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Authors: Amanda McGee

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BOOK: Extraordinary
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“Kate!” I yelled.

“What? I’m right here, no need to yell.”

“I didn’t mean to,” I said. “But are you honestly just going to ignore the elephant in the room? You find out that your best friend, whom you have known most of your life, has secret siblings and magic powers and you choose to discuss the weather?”

“You have magic powers? What can you do?”

“Visions of danger and psychic dreams, blah blah blah,” I answered.

“I can hypnotize,” Sadie added.

“This,” Blaze said, extending his lit-up hand.

“Awesome,” Kate said nonchalantly.

I seemed to be the only person on this porch unable to comprehend Kate’s disinterest. As much as I dreaded explaining and re-explaining how I spent my summer vacation, I expected a little more of a reaction.

“That’s it?” I asked. “Just…awesome?”

“The world is a question mark, Alex. You can question everything and never get a moment’s peace or a legitimate answer or you can just accept that strange things happen.”

My mouth was wide open. This wasn't the same Kate who fell silent and left traumatized several weeks before. Sadie, Blaze, and I had discovered our huge secret and grappled with it for over a month while Kate blew into town and put it all in perspective within five minutes. I had known she was intelligent but who knew she was this multifaceted?

“Impressive,” Blaze said breaking the silence. “I’m Blaze by the way.”

Blaze walked over and shook Kate’s hand, nearly tripping over his own feet.

“Hey, Blaze,” Kate said with her signature toothy smile. “Nice to meet you.”

Within seconds he was back across the porch, leaning against a post at the farthest end with his gaze directed at the floor. Sadie giggled to herself at the sight of Blaze fumbling about and I knew I wasn’t imagining things.

Could it be that a pretty girl is his one weakness? Mr. Marine with all his muscles and tough guy attitude gets shy around girls?

“And I’m Sadie. I know we met but I can’t remember if I introduced myself, I was too excited!”

“I don’t know if Sadie is ever not excited,” I said.

The day we moved her things from Aunt Leah’s to here I worried that she might combust. Her energy levels were through the roof and her body reacted as if she had consumed large amounts of sugar. Blaze was, of course, much more subdued when we moved him in but Sadie radiated enough excitement for all three of us.

“They live here now,” I said. “We live here now.”

“Right on,” Kate said. “She needs supervision. Y’all keep an eye on her.”

“Oh, they do.”

“What about school?” Kate asked.

“I’m going to commute. It’s only twenty minutes and Sadie will be attending good old K.H.S.”

“Oh, K.H.S.!” Kate said. “Every time I hear that I want to break out in a cheer.”

She clapped her hands together enthusiastically and made a perfect V shape with her arms stretched above her head—the pose all rookie cheerleaders must perfect if they expected to be considered useful.

“Oh, please don’t,” I said.

Kate was a cheerleader during high school. After four years of shouting “Go Knox!” and “K-H-S!” I imagined it would evoke certain nostalgia. Kate was perfect and tried several times to convince me to try out but in no realm, magic or otherwise, was I a cheerleader.

“I was a cheerleader at my old school!” Sadie exclaimed.

“Of course you were,” Blaze said. “That’s the most believable thing I’ve heard in a while.”

“You took the words right out of my mouth,” I said with a laugh.

“Yeah, I stopped this past year to focus on being Class President,” Sadie continued, ignoring our jabs.

This moment was comfortable and real. I could have kicked myself for wasting the past month moping when I made a promise to myself in Haliwick that I would cherish what I had. Recognizing the warmth and importance of this very moment was yet another sign that I would survive. It would just take some time.

I had never had a broken heart, at least not this kind. It was unreasonable to think it wouldn’t be difficult to cope with such a loss. My goal was to mourn without alienating these people that I had come to love.

“Hey, Alex,” Sadie said. “Are you going to tell Kate about Tristan?”

“Tristan?” Kate asked. “A boy!”

Gah, there's two of them.

Sadie and Kate snickered like immature twelve-year-old girls while I considered rescinding my previous thoughts of love. It was not Sadie’s intention to yank out the remaining pieces of my heart and kick them across the porch but, in a less dramatic way, that was exactly what she did.

“I don’t want to talk about him,” I said plainly.

Instantly, the snickering halted and the awkwardness set in. This was the first time his name had been mentioned, at least in front of me. Sadie misread the situation and got ahead of herself. Blaze deflected his attention across the front lawn, feigning ignorance as hard as he could. Sadie and Kate idled in the swing, Sadie out of fear and Kate out of sheer confusion. The looks on their faces read loud and clear.

“It’s hard to talk about,” I said. “I didn’t mean to kill the mood, I just don’t know what to say or if I could say it if I did.”

“You can say whatever you’d like,” Kate said. “You can say nothing. It’s up to you. I know you’ll tell me when you’re ready.”

Holding feelings and emotions inside might work for a short time but, ultimately, it would probably devour you. A handful of psychology classes and a few soap opera episode’s would tell you that much. Besides, I was getting nowhere fast by keeping it to myself and I had come too far to revert back to my old ways. I could sulk all I pleased but shutting down was not an option.

“He was perfect and beautiful,” I said, pushing the grief as far back as possible.

Sadie’s head sprung up from its previous downward, defeated position. Even Blaze turned to face me at whiplash speed. His reaction was exactly what I needed to encourage me to continue.

“He loved me for some reason,” I continued. “He saved us and we left him. Leaving him was hard but we prepared ourselves for it. The worst part was leaving him when we did. I’ll never know…”

Images of that day flashed in my head bringing unwanted emotions with them. I was ripped away from Tristan in the most devastating way possible. The devastating blow to my heart as the portal sucked me into its cradling current of colors and tore me away from Tristan when he needed us the most was still fresh as the day it happened.

“What do you mean?” Kate said slowly, seeing the heartache on my face. “Left him where? Go get him.”

“I guess I should have lead with that,” I said. “We took an impromptu trip to Haliwick.”

“As in the Haliwick?”

“Yeah, that’s right...the Haliwick. We fell from the sky, met Tristan, met our grandfather, and befriended a man trapped inside a three-year-olds body. Then we battled a witch named Katerina who wanted revenge on our mother. Tristan absorbed her powers, Blaze killed her, and we left.”

“But you know, weird things just happen, right?” Blaze deadpanned to Kate.

I was oddly entertained by all of this. Blaze crawled out of his unexpected shell long enough to toss a mocking remark at Kate who was utterly speechless. This was certainly better than sulking.

Though I could never tell another soul our story, there was no rule stating I could not revel in this particular moment a bit longer.

“Yep, the house was destroyed,” I continued. “We were sucked into this portal that carried us to Haliwick. We landed in a field of flowers and Tristan appeared. It turns out, I had dreamed of him some time ago. That is one of my powers.”

It was cruel to enjoy this so much, I knew. For once in our fourteen-year friendship, I had managed to not only surprise Kate but also out-do any story or adventure she could concoct. I had never felt competitive with her but this was truly exhilarating.   

“You’re lucky I’m so open-minded,” Kate said finally. “That journal was a trip all by itself but now...I mean...what do you say?”

“Don’t worry yourself,” Sadie said. “We went through it and still don’t know what to say.”

We lingered a bit longer, I with a huge smile, while Kate mulled it all over. With my head tilted, resting comfortably on the back of the rocking chair, I watched Blaze pretend to not watch Kate as she sifted through every iota of intellect she kept stored in that brain of hers.

Thankfully, she did not need much time.

“Katerina huh,” Kate mumbled. “Makes me want to change my name.”

“Yeah, that’s the lesson here,” I laughed. “Only you would make that realization.”

“She’s gone now so you can retain full ownership of all forms of the name,” Sadie said.

“And the crazy that goes along with it,” I added.

The initial shock wore off enough for us all to resume our Thursday. I actually felt up for the challenge. Everyone went in to make lunch but I decided to stay outside for once.

Maybe I had changed. Sure, I moped and groaned about their constant hovering but, in truth, I was grateful. Sadie, Blaze, and Kate made me stronger—made me want to be stronger, better. Tristan would always occupy my thoughts and his place in my heart would never diminish but with them around chances were slim that my misery would ruin me completely.

My porch held my fondest memories and favorite days but lately, like every other part of my life, the allure was missing. Sliding into my usual position in the swing, the charm returned. Relaxation set in and the warm, salty breeze lulled me to sleep.

My subconscious was gray, empty, gloomy nothingness. I concentrated on the darkness instead of grumbling at its presence. Suddenly, a light appeared in the center and expanded outward, slow, taking its time. Green grass. Blue sky. Purple flowers! Pushing, stretching my mind to reveal the entire scene, my heart rate increased. There was someone there.

Tristan?

Faster, my pulse pounded. This was familiar. I called out to him, desperate, hopeful. He started to turn in my direction. Butterflies swarmed in my stomach, dizzying and reviving.

“Alex, lunch is ready!”

The scream from inside the house startled me and I rolled off the swing, my sleepy body hitting the porch with a loud thud. Lately, it seemed I spent a great deal of time laying on the ground. But compared to evil witches, broken hearts, and alternate realms, it didn’t even bother me. Until now.

“No!” I cried.

I was dreaming. It was Tristan. I knew it was him without ever seeing his face. No one else made my body react the way he did.

“You coming?” Kate said, popping her head around the screen door.

"He's alive, Kate."

All I had really wanted was to know his fate. I believed in magic, in myself. I believed in love and its all-consuming power. And now I believed that anything was possible.

###

About the author:

Amanda McGee currently lives in North Carolina with her brother, Chad, who is probably hovering somewhere nearby making sure she’s staying on task. She is an avid reader and frequent sufferer of book hangovers. Amanda
loves connecting with other book enthusiasts on Facebook and Twitter so feel free to strike up a dialogue.

Connect with Me Online:

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BOOK: Extraordinary
10.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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