I finished reading The Lost Books series by Ted Dekker a while ago, and I was really sad it was over.  So, I decided to make a story based off his series!  (No pirating intended.)


Journal entry #1

To whoever may be reading, I hope you have good intentions.  This is the 6th journal I've owned, because I've filled up the other 5 since I learned to write. 

First, a little about myself.  My name is Loni last name is unknown to me.  I'm a... unique... being, living with others who are not quite so unique, therefor I must hide what makes me  ' unnatural ' by comparison. 

As far as I know, I'm a only child and an orphan, but don't feel sorry for me, because how can you miss something you've never seen or known?  I've lived alone all my life, (and I prefer to keep it that way,) learning the hard way how to do things right.

I am currently attending high school for ' those less fortunate,' a fancy term for poor people.  I'm a senior, and I am 99 days away from graduation.  I have a job as a waitress, so I can cover the cost of school, food, and other necessities.

Now that that's finished, I will begin to tell you of my day.....

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As I sat at my familiar table in the corner of the large cafeteria, my eyes locked on a window nearby where a bird was chirping.  Sitting by myself wasn't uncommon during lunch, but recently it took on a whole new meaning.  To hide my differences, I wore sunglasses everywhere I went, even indoors.  Another was I never smiled, but nobody really noticed that.  There were rumors going around the school because of my sunglasses.  Some were realistic, like ' maybe she's hiding a scar, ' but others were just crazy, like ' maybe she's running from the police, and she uses those to hide her identity! '

They were right about hiding something though, I thought, brushing away a strand of black hair.

I looked past the bird and down to the streets in town, which was a few miles away.  Ever since I was old enough to remember things, my senses have been sharper than normal.  I never thought much of it though, because how can you notice something when you were born with it?

The bell rang sooner than expected, so I quickly ate the last remaining pieces of meat and hurried out.  Jogging over to my locker, I grabbed my books and was about to shut it when somebody else did it for me.

"Well well well, what do we have here girls?  Little miss weirdo!"  Tina, the queen of the brats, said.  Her posse giggled.  Tina was a tall girl, with white-blonde hair, dark brown eyes and a fake tan.  I never saw her without heavy makeup on, or without her group of girls.

I rolled my eyes, even though they couldn't see it.  "What do you want Tina?"  I asked with an annoyed tone.

"Oh, lots of things really," Tina said, earning some more giggles.  "But what I really want to know... is what's behind those sunglasses of yours!"

As soon as she finished saying that she reached for them, intending to rip them off.  Instinct kicked in and I slapped her hand away with strength I didn't know I had.  All the girls were surprised at the sudden act, offering me a chance to slip away.  So I did.  Shifting the books in my arms, I hurried off to my class.  Taking a seat in the back, I watched as the other girls walked in.  Tina sent me a nasty look, but she didn't say a word.


The rest of school went normally, and as soon as the bell rang I was outside.  Adjusting my backpack, I hopped on my bike and rode away, putting as much distance between me and the school as possible.  I followed the road until I was far enough away from being seen.  Slowing down, I turned into the woods that grew around the town and rode on, weaving through the trees.  As far as the town was concered, the only thing in the woods were trees and small animals, but I knew more than they did.

Eventually I rode into a large meadow.  Well, it would've been large if the old house was gone.  Made who-knows-when, the house looked long abandoned with it's dirty windows and missing planks of wood.  In a way, it was more of a shed than a house.  But it was home.

Jumping off my bike, I walked it over to the side of the house and leaned it against the planks.  Then I left it and headed inside.  Closing the creaking door behind me, I glanced briefly at what used to be a living room.  There was nothing in the house, not even old furniture, but that was done to drive people away in case they found the house. 

Pushing a fake piece of the wall aside, I opened a trapdoor and went down a ladder.  When I landed, I breathed a long sigh and collapsed on a soft couch.  The entire basement of the house was decorated with the most modern furniture that money could buy.  Why it was down there, I wasn't sure, that was just the way I found it.  But everything worked perfectly, so I didn't really care.  The basement fit everything a home required in it, like somebody shoved a whole house underground.  I even had Wifi!

Taking off my sunglasses, I walked over to the fridge for a glass of milk.  Picking up the nearly empty carton, I sighed and put it back.  Time for another shopping trip.

Maybe later.  I thought.

Then a thought snapped into my mind.  Whoops!  Fogot to hide my bike!

Racing back up, I walked through the door again and towards my bike.  I lifted an old, small tarp to cover it, when I saw something in the corner of my eye.  Dropping the tarp, I spun around to see what it was.  Two unconcious or dead animals were sprawled out on the ground.  Heart pumping, I slowly made my way over to them.  When I got a closer look, I found that these creatures were oversized bats, maybe the size of an eagle.  One was a normal black, the other was pure white, but they shared one thing in common: both of them were hurt very badly, blood staining their fur.

My thoughts instantly went to an internet anouncment that I saw a week ago.  Scientists believed they found a medical breakthrough, and were already doing tests.  I clenched my jaw at the thought that they would test something that new on animals.  I turned to look at the house, then back at the bats. 

I can't just let them die out here!  I thought.  I at least have to try!

With that in mind, I hurried over to the tarp and brought it back to the bats.  Being as gentle as possible, I slid my hands under the white bat and lifted it onto the tarp.  Then I grabbed the other ends and picked them up.  Carrying the bat as carefully as I could, I walked back into the house, down the ladder, and laid it down on a red rug.  Then I went back up and did the same with the black bat.  Grabbing a First Aid kit, I almost frantically searched for something to help.  Pulling out a large roll of bandages, I set them down for a moment and rushed to a closet.  Grabbing a washcloth, I used cold water to get it wet.  Wringing it out, I went back to the bats and started to clean their wounds.

Boy... I thought. I in for a treat if they wake up.

I sat on the couch, tapping my foot impatiently, keeping my eyes on the bats.  The last 30 minutes were spent cleaning their wounds, bandaging them, and stitching up the rest.  In middle school I took a First Aid class that taught us everything there is to know, but I never thought I'd use it on two eagle-sized bats.

Then I waited...and waited...and waited...but neither of them woke up.  Drumming my fingers on my lap, I continued to wait, holding on to the small hope that they would be ok.  Glancing at my watch, the minutes soon became hours, the afternoon slowly turning into evening.  My eyes started to close.  I shook my head, trying to will my eyes to stay open.  I failed.  5 minutes later I was asleep on the couch.


A shuffling noise interuppted my dreams.  Opening my eyes, I instantly locked them on the bats.  Sitting up slowly, I watched them with a new hope rising inside me.  Both were still.  The hope fled and I sighed.

I guess I just imagined it.  I thought.

Just as I was about to close my eyes again, I saw the white bat's wing move slightly.  I felt like screaming for joy, one of them was alive!  Because of its condition, I felt no fear as I walked over next to it.  For some odd reason, I reached for my sunglasses and put them back on.  Out of habit or not to scare the bat, I wasn't sure.  Reaching out my right hand, I went to touch it.

Suddenly the white bat spun around and raked it's claw over my palm.  Stifling a scream, I pulled my hand back and grabbed my wrist tightly with my other hand.  The long, thin cut started to bleed almost instantly.  The bat made no other move to attack, which was odd.

"Fine way to thank me," I said through my teeth.  Letting go of my wrist, I shook my hand lightly.

The white bat looked at itself, noticing the bandages and stitches for the first time.  After looking itself over, it looked back at me, but I didn't notice.  Grabbing the still damp and bloodstained washcloth, I cleaned the cut and started to wrap it in bandages.  I couldn't say I was completely surprised, it was a wild animal after all.

"My apologies, I didn't know what you were," a male voice said.

I snapped my head back to the bat.  Its shining green eyes stared right into mine, sending a tingling sensation through my body.  "Did you just-"

"What's your name, girl?"  It asked.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  A bat, talking!  I just stared in silence, unsure of what to do.

"Well?"  It said.

I realized my mouth was open and snapped it shut.  "'s Loni," I replied, still shocked.  "How are you talking?  Animals aren't supposed to talk!"

It smiled, much to my disbelief.  "Well then, Loni, allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Gabil, and I'm what is called a Roush, unseen by humans for years.  As for talking, well, I've done that all my life," he said.

I blinked.  Gabil was still there.  I felt half relieved and half terrified that I wasn't going crazy.  Processing this sudden change in events, we both remained silent for what seemed like an hour.  Then Gabil broke the silence.

"You might want to consider putting that one in a locked room," he said guesturing towards the black bat.

I looked at the black bat, which was still unconcious.  "Why?  Is he Roush too?"  I asked.

Gabil made a face.  "Not at all!  He's Shataiki, a servant of evil.  Hurry, he might wake up soon," he said.

Surprised, I picked up the black bat and decided to lock it in a spare closet.  Once it was inside I grabbed a key and locked the closet door.  I was about to leave, but then I decided to prop a chair against the door for extra insurance.  Then I walked into the living room again where Gabil was waiting.

"OK, so he's locked up.  What was that about?"  I asked, kneeling next to him.

"Let me start with what Shataiki are.  Shataiki are servants of Teeleh, an evil being who seeks to corrupt and destroy.  The number one enemy to Elyon, whom the Roush serve.  Elyon has power over everything, including Teeleh, and..." Gabil paused and looked at my watch.  "I will tell you more later, your school starts in 20 minutes."

My eyes widened and I looked at my watch.  Morning, already?  How long did I sleep?  I thought.  I quickly ran over to my dresser drawer and pulled out a clean shirt.  Gabil turned around as I threw the other shirt off and put the clean one on.  When I was done adjusting it, I threw on my backpack and headed for the ladder.

"Just a moment," Gabil said.

I looked back at him.  "Yes?"

"Could you show me your eyes?"  He asked.

The question felt like a punch in the stomach.  I didn't move for a moment, trying to choose what to do.  But as I looked at Gabil, I felt a sudden urge to trust him, and if I had to show my eyes to somebody, it might as well be someone who I knew wouldn't rush off to tell his friends.  I let out a sigh and nodded.

"OK, but I'm trusting you," I said.  I slowly reached for my sunglasses and lifted them away from my face, reavealing my eyes to Gabil.

Gabil looked fairly surprised, but he smiled.  "You have beautiful eyes," he said.  "Now go, you don't want to be late."

I put my sunglasses back on, and for the first time in my life, I smiled.  Giving him a small wave, I climbed up the ladder, out of the house, and onto my bike.  Part of me wanted to stay, but I knew that I couldn't be late for school.  So I rode away from the house and towards the school, thinking about Gabil, Elyon, Teeleh and the Shataiki the whole way.

there's nothing wrong with them, they're just very different. You'll see in the next chapter :)

I'm intrigued.

Tina tapped her foot on the asphalt.  "But Little Miss Weirdo is really strong, are you sure you can handle her?"  She asked, not completely convinced.

Josh, captain of the football team, smiled at her.  He was the most handsome guy in the school with his blonde hair, ice blue eyes, and muscled arms.  He was the only one she could talk to without losing her temper.  "Trust me, a little mystery girl is nothing compared to me and my team!"  He said, pointing towards three other football players.  "This will be a piece of cake!"

Tina smiled.  They've been working on what they call ' The Loni Case ' ever since she showed up for high school, but every effort before today had been fruitless.  That was when Tina and Josh agreed that they were playing too nice.  Yesterday's effort didn't go so well, so she was putting all her trust in Josh and his posse to discover the creep's secrets.  The plan was simple: corner her somewhere, take off the sunglasses, and then Tina would take a picture and post it everywhere she could!

I wonder what she's hiding, Tina thought.  Maybe a gross scar, or better yet a humiliating skin problem!  This is going to RUIN her!

"What are you thinking about?"  Josh asked.

Tina smiled, a smile that would most likely scare anyone.  "Just our sweet success waiting to happen!"  She laughed.  "Finally!"

Josh smiled and wrapped an arm around her waist.  "Finally."


After ' parking ' my bike, I hurried up the once white steps to the school doors.  Glancing to my right, I saw Josh and Tina in the parking lot.  Josh had his arm around Tina's waist and he was talking to her, making her laugh.  I looked away with disgust basically written on my face.  Who had time for mushy romance when life had enough problems on it's own?  Besides, it seemed that divorce rates were going up constantly, so why bother?

Jogging through the hall, I weaved through the crowd of people and made it to my first class just as the bell rang.  Taking my usual seat in the back, I slid my backpack off and pulled out my homework paper.

I doubt that taking care of a white talking bat would pass for a good excuse.  I thought while I quickly filled out the questions.  I finished it just as the teacher walked into the room.

"Morning class!"  Miss Tory said in her usual happy tone.  Wearing her usual jeans and a T-shirt, she was the one teacher that we all loved to learn from.  She made school actually fun, with her energetic personality and cool ways to learn things.

"Morning Miss Tory!"  The class said, almost matching her happy mood.

Miss Tory smiled at the class.  "Well, let's get started with a few announcements.  A while ago the principal quit, so now we..."

I lost her about at that time.  Looking out the window, my mind started to drift towards Gabil.  Thoughts came in, like I hope Gabil's OK.  Oh no I didn't leave any water out!  Is that going to be a problem?  I hope that the....what was it, Shataiki?...didn't wake up yet!

"Miss Rose!"  A voice brought my thoughts to a screeching halt.  I jumped slightly and looked at Miss Tory, who was standing at my desk.

"Doing school requires focus you know," she said.  Then she added, "I know it's early, but please try to make the effort."

Feeling slightly embarrassed, I simply nodded my reply.

"Good," she said with a smile.  Turning back to her desk, she grabbed some papers and started to pass them around.  "I learned an odd but effective trick in teaching yesterday.  Instead of me telling you what the lesson is, I'm going to let you try and figure it out.  Once we're done, we'll compare the ideas and whoever has the closest will get a surprise!  If we have time, we'll read them out loud.  You may start..." she paused and looked at the clock.  "!"

The room went quiet except for pencils writing on paper.  I looked at my paper, and suddenly my mind went blank.  Gabil kept surfacing in my mind, no matter how hard I tried to push him out.  I continued this mental battle for nearly 10 minutes before I caved in.  With a sigh, I raised my hand slowly.

"Yes, Miss Rose?"  She asked quietly, walking over to my desk again.

"I'm sorry, but..." I paused to take a deep breath.  "I just can't focus today, and I think I should go home."

Miss Tory raised an eyebrow, but she looked concerned.  "Why?"

I said the closest thing to the truth that I could think of.  "I got a pet yesterday, but he's not feeling well.  I'm really worried about him."

She looked at me for a long moment.  I returned her gaze.  She was the only one who knew that I didn't have any parents, and I've never made an excuse to leave school either.  I'd tell her the whole truth if I was certain she'd believe it.  Then after what seemed like an eternity she nodded.

"OK Loni, you've passed the sincere test," she said.  Walking back to her desk, she grabbed a few papers and turned back to me.  "Here's the rest of the lesson for today.  Whenever you have time, fill them out and return them to me tomorrow.  Understood?"

"Yes ma'am," I said, taking the papers and putting them in my backpack.  "I'll get it done ASAP, I promise!"  I said.  Putting my backpack on again, I stood up and started to walk out.

"Say hi to your pet for me!"  Miss Tory said.

I gave her a small smile and nodded.  Closing the door behind me, I jogged towards the door, more than ready to see Gabil again.  Excitement started to build and I quickened my pace.  

Suddenly three football players stepped out and blocked the exit.  Skidding to a stop, I looked at them slightly confused.  But I didn't have to wait long for an explanation.

"So you're the mystery girl," a voice said behind me.  Spinning around, I saw Josh looking straight at me.  Frowning, I stared back.

"Tell your friends here to move it, will you?"  I said.  "I'm in a hurry here."

"Oh you are, huh?"  Josh said with a smirk.  "Well I don't think you are, and I'm the one who has a voice right now.  So you do what I say and take those sunglasses off."

"Ha!  Seriously, you think that?"  I said.  "Last time I checked, we're in the United States.  I don't have to answer to you."

Josh took a menacing step forward.  "Those are coming off, now," he said in a low voice.

"Or what?"  I challenged.  "You'll attack me?  Be my guest.  But I'm not going to be the one riding away to the hospital!"

This caught us both by surprise.  I've never talked like that in my whole life!  For a moment nobody moved, spoke, or even breathed.  Josh was the first to break the silence.

"Fine then!"  He said.  

Diving towards me, he reached out to try and push me down.  I moved to the side and simply watched him hit the floor.  All this for some sunglasses?  I thought.  I positioned my feet to a fighting stance and I waited for him to get up again.  I didn't have to wait long.  Pushing himself to his feet, Josh raced over and tried a series of punches to the stomach and the face.  Guarding my face being my top priority, I blew air through my teeth whenever he hit my stomach, trying to ease the pain.  Suddenly an idea formed.  As he was reaching for another punch, both of us didn't expect what happened next.  Reaching my hand to meet his, I grabbed his wrist in a tight grip, swung him over my head, and threw him on the floor with a loud thump.  Just like that, the fight was over.

Breathing hard, I let my hands fall loosely at my sides.  I just stared at Josh's limp form on the floor, unable to register what I just did.  Turning away, I looked at the three stunned football players who had obviously lost their confidence.

"Are we done here?"  I asked in an exhausted tone.

They parted, avoiding eye contact.  With a sad sigh, I made my way over to the door.


Josh groaned.  When Tina said she was strong, he blew it off and thought he could take on a girl.  But this mystery girl had more tricks up her sleeve than one could guess.  

Pushing himself up slowly, he saw that she was walking towards the door.  Remembering Tina, and the ball of fury she would be if he failed, he got back on his feet and charged at her.  Hitting her in the back, he landed on top of her, sending her sunglasses flying off and they clattered on the floor, echoing through the halls.

Triumph surged through his veins and he flipped her over so he could see her face.  He took one look into her eyes and his heart stopped.  Her eyes were multicolored!  Her left eye was pink, but her right eye commanded the most attention: it was black with a white pupil.  Both of them had slivers of green.

She hissed, exposing two fangs like a vampire.  Pushing him off, she stood up again and locked eyes with him.

This isn't over Josh,  He heard a female voice in his mind.  You'll pay for this!

Without another word, she turned and ran out, leaving the sunglasses behind.  He stood up just as Tina walked out with her phone ready.
"Hey," she said disappointed.  "Where'd she go?  Did you see what she was hiding?"

He looked at her, still shocked.  "I...."  He swallowed hard.  "I don't know what I saw."

Freaky eyes. Sounds cool, though.

I burst through the school doors, tears blurring my vision.  Running hard, I cleared the road and ran on the edge of the forest, completely forgetting my bike in the process.  My eagerness to get home and my advanced abilities merged together and allowed me to out-run a car, surprising a woman so much that she nearly went off the road.

Hair and tears flying, I found the tiny break in the woods leading towards my house.  Making a sharp turn, I weaved through the trees without slowing my pace, completely ignoring the small branches that scratched my cheeks and shoulders.  

I arrived at my house faster than I thought I would.  Slowing a little, I threw open the door and went down the ladder before I could actually think about what I was doing.  I stood still for a moment, trying to bottle up my emotions.  

Too late.

I sat down on the couch, covered my face in my hands, and sobbed.  All the emotion that I've held down for years surfaced at that moment, adding a fresh round of tears to pour down my face.

I'm a freak!  I thought.  No wonder I don't have any parents!  Who would want me for a daughter?  They probably dumped me here on purpose!  I continued to cry, my stomach sick from all the emotion.

I heard a soft flap of wings and the couch bounced slightly.  Pulling my hands away from my face, I looked at the fuzzy Roush.  Standing right next to me, Gabil's eyes were glassy and a single tear slid down his white cheek.  Stretching out his wings, he wrapped them around my waist in what I considered a hug of sorts.

Then Gabil did the most unexpected and unforgettable thing: he opened his mouth and sang.  The most beautiful melody flowed out, filling the room in an unnatural way.  The words were in a language I've never heard of, but I somehow understood them.  They filled my heart with an unexplainable joy, and I almost jumped up and danced because of it.  

Too soon the song was over.  Gabil released my waist and looked me in the eyes, smiling.

I just stared at him, stunned by the experience.  "Wha....what was THAT?"  I asked, only aware of how dumb it sounded after I said it.

But Gabil still smiled.  "That, my dear Loni, is Elyon's love for you," he said.

Using my hand to wipe my face, I smiled.  "That was beautiful," I said.  Then I decided to take a chance.  "I really want to know about this Elyon guy now.  Please explain," I said eagerly.

His face almost literally lit up.  "I'd love to!"  He exclaimed.  "OK, first thing's first, have you ever heard of God?"  He asked.

I nodded.  In school one year, a freshman came and told everyone she could about an amazing God that made the world.  Nobody took her seriously though.

"Well, God an Elyon are the same person, just under a different name," he explained.  "There once was a place called the colored forest, where people, Roush, and Elyon lived together," he paused and sighed.  "You should've seen it Loni, it was the most beautiful place on Earth.  Anyway, they lived peacefully and Elyon was no stranger to the people.  He would talk to them, play with them, and teach them.  But one day a man named Tanis rebelled against Elyon, unleashing Teeleh, also known as Satan, and his Shataiki on the colored forests."

My jaw dropped in surprise.  "Why would someone do such a thing?"  I asked in disbelief.

Gabil sighed.  "Temptation, Loni.  Teeleh tempted and deceived him, Tanis didn't specifically have rebellion in mind.  But the outcome was the same.  The colored forest no longer exists, but Elyon was not defeated.  He sent his son, Justin, also known as Jesus, to die for us and make a way back to the colored forests."

I nearly screamed at him to continue, but I held back.  "I've heard enough," I said.  "I want to serve him like crazy now!  But how do I do it?"  I asked, my words coming out quickly.

Gabil smiled.  "You have no idea how happy I am right now!"  He said, but then he became suddenly serious.  "But serving Elyon is something you must commit to, you can't be half serving him.  Are you ready to take this charge?"

I considered this for a moment.  Believing in Elyon meant that I no longer played by my own rules.  I would lose control on my life.  But I knew that this was the right thing to do.

"Yes, I am," I said with a nod.

Gabil's smile widened.  "Then close your eyes and repeat after me, but only if these words are from your heart," he said, closing his eyes.

I obeyed and closed my eyes as well, a small tingling sensation going through my body.

"Dear Elyon..."

"Dear Elyon..."

"I know you sent your son..."

"I know you sent your son..."

"To die for me."

"To die for me."

"I now accept you..."

"I now accept you..."

"As my Lord and Savior..."

I paused for a moment, then took a deep breath and continued.  "As my Lord and Savior..."

"And I promise..."

"And I promise..."

"To serve you..."

"To serve you..."

"Until the day I die."

Again I hesitated.  But I felt it in my heart, as Gabil said, so I finished the prayer.

"Until the day I die."


You watch Gabil and Loni pray together, smiling.  You remain invisible to them, watching as Loni chooses to follow Elyon.  Suddenly you feel something strong pull you out of the room.  Unable to fight whatever's pulling you, you watch as the peaceful scene is wrapped in black as you're being pulled away.  Then colors start to shoot by until all you can see is white.

What's happening?!  You wonder, panic starting to build to dangerous levels.

Then, as soon as it started, everything stops.  You are no longer being pulled around, but your vision is still black.  It is then you realize that your eyes are closed.  Opening them slowly, you squint at the bright sunlight that stings your eyes.  

Then you realize something else; your laying on the ground.  Sitting up slowly, you look around, confused.  You smell something sweet, which you soon discover is flowers.  No one else is around, so you relax a bit.  

Taking in your surroundings, you stand up, looking for anything that would hint at where you are.  You appear to be in a wide, open field with nothing but more green grass in sight.

"Who are you?"  A female voice says behind you.

Spinning around, you're shocked to find a girl about 18 staring back at you.  A slight breeze makes her jet black hair lift off her shoulders.  Dressed in black jean shorts and a light yellow tank top, she doesn't seem to be threatening.  But it's not her hair or clothes that surprise you, it's her eyes.

They're mismatched, just like Loni's eyes.  Yet they're different.  Instead of pink and black, her eyes were gold and dark blue.

Not wanting to be rude, you tell her your name.  She smiles, revealing vampire teeth.

"Hello!  May I ask why your here?"  She asks.

"I...I don't know," you say.  "Who are you?"

"Oh, sorry!  I should've introduced myself!"  She says slightly embarrassed.  "My name's Zayla.  Let me be the first to welcome you to China!"

"CHINA?!"  You say, thinking out loud.  "How am I in China?"

Zayla just shrugs.  "Well, you can follow me if you want.  I'm going to a place called the Jade Palace," she says, excited.

Not wanting to lose your only guide, you nod and follow her.  "Why are you going there?"  You ask.

"There's someone there that I need to talk to," she says.  "I've been given a mission by Elyon, and He told me to go see him," she pauses.  "I have no idea why, but He said that once I get there He will tell me more."

Remembering Elyon from watching Loni and Gabil, you're suddenly very interested in what she has to say.

"But He told me to be surprised," she continues.  "So I don't know what to expect.  What I do know is that this isn't modern day China.  He has taken me, and now you, to an older time.  What for, I have no idea..."

She stops walking and looks at you.  "Your fading away," she says.

You look at yourself and realize that your time to be seen is up.  "It's OK, that's normal," you say mysteriously.  "Good luck with the Jade Palace!"  You say before turning invisible again.

Zayla watches you with wide eyes until your completely gone.  She spins around, looking for you until she's sure your gone.  With a sigh, she continues on while you follow her, watching another story unfold.

the story break will be ending soon!   I just need to piece together a few more things, then I'll continue!

Kneeling next to the coffee table in the middle of the living room, my pencil flowed quickly over my homework papers.  Allowing anyone to go home during the middle of school was more than a little risky, especially if the student was just lying to get out of doing their work.  It was sad how little trust the school had in its students and teachers, but of course the rules made sense.  Some people were just that lazy.  I briefly wondered if there was any hope for this generation.

I shook my head against these thoughts.  Well, if everyone else was being that lazy, then I would be the one to go against the grain.  Miss Tory was an amazing teacher, an amazing friend, and almost my substitute mother.  I was determined to prove that the risk she took for me wouldn't be in vain.  Focusing harder on my work, I threw all of my effort into the questions, answering all of them with probably more details than necessary.  But I didn't care; I wanted to show her how I respected her and paid attention.

Suddenly I remembered Gabil, who was still standing on the rug.  "I'm pretty sure I don't know what the Roush normally eat," I said, pausing to look at the fuzzy white bat.  "But if you're hungry or something, I'm not a bad cook."

Gabil smiled.  "I admit, I am kind of hungry," he said.  "What kind of fruit do you have?"

"Fruit?"  I said, then nodded and stood up, jogging over to the fridge.  Opening the door, I scanned the shelves.  "Fruit...fruit...aha!"  I said, pulling out a box of strawberries, the last wedge of watermelon, and a pear.  Carefully carrying the three fruits, I set them on the coffee table.

"Samples?"  I suggested.

Gabil looked eager.  "Yes, I'd love-" He stopped abruptly.

I raised my eyebrow.  "What is it?" I asked, confused.

Gabil cocked his head slightly.  "Have you looked in the mirror recently?"  He asked.

The question took me completely by surprise.  Did he mean that literally, or was this a metaphorical question?  Deciding to test the first idea, I stood up and walked a few feet before turning into the bathroom.  I didn't even have to turn on the light to see what Gabil meant.  My hair had turned blonde!  What used to be long, flowing black hair was now long, flowing blonde hair!

I rushed back out to Gabil, ready to pummel him with questions, when a loud shriek echoed through the room.  I turned just in time to see a black blur launch itself right at me!  With a loud screech, the Shataiki knocked me flat on my back, nearly knocking the air out of my lungs.  Before I could get up, the black bat dove right for my face, its razor-sharp talons fully extended, red eyes glimmering.

I acted purely on instinct and reflexes.  Pushing my arms up with surprising speed, I tightened my hands into fists at the last moment and punched the bat's injured wings.  The bat let out a high-pitched screech that nearly made me deaf.  But it worked: not only did the punches make the bat back up, but it sent the bat spiraling to the floor, landing silently with a soft thud.

Jumping to my feet, I felt my whole body begin to shake.  "How did it get out?!"  I exclaimed, directing my frightened gaze to Gabil.

"That doesn't matter!"  Gabil said.  "We have to get out of here!  More are on their way!"

My jaw dropped.  "There's more of them out there?!"

"Now there is!"  Gabil said, then continued without explaining.  "There's no time!  You'll have to carry me!"

My eyes frantically searching the room, I finally found what I needed: my backpack.  Bolting over to it, I snatched it off the back of a chair and kneeled next to Gabil, hastily unzipping the top.  Gabil needed no motivation; he hopped in as soon as I'd opened it wide enough for him to fit through.

Zipping it up halfway, I ran for the ladder, climbing up so fast I nearly slipped.  Basically flying through the fake wall, I turned sharply and threw open the old door, which creaked wildly in protest.  Before I knew what was happening, I was on my bike and riding away from the old house.

"Where am I going Gabil?"  I said.  "Do you know any good hiding places?"

Gabil poked his head through the top of the backpack.  "Where did you get a backpack this big?"  He asked.

"Gabil!"  I exclaimed.  "We need to find a place to hide!  Where do I go?!"

"The school!"  Gabil said.

My sights now on the school, I pedaled hard, the roads thankfully clear.  Desperation mixed with panic, increasing my speed until everything they passed by was a blur.  Sooner than expected, the school stood tall in front of me, the parking lot empty except for one car.  Completely ignoring the car, I jumped off my bike and let it fall to the ground with a loud clatter.  Rushing up the steps, I pushed on the wide double doors which, surprisingly, swung open.  I raced inside, closing the door behind me.

I took three steps before slamming into someone.  Both of us fell on the floor, my tailbone hitting the floor first.  Briefly recalling the one car, I winced as I stood up and moved over to help the person I knocked over.  I suddenly froze: that wasn't a person at all, it was Josh!

"YOU!" I exclaimed.  "What are you doing here?!"

Josh groaned, then stood up.  "I should be asking you that!"  He said.  "So what are you doing here, freak?"  He asked, placing extra emphasis on the word freak.  Yet despite the insult, he couldn't make direct eye contact.

"That's my business," I said.  "Now why don't you just leave and...." I stopped.

Something outside was blocking the evening sun, causing the inside of the school to darken.  Josh noticed it as well.  Jogging into one of the classrooms, I looked out one of the windows.  What I saw made my heart skip a few beats: a black mass of red eyes and bat wings.  Shataiki!

"Quick!"  Gabil said from my backpack.  "You and that boy need to head to the large room on the south end!"

"The gym?"  I concluded.  "Why the gym?"

"Trust me!"  Gabil said.  "I know what I'm doing!"

"OK fine!"  I said.  Sprinting out of the classroom, I grabbed Josh's wrist and pulled him with me in my mad dash to the gym.  He protested of course, but I wasn't about to let him be Shataiki food, no matter how much I basically despised the guy.

"Are you insane?!"  Josh exclaimed just as we reached the gym doors.

"I'm not sure anymore," I said, and it was the truth.  Without another word, I pushed open the doors and let Josh go in first.  Despite some harsh words said under his breath, he went in without much complaint.  Suddenly I heard the sound of flapping wings.

They're inside the school!  I thought with alarm.

Slamming the door, I turned my attention to Gabil.  "Now what?!"  I exclaimed.

Gabil didn't need to answer.  Something shimmered on the floor, and Josh had already spotted it, staring hard.  I was suddenly filled with the desire to jump in.  Making sure Gabil was still in my backpack, I grabbed Josh's wrist again and jumped in, pulling him with me.  The door burst open, but the Shataiki were too late: we were gone.

I"m loving this story so far. The characters. The beginnings of an amazing plot. I really want to read more.


All at once time seemed to slow down.  Looking up, I saw that the opening had sealed above us.  We were hovering in some sort of golden bubble.  Swirling just outside of the "bubble" were three ribbons of light, slowly revolving around us.  The lights moved up and down slowly, reminding me of an ocean wave.  Each ribbon was constantly changing color, flashing every color of the rainbow.

Everything around the golden bubble, not including the lights, was black as night.  The blackness went on forever it seemed, with no other light to be seen nearby.

I ignored the black and stared in amazement at these strange lights.  But then the moment was destroyed when I suddenly realized I was still holding Josh's wrist.  I loosened my grip and was about to let him go, to get him as far away from me as possible, but then I saw his face.

Josh was terrified.  I had to admit I was surprised.  It was very unusual for a guy to look that scared, and even more so from the captain of the football team.  To everyone at school, he was an unmovable rock, but now he looked like he could burst into tears any second.  I let out a frustrated sigh, shook my head slowly, then tightened my grip on his wrist.

"Dude, chill out," I said.  My voice sounded somewhat muted, but Josh still heard it.  "We're not going to die or anything."

"W-where are you?!"  Josh exclaimed, his voice slightly muted as well.  "I can't see a **** thing!"

I frowned.  "Cussing won't help you, plus it's unattractive and just plain lazy," I said, then I cocked my head slightly.  "What do you mean?  You don't see the lights?"

Josh looked around, seemingly oblivious to one of the light ribbons passing right by his face.  "What lights?  I told you I can't see!  Everything's too dark around here!"  He said.

I was about to speak, but suddenly I noticed that the lights began to speed up.  They were circling faster and faster, until all I could see was a rainbow blur.  Suddenly I felt something drip on the top of my head.  Looking up, I felt my stomach instantly twist into a knot: the golden bubble was breaking!  A long crack lined the top, and water began to squeeze through.

Water!  I thought with dread.  If it's this dark, we must be miles deep!

The drips ominously began to increase, until suddenly the crack widened, causing water to spill in faster.  Horrified, I could only watch as the dark water covered my feet, then my shins, then my knees.

"What's going on?!"  Josh exclaimed. 

It seemed that even though he couldn't see, he could definitely feel what was going on, which meant he would drown too.  We were out of time.  The water flowed in even faster, quickly rising to chest-level.

"Hold your breath!"  I shouted.

Josh didn't argue.  Taking a deep breath and holding it, we both felt the water rush over our faces.  The bubble fell away, and the light ribbons with it, leaving us in total darkness.  Surprisingly, there wasn't a lot of water pressure.

I acted quickly.  Leading Josh's hand to my ankle, I made sure he had a tight grip before I let go of him.  I guessed which way was up, then I started swimming.  I was a powerful swimmer, and I even won a few medals before, but none of them included dragging someone else along with me.

Fortunately, Josh seemed to guess what I was doing immediately.  He suddenly began kicking his powerful legs, adding much-needed speed.  He let me use my arms to steer, while he provided the extra speed needed.  It was clumsy at first, but we quickly developed a rhythm.

My lungs began to burn.  We both needed air, and we needed it NOW!  I doubled my effort, wilding pushing my arms through the water.  Josh doubled his effort as well.

Suddenly I saw the most beautiful thing: sunlight!  We were close!  I pushed my arms even harder, more than eager to reach the surface.  Josh must have seen it too, because he let go of my ankle and swam on his own.  Grateful for the loss of weight, I began swimming normally.

It was so close, yet so far away.  Just a few feet away now.....just a few inches.....



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