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Rock of Nefertiti- First Couple of Chapters
All my life plans were ruined by a letter from a strange guy and a gold coin. I woke up one morning and they were just there. When I walked over, the coin flew at me and dropped into my pocket. If that wasn’t weird enough, the letter opened itself and spoke the words on it in a boy’s voice.
“Hey Andy,” it said, “Sorry I can’t explain much here, but you are part god! Congratulations! Use the coin to buy bus fare, and meet me at your friend Leena’s house! Rida will be there too. See you soon, and I’ll try to explain a few things- Anubis”
A bunch of questions rushed through my head. Part god? Who was this Anubis person? How was I supposed to travel six hours by myself in less than ten hours? How did he get this letter into my room without being in my room? Why is the letter talking?! What the heck is going on?! Not to mention I was grounded and I had been since last year. When most parents say they are going to ground you for life they don’t really mean it, however my parents had seriously grounded me for life.
I didn’t understand what was going on, but I knew had to figure out a way to get there. Strangely, the letter made a little bit of sense. It just felt right, like being part god was a truth I had known all my life without realizing it, and now I had to go fulfill that. Sneaking out was of course the first step, but after that I had no idea what to do. I laid on my bed and tried to focus, but so much was going through my head that I couldn’t.
I thought back on my day to gather my thoughts. I had gotten up, had breakfast, gotten dressed and done my hair. Nothing fancy, just jeans a tee-shirt, sneakers. I then put my hair into a ponytail. Right after that I had plenty of time to run down to the bus stop for school, being grounded I didn’t get to hang out with other people at school. However, lonely I was, I knew I could always count on the “preppy girls” to cheer me up with their stupidity and vanity. I mean they screamed in the middle of class when a curl falls out of place.
And for some reason they always glared at me when I passed them even if I hadn’t done anything. As I walked past them I heard one of them say, “There goes the criminal. She should watch her back, it’s only a matter of time before the police learn the truth.”
I wasn’t a criminal, but nothing I ever said swayed them. They made up stories about my life before I came to school with them. After half a year of snide comments like these I had learned to block them out and let my anger boil below the surface instead of letting it erupt onto those around me. I stood to the side by myself, getting scathing glances from the girls and other glances from guys, that I tried to pretend I wasn’t getting. When the bus arrived I plopped down in the first bench, a lot of people looked at me and a few came to sit near me but in the end I stayed alone. It was a typical day of school; a few teachers made faces at me and the shrieks of the preppy girls filled the room.
When I came home I had a snack and finished my homework. I didn’t have as hard of time as Leena, because I wasn’t dyslexic, but I did have ADHD. So focusing for a long time is hard. My mom, or adoptive mom, arrived home and told me to clean my room. Once I was done “cleaning” I went out and had some pizza. By some I mean the whole pizza. My mom looked at me disapprovingly, and her blonde hair and angry blue eyes made us look absolutely unrelated. I had brown hair and dark brown eyes. Of course, we could have the same hair color, but I couldn’t tell because my mom was one of those people who dyed her hair every week.
“You’re not going to be skinny forever,” She said, patting her stomach. “You should slow down.”
“OK,” I replied and chewed my pizza so slowly I felt my jaw pop. She glared at me which told her I wasn’t doing what she wanted.
Surprisingly, looking back at my day didn’t help much. Nothing struck an idea until I thought back to the school bus. A taxi or Greyhound would work for getting me to Pueblo, but the money would be hard. I had a little in my bank account but I doubted any banks would be open at nine o’clock at night. I jumped out of bed and went to my desk, on it rested my laptop. I flipped the top and typed in my password, “Incorrect” It was fairly easy to remember but in case I forgot all I had to do was type some gibberish and my computer would remind me.
I scanned Google for Greyhound routes and schedules. I found the one I was looking for, Cortez, Colorado to Pueblo, Colorado. It left in thirty minutes from the Walmart parking lot. I needed some money and fast. I examined the gold coin further and found that it was a drachma, the currency of ancient Athens, and I silently thanked my teachers for insisting we learn about ancient civilizations last semester. Still it was weird I remembered the name. I dropped it on the bed and grabbed my backpack from school. After dumping out all my books, I put a couple pair of clothes in it and one pair of pajamas. I looked around the room, but nothing really seemed essential except my laptop. I stuffed that in the bag as well. Sitting down at the desk I wrote a quick note describing how I was going to Leena’s and how I would call when I got there.
I rubbed the drachma in my hand as I often did with small objects, when I felt it begin to heat up. I didn’t really care until the temperature in the room began to get abnormal. The room got so cold I could see my breath, but that didn’t cool the coin down- in fact, it heated it up more. My palm burned and I flung the coin across the room. As soon as the coin left my hand a swirling black vortex opened in front of me. I could hear voices on the other side, and I recognized one of them.
“Andy?” Leena called through, her voice muffled.
“Yes?” I called, probably not loud enough.
“What?” Leena screamed. “I can’t hear you! Come through!”
I hesitated but the vortex grew weaker and Leena’s cries more desperate. I did something crazy and jumped through. For a moment I felt like I had jumped into a cold shower, then it was sandstorm and a second before the vortex faded completely I was back home with my little sister.
I was so shocked that it took me a minute to realize that I wasn’t in the air anymore. I was standing in the middle of a museum, Leena was standing next to me and our friend Rida was on her other side. Beside Leena stood a tall boy with the head of a... Jackal? Yes it was a Jackal. I jumped in front of Leena and kicked him in the knee. The creepy thing buckled and fell to the ground holding it’s knee. I tried to drag her away while it was down but she wrestled from my grip and ran to his side. When he stood his dog face winced and Leena glared at me.
“How could you do that to him?” she hissed at me.
All I could do was stare at her in disbelief Leena was known to like weird animals, but then again she was pretty squeamish as well.
“It’s a man-dog,” I told her. She looked at me perplexed. How could she not see it! The dog- man thing stepped towards me but when I raised my fist to punch it the beast stopped in its tracks.
“She can see farther into duat then you,” grumbled the creature. “She can see my real form. I just need to touch you OK? Not going to hurt.”
I glanced at Leena she nodded, I closed my eyes but felt the hand brush against my face. When I opened my eyes I thought I was standing in front of a mirror, then I noticed that figure in front of me was a guy. He had brown hair that swept across his forehead and dark brown eyes, he was dressed casually but I could tell from the way he was standing it was the same jackal headed creature that I had kicked in the knee. Around him swirled things I hadn’t noticed before. White figures dressed in clothes from different time periods. My blood ran cold, for a long time I had been seeing things like these. The first time had been before the accident that had blown up my first home.
“Hi,” He didn’t look me in the eye but instead focused on his knees. I would too if I had just been kicked.
“Andy,” Leena hugged (translation: suffocated) me. When she finished I looked at her. She hadn’t changed much in the last year; she was a little taller ( still shorter than me though), her hair was styled differently in a straight, layered, spiky look with red and blue highlights. Other than that she looked like the same Leena I had known, sure she was wearing a dress with skinny jeans but she had been wearing her pajamas last time I saw her so in a way this was an upgrade.
Anubis was staring at me. He looked like he wanted to say something.
“I’m Anubis,” he looked hard at me, I guess he wanted to be sure I wasn’t going to spontaneously kick him again. “I’m your brother.”
I laughed, “My only sibling was... Maggie.”
I had to choke out the name, too many memories and emotions resurfaced as remembered my little sister.
“Yes well I will explain the rest at the camp,” Anubis looked over her shoulder at the red headed girl, who was making her way over to us.
We left the Egyptian part of the museum and made our way towards the exit.
“It’s after hours,” The girl with red hair glared at Anubis. She didn’t look like one of those people who broke the rules. “Why are we in here and how do we get out?”
“Yes, um..” Anubis glanced at the girl. “We had to break a few small rules to get in here and summon you two. Rida please don’t be mad, we had too!”
“Hmph,” the girl, who I assumed was Rida, huffed.
We walked to the front door and outside more white figures floated around. I didn’t get it, I could usually pretend they weren’t there or just trick myself into believing it was my imagination. But it wasn’t working, I glanced Anubis. He was staring ahead not looking at me deliberately.
“They should be here in a second,” He told us. I had no idea who he was talking about so I just nodded and tried not to look at white wispy figures floating around me. It is a lot harder than it sounds, the figures seemed to want me to notice them. They would stand behind my friends and make faces, or pull my hair one even stood right in front of me so I didn’t have a choice but to look into his white features.
I wanted to scream, in fact if the van hadn’t pulled around front I might have. As soon as it stopped Anubis and Leena walked out of the museum and got in the open back. Rida and I looked at each other awkwardly. I looked at the van, it had blacked out windows and a mud covered license plate. I thought back on how my mom had always told me to never ever go in a van that looked like that, no matter what. I went against my gut feeling, which was telling me to run and pull the fire alarm so the police could come and take me home, stepped outside and got in the van.
Okay, quick warning. What I saw and the following events were pretty creepy, scary, ect. So if you don’t like monsters, zombies, ghosts or things like that, I’d suggest you put this back and forget about it. But if you like that kind of stuff keep reading, but remember this stuff really happened to me and my friends. I did not just make this stuff up for fun. You never know the next time you see a couple of kids who look like they have just been run over by train then thrown through a sea of glass, they could be some kids like me. When you do, and this is just a suggestion mind you, tip them you know twenty dollars or so. But like I said just a suggestion. Well I think that is all I needed to say.
What I saw was pretty creepy (but remember I warned you), in the drivers seat and in the back around Leena and Anubis were blood covered zombies. They fell over everything and everyone, I was surprised that the driver was actually able to drive. Rida entered behind me and when I turned to look at her she looked about ready to puke all over me. I grabbed a passing zombie and used it as a shield covering me just in time. Brown chunky liquid made the zombie look even worse.
“Aw,” Anubis complained. “That was my best cook!”
“It’s not like he’s hurt or anything,” I retorted wiping the small amount of puke off of my hand and onto the zombie shield. “He’s already dead.”
“Yes but he cooks!” Anubis sat down in shotgun as he spoke. “And when he is covered in your friends puke it’s kinda gross to eat it. Imagine if that fell in the soup, sick!”
He talked like a normal teenager, no way was he a god. I mean even if he was it was impossible that we could be related. Maybe Leena was just pulling a prank, she had always liked doing that. But even if she was this was a little far, even for her family. I bet Zoe is one of the zombies. I thought, Zoe was Leena’s older sister by the way. Maybe that one with the weird limp is Zoe’s boyfriend. Hmm.. I’ll punch him and see what happens.
However when I punched the incredibly gory zombie, it didn’t end up the way I had thought. Instead of the zombie falling down and cradling it’s face where I had hit it or even it’s head falling off it’s shoulders and rolling to across the floor, it fell to the floor, got back and pulled a knife out of it’s pocket. I realize now that I kinda asked for something to happen, but a dead thing stabbing me was not the outcome I had thought of. The car started to go forward, a little too fast if you ask me, Anubis turned around and looked at me. He saw me and the maniac zombie, his face was contorted in a mixture of worry and slight amusement. I know this will probably sound a little bratty but I didn’t care at the time and it’s how I felt so, I was suddenly angry. I mean he could just stop the zombie momentarily then make up his mind about how he felt about it. I let my anger flow throughout me, which wasn’t hard to do because when I get angry I don’t really use my brain I just let it go onto autopilot. I focused on him and all the white figures dancing around him, all I wanted was for him to stop it right then and there but that obviously wasn’t going to happen.
I thought hard willing something, anything to step in front of the zombie and take the knife from it’s hand. A wispy figure broke ranks from around Anubis, it shot toward me like a cannonball. I flinched and closed my eyes. When I finally opened them a pail boy, about four years old, was standing in front of me knife in hand as if waiting for instructions. Looking past the boy I saw the zombie standing with it’s arms dislocated from the rest of it’s body and lying limp on the floor. It looked like it was trying to strangle me but wasn’t sure how. I glanced around the van, which was now going at least 35 over the speed limit, everyone but Anubis looked at me in horror he stared at me like he was proud of me. Which was kind of weird since all I had done was flinch, or at least that’s all I thought I had done.
“Am I dismissed?” Asked the pale boy, I guess he noticed I wasn’t used to giving orders to pale figures. I flinched but nodded.
He shot off and rejoined the other figures, now whispering furiously, around Anubis. On his way the kid jumped through the zombie with no arms. That was a bad idea. It froze instantly and fell forward onto me. All it’s weight brought me to the ground.
Let me just warn any of you who are thinking about dropping a zombie on one of your friends, don’t. It is incredibly painful and they might not ever talk to you again. Yes it really is that painful and stinky.
I pushed him off with some effort and just laid on the ground. I felt a tingling in my fingers, kinda like they were falling asleep. I felt immensely tired but completely energized at the same time. After a couple of minutes I decided to stand up, when I did I saw Anubis beaming at me.
“You could have stopped that,” I snapped at him as I sat down by Leena. I probably wouldn’t have been so rude if Leena hadn’t scouted away from me as soon as I had sat down.
“Yes,” Anubis said moving to come over by us. “And I was about to. But you took care of that problem for me.”
“Yes,” I replied moving over for him to sit down. “Maybe next time have quicker reflexes. One needs to look out for their little sister, you’ve only get one.”
At first my voice was dripping with sarcasm but the last sentence slipped out without my knowledge and my sarcasm reflexes automatically shut off. They always did when I talked about Maggie.
“Right,” Anubis broke the uneasy silence. “Camp is just a few hours. Once we are there you will be tested and-”
“Tested?” Rida sat bolt upright. I had figured she was asleep but apparently not.
“Yes, you get your blood tested. They tell me it doesn’t hurt, but right now we should rest.” Anubis laid his head on the side of the van. I felt more comfortable with the white figures closer, I wasn’t so afraid of the zombies killing me while I slept.
The ride was bumpy fast and incredibly uncomfortable. By the time the car stopped I didn’t care where we were, just that it had stopped and that I could get out. I jumped out and patted the grass. It was dried and prickly but much better than the hard metal I had been sitting on for the last 4 hours
But when I raised my head to check out the camp, I saw three old women. True not very scary except the fact that only one of them had an eye and a tooth, the others had open pits where their eyes should have been and toothless gums where their teeth should be. Not to mention the swords that they were holding.
“Come on, Enyo,” Anubis said walking over to the old woman in the middle and flashing her a winning smile. “You know I wouldn’t bring harm to Camp Hero. Just let us through, just this once.”
“No,” The old lady on the left yelled in a gnarled voice. “My sister will not be overcome by your looks again. Egyptian.”
She spat the word like it was an insult. My head began to spin, I thought I remembered the name Enyo. Yes I did. She was the goddess of war and the female companion of Ares. Her name meant the shocking. She had two sisters, Pamper or something and Deino. Somehow Enyo had gone from the goddess of war to the monster guardian but I couldn’t remember the details.
“Only gods get through the barrier without a fight,” Spat the one with the tooth and eye. “Get in there. These kids need to prove themselves.”
She pushed Anubis behind her and her sisters. When he tried to get back to us he was thrown backwards as if he had run into a trampoline. We were on our own.
“Pemphredo,” Enyo, who I assumed was the youngest, complained. “Can we just let Anubis and his friends through? I know Anubis won’t do it again.”
“Foolish sister!” Deino screamed. “Will you ever learn? Men lie! Didn’t you learn your lesson after Hercules? What about Ares? Did they love you? No they just used you to get to the other gods and Medusa.”
“He’s different!” Enyo yelled almost in tears. It was weird seeing an old lady cry because she wanted a young boy to be her boyfriend but her sister wouldn’t let her.
“Sisters!” Pemphredo called, yes that is her name not Pamper though she looked like she could use some. “We need to dispose of these children. We can argue about Enyo’s love life after.”
“Right,” Deino replied turning on us. “You may use any weapons. The only thing you must do is kill us, which is highly unlikely.”
As one they drew their swords. Anubis kept running at the invisible trampoline with no more success than before.
“Um... Weapons?” Leena asked her voice shaking slightly.
“Get in the car,” I said. I had no idea what we could possibly find in there but it would buy us a little of time. We ran to it and threw open the doors. I pushed Leena inside and Rida followed. Once they were in I jumped in and slammed the door in Enyo’s face. Just before I did her sword swiped the back of my leg. I regretted wearing shorts.
“Okay,” I breathed leaning against the side. Enyo and Pemphredo were banging on the windows with the blunt of their swords, cracking them just slightly. “Anyone see anything that could be used for a weapon?”
“There’s a glass soda bottle in the front,” Rida told us jumping around the van. “I don’t really see anything else.”
“That knife,” Leena said her eyes fluttering open. “The one the zombie used.”
Thankfully all the zombie had disappeared. But the knife was still on the ground where the pale kid had dropped it. I picked it up and turned towards the two of them.
“Does anyone have any experience with knives?” I asked.
“I used to do some cooking,” Rida offered.
“Perfect,” I replied giving her the knife. “You’ll use this.”
Rida nodded, accepted the knife and then turned to Leena.
“Didn’t you say your father was Horus?” Rida asked. Leena nodded. “He is like the Egyptian war god right?”
“Yeah,” Leena looked at Rida like she was crazy.
“Can you use the like war gift?” Rida pushed. “Try. I don’t know what Andy did but try to do that.”
“Real helpful,” I mumbled under my breath. Honestly I didn’t know what I had done either. I had just focused on the white figures and poof it had appeared.
Leena screwed up her eyes in concentration. She began to shake, then grow. I yelped and pulled Rida with me into the front of the car. When Leena stopped growing she filled the entire back of the van with her size.
“I think I figured it out,” She boomed. “Ready?”
“Andy doesn’t have anything,” Rida replied looking at Leena weirdly. I don’t blame her, our friend had turned into a giant hawk-headed warrior.
“I’ll think of something,” I concluded. Leena was paling and her figure shaking like it was weakening. “Go and I’ll stay here until I get something.”
“You sure?” Leena asked sweat forming on her brow.
“Yes go!” I yelled.
Leena leaned on the door and it burst open. Rida and Leena charged out of the car, as soon as they were out of sight I lost my self-control and began jumping around the car like a maniac trying to find something to use as a weapon. I looked at the steering wheel, could it work? Nah I don’t think so. I thought.
“Well, what do we have here?” Pemphredo cackled behind me, she had to eye and the tooth but she probably could have found me without them. I was making a lot of noise.
Oh yes, the steering wheel will definitely work, I told myself. I jumped to the front and began pulling with all my might on the wheel.
“Letting your friends die while you hide in here, are we?” Pemphredo jibed getting slowly closer. “Smart move, but you can’t evade death. Even children of Pluto must die at some point.”
“Hmm..” I grunted. I don’t know how I did it but somehow I got the steering wheel off of the car before I died.
“Sweetheart,” She really sounded like an old lady there. “You are going to die. And the prophecy won’t be fulfilled. Monsters will rule and there is nothing you can do about it.”
“No,” I replied turning to face her in the close quarters. “I won’t but maybe you will. Have fun in the dead place you and your dumb sisters are going.”
“We aren’t dumb!” She yelled running at me. She was very fast for her age, which I guess was like ten thousand years or so.
I stepped to the side and raised the steering wheel like a Frisbee. Let me just tell you, I don’t really like being told I am going to do something I don’t want to do. Dying was something I really didn’t want to do. Another thing is, I suck at Frisbee golf and anything having to do with throwing Frisbees. So I really had no idea what I was about to do, or how in the world I was going to survive. But I knew I had to.
I threw it towards her face. It slammed into her nose, knocking her to the ground. I ran past her, grabbing the steering wheel on my way and burst into the early morning sunlight. Leena, still looking like a giant, was locked in combat with Deino. Rida was jumping at Enyo and avoiding her sword by ducking and rolling on the grass. Anubis was gone. He must have gotten tired of running at the barrier.
“Foolish child!” Pemphredo shrieked from the van.
I ran to the spot I had seen Anubis get pushed from. I struggled forward, it was like running through Jello. I reached the spot that Pemphredo had been standing and was thrown backwards.
“It won’t work,” Enyo sang. Her and her sisters had pushed Rida and Leena over to me. We huddled together trying to figure out a way to fight them. “You have to kill us to get through. It’s our job.”
“Buy me some time,” Rida whispered in my ear. I tried to think of how to keep this going. Yes, that would work.
“Okay,” I dropped the steering wheel and sat on the grass. “Before you kill me I just wanted to say-”
Pause for effect, I thought.
“Anubis is HOT!” I blurted it without really thinking about it. I mean he was good looking but not hot. Leena gaped at me and Rida scooted farther to the left of me.
“Oh yes!” Enyo dropped her swords and sat on the grass across from me like we were two friends sharing secrets at a sleepover. “I mean the way he flips his hair, oh...”
“And his eyes,” Leena continued catching on. She deflated back to her normal size and knelt next to Enyo. “They just make you want to melt.”
“His smile,” I said batting my eyes like I had seen some of the girls at school do whenever they talked about the football players. “So white and.. Um, beautiful.”
“Oh yes,” Enyo continued. She didn’t seem to realize that I was forcing a fake smile. “I was gossiping with Echo on Tuesday, that’s when we always do it, and she kept saying his name! I especially told her he was mine.”
“Enyo,” Pemphredo interrupted. “You can gossip with them once we kill them.”
“It’s no fun then,” Enyo pouted crossing her arms. “Besides why do we always have to do what you say? I have my own brain. And why do you get the eye and tooth? I bet Anubis would like me better if I had them.”
“Mother said I was in charge,” Pemphredo replied, her face glowing red with her anger. “And the eye goes better with my outfit.”
“I bet she keeps them so Anubis will like her,” I put in, trying to buy Rida as much time as possible. Fighting between siblings was the best way to keep anyone busy. “That is what I would do.”
I was getting used to the whole lie-your-butt-off thing, when Deino screamed.
“The one with unnatural colored hair, she’s gone!” Deino must’ve been smarter than her sisters. “Search the area!”
“Oh no,” Leena whispered. “Where is she?”
“I don’t know,” I whispered back, “But I hope we got her enough time.”
A deafening roar filled my ears. Closing my eyes I swing the steering wheel towards it, figuring it was a monster.
“I will be back,” Enyo gargled. “And when I am, Anubis will be mine!”
There was still the roaring sound. I opened my eyes, and soon regretted it. Saltwater pouring my way, blinding my eyes because of the salt. Just before my eyes closed, I caught a glimpse of Rida in the middle of swirling water. It for some reason reminded me of cotton candy. I squeezed my burning eyes shut. Thirty seconds passed, my lungs started burning a little. Thirty more seconds, my lungs were screaming for air.
Rida! I mentally screamed at her.
The water pushed me away onto dry land. I coughed up water, and inhaled oxygen. I flung open my eyes, Rida was stumbling over to me. When she was beside me, Rida flopped onto her back.
“Rida?” I asked. Leena was running towards me. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” she said, “Fine. Just give me a couple minutes. The monsters are gone, but they will probably be back soon.”
With that, her eyes fluttered closed. I gulped and tried to pick up Rida. She wasn’t heavy but I am not a strong person, I pretty much have zero extra muscle, and I couldn’t get her more than ten inches off the ground.
“Leena,” I asked, not taking my eyes off Rida. “Can you grow big again and carry Rida to wherever Anubis disappeared to?”
“I-” Leena screwed up her eyes and for a moment she flickered, seeming to grow. But then she collapsed on the ground, looking a lot like Rida with her sweaty brow.
“Great,” I grumbled, thinking about how useless I had been in the fight. “You hardly do anything to save yourself and your friends, then you go and make them both pass out. Way to go! You get loser of the year award.”
Suddenly I felt the tingling in my fingers like I had when the pale boy had appeared. I also felt eyes on me. I swiveled around. Ten white misty figures were hovering above the ground, the first thing I noticed was that they were all men dressed for battle. They looked like pictures of ancient Greeks, with their swords and tunics.
“You called?” Asked a man with large muscles and a helmet with a blue plume.
“Uh, I did?” I asked stunned.
“Yes, Master,” a older man with grey stubble replied, bowing slightly.
“Okay well if I did summon you,” I said thinking out loud mostly. “ Stop calling me Master.”
“Yes, Mas- Madame,” the older man replied. “What are your orders?”
“Uh...” I probably sounded stupid. “Can you hold things?”
“Yes we can,” another man with a long black beard replied. “Would you like us to carry your friends?”
“Uh, yeah,” I concluded. “Yes that would be great, thanks.”
The ghostly white figures scooped up Rida and Leena.
“Where to, Madame?” A small man asked. He had a cut across his face, it looked fresh like it should be bleeding but it wasn’t.
“Find Anubis,” I replied feeling more sure of myself. In my head I was telling myself, You’re Madame now! Oh, yeah! I walked beside the ghostly figures as we passed through the space that just minutes before had felt like a brick wall. I was walking in a daze as we passed through the field and into a grouping of trees. It was dark and I tripped a lot, but every time I was close to smacking my face on the hard dirt a pale hand shot out of nowhere and lifted me back to my feet. As we stumbled into daylight we were confronted by a crowd of teenagers. They were all wearing shirts that resembled team jerseys but more tee shirt style.
“Master Anubis has been located,” The short man said halting. The heads all swiveled to stare at me. I saw Anubis in the crowd sweat beaded his forehead. He smiled at me and looked anxiously at Rida and Leena. “Is there anything else, Madame?”
“No,” I replied, feeling woozy. “I think we will be okay now.”
They disappeared on the spot, the people around me gasped. Leena and Rida fell to the ground. I lunged to try to grab them but my vision blurred, then blackened and before I knew what was happening I was on the ground with them.
I sat bolt upright and looked around me. I had been hoping it had been a dream, but all hopes had been dashed by me simply opening my eyes. First of all, I was in a pyramid. I knew this because there were mummies everywhere, it smelled like dirt and the top of the building ended in a point. Now if that hadn’t tipped me off that what I had experienced Anubis sitting on the end of my bed definitely did. He was just sitting there on the end of my bed engrossed in a book, The Little Engine That Could to be exact.
“Go,” He whispered.
I cleared my throat and waved my hand. He looked up guiltily.
“Good book?” I asked failing to hide a smile.
“Uh,” he dropped the book and stood. “Yeah. It was okay, I guess.”
“Are Rida and Leena okay?” I asked.
“Fine,” He replied. He stepped next to me and held out his hand. “They got up an hour ago. I take it you like your sleep?”
“Always,” I told him, taking his hand. I pushed the blankets away and was surprised at how dirty my clothes had gotten in less than a day. “Where are they?”
“Eating,” He led me towards the opening that served as a door. “The hospital is quite nice, don’t you think?”
“It smells like dirt, but I guess you’re used to that Mr. I Love The Dead.” I laughed as he made a sour face. “But yes, it is very nice.”
We emerged into sunlight and I blinked.
“Too much light, I am Count Dracula and can’t survive in the light!” I said putting my hands in front of my face protectively. It had the desired effect, Anubis laughed heartily.
“I’ve met him,” He told me as we advanced towards a Colosseum. “He really would kill you if he heard you say that. This is where we eat though.”
“In a Roman Colosseum?” I asked as we entered through an open gateway. “There won’t be like gladiators fighting right?”
“No,” Anubis smiled. “Here we are.”
It was an improved Colosseum, where the stands used to be there were now chairs and tables swarming with kids. In the middle where gladiators fought a gigantic fire was roaring.
“This is a Colosseum,” I whooped after I saw the mountains of food on the tables.
“Oh,” Anubis’s face turned a violent shade of scarlet. I glanced around. A shockingly beautiful girl came running towards us, her arms open, ready for a hug. She had dark hair and bright blue eyes, she was wearing a tee shirt styled like everybody else, but her’s was pink and had swirly black writing that was hard to read.
“Anubis!” She cried as she advanced towards us. She slowed and hugged Anubis, he hugged her back awkwardly. “Who is this?” She asked.
Her voice was sweet but her eyes were glaring at me.
“This is my-” Anubis stopped and looked at me for reassurance. I nodded. “This is my little sister.”
You would have thought Anubis had shouted it, every head in the entire Colosseum turned to look at us.
“Really?” The girl asked still clinging to Anubis, which was really annoying. “She’s a god?”
She sized me up. I felt dozens of eyes do the same. Did they really think I was a god? No, they couldn’t possibly- I mean I was just Andy Ludwin, a normal girl from Colorado. I glanced around nervously, I spotted Rida and Leena. They were waving at me, I raised my hand and waved back.
“No,” Anubis said quietly. I guess I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like eyes on me. “She’s just like you. It is just easier to not explain the connection, it would take all day.”
“I’ve got time,” The girl replied. She smiled sweetly and I wondered if she was doing a tournament for flirting, if so she was probably winning.
“Uh,” Anubis blinked once or twice as if he thought it was a dream. Really more of a nightmare in my opinion. “Well. I am the Egyptian god of funerals and her father is the Greek god of death. So they go hand in hand. If she were a god she would be the god of making dead people look pretty for open caskets.....”
“I’m glad I’m not a god then,” I told him. I mean, preparing dead people for open caskets! Not my thing.
“Oh, that’s a relief,” The girl said extremely loudly. “I don’t know what we would do if we had two teenage gods of preparing dead people hanging around.”
The eyes left me and Anubis. The pretty girl gave me a look that said, Could you go? Now! I shot her a look that I hoped said, I can do whatever I want. She wanted time with Anubis, it was easy to see, but I needed to talk to him quickly.
“Anubis would you and your,” I paused fake thinking. “Girlfriend like to come sit with me and my friends?”
“We aren’t girlfriend and boyfriend,” Anubis told sternly. But the girl clinging to him like he was a diamond. “Sure, that sounds good.”
The girl shot me a hateful glare, she must have been trying to get Anubis to be her boyfriend for a long time. I waded through the crowd of people. They ranged in ages of eight to nineteen. I got lots of uneasy glances and a few smiles, but almost everyone stared at me. I kept my eyes firmly fixed on Leena and Rida.
When I reached their table I sat down beside Rida with a sigh of relief.
“You guys okay?” I asked grabbing a bottle of Pepsi and popping it open. The next thing on my list was French Fries, the best breakfast ever!
“Yeah,” Rida said, grabbing a French Fry container herself. “We all had minor concussions and a few bruises and scrapes, but we are pretty good.”
“What did you do?” I asked, munching on some fries. “I mean, while you were gone during our little battle.”
“Oh,” she glanced at her fries. “I needed some time to get myself ready. For, uh, that wave. I had never done it on purpose before and I wasn’t sure I could. But it worked and the monsters drowned. Luckily you guys didn’t.”
“That. Is. Awesome!” I said. Rida smiled.
“It’s not that cool,” The girl sitting beside Anubis said. I had almost forgot she was there. “Jack can do it. He’s that blonde boy over there.”
The boy she meant was sitting just two tables over. He was extremely tan and had bleached blonde hair. He wore swim shorts and a tank top, which might of looked nice if he had some muscles. But he didn’t.
“He looks very, ah, tan,” I said, there really wasn’t a better word to describe him other than tan. I wanted to change the topic so I turned towards the girl, who was curled up next to Anubis. “Who are your parents?”
The girl looked at me like it was obvious. When I showed no recognition she told me.
“Venus and Apollo, I’ve been told I look like my mother. So I guess you are my half sister.” She sounded pleased but her face said that she already disliked me.
“Yes well, aren’t I blessed,” I retorted. “Leena are you okay?”
Leena had gone red in the face and looked like she was going to break the fork in her hand.
“Yes,” She growled. “Just fine.”
I snatched up a french fry and threw it at her, hitting her on the forehead. At first she looked startled, then angry and then when she realized I had thrown it playfully, she threw two at me but I dodged each of them, she wasn’t a very good shot. Rida joined in the fun and just because I thought it would be fun to see her reaction, I threw one at the girl who clung so tightly to Anubis. She shrieked when it hit her cheek and began wiping at the spot with her napkin. There wasn’t even ketchup on it! Rida threw one at me, I dodged and it hit the person behind me in the back. I turned to apologize and saw a boy about my age, maybe older with bright blue eyes and dirty blonde hair under a hat. In his lap was a football, his hand was around it like he was about to throw it.
“Sorry,” I said quickly. I felt really bad that we had hit him, not to mention the football in his hand that could come at my face at any moment.
“That’s fine,” he replied, his gaze dropped to the floor.
“Cody, come on,” Said a dark haired boy across the table. The boy we had hit, who was Cody of course, turned his back towards me and got up from the table. “We got a game to finish remember?”
I turned back around and took a sip of my Pepsi.
“Class will be starting soon,” Anubis said rising. “But you still need a tour and to get sorted.”
“Sorted?” I asked getting up, my friends did the same.
“Yes,” The girl replied, not letting Anubis go for a second. “You must get some blood drawn then we will put it under a light and your blood will show who your parents are by the colors it glows.”
“Ashley!” A girl with curly black hair called. The girl clutching Anubis turned and smiled. “We need to go touch up our makeup before class!”
“Yes!” Ashley, for who else could she be, agreed like it was the most exciting thing in the world. She turned her warm smile on Anubis. “Gotta go, I’ll miss you though.”
“Uh,” Anubis grunted. “You too.”
She walked off looking like a supermodel, when she passed the guys throughout the Colosseum stared.
“She was annoying,” I said when she was out of earshot. “Sorry Anubis, but you need to learn how to pick better dates.”
“She’s not my date!” Anubis growled. “She keeps hanging out around me, she won’t leave me alone!”
“Hmm,” Leena was forcing herself not to smile.
We walked through Camp Hero, it looked like an odd clash between old and new. The pyramids, with kids pouring in and out of them, had plasma screen T.V.s’ mounted on the dirt walls, the ancient looking pavilions had satellite dishes on the slanted roofs, and several miniature versions of the Pantheon dotted the area with speakers loud enough to shake their foundations.
We entered back into the pyramid that served as a hospital. Beside a bed sat a tall woman with wispy grey hair. She wore a white nurses outfit, when she saw us she stood and walked towards us. She gave us a tight smile.
“More?” She asked. When Anubis nodded she sighed. “How many more can this camp hold?”
She turned and went to the Nurse’s station muttering to herself loudly about the reproduction of gods and how they were way too many children for her to deal with already. She brought back three needles attached to vials. I must admit as a child I had been terrified of needles and I still tend to tense up when I see them.
“Who’s first?” She asked, pointing to a large chair. I raised my hand, it is best to get things over with quickly.
I sat down and she tied a ribbon tightly around the upper half of my arm. Then she poked a vein with the needle, I sucked in a deep breath as the blood started filling the container. After what seemed like hours, she pulled out the needle and went to a tall lamp. She turned it on as I put my thumb on the prick because she hadn’t given me anything to put on it. A black light shone onto my blood, it began to glow pink then black.
“Venus and Hades for you,” She told me, throwing my precious blood away. “Next.”
Leena took my place in the chair.
“How can you tell?” She asked as the nurse stole her blood.
“It glows a color,” The nurse explained. “And I could tell it was a Roman god because Roman appears first then Greek and if it is Egyptian then it will appear in burst like morse code. Finished, go ahead and switch out with the other girl.”
Leena and Rida swapped places, Leena’s thumb pressed hard on her arm.
“Yes,” The Nurse sighed. “Another for Venus. The goddess of love needs to chill! And Horus. We haven’t had an Egyptian for a while.”
Rida had her’s drawn and tested.
“Venus, again, and oh! Poseidon, good mixture there. You may go and attend your classes.”
“Thanks,” I called as we walked out of the pyramid. I turned to Anubis. “What class is first?”
“Math and Battle tactics,” He replied.
“How do those go together?” I asked entirely confused.
“I don’t really know,” Anubis replied. “Here we are. That’s your teacher, but he’s also camp director so keep that in mind. Hercules, three new students for you.”
We walked towards an open field where kids were standing in groups with swords, bows and quivers, staffs and baseball bats. On our way we stopped at a desk with an empty chair behind it, a sheet with names on it was sitting on the table. A man with a deep tan and light reddish brown hair came over to us. He waved Anubis away and Anubis followed his order with a smile at us.
“Hello girls,” Hercules said when he was near enough. “Names? Parents? Godly I mean.”
“My name is Rida Hale,” Rida told him accepting his hand to shake. “And my parents are, uh, Poseidon and Venus.”
“Good combination,” He commented.
“I’m Andy Ludwin,” Introducing myself, I too shook his hand. It was rough and calloused. “My parents are Venus and Hades.”
“Really, huh,” He grunted.
“Leena Walk and my parents are,” Leena shook his hand also. “Horus and Venus.”
“Venus sure has been in a good mood these last few decades,” he told us. “Okay well now that we all know each other, lets get something out of the way. I was once told that a hero is only as good as his weapon, that is a lie. A hero is only as good as he thinks he is. You can’t be good at something if you don’t think you could be. Right then, go join the team of the cabin you’re in.”
“How do we know?” I asked. I mean to me the team I wanted to be on was Horus, but I wasn’t sure if that was a choice. “Do we get to choose or something?”
“No,” Hercules turned his back to us. “Whichever side is more dominant. Or if you are one of the Big three whichever you prefer. We sure wouldn’t want your parents angry.”
He walked off towards the field and the kids in their groups. Leena, Rida and I followed, I was kinda worried. The only weapon I had ever used was a steering wheel and that hadn’t worked too well.
“Who are you going with?” Leena asked me.
“Hades,” I told her. I had got a glance at the Venus/Aphrodite team and it didn’t look too good. They all, boys included, had perfectly formed faces, with zero acne spots and amazing hair. They didn’t look ready to fight more than I looked ready to announce that I Anubis’s little sister. Which was hardly ready at all. “They don’t really look like my group. And besides Ashley is there, we aren’t really off to a great start. You?”
“It’s not really much of a choice.” Leena replied as we entered the throng of kids. “Horus. Rida?”
“Poseidon, I agree with Andy,” She told us as we began to separate. “I wouldn’t really fit in.”
I waved at my friends as they disappeared into their teams. I turned and milled through the crowd until I found a group of guys standing by a sign. It read Hades and Pluto Cabin team.
“Hi,” I said when they noticed me standing near them.
“Wrong cabin doll,” A boy with gold chains and diamond rings on his hands told me. “Venus is over there.”
“No,” I replied, moving over to where they kept the weapons. For some reason when I wanted to go somewhere they just got out of my way. “I am a daughter of Hades.”
“That’s right,” A small boy, maybe eight, said. “She’s the girl who came with the ghosts. I am Sam.”
He came up to me and held out his hand. I shook it, turning my head so they couldn’t see how red it had gotten. I mean, being recognized as the girl with the ghosts is not that awesome. I didn’t really want to have ghosts around me anyways, much less control them. I grabbed a sword and turned around. Everyone was staring at me. A few were whispering something about a daughter of death and Rome.
“My name is Andy, if you were wondering.” I told them, putting my sword in it’s scabbard.
“Tony,” The boy who had confronted me replied staring at me. I smiled and looked at his shirt.
“How many of us are there here?” I asked, there were only five of us standing there but I hoped there would be more.
“This is it,” Tony replied. “Me, Sam, Caleb, Jordan and you. You’re the only girl that has been in this cabin for three years. The last one..... Didn’t stay here long.”
“Okay then,” I tried to think positively but our chances didn’t look too good. “Strategies?”
“I know, I know!” Sam jumped up and down, his arm waving in the air.
“Yes, Sam?” I asked, feeling like I was a teacher.
“We try to win!” Sam’s smile faded. “And we lose.”
“Well, that’s not exactly true.” Caleb said. He had black hair and dark brown eyes, a pale face and was wearing black clothes. “No never mind, it’s true.”
“Okay let’s try a new one,” I knelt in the ground and began to draw a diagram. Before long the bell rang for us to start and I felt confident that it could work.