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Storytelling


The Life and Death of Gabriel "Gizmo" Garcia

posted Mar 9, 2012, 5:19 AM by Syd DiChiara

Authors: Deja S, Jared S, Matt P, & Josh L

“I don’t want to go to school anymore!”

“I’m sorry, son. You have to go.”  


Gabriel's parents forced him out the door. If only they knew what he would go through at school when he got there. Gabriel was subject to constant bullying because he was different from anyone else in his school. He was the only openly gay student.  There were other students who were gay, but they kept it to themselves, fearing for their safety. Gabriel wanted more than anything to be who he was, and he was strong in his courage to do so, even in the face of constant bullying and harm.


Gabriel stood in front of the school. The building cast a menacing shadow over him. He passed through the doors of the school and felt his stomach curl.


          When Gabriel walked down the hall, he felt a palpable air of disgust being directed at him. People were staring.  Most didn’t say anything but their eyes said all they needed to say.

You’re almost there. All you have to do is make it to class, he told himself.  Keep your head up, man. They just don't know you.  They fear the unknown.  


“Hey Gay-briel, how you doing, buddy?” It was Juan Carlos with the football team. “Where you heading off to so fast?”


Gabriel began to shake when the boys got closer.  As brave as he was, he'd been through this many times before and he knew what came after.  


“Aw you scared, Gizmo?  How many times do we have to tell you the more you are scared, the harder we’re going to beat ya? Come on boys, let’s go beat the little queer!”


Gabriel began to run.  The jocks were right on his tail. Luckily Gabriel’s classroom was close enough to reach it in time.


There was a teacher in the class. “Gabriel are you okay?” Mr. Dickson asked.


“I’m alright for now, sir.”  


Gabriel was able to escape Juan Carlos and his band of thugs for the moment, but it was only a couple of hours until lunch.

           

The class ended. “Well, I’ll see you all tomorrow, class.”  Mr. Dickson released the students to lunch. Everybody rushed out except for Gabriel. Gabriel felt his legs lock up.  He knew he had to leave but he just couldn’t will himself to go.


“Hey Gizmo, you coming?” It was his best friend Vanessa.


“Uh, yeah. I’ll be out there in a second. I just need to grab my backpack.”


“Where is it?” Vanessa asked.


“Oh, it's in the locker room. Nobody's there during lunch so I figured it’d be the safest place to keep it.” Gabriel would take any detour to avoid the jocks even if it meant walking halfway across campus.


Gabriel walked to his locker and he noticed there was something different about the lockerroom.  He just couldn’t figure out what it was. Suddenly the door pushed open.


“Well, well, well, if it isn’t our good friend Gay-briel. A little birdy told us that you'd come here to get your backpack.”


“What’re you going to do, Juan?” Gabriel began to panic.


“Oh, I’m not going to do anything but my buddies are going to kick your ass.”


The jocks grabbed Gabriel and slammed his head into the locker.  They picked him up and shoved him into it.  


“Hopefully you’ll be okay in there until Monday," one of them said.  Gabriel heard the boys laughing and talking about what’d happen when they find him on Monday.


“Help me! let me out of this locker!” Gabriel felt like he had been screaming and kicking for hours. Gabriel began to kick as hard as he could but he was unable to get free. “Is anyone there?” Gabriel heard the door open again. Oh no, they’re back! he thought.


The janitor, hearing Gabriel's cries, ran to the locker and began rifling through his keys until he was able to find the right one. “God, son- how did you end up in the locker?" Gabriel was silent. “Who did this to you?”


Gabriel didn’t say a word. He picked up his backpack and walked out of the school, completely numb.


***               ***                ***


    Later on that evening, Gabriel arrived home and his parents began to question him.  ”What happened, son?” His mother was worried.

“Those jock idiots stuffed me in my freaking locker!” Gabriel said with disgust.


”Did you report them?” Mrs. Garcia’s began to question.


“Of course not.  They beat the crap out of me for just crossing them.  Imagine what they would do to me if I gave them a reason? You know what, I’m not going to talk about this. I’m going up to my room.”


Gabriel ran up the stairs, closed his bedroom door behind him, threw himself on his bed, and began to cry. He didn’t understand why anyone at school but Vanessa would stand up for him.


“Son, you up here?” Gabriel heard his dad say. He couldn’t respond- he was too distraught. “You know what, boy?  You may not want to hear this but you're going to have to try and fit in.”


The advice his dad gave him through his door made Gabriel sick. “How can you say that? You just want me to give into the demands of those idiots and start acting cool to try and please them?” Gabriel’s words were filled with fear and disappointment.


“Son, you said they pick on you because you're awkward. All you have to do is change a few habits.”


Gabriel had to bite his tongue to keep from telling his dad the real reason the bullies beat him up. He couldn’t, though, because he feared his father would freak out and even disown him.


“Look, if you can't talk to me about what happened, you should talk with your friend, Vanessa.” This was the first piece of advice that Gabriel’s dad gave him that sounded like a good idea.


“You know what, dad? That actually sounds like a good idea."


Gabriel's father was relieved for his son.


***               ***                ***

   

“I can’t believe they did that to you!” Vanessa said, angrily.  They had met at the park.


“Would you believe me if I said this hasn’t been the worst thing they’ve done?” Gabriel said in a sad voice.


“What could they possibly do that could be worse?” Vanessa questioned.


“They’ve found out where I live so they’ve started to vandalize our stuff. Last week I was going to drive to school but my tires were slashed, and there was a death threat in the car.” Gabriel’s voice began to crack, he was barely keeping himself from crying.


“And you didn’t tell your parents about the death threat, did you?”


Gabriel was silent.


“They could help you.  Talk to someone like the counselor or your parents. Gabriel, come on. At least say something!”


Gabriel looked up and smiled. Vanessa was confused by the sudden calm that came over her friend.   Had he given up?  Had the jocks finally broken him?  


“Come on! Your life doesn’t have to be this bad. All you have to do is stand up for yourself, Gabriel. You’ve won fights before.”


Gabriel chuckled faintly. “I may be able to beat one of them, but they always attack in groups. I’ve come to grips with it, Vanessa.  I've finally seen the truth of it.  It’s hopeless. These idiots aren’t going to stop until I’m dead.”

Suddenly, Gabriel and Vanessa heard the approaching sound of a muffled beat from a car sound system. A 67’ Chevy puledl into the park.


“Oh no," Gabriel said, with dread. He knew the truck belonged to Juan Carlos. He got up quickly and told Vanessa to run.  They both ran as fast as they could.  The thugs spotted Gabriel and pulled around to the direction Gabriel was running.  The truck stopped close to where Gabriel was and Juan Carlos jumped out of the driver’s seat of the car as the rest of his posse began to spill out of the bed of the truck.


“Hey buddy, I guess you saw us coming. That’s too bad. We thought we’d surprise you. Since you got out of that locker of yours, we thought we should make up for it with a thorough beating.”


Gabriel was surrounded by thugs.


Vanessa, frozen nearby, knew that if she kept running, they'd come after her. She felt helpless for Gabriel and watched with great fear as they closed in around him.


“God, is that all you fags can do is run? No wonder you get jumped all the time,” said Jose, one of Juan Carlos' friends.


Gabriel grew enraged. He clenched his fist and lunged at Jose, punching him square on the nose. Jose dropped to the ground. Juan came up from behind him and hit Gabriel in the back of the head knocking him out.


“Who’d thought the little queer had it in him? Don’t worry, Jose.  We’ll get him back for this.” Juan Carlos lifted Gabriel over his shoulder with the help of the others and threw him into the bed of the truck.


“Juan, wait.  We forgot his little girlfriend.   What if she tells somebody?” Jose questioned.


“Don’t worry I’ll take care of this.”


Juan Carlos approached Vanessa. “If you tell anybody about what just happened, we’ll do the same to you. You got it?”


Vanessa nodded with tears in her eyes.


Gabriel was thrown into the bed of the truck. “We’ll finish this at the river,” Juan Carlos said.  The posse piled into the car and drove off.


***               ***                ***


    “Wake up, wake up, you idiot!” Gabriel heard Juan Carlos muttering above him.

“Where the hell am I?” Gabriel felt a fist hit him in the face.


“Shut up!  You’re here because you wanted to stand up to us. We were willing to let you go after a small beating but you had to fight back. Since you did that, the beating we're going to give you will make the other one feel like a little push in comparison."


Gabriel hit the floor. He felt punches and kicks from every direction.  He couldn’t move and could hardly breathe.


Juan Carlos grabbed Gabriel’s head and held it to the ground.  “Okay, Jose. It’s your time for revenge.”  Jose ran forward and punt-kicked Gabriel in the head. Gabriel's body jerked and after a moment, he was still. They stood there waiting for him to move.  “He’s got to be faking it. Check his pulse.” Jose checked and there was nothing.


“Juan, he’s dead. Look what you did.”


“Me..?! I wasn’t the one who kicked him in the head!”


“Yeah, well, you were the one who told us to hunt him down. I can’t go to jail man. I just can’t. You know what would happen to guys like us, man? They’d kill us!” Jose began to panic. “We got to go tell the police, man!”


Juan Carlos grabbed Jose and slapped him. “Get a hold of yourself.  We aren’t going to the joint and we aren’t telling the cops! We just have to get rid of the body. Chuck him in the river.”


Jose began to panic. “I’m not touching him, man. I’m already all over this case. I’m not going to risk anything else!”


Juan looked at Jose with biting anger. “Fine I’ll do it!” Juan picked up Gabriel and threw him in the river. “There now.  We don’t have to worry! Let’s just get out of here.”


Juan and the rest of the thugs piled into the car and drove off.


***               ***                ***


After a few days of Gabriel being missing, a local family found a body while fishing. The father jumped into the river in an attempt to save the boy but when he dragged him to shore, it was clear he was already dead.  The police identified Gabriel's body through the school I.D. he'd had in his pocket.  They went to his house and knocked on the door. Gabriel’s mom answered.


“Ma’am, we’re going to need you to come down to the river.”


“Have you found Gabriel? Is my baby okay?” Gabriel’s mother began to cry.


“I'm sorry, ma'am.  We believe we found your son, but he's dead and we'll need you to identify the body.”


Gabriel’s mom began to cry loudly.  Gabriel’s dad, hearing his wife crying, ran into the room. “Honey whats wrong?”


“It’s Gabe they... they think he’s dead!” Gabriel’s mom then ran up the stairs to her room.


“This can’t be happening," said Gabriel's dad.  "This is just unreal. I should have listened to him when he said he didn’t want to go to school.” Gabriel’s dad became silent. He stayed quiet as if to try and stay strong for the hope that his boy was still alive. Gabriel’s dad told the officers he would identify the body.


***               ***                ***


“That’s him.  That’s my son."  Mr. Garcia turned away in despair. "Do you have any idea how he died?” His voice cracked.


“We think he may have been attacked due to blunt force injuries found on the-   your son.”  The police officer’s voice was subdued.


“No... God No! He didn't just drown?"  Mr. Garcia thought back for a moment at the last time he'd seen his son.  "He said he'd been bullied at school.  Maybe that explains the bruises.” He began speaking quickly in a low voice, as if to himself only and the officers grew alarmed.


“Sir, you should go home.  We'll take care of this from here.”


“Okay..yes..yes.  I need to see that my wife is okay.” Gabriel’s father walked over to his car and drove off toward his home, crying uncontrollably most of the way. He remembered that his friend, Vanessa, was the last one to have possibly seen him, so he called her and told her Gabriel was dead.


“Wait... what? Oh my god. How could this happen?” Vanessa was distraught. She could hardly talk after hearing Mr. Garcia's tell her about Gabriel.  "I'm...so sorry," she managed to say and then hung up.


    Vanessa couldn't believe Gabriel was gone.  He was a good person and a good friend.  He simply wanted to be himself, even in the face of his worst fears.  She wondered what she should do. Could she be brave like Gabriel?  She knew it would be right to tell the police happened but she feared Juan Carlos and his friends would do the same to her if she told. Surely they were the ones who did this to Gabriel.  Why do they always get away with this kind of thing, she wondered. Idiots like that are only around to beat their conformity into you. The more Vanessa thought about it the more she wanted to tell the police not just to make sure that Gabriel’s family could get closure but to see Juan Carlos and his jock friends pay for what they did to her best friend.

Vanessa walked over and picked up the phone and began to dial the number.


"Nine-one-one, can I help you?"


“Yes. I think I may have evidence for an unsolved case; the death of Gabriel Garcia.  I...I think I know who may have killed him."


"Just a moment," said the voice on the other end.  "We'll send a car out to take you to the station so you can make your statement."


Vanessa gave her address, hung up the phone, and waited for the police car.  She didn’t cry this time when she thought about Gabriel because she knew she had to be strong. She had to be brave like Gabriel.


***               ***                ***


    “Okay Miss so you said that the football team at the high school was responsible?” The cop questioned.

“Yes. They were the last ones with Gabriel before he disappeared. We were at the park and a truck pulled up. When Gabriel saw them, we began to run but I couldn't keep up.  They got to Gabriel and started beating him up again.  One of them came up to me and warned that if I told anyone what happened, they’d beat me, too, or worse.” Vanessa's voice cracked and she tried to keep from crying.


“Miss, We appreciate you telling us this. You may not have seen your friend murdered by these guys, but your testimony ties this group of boys to the murder and establishes a motivation for his possible killing. It's all we need to be able to bring them in for questioning.  We should be able to get a confession out of at least one of them, and after that, they'll drop like dominoes."   


Vanessa was relieved.  "Thank you."


"No," the officer told her.  "Thank you. Let's get you back home.”


“Wait.  There's something I have to do. Can you take me to Gabriel's house first?”

   

***               ***                ***


“Mr. and Mrs. Garcia, there's something I have to tell you about Gabe. I went to the police and told them everything I knew.” Vanessa tried to stay calm so as not to upset Ms. Garcia anymore. “Gabe would’ve wanted me to tell you....he couldn't tell you when he was alive, but it's important that you understand why he's no longer with us.  Gabriel is...was...gay.”


Gabriel’s father eyes grew wide. “Is that why he didn’t let us to interfere... because he didn’t want to disappoint us?"  Vanessa nodded.  "I should have helped him. A son isn’t supposed to leave this world before his father. It’s just not right.  And these boys!!!  Who are they that took my son?"

“Mr. Garcia, I know you’re mad about this. We all are. The police said my testimony will help in bringing justice to Gabriel's death.  I'm so sorry I didn't tell earlier. I was scared.  I wasn't as brave as Gabriel.  But I won't let Gabriel's death be something people at my school will forget so easily.  I'm going to make sure everyone knows what happened and why it shouldn't have."


"We'll do what we can, but you know things probably won’t change and if they do, it’ll take a while.” Mr. Garcia seemed more subdued after listening to Vanessa.


"Things may not change," Mrs. Garcia said, "but we have to do what we can so that it does.  We'll do it for our son...for Gabriel.”


***               ***                ***


As part of the school's new anti-bullying program, Vanessa and the Garcia's went from class every year speaking about gay bashing and what happens to the victims.  At first, students were sarcastic about what happened until they saw how sad the Garcia’s and Vanessa felt, and how much the event affected their lives.   Students who gave Gabriel a hard time began to feel remorse for treating him so poorly.


After awhile, other schools began to hear about the Garcias and the story of what happened to Gabriel.  His story began to spread. The Garcia’s were contacted by the district and were asked to help create a policy called Gabriel’s Intuitive, which created zero tolerance for bullying based on sexual orientation.


Finally, the Garcia's had closure and young people like Gabriel drew courage from how their peers sympathized with their story.

The Locket

posted Mar 9, 2012, 5:14 AM by Syd DiChiara

Authors: Avery H, Sarah H, & Marlo M

Chapter One
The Kidnapping

Alyssa jumped as she heard a little kid scream above her. Startled, she looked up just in time to see the roller coaster race by filled with excited, screaming children. She carefully walked around the corner to get away from all the noise and to get a moment to herself.


"Alyssa!" Kevin yelled, coming up from the opposite way. "Why are you over here?"


"Sorry, I needed to catch my breath. All this excitement is getting to me." Alyssa said.


"Well, come on. If you still want to ride California Screamin' we have to get in line now."


"Alright, alright. Take a chill pill."


They both walked back into the crowd of people laughing and talking, and kids screaming to their parents for cotton candy.  As the day went on, they had a great time at the park and experienced new and exciting adventures. She was having the time of her life, even though she'd been to Disney Land a million times before. Everything seemed as it should be.


As the day was ending, Alyssa and Kevin decided to leave and head home.  "So has your dad told you anything?" Kevin asked, seeming hesitant.


"About what?" she said with curiosity in her voice, but she already knew. Morgan, her mom, had disappeared a couple of years ago without any warning or letting anyone know where she was going. Kevin, being her best friend, had helped Alyssa try to find her mom shortly after Morgan disappeared.  Alyssa had given up after so many years, though Kevin still asked to let her know he cared.


"You know....you're mom."


"No, nothing." Not wanting to talk about it anymore she changed the subject. They went on walking, and approached the exit of the park, pausing when they reached the parking lot.


"So, where is your car exactly?" Alyssa asked.

Kevin looked around as he reached into his pockets to pull out his keys, but when he brought his hand back out, it was empty.

"Um...we might have a slight problem," Kevin said starting to seem nervous.


"Not again Kevin," Alyssa said with a groan.


"No, I think I know where I left my keys. Just stay right here and don't move, unless a car comes because that might be bad," he said trying to lighten the mood.


Alyssa rolled her eyes as he ran back into the park, and she sat down on the curb. So like Kevin to forget his keys everywhere he goes, she thought to herself.


She didn't notice the black car that had been approaching slowly. Once it was a short distance from her it just stopped, and two dark figures came out of the car from the backseat. Alyssa was looking behind her, wondering how long it would take Kevin to return with his keys, when everything went black and the the two figures carried Alyssa to the car and sped away.


Alyssa woke up groggy and confused. She was in a small room with a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. She tried to move her arms but found that they were tied behind the chair that she was sitting in. She was the only thing in the room, with the exception of a mirror that took up a large portion of the wall, and the metal chair she was sitting in.


"Hello!" She cried, hoping someone could hear her. "Is anybody there? Where am I?"  With no response she started to get nervous and freak out.  "Look, I don't know who you are but I think you've got the wrong person." Alyssa yelled at the mirror, which she hoped to be a window with people. She heard the sound of a large creaky door open somewhere behind her and footsteps as they approached her.


"I see you're awake," a man with a thick Russian accent said.


"Look, I don't know what you want but you obviously have the wrong person. I don't know you and haven't done anything to you," Alyssa said earnestly.


He was standing in front of her now, and she saw that he was tall man with thick muscles and dark hair. There was a stern and serious look about him that made Alyssa wonder if he ever smiled, and soon Alyssa understood not to mess with him.


"That might be the case Ms. Jones, but you have something that we must acquire." The man said crossing his arms, this made his muscles look even bigger, if that was possible.


"What are you talking about? How do you know my name?"


"How I know your name is not important right now, what is, is that you give me the necklace that Morgan left behind for you."


Mom? Alyssa thought panicking, What does this man know about my mom?


She knew what he was talking about, the necklace her mom gave her for her ninth birthday. It was a locket the shape of a heart, with a picture of her parents and Alyssa when she was just three years old.


"I don't know what you're talking about, my mother never left anything for me after she disappeared." Alyssa said trying to sound confident.


"Really," The man said, eyeing her suspiciously. "Maybe you need some time alone to think hard about it.  If I get back and you still don't remember, I might have better luck with your friend, Kevin."


Alyssa gasped, looking surprised. The man seemed pleased with this reaction and left, slamming the door behind him. She was alone in the room now, staring at herself in the mirror wondering what she was going to do.




.
Chapter Two
Sparkle Sparkle?


      Alyssa had no idea how long she had been alone in the room and hadn't slept since early that morning.  She had been there for what seemed like hours and she was left staring at nothing but the mirror.  With her mind thinking of Kevin and what they might be doing to him, she was about to come to the decision of telling the Russian man of where the locket was at, when she heard a noise. She looked into the mirror to check if the man came back, but instead found herself looking at a spot of the room that seemed to sparkle. Becoming clearer and clearer, what seemed like a horse at first appeared in the room, but there was something different for it to be just an average horse.

"A unicorn??" Alyssa said aloud, to herself.


The sparkles faded and Alyssa could see it was in fact a unicorn. She started then to think if she was going mad. The unicorn started to come towards her to stand by her side.


"Of course I'm a unicorn, silly," The unicorn said very sweetly.


"You can talk?" Alyssa asked, mystified.


"Most unicorns can, but we don't have time for me to explain everything now. We have to get you out of here before they bring in Dr. Spy!" the unicorn said moving towards the rope that had tied Alyssa’s hands, and worked to free them.


"Who are you and who's Dr. Spy?" Alyssa was getting more and more confused, What did I get myself into? Alyssa thought to herself.


"I'm Mabel, and I'll explain everything once we get out of here."


Alyssa felt her hands and feet suddenly become loose, and she saw that Mabel had cut the rope with her horn.


"Get on my back and hold on tight." Mabel said trying to hurry Alyssa.

Still confused, Alyssa climbed onto Mabel's back who had just started to sparkle, just like when she had appeared in the room.

Just as they seemed to disappear, the Russian man came into the room, and seeing Alyssa and Mabel free, he grew angry and started to shout in Russian. But it was too late.


Alyssa slept until noon the next day in her own bed and her own room. She then started to think back to the previous night, but because it all seemed so outrageous and out of the ordinary she thought it to be just a dream. This made her feel all the more better, even though she could see red marks around her wrists and ankles from the ropes that had tied her and she was still in the clothes she had worn the day before.


Quickly she changed and got ready, and remembering that her dad was out of town on a business trip, went to the kitchen to make herself some food. When she walked into the kitchen, all her hopes that the previous night was just a dream went out the window. Mabel was in the kitchen.


"Ahh!" Alyssa almost screamed. "Why are you here?"


"I have been waiting for you to get up for quite some time.  You do want me to explain everything don't you?" Mabel asked.


"So...everything that happened last night...that was real?" Alyssa asked.


"It was indeed real. Dr. Spy has been looking for you for quite some time now."


"But why?"


"Your mother’s locket. He needs it in order to accomplish his evil plan of taking over the world."


"So that's why that super buff guy was asking about it? Though why would a simple locket help Mr. Spy with taking over the world? Why does he want to take over the world?"


"Well you are full of questions, and it's Dr. Spy, not Mr. Spy. The locket though, I'm not sure really, but your mom used to work for Dr. Spy a long time ago, not really knowing his plans. When she found out that he wanted to use evil to take over the world, she took the one thing he needed in order to succeed, but I couldn't tell what that was exactly. It might just be a bunch of codes for his machine. Dr. Spy finally found out what your mom did but by that time, she and your father had been far out of his reach and on their way to California. They've been hiding here since then. It wasn't until a couple years ago that Dr. Spy found out where your mother was."


"That's why she disappeared? He kidnapped her?" Alyssa's voice started to become shaky.


"Unfortunately, yes," Mabel said. Alyssa could hear the sympathy in her voice. "Though your mother wouldn't tell him where the codes were, he knew they were hidden on the microchip, but a few weeks ago a secret source came and told him it was located in a piece of jewelry."

Alyssa slowly pulled out a chair at the table and sat down trying to take it all in.

"My mom's still alive?" Alyssa asked out loud amazed at the thought, it seemed foreign.


"She is, and she sent me to go ahead and warn you about the danger, but I was a little late, huh?"


"Yeah, just a little," She replied, hearing the sharpness in her voice.


"Look, Alyssa," Mabel said trying to sound reassuring, "I can't imagine how hard this is for you but you do have a choice, you can just give me the locket and I can hide it, but I can't promise you anything. The Russian men might keep coming after you looking for the locket your mom hid the codes in."


Alyssa wasn't too excited about this idea, running and hiding all the time. "What's my other option?"


"You can defeat Dr. Spy, stop him and rescue your mother."


Alyssa looked down at the bracelet she wore, the one that her mom got her for her eighth birthday. It was one of her favorite things that her mom had given her. She then looked at the strange unicorn standing in her kitchen and said not believing the words were coming out of her mouth, "So how does one go about defeating an evil doctor?"


Mabel smiled, "We're going to need some help- that's for sure."




.
Chapter Three
Follow Your Dreams

"So you are going to save the world to sum it all up?" Kevin asked looking at Alyssa with big eyes.


"Yup, pretty much." Alyssa had just explained everything to Kevin after calling him to come over. He of course thought she was pulling a prank at first, but seeing Mabel made him start to believe the story more.


"Well I still don't get this whole unicorn thing though it’s a good thing I’ve been around weird with my family being apart of a circus and all, but I'm ready to kick some Russian butt any day of the week." Kevin said smiling.


"Alright, it's decided now," Mabel said through the window. Alyssa hadn't felt too comfortable having a unicorn in the kitchen and so had asked her to go outside. "Alyssa do you know where your mother's locket is then? Could you go get it?"


Alyssa nodded and ran upstairs, leaving Kevin alone with Mabel.

"So unicorns, how's that going for you?" Kevin asked rather awkwardly.

Mabel looked at him with a weird face, "Full of sparkles," she replied, not really knowing how to answer.


Before it got too awkward though, Alyssa came back into the kitchen with the locket in hand, and as she was sitting down she slipped the locket over her head and it rested around her neck."Now what do we need to do?" Alyssa asked, not fully understanding their next step.


"Well your mom trusted one other person from her past to know part of her secret, and it's the same man that made her locket. Check the inside of the heart and tell me if you see a signature inside."



Alyssa opened the locket and took out the photo or her and her parents at the beach when she was three, looking for a name. It was hard to see at first but there it was, carved along the edge where the picture had covered it.


"Frank Smith," Alyssa said, getting up to go get her laptop and look up the name.  "He owns the pawn shop on Rose Street."


"Is that him?' Kevin asked trying to see her laptop.


"Well there's only one way to find out."


They arrived at the pawn shop an hour later and parked Kevin's car in the side parking lot.


"You think Mabel will be alright in your backyard?" Alyssa said feeling a little guilty about leaving the unicorn behind.


"She did say that she had things to do, and don't feel guilty for leaving her, I mean it would've been weird for some people to see a unicorn strutting down the street."


"I know," Alyssa started to giggle. "I can't believe you just said strutting."


Kevin looked at her smiling. "I'm glad you don't find anything wrong or weird about what I just said, all of which involved unicorns, except for one word."


"That's why you love me," she giggled just as they walked in the pawn shop.


There was a rush of cool air as they walked in, giving Alyssa goose bumps. As they walked farther inside they saw a man behind a desk, he had hair that was starting to gray and he was leaning over, working on what looked like a timepiece. He looked up as they got closer and put on that friendly grin that all salesmen wore.


"Hey kids, can I help you with something?"


"Yeah, you're Frank, right? We were wondering if you kept records of items that you sell, or make repairs for or anything?" Alyssa asked rather nervously.


"Yes, I am Frank," he looked at them suspiciously "Of course I do, but it might be a little difficult since I've been in business for fifteen years."


"What if we had the item?" Kevin asked.


"Well the thing is that I've seen hundreds of items come and go-" Frank stopped abruptly.


While they had been talking Alyssa had taken the locket off her neck and held it in front of her.


"Does this look familiar?" She asked trying to read Frank's face.

Frank seemed sort of dazed and was looking at the necklace with shock.  He finally looked at Alyssa, for what was really the first time.

"I can't believe I didn't see it before...you look just like your mother. I never expected to see that locket again."


"So you did know my mom, and she asked you to do something with the locket, didn't she?"


"Yes, she wanted to hide code inside. She used to be an old co-worker of mine and I wanted to do her a favor, so I never asked how the codes worked or how to use them and she never told me."


"Well, what can you tell us?" Kevin asked


"I can tell you," Frank said as he moved toward the front of the store hanging up a closed sign and drawing the blinds, "everything you need to know about Dr. Spy and where your mother might be kept as a prisoner," He said turning to look at Alyssa.


By the time they had finished talking, it was already dark outside. To Alyssa, it didn't feel like it had been that long. In the last few hours, they had learned about Dr. Spy and Morgan (Alyssa's mother), and how Morgan had been Dr. Spy's right hand. Dr. Spy, though, had turned evil after the Russian government made him the laughing stock of Russia. His scientific ideas about creating a device that would allow people to talk to each other with their minds was why.  


Dr. Spy, wanting revenge, made modifications to his device, which actually did work but there were severe consequences for using it. So with his device modified, he made it so that he could control minds, and when Morgan found this out, she stole the codes, disabled the device as best she could, and fled from Russia. Frank had worked for Dr. Spy too, but he had left before Morgan did. He had been threatened by Dr. Spy just like the rest of Dr. Spy’s employees were threatened. Since none of the employees had followed Dr. Spy’s demands, they ended up “disappearing”. A couple years later, when Morgan found Frank and told him that she needed to hide the codes from Dr. Spy,  he hid the codes into the locket that hung around Alyssa's neck, and that was the last time Frank ever saw her.


“I couldn’t tell anybody or report him to the authorities. Dr. Spy can be very dangerous if you get on his bad side,” Frank said.


"So you haven't had anything suspicious happen since then, like someone looking for the locket?" Kevin had asked.


"Now that I think about it...yeah, there were a couple of guys that came by here saying that they were from a jewelry company from out of the country called Morgan's Jewelry and they were into reselling old jewelry."


"Well I don't know if that would count as suspicious."


"Except that their company name is the same as my mom's." Alyssa said


"Also," Frank said his face growing dark, "they were Russian."


"Now that's too much of a coincidence," Kevin said.


They had left with the agreement to go back to Alyssa's house where they would meet up with Mabel. When they found something new they would contact Frank, and the same went for Frank.


Kevin and Alyssa got back to the house only to find that Mable was not there, so Alyssa decided to take a nap and fell into a deep sleep. She had a dream about her mom. It was at night and snowing and Alyssa was running through the streets with people calling out to her as she passed. The word Moscow was everywhere around her on street signs and newspapers. She suddenly appeared in front a building with a sign saying Morgan's Jewelers, so she walked inside only to find herself in a room with her mom sitting in a chair under a single light.


"Mom!" Alyssa called.  "Mom! Your safe!"


Suddenly, she awoke to Kevin shaking her and Mable standing above her.


"Are you okay Alyssa? You were yelling in your sleep," Kevin asked.


"Yeah, I'm fine. It was just a dream. Sorry."


Once Alyssa stopped herself from shaking, she and Kevin told Mable everything they had learned that day from Frank. Mabel suggested that they start researching about the Russian jewelers to get more clues and found out that, indeed, the company was in Moscow.


"I knew it!" exclaimed Alyssa. "My mom was trying to give me a sign. She is in Moscow, it was in my dream. Everything we are looking for is in Moscow."


"We know where to go now!" Alyssa said, excited.


"Well, no need to wait. We will leave tomorrow morning. You guys get your sleep, you are going to need it," Mable replied.


"I'll call Frank real quick to let him know what's going on," Kevin said reaching for his phone.




.
Chapter Four
Everybody’s “Rushin”

They arrived in Moscow a few hours later, using Mable's ninja fast transportation.


"Well, that was strange," Kevin said looking down at himself. "I've never sparkled into a place before."


Mabel and Alyssa rolled their eyes and went out onto the street, with Kevin following. They started to ask around where Morgan Jewelers was, and by using their knowledge, persuasive skills, and charm, they were able to locate their destination.


They walked up to the shop and Alyssa tried to open the door. It was locked.


"Let’s try to find another entrance around back," Kevin said as he started walking around the side of the building. The rest of them followed and they came to an open window.


"It's okay you guys, I got this." Kevin started to crawl through the window when Alyssa spotted the back door.


"Umm, Kevin....," Alyssa said, starting to laugh. "We could just use the door," she said, as it opened. There was then a loud crash and Kevin fell through the window while Alyssa and Mabel walked through the door.


"Kevin! Are you okay?" Alyssa asked running to him.


"Yeah, I'm fine. Maybe I should let you lead," Kevin said laughing.


"Okay you guys, we're probably going to have to hurry just in case someone heard that crash," Mabel stammered, starting to sound a little anxious.


Kevin got up and brushed himself off, and they headed towards the door that led them deeper into the building.


It was a very confusing building, with many doorways and hallways, and on top of that it was dim. There was someone else in the building- they could hear it. They just didn't know if it was a Russian or Alyssa's mom. They continued searching while being as quiet as possible.


"I don't know if it is a good idea to be here...," Kevin said, sounding nervous.


"Kevin! This is the only way to find my mom... I know it!" Alyssa exclaimed.


They continued walking down hallway after hallway, not knowing if they were even heading in the right direction. Then the voices they had heard earlier started to grow louder.


"Obviously, you can't even be trusted to babysit a little girl!" The voice was definitely Russian, and the man that was talking sounded angry.


"I'm sorry sir, but it wasn't my fault. When I came back in the room she just sparkled out." Alyssa knew that voice, it was the Russian that had interrogated her in the room and had made false threats about Kevin. Mabel must have realized this too because she was looking at Alyssa probably to make sure she didn't freak out and give themselves up.


"Do you know how ridiculous that sounds, Dmitiri!! You're a grown man and you are talking about sparkles making a girl disappear! Are you sure you're not a little girl yourself wanting to live in a daydream of yours!"


"That's Dr. Spy." Mabel whispered.


"Look," Dmitiri said, " I'll find her okay, it's just that when I went to her house she wasn't there. No one was, but I'll wait until she comes back."


The conversation grew closer and closer, when all of a sudden they both walked around the corner and Alyssa gasped. Surprised that they were there, both the Russians stood shocked for a second, but it was, Alyssa assumed, Dr. Spy that recovered first.


"Get them!" He demanded. The trio turned to run but they only found more Russians coming up behind them. They were trapped.


They woke up from a deep sleep, only to find themselves trapped in a room with no windows and one locked door. Alyssa looked around the room and saw something in the corner. Not really sure what it was she stared at it and saw it move. She gave a little scream.


"Alyssa?" asked a familiar voice. The figure got up and came more into the light, it was her mom. Alyssa ran to her and they held each other as if letting go meant the other would disappear. When they let go of each other, Morgan saw that Kevin and a unicorn were in the room too.


"Well, I see you've had quite an adventure," Morgan said with some amusement.


"You have no idea," Kevin chimed in. Then Alyssa, Kevin and Mabel took time to tell Morgan everything they knew about what had happened the last few days.


"So there really isn't anything I need to tell you since you already know everything, huh?" Morgan said, when they were done.


"Yeah, well we just don't know how the codes work," Alyssa mumbled, reaching up to touch the locket. Morgan froze as she watched her daughter play with the necklace.


"You still have it with you? The locket?" Morgan asked breathlessly


"Well yeah, I couldn't leave it behind and-" Alyssa was cut off as someone started to open the door and come into the room.  It was Dr. Spy.


"Now isn't this nice, not only do I get to see a family reunion but you also bring me a present," he said with a crooked grin. He was extremely short and had dark hair that stuck up all around his head like he had just rolled out of bed.  It was just what you would think an evil scientist would look like.


"I don't now what you're talking about," Alyssa said shakily.


"Of course you do little girl. Just give me the locket and no one will get hurt." Behind him Dmitiri walked in and took Morgan so that her back was against him, and Alyssa's heart started to pound. She just got her mom back and they were going to hurt her.


"You don't want us to hurt your mother, now do you?" Dr. Spy said smugly, seeing the hurt that he was causing Alyssa.


"Don't listen to him Alyssa."


"If you give it to me willingly though, your mother won't be hurt and you can go free.  Whereas if I took the locket from you myself, you all will be the first ones to be under my control."

Alyssa looked at her mom, knowing that she would be hurt if she didn't give up the locket. This was her mom! She couldn't let anything happen, so she reached down and took the locket in her hand.

"Fine," she said. "You win."


She tugged at the chain so that it was freed from her neck and held it out.


"Alyssa!" Kevin yelled.


It was too late though. Dr. Spy reached out and took the locket from Alyssa, tucking it into his pocket.


"What a good girl you are, able to follow orders, just like everyone else will when my plan succeeds."


Alyssa looked at her friends hoping they would understand, and when she looked up, Dr. Spy, and Dmitiri, who were still holding Morgan, started to move out of the room.


"Wait, you said you would let us go!" Alyssa cried.


"Oh yes, of course," Dr. Spy said waving another Russian soldier over.


"Take these three outside and make sure they don't come back."


"But...what about my mom?!"


"Like I said she won't be hurt, but she just can't go with you."


"NO! You can't do this!"


"My dear I can, and I just did," he said, walking away.


Alyssa then realized what she did and she grew numb inside.  She didn't notice anything from that point on, not the cold when they got outside or even when she ended up in her own room. She didn't care anymore.



.
Chapter Five
The Dream Team

“Alyssa, you have to do something.”

“No, I can’t and I won’t,” Alyssa said. “Besides, my mom probably hates me and doesn’t want me to be the one to save her.”


The doorbell rang and Alyssa got up from the couch she had been sitting at to answer the door. She was startled when she answered it because she found that Frank was at the door.


“Mabel came to me saying I needed to come over, and obviously I do after everything that’s happened without me!” Frank said coming into the house.


“The whole world is going to be taken over by Dr. Spy and it’s all my fault!” Alyssa cried.


Frank sat down on the couch and motioned for Alyssa to sit down next to him. “You made a mistake,” he said with reassurance in his voice. “Everyone does.”


“But not everyone has the world at stake!” She said slightly aggravated.


“I guess the only thing you can do to fix this is to go back and fight Dr. Spy. You can do it Alyssa, with the proper training and will power, you will be able to rescue the locket, and more importantly, your mom.”


"Will you help me train Frank? Please?" Alyssa asked.


"With training? Of course! It’s about time there was an opportunity to defeat Dr. Spy and save the world." Frank said excitedly.


"Okay, if we are going to do this, and do this right, we should start right away." Alyssa said.


"Great! We will start tomorrow morning!"   


So the rest of the day Alyssa waited with anticipation for her first day of training with thoughts of becoming a great ninja.  Unfortunately for Alyssa it wasn't everything she thought it would be. There was a lot of running. He had her run through the city until her legs burned. When she finally got back her legs felt like jello.


"I got news," Frank said that night.  "I booked our flight for next Tuesday."


"But that's only four days!"


"Well, I guess you'll just have to work hard for the next couple days," Frank said handing her the ticket. "We don't have anymore time now that Dr. Spy has the codes."


"Okay, well lets keep training," Alyssa said, sounding tired.


They continued training for the next few days, nearly exhausting Alyssa. She pushed herself as far as she could go and above that, with only two things in mind that kept her going. The first was her mom and the second, saving the world. By next Tuesday, Alyssa wasn't a top notch ninja, but it was the best she could be in the limited amount of training she had. Frank had decided to come along with them, thinking that not only they wouldn't survive without him, but also because he wanted to get back at Dr. Spy. He wanted to get back at him for making him go into hiding and start a new life for all these years. For Kevin, Alyssa, Mabel, and Frank, it was the dream to save the world!


Since they had been to the jewelery company already, Mabel knew where she had to go in Moscow but she didn't land exactly where she wanted. They ended up on the roof of the building.


"Be careful Kevin. You wouldn't want to fall through a window again this high up," Mabel said trying to lighten the mood.


The only way in was a brick chimney that they had to shimmy down into in order to reach the Russians. They went in one at a time; first Frank, then Mable, Alyssa, and lastly Kevin. When they reached the bottom they found themselves in a large fireplace within a room full of Russian spies. Kevin, being the last, saw the Russians before him and said, "Ho Ho Ho, Santa's here."


The Russians then rushed towards them, and Frank and Alyssa used their mad ninja skills to fend them off, while Mabel threw glitter bombs from her horn to distract some of the spies. When the spies in the room were all tied up, the dream team left the room to find Dr. Spy.


They found themselves in a big bright room that had a metal device in the middle, and it reminded Alyssa of a radio station tower. Nearby she saw that her mom was tied to what they thought was a control panel, and at the control with the locket was Dr. Spy.


"Hey evil doctor guy! Stop right there!" Kevin yelled to him.


Dr. Spy looked up, startled that anyone would be here. "Well, obviously I should have gotten rid of you when I had the chance, but no matter you all are too late anyways." He said smugly.


"Not if I can help it," Alyssa shouted and rushed toward him and kicked him so that he dropped the locket. Mabel rushed over and took up the locket, then rushed to free Morgan. Frank headed toward Alyssa and Dr. Spy, who were struggling over who got to the control panel. The fight was soon three against one- Kevin, Frank and Alyssa against Dr. Spy.


"Look," Dr. Spy said, realizing he was near defeat, "you can all rule with me. Think about it, the whole world under our control alone, it-" He then fell over and Morgan was behind him having hit him with a chair.


"I've wanted to do that for a long time," she said.


"Mom!" Alyssa said, running to her. "I'm so sorry!!"


While the group surrounded Morgan, they didn't see Dr. Spy get up and pull a needle from his pocket and rush toward Alyssa. He then injected the contents of it into her. Alyssa then spun around but it was too late.


"What did you do?" She said, her voice full of fear.


"If I can't take over the world then this is my revenge. You will slip away slowly from the inside out, but it will take years before you pass away."

He then ran toward the window at the far end of the room, and the group headed to the window just in time to see a speedboat take Dr. Spy away toward the horizon. Frustrated that he got away, they all turned to look toward Alyssa.


Looking at her mom, she said in a low voice, "I'm scared."



.
Chapter Six
Not the End

A year had passed since Alyssa and her dream team fought their epic battle and saved the world. Alyssa continued on with her life, and she was living it to the fullest. She had accepted that she was not going to live forever, but that did not get her down. She was a hero.  


Her friends continued to look for the cure, along with her parents (her dad had been filled in shortly after they all got back home). At first, they all looked for a cure like mad men, not wanting to lose Alyssa to a thing that they couldn't control and didn't know how to fight. It wasn't until one day that Alyssa had grown to realize that she shouldn't be wasting the time she had left over something that seemed impossible to reverse.


Alyssa was now known almost world wide because she and her friends had saved humanity, and she tried not to let it go to her head, of course.  She continued to train with Frank just in case the world would need her and the dream team to fight against some evil super villain again. She thought that even though she wouldn't live forever, she wanted to live her life the best that she could now, and not worry about the next day or what was to come.




The Winter of Rose

posted Mar 9, 2012, 5:09 AM by Syd DiChiara

Authors: Hannah C, Katelynn H, & Diego C

Chapter 1


“Rose, have the floors been cleaned yet?”  That was the nanny, Franny. She was bossy and rude and had hideous gray and brown hair. Her skin was an atrocious pale color and her forehead was extremely large and she smelled like dead bugs and dust. She was too cheap to hire some one to clean so she made all of us kids do that. Nobody liked her here, all of the other kids called her Frannystein behind her back.

“Not yet nanny Franny” I answered back. I didn’t like cleaning the floors, I thought it was pointless to clean them just so they could get dirty again. I hated it here and this place hated me. I wanted out. I had been here for all my ten years of living and I was ready to go somewhere else. I had gone to countless adoption interviews but every time the couple answered back, ‘We’ll think about it’ and never called again. Nobody wanted a street urchin like me. I was just a ten year old with tangled hair and dirty skin, not like the cute little girls that every couple wants.

“Rose! Rose! Where is Rose?!” Nanny Franny came running up the stairs, nearly tripping on her way up.

“I’m right here, Miss” I answered back. Something must have been wrong, I hadn’t seen Frannystein run like that since there was the guy with free doughnuts at the door.

“Rose, there you are! I have big news! Big, big news!”

“Yes?”

“I have an adoption interview for you! You’re finally going to have a home! They’ve already decided that they want a ten year old little girl and I think you’re the perfect candidate! Clean up quick, dear, and be down stairs in about ten minutes.” I stood there, not knowing what to do. I was finally going to have a home- finally going to get out of this awful place.

I quickly brushed my hair, washed my face, and changed out of my dirty rags that Franny called clothes. I walked down the stairs, the couple was already there talking to Nanny Franny. To my displeasure, it was a rotten looking rich couple. They were clean and shiny, their clothes expensive and elegant, their noses in the air like they smelled something bad. The worst part was the shaking little lap dog that the lady held. He looked pampered with the bow in his hair and his legs so tiny it looked like they would break if she set him on the ground.

“Rose,” said Nanny Franny, “Meet your new parents”. My excited face turned into a frown, I was not under any circumstances going to go home with these fancy pants people. The lady walked over to me and looked me up and down.

“She’s not too bad,” said the lady, “If we fix that hair, get rid of that horrid odor, and clean up that face then she could work.”

Before I could say anything, Franny cut me off. “She’s yours!” she blurted out, “Take her, please!”

I ran upstairs, tears starting to stream down my face. I was not going to be going with them. I refused to live with these people. I looked downstairs and saw the rich man signing off on the adoption papers. I had to think fast, I had to get out of here. Then I saw the window was open. I knew I couldn’t jump out, it was too high. Instead I grabbed all the blankets off the beds and began tying them together, making a rope that I could lower out the window in order to escape.

“Rose,” the ugly voice of Nanny Franny began to call me, “Get your things together, your new family’s waiting!”

If I ever wanted to leave, it would have to be now. I began to climb out the window, taking one last look at the room I had lived in for ten years before sliding down the rope that would lead me to my new life.

Chapter 2


I roamed the streets aimlessly. The days started to melt together, I wasn’t sure how long I had been away from the orphanage. Every day was the same: find food in a dumpster, walk around and explore, and then find a shelter for the night. I couldn’t stay in one place for too long, or else people would start to get angry with me. They would make me leave and find another place, it was beginning to become a hard life.

I curled into a ball on the ground by a nearby dumpster. I was starting to lose hope, maybe I wouldn’t be able to handle this, maybe I should just go back now. I rested my forehead on my arms and began to cry.

pThe noise of something moving startled me and interrupted my mourning. I stood up hesitantly, not knowing what kind of danger was ahead of me. I slowly walked over to the box on the street that moved and reached out to touch it. Just then a dog sprang out from behind the box, startling me. We stared at each other for a while, skeptical of what to do, not knowing what kind of danger the other posed.

“Get out of here,” I said to the dog, while backing away slowly. She could be dangerous. Yet, her soft looking brown eyes told a different story. She didn’t move from where he stood. She seemed kind. Maybe we had more in common than I thought, maybe we were both unwanted and alone. I reached my hand out to her slowly, not knowing if I should reach out to touch her golden fur or not. She bowed her head, as if she was nervous too and softly nuzzled my hand. I knelt down and wrapped my arms around the dog’s skinny frame and continued to pet her softly.
“Don’t worry,” I whispered, “We’ll do this together.” I wasn’t going to leave her and I had a feeling she wasn’t going to leave me.

That night, we laid there together. She was right next to me, keeping me warm the whole night. The following days were spent together, I wasn’t lonely anymore, I had finally made a friend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“You know what you need? A name. I’ve been with you for quite sometime and I haven’t called you anything but dog... Any ideas?” The dog stared at me blankly then laid her head on her paws with a grumble.

I sighed and looked at my surroundings. We had moved to a different dumpster in the past week and this one had many more boxes to hide in. I liked this alley, it was one of the cleanest we had been to. There weren’t any trash bags, just boxes. Out of boredom, I decided to read the boxes. I thought it was interesting to see where they all came from. There was one from San Fransisco, Chicago, Portland, Albuquerque, and another from New York. The New York box was my favorite and had a large colorful logo on it that read ‘Maybelline’.

“That’s it!” I shouted louder than I meant to, “I’ll call you Mabel!”

Mabel cocked her head to the side, barked happily, then laid her head back down on her paws.

“From now on you will be known as Mabel. My dog, Mabel.” I smiled, with Mabel as my dog, nothing could go wrong. :D

Chapter 3

Mabel and I walked by a quaint building on the street, the smell of something baking filled my nose. The temptation of the smells led me inside where various treats filled the shelves that lined the bakery. There were cakes to tarts to sandwiches, everything a hungry child could ever want. My mouth started to water looking at all the food, it all looked so appetizing compared to the garbage food we had been living off of. In the midst of the foods, there was a jar full of dog treats. I looked down and noticed the ribs showing on Mabel’s sides. She was starving, I knew she was, but I wasn’t sure if I could afford to feed her and myself.

“That’s a real nice dog,” said a boy that had just walked in with his mom. He startled me at first, I wasn’t used to people talking to me.

“Oh thanks, her name’s Mabel,” I replied.

“Hey, you should buy her one of those treats there, I’m sure she’d really like one.” I wasn’t sure how to reply to this, I didn’t know if I should tell this boy that I was poor and couldn’t buy food for myself, let alone my dog. I guess my shocked expression let him know this because next thing I knew he handed me a crisp dollar bill.

“Here, take it. She looks real hungry.” He briefly smiled at me sympathetically, just before his mom pulled him out of the store.

I stood there in awe and watched the boy leave. Mabel barked softly and I focused again at the task at hand. With a dollar in my hand, I grabbed one of the large dog treats that was in the jar.

Confidently, I walked over to the counter where the cashier was waiting.

“One dog treat please,” I said. This was the first time I had ever bought something.

The cashier smiled and gave me a small bag for the dog treat.

Chapter 4

I sat in the frozen alley under a tattered blanket I had found in the dumpster, Mabel curled up next to me. This was the third day in a row it had been snowing. This wasn’t just snow either, it was a full on blizzard. All the streets were covered with black ice and thick snow. There weren’t many cars out because people were advised to stay inside with their families.

Even with the help of old jackets I had found, I was still starting to get cold. In fact, I was shivering. It was especially cold at night, when everything froze. Mabel was cold too, we had old jackets to cover us and old blankets, but it was hard to keep warm when your only source of warmth was old and covered with holes from wear. We couldn’t walk along the streets anymore because I didn’t have shoes and when my feet stepped through the thick snow that covered the ground, I would get a stabbing pain in my feet from the cold.

Mabel jumped as I sneezed suddenly. I could tell I was starting to get sick. I had been sneezing a lot lately, coughing too. If I was still at the orphanage, I would be drinking hot soup right now while laying in a soft bed, trying to get better.

I laid there on the ground, completely still. I didn’t have the energy to get up, I just felt too tired, too sick. It wasn’t helping that we hadn’t eaten in several days, because of the weather. My eyes started to close, I wanted to sleep. Mabel nudged me, trying to get me up.

“No, Mabel, not now. I want to sleep.” Mabel wouldn’t leave, she started whining and kept nudging my face persistently. Then she grabbed the plaid blanket that was underneath me and started dragging it with me on it. I couldn’t tell where she was taking me, but I trusted her to keep me safe. Everything seemed like it was spinning, the snow seemed like it was falling even harder than before. Then I wasn’t cold and the spinning stopped and the world went black.

Chapter 5

Warmth surrounded me, something soft was supporting my back and my neck. I must have been dreaming because I had never laid on something this soft in my life. I slowly opened my eyes, expecting one of the alleyways to be revealed and the warmth to disappear. Instead a new surrounding was shown to me, there were white walls and monitors everywhere. There was one window in the room that brought in light from the sun. A blanket, covered in monkeys, kept me warm and covered the blue spotted hospital gown that I was wearing. There was a constant beeping from the heart monitor that was attached to my chest.

“Thank goodness you’re awake now!” said a woman who rushed over to my bed. I hadn’t noticed her before. She must have been sitting in the corner with a man I was assuming was her husband. Why were they here waiting for me to wake up?

“We thought we had lost you,” she continued “The doctor said you wouldn’t make it, but we were almost sure you would!” I gave her a confused look. I wasn’t sure if I should trust this woman or not. She looked nice, with soft, brown eyes and a smile, nothing like Nanny Franny.

“That’s right,” said the man  “You’re very lucky that dog of yours brought you over to us a couple days ago.”

Mabel.

“Where’s Mabel?” I asked. I didn’t realize how sore my throat was and my voice came out coarse and barely comprehensible.

“Don’t worry, sweetie,” said the lady while stroking my forehead, “She’s waiting for you at home.”

I frowned. What was happening? Why was this lady saying she was waiting for me at home? Was I dead? Maybe I was in some parallel universe where I had never been brought to the orphanage.

“Wait,” I said hesitantly, “Who are you?"
The two adults exchanged a look between each other then looked back at me. The lady flashed a gentle smile my way and then began talking again.

“Rose, you’re an orphan and you’re ten years old, am I correct?” I gave her a quizzical glance, how could she know so much about me when I knew nothing about her.

“Yes?” I said with a questioning tone.

“Rose, my name’s Patty Meyers this is my husband Paul Meyers. Ten years ago we had a lovely daughter only to realize that we weren’t ready for a child. Right before you were born, Paul lost his job and- well, we went broke. We were living in a car.” I wasn’t sure where she was going with this. Was she suggesting that I was her child?

“Rose,” she continued, “Would you like to have a home?” Both Paul and Patty looked at me with sympathetic stares, silently waiting for my reply.

“Of course,” I said, slightly stuttering.

“Well,” said Paul “We’re your parents, Rose, and we want you to come home with us.” My jaw dropped to the floor from the shock that I was really in the presence of my true parents. Not only was I going to have a family, I was going to have my family. A smile crept it’s way onto my face and tears of joy were brought to my eyes.

“And Mable can live with us too?”

Patty almost seemed shocked by this question, “Of course Mabel can live with us! She’s always welcome to live with us, she’s the reason we have our daughter back.” I reached out and hugged both of them close to me and they hugged me back. Finally, I had found my family.

Chapter 6

Today was the day, I was finally being sent home from the hospital. I had been here a week and they had cleared that it was a minor case of pneumonia and I should be back to normal in a few weeks.

I scanned the walls that surrounded me. Since I had been here, my parents had decorated the room for me to make me feel more comfortable. There were large balloons and flowers all over the room and banners with “GET WELL SOON ROSE” printed across them, a small fake Christmas tree stood rigid in the corner with shiny ornaments covering most of its branches.

It was Christmas Eve already and tomorrow would be the first time that I’ve ever really celebrated Christmas. I’ve heard stories of families getting together and opening presents that were placed under the tree and about a chubby man with a red suit who comes while you sleep and delivers presents to good children. I wasn’t sure how much of this was true and how much I should expect. The most we had done for Christmas at the orphanage was get an extra cookie during lunch.

I pulled at the hem of my navy blue shirt nervously. It was brand new, my parents had gotten me new clothes so I wouldn’t have to depart the hospital in the same rags I had come in. In fact, they had gotten me all new clothes while I was waiting in the hospital. They had brought them all in to show me. They were all different arrays of color, all of the fabrics had a soft, cotton feel to them.

I heard a soft knock at the door followed by both of my parents walking calmly into the room. My mom gave me sincere smile.

“Are you ready to go now?” she said. I returned the smile she gave me.

“I’m ready,” I said.

Chapter 7

I stood in the doorway in awe, this house was beautiful. I had never been inside a real house before, and now I could see why people liked living in them. A banner greeted me as soon as I walked in with letters “Welcome Home Rose” written across it in neat handwriting. The floors were covered with plush carpet and my feet sunk into it as I walked. There were huge windows, letting in the bright light from outside. A huge Christmas tree was displayed in the corner of the first room, it was covered with glowing lights and shimmering ornaments. I went over and felt the branches, it was definitely real and had the strong smell of pine needles.

The sound of paws scratching against tile startled me and I turned around to see Mabel running down the stairs, her blond tail wagging behind her.

“Mabel!” I called out, I knelt down and she ran to me. Her features were slightly different and her coat was no longer dirty.  Her ribs were no longer the obvious stripes that they used to be, a green color had been placed around her neck with a heart-shaped tag that read:

MABEL  

5067 Pyne Rd NE


Tears started to fill my eyes, I looked up to my parents.

“Does this mean-” before I could finish, my parents had already started to respond.

“That’s right, Rose, you’re home and so is Mabel.” A smile filled my whole face, tears of joy starting falling from my eyes. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever find a family like this. Finally, I was home.
 

Search for Alcina

posted Mar 9, 2012, 4:59 AM by Syd DiChiara

Authors: Cameron G, Sam Q, & Natalee B












.

Chapter 1


Forbidden Acquaintances


It all started when a goddess fell in love with a mortal. They met at the Greek mythology museum. They were both looking at the same statue and she could tell the second he saw her he would fall in love.  This troubled the goddess because she knew not to fall in love with a mortal. The mortal finally had the courage to start a conversation.  


He asked her, “What is your favorite statue in here?”


She replied, “Well I’m not sure, I think it would be the goddess Persephone. What’s yours?”


The man answered, “Mine is definitely Athena.”


This was the very topic that intrigued the goddess as she was indeed Athena, goddess of wisdom.  They continued their conversation on why the statues were so important to them and once they realized what had begun, they introduced themselves to one another.  


“Hi my name is Ryan.” the man offered.


The woman thought carefully for a moment and decided that it would be a wise choice to tell the guy, “Nice to meet you, I am Athena.”


Ryan stopped and pondered for a few moments.  He was shocked at what was just stated, but did not have enough time to say or do anything about it.  Athena then carried on the conversation like nothing had happened.  They talked for what seemed like minutes, but over the intercom came the “We are now closing” message.  Surprised at how time passed, Ryan asked if Athena would be there the next day.  She nodded her head and left.  


The next morning Ryan showed up extra early to the entrance of the museum. Seeing that is was closed made his heart sink.  He knew if the museum was closed no one would come, and if no one came, then he would not see Athena.  He sat on the steps, his face resting sadly on his knees, when he heard a voice.

"Hello there."


He rose to his feet and mumbled, “I thought you weren’t going to show up?”


She replied, “I didn’t think you would either?”


“Well I am here now and certainly glad to be.  Would you like to go grab a bite to eat?” Ryan anxiously asked.


“I would love to,” Athena replied.


The two then had lunch and talked for hours and hours until it was time to say goodbye again, only this time it did not seem unfortunate.  They had planned to meet up the next day, and from that moment on they decided they would meet regularly.  


One day that all changed.  


***           ***           ***


Ryan met Athena at the usual place, but this time Athena had something very important to say.  


As Ryan approached Athena murmered, “Let’s talk…somewhere else.”


“Oookkk.  Is everything alright?” Ryan asked.


“Yes.  There is just something I need to tell you,” Athena replied.


Mysteriously, Ryan followed Athena to a park close by.  Sitting on the bench, Athena started to tell him about how she was a goddess and that she was not supposed to fall in love with a human.  


Ryan was not about to give up so easily, though.  He loved Athena and he knew that she loved him, too.  After hearing this, Athena was relieved.  She thought it was going to be easy to tell him that she could no longer see him, but she decided that she loved him too much to even let the words escape her mouth.  She held her tongue and told Ryan that she loved him, too.  


From that moment on they stood side by side, hand in hand, everywhere they went.  They were in love and a year later Athena found that she was pregnant.



.

Chapter 2

Taken


The baby was born a demi-god in the upper world with the rest of the gods.  Athena could not keep her because of a law Zeus made stating that all gods and goddesses were not allowed to live with their children if they were made with a mortal.  Athena had no choice but to bring the baby to Earth and give her to Ryan to raise.


What Athena did not know was that Hades, god of the Underworld, planned to steal Athena’s baby and give it to his wife Persephone to raise as her own.  He came up with a brilliant plan to steal her before Athena could reach the baby’s mortal father.


Ryan and his sister, Jade, was setting up the baby room unaware that Hades was hatching his plan. Jade had three kids of her own, and knew how to prepare her brother for the baby's arrival.  


After a couple of hours, Ryan and Jade decided to take a break.  Ryan made some sandwiches and lemonade for lunch. They sat down at the kitchen table, and talked about his new baby and how Ryan couldn’t wait for her to come and live with him.


Meanwhile, Athena was spending her last night with her baby in her room. She did not really want to give her child up, but she knew she had no other choice and could not go up against Zeus or break the laws of the gods.  Allowing Ryan to raise her was the right thing to do.


Athena fed her baby Power Milk, which helped the little ones get their powers faster.  The baby fell fast asleep in her mother’s arms and was placed in her crib.  Athena sat by her side as she slept, and sang softly, then whispered into her baby's ear, “I love you with all my heart, never forget me my little sweetheart. I’ll always be with you and never apart.  When you feel sad always listen to your heart.”


Then Athena walked over to her window and stared out over the ocean.  She watched the waves crash against the rocks, wishing the next day would never come.


***           ***           ***


“The night has come my darling.  When I come back I will have her and you will raise her as your own,” Hade’s announced with a confident look in his eye.


Persephone stayed quiet and sat down in a chair.  In an instant Hades was gone. She got up and started to pace.   I can’t do this, she told herself.  What happens if she doesn't love me?  What happens if she finds out I'm not her mother?  She'll never forgive me.  What if I'm not doing the right thing?  She needs a mother.  I can be that for her.  I can do this.


Persephone walked to the living room and stood in front of the fireplace watching the flames move back and forth.  A vision of Hades slowly appeared.  She could see where he was and what he was doing at that moment.


He was in Athena’s room disguised as a servant.  He watched Athena with caution and walked over to where the crib was and he looked at the beautiful baby peacefully sleeping.


“My, what a beautiful baby you have here, miss,” Hades praised softly.


Without turning from the ocean, Athena replied, “Thank you.  Her father and I have decided to call her Alcina.”


“Meaning strong-willed…yes?” he questioned, knowing the answer.


“Yes, that’s right.  Wait, how do you know that?”  Athena asked, hesitantly.


When she didn't hear an answer from the servant, she turned his way.  Her baby was gone and so was the servant.   Athena fell to the ground letting out a cry for help.  The guards came running in.


“What happened?” they asked with fear in their eyes.

Athena looked at them, stood up slowly and answered, “Someone took Alcina...”


The guards asked, “Do you know what the person looked like or what they were wearing?”


Athena’s eyes started to water as she spoke, “No, I don’t know. I think it was one of the gods, but I didn’t see his face.”


The guards ran from the room in hopes of catching whomever took the baby.  


Athena walked over to her bed and sat down.  She started to think very carefully about the face, body movement, and the voice of the alleged servant. Shape-shifters were the first thing to come to mind.  It made sense because they were always stealing from the gods.  But what if it was not a shape-shifter?  What if it were a god?


Athena walked over toward the center of the upper world, so that she could talk to Zeus and tell him the news. By the time she got there, a meeting had already been under way. She saw her family and friends and could not hold back the tears.  She made her way to the nearest open seat.


Zeus announced there was a tragedy that happened only a few moments ago. He motioned for Athena to come up to the front.  She did so and as Athena got to the front, anger and sadness overwhelmed her.


“My daughter Alcina was kidnapped by either a shape-shifter or another god.”   Everyone looked around at each other with dumb-founded looks on their faces. “Or it was one of the shape-shifters.  All I saw was his cloak and it covered his whole body.  Whatever it was, it took my little angel and I am going to do whatever it takes to get her back.”


***           ***           ***


Athena put together a search party to find Alcina.  After that was done and they set out, she then went down to Earth to tell Ryan what was going on. When she got there he had the look on his face that Athena was dreading.  He was expecting Alcina and was confused about why she wasn't with Athena.  Athena explained to him that their daughter had been kidnapped.


Ryan was livid.  He vowed to do everything in his power to find his daughter.  He embraced Athena and promised that one day they'd see their daughter again.  


***           ***           ***


Athena returned to the upper world to see of what help she could be while Ryan made over a thousand posters to hang up all over the city. He printed over a thousand copies of her photos, wanting everyone to know that his baby girl was missing.  Jade helped him get the word out by telling all her friends and helping put up the posters.  


***           ***           ***


Hades returned to where Persephone was waiting for him. She saw the baby girl in his arms and saw that she had the most beautiful hair she'd ever seen.  It was long blond and shined deep into Persephone’s very soul.  The baby awakened and began to cry softly. Persephone took Alcina from Hades and began to comfort the child.  She rocked the baby in her arms until she fell asleep. She thanked Hades even though she wished no harm to Athena and Ryan. She felt bad for doing this, but at the same time was overjoyed with what she held in her arms.  


Hades saw something in Persephone’s eyes and asked, “Is something wrong?”


Persephone answered, “No, nothing is wrong.  Everything is just perfect.  I’m just so happy that you did this for me.  I think I'm going to call her Callista.”


Hades asked, “Is there any meaning to that name?”


replied Persephone answered, “Most beautiful.”



.

Chapter 3


FifteenYears Later


Callista tied up her long beautiful hair so that she could play fetch with the cerberus.  


Persephone was in the kitchen making breakfast for Callista, Hades, and herself.  She looked around to make sure Callista was not listening to a private conversation she was about to start with Hades.  


“I'm getting a little concerned about Callista, and I worry that she's going to ask.”


With a puzzled look on his face Hades replied, “Why ever for,my love?”


Persephone began to speak but was cut off by the sound of Callista’s voice.  “Good morning, Mother…Father,” Callista anounced.


“What’s the occasion?” Persephone questioned.


Callista, confused, asked, “What do you mean? There is no special occasion…”


Persephone smiled and replied, “You are in such a good mood.  I assumed you found something wonderful or had something important and exciting to tell us.”


“Nope! Just happy to see you guys this morning,” Callista replied.


Persephone was relieved and continued to make breakfast.  “Bacon or sausage?” Persephone asked.


“Both,” answered Hades.  He turned to Callista. “What do you think my little runaway?”


“I think that’s a great idea and agree with the all-in-all choice of both bacon and sausage.  I’m starving,” replied Callista.


Persephone waited for the meats to cook and sat down at the dining room table.


“Hey dad, why do you call me your little runaway?” Callista asked.


Hades was shocked and thought Callista had figured out she was not their daughter.  He thought quickly.  “The reason why I call you my little

runaway is because when you were five you tried to run away by riding the Cerberus.  Do you remember?”

“Oh yeah,I remember.  You told me this before, but I don’t actually remember that happening,” Callista smiled and giggledd.


Persephone listened.  She'd impatient wtih all the lies they had to tell in order to keep the secret from Callista that she was not their own.  “Okay, it’s ready.  Time to eat.”


They grabbed the food, went into the dining area and sat at the huge table set for an army. Callista sat in the middle between her dad, Hades, and her mother, Persephone. The entire time it was quiet except for the sound of the Cerberus running through the house.


***           ***           ***


Zeus called Athena to his court to tell her that the search party for Alcina had been canceled.   She understood the reason.  It had been 15 years since her daughter’s disappearance, but Athena was determined to find her.  


She went to Earth to tell Ryan that that Zeus had called off the search.  She paused at his door and after a long while, she rang the bell.


“Coming!” she heard from inside.


He opened the door and Ryan expressed a mix of surprise and dread.


“Hi," she said to him.  "How have you been?”


“Okay but not great."  


“Would you like to come in?”


“Sure, why not."


They walked to the living room and sat down on the couch.  They froze there for a few moments in total silence, lost in the other's longing gaze.


Athena broke the silence. “Zeus has decided to call off the search party...”


Ryan, suddenly overwhelmed by disappointment, “Okay....but if it was his child he wouldn't give up.  He would keep searching until the day he died!”


Athena was shocked at the anger he had for Zeus and assured, “Hey, Zeus has sympathy for us and he wishes he can help more, but he just can’t do anything else.”


Ryan got up and started pacing around the room.  “Well there must be something he could do...”


“And what would that be?”


Ryan looked at Athena. He came in closer and answered, “Zeus could search through the houses of the gods...”


“He doesn't believe our little girl is alive.  I could talk to him, though, and see if he'll search homes of the other gods before giving up.”


She turned to go and before leaving, told Ryan she loved him and that even though Zeus may have given up on Alcina, she would never do so herself.  She left without waiting for Ryan to respond and made her way back to the upper-world to confront Zeus.


***       ***      ****


Callista climbed into bed as Persephone walked in.   “Hey, I need to talk to you sweetheart.”


“Did I do anything wrong?  I promise, I didn’t.”


Persephone laughed a little.  “No, no sweetheart. You’re not in trouble, but I think you’re old enough to know the truth...”


“What do you mean, Mom?  The truth about what?” Callista asked.


“Well I have wanted to tell you this since you were able to talk, but never got the courage to do so."  Persephone waited a moment and took a deep breath.  "Your real name is Alcina.  I’m not your real mother, and Hades is not your real father. You are the daughter of Athena and Ryan.”


Callista, shocked, didn’t move or speak for a few moments.  She wasn't even sure she heard the words correctly, or wanted to believe she hadn't.  


Persephone sat on the bed next to her and continued, “Athena is the goddesses of wisdom and war, and your father is a mortal. I’m sorry I did not tell you sooner.”


Callista, still frozen in disbelief, managed to utter the only thing that came to mind: “You lied to me?”


Drenched in guilt, Persephone nodded and continued on.  “There is one more thing; Hades is planning to take the hearth which has the ability to take the gods’ powers.  This would make him stronger and invincible against any enemy.”


Callista looked Persephone in the eyes and said, agrily, “What do you want me to do about it?”


Persephone whispered, “I know you’re mad and you have every right to be, but there's no time to sort all of this out.  You need to leave for the Middle World and find the pathway to the Upper World.  It's up to you to take the hearth to your mother Athena so she can deliver it to Zeus for protection.”


“I don’t know anything about the Middle World or the Upper World, and I’m only fifteen.  How can I do this on my own?”


Persephone’s expression changed to worry.  She took Callista's hand in her own and said, “You have one of your mother’s gifts...wisdom. You also have the power of healing.  You don’t have to worry; you’ll be just fine. The only thing you have to make sure of is that Hades does not catch you. Do you understand this?”


Questions started running through Callista’s mind: Why was I taken by my dad- I mean Hades, and why am I here and not with my real family?

She decided to ask, “Why am I here?  How did I get down into the Underworld?”

Persephone took a moment to gather her thoughts, then answered, shakily, “When you were born your mother was going to give you to your father because she could not keep you. At the same time I wanted a child and Hades was being nice by taking you so you could be mine. He thought at the time that since Athena did not want you that I could have you…”  Just then, Persephone realized the immediate danger to Calista- "You must leave as soon as possible, and make sure when you do leave that Hades is not here. Do you understand?”


Callista looked at her mom and said with a reassuring remark, “Okay I will.  I promise.  And I love you Mom.”   


          A glinting tear ran down Persephone's cheek. She squeezed Callista's hand as if to say
I love you, too.  


“I know you may not be my real mom but you have been there for me when I needed you the most and I will always love you.”


“There will be a gift ready for you in the backyard when you leave,” responded Persephone.


She walked out of the room and shut the door. Callista then lied down but she couldn’t fall asleep.  She started to think about Earth and how it would look when she got there. Without realizing it, she fell asleep.


***   ***   ***


It was early morning, and Ryan was making a funnel cake for his nephew’s fifth birthday.  There was a loud sound and the power went out.  Ryan's first thought was that it was Zeus.  


He theard a loud noise coming from outside the window.  Ryan walked over to see what it was.  The power suddenly came back on and the kitchen burst into flames. Ryan was thrown against the wall. His head hit the corner of the window sill.  He fell to the ground and the entire house began to burn.  


***   ***   ***


It soon became morning in the Underworld and Callista was up and packing her suitcase.  


Hades was also getting ready to leave when Persephone interrupted, “Good luck, hope you find what you are looking for.”


He looked at her and vowed, “I will be back when the sun reaches the lowest point in the sky.”


He was gone in an instant and Persephone ran to Callista’s room.  “He is gone, but he will be back before sunset. I’ll go get some food ready while you finish packing.”


Callista paused for a moment realizing how long she had, and then started to hurry.  She zipped up her bags then walked to the kitchen and put her stuff down by the door.  She took one last look at the family picture hanging above the fireplace.


With a mournful sigh, Callista picked up her bags and walked to the backyard.  She saw a beautiful white Pegasus grazing in the field.  It looked up and seemed as if to look straight into her eyes.  She thought she even saw it smile at her.


Persephone walked up and stood beside her.  “Her name is Mabel.  She has the power to change into anything you need.”

In awe of the beauty before her, Callista said, “That’s so cool! How long you have had her back here?”


"Hades found it alongside your crib thinking it was a stuffed animal. It would not leave your side ever since we brought you both here.  She is very much attached to you.  For example, if something happens to you she can feel it.”


Persephone handed Callista a basket of food for the trip. They loaded Callista's things into Mabel's saddle bags.


“I love you so much. Be very careful out there,”  Persephone said with concern in her voice.


“I will- I promise, and thank you,” replied Callista.

Callista got on the saddle and lightly kicked the sides on Mabel to make her move forward.  Persephone watched her until she couldn’t see her any longer.  Only when Callista was out of sight did she allow herself to cry.

***   ***   ***


Callista approached a deep river bank and decided to take the risk to cross it.  As Mabel walked struggled through the fast-moving water, Callista twisted around and practially paddled to help the pegasus.  Once they got to the other side and stepped up onto the bank of the river, for some odd reason, Callista invigorated and more alive than ever.  At the same time, Callista felt like something inside her was missing but was not far away.  As refreshed as she suddenly felt, there was something very wrong.


***   ***   ***


“Ryan's in the hospital," Jade told Athena over the phone.  "His house was burnt down.  You should come down here and stay with him. He's in bad shape.”


Athena got to the hospital shortly after.  She rushed to the front desk asking, “What room is Ryan Reynolds in?”


“And who are you?”  the lady snapped, looking at Athena with caution.


“I'm...his girlfriend.  My name is Athena. No last name just, Athena.”  Athena saw a clipboard on the desk and went to grab it when the lady clutched her wrist.


“If I were you, I wouldn’t dare touch that clipboard."


Athena responded, with a menacing glare, "Tell you what...You let my hand go, and I’ll let you live.”


The lady let go and leaned away.

“If you tell anyone about this, you will regret it. Trust me.”  She took the clipboard and flipped through the pages, finding Ryan's his name and room number.   She set it back down.  “Thank you so much,” with a smile on her face.


Athena found Ryan asleep. She went to the side of his bed and kissed him on the forehead.  He looked as though he were in a lot of pain.  

She gently grabbed his hand.  

The doctor came in and asked, “Can I talk to you for a moment?”


Athena hesitated, then got up and walked over to him.


“He was rescued just in time, but suffered third degree burns. We’re doing all that we can to help him.”


Athena looked at him and stuttered as she said, “Alright…I understand.  Can I stay overnight?”


“Yes, of course.”


Returning to Ryan's side, she sat down and began thinking about everything that had gone on. Lost in thought, she fell asleep holding Ryan's hand.



.

Chapter 4


The Journey Awaits


Callista had arrived in the Middle World. Mabel had just started to learn how to fly and was doing well.  It seemed as though the journey had a good start.


Callista told Mabel to land close to some trees so she could rest and they could figure out what their next moves were. They started to descend from the sky at a faster speed than normal. Mabel lost control and hit her wing on one of the branches. They fell to the ground and Callista was startled when she looked at Mabel and saw the damage to Mabel’s wing.


She remembered what her mother had told her, “You have one of your mother’s gifts, which is wisdom. You also have the power of healing.”


Callista wondered if she could fix Mabel’s wing.  


Mabel whimpeted as Callista approached her. Without hesitating, Callista put her hair over Mabel's injury. She then whispered the lullaby Persephone used to sing to her.  


I love you with all my heart,

never forget me my little sweetheart,

I’ll always be with you and never apart,

then when you feel sad always listen to your heart.


Mabel's hair turned from white to a mix of brown and gold. It shined like the morning sun.  She was healed.   


“Come on Mabel, we have to go,” Callista said, relieved.


Mabel stood to her feet and Callista climbed back onto her saddle.  They continued on for a while and stumbled upon a boy picking apples.  


Callista whispered to Mabel, “You need to hide so I can ask this boy which way the Forest of Darkness is.”


Mabel replied by thinking, I’ll just go right over there. You can still see me right?   She walked into some bushes.


“Yes, I can still see you. Good spot. Now stay there,” Callista said hesitantly.


Callista caught him staring. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. He soon decided to approach her and answer her question.


“Hi. My name is Taylor and yes, I do know where it’s located. But everyone who goes through never comes out.”


Callista looked at him and smirked. “Well I’m different and anything that gets in my way is going to be sorry.”  Firmly, she ordered him to poin to the direction and she'd be out of his way.


The boy was shocked and realized if he pointed her in the right direction, he would never see her again. “No, I’m not going to let you go by yourself. What do you think I am, a jerk?”


Callista, flustered, replied, “Well... fine.  I don’t care if you come with me. I just really need to go, and no, I don’t think you’re a jerk.”


Once that was settled, Callista motioned for Mabel to come out of hiding and join them. Mabel looked at the boy wondering why he'd decided to follow her Alcina.


Taylor was started by the sight of Mabel.    “Why do you have a Pegasus? Aren’t those supposed to be only for the children of gods and goddesses?”


Callista replied with a smirk, “Wouldn’t you like to know!?!”


“Well, it’s just I’m curious, and hey- what is his name?”


Callista took a deep breath. “Yeah, I know you’re curious and it’s a girl. Her name is Mabel.”


“I’m sorry, I didn’t know and hey, why do you need to go through the Dark Forest? What is out there that you need? Wha-”


“Shut up! Are you always this annoying?  You ask too many questions?” They stopped walking, and looked at each other for the longest moment.


Taylor was whipped.  He was surprised at how instantly taken he was by this girl.  She was a golden prize he wanted to win, and keep safe from all harm.  He liked her even though she seemed angry.  “Okay let’s start over. My name is Taylor and you are?”


Callista was confused since they had already introduced themselves.

“Hi I’m Callista- um, I mean... Alcina.  It’s a long story. Maybe I'll tell it to you some day. For now, call me whatever you want.”


“I like the name Alcina. Nice to meet you.”


Callista’s cheeks turned a pinkish color when Taylor said that. She decided, at that moment, that Alcina suited her better than Callista did.   She rather preferred it, after hearing Taylor say it.


They began walk again, side by side.  “Thanks," she told him.  "That was my birth name.”


They walked deeper into the Forest of Darkness. As they did, Alcina told Taylor everything, and the more she talked the more he fell for her.


Soon they approached the middle of the forest. They came across a Scorpion Man and a Centaur fighting.


“Stop!" Taylor commanded.  "Don’t walk any closer. We'll find another way around them.”


“No.  As I told you before if anyone got in my way, they’d regret it.”

Alcina walked over to where they were fighting and said, “Excuse me! Hey, you two! Stop fighting right now! If you don’t, you’re going to regret it.”

They ignored her and kept going at it. Alcina pulled the hair tie out of her hair.  It fell to the ground and her beautiful hair revealed it's amazing length. She grabbed a part it and lassoed the two fighters.  The Scorpion man and the Centaur were wrapped up and tied down.

Taylor stood frozen in amazement.


“I told you guys to stop fighting,” she snickered.


The scorpion man and the centaur looked at each other then said in unison, “He started it!”


“I don’t care who started it!” yelled Alcina. “All I care about is that I get to the path that will lead me to the upper world and you guys were in the way of it.”


Taylor felt the need to help out and yelled, “She's the daughter of Athena!”


The Centaur and the Scorpion man’s faces turned red with embarrassment.  They said, “We are so sorry for our behavior. If we can assist you on your journey we will be happy to tag along.”


Alcina thought for a second then said, with a changed attitude, “That would be lovely, thank you.”


Taylor was surprised at Alcina's change of heart.  She was now considered bi-polar in his book.  


Alcina unwrapped and untied the men from her hair. She got back onto Mabel and started walking with Taylor. The Scorpion man and Centaur grabbed their stuff and followed.


Unbeknownst to all, someone else was following not too far behind.



.

Chapter 5


The Voyage


Athena was sleeping when Ryan woke up.  The nurse came in to serve the food.  He squeezed Athena's hand.  “Athena, wake up.”


In an instant, she awoke and was elated to see him conscious.  He told her that he loved her and that he was no longer able to stay in this world.  He needed to prepare to leave to the next.  She started begging him to stay, telling him he needed to fight for his life.  She cried as his pulse grew weaker.  His heart soon stopped, and Athena’s heart began to break.  


Athena awoke for the second time.   Through a blurry mess of tears, she looked at Ryan, sleeping peacefully.  He was alive- his heart still beating.  It was only a dream.


The nurse walked in with food and informed Athena, “This is for Ryan when he wakes up.”


        The nurse walked out of the room approaching another nurse.  She had a long conversation with her and once she finished, Athena knew something was wrong.  She couldn’t quite catch the feeling or the meaning of it, though.


Ryan awoke and his first words were, “Athena, is that you?”


Athena was overjoyed and leaned toward him.  


“I love you with all my heart and will never give up fighting to be with you.”   Just then, the machines started to beep and flash. His pulse quickly dropped. Athena yelled for the doctors and nurses and they came rushing in with all the supplies. They told Athena that she needed to leave the room.  She argued and refused to leave the love of her life. The doctors had two security officers carry her out of the room while they tried to save Ryan.  His heart was failing him and Athena could hardly stand waiting in the lobby to hear from the doctors.


***   ***   ***


Alcina and her crew were at the end of the path.  They came to the edge of a cliff and looked down.  Huge waves beat against the edge and then all stepped back in fear of falling.   


“What are we going to do now?" Alcina asked the others.  "I need to get across to the island”   


Taylor offered, “Why don’t we go down the side of the cliff, then we can ride a boat across.”


They all agreed and when they reached the bottom, they took a break and ate to regain their strength. Alcina took out the food her mom had made for the trip. She set up all the food and told everyone to take a little at a time as there was not much there.  The Scorpion man had a sandwich, the Centaur had some salad, Mabel had water with a red apple, and Taylor and Alcina had green apples with water. They had a good time just relaxing, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.


When everyone was done, they packed up and got in a nearby boat. Alcina and Taylor were chosen to drive the boat. The journey across was a maximum of two days. They ended up sleeping on the boat for one night.


When they woke up, something in the water caught Alcina's attention.  Taylor came out from below deck and noticed it, too. They were mermainds and they had suddenly surrounded the boat. Alcina leaned toward one that close to her. She had blond hair and blue eyes.


Taylor rushed over to where Alcina was when he suddenly realized what kind of mermaids they were.   “Watch out!” he yelled, as he pulled Alcina back.


“What was that for?”


“Those aren’t regular mermaids.  Those are killer ones. If you get too close to one of them, they'll pull you under water until you drown.  You would soon become their dinner.”


Alcina, now frightened, praised Taylor, “Well thank you for pretty much saving my life.”


Furious that Alcina was not claimed, the mermaids started to attack the boat. No one on board had a clue what to do. Instantly, Alcina lost her balance and fell overboard.  She was soon surrounded by mermaids. Mabel tried to save her by stretching out her wing, but did not get there in time. Alcina was pulled underwater. Mabel jumped into the water after her, and as she poured over the boat's railing, she suddenly transformed into a hippocampi, a horse with fins and the tail of a mermaid.  


Startled as he ran toward where Alcina fell overboard, Taylor slipped and fell near the edge. Two mermaids saw this and rushed over to where he was. One of them grabbed his arms and the other grabbed his legs.  Everything was in chaos, and there was little hope for Alcina, Mabel, and all on board.


Just when all hope seemed lost, Poseidon, God of the Sea, raised up out of the water hailing the mermaids.  “Leave them alone! If you hurt them, you will pay dearly!”


Mabel burst out of the water with Alcina on her back, shape-shifting in mid-air back into her pegasus form. When Mabel landed on the deck, Alcina fell to the ground choking.


Taylor ran to her side. “Are you okay? Sit up. It might help”


Alcina looked up at him and sat up and tried to pull herself together.


Poseidon stepped upon the deck and offered, “I am Poseidon. I know where you are going and I’ll be glad to help you to get to your destination.”


Alcina, looking up at Poseidon, stood to her feet and smiled, “So nice to meet you.   This is Taylor, and this is Mabel, and me- I'm Alcina.”  


Alcina...?  Poseidon said the name over in his head.  Did he just hear her say Alcina?  “Wait, you are Athena’s daughter. Do you know how happy your mother will be to hear you are alive? When she finds out her baby girl is beautiful and most of all safe…she is going to be so relieved.”


Alcina saw the happiness that was in Poseidon’s eyes but responded with hesitation. “Yeah I know, but if you don’t mind I would like to tell her when the time is right.”


Poseidon nodded his head in agreement. He then made all the waves move in the direction of their destination so it would be an easier voyage.


The time flew by so fast that they didn’t even notice they were close to the island’s edge. Alcina turned to Taylor and started asking him about his life. She realized that during the entire trip and the time they had spent together, he did not say one word about himself and she was curious.


Once they got to the island, Poseidon commanded the crew to be careful, and to take care of Alcina.  


“We will, and thanks for your help.”


Alcina asked the others to walk ahead.  She walked toward Poseidon and smiled sincerely, “Thank you so much for understanding about not telling my mother yet. Also, thank you for helping my friends and me when we were in danger.” She gave Poseidon a hug.


“It’s an honor to help the daughter of Athena.”


Alcina ran toward Mabel and got on her back so they could catch up with the others. Mabel flew because the others were so far ahead. Alcina caught up and found that her friends had stopped. They reached the foot of another forest, and from what they had heard, it was not one to be entered. “Why aren’t we going in?” Alcina asked.


Taylor looked at her and responded, “It's known as Death Valley.”


“Taylor, don’t you understand by now that if anything gets in my way…” Alcina replied.


“Yeah, yeah, I know they will be sorry…” Taylor interrupted.


They both laughed and in an instant, Alcina ran into the forest by herself. She counted how many steps she had taken before Taylor came in after her. She hid behind a tree and waited for Taylor.  He came running up from behind Alcina and managed to scare her.  They both laughed until they heard a rustle in the bushes. Taylor looked at Alcina and Alcina looked back at Taylor, and then they both looked at the bushes.


Taylor yelled out, “If there is anyone there, come out now!”


There was laughter, and then silence. The noise from the bushes moved from left to right in an instant. Alcina pushed Taylor out of the way just in time so that he didn’t get hit by whatever went flying through the air.


Taylor saw a couple of snakes through an opening in the bushes. They were too high off the ground than normal and knew something was up.  He realized, suddenly, what it was.  “Medusa! Close your eyes! Whatever you do don’t open them!”


Alcina shut her eyes, and then she felt the breath of someone on her neck. There were sounds of snakes hissing in her ear. She felt one touch her cheek.


Then a woman whispered in her ear, “So you’re the famous Alcina that everyone has been looking for, for fifteen years straight. I have something your mother gave me. It’s more of a curse, really. See, your mother gave me a head full of snakes as hair because I was causing pain to many suitors. Would you like to see what it looks like? You know you want to sneak…a…peek.”


Alcina was tempted to open her eyes but she knew better.  “I know my mother gave you the curse that nobody will be able to look at you and if they do they turn into stone. You deserved it!”


Medusa hissed and all the other snakes followed her reaction. “How dare you disrespect me like that.  You stupid girl!  You will pay for this.”


Before Medusa could do anything, Taylor came running and tackled Medusa to the ground. “Alcina run!”


Alcina turned around and ran like she had never run before. She found a tree to hide behind.

While Taylor had Medusa pinned to the ground, he stormed, “Today will be your last.”  Taylor pulled out a sword he never knew he had.  He raised his sword and plunged it down to the ground.  Medusa moved just in time for the sword to miss her neck but stabbed one of the snakes. She slithered up to his feet too fast to even realize that Medusa had taken his sword.  Medusa looked squarely at Taylor but he shut his eyes so tight that it made them water up.    She spat at him, “You’re lucky that I don’t want to kill you. I want your precious little Alcina.”


The next thing Taylor knew she was gone.  He opened his eyes slowly, just in case, and went running after her.


“Alcina, I know you’re out here. Sweetheart, why don’t you come out and play?” Medusa smirked.


Alcina heard footsteps get closer and closer to her.  She decided to run but Medusa grabbed her arm and threw her to the ground. With much force, Alcina landed on a pile of rocks and felt every bit of pain in her side.


Medusa asked, with a smirk on her face, “What’s wrong? Hurt your arm?”  She walked closer to Alcina and yelled, “Open your eyes!”


Alcina defiantly laughed.  “In your dreams, old maid.”


Medusa, enraged, picked Alcina up and slammed her into a tree. There was the sound of a crack and it startled Medusa.  Alcina screamed in pain.


Medusa raised the sword she stole from Taylor. She began, “You will pay for your-”


Alcina heard a strange sound like something had fallen to the ground.

Someone grabbed her before she fell, but she did not want to open her eyes.

She heard Taylor's voice. “It’s me.  You can open your eyes now.”


Alcina opened her eyes and saw that Taylor had beheaded Medusa.  Her head rolled over by Alcina’s feet.  Alcina looked over at him with gratefulness in her eyes then praised, “Thank you!  You have no idea what she was like. You saved me once again. I don’t know what I'd do without you.”


Alcina and Taylor looked into each other’s eyes and saw deeply into one another’s souls. They were glad to be back in each other’s arms.  


Taylor playfully whispered to her, “You would be lost in this world if I was not by your side.”


They both laughed and she kissed him on the cheek. He started to blush and looked away from Alcina. She smiled and they began to walk back to where the others were. They waited at the beginning of the forest.   


Taylor put his hand on the backside of Alcina’s rib cage and she flinched and gasped, “Ow!” with a tear rolling down her face, she fell to the ground.


Taylor caught her and set her to the ground.  “Alcina! Are you ok?!?!”


She clenched her side, and sobbed, “Taylor!  It hurts!  I can’t breathe.”


Taylor looked at her with worried eyes and questioned, “What can I do? I’m right here.  Just tell me and I’ll do it.”


Alcina whispered, “Take my hair and put it over my side.”


Taylor did just that when she started to chant,


I love you with all my heart,

never forget me my little sweetheart,

I’ll always be with you and never apart,

then when you feel sad always listen to your heart.


Her hair turned a mix of gold and brown once again.  Taylor’s eyes glowed in amazement as Alcina was healed. She started to feel better and asked Taylor to help her up. By the time Alcina was up on her feet,  Scorpion man, Centaur, and Mabel were already there. They heard all the commotion that was going on and rushed to their sides. Taylor helped Alcina get on Mabel’s back. She needed to regain her strength.

They started walking through the Valley of Death. Alcina started talking about the fight and what happened and how Taylor saved her life once again. She stared at Taylor while she was telling the story. She caught him doing so and stopped talking. They locked eyes and then at the same time looked away.  


For the first time during the trip, Scorpion man and the Centaur spoke, “Wow, seems like we have a crush evolving here.”


They smiled and looked at Taylor and Alcina. Neither Taylor nor Alcina even tried to deny it.  They just smiled and blushed.



***   ***   ***


Athena was in the upper world waiting for a call from Jade, Ryan’s sister. Athena had left after her last visit with Ryan at the hospital when he first woke up.   Jade took the next shift to stay with Ryan as he recovered. She was supposed to call her and tell her if Ryan had gotten any better. Jade was at the hospital with Ryan when she noticed his hand started to move. She stood up and walked over to him, and he started to move his head from left to right.


Jade whispered his name, “Ryan, it’s me, your sister Jade.  Can you hear me?”


Ryan started to move his eye lids. He opened them slowly and when he had opened them all the way he saw his sister's expression go from worried to relieved and happy.


Jade sat down in the chair next to him and asked, “How are you feeling?”
         

He answered with nothing more then, “Call Athena. I want to see her.”


***   ***   ***


In the Underworld, Persephone was locked up by Hades. He found out that she had told Callista who she really was and about Hades' plan for stealing the hearth.  Hades then thought of a plan so that Alcina could not get to the hearth even with the help of her friends. Persephone was hoping that her little girl was safe and hopefully met some friends that could come in good use.


“Where did she go! Where is she now! Tell Me!”


       Persephone was startled, and looked directly at him.  “Go to hell!  Oh wait,  you're already there.”


He hit the side of the wall leaving a hole in its place. Hades walked into the living room, and started talking to little statues sitting by the fireplace.  He looked at the Hydra, picked it up and smiled, “You, my love, will be guarding the building that has the hearth in it, and you will not allow anyone to pass by. If someone even tries to come near you or the hearth, you have my permission to kill them.”  He made it disappear, and picked up the Chimera and continued, “You, my precious, will be sent directly inside the building which holds the hearth. You have my permission to kill whomever set foot in the door. If you fail to keep the hearth from being taken you will die a slow and painful death.” Then he made that one disappear just as fast as the other one.


***   ***   ***


On Earth, Alcina felt much better and decided to walk with Taylor. They both were walking behind everyone else when Mabel came up and got between them.  She looked at Taylor and snorted.


Alcina started laughing then tried to reassure her.  “Mabel, stop it. He wasn’t doing anything.”


Taylor started to laugh and he smirked, “Nah, it’s okay.  Actually, I think it’s really funny.”


        The Scorpion man called out, “I see the front gate!”


Alcina ran to where Scorpion man was standing and smiled. She told everyone that they were halfway to the hearth. They kept walking and with every step, they started to feel more and more excited.



.

Chapter 6


Entering the Upper World


When they got to the front of the gate they saw a strange man standing there. They all agreed that he was the guardian of the Underworld.  As they approachedd him, he told them, “You may not pass until you have the correct riddle or password.”


Taylor looked at Alcina and asked, “What riddle is he talking about?”


         Alcina thought for a moment then asked, “Why do we need to figure out what the riddle is or tell you what the password is?”


The guy just looked at them and stated, “You must have proof that you are a member of the Upper World. If you are a member or you have family past this gate, they must have told you a password or a riddle.”


Alcina thought for a moment.  Then she spoke softly, “I love you with all my heart, never forget me my little sweetheart, I’ll always be with you and never apart, then when you feel sad always listen to your heart.”


The guard listened, waited, and shouted, “Congratulations you may now pass.”


They walked through the gate without saying a word.  When they were a few yards away, Taylor asked, “Hey, isn’t that the thing you said to heal yourself? Wait, that is the phrase your real mother whispered in your ear when you were a baby, right?”


Alcina nodded in agreement.


Mabel changed into a Capuchin so she could climb up into a tree and get fruit for everyone.


It was a difficult path toward the Olympic mountain; they had to climb over rocks, up cliffs, and through thick bushes and trees. They reached the first road and the look on Alcina’s face was relieved. As Alcina walked she realized that everything looked familiar.  She stopped when she came to the center of the Upper World. There were different roads she could have taken but she chose the one that went straight up to the building that held the hearth. The further they got up the mountain the more Gods and Goddesses started to stare.


Centaur asked, “Why is everyone watching us?”


Taylor offered, “Well maybe they're not used to seeing such weird creations.”


“Hey that’s not funny” replied Centaur.


Everyone was laughing, until Alcina’s tone changed.  “Okay guys, stop messing around.  To answer your question, Centaur, it’s probably because it’s the first time that they’ve seen you, Scorpion man, and Mabel. Taylor is a mortal and that needs no explanation.”


“Hey, wait.  They don’t know you’re a demi-god, do they? I know you’re the daughter of Athena but do they?” asked Scorpion man.


Alcina looked at him and correted, “No, I don’t think they know exactly who I am.”


It was quiet the rest of the way up the mountain until they reached the building that held the hearth.  Looking around the corner at the huge Hydra standing in front of the doors, they said in unisen, “Oh my god!”


Taylor looked at Alcina with worry and asked, “How are you going to get past that huge monster?”


Alcina ran off without saying a word. Mabel stuck by her side as she shape-shifted into a white panther. Alcina got on her back and drew her sword. Mabel ran toward the Hydra at full speed. Taylor watched her risk her life for the sake of the gods and goddesses.


Taylor called out to the others, “Hey! Why are we letting her do this on her own? If we were her real friends, we would be helping her fight for the things she wants and needs. So what do you say?”

The Centaur and the Scorpion man looked at Taylor and yelled in agreement, “Let’s go help Alcina!”


Alcina was under the Hydra’s torso with the two heads snapping at her and trying to kill her when the guys came running up. The Hydra was getting really mad because it could not reach them. They had to make a plan fast before the Hydra moved to where it could get them. Alcina told Centaur to take the right side and Scorpion man to take the left side. She also told Taylor to distract it by making a lot of noise and she promised that she would not let it hurt him. Alcina told Mabel to shape-shift into a huge red tailed hawk.  They flew around the back of the Hydra and she cut the tail off. Multiple high pitched screams were heard from the gateway of the Mount Olympious. To distract the creature, Taylor started making all kinds of noise. The Centaur then stabbed two of its feet.


While Scorpion man cut off one of the left feet, everyone stopped because they realized that the Hydra was losing its balance. Then a moment later it fell to the ground. Alcina and Mabel flew over the torso and saw where its heart was. Alcina had her sword in her hand when she jumped off Mabel, falling toward the Hydra’s heart. Taylor was watching her in slow motion.  For A few moments he forgot about the fight and saw Alcina as a beautiful girl with long hair blowing in the wind, her eyes glinsened in the light as if they were silver.  This lasted for a split second as Taylor came back to reality.  The sound of the Hydra’s scream scared Taylor just in time to see Alcina’s sword thrust into the heart of the beast.


Alcina jumped down and commanded, “Come on guys! We're running out of time.  Let’s go.” She started walking toward the door then stopped.


“What’s wrong?” asked Centaur.


Alcina replied, “There is something else in there. I can feel it.”


She cracked open the door just a little and looked in.  For some reason she shut the door in an instant.   


Taylor asked with concern, “What’s in there?”


Alcina thought to herself and tried to figure out how to put it in a way that would not scare them.  


With great courage, Alcina explained, “I’m not sure what is was exactly, but I was once told that the creature inside was called a Chimera.”


“What in the world is that?” questioned Scorpion man with concern.  


“The creature has three heads including that of a lion, goat, and dragon.  The body consists of hind legs from a goat and front legs from a lion.  It has wings from a dragon and the tail looks like a snake."


“Wow! Then that thing must be ugly as hell itself?” shouted the Centuar.


Everyone looked at him and laughed.


“Alright, we need to come up with another plan for how to kill this useless monster.” Alcina stated with worry. They talked for some time and finally, they came up with the perfect plan to destroy the beast.


Alcina got on Mabel’s back as she started to take off. The guys opened the doors as Mabel and Alcina sour into the sky.  Seeing this they decided to follow. Everyone went straight for their part of the attack. The Chimera had no idea what was going on until Alcina cut the snakes head off. It fell to the ground so fast that when it hit the tile floor it busted the skull open. The Scorpion man was climbed up the right front leg. About half way up, he was hit by the goat and thrown to the ground. The chimera picked up his leg and went to crush him but Alcina swooped down and got him just in time.  


The Chimera’s foot would have smashed the Scorpion man. Alcina told Mabel to go back up toward the back of the Chimera so she could drop Scorpion man off. When she got back up there, Centaur had already stabbed the goat in the throat.They all went for the lion’s head. Working together, they distracted it and cut off its head. The chimera fell to the ground and Alcina grabbed the hearth.  She made a run for it and everyone else followed her.


***   ***   ***

Hades realized that the hearth had been taken, and that his monsters failed to do their job. He was enraged and looked for someone to mess with.  He saw a happy couple sitting on a bench. He decided that life was not fair so why would they get to be happy. He made the man's clothes catch on fire, and walked away. In the background he could hear the woman screaming for help.  He ignored it and disappeared into a cloud of black smoke. He then appeared in the Upper World at the front gate. The guard asked for the password or riddle.


Hades picked him up and said, “Don’t you know who I am?”


The guard tried to say, “Yes, I do but…”


Hades did not let him finish.  He threw him down the steep hill. He watched him tumble and roll down until he came to a stop and he didn’t get back up or even move. Hades just laughed and made his way up Mount Olympus.


***   ***   ***


Athena walked toward the center of the upper world when she ran into a girl and her friends.


“I’m so sorry, dear,” Athena spoke.  


“It is okay. It was my fault,” replied Alcina as Athena turned around and started to walk away.  Then she realized who she was talking to. “Mom?” asked Alcina.  

Athena turned back around and looked at her and questioned, “Pardon me?”


Alcina stepped closer and replied, “Mom, it’s me- Alcina.”


It took Athena a moment to respond but when she did she quavered, “Alcina, baby it’s really you?”


“Yeah, it’s really me,” Alcina reassured with tears in her eyes.


Athena then closed the space between them by hugging her and saying, “I can’t believe it, all this time we’ve been looking for you. Where have you been?”


Alcina replied, “I know I just found out recently, and I was raised by Persephone and Hades.”


Alcina saw that her mother’s face started to fill up with anger.


She then quickly informed as she gave her the hearth, “Persephone was the one who told me the truth.  She told me about how I was born and that Hades stole me from you. She also told me that Hades was going to steal the hearth, and how I needed to get to it first.  I will give it to you so you can give it to Zeus.  He will protect it.”


Athena then announced, “All of us need to go right now.”


“Where are we going?”  


“We’re going to go give this to Zeus.”


They started walking and it felt like it only took a few minutes to get to the very top of the Olympic Mountain, but in reality it took about an hour.  


When they got there, Zeus yelled at someone in the room. The doors were shut so they couldn’t see who it was. Athena knocked on the door and the yelling stopped.  


        Zeus bellowed, “Who is it?”

Athena looked at Alcina and spoke, “It’s Athena.”


Everyone could hear another voice say, “Oh, it’s Athena. Let’s say hi.”


Zeus then yelled, “Athena, run!”


Everyone froze for a moment as the danger hit them. Athena started to run when the doors burst open and were torn from their hinges flinging them across the room.


Everyone ran to take cover, but Alcina fell and Hades walked out and said, “Hello my little runaway. How are you, Callista?”  He walked closer and closer and smirked, “Why did you have to leave. Was the life I gave you not good enough?”


Alcina looked at him and then looked around to ask for help but she saw no one. Then she said under her breath, “You are a liar and you stole me from my real parents.”


“What did you say, young lady?”


“I said that you are a liar! And you stole me from my real family!”


Hades' face turned red, his hands clenched tightly, and his eye twitched. Alcina tried to get up when Hades picked her up and was about to throw her when Zeus interrupted.


“Put her down!” yelled Zeus.


Hades looked at him and replied, “Sorry brother, but I can’t do that.”


Hades picked Alcina higher off the ground and said, “You are just as stupid and useless as your mother is,” and threw her across the room.

Alcina hit and went through the wall. Zeus tackled Hades and pinned him to the ground.  Taylor, Scorpion man, Centaur, and Athena came out of their hiding places and ran to Alcina’s aid.


When they got to her she was knocked out cold. Scorpion man went charging toward Hades and Zeus. He drew his sword out and plunged it into Hades. There was silence and Zeus got up and walked away. Zeus ran to Alcina’s side. When he got there, she was coming back from unconsciousness. Scorpion man let go of his sword and stumbled back and fell over the broken doors.


“Where is Mabel?” Alcina asked, weakly.


Everyone looked at each other and shook their heads. Alcina started walking around and then stopped.


Athena was confused and asked, “What’s wrong, love?”  


Alcina ignored her mother and said with worry, “No, it can’t be.”


Alcina fell to her knees with tears rolling down her face and on to the floor. She moved the scrap wood and saw that her worst fear was lying right in front of her.


Taylor asks, “What is it?”


Alcina then crawled closer and put her hair over an object that he couldn’t see. He walked closer and saw that it was Mabel. She didn’t seem to move or even breathe.


Alcina began quietly chanting,


I love you with all my heart,

never forget me my little sweetheart,

I’ll always be with you and never apart,

then when you feel sad always listen to your hear


Alcina whispered now under her breath, “Come on, please. Why isn’t it working? Come on, please. I am begging you, come back. Please breathe for me, please.”


She burst into tears when Taylor touched her shoulder. He got down on his knees and sat by Alcina. He puts his arms around her and they sat there until they heard a noise. They both turned around and saw that Hades was gone.




.

Chapter 7

Final Showdown


Alcina dried up her tears and walked up toward Zeus. She said sobbing, “He is going to come back, and I’m going to fight him.”


Zeus looked at her and objected, “He is too strong for you. You can’t take him by yourself.”


Alcina looked up at him and offered, “Trust me, I can take him and if he dares to try to get in my way, he will be sorry.”


Alcina handed over the hearth and Zeus took it from her.  


Taylor then added, “Trust her. She means it when she says that.”


Alcina then walked out of the room and everyone except for Zeus follow her.  


Athena was the first to ask Alcina how she planned to destroy Hades.  Athena promised Alcina, “If you need any help with anything, I’m here for you sweetheart.”

Alcina came to the edge of a cliff then turned around saying, “I don’t need your help. I need Hades to pay for what he has done.” Then she dove off the cliff side.  Athena and Taylor both reached out to grab her but they both missed. Everyone was speechless and they had no idea what to think. Alcina caught on to a tree branch and pulled herself onto a different ledge.  She ran to the nearest street and heard noises that startled her.  The street started to crack, the sky started to darken, and Alcina looked around and no one else was there.


Hades walked out of an abounded house and said, “Where is your backup? You think you’re so tough and strong enough to face me on your own?"


He walked closer when Alcina yelled with a smirk on her face, “Don’t get any closer! And oh by the way, I don’t need backup I can handle myself!”


Hades smiled then attacked her. He grabbed her neck and held her up about two feet above ground. Then he threw her to the ground with great force.

She started coughing, but then stood back up and said, “Is that all you’ve got, because I’m not going to give up that easy.”


Alcina pulled out her sword and ran toward him at full speed. Hades watched her then ran at her with his full speed. They collided with so much pressure it was like a huge gust of wind.  It pushed over most of the trees around them. Alcina stabbed Hades in the right arm, right hand, and in the left rib cage. Hades had left marks on Alcina’s neck and arms.  She also had cuts and bruises from falling.


Hades then sighed, “I am your father and you know I will always love you. I’m sorry I have to do this.”


Alcina looked him straight in the eyes and said, “You are not my dad and I don’t love you.”


Hades grabbed a scrap piece of wood and stabbed Alcina.

He whispered,“I said I was sorry.”

Alcina fell to the ground with a single tear rolling down her cheek. Hades stood and watched her take her last breath.  He looked at her lifeless body, and said again, “I’m so sorry baby girl.”


Out of nowhere, Mabel soared in with Taylor and Athena on her back.  The Scorpion man and Centaur followed close behind.


Athena told Taylor, “Better enjoy your last breath while you can because she's not going to live to have another.”


Mabel landed and Athena went after Hades. Taylor rushed to help Alcina. Athena finally caught up with Hades and battled Hades and his dark magic. She did this with the help of Centaur and Scorpion man. Taylor rolled Alcina over and saw that she was stabbed in the stomach.


Taylor whispered with his eyes filling up with tears, “Alcina, can you hear me? Wake up, please. Don’t leave me here. I need you to survive. Alcina, please…I love you.”


He grabbed her hair and put it on her stomach and whispered in Alcina’s ear, “Alcina, please I need you to say the riddle so you can heal.”


Alcina opened her eyes very slowly and mumbled,


I love you with all my heart,

never forget me my little sweetheart,

I’ll always be with you and never apart,

then when you feel sad always listen to your heart.


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