You’ve entered the world of The Realm Jumpers. The adventure with Riley and his trusty gang continues…
The roar of the garage door opening had me rolling out of bed.
“Oh crap.” I forgot Jeff was coming home this morning with a kid the Iowa Kurators had saved.
I threw my comforter over the safe I hauled up here last night. That was only a few hours ago, and I’d fallen smack into bed I was so wiped out.
In and out of my little bathroom in record time, then I bolted down the steps and out the garage to the side door that led into the kitchen.
I turned the knob and pulled the door open. Hinges pinged. Wood cracked. Splinters rained down on my head.
“Whoa!” I ducked. Was the house caving in on me?
“Riley?” Janet called out from the living room. “Is that you?”
“Um. Yes, ma’am.” I stepped inside and propped the door up best I could. “Coming.” How was I going to hide the fact I just ripped the back door totally off its hinges?
Braeden sauntered in, shoveling a spoonful of cereal into his mouth.
I shifted the door so it looked more natural.
“Yeah. That’s going to help.”
“Honey, I—” Janet stopped abruptly in the entryway from the living room.
The door fell back with a loud clap.
Too bad disappearing wasn’t one of my powers. Here only a week, and I was already destroying their house. They were going kick me out for sure.
“What’s goin’ on?” she asked with a smile.
I coughed through whatever it was choking me. “Um. Good morning?”
Janet laughed into her hand and glanced at Braeden.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. I—um—I guess I have a power.”
“I should say so.”
“Hey guys, what’s—” Jeff rounded the corner and stopped beside Janet. “What happened?”
“It’s fine, dear. Seems Riley has a little strength to his grip.”
“And he can heal,” Braeden said.
I glared at him.
“What?” Janet stepped forward.
“Shouldn’t we—um—where’s Tish? That’s her name, right?” Yeah. Shift the focus. Off. Of. Me. I’d melt soon if my cheeks burned any hotter.
What I really wanted to do was pound on Braeden for laughing and ratting me out. We’d agreed we’d wait until things shook out with the safe to tell them everything.
“Tish’s in her room,” Jeff said. “And won’t come out.”
“Poor thing.” Janet inspected the door. “You ripped this right off the hinges. Should I even check your room?”
“No.” Both Braeden and I answered at the same time.
“Oh boy.” Janet narrowed her eyes. “I smell trouble.”
“It’s fine,” I said. “The room’s fine.”
Surprisingly the room really was fine. Which was a total miracle because I’d shattered two glasses and crumpled Braeden’s baseball bat last night. I was actually kind of scared to touch anyone right now.
“What do you mean Tish won’t come out of her room?”
“It happens sometimes,” Jeff said. “They pulled her from a pretty scary scene.”
“And she remembers?” I asked, almost thankful I didn’t.
Sort of. Okay, maybe not. I didn’t like not knowing about myself. If there was a way to just know about me and not the bad stuff the scientists did to me, that’d be perfect.
“It’ll take some time.” Jeff opened the fridge. “Man. I’m hungry. Talk about a long drive.”
I didn’t like that she was all alone in her room, though. Strange house. Strange people. Scared. That didn’t sit right with me.
A blast of hot air came in through the open door. Braeden chuckled again. It was really starting to bug me.
“I’ll help fix the door.” I lifted it up and propped it against the outside of the house. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, honey. You’re not the first to have extra strength.” Janet winked at me. “But we can’t have all the air conditioned air leaking out.”
“On it,” Jeff said. “If I can con a super omelet from you while I’m fixing it.”
“I think I can help with Tish.” I ran out the open door into the garage and up my stairs.
That little stuffed monkey we’d found in my bag might come in handy right now. I pulled it out and hustled back down the stairs.
Jeff was already outside with his tool belt on working the door in its place. “You really know how to fix it?”
“Comes with the territory. Strength is the most common thing these scientists try for, so I’ve repaired a few doors in my day. And working up at the school leaves me plenty of broken things to fix.”
“The school?” I stopped beside him. “The one I might go to?”
“What’s this might stuff?” He stopped what he was doing. “Don’t want to go to school?”
“No, sir. I mean, yes, sir, I do. But can I? With no past I figured—”
“Hey, kiddo. This is what we do. We’ll get you all settled and ready. I kind of figured you’d be in a hurry to start school considering how fast you learn.”
“I am. I—well—with this new thing.” I held up my hands. “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
“You won’t. We’ll get it under control. For now, the main thing to remember is to just slow down. Stay focused and you’ll be fine. We’ll practice as soon as I get things under control with this.” He pounded the door.
“Cool. Um that school. It seems expensive. I don’t want to—”
“Free tuition since I work there.” He grinned. “And don’t worry about that stuff. Have fun and play some soccer for a while. You’ve been through enough. No need to worry. Okay?”
“Yes, sir.” Wow. He was like a dad, wasn’t he? Cool.
“You might have to use the front door until this is fixed.”
“No problem, sir.” I hustled around the front and bolted inside. Fine by me. Didn’t want to talk to Braeden or face any more questions from Janet. As long as she stayed out of my room until I could hide the safe better we’d be fine.
I stopped in front of Tish’s door and held my hand up to knock. “Now, don’t break it,” I whispered to my hand.
Really? I was telling myself not to pound through the wood?
Hopefully it worked.
I held my breath and knocked lightly. Sweet! It didn’t break down.
I heard sniffles coming from inside her room.
“Are you in there?”
The door creaked open and a short girl with huge blue eyes looked up at me. She stepped back, her eyes widening even more.
It sucked being tall sometimes.
I fell to my knees, but it didn’t help, I was still taller than her. “This better?”
She wiped her eyes. “I know you.”
“You do?” I inched forward. “I don’t know you.”
“I’m Tish.” She cocked her head. “I saw you in a dream.”
That’s right, Janet had mentioned this girl had visions. “What’d you see?”
She glanced around and smiled. “This.” Her eyes lit up, and she opened her door wider. There was one bag on the bed next to a pink pillow with Hello Kitty on it.
“You like Hello Kitty?”
I held up my stuffed monkey. “Got room for my friend?”
She squealed and snatched it from my hand then hugged it tight. “Can I have it?”
“For a while.” I grinned, inching in, still on my knees. “He’s my lucky monkey.”
“What’s his name?”
She swayed as she hugged him. “Alastair. I love him!”
“Means Defender of Mankind. So, you’re safe with him.” I sat on my heels in front of her. “You’re safe here, too.”
“I miss my other bed.” She hopped up next to her bag.
I sat beside to her and patted the mattress. “This one’s nice, too.”
Holding Alastair close, she climbed on my lap and nestled her forehead to my neck. “You’re so big. But not scary.” She toyed with the light fur between the monkey’s big purple eyes. “We’re going to be friends.”
I rocked her silently for a few seconds, while she stared at the stuffed toy. Funny how this tiny girl made me feel comfortable. At ease. Almost felt familiar. I got that a lot with things, like I knew them but how or why was just out of reach.
It was really beginning to bug me, too. If only I could remember. Something. Anything. Maybe that safe held some answers. Maybe it was my ticket to remembering!
“You hungry?” I asked.
“I think Janet’s making food.”
“Is she my new mommy?”
I remembered asking the same thing when Janet found me. “Maybe. But you don’t have to worry about that now.”
“Jeff, he’s my new daddy. He kept me safe.”
“The bad men. Bad, bad men chased after us.”
I eased her up more. “Bad men?”
“I saw them coming first, though. So we played a game of hide and seek.” She sat straight up and grinned. “And we won.”
“I bet you always win that game.”
“Yep.” She nodded. One of her front teeth was missing. “But not with you.”
“I am pretty good at it.”
She grinned. “That’s because you’re like me.”
“I am, huh?” I hoisted her into my arms and stood up.
“Er…will be. I’m not sure. I didn’t see that part.”
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t worry. I won’t let them get us.” She peered up into my eyes. “We’re too important.”
Join us Wednesday for Chapter 13 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….