You’ve entered the world of The Realm Jumpers. The adventure with Riley and his trusty gang of genetic misfits continues…
“Whatchya doin’?” behind me a girl’s voice caught me by surprise.
Still bouncing the soccer ball on my knee, I hopped around to see the source of the squeaky voice. There stood a scrawny girl, not much more than four feet tall with stringy, dirty blond hair flopping around in the breeze.
“Holy cow, man, you’re huge.”
“Thank you,” I said.
I’d heard enough of that these past few days at this strange place. We were at the store getting me some clothes and a ton of people stared at me.
I did look different than them with my super white skin and how tall I was. But still. Even I knew it wasn’t polite to stare, and I didn’t know much about anything.
“Why’d you say thank you?” the small girl said, crossing her thin arms over her chest. “That’s weird.”
“So is calling someone huge.”
I touched my neck making sure my hair covered up the strange port in the back of my head. Jeff had deactivated whatever was in there, but he warned me to keep it hidden.
Evidently it wasn’t normal to have that. Or to be as big as me at the age of eleven. Not to mention have such white skin.
In other words, I was a total freak.
The girl lunged forward and snatched the ball, then started dribbling it around the small green patch of grass in Janet and Jeff’s yard.
She was pretty good.
“You’re new here,” she said, staying focused on the ball. “What’s the deal?”
“The deal?” This strange girl talked weird.
She put her foot on top of the ball and looked up at me. “The deal. Your story. You know. Where are you from?”
“I don’t know the deal.” I made a quick move and stole the ball from her, then blasted across the lawn.
She stood in the middle, hands on her hips, not even trying to defend me. “How can you not know?”
I resumed juggling as she stared. I wasn’t sure how long she stood there, but she finally said, “You should come play on the town team.”
“As in a real soccer team?”
“Duh.” She crossed her eyes at me. They were about as green as the grass was. “It’s called club soccer.”
“Others will be there, too? We’ll play a real game?”
“Oh my gosh.” She covered her face with her hands. “Why do I find all the goofy people? It’s like I’m a magnet or something.”
I stared at her.
Her shoulders sagged. “What’s your name?”
“Riley.” At least that’s what J2 had told me. I smiled at the nickname I’d given the two people who’d taken me in. Janet and Jeff. J2.
“I’m Hope.” She grinned. “And yeah. Real games.”
“I’ve never played a real game.”
“Get out of here.” She moved to push me, but I dodged her. “Whoa. Chill. I was just—”
“Sorry.” I wasn’t sure what she was going to do. Even more weird I moved pretty quickly to get out of her way. Cool.
“If you haven’t played a game before how’d you get so good at juggling?”
I wondered the same thing tons of times. But like most everything else about me, I had no clue how or why I knew the things I knew. “Not really sure.”
“You’re totally weird. I’m gone.” She whirled around.
“Wait. I’d very much like to play—”
“Very much?” She shook her head. “Fine. Ask the ‘rents if it’s okay I come by tomorrow at 9am to get you.”
‘Rents? What the heck was she talking about? It was like she spoke another language.
“You gonna ask them?”
“Janet and Jeff.”
“You know J2?”
She laughed. “J2. That’s good. And I totally know them. I’m here all the time.”
“I haven’t seen you before.”
“Yeah, well, I like to give the new kids some time to get settled. I’m nice like that. But, you’re settled right?”
“Good. Then keep your hands off the chocolate chip waffles. Those are mine.”
And she thought I was weird? What’d she mean about the waffles. She didn’t live here.
“You might be a little too freaktastic to play with us.” She laughed. “Kidding. So, ask ‘em already.”
“It’ll be fine,” Janet said from behind me. She stood on the patio in front of the entrance to the small house. “Hi, Hope. How are you?”
“Fine. Your big lug of a foster kid might be pretty good at that soccer thing.”
Janet chuckled. “You might be right.”
“So, we’re good for club?” Hope said.
“Fine by us. I’ll call Coach.” Janet nodded. “You okay with that Riley?”
I had no clue what was happening, but if it meant I got to play more soccer I was okay with just about anything. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Ma’am.” Hope grinned. “Looks like you got a polite one this time, Mrs. J.” Hope bolted away.
I watched as she sprinted down the sidewalk and disappeared into the house at the end of the block. It was blue and a total mess. Paint peeling. The weeds in the yard that were almost as tall as her. Couldn’t tell from here, but the front door might have been hanging crooked, too.
“You okay, Riley?” Janet stood beside me.
“Yes, ma’am.” I tossed the soccer ball up and caught it with my foot. “Who’s that girl?”
“That’s Hope. She’s fine.”
“What did she mean about our waffles?” I’d eaten some this morning and they were yummy.
Janet laughed. “You’ll find out tomorrow. Now that you’ve settled in, you’ll be seeing more of her.”
I didn’t understand, but that wasn’t anything new. “I get to play soccer tomorrow?”
“If you want to.”
“I’ve never played with anyone. Well, I don’t think I have anyway.”
“Then let’s get you set up in front of the computer so your photographic mind can get to work memorizing the rules,” Janet grinned.
My freak of a brain just might come in handy after all.
Join us Friday for Chapter 5 of Watcher of the Realms. Be sure to subscribe to the site to not miss a single chapter of Riley’s adventures.
A big thank you to Sizzling PR for the Realm Jumper graphics.
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See you soon….