Summer was, without a doubt, the best time of the year. No school, no worries, yaddayaddayadda. I fidgeted on the bus ride home and then burst forth like a flower in spring. “NO! MORE! SCHOOL!” I shrieked, running down the side of the road to the house. “I’M FREEEEE!”
I was the first one out of us four in the house, nearly mowing Villy down. “Hey watch it,” he laughed, stumbling to stop himself from falling. “You’re excited.”
“You were too when you had your last day,” I reminded him with a grin. Villy had gotten out of school before us since he was a senior and had his final exams ages ago.
He reached over and began messing my hair up. “And in the autumn you get to start high school. Excited?”
“You know it.” I was excited. I had heard tons of different stories about high school from my three oldest siblings, and from dozens of movies (okkkaay I know movies aren’t entirely accurate but still.) so I was pretty pumped up about the whole thing. High school! Learning to drive, and going to parties, and school dances and dating and maybe a old-fashioned necking (or more, probably more) at makeout point once I got a car. If I got a car. Most likely I wouldn’t. Our house had only two cars. Dad’s car, and the kid’s car which was argued over constantly by Presea needing to go to work, or Gladdy needing it to go to her stupid college courses, and blah-blah-blah. We needed another car, at least for me and Lumes once we got our license since by the time we got our licenses, the car would be off to college with one of the older kids. Not. Fair.
The door swung open, banging into the wall as my sisters came in. Lumie tossed me my backpack which I had dropped somewhere. I took it with a bit’v’a sheepish grin. “Thanks,” I giggled. “I’m just excited.”
She grinned back at me. “Me too, summer’s great. And high school isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, you know.”
“How did you know we–oh, yeah,” Villy said, shaking his head. “I keep forgetting. You two can ‘read’ each other’s mind.”
“You are conspicuously suspicious of our super powers, brother,” I said in a haughty tone. “Especially for a dude who morphs into a canine once a month.”
Villy messed my hair up even more. “Congrats on stringing together a bunch of fancy words, Zaidy.”
I jerked my head away, rolling my eyes at Lumie who was giggling. >He’s been people with wings but he has a hard time believing we can read each other’s minds?< she asked me and I began giggling too. >And please don’t think about makeout point, it’s gross,< she added with a pat to my shoulder.
>You get disgustingly horny whenever you think about what’s-his-face,< I pointed out, gagging a bit.
>Saul is a very nice guy and I don’t get–I don’t!<
>Do SO goodye-end-of-convo-black-card!< and I put up my shields quickly, scurrying away from her before she could argue anymore.
Dad surprised us with fireworks and a cookout for the first day of the summer vacation. Papa hooked up the sprinkler and we ran around in a water fight, mostly water balloons but Villy and I snuck into the house and got water guns. We filled them up then jumped out at the girls, shooting them with water as they screamed that we were cheaters.
“Kids, the food’s ready–” Dad called then yelped as five soaking wet teens swarmed the grill. He retreated to Pa’s side, grumbling about something or other.
Once we all got our food and settled down, Presea said, “I kinda wish I didn’t have to work so much this summer.”
“How come?” I asked, wondering how many pickle slices I could fit in my mouth before the taste got the better of me.
>Don’t do that,< Lumie told me in a prim tone in my head.
“Because after this everything is going to be so different,” Presea sighed at the same time Lumie was talking in my head. “Next summer is gonna be all of us getting ready for college and not be as fun.”
We went quiet at that. Lumie felt a bit sad and… okay, I did too. I would be losing all three of my oldest siblings at once. Villy had a hard time finding a college that would accept him and the only reason the one that accepted him did was cause Glados said she’d go, too. She would be graduating a year early–the same time as Presea. So all three would be going to that college, and living together (since Villy really needed someone around after his transformations since he was so tired, exhausted, and nekkid and everything).
Suddenly Glados sprang up and swooped down to kiss Papa’s cheek, and I realized he was looking super sad about the talk. “Don’t worry, that is ages away. A year is a long time,” she said and Papa smiled.
So we turned the conversation back to regular stuff and I discovered that twelve slices of pickles were too much (not the size, just the taste on my tongue) and I spit them out on the ground as Lumie smacked me with a clean paper plate, insisting how gross I was. So I put some hot dog in my mouth, chewed it up, then chased her around with my mouth open as she shrieked.
As we ran around to the back of the house I slowed down and then stopped. I felt my skin prickling and this feeling going down my spine. It was like someone was watching me. I stopped and looked around, but couldn’t see anyone though there was this feeling growing in my stomach. Suddenly I was slammed into, falling to the ground with someone on top of me. I screamed and began struggling but when I looked up I realized it was just Lumie, pinning me down.
“Now stop doing gross things,” she said and got off of me.
I stood up, rubbing the back of my head and looking around but the feeling was gone.
I was bored. Not regular bored. Ultra bored. Super ultra bored. Like a robot. A giant robot. A giant robot of boredom. I rolled onto my back and made my hands into guns, pointing at the ceiling. “Pew, pew, pew! Come on,” I added since someone knocked on the door. “Pew, pew, pew,” I continued.
Papa peered in. “Mira and Bessie are coming in for dinner tonight,” he said.
I made a face. “Okaaay,” I sighed. I didn’t mind Aunt Mira so much but my cousin Elizabeth was a B-R-A-T. “Pew, pew.”
Pa slid into the room completely. “Are you okay? You’ve been shut up in your room all day.”
“There’s nothing to do.”
“You could spend some time outside…”
“Says the guy spending all his time playing video games,” I replied, closing one eye now and aiming both hands as a big gun. “Pew pew.”
“I don’t spend all my time doing that, just some of it,” he said, picking up the pile of clothes off the chair and sitting down. I twisted my body so I was sitting up on the side of my bed, looking at him. “Why don’t you try finding a job?”
I made a face. “All of’em are probably taken by now.” Besides, no way did I want a job. I was only fourteen!
“Your dad could probably use some help at the facility,” Papa said with a big smile.
I gritted my teeth. “Naw. I’d probably drop stuff. Break stuff.” I got up and went to the bookcase, messing with one of the books. Though a job maybe wasn’t too bad since I needed some new clothes and since my old ones still (technically) fit, Dad wouldn’t let me go shopping yet. We’d wait till closer to the end of summer at get clothes for school. I had to wait all summer with a very limited amount of clothes. Most the stuff I wore was stolen from Villy anyway. “Lumie doesn’t have a job,” I pointed out more for myself.
Pa pulled himself farther back in the chair then leaned forward, swinging his legs like a little kid. I hid my smile. “Lumie doesn’t complain about being bored,” he said. “I was just trying to think of things to help you.”
I knew I should say thanks or something like that but I kinda felt annoyed. “Yeah, well, don’t,” I muttered and I could feel his face falling (like I couldn’t see it but I could feel it.). I decided to change the subject. Unfortunatellyyy I chose the wrong one. “Has Uncle Kay e-mailed you?”
I turned around, folding my arms and leaning against the bookcase. Papa was looking down, looking unhappy. I began frowning as well. It had been several weeks since we had heard from Uncle Kay and I knew Pa was really worried. “Maybe we should go see him,” I joked. “You and me.” I pumped my fist into the air. “Road trip!”
Papa looked up, smiling again. “Neither of us can drive, we’d probably wreck half a mile down the road.”
I giggled. “Well, maybe Villy can take us then. Seriously thought. We should go. Surprise him. I barely even remember him.” It had been jeez, about seven years since I had seen my uncle. He wasn’t really my uncle but some sort of other relative but I kinda wasn’t sure about how he was related. I knew I had his eyes though. I had a picture of the two of us, me sitting on his lap when I was like five or something like that.
Papa gave the type of sigh he gave when he was thinking. “We don’t know where he lives so a road trip wouldn’t really work. I’m not even sure he’s in Hidden Springs anymore.”
“Mmm.” I moved back to my bed and threw myself down. The bed creaked and I heard a weird sound as another spring probably broke. “I need a new bed.” I gave a few experimental bounces and the bed groaned loudly. “Yeah, I really need a new bed. Hey, with Villy moving out next year can we get rid of his bed and get me a big one?”
“I don’t think a big one would fit in here…”
I rolled my eyes. “S’not fair, Lumie will get that big room to herself and could get a big ol’ bed and I get this tiny cramped thing.” I kicked the wall and left a scuff mark.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and I jerked a bit, then relaxed. “I’m sorry,” Pa said very gently that made me feel all guilty. “Maybe we could try to get an extension on the house…”
I felt a slight surge of happiness then it sank back down, and I shook my head. “Nah, need that money for college and maybe a car. I’d rather had a car than a bigger room.”
Papa beamed at that and messed up my hair. I grumbled, trying to fix my hair back down. “It’s a few years too early to be thinking about a car for you, but we’ll just have to se–oh!” His eyes got big. “I just thought of something!”
And off he went. That wasn’t anything unusual. He tended to do stuff like that. Then we’d all wonder what he was thinking and sometimes we’d find out, but usually not. This time however was one of the times where we did because that night when we were getting ready for dinner he asked us all to sit down and then he brought up the idea of a road trip again and this time with complete plans.
“So,” he said, putting his hands on the table. “My thoughts were maybe Villy could drive me and the twins–but if you do, Villy, you’d be doing all the driving and I wasn’t sure if you’d be up for that?”
Vilkas looked kinda excited. “No, yeah, that’d be fun–“
“If he doesn’t, who would?” Presea cut him off.
Papa blinked. “Your dad, of course.”
“So… you and dad and the twins would be off on a road trip, while Vils, Gladdy and I stay here? By ourselves?” Presea asked.
“Well yes.” The three of them exchanged looks and Lumie went, >Does Pa really not see the big flaw in that plan?< but it was apparently he didn’t because Papa then said, “If you don’t mind of course.”
“Nonono, we don’t mind,” Gladdy said.
“I could take care of the house,” added Vilkas.
Lumie put her head in her hands, Papa smiled as much as the three eldest, and Dad was shaking his head. “Chance, I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
Several people talked at once. Presea trying to insist it was a fine idea, Villy promising to take care of things, Gladdy assuring our dads nothing bad would happen, Dad trying to explain the bad idea of leaving three teenagers in the house alone for a few days, while Lumie spoke only in my head going on about how much of a mess this had become. It was getting too much and since there was only one voice I could block out, I threw up my shields to block out Lumie’s voice.
This made her speak out loud. “ZAID it is RUDE to interrupt someone!”
Everyone went silent and stared at the two of us. I sank down in my chair. “I wasn’t interrupting you, I was putting a mental piece of duck tape over your big mouth. Blabbermo–uh, mind. Blabbermind.” I slowly moved my hands through the air whispering the word again. “Blabbberrrminnd.”
There was snickering from the sibs and that kinda settled everyone down, except Dad who was still upset at leaving the older three at home alone, and Lumie who kept shooting glares my way. Before the conversation could be continued, really, the doorbell rang. Gladdy got up to get it, letting in Aunt Miracle and Cousin Bess. They lived pretty far away, in Sunset Valley which was a long trip, but Bessie, who was Villy’s age but starting college this autumn, was looking into one that was even farther past Moonlight Falls. So they had stopped into our town for the night to visit.
Aunt Mira and Uncle Eli had three kids total. Michael was graduated and working in law, Bessie was starting up college, and Mary was Glados’s age. I didn’t mind Mike so much, or Mary, but Bess was a bit… ugh. We didn’t get to see them a whole-whole lot. Aunt Mira continually asked Pa to move back to Sunset Valley but he preferred it here which was finnne and dandy to me since I liked it here.
I still remembered when she and her family had shown up out of the blue. None of us had ever heard about her until that day but apparently Pa had a wonky memory or something. And also apparently he had been a ghost for like, nineteen years. We thought he had gone off his rocker but Dad told us it was true and there were a couple pictures (personally I didn’t think the ghost looked like Pa but whatever). So yeah. I was the kid of an ex-ghost. This didn’t mean I could walk through walls though as I painfully found out seven years ago when I found out all this info.
“Are you excited for high school, Zaid?”
I looked up at Aunt Mira, realizing I had only barely been paying attention to the conversation. “Errrr, yeah. Yeah! Totally am. It’s gonna rock. It’s not elementarrryy it’s sedimentarrrryy!” I sang.
Lumie spit out her drink. All over me. Aunt Mira laughed, and said, “You have a good singing voice.”
“He got his musical talent from his pa,” Dad said proudly.
I grinned. “You think I do?”
“Yeah, you do,” Aunt Mira assured me.
I puffed up a bit. “Well, I do sing a lot–“
“Yeah, in the shower,” Villy said with a snort. “Loudly. Sounds like a bunch of chipmunks being tortured in there, I swear.”
“Least my singing doesn’t sound like warbling wolf howls,” I retorted.
He squinted. “Low blow, dude. Low blow.”
Dad gave me a glare so I sat back in my chair and remained silent. Dinner was soon served anyway and we all ate with gusto. Papa had been cooking most the meals for my whole life but he still wasn’t that great a cook. Then again he was better than Dad. Except a lot of times Dad’s cooking consisted of picking up fast food sooo overall we preferred Dad’s method of feeding us. Though that could get pretty expensive since Villy ate like nobody’s business, seriously he went through food like it was nothing. It had something to do with his werewolfness. Like, right after a full moon he ate sooo much since his body had burned up so much energy. I was starting to eat more and more since I had finally hit puberty (finnnalllly no more squeaky voice that had been awful especially since my sisters teased me about it every time I talked and it WASN’T FAIR cause Villy when he hit puberty it was like one second of squeak then bam his manly voice set it but no I had to endure a couple months of teasing from my sisters ugh being called baby chipmunk for 4 months straight was nooot fun, and why Villy had said what he said about my singing).
Eventually over dinner the idea of a road trip was brought up again. Pa wanted Aunt Mira’s thoughts on the matter. I mostly didn’t pay attention to this until my name was mentioned and Pa was trying to get me to put in my input. “What was the question?” I asked, ignoring Bess’s snickering.
“How would you feel if Aunt Miracle took us?” Pa asked.
I stared in… well… shock. I didn’t along great with my twin sis but it was nothing compared to the arguing Pa and his sister did. “That sounds nice, a long road trip with two sets of–” I paused, thinking, and then put on my ‘I just thought of a great line’ grin. Lumie groaned before I even started talking again. “–quibbling siblings!” I finished with great enthusiasm. Lumie kept groaning but Gladdy, who was always one for fun with words, laughed as much as I was.
And then Papa and Aunt Mira got into an argument since Aunt Mira insisted they didn’t argue that much and Pa quietly said that they did. They went back and forth with ‘yes we do’ and ‘no we don’t’ until Aunt Mira realized, blushed, and then laughed at what just happened. “Well, I think it’d be fun.”
“So do I,” Lumie said brightly.
“Me too, uh, three,” Papa said. “Zaid?”
I shrugged and picked up my fork. “Fine with me. So we really are going to Hidden Springs? To see Uncle Kay?”
“Well, to find him at least.” Papa scratched his head with a slightly worried look on his face. “I don’t know if he’s even still there. Maybe they moved, maybe that’s why he hasn’t e-mailed back in a while.”
“It’s always worth a look-see,” said Gladdy. “I wish I could go too. Hidden Springs looks so pretty in all the pictures I’ve seen of it.”
Villy sighed. “Me too, it might be nice to get away from here for a while.”
“You don’t have a job yet,” I said. “You could come with.”
He shook his head. “Naw I reeeally need to spend my time finding a job.” He said this rather sadly and we all knew why, except sorta Aunt Mira and Bess. Moonlight Falls was the most open place about supernaturally types of peeps but even here there was a lot of hate. Most lived in secrecy. Werewolves, vampires, and faeries usually lived in complete seclusion and none went to our school. Witches and wizards… well, they were not vocal about who they were. It was easier to hide since they didn’t have any obvious changes to them (like glowing eyes, big fangs, or wings) but they certainly kept their abilities on the down-low.
All of this for a reason. One, there were supernatural hunters out in the world. None ever came to Moonlight Falls but they were out there. Two, people just misunderstood and toooottallly hated the supernaturals cause they were so ‘special’ and stuff. Anything different had to be squashed down and oppressed. Like we all knew they were around. Sometimes you might even see one. But Villy was pretty much the most open supernatural there was. And what happened because of it?
Dad once told me that a day camp refused to let him join. In scouts, which I had joined for a while as a kid, no supernaturals were allowed to join. In school… there were rules now about how supernaturals couldn’t be on any teams due to their ‘enhanced abilities’. And also because there ‘might be accidents’. Like when he asked about wrestling because well he didn’t have any super strength or anything (like punching a brick wall left his hand a lot more damaged than the wall), but he was informed there ‘could’ be an accident involving biting as well as the fact ‘some’ werewolves do have super strength. And now that Vils was looking for job it was hard because all the places advertising for applications so happened to ‘just’ have someone filling that place right before Vils tried and they didn’t have time to take their sign down. Plus the whole college debacle.
There was also a lot of prejudice against our family in general. The school got TONS of flak for letting Glados be the captain of the swim team. It took Presea a lot of searching to find a job, and a lot of ass-kissing to get her volunteer job (a thingie that helped those in poverty like fixing houses and giving food and that sort of thing) and even when she did get the job it was pretty much just behind-the-scenes sort of thing. And her name was never mentioned in the program’s bulletins or anything (like errand running and desk work. When I asked her if she felt bitter she haughtily responded that she volunteered to do good work not for other people to see her doing the work so I guess she wasn’t too mad about the placement). One time even one of the kids Lumie was gonna tutor for math, their family didn’t like it cause we were affiliated with werewolves.
All of this in Moonlight Falls. The most open place for Supernaturals. But Villy had hope. He had done research about something similar. Ages ago berry sims were found to be real (they originated from some big island somewhere or something I dunno I didn’t do that research Vils did) and slowly became part of our nation. At first people were very against rainbows but eventually, gradually, accepted them. Some people still hated but there was always gonna be hate. Vilkas often said he hoped by the time he had kids the world would be a better place for supernaturals, because it was in our fathers’ generation that supernaturals started coming out so to speak. I just hoped he was right.
Vilkas accepted it, somewhat, with silent anger. Presea sorta accepted it with arrogant anger. Lumie kinda accepted it with bitter anger. Gladdy and I? Well, we had yet to ‘accept’ it and I didn’t think we ever would. I may have fought with my brother like nobody’s business but Vilkas was a totally rad guy and didn’t deserve the crap he got for his damned glowing eyes and even for the wolf-morphing thing cause hell he was just a big ol’ dog like that and his favorite thing to do was NOT go on a bloodthirsty rampage like SOME people would have you think (coughcoughRollingAcrescoughcough. A large town that loudly opposed supernaturals, where most the hunters were based from, and that had strict anti-supernatural laws in effect) but to play tug-o-war.
Speaking of wars, but not really, it was decided that Aunt Mira would be doing the driving. Aunt Mira and Pa and Lumie and me. On a looooong road trip to Hidden Springs. It would be a full day of being in the car and then a couple hours on a ferry since, while Hidden Springs was connected on land the mountains were too difficult/hazardous to put roads on.
>I think the elders are annoyed about not being home alone for a while,< Lumie said after poking at my shields to indicate she wanted to talk to me.
I snickered. >Me too. Think we’ll survive the trip?<
She shrugged and teasingly ‘said’, >One of us has to.<
>Oh, YOU’RE lovely,< I responded, sticking my tongue out. >Battle to the death, sibling style. I could take you on.<
>Don’t bet on it, twizzler-arms.<
>Oi! I have muscles!< And with that I rolled back my sleeve to let her get a shot at my guns. Everyone else at the table gave me confused looks because for them it came outta no where. I gave a nervous laugh then went back to my food. Joking aside, it really was something to be a weeeeee bit anxious about and I just hoped there would be multiple hotel rooms. All the arguing wasn’t really too bad just… pretty annoying and usually over stupid things.
But still, I was QUITE looking forward to this trip and hopefully seeing Uncle Kay again.