My Frozen Roses [A Novel]
Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:04 PM
In a way, it didn't surprise me that I was going to die. After all, hadn't Saxon and Mackenzie explained there was only one way this could possibly end? Hadn't this been the way it always ended for the Heroes? And I knew that I should be resigned. I had no way to stop what was coming. Yet I scrambled for my sword, my vision blurred with tears. Even if it was inevitable, I didn't want to die now. Not yet. I tried to bring KV's shrouded face into focus.
He looked like a perfect villain, something right out of a Marvel comic book. His dark brown, almost blackish eyes matched his hair color and shirt, giving him a monochromatic effect. KV seemed calm, appraising me curiously. "Wouldn't it be smarter to stop now? Jayden's gone, you know, there's no way for you to ever get him back, Hope. Could you really win this fight anyway?" His voice was soothing, and the pain in my shoulder from where his sword had managed to swipe was growing. The edges of my vision blackened.
I wanted to answer him. His ugly face deserved some sort of hateful retort. But I just couldn't remember how to move my lips. I tightened my grip on my sword. I was going to lose, that much I'd gathered. But it didn't mean I couldn't try. It didn't mean he had any right to even say Jayden's name. I wiped the tears and blood off my face and staggered towards KV. One way or another, this fight wasn't going to last long.
Posted 07 January 2012 - 02:26 PM
Posted 07 January 2012 - 07:46 PM
My lungs were on fire, my head was pounding, and I felt like I couldn't take another step. Which of course was not much of an option. Behind me were monsters called Goyliches. The angry green masses somewhat resembling the Hulk were terrifying in appearance and quite strong, but couldn't match my speed. They were pretty close, though. I was an idiot for leaving the safehouse. I knew that. And I also knew I'd be chewed out for it later. Mackenzie would go nuts, spouting off her whole "why do you keep almost killing yourself?" speech. Suddenly I realized I'd prefer to take on the monsters than see her right then.
I spun, and though I was still gasping for breath, having a bit of a break felt nice. What came next was instinct to me. After a lifetime of fighting, it becomes practically second nature. My ever-present sword, nicknamed Sidekick for obvious reasons, was out of the sheath at my waist in in my hands in mere seconds. It took no more than a few minutes to dispose of the Goyliches. It wasn't the simplest thing I'd ever done, though, as the angry red marks down the side of my face suggested. I laid my hand against my cheek, and it came away slightly bloody. My face burned from the contact. Well, no way of hiding that from Mackenzie.
After my workout, I felt like taking my time on the way back to our safehouse. Once you got past KV's monsters and agents spying on and trying to kill me, it was pretty nice out here. The sunlight streamed through the tree canopy in a way that seemed unreal. It was beautiful, and I loved the damp and earthy smell of the woods. That was why I'd bothered leaving the safehouse in the first place. On top of that, I didn't exactly enjoy being stuffed in a small earthen room with Saxon and Mackenzie. While I loved the two to death, they were like my surrogate older siblings, meaning they could get quite annoying sometimes. I shook my head, smiling slightly. Things felt so normal like this, though in reality I knew my idea of normal was a lot different from anybody else's.
Posted 10 January 2012 - 08:14 PM
I could hear the whispers before even got close to the safehouse. "Hope. Hope, look this way." "No, towards me, Hope, look over here." "Hope, my beautiful girl, turn this way." It was KV's favorite trick to play on me. Voices coming from anywhere and everywhere, whispering to me. They were harmless as far as I knew, but it was scary and confusing, especially since I was apparently the only one who could hear them. The voices sounded like my friends'. Saxon's and Mackenzie's appeared often, but not nearly as many times as Jayden's. I sighed softly at that thought. I only had to wait three more days. I had made dashes in the wall of the safehouse counting down the days, and there was no way I'd lose count of how long until Jayden came back. I was almost getting a little obsessive waiting, because waiting was one skill I would freely admit was not in my arsenal.
"Hope!" Mackenzie's voice echoed. I breathed out loudly, knowing what was coming.
"I'm over here, Mack!" I answered, half hoping she wouldn't bother lecturing me if she knew I was nearby.
"Get the hell back here you idiot!" She screamed, and I smiled. She was such a Mom sometimes, like she thought I might need one. It seemed impossible to ingrain in her brain that I didn't need her taking on the role. Admittedly though, sometimes it was nice to have a motherly figure around when things got rough. And things sure could get rough around here. Actually, they got rough wherever I set foot.
I eventually made it to the safehouse, following the direction of Mackenzie's voice. Which was quite lucky, since being the genius I was, I'd forgotten which direction the safehouse was. And Saxon and Mackenzie had made it clear I had no sense of direction. It was their favorite joke.
I didn't see Mackenzie, though. I didn't see the makeshift half-underground safehouse, either, when I finally reached the voice. It came from a tree, still rambling on at me. I raised my eyebrows in utter confusion. KV usually couldn't make the voices so loud. "What..." I murmured, now knowing I was more lost than before. I didn't even know where I was.
"How have things been, Hope? Long time no see, eh?" I had been so trained to run when I heard that voice. It was the only thought in my head. Get away.
KV seemed a little miffed when I began to sprint in the opposite direction. I heard a faint whizzing sound, like a lightbulb crackling with electricity, and he reappeared in front of me. I crashed into him, unable to pause in my full-on sprint. He grabbed my arms, his hands burning like coals. I pulled back trying to reach for Sidekick.
"I just need to talk to you for a little while. Don't be afraid, Hope, I'm not out to kill you this time."
"This time," I repeated.
He ripped Sidekick from my sheath and threw it into the woods. It lodged itself deeply into a tree, and I glanced back up at KV.
Sticky situation. But those were my specialty.
Posted 11 January 2012 - 12:20 AM
Posted 17 January 2012 - 07:31 PM
That odd electric crackling sound was deafening now that I was beside KV when he transported. I knew where I was immediately. It was to be expected, after all, for KV to take me home. Or as much of a home as I was ever going to get. But of course this was his home now, not mine. Not since Cassidy had been overthrown.
The palace didn't look familiar at all. I raised my eyebrows in confusion. I hadn't been away for more than six months, though it was difficult to keep track of time. "What did you do to this place!?" The once beautiful golden walls decorated with flowers from my memory were long gone. They were replaced by ugly, earthy brown bricks, half covered in dirt. Some of the flowers were still in place, but had withered without care. The fairytale-like chandeliers and balcony looked decades older, and had lost their attractiveness.
"I didn't do much." KV shrugged and released my arms. "Just let things be. Of course I've had quite a few fights in here, and it's been banged up while the rebels were overthrowing Cassidy. They had fun destroying it, but I cleaned up a little just for you."
"Wow, I feel so special. You didn't have to do all of this for me!" I cheered sarcastically.
"Well I brought you here for a purpose this time." He motioned widely with his arms. "What do you see that's missing, Hope? I don't really have much use in killing you or your Guardians anymore. Not that they did a good job anyway..."
That struck a cord. "Hey, Saxon and Mackenzie did their best! They were stuck with you trying to get in the way!"
KV ignored me and continued. "So it's not you so much anymore. There's nothing you can do to stop me from controlling the Realm now that Cassidy's gone and the rebel forces are so vast. But what else is there?"
I actually considered that for a moment. What didn't he have, if he wasn't interested in hurting us? KV seemed to realize I didn't know.
"Sure, I could train the rebels into a well-functioning army. I could make it the Roman military of modern day society. But why leave myself vulnerable so long? On top of that, wouldn't I need superiors to teach them? Ones that understand how the army works?"
My mind was running in circles. "But you said you didn't want me--"
"I don't anymore," KV agreed, grinning as he realized I wasn't catching on. "But let's review. I never mentioned someone else."
"Jayden." We whispered at the same time. I punched KV as hard as I could manage. I could feel my face flushing in anger.
"Don't mess with us anymore, KV! Find someone else! Don't you think you've taken enough away from us?" I shouted, and I could hear footsteps approaching, and quickly.
KV had doubled over, and was clutching his stomach. He cleared the pain off of his face and replaced it with an expression of blankness as he got to his feet. "Where is he right now?" It was more of a statement than a question.
I shook my head furiously. "Even if I knew I wouldn't tell you! You can read my thoughts and scan through every memory I have, but you won't find it."
"Actually I can't read your mind now. It's not a constant thing. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Whether you know or not, I'm going to find out where he is. And I think you'll be eager to help."
This time I followed his train of thought quicker. We both knew Jayden was coming back to the safehouse to meet back up with us. Which meant if KV waited with us...
"Take me back." I ordered. "Take me back to my safehouse immediately."
KV smiled gently. "But if Cassidy isn't in power, then what right do you have to make decisions? As far as the citizens here are concerned, you're an enemy of the state. A threat to the empire. You don't have any supporters in the Realm. Right now, you're not going anywhere until we find Jayden."
Posted 26 January 2012 - 09:28 PM
"I don't know where he is!" I shouted in frustration. I had been restrained, sitting across from one of KV's rebels, for what felt like hours. "You can't ask me things I don't know the answer to!"
"I guess you just want to stay here a bit longer." The rebel had dark brown hair that flopped into his eyes slightly. He wore the same as the rest of the rebels did; a dirty t-shirt, jeans, sheath, and sneakers. He pulled his sword out of his sheath and laid it on the table before me. Since my hands were tied, I couldn't reach it. "You know, KV never set any boundaries. All he wants is a simple answer. A few words. Then you can live happily ever after with your Guardians, can't you? Or we could do this the hard way. I really don't want to hurt you, Hope, but if it's what's necessary for KV's success..."
I sighed loudly, completely put out with this guy. "I'm really tired of this whole charade. I think we've both come to realize I don't know where Jayden is. So what's the point in asking me what I can't tell you what you want to hear?"
He shrugged nonchalantly, and tapped the table with his pointer finger, keeping a beat. Tap..tap..tap..tap. "I don't know what to tell you. KV says you know exactly where he is."
I flashed him a smile. "Even if I did know, why would I tell you? Shouldn't common sense let you know that I wouldn't ever give up anything that could hurt him? Use your brain a little, sweetheart." I let the sarcasm saturate my words, and he narrowed his eyes angrily. "Never caught your name, slanty eyes."
"I know yours, Hope. Isn't that all that really matters?"
"You'd think, but no." I stood up. "Well, this press conference is over."
"Hey! Sit down!" He shouted, and I kicked him. He stumbled back into the wall, faded paint flecks dropping onto his head and shoulders from the impact. We were in a somewhat open area. It was a part of the palace I didn't recognize, though it was so vast that wasn't much of a surprise. I used my shoulder to push open the heavy wooden doors. The man who had been interrogating me finally recovered himself and started screaming. His thundering footfalls sounded like they were coming from only a few feet back.
I spotted the balcony, which gave me an idea. Using my foot, I slammed the decorative gold-and-glass window door shut. The balcony was quite small, about enough room for two people to stand. There was a small railing, made of white marble columns with swirls of gold engraved in them. I would've ordinarily been quite impressed, but I felt a little too rushed to be standing marveling at architecture. Careful to keep my balance, I stood on the edge of the balcony. It was about a ninety foot fall, and the idea terrified me. I kept my head up and stared at the glass door, keeping my back to the expanse the balcony revealed.
The interrogator opened the door and held out a hand cautiously. "Hey, now, let's not be rash. There ain't no need to be jumping..." The expression on his face was that of partially-masked terror. If something happened to me, KV would kill my interrogator without hesitation.
I was working the rope off my wrists carefully. "Back up," I ordered. "Or I'll jump and pull you with me."
He held his hands up innocently, the way a suspect would with a cop approaching. "I won't question you no more, miss. Please come down,"
I pulled my wrists to my teeth and yanked the rest of the rope off. I rubbed my wrists, trying to cool the angry red lines. "Do you have a cellphone?"
The interrogator nervously pulled a Nokia from his pocket. "You can use it without standing on the ledge. You might fall,"
"Thank you, Captain Obvious," I shoved his phone into my pocket and waved. "Bye bye now!"
As I fell, he tried to catch me, but he was a second too late. I smashed the phone with my left hand, making sure to keep my palms facing it. "Wings!" The cellphone ripped itself apart and expanded, turning into a giant set of metal wings that wrapped around me. It was like a parachute popping open as I suddenly slowed. I used the wings more as a glider than anything. I realized I was aimed for the slums. Though the term covered most of what the Realm appeared like now. I knew it was unlikely, but I finally had an idea.
Posted 02 February 2012 - 09:11 PM
Posted 02 February 2012 - 09:57 PM
I landed on the roof of an apartment building. I tumbled over myself, smacking my head, my knees, my sneakers, and repeat. "Ow," I muttered when I rolled to a stop. I patted down my hair, trying to pull the scraps of broken cellphone-turned-wings out. It was at least forty feet to reach street level. I shuddered at the thought of climbing the entire way down. Instead, I chose the oh-so-secretive step of climbing down a few feet and banging on someone's window.
A woman somewhere in her thirties screamed when she saw me. I knocked, and hoped she could hear my voice through the glass. "Hey, I'm not a robber or anything. Please let me in before I fall." She gently tapped the window outwards a bit warily.
She was pretty, but obviously from the slums, as her attire suggested. A striped shirt with a rip near the shoulder on the right side, and and old pair of jeans, topped of by matching Hello Kitty slippers and a robe. Her blonde hair was curly and tangled, wildly out of proportion with her petite frame. She couldn't be more than 5'3 or 5'4.
"What's a kid doing climbing up apartment buildings? You almost gave me a heart attack!" She gasped. "What's your name? I'll call your parents to come pick you up right now."
I almost smiled at the thought of that. That she assumed I even knew my parents. "Nah, they don't mind. Is there a back door to this building? A way to get out without being seen?"
Her face darkened. "You aren't a rebel, are you?"
I shook my head. "No, but that's exactly who I'm hiding from." Understanding flashed in her cerulean eyes.
It was an organized room, but quite small. An extra lock had been hastily added to the front door. A faded dining room table with three mismatched chairs had a vase of slightly wilted pink and white roses. All of the flooring was a multi-print carpet that contrasted unattractively with her peeling yellow polka dots wallpaper. Cabinets filled almost the entire room, spreading slightly into her two person-wide kitchen.
She pulled one of the dinner table chairs away and positioned it near the window. Holding her arms out for balance, she crawled on top of it and pushed on a square of ceiling tile until it went upwards. "It's where all the building's main electrical power comes from. Since I'm on the top floor it's right above my roof. Hide up here for a while until I can figure something out." She dismounted from the chair. "I don't believe we've met, though. I'm Paray," Paray extended a hand.
"Hope," I answered, and brushed back my still growing-out bangs. It was a nervous habit that I'd picked up from Mackenzie.
"Now if anyone comes I'll let you climb right up and put the tile back. Until then, though, why don't I get you some hot chocolate?" Paray sat a glittering silver tea pot on the stove and filled it with water. "How did you end up on top of my building?"
That wasn't the easiest question to answer. But then again, I sort of owed this lady some explanation. She held up a hand before I could speak. "Tell me the whole story. I'm slow to grasp concepts."
So that's exactly where I started. Where I could remember the story beginning.
"Well I don't really know how the whole story started, honestly. Since as long as I can remember I've lived with my friends Saxon and Mackenzie. It's pretty complicated, but they're my Guardians. They have to protect me or new Guardians will be appointed. I'm the Altus Vir, which is Latin for 'great hero'. That's why they're supposed to protect me--so I can do whatever the great hero is supposed to do. We lived in safehouses that we constructed ourselves. We'd carve out a spot in the earth and set it up with supplies so we could live there, and then cover the entrance with some form of camouflage. That's basically how things went from being a toddler until about twelve. And then of course monsters would show up and Mackenzie taught me how to sword fight, and other pretty boring things. When I was twelve, Jayden showed up. I didn't know it at first, but Saxon and Mackenzie knew instantly. He's the 'silver hero', who's supposed to help me."
It all came out in a burst. I hadn't breathed once in my recount. Paray looked oddly calm, despite the crazy girl in her apartment screaming about some impossible life. "So what exactly are you supposed to do as great hero?"
I blushed, and fiddled with my hair. "Save the worlds from KV."
"How?" That one word had been bugging me for longer than Paray knew.
"I don't know," I admitted softly. "I'm not really even sure what I'm supposed to do, other than stop KV from doing something. I don't know what that something is, but he does. That's why he's been sending these hired monsters and trying to kill or capture me for practically forever."
Paray didn't say anything for a long time. I was worried I'd said too much, but it felt like it had to come out. The terror and the pain that came with such a story wasn't the kind that I could bottle up inside of myself forever. Finally, she looked up and handed me a navy-colored mug of hot chocolate. "So, Jayden," She drawled slowly. "Dark brown hair that's messed up a bit, green eyes, about yay big?" She held her hand above her head to motion Jayden's height. My heart leaped out of my chest.
"You've met Jayden?"
She snorted in outrage. "Met? You and that boy are on Wanted posters everywhere. Do you think anyone in the entire Realm doesn't know who you two are. It did say he's been sighted in the area, though. I wouldn't go out there if I were you, though. You can't hide from the rebels outside--they're absolutely everywhere."
"It's okay, I know how to fight," I smiled broadly. "Thanks for your help, Paray!"
Posted 02 February 2012 - 10:18 PM
Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:03 PM
I was careful to be as silent as possible as I crept through the dingy hallways. No doubt KV had everyone out looking for me. The only real option was to get out of the Realm. And I wasn't exactly sure how to go about achieving that. KV had mastered the art of switching between the Realm and Earth, but it was a difficult thing. I whispered a prayer when I reached the exit to the apartments. I hadn't any idea what was waiting on the other side.
Quite dramatically, was absolutely nothing. I breathed a tiny sigh of relief. I couldn't let my guard down, though. That was when you got caught. I heard the heavy breathing of someone who had been sprinting, and instantly panicked. When you weren't sure who knew you or was an ally, everyone was an enemy.
The ally the apartment's back entrance had led me to was as filthy as the rest of this sector of the Realm. But the empty soda cans and assorted tidbits of junk were not enough for cover. So when in doubt with no acting skills, shut up and keep walking.
The footsteps slowed and approached me. I didn't have Sidekick anymore, but I could deck whoever it was and run. Familiar dirty Nike sneakers paraded to a stop in front of me. "What the hell are you doing, Hope!?" Mackenzie hissed. "You said you were going out for a walk! No longer than half an hour your idiot!" I smiled a bit.
Saxon's omnipresent HP laptop was situated safely in his arms. "It took me a whole half an hour to track you down using satellite mapping." He said exasperatedly.
Mackenzie mussed his hair teasingly. "That's our little nerd!" Then she turned back to the angry Mackenzie. "You better thank your lucky stars that I know how to change dimensions from home to the Realm. How'd you get here, anyway?"
My smirk grew even wider. "How do I always get here? I took a fancy flying limo, of course."
Saxon choked, and adjusted his crimson-colored glasses. "KV found the safehouse? Let's at least get out of the Realm. We can go to the other one. It's newer regardless."
"Well, it was kind of weird. KV didn't seem interested in us any more. He wants Jayden, he says. To train his rebels into real soldiers." I explained, realizing now how stupid this sounded. Mackenzie gave me a look of confusion.
"Jayden's fifteen and isn't a soldier. What's KV want him to train an army for?"
Saxon stepped in. "If I had to guess it's because Jayden can shift. KV doesn't know that you have to be born with the ability, and he probably assumes Jayden can teach his soldiers how to shift. And maybe not just into wolves, but other kinds of things. There aren't enough shifters for KV to really target anyone else. Either they're too old or too young, but Jayden's of somewhat appropriate age, and is combat experienced. I mean, aren't we all after putting up with him our entire lives?"
I hadn't even considered that. "How could KV not know that? He always seems a step ahead. Wouldn't he realize that Jayden can't just teach regular people to shift?"
He just shrugged. "Apparently not--I mean, why else would he want Jayden?"
I felt tears stinging in my eyes, threatening to spill onto my cheeks. I rubbed my eyes to banish the tears. "Let's get back to the safehouse for now and figure something out. KV knows Jayden's coming back to the safehouse and is going to catch him there. We just have to get to him before he makes it to the safehouse."
Mackenzie grabbed my and Saxon's hands. She whispered something in Latin, and sparkling golden light flooded around us blindingly. I had the sensation of going down a drop on a roller coaster. The butterflies, the stomach weightlessness, whatever nickname given to the feeling. As suddenly as it had begun, it stopped. And instead of being in the disgusting alley, we were back in the woods outside the safehouse. And not with a lot of time.
Posted 10 February 2012 - 01:13 AM
I am loving the story... keep it up..... can't wait for chapter 7 XD
Posted 10 February 2012 - 07:46 PM
I let go, and glanced at the safehouse. It was practically invisible if you didn't know what you were looking for. Mackenzie ducked inside first, and I followed. We collected our few possessions in a trance-like state. Saxon waited outside, fooling around on his laptop. Shouldering two backpacks, I plopped down beside him. "What're you doin'?"
He didn't even look up. "Trying to find Jayden. It's somewhat pointless though. I can find you because l programmed you into this thing years ago. I guess I just never got around to putting Jayden in. I didn't think I'd ever need to, considering he's not usually the one getting into trouble." He added pointedly.
I ignored that comment and peeked over his shoulder. "So there's not a good chance you'll find him on there?" Saxon shook his head in disappointment.
"I'm not that good, Hope." He suddenly closed the laptop and held it to his chest like a talisman. "We should probably go though. He says he's coming back in two days, right? Then we'll meet him in one if we can catch him before he gets this far. He'll probably be coming from that direction." Saxon motioned generically towards the woods.
"Are we riding on 'that direction', or some serious SIGPS." SIGPS was an acronym Mackenzie and I had jokingly made up years ago, using the pre-existing acronym of "Global Positioning System". We made it applicable by commending Saxon's seriously creepy orienteering skills. "Saxon's Internal Global Positioning System", hence SIGPS.
"I guess for now 'that direction'. I couldn't find him on my computer." Saxon shook his head. "Feels like my godly gift of direction is fading." He threw up the arm not cradling his electronic child in exasperation.
Mackenzie smacked him on the back of the head teasingly. "You're only godly gift is the gift of having the height of an eight year old at almost double their age." She mussed his fuzzy, peach-like blonde hair and half knocked his glasses off. "Though I guess that's probably one cruddy gift."
We walked in silence for a while. Mostly listening for the sound of monsters approaching. Finally, it had to be about one in the morning and I was dead tired. My eyes had been drooping for the past two miles, and my dragging feet created an almost eerie sound. I finally stopped and laid down. In the pitch black of the darkness, it took Saxon and Mackenzie a moment to realize that I was missing. "Hope?" Mackenzie called warily.
"I'm going to sleep. I'm dead tired, guys." There was a lumpy tree root digging into my side, but it didn't bother me.
"Thank god," Saxon muttered, followed by a soft yawn.
As I heard the sounds of Mackenzie's breath shift from alert to a childish snore, I knew tonight was different for us. Normally we kept to a system of fire watch like in the military, where one of us would stay up and make sure nothing could happen while the others slept. Jayden usually sacrificed some of his precious sleep to stay up on my fire watch and talk with me. It made me smile a tad to think of that.
I woke to someone shaking my shoulder softly. I squeezed my eyes shut even tighter. "Go away Mackenzie, I'm tired." I covered my ears and huffed loudly in annoyance. But the shaking persisted, followed by the most beautiful sound I'd heard in quite a long time.
"Come on, Hope, didn't you miss me?"
I bolted upright and started screaming as I threw my arms around Jayden's neck. "You're early! Jayden!"
"Should I have been late instead?" He joked, and returned my embrace.
"You had me worried." I admitted and pulled away. His emerald eyes sparkled adorably. "KV--"
"KV was here? You saw him?" Jayden's face paled slightly.
I held up a finger. "Let me finish. KV took me to the Realm and got a few of his rebels to interrogate me. They wanted to know where you were. KV says he doesn't want Saxon, Mackenzie, and I anymore. He claims he just wants you. Saxon thinks he wants you to teach his rebels how to shift."
He didn't say anything for a second. He sat across from me, those eyes sinking into a look of intense concentration. "I don't think I know how to do that, or if it's even possible." Jayden spoke each word slowly, like he was weighing each one. He looked back up at me. "Did he hurt you?"
I smirked. "Jayden, I can kick his butt any day."
"Wouldn't you need a Sidekick?" A familiarly worn blade was being held out to me.
"You found Sidekick?"
He shrugged and returned my smile. "Figure you might need a temporary replacement Sidekick when I'm not around."
I sheathed it cautiously, and patted its case proudly. "He doesn't stand a chance now, eh?"
Jayden's grin grew. "Whatever you say," With that he got to his feet and held a hand out to me, popping me lightly to my own.
Saxon was still sleeping, sprawled out beside a bush, one arm awkwardly entangled in that same shrub. Mackenzie was tapping boredly on his laptop. Though she couldn't possibly be getting any sort of Internet connection all the way out here.
"So what do we do now?" Jayden asked, his shining smile disappearing.
I threw my head back. "Why does everyone think I have all the answers?"
He winked. "You are our superhero, Hope."