You’ve entered the world of The Realm Jumpers. The adventure with Riley and his trusty gang continues…
Something clunked outside my window and I bolted out of bed. The book I was reading flopped out of my hand onto the hardwood floor.
“Crap,” I heard someone say outside my window.
And then Hope’s face appeared. “Hi!” she said, waving.
I hoisted up the window. “I’ve always wanted to try this.” She looked over her shoulder. “It’s higher than I thought. Give me a hand.”
I helped her through, but her front foot clipped the sill, and she fell forward. Her forehead knocked my chest. She grabbed my waist, but it was too late. We both went down. Not so much from the fall, but because we both started laughing so hard.
“What the heck are you doing?”
“Snuck out.” She yelled out, then slapped her hand over her mouth.
She shrugged and stood up. “Whatcha doin’?” She glanced at the bed. “Reading? Over summer break? You really are a nerd.”
She had no idea that was how I learned everything. I really wanted to tell her. She was my friend. I could trust that, right? I’d already decided to tell Janet about how I healed two people the second Jeff got back from his trip to Iowa. Maybe Hope could be in on that?
I glanced at my phone. It was almost eleven o’clock. “What’re you doing out so late?”
“Thought you’d wanna practice Spin the Bottle, you know, before the next pool party at Christian’s.”
“You know I like messing with you to get you all flustered, right?” She smacked my shoulder then did an exaggerated shiver. “As if I’d ever play that stupid game. Let alone kiss you. Blech. It’d be like kissin’ my brother.”
I didn’t want to kiss anyone. When Christian had brought up that game called Spin the Bottle, I had to Google it. And nope. I was not going to play that game any time soon.
“Wanna play Angry Birds?” She held up her phone. “I know you’re still learning that phone of yours, but—”
Something clanked in the garage below us. She froze and looked at me.
“Crap.” Braeden’s voice filtered through the floorboards.
“Come on,” I whispered.
We snuck down the side stairs and into the garage. There he was, pushing his bike out.
Needed a little help with the whole stealth factor, though, for how loud he was. I glanced around and the lights at the house were off.
“What’s he doing?” Hope whispered.
“You better go home. I’m going to follow him.”
“No way. I’m in.” She silently clapped her hands then covered her mouth. “Today rules.”
“You don’t have your bike.” Braeden hopped on his once he met the end of our driveway. I didn’t have a bike yet, so Jeff’s tiny one would have to do. “I’ll see ya tomorrow.”
I glanced over my shoulder but she was gone. Dang it.
I eased out of the garage, Braeden still in my sights, and then pedaled down the street. My knees practically hit the handlebars.
Braeden turned the corner at the end of our block. Hope darted out from behind her garage, wearing a shiny black helmet.
She bolted ahead of me, and I took off after her.
The lights lining the street cast an eerie, dim shade of murky yellow across the sidewalk. It was barely enough to see much, but we kept after Braeden. Turn after turn. I couldn’t believe he didn’t hear us, especially with Hope’s chain squawking like a dying bird.
Her bike was white with purple wrap around the handlebars. If it weren’t for the little frilly things flying from the ends of the grips, it would have been cool looking.
Even though she played soccer as tough as most boys, she was still a girl.
Braeden hopped the curb up ahead. It looked like it led to a field of some sort.
He veered off and stopped by a tree. His backpack slid from his shoulder, and he dug something out.
“What’s he doing?”
“Not sure.” It was too dark to see much. But we couldn’t chance getting closer.
He fidgeted for a while with something around his waist—oh, it was the straps that held his gun and things. Holy crap.
“Hope. You really should go.”
“No way. This is awes. Let’s get closer.”
I put my arm out keeping her in place. “He’ll see.”
“Holy creep factor with your foster bro, buddy. What the heck is he doing?”
I scanned the area. Didn’t see any houses or anything. Behind us was a barren highway and up ahead a wall of darkness. Probably trees. And that’s where Braeden was headed, now on foot and wearing a black hood-thing over his head and face.
Hope and I parked our bikes near his and chased after him. The moon was out, but it didn’t give much light. Just enough shadow to make everything look super creepy.
Other than a few birds chirping, it was totally silent. No wind. No nothing.
Hope grabbed my hand. “Man, it’s dark out here.”
“Wanna stay with the bikes?”
“No way. Epic creep factor levels back there. Where are we?”
“No clue. I’ve only lived in this town a few days.”
“I’ve never been here.”
Braeden paused, his back against a tree trunk. He looked around then took off running.
We broke through the trees to find a house. It wasn’t much bigger than the house I was staying at now, but there was something familiar about it. The windows were blown out. The paint was peeling. Black soot coated the walls by the windows. A fence poked out from the side. Probably a back yard.
Braeden snuck a peek in the window then hustled to the next one. He was holding something dark in his hand. A few steps later, he was around the corner and out of sight. We took off after him. When I got to the window he’d peeked in, I did the same.
A desk was tipped upside down. File cabinet on its side. Lamp smashed on the floor.
“I can’t see,” Hope said, trying to pull herself up.
“Nothing to see. Come on.” I tugged her to the corner. Braeden was making his way through the blown apart front door.
The destroyed wood crackled beneath his weight.
Shuffling and a grunt sounded. Braeden came flying out of the door and crashed onto his back. A dark figure ran out and dove for him.
Funny thing, though. He froze.
Arms out to the side. Totally hanging there.
Braeden rolled away, and the guy dropped, landing right where Braeden had been.
“Did you see that?” Hope said.
Braeden rolled back and smacked the guy in the face with his elbow, then jumped to his feet.
“This is our place,” the creep yelled. “Get your own!”
Another guy lurched from the door and tackled Braeden onto his side. That time he yelped. He was in pain. Hurt. I bolted around the corner and ripped the guy off my foster brother.
“Riley?” Braeden grunted as he grabbed his side. “Whoa!” He waved his hand, and I turned.
The first guy he’d tackled was suspended in mid-air again right by me. His eyes were all bug-like. Veins bulged along his forehead. Dirt covered his face. His hair was all knotty.
And he kinda smelled like barf.
Braeden moved his hand, and the guy slammed into the rocky ground.
He didn’t move again.
The other guy ran off. Hope stayed at the corner of the house, watching.
“You jerk. You followed me.”
“Good thing.” I reached for him. “Come on.”
“Can’t. Landed on a friggin’ rock,” he said with a short breath. “Felt something pop. Mom’s gonna be so pissed.”
“How’d you…do that?” I pointed to the guy.
“Now you know what my power is.” He coughed. “Crap.”
I knelt before him. “I guess I better show you mine, then.”
Join us Friday for Chapter 11 of Watcher of the Realms. Be sure to subscribe to the site to not miss a single chapter of Riley’s adventures.
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See you soon….