are taking you back to Coldlake with us.” Kaitlin said before anybody could talk.
“Oh,” Howard said, looking defeated, he didn’t even try to make a run for it.
“I’m tired and want to go to bed, anybody with me?” Aiden asked.
“Sleep, sounds great.” Kaitlin sighed, “But we should probably keep watch of Howard, we can take turns.” Howard didn’t even look up when his name was mentioned; he sat moping in a chair.
“I’ll take first.” Avery offered.
“No, you need sleep and your injured.” Kaitlin said, rejecting her.
“I’ll do it,” Jasmine offered.
Aiden and I left, walking over to our room. As soon as my head hit the pillow I crashed, you have no idea how tired I was.


“Roman, wake up!” Aiden said. Why was I always the last to wake up? I groaned and sat up. I glanced out the window; the sun was just peeking up over the horizon.
“We’re leaving in twenty minutes so you better hurry, we still need food.” He added. “Just come over to Jasmine’s room when you’re done.” He then walked out of the room.
Five minutes later I walked into Avery’s room dressed and ready to go.
“Finally,” Kaitlin said exasperated, “Let’s go.” We headed down to the cafeteria and ate a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon and waffles. We also packed enough food for a week each, just in case. We then headed down to the lobby where Kaitlin paid for our stay. We left the hotel just like the many times before, but this time we weren’t coming back.
It took us three days to reach Coldlake; on the first night we reached the small little grove, the one where all those Shadows found and chased us all the way to Charleston. The second night we reached the cave, the cave where Avery got a firsthand experience with metal cuffs. Finally, on the third night we reached Coldlake.

We rounded the top of a hill and there it was, Coldlake! I would have run there but my leg was still in bad shape. I was better though; I could walk by myself but I had a little bit of a limp.
“YOU’VE GOT ME THIS FAR, BUT YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GO BACK THERE!” I turned, surprised and saw a crazed Howard. Throughout the whole trip back Howard had never talked, never ran, and never tried to get away. He just walked in silence the whole time and now that it was too late, now that we reached Coldlake was he trying to run.
“Oh no you don’t.” Aiden said, grabbing Howard before he ran, “We’re here now, no time to run.”Aiden marched Howard down to the front steps and we all followed behind. Aiden rapped loudly on the door and tried to calm a struggling Howard.
“Who are you and what do you want?” asked a depressed Marcus as he flung open the door. He finally noticed who we were and his face instantly lit up.
“You made it back! I knew you would!” he said cheerily. He enveloped us in hugs.
He reached me last, “I so glad you’re ok, I’ve missed you so much.” He kissed me on the forehead, gave me a hug, and guided us into the school.
“I want to know everything that happened, everybody is sleeping so we can talk in my office.” He said as he walked ahead, a bounce in his step. Once we reached his office he ushered us all in and closed the door.
“So, what happened?” he asked. We explained, everything, well, almost everything from the moment we left Coldlake to the moment we returned. Marcus was glad to have the ruby back.
“What happened here while we were gone?” Kaitlin asked.
“Well, we were attacked two times while you were gone. The first time there were only ten and we beat them without a scratch. The second time there were sixty or seventy; Kendall perished trying to save Marie and John.”
“That’s terrible! Are Marie and John ok?” I asked.
“No, they didn’t make it.” Marcus replied gloomily.
“What about Kennady? Did you find him?” Jasmine asked.
“Yeah, we found him dead in a closet, Howard disappeared the next day. We think it was him, seems like we were right.”

It wasn’t until around midnight that we finally headed to our dorms, I actually wasn’t that tired which was very surprising.
“Want to come with me to the roof?” Roman whispered, walking up and scaring the crap out of me.
“Yes.” I replied and we ran for the training room, when we reached it we climbed the stairs and burst onto the roof. We were greeted by millions of stars, shining bright. They were so beautiful. We sat down looking up at the stars, one last peaceful night before tomorrow’s madness. There were deaths to take care of; Kendall, Kennedy and Marie and John; two of the younger Powers,. There was Howard and what we were going to do with him, and we needed new teachers. There was just so much to do.
“The stars are beautiful tonight.” I said, looking up.
“Beautiful, but not as beautiful as you.” Roman said, looking over at me, I blushed. He leaned over and kissed me; a soft, beautiful kiss, the kind that lasts forever, even when it was finished.

“Ella! Archer! Hurry up or you're going to be late!” I hollered down the hallway. “You too Roman!” Today was Ella’s first day of training. She had turned six yesterday, the typical age to start training. Archer’s ten so he’s already training.
“Coming!” Ella shouted back, racing down the hall.
“Where’s your brother?”
“He was playing with Lily and Helene.” Just then Roman came in carrying Lily and Helene. Lily and Helene are twins; they’re only two and a half.
“Archer just ran to the bathroom, he should be back soon.” No sooner had Roman said that when Archer walked down the hallway.
“Ready?” I asked. We all headed out of the house and into the crisp autumn air.
“I’ll drive.” Roman offered. He then hopped in behind the wheel. Eight years ago Marcus figured out a way to “trap” our powers, meaning we could lock them away when we weren’t training or using them for self defense. Now we can live like normal humans without wrecking unintentional havoc. Plus, it’s really easy to “lock” and “unlock” our powers.
The training center is in the middle of the country and the drive is half an hour away. The kids don't go to Coldlake because we live in Sydney, Australia and ten is too young to go across the world to Coldlake.
“Is Jane starting training too?” Ella asked. Jane was Jasmine and Aiden’s daughter.
“Ok kids were here!” Roman announced, parking the car. Archer jumped out and ran into the center, but Ella was hesitant.
“It’ll be ok, you and Jane will have fun training together.” I said, giving her a big smile. We then headed into the training center to meet Jasmine, Jane and Aiden.

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