We were so thrilled to offer a take-home murder mystery this season in collaboration with the Big Read. This Greek mythology-themed mystery had you digging through emails, text transcripts, and private journal entries in the hopes of discovering the truth surrounding the mysterious death of Madame Phoebe Gaius.
Now it’s time to reveal the truth!
The suspect who murdered Madame Phoebe is…
Did you guess correctly?
We gave out roughly 140 take-home mystery kits, and of those who submitted answers, 57% of the them were correct with the second most popular guess being Professor Theus!
So why and how exactly did Cassie kill Madame Phoebe?
It all started with Madame Phoebe’s grandson, Apollo. As a member of a prominent Greek family, Apollo attended many public functions that were covered by journalists. At one of these functions, Apollo met renowned art journalist, Cassandra Troy and asked her out on a date. Cassandra rejected his affection, and Apollo was so offended that he used his Instagram platform to discredit Cassandra’s reports. She was subsequently fired from her job at “To Vima,” but Apollo showed no remorse.
Seeking both the truth and revenge, Cassandra started a personal blog, The Oracle, where she researched the Gaius family and soon uncovered actual scandals associated with both the Acropolis Museum and Madame Phoebe.
These scandals were:
In attempts to purchase artifacts that he felt were important, Professor Theus was embezzling funds through the use of a fake cooperation called Pyronix.
Madame Phoebe’s granddaughter, Artemis, refused to get married which greatly strained their relationship. Out of pride, Artemis rejected Phoebe’s money, causing her animal sanctuary to suffer financially. Artemis turned to identity theft and fraud to pay the bills.
Lord Dio Russo, the museum’s event coordinator, hosted parties with unseemly activities, one of which involved an intern suffering from alcohol poisoning.
Madame Phoebe had a tumultuous relationship with her sister, Rhea, involving their inheritance. Rhea, the eldest, was passed over in favor of Phoebe, and this caused tensions in the family
Madame Phoebe and Mr. Z, the museum’s curator, were engaged years ago, but Mr. Z was caught in an affair with his personal assistant, and Madame Phoebe broke off the engagement.
Having had experience running a popular gardening blog in her spare time, Cassandra’s new blog gained traction, particularly with other media outlets like the gossip journal, Kous Kous, which hired her on as a social media journalist. This gave Cassandra a little more access to the family, and she truly thought if their secrets were revealed, it would destroy them.
No one believed her, and Madame Phoebe sent a Cease and Desist out, threatening a lawsuit. Cassandra sent flowers to Madame Phoebe as a peace offering, but the threat within the flowers, the “devil’s bread” or poisonous hemlock flower, didn’t go unnoticed. Cassandra was enraged that no one believed her about the scandals at the museum or the wrongs this family was committing.
After the Cease and Desist was sent, Cassandra decided to torment Madame Phoebe with the truth by sending her the box with all of the evidence. She also started stalking her, leading Phoebe to believe she was seeing shadows.
On the day of Mythos Fantastikos, Cassandra used the party’s disorganization to her advantage, swiping a press pass and sneaking about in the kitchens. An avid gardener, Cassandra knew that hemlock would be mistaken for another leafy green and placed it on Madame Phoebe’s plate of ambrosia salad. Madame Phoebe suffered from coniine poison, a toxic chemical found in hemlock. The hemlock is a nod to the death of Socrates, the Greek philosopher.
What mythology-based clues hinted at the true killer?
Besides the evidence in the documents, a few clues based upon Greek mythology were included. Seven Greek gods were presented in the box as well as six items. These gods were associated with the seven deadly sins, and the items correlated to the gods. The gods also correlated to the seven suspects.
Plutus and coins = greed, Professor Theus
Eros and roses = lust, Mr. Z
Adephegia and grapes = gluttony, Lord Dio
Lyssa and sword = wrath, Cassandra
Phthonus and eye = envy, Countess Rhea
Hybris and mirror = pride, Artemis
Aergia and no item (due to laziness) = sloth, Apollo
In Madame Phoebe’s journal entry, she said that the statue of the goddess, Lyssa, seemed to be watching her and that she believed the goddess of wrath to be the most feared. Also below Cassandra’s blog was a quote from the Greek dramatist, Menander, that said “the sword the body wounds, sharp words the mind” referencing both the power of words and the power of the sword.
What other connections to Greek mythology were in the story?
Each suspect was inspired by a Greek god or goddess. Readers could say that it’s all a coincidence or they can decide if perhaps these suspects were in fact gods disguised as mortals. It’s up to you!
Madame Phoebe = the Titaness, Phoebe
Phoebe’s last name comes from a blend of Uranus and Gaia, the titans’ parents. Phoebe also had twin grandchildren, Apollo and Artemis. In mythology, Zeus actually had a relationship with Phoebe’s daughter, Leto, but Letitia (the personal assistant) is a nod to her.
Cassandra Troy = the Trojan priestess, Cassandra
The story goes that when Cassandra rejected the god Apollo, he cursed her to always speak of true prophecies but that no one would believe her.
Apollo Barros = the Greek god, Apollo
Apollo talks about “keeping things shiny” and “bringing things into the light” referencing the sun. Apollo also puts himself into the light via the most modern method; Instagram!
Artemis Barros = the Greek goddess, Artemis
The goddess Artemis is a hunter and protector of wildlife, hence Artemis Barros running an animal sanctuary. The god Orion is actually one of Artemis’ closest companions, and all the names of the identities that Artemis stole are names that the goddess also used.
Lord Dio Russo = the Greek god, Dionysus
Like Dionysus, the god of wine, Lord Dio loves to party hard, sometimes with reckless abandon. The reference to “Dove Coeur” is actually a nod to Aphrodite and her relationship with the Greek god.
Mr. Z = The Greek god, Zeus
Though in the myths, Zeus had a relationship with Phoebe’s daughter, Leto, we reference it in the story with the mention of Letitia, the assistant who broke up their engagement.
Professor Theus = The Greek god, Prometheus
Professor Theus is embezzling money to purchase items that he thinks are important. He is sending this money to a fake organization called Pyronix, referencing the story of Prometheus’ gift of fire to the humans. His first name, Metis, is also a Greek word meaning “magical cunning.”
Countess Rhea Crohn = the Greek goddess, Rhea
The goddess Rhea is really Phoebe’s sister in mythology and though she was considered “the mother of the gods,” she had no real following or place of worship. Similar to the story’s Rhea, the goddess Rhea was slighted by the more popular deities. The goddess Rhea did marry Cronus which is noted by our Rhea’s last name.
We hope you all enjoyed taking this mystery home and exploring the clues and story. Thank you to all of you for participating, and be on the lookout for more mysteries like this coming to the Derby Public Library soon!
Marley is a 13 year old writer who participated in the Spring 2020 Bad Guy Writing Challenge. Below is her creepy and action-packed short story about a family plagued by a strange nature spirit that roams their house.
It peered down on the family from the tall tree where it had been stationed for the past hour observing them. “Hold on, watch this real quick” says Lili’s dad. Laughs fade to silence, and eyes flick towards him, as he throws a piece of what looks to be plastic into the large bonfire. After only a couple of seconds, the fire bursts out into a beautiful blue color, with purple streaks and if you look hard enough, even a very faint tone of green.
Everyone is silent, observing the fire in awe as the colors fade back into the traditional array of warm colors. As the night takes over on the chilly evening in the town of Springwood Pennsylvania, the Locke family decides to head inside as their bonfire grows smaller. Lili, the second oldest child, with two younger sisters and an older brother, decides to stay out after the rest of the family for just a few minutes. She liked watching when their monthly bonfires slowly die out, especially towards the end of the fire when all the tiny flames dance in the glowing red pieces of wood at the bottom of the pile.
Lili found it very awing that the giant piles of leaves, sticks, branches, and the occasional piece of broken furniture from the home could turn into a way smaller mound of ash that could be disposed of by simply blowing it around the yard. As the last few flames danced in the breeze, she saw something amongst the treeline. Two balls of warm white light, like a reflection. She giggled, because she knew it was her brother hiding trying to scare her as he normally did. However, when there was no response back, she became skeptical. She saw the two reflections go away for only a second, then appear right back in the same spot, like they were blinking. At that point, she was certain it was her brother trying to scare her, and he had simply blinked because he didn’t realise that you could see the reflection of their eyes.
And that’s when the thought hit her- human eyes don’t reflect light, such as the light from the fire which was probably causing it. Lili saw the eyes slowly moving, as if the unknown creature was moving, and then the eyes disappeared into the darkness in the forest. Just then, she heard a large crash from the trees as she had turned to head back to the house. There was another one. Then another. She recognized the sound as falling trees, but there was no noise indicating someone had cut them down such as a chainsaw. They were also falling at a rate that no person could cut down that quickly. One right after another, there must have been two trees falling every five seconds. Spooked, she sprinted back to the house, and ran into the bathroom to shower and get the smell of smoke, which she had grown to love over time, off of her body and out of her long, brown hair. Lili was just turning the water on in the shower when she heard something downstairs fall and break, so she decided to brave the walk down the stairs and see what had happened.
Then she saw it- her mother laying in her husband’s arms. The floor was covered with blood, and there were two huge gashes on the backs of her calves. Lili’s mom, dad, and the kitchen floor were drenched blood spatter, as if something had come behind her and slashed her legs open. Her dad picked up the phone, and tried to call an ambulance, or someone that could help. Just as he had hit the call button, the phone just beeped like there was no service. The only other time she had heard that noise was right after a category 4 hurricane had hit near her home along the border of Pennsylvania, and torn the power lines right in half. How could that be? Lili thought, because the power was still on.
“Dad, I’m going to check on the lines outside to see if something happened to them. Try and figure out what happened to mom!” She grabbed the flashlight off the table, and ran outside to check. As the light flooded the darkness, she saw that a single part of the line was cut cleanly in half. The two halves were swaying as if there was wind that was blowing them around, but there wasn’t. The breeze had gone away. That could only mean one thing, Lili thought. The line had to have been cut very recently if they were still swaying like that. She shined the light around the lines looking for an answer. She didn’t see anything. She was shining the light all the way down both sides of the cables until the light could not shine any further. But when she flashed it back to where it was originally cut, there it was again.
That pair of eyes shining in the darkness. Again, reflecting the light, only this time, it was the flashlight and not the fire. Lili could not see exactly where the eyes were shining, but she felt that they were staring straight into hers. They blinked again, and the creature started moving. It began slowly, and then all at once, began leaping from one post to the next. She was in shock at how it could move like that, because all the posts must have been at least thirty feet apart from each other. Shining the flashlight towards whatever was jumping, she saw a large bony body, light grey in color, and it had almost looked transparent. Lili still had no clue what it could be, but one thing she knew for sure, and that was that it definitely could not be human.
She then ran as quickly as possible back into the house to tell her dad what she had seen. But when she tried getting inside the door, it was locked. She banged on it for someone to let her in, but within twenty seconds no one answered it. So she ran over to grab the ladder and come back in her window that she knew was unlocked. She set the ladder on the house, and climbed up onto a part of the roof, where she then pushed it back down so nothing could follow her, and ran to her window. She had always left it unlocked because the doors sometimes got jammed and they needed a way to get inside the house, but when she went to pull it open, it was locked. She tried every other window, but they were all locked too. Lili ran back to where she had put the ladder so she could get back down and try another way, but when she got there, she realized that she had pushed the ladder down, and she was now stuck on the roof.
Don’t think you’re getting away that easy, sweetheart. It thought. Good luck getting down without a ladder. You want to take my family away from me? Two can play at that game. My nest used to belong where your huge brick nest is that you’re constantly inside. Sleeping, eating, everything. Why your nest is so much bigger than mine was, I don’t know. But I’m going to take care of it. Once and for all. Good luck to you all, Locke’s.
The games have begun. It watched Lili scrambling to the windows looking for a way down, but there was nothing. Windows? Locked. Ladders? Tipped over. There was nothing she could do. The drop down from the first story section of the roof was still a nine foot drop. Curse you, country houses for having such high roofs she thought. Then she remembered she had a trampoline in her back yard. She tried running around on the roof on the first story, but it got blocked off before she was at the point she could jump. So she climbed up onto the second story section, which was very easy as part of it came down close to the first story roofing above the porch.
So she got up there, and eventually made her way around to the back of the house. Looking up from the trampoline onto the roof had not looked like that tall of a drop, but now that she looked where she had to land and how far down it was, she was hesitant. She had to drop nearly two stories and jump out six feet to hit the edge of the trampoline. It was very dark too, since none of the back lights had been turned on because they were motion sensors. This is the only way. I have to do this. For mom. She took a large breath, and jumped as she exhaled, pushing forward with all her strength. She landed on the trampoline, and fell through the padding onto the ground. Could’ve been worse. And then she got up- almost. She noticed that her leg was bent in a way it should not have been bending. That’s when the pain set in. Nothing hurt her until she realized that there was something wrong with her leg and that it was messed up somehow.
The pain quickly seared through her ankle and up to her knee. It was like someone had struck it with a metal club that was on fire. She tried to touch it, but she instantly regretted it as she had touched her ankle directly on the injury. She tried to pull herself to her feet from the metal framing of the trampoline, but when she got on her feet, she fell right back down. What am I supposed to do? Mom and Dad are in serious trouble and I can’t even be there for them! Lili thought, tears rolling down her cheeks, pale from fright. She eventually got on her feet again and began hopping on one foot, headed for the back door. She tried to stand on her hurt foot, but it could not yet support her. So she continued hobbling on her right foot until she reached the back door.
She pulled it open, and walked in between the counters and used them almost like crutches. She turned the corner into the dining room and saw that her mom and dad were still in the same peril state. She bent down and touched her mother’s head, making sure she knew Lili was there too. Her mother slowly looked at her, eyes red and wet. “Lili, honey, you know I love you right?” These words brought tears to Lili’s eyes as well, knowing what the next few following sentences would bring. She nodded. “You know that wherever I may go, I’ll always be right here with you, don’t you?” Her heart dropped. “Yes”. Lili looked up at her dad, who was trying very hard to hide the fact that he was hurting. But Lili could tell he was crying, both on the inside and on the outside.
It was at this moment she realized how much blood her mother had really lost. She didn’t have anything to say. She just bent over and gave her mom a hug. She didn’t care that her shirt was covered in blood at that point, she just cared that she was with her mother, while her mother was still with her. Her dad pulled out his phone to try to call someone one last time, and to everyone’s shock, it worked.
He called an ambulance and they were out in nearly ten minutes. They put Lili’s mom on a stretcher and took her away. At that point her dad quit trying to be strong. He grabbed Lili and held her, sobbing. She held him just at tight as he had. “I love you baby girl” he said. “I love you too dad.” Those were the last words they spoke to each other for the next twenty minutes. Eventually they got in the pickup truck, and headed to the hospital. They weren’t allowed in the ambulance simply because there would have been too many people, but nevertheless, they were on their way.
arrived at the hospital half an hour later, and they sat down in the waiting
room. This gave Lili time to think about everything. What it was, who it was,
what it’s problem was with her family, and why it was trying to hurt them. It
had nearly killed her mother already, who knows what else it could do. She
tried to think about all the stories she’d read as a girl, about all these
different kinds of paranormal and extraterrestrial creatures that may or may
not exist. She’d always been a fan of stories and documentaries on the subject,
but she never thought she would be living in one. She gave herself a list of
things to figure out; what it was, why it was targeting her family, and what it
wanted. She thought and thought for hours on end and never came up with
anything. There was no lead. They hadn’t done anything spiritual that might
have triggered it such as a ouija board. “Hey dad?” He looked over at her.
“Have you ever seen it?”
“That creature, the one that hurt mom?”
“What creature? You know what did this to her?”
“I think so. I went outside to check why you couldn’t call
anyone earlier, and I saw this thing on the power lines. It wasn’t the first
time I had seen it either. Do you remember the other night when we had the
bonfire in the yard?” He nodded. “Along the treeline facing the back of the
house really far away I saw it then too.”
“Are you sure it wasn’t just someone from the other side of
the tree line? There are a couple of houses on the opposite side like ours.” He
“Yeah, I’m sure. Human eyes don’t reflect light, that thing’s did. I have no clue what is going on.” Lili looked down at the cast on her ankle and wondered why she jumped from the highest spot instead of hanging off the edge and dropping. She would have only been a couple feet off the ground. And it would have saved her a lot of pain. It was too late at that point, however. Her thoughts wandered back to her mom. She wondered when she would get to see her, and if she would be okay. About an hour of thinking later, she still had come up with no explanation, nor a place to start.
A nurse came into the waiting room from a door across the room. “Are the Locke’s here?” Lili’s dad shot up from his chair, and Lili followed. She giggled at the fact that there was an indention where her dad had been sitting, but the joke quickly escaped her mind when they walked through the doors into a long hallway. The nurse showed them where Lili’s mom was staying, opened the door to the room, and stepped aside so they could walk in. She let the door close behind them as she continued down the hallway to do her job. The room scared Lili, as there were multiple tubes coming out of her mom’s arms, and machines beeping, over and over. She felt trapped. She watched the heart monitor continue in the same path. With each beep, it would spike, then go back down. Then again, and again, and again. It never sped up, it never slowed down. Until it did.
“Hey mom, can you hear me?” No response. The nurse had told
them that because of the medicine she had given her, she might be unresponsive
because she was sleeping. Lili reached for her hand, and laid hers on top of
“I know you’re in there, mom. Keep fighting. Don’t give up on us. You can’t give up on us. I need you.” Silence followed by the beeping of the monitor. Then it began speeding up. A lot. Doctors burst into the room and ordered the family out. So they left the room in a panic. They turned to look from outside the window on the side, but the curtain closed on them. They could hear faint shouting coming from the other side of the room.
“Is she going to be okay, Dad? Please tell me she is going
to be fine.” He did not respond for a few seconds.
“I don’t know yet, Tiger.” Tiger. She’d been called Tiger once before by her dad, and that was when she fell off of her bicycle when she was younger and broke her arm. That sent a wave of shock over her, and her heart dropped yet again. The same nurse began walking towards them from the direction she had left earlier, and ushered them to another waiting room. There were no people in this one, and it was much smaller. This room had to be four times smaller than the normal one, with only ten chairs and a small coffee table. A TV was mounted to the wall, and it was broadcasting some little kid show Lili had never seen before. Just like in any other waiting room, the volume had been turned down very quiet. In that room they sat.
One hour, two hours, three hours. The room had gradually become darker as dusk had set in. Finally, someone had come into the room. By that point, both Lili and her dad were dozing off, and the sudden burst of the door startled them both awake. It took them a second to realize where they were but once they did, the doctor took them to see Lili’s mom. The doctor said that she had a seizure, but that she was stable as of right now. Lili walked over to see her mother with bags under her eyes. Meanwhile, the creature was trying to find where the Locke’s were at. They were not inside nor outside the house. It had checked already. Maybe I finally got rid of that stupid family. They decided to take my family away from me, don’t think I’ve forgotten that easily. The creature posted up on the roof, scanning the surrounding area for signs of the family. But when nothing came up, it moved on. I’ll be back in the morning. Prepare yourselves Lockes. I will get my revenge. Don’t you doubt it for a second. And just as quickly as it had appeared, it sped off into the treeline.
drove away from the hospital, Lili’s mother began to speak. “I’m still so
confused as to what happened.”
“Something attacked you, Mom. What do you remember? Did you
see it? Hear it? Tell me everything.” Lili said.
“I didn’t see much, all I remember was that I was at the
counter making sandwiches for dinner that night, and something knocked me to
the ground. I could not see what it was, I just felt a sharp pain in the backs
of my legs. When I turned around to see what happened, nothing was there. I
tried to scream for someone to come help me, but I couldn’t. I don’t know why,
but I couldn’t. Then I passed out and woke up in that hospital bed.”
Lili pondered on this for a bit. If that creature she had
seen multiple times before was the culprit, it would make sense. Her mother
said it was quiet, and she never heard anything. Lili didn’t hear anything when
it was leaping away on the telephone poles. Her mom said it was so fast she could
not see it. That thing had been pretty quick when Lili saw it. It all
Okay, well at least I’ve got somewhere to start now Lili
thought. I know now that the creature I saw was probably what hurt mom. I still
don’t have the why, but at least I have the who. The Lockes got home, and at
that point it was nearly two in the morning, so everyone went to bed.
When Lili woke up the next morning, she went downstairs to make herself some breakfast, thinking this whole thing would be over and done with. But after her parents did not come down stairs, she became skeptical. She went upstairs to check on them at about noon, which was way late for them to get up, as they are early risers and are usually out and about by nine. She opened the door to her parents room, but they were not there. Lili searched the whole house, but could not find anyone. She soon pulled out her phone, and called her dad. No answer. Then she tried her mom. No answer. She went outside to look for them out there, because sometimes they liked to go out to the pastures and groom the horses and milk the cows. But they were not there.
In fact, nothing was there. The cows were all gone, and so were the horses and chickens. She checked and even the eggs were gone from the coop. This had never happened before. She tried calling again, but there was still no answer. Eventually she began running back to the house, and called her mom one more time. This time, instead of hearing her own phone ring, she heard her mom’s ringtone going off in the distance. Confused and terrified, she called again and again, until she found the source of the sound. Lili found both of her parents’s phones laying right next to each other, perfectly straight. None of this made any sense. And then that is when she saw the eyes again. Along the treeline yet again, but instead of being at her house looking towards the trees, she was only yards away. They blinked, and moved forward. It was at this moment Lili realized how large the creature really was, towering above her nearly as tall as her house did.
“Lili, I see we finally meet face to face.” She heard the
voice, it was deep and monotone. She did not see a mouth for a moment, because
the creature was black. Really black. Darker than the night sky. When she did
eventually find it, it looked like someone had attempted to stitch it closed
and failed. Skin stretched between the lips as it’s mouth opened, making it
even more terrifying than it was before. “Who are you, and what do you want
with me? Where are my mom and dad?” Lili shouted at the creature.
“Me? I’m surprised you don’t remember me, Lili Locke.” A
shiver ran down her back.
“Who are you!” She screamed.
“Oh honey, you shouldn’t be worried about me. It is your
parents you should be concerned about. Do you know where they are?” Silence.
“Oh, that’s right. I have them. You guys took my family from me and left me
alone for years, so I am going to do the same to you, Lili Locke.”
“Why are you doing this?” She shouted at it, tears beginning
to sting her eyes.
“You killed my family when you built this house. You took
away the only people I have ever loved. So I am going to do the same to you.” The creature pulled out
an arm with long, sharp looking fingers, which only added to the terrifying
aspect of this creature. It pointed behind the tree line, where there was an
open area. It was at this point she saw her mother and father, wrapped in
web-like material, from there feet to their necks. They were motionless and
their eyes were closed. “What family are you talking about? Who did we take
“My mother, my father, and my brothers and sisters. When you burned down the forest to create this area of land to build your giant house on, you burned my family’s home. I was the only lucky one that was able to get out!”
even are you?” Lili asked.
“That doesn’t matter! Who do you all think you are, to come
to my forrest, burn it all, and claim the land as your own? Why should you get
to keep your family, but I lost mine?”
“Because I didn’t do anything to deserve to lose my family!”
“And you think I did? I was very young, I had known my
family for less then a year! You’ve had yours way longer, and it’s finally time
you feel what i’ve felt all along.” Lili went stiff as a board. She had no clue
what to say.
“We aren’t the ones who burned your forest! This house has been here longer then any of us have been alive!” Even though Lili knew this was a lie, she had to try everything she could in order to save her family. Years ago, many before she was born, they had bought out the plot of land and burned it to make a new life here. They had hundreds of acres of forest burned down for them, and never replanted a single tree.
“LIES! I watched your father light the match and toss it at
the tree! Don’t try and lie to me, Lili Locke, you WILL regret it.” the
creature got closer to her face. This made Lili very uncomfortable, and she
“I’ve seen what your family can and will do to get their
way. And I think it’s finally time they pay for that, don’t you?”
“Please, you’ve got to take piddy on me, I wasn’t even alive
yet when it happened, please don’t punish me!”
“It’s too late. Begging isn’t going to do anything. I wish
you would see that already.” The creature leaped over the tall trees back into
the clearing where Lili’s parents were being kept. She sprinted as fast as
possible towards them, and stood in front of them. She shook them aggressively,
but they did not come out of their state.
“Wake up! Mom! Dad! Don’t leave me like this!!” she
screamed, but it was useless.
“Move child, or you’re going with them.” The creature said.
She did not budge. Lili simply stood there in between her parents, as if she
was guarding them.
“Dang it kid, I said move!” The creature was now only half a
foot away from her face. She could feel it breathing on her as she reached up
and grabbed it’s head. She punched it multiple times, until eventually it threw
her off of him. Thats when something happened that no one expected. Lili’s eyes
shone bright green beams of light, and began rising into the sky.
“Let. Them. Go. Now.” She said.
“Silly girl, haven’t you realized by now-” he was cut off.
The same green appeared in his eyes that were in Lili’s eyes.
happening?” it cried. Lili watched as it began fading colors, shifting grey,
then white, until it was nearly transparent. Thats when everything began to pan
out. With the loudest BOOM Lili had ever heard, the creature was gone. The
explosion sent her flying backwards towards the ground, and she blacked out.
When she came to, she saw her mom standing over her. She sat up, wondering what
“Where am I?” she asked. Her mom simply giggled.
“Honey, you’re still in bed. It’s time to wake up, you’ve
slept way longer than usual. Are you feeling alright?” Lili was just confused
at this point.
“Wait, but how did you get out of the web nets?” Her parents
now looked as confused as Lili.
“What web nets, you crazy?” Her mom said, laughing.
“The ones the creature wrapped you up in! You and dad were
both stuck and when I tried to shake you awake, you didn’t wake up!”
“Sweetheart, I think you’ve been dreaming a lot lately. Come
on, I made breakfast. It’s your favorite, scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon!
It’s real bacon this time too, not the turkey bacon you said you didn’t like.
But I don’t understand how you don’t like turkey bacon, I honestly like it more
than normal bacon. Come down when you’re dressed.” She turned and walked away.
Lili looked at the back of her moms legs as she walked out, and there were no
signs of cuts. Not even any scars. She got up and looked in the mirror. Her
eyes weren’t green anymore. Just her normal blue. Maybe it was all just a dream
She thought. But it felt so real! It was like I was right there. Even now that
I know it was just a dream, it still feels like i’m going to walk into the
kitchen and see mom laying on the floor in peril again. Lili got dressed, and
headed down stairs. Her mom greeted her in the kitchen with a hug, and handed
her a glass plate to get her food. Lili looked at all the amazing food, and it
smelled so good. She couldn’t wait to dig in, but she let her mom get her food
first since she cooked it all.
“Hey, where is dad at? I haven’t seen him yet today.” Lili
“Oh, he just went out to do some work around the pastures,
fixing old broken boards and that horrible old gate. He went out to get wood
and stuff last night to fix it. Said it should all be done around supper time.”
Lili wondered if she should help him or not
“Do you think he would want any help? I don’t think I have
anything to do today. I finished the replica you told me to build.”
“I’m sure he would love some help, honey. You can go out
there after you’re done eating. Did you sleep well?”
“Yeah.” She was reminded of the dream again. She sat down at
the dining table across from her mom, and began eating. So much happened in so
little time, I still can’t believe it was only a dream.
Olivia is a 15 year old writer who has participated in many of the library’s writing challenges, including last summer’s Voyager Writing Challenge and this spring’s Bad Guy Writing Challenge. Neutral Zone is a science fiction story that leads the main character through multiple universes to battle against his alternate self!
Check it out below!
Derick slouched in his chair. The seemingly endless babble of his History teacher discouraged any interest he had in the Industrial Revolution, which was none in the first place. He just wanted the class to be over and the weekend to start. He stared blankly at his History book, trying to make sense of it. His teacher was not even talking about the Industrial Revolution at this point, instead about a bet that he made with one of Derick’s classmates. It was something about a race around the school with Derick’s fastest classmate.
Derick shrugged and tried to fill out notes for
the section. He hurried through them, barely reading the section, so he could
finish before the bell, which was supposed to go off in five minutes.
When the clock was in the last minute, Derick
could hear the sea of eager children quickly stacking all the stuff they had in
messy piles on their desks. He was doing it too, so he had no room to judge.
The bell rang and Derick almost had to run out
of the classroom to get to his locker before the hallway became too crowded. He
shoved his stuff in his backpack, closed his locker, and was out the door
before someone could count to ten.
“Hey, dude!” called someone from behind him.
Derick looked over his shoulder to find his friend Chris running after him.
“You’re taking me home today, remember? And what’s got you hurrying?”
“Sorry, I forgot,” Derick answered as he slowed
down a bit for Chris to catch up. “And Mom’s got to go for her yearly check up
today. I didn’t want to miss my chance.”
“You knew I was coming you dumb nut, and okay.”
They both continued to run to Derick’s mom’s car. The red minivan was not hard
to miss. Sprinting across the parking lot was not their best idea, Derick
admitted, but they did get there faster than they would have any other way.
“Boys!” Derick’s mom exclaimed once they got in
“Sorry for Sprinting,” Derick apologized. “But
the car was over the Verizon.” He added gun fingers.
“Derick no!” Chris said, threatening to get out
of his seat and leave.
“Derick yes!” Derick
retorted. He loved to mess with Chris like that.
His mom sighed. “Can we not have one moment of
peace?” she asked wishfully.
“Nope,” Derick and Chris said at the same time.
The drive home was a quick three minutes. Derick’s
mom dropped them at the front door and drove off. Derick walked up to the door
and rummaged around in his pocket to find the key to the house…
Of which he accidentally left in the long gone
red minivan that belongs to his mom. He face palmed.
“You left the key in the car, didn’t you?” Chris
asked, already knowing the answer.
“Yep,” Derick said.
“Dude, you have a problem. That’s the third time
“And your mom’s going to kill you next time you
“Just saying.” Chris sat down on the front step.
“You know, that cloud looks like a dragon.”
Derick joined him. “No, it looks like a Star
Destroyer from Star Wars.”
“You and your Star Wars.” Chris said, shaking
something that sounded like a bomb went off in his backyard. He noticed Chris
was not put off by it. Derick wondered if he was hearing things, but he figured
it would be safe to check anyway.
“Hey, I’m gonna go check on something,” he told
Chris while trying to strain his neck around to see his backyard.
“Sure dude,” Chris shrugged and went back to
stabbing the ground with sticks he found laying in the grass. Derick rolled his
Derick quickly climbed over his fence to see
what was going on. He could not believe what he saw. There was a huge crater in
the middle of his backyard. In the center was a short person, about a head
shorter than Derick. He wore a tan short-sleeve shirt with one light green
triangle in the center of the sleeve. The tan color matched the color of his
skin pretty well, but his skin was a tad bit lighter. Under it was an orange
shirt with sleeves that reached his elbows. It was matched with dark brown
cargo shorts. He had light blue shoes on and a sash that contained little
containers full of paint that was pretty much every color of the rainbow. He
had dark brown hair, the color matched Derick’s, and different colored eyes
which seemed to change every few seconds. Some black paint was splatted near
where his nose was, but he did not seem to notice.
only had about a thousand questions for him, but another person was hovering in
the air. Derick looked again and realized that he was not hovering, but sitting
on a swing made of blood red strings. The strings seemed to be coming from
markings on his arms. He wore a black t-shirt with grey sweats. He had on black
shoes. His skin was a dark brown and his hair pitch black. His crazed grin sent
a shiver down Derick’s spine. He had a bad feeling about this.
“It’s all your fault, Terrace,” the person on the
swing said. “If you let me do my job, we wouldn’t be here, would we?”
“If I let you do your ‘job,’ Vick,” Terrace
said. Derick assumed that was his name because the other person said so. “There
wouldn’t be anything left!”
glad both of them had not noticed him yet. They both looked piping mad at each
other and he wanted no part in that. He tried sneaking back over the fence. It
was going well, he almost made it over.
Another chill went down his spine. He felt like
he was being watched. He froze, not daring to move.
“Well, what do we have here?” sneered Vick.
Derick could tell it was him because his voice was a lot harsher than
“Gosh darn it,” Derick mumbled to himself. He
turned his head back around. He saw both of them now staring at him.
Terrace had a terrified look on his face while
Vick continued to smile. Vick pointed his hand at Derick and his markings
started to glow.
“Don’t do it Vick!” Terrace yelled. “You can’t
kill him! This is the original AW, don’t you know that?” He pronounced ‘AW’ as
two individual letters.
Derick was confused. He had no idea what was
Vick lowered his hand and his markings stopped
glowing. “What makes you think I was gonna kill him?” he asked Terrace. “You
brought us here anyway.”
“No I didn’t!” Terrace yelled back. “You did!”
Derick noticed that, at this point, their battle
had been forgotten and they now resorted to bickering with each other. Derick
used this time to finish making his way over the fence. He could not leave them
like that in his backyard, so he used a crack in the fence to watch them.
“Hi!” someone exclaimed next to Derick. He
jumped back and turned to look at the person. He was wearing a light grey
t-shirt and dark blue basketball shorts. He had on light blue shoes, which
matched the color of the scarf he had around his neck. His skin tone was the
same as Derick’s, a tan color, light brown hair, and, to Derick’s surprise,
green eyes. He had on a big smile.
“What are you doing here?” Derick asked. He had
no idea who this person was. “It isn’t safe!”
“You mean them?” The person pointed at the
fence, but Derick knew what he meant. “They always do that! That’ll be over
soon!” He giggled. “I’m Cerulean by the way!”
Derick shook Cerulean’s outstretched hand.
“You know them?”
“Of course I do! Terrace is my friend! He helped
create the multiverse and the AWs! Vick destroys the AWs.”
“Hold up, what multiverse?
That’s just a dumb theory. It’s not real!”
“You better believe it! Where you live is called
an Alternate World, or AW for short! Your AW is the first one and mine’s the
“Nope! Derick, everything I said was true!”
“How do you know my name?” Cerulean did not
answer. “I don’t remember telling you.”
Cerulean took a deep breath in and out. “Derick,
Something blasted the fence gate and destroyed
it. Cerulean and Derick ducked for cover. When he looked up, Derick saw Terrace
run over towards them. “Cerulean!?” he called frantically.
“I’m here!” Cerulean called back from behind a
bush. Terrace looked relieved. “So is Derick!” Cerulean added.
“I’m over here!” Derick
called. He and Cerulean got up from behind the bushes. Derick quickly looked at
the damage to the fence gate. He could not even recognize that there was a
fence there. He further looked around the wreckage into his backyard to check
“What happened?” He heard Cerulean ask Terrace
“Well, Vick and I were arguing for a bit and,
well, you know how unstable he is,
he…uh…” Terrace stumbled around for words to
describe it. “Kinda wrapped his strings around part of the porch and threw it
at me. I dodged and it hit the gate. Then I laughed at him for missing me and
he tried to hit me with a fence post. He stormed off to who-knows-where.”
“Man! How am
I going to explain this!” Derick exclaimed. “I’m home for ten minutes and my
backyard looks like I was experimenting with nukes and accidentally exploded
one!” Derick was freaking out.
“Derick!” Terrace yelled. Derick stopped. “I can
fix this, just give me a sec!”
“Really?” Derick scoffed. “This is not a one man jo—” Terrace generated
two paint brushes out of thin air and, with a determined look in his eyes,
proceeded to draw Derick’s backyard back to its original state.
“How?” Derick gaped. He was in shock.
“Terrace is the god of Creativity,” Cerulean
“Oh.” Derick recalled Cerulean saying something
like that earlier.
“Oh yeah! I was going to tell you how I knew
“I would still like to know.”
“Well, so, basically, I’M YOU IN MY AW!”
Derick was surprised. He did not see the
connection until then. “So are Terrace and Vick?”
“Yes,” Cerulean said, with less enthusiasm.
“What’s with the nicknames then?”
“Derick, you are more important than you
Terrace started laughing, much to both of their
surprise. They both looked at him weirdly. “What?” Terrace asked.
“Does he always do that?” Derick asked Cerulean
“Yes, but sometimes it’s a bit different. The
other day, he got really mad at me for no reason. A second later, he apologized
to me for it and claimed he didn’t know what got over him. I think he’s keeping
something from me.” Cerulean whispered back.
“ ‘I got a bad feeling about this,’ ” Derick
said in his best impersonation of Han Solo. Cerulean laughed.
“You want to see something cool?” Cerulean asked
“Sure,” Derick said, winking
one eye and smiling.
Cerulean bounded over to Terrace. “Terrace!! Can
we show him the place??” he asked.
“Which place?” Terrace asked playfully. Derick
could tell Terrace knew which place Cerulean was talking about.
“You know what place, silly!” Cerulean smiled.
“Okay,” Terrace said. “I guess I can do that.”
“Yay!” Cerulean cheered. “Come on, Derick!”
Terrace drew a big portal-like thing with his paint brushes, stepped in, and
disappeared. Cerulean did the same.
Derick did not know if he wanted to go with some
strangers to some place. Scratch that, he wanted to go, he just did not know if
he should. He figured a few moments could not hurt, so he walked through the
portal. Gotta trust myself at some pointhe
Derick had to take a step back. The
teleportation made him a bit queasy, but Terrace reassured him that it was only
because it was his first time.
“Derick, welcome to AW 10,” Terrace said. “Or,
specifically, to Upmost, Earth satellite and a hospitable place for humans.”
At the moment, Derick realized…
He was in space.
Derick had to step back to take in the
breathtaking view of the Earth from space. He could see the sun peaking out
from just over the horizon the Earth made.
“Wait, how can we breathe up here?” Derick
“This place is covered by a sort of force
field,” Cerulean explained. “I’m not sure exactly how it works, but in the
building over there is a generator that generates oxygen.” Cerulean gestured
toward a whitish-grey covered building in the distance. The building seemed to
be laid out in sections and each section was connected by some sort of
“Here comes the head man,” Terrace announced.
Derick saw someone emerge from the building. He was taller than all of them and
wore a white lab coat over a dark gray shirt. “Derick, this is Astro. He’s a
future you that’s a scientist. He also runs things around here.”
“Hello,” Astro said. Derick gave him a small
wave. Astro turned his attention towards Terrace. “Terrace, I don’t mind that
you come here, but you have to tell me beforehand, got it?”
“Sorry,” Terrace apologized. “But I had to show
Derick around, Cerulean begged me.”
“This is your one pass,” Astro said.
“Hey Derick!” Cerulean pulled on Derick’s shirt.
“How about I show you around?”
“Okay.” Derick followed Cerulean inside the
barely paid attention to Cerulean giving him a tour. He really was fascinated
by the structure, but he was not feeling well. Shortly after entering the
building, he heard a ringing sound in his ears. After a while, he also felt
“Hey, Cerulean?” Derick started to ask. “Is it
hot in here or what?”
“Derick, are you okay?” Cerulean asked. “This
room is practically a big freezer for all the food here.”
“Nah, I’m fine,” Derick lied. His vision started
to blur. His knees buckled and he fell forward.
“Derick!” Cerulean screamed, but Derick did not
hear him. He had blacked out.
Derick opened his eyes. He seemed to still be in
the building. The air was musty with the smell of blood. A strange fog covered
the area, giving it an eerie feel. Derick started walking around. He saw a
shadowy outline in the fog. After getting a bit closer, he identified the
outline as Cerulean.
Cerulean was really beat up. He had generated
some sort of weapon that hung loosely in his right hand. Derick made a mental
note to ask about it later.
Cerulean noticed Derick. “What are you doing
here? It’s not safe!” Derick heard laughter behind him. “Watch out!” Cerulean
yelled. Derick turned around to try and identify what the threat was. He tried
to move, but he was not fast enough.
could feel the terrible pain of a knife piercing his side. His hands flew to
the place where the knife was. He could feel his blood on it. In front of him,
he saw another outline in the fog.
“Who—” Derick started to say but was interrupted
by a coughing fit. He could feel blood trickling down from his mouth. “Who are
you?” he rasped.
“Who am I?” The person stepped out of the fog.
He was wearing a black hoodie and black sweatpants. His hood was pulled over
his eye line and he held another knife. “I’m you, but everyone calls me Blood.”
closer to Derick. “It’s so nice to haunt your dreams. Too bad you’re not
actually here. This would have been so much more fun if so.” Derick only
stared. He knew he did not have the strength to run.
Blood stood in front of Derick. He smiled. “You
must have thought Vick was the only one.” Blood pulled out the knife that was
wedged in Derick. The ripping motion reopened the wound and blood flowed out of
it. Derick desperately tried to stop the blood flow with his hands and, while
doing so, sank to his knees. He felt a hand grip his hair, forcing his head to
tilt upward. He saw Blood’s merciless eyes staring back.
“Silly,” he laughed. “There are a lot of us.”
Blood stabbed Derick again. “Goodbye, for now.”
Derick jolted awake. He saw Terrace and Cerulean
staring at him. He grew a little uncomfortable. He seemed to be in some sort of
infirmary. “Welcome back, Derick,” he heard Astro say. Derick got up from what
resembled a hospital bed. He felt a weird pain from his side.
The pain was
close to nothing, but it was enough to remind Derick about his dream, if it
could even be called that. He could still perfectly picture the knife in his
side and Blood laughing at him. He all of a sudden wanted to get out of the
Derick walked out of the room before anyone
could say anything. Somehow, his feet remembered which way he entered from. He
could hear Cerulean following him; Derick knew it was him because he was
calling Derick’s name. He continued on.
found his way to the exit. He was going to open the door, but his side started
hurting more. He figured it was because he had been running, so he casted it
aside. He tried to open the door again, but Cerulean caught up with him.
“Derick!” Cerulean yelled. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Derick said. “I just need some fresh
air.” He reached again for the handle.
“That’s not a good reason why you bolted off!”
At this point, Derick’s side was throbbing
with pain. Derick opened the door.
planning on going through the door, but he did not. He took a step back and
stared forward. Speak of the devilDerick
“What’s wrong?” Cerulean asked. He also looked
forward and flinched.
“Aww, this is so cute,” Blood said. “I actually
get to kill someone.”
“When you said ‘for now,’ I didn’t think you
meant in five minutes,” Derick said, trying to be funny for his own sake.
Blood was obviously not amused. “Your humor is
stupid,” he said. He took a step forward. Out of the corner of his eye Derick
saw Cerulean generate a slingshot. That’swhat that wasDerick
“Don’t come any closer!” Cerulean warned.
“Or what? You’re going to hit me with that?”
Blood laughed. “You can’t aim!”
“Yes I can!” To prove his point, Cerulean flung
a rock like object at Blood. It hit him in the face. It did not seem to hurt
him, but it did surprise him.
Blood was furious. He generated a knife. “This
has your name on it Cerulean.”
“Get behind me, Derick,” Cerulean ordered “So he
can’t hit you.” Derick did what he was told.
did,” Blood smiled. He snapped his fingers. Derick’s side started hurting as
much as it did in his dream. Again, he imagined a knife in his side. He grabbed
onto Cerulean’s shirt to try to stay standing.
“Derick!” Cerulean shrieked. He put his arms
around Derick to steady him. Cerulean looked back at Blood “What did you do?!”
“No, Cerulean,” Blood shook his head “It’s ‘what
did you do?’” Cerulean flinched. “You’ve kept the truth long enough. Heck,
you’ve lied to keep the truth. Now what kind of friend is that?”
“Cerulean, what is he talking about?” Derick
asked. He was skeptical about what Blood was saying but Cerulean’s reaction
made it seem like it was true. “What truth?”
“It’s nothing,” Cerulean said. Cerulean did not
make eye contact with Derick.
“‘Nothing’? I’ve been living ‘nothing’ my whole
life?!” Blood spat. “I’m only here because of you! Do you know what it’s like
to be made of someone’s insecurities? Huh?”
“I didn’t know it would turn out like this!”
“Oh, so you ‘didn’t know’ you were lying about
Terrace? Is that how this is going? And now you’re pulling not just another
person, but the original into this?”
Derick was completely lost. The pain in his side
subsided, finally, but Cerulean would not let go of him. Somehow, he felt like
he needed to be strong for Cerulean. “I don’t get it,” Derick asked. “Who are
you?” He directed the question at Blood.
Cerulean answered. “He’s me, Derick.” Derick
just stared at him. “In my… our AW, people are born with the natural ability to
do magic. Some are better than others. And you can be whatever you want to be!”
“But that’s true for everyone…?” Derick half
“Well, I took it more literal than everyone else. I wanted to be the
best me I could be by locking away almost all of my negative traits. It took
almost all of my magic to do, but I was a better person. I loved it!
“Over time, all those negative feelings grew a
literal mind of their own. First, it was just nightmares. Those nightmares gave
me back my regret. And then, after a while, they had a body that followed me
around like a ghost. He was stable at first. He gave me criticism, but I mostly
“You actually heard me?” Blood looked surprised.
“Yes,” Cerulean answered. “Anyway, I met at Terrace
one day. I showed Terrace around my home, and we became friends. When he asked
if I wanted to go with him, I immediately said yes. He showed me his favorite
places in the AWs, and we had fun. During this, I didn’t realize my negative
ghost was gone. When I finally did, I was concerned, actually.
“Yeah right,” Blood scoffed.
”I’m not kidding. I was so used to the constant
commentary that I felt weird without it. Well, the days went on and I met
Blood, he was calling himself that, truly on accident. I recognized him
“So you’ve lied about this instead of telling
the truth?” Derick pieced together. “I know the truth is very important. While
you were telling the story, did you realize Blood lost the insane look he had
before?” Cerulean was stunned. So was Blood. “The more you lied, the more piled
on Blood, the more crazy he seemed, and the more positive you were.” As a joke,
he added. “Come on, you guys do magic. You’re, like, ten times more powerful
than me.” Cerulean laughed. Blood chuckled a bit too.
“You are going to explain to him this one,”
Cerulean said to Blood.
“Fine,” Blood took a deep breath. “Derick, you
know you are the original, right?”
“Yes?” Derick said. He did not know why that
“You get certain powers because of that. The
most important one is that if you die outside your AW, all other yous die and
all AWs collapse and there goes the multiverse. You can traverse the multiverse
without help and…um…”
“We don’t know all of those powers,” Cerulean finished.
“Wow,” Derick said. “That’s awesome! I have one
“Shoot for it,” Cerulean said.
“Are you ready to tell Terrace?”
“I don’t know. I’ll need time. I’ve known him
longer and I don’t know if he’ll take it well.”
“We’ll tell him together, all three of us,”
Derick assured Cerulean. “In about five seconds.”
“What?!” Cerulean and Blood said at the same
The door slammed open. “Oh my gosh! Did someone
die?” Terrace demanded. Derick saw that he had his paintbrushes out.
“Everyone is alive!” Derick yelled back.
“Not while he’s here!” Terrace started at Blood.
Cerulean stepped in between them.
“We have something to tell you,” Cerulean said.
It took a while, but the three of them told
Terrace the whole story. Terrace took it surprisingly well.
“Do we have to tell Astro that Terrace broke the
door?” Derick asked.
“Nah, Terrace will fix it,” Cerulean assured
“He was you the whole time?!” Terrace asked.
Cerulean nodded. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t want to think less of me,” Cerulean
admitted. “And I was ashamed of it.” “Cerulean, you’re my friend. I would
never.” Terrace gave Cerulean a reassuring smile.
Derick was happy for the two. He could not help
but glance in Blood’s direction. “So,” Derick started. “What will you do now? I
mean, you have things sorted out with Cerulean, and you’re done with that knife
trick of yours.”
“Who said I was?” Blood smirked. Derick felt a
bit of pain from his side. He elbowed Blood. “Hey, I was kidding.”
“How do you do that anyway?” Derick asked.
“Magic.” Blood grinned. Derick glared at him.
“Well, I don’t know what I’m going to do now.”
“This may seem stupid, but what if you helped
“Me?” Blood laughed. “I’m the literal opposite
of the hero type.”
“Cerulean just admitted to being ashamed. Maybe
you two share some emotions instead of trade them off.”
“Derick, I’ve killed a lot of people. How am I
going to come back from that?”
“One step at a time. You’ll have to give
yourself some sort of chance at redemption.”
“You are very hopeful.” Blood stared up at the
stars. “I’ll consider it.”
Derick smiled. He noticed that Astro was coming
out of the building. “Terrace! The door!” Derick shouted.
“Shoot!” Terrace exclaimed. He quickly repainted
the door. It reminded Derick about his yard. For the first time during the
trip, Derick felt homesick.
He chuckled to himself. “Man, my life will never
be the same after this,” he said.
“Welcome to the club,” Blood said. “If Cerulean
doesn’t throw off any more negativity, I can finally act sane for once. It’ll
be nice.” He smiled.
“Derick! Are you ready to go home?” Terrace
“Not yet!” Derick called back. He looked at
Blood. “After all you put me through, I’m going to miss you.”
“Heh, me too,” Blood said. “I might just have to
invade your dreams again.”
“If you do, pick somewhere less creepy, okay?”
Derick and Blood both laughed. Derick had a feeling that, deep down, something
sparked in Blood.
“In that case, see you on the flip side,” Blood said.
“Make sure you talk to Cerulean, it looks like he has something for you.”
“Okay,” Derick waved back at Blood before
walking over to Cerulean.
“Oh, Derick!” Cerulean said. “Thank you for
giving me another chance! I did a terrible thing and I told big lies to cover
it up and I just went about it the wrong way and I really should have known
better and—” Cerulean was almost in tears.
“Cerulean,” Derick said, cutting Cerulean off.
He looked Cerulean in the eyes. “It’s okay. Making mistakes is what makes us
human. It’s not healthy to beat yourself up about it. You have to accept that
you did something wrong so you can move on.”
“I don’t think Blood will let me.”
“Yes he will. He’s as done with the lies as you
Cerulean grinned. “Thank you, again, Derick.”
“That reminds me!” Cerulean held out a piece of
paper. “It’s my number. If you need anything, just ask!”
“Okay, give me a quick second,” Terrace created
a portal. “See you, Derick.”
“Come by anytime, Terrace!” Derick smiled. He went through the portal
and ended up back in his backyard. He waved at his new friends through the
portal before it closed. He climbed back over his fence.
“Hey dude,” Chris said. “Did you see something?”
“Well,” Derick looked back at his backyard. “I
guess you could say that.”
Derick’s mom was disappointed with Derick. After
she dropped Chris back at his house, she talked to Derick about being
responsible with things that were not his. Derick promised to do better.
After dinner, when Derick had enough time to
himself, he whipped out his phone. He took out the slip of paper in his pocket.
He entered in Cerulean’s phone number. He was about to close the contact when
he saw the words “dial (-) first” scribbled on the back of the slip. He
completed the contact. He took a deep breath. He hoped it worked and he would
not accidentally text some random person instead. He texted “Heya, it’s Derick.”
The response was almost instant. “Hi Derick!
It’s Cerulean!” Derick smiled. He had a feeling he would see him again soon.
Above everything, he was really tired. He had had too much excitement for one
day. He said good night to his parents and went to bed.
It did not last long. Derick woke up to a
crashing sound. He reached over to his light switch and flicked it on. He saw
Cerulean tangled up in a cord. Derick was not sure what it was to. “Why are you
here, Cerulean?” he said groggily. “It’s probably midnight.”
“It’s eleven,” Cerulean said. “And we need your
“Why didn’t you call me?” Derick was not fully
awake. He was not thinking straight.
“This calls for drastic measures!” Cerulean gave
someone behind Derick a thumbs up.
In an instant, Derick felt a cold liquid poor
down his shirt. That woke him up.
“What the—” Derick started to say. He looked
behind him. He saw Blood laughing his head off. “Guys, my parents!”