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Read chapter 1 here: Chapter 1
The school bell marked the end of the last day before Spring Break. Students rushed into the hallways chatting with their friends about all the cool, fun things they would be doing over break. Everyone that is, except Finn. Finn did not have friends. He did not want to be alone, but no one wanted to be friends with him. He would spend his spring break helping his grandparents around the house, playing video games, and doing whatever else kids with no friends do. Finn sighed as he began the two mile walk home.
Finn sauntered down the nearly vacant street gazing at the abandoned buildings. Three years ago, the factories shut down when production moved to other countries. With no factories, the buses stopped running, and people stopped coming. The Mayor abandoned our neighborhood. Businesses shut down and only those too poor to leave remained, scraping by with what they could find.
People in the neighborhood did what they needed to, to survive, which occasionally meant taking from others. There were no police officers so no one got caught. If he just kept to himself, everything would be fine. He lowered his head, in hope of going unnoticed by the four tough men leaning against the alley wall half illuminated by the late afternoon sun.
Finn sighed in relief as he reached the corner. He glanced over his shoulder before stepping into the road.
Govad stepped out of the alley, barked orders at Soren and Jasper
Finn nervously crossed the street, steadily quickening his pace.
They pursued Finn at a slow jog.
Finns mind raced as he began to run.
He darted around the corner, thinking that he would be safe if he could just make it home.
He glanced back to see if he was still being followed, Soren was still in pursuit.
He crossed the street again breaking into a full sprint.
SMACK! Finn was hit with an incredible blow. He fell to the ground with a thud.
Govad and Jasper had cut him off at the next intersection
Finns head was reeling with pain, his eyesight blurred from impact.
“That’s him. Grab him” barked Govad.
Soren, and caught up with the others and lifted Finn to his feet.
Finn feared for his life. He felt the fear rising up inside him.
Soren screamed in pain, as the smell of burning flesh filled the air.
A blinding flash of light pierced the sky, and Finn fell to his knees, disoriented, his ears ringing.
Someone grabbed his hand and pulled him to his feet.
“Run.” It was a woman’s voice. She pulled him along as they bolted from the scene. “Hurry.”
The world flickered around him, and then everything disappeared, the road, the buildings, the sky. They were running through a vast white nothingness. Then everything reappeared just as quickly as it had disappeared, only they were several blocks further than when they entered the nothingness.
Finn stopped dead in his tracks, hunched over trying to catch his breath. “What was that?”
“That was a rift.”
“A rift, it is a ripple in space. I will explain more later, we just have to get you home.”
Finn looked up after catching his breath. All he could focus on was her long pink hair billowing as she surveyed the area, pacing impatiently.
“Who are you?”
“Valentina, now let’s go.”
“I am …”
“Finntan Nirvelli. I know who you are.”
“How do …”
“I will explain later. It is not safe here. Trust me.”
Valentina grabbed his hand and pulled him along as they jogged the few remaining blocks to Finns house. His house was identical to every other house on the block, except that their house was occupied. Everyone else had left their homes, the paint had faded and peeled, the lawns left uncut. Finn led Valentina up the front walk and into the house
“Gran, I’m home.”
“I’m in the Kitchen.”
Finn slid onto one of the barstools at the counter and sunk his head into his hands, trying to wrap his head around what just happened.
“Valentina?” Gran had turned around after pulling homemade pumpkin bread from the oven. “You certainly have grown, it has been years since I last saw you.”
“Gracelynn. How are you?”
They embraced each other as if they have known each other for a very long time. Valentina whispered something as she released Gran. Gran hurried out of the room deep in thought, as if trying to remember something important. Valentina pushed herself onto the counter, adjusted her short black skirt, straightened her leggings, which happened to match her hair perfectly, and swayed her legs impatiently. Her black boots occasionally banging the cabinets.
Several very long minutes had passed until Gran returned, clutching a yellowed envelope in one hand and dragging Gramps with the other. Gramps was still working on his sudoku when Gran had pulled him from the recliner. He closed the pen in the book and set it down on the counter and sat down next to Finn.
“My word Finn, you’re bleeding.” Gran reached for a paper towel, wet it, and proceeded to wipe the blood from Finns face.
“What happened, Finn?” Gramps leaned in.
“I don’t know Gramps, it all happened so fast.”
Valentina took it upon herself to begin telling as much of the events that had just transpired as she could recall. She paused, glanced at Finn, and proceeded to tell of how the teens hands burned.
“I burned their hands, but how? And, the white light, was that you?”
“No, and I don’t know who did.”
“Finn, take this and come talk to us when you have finished.” Gran slid the envelope across the counter, and the three of them got up and left.
Finn turned the envelope over nervously in his hands. Finn was written on the front in dull black ink. A worn image of swirling water, was still visible in the blue wax sealing the envelope. He popped the seal and pulled out a piece of paper just as yellow as the envelope. It was a letter from his mom…
I had hoped that you would never need to read this letter, but if you are then you must be in danger. Your Father and I are on the run, in our world it is forbidden to love someone from another kingdom. We could not raise a child while on the run, so we left you in the care of my parents.
Finn, you are unique. A child born from two kingdoms has extraordinary abilities. You are destined for remarkable things. Listen to what your grandparents tell you, they will explain as much as they can.
I wish I could write more, but They are coming for us, and I must go. Your Father and I love you so much and will miss you every single day.
Love you always,
P.S. We will meet again someday.
Finn stared at the letter, reading it repeatedly. His mind flooded with questions. He carefully folded the letter, slid it back into the envelope and gently put it in the pocket of his worn out red hoodie, that hung loosely from his slender frame. He opened the door to the living room, and leaned against the jamb.
Gran, Gramps and Valentina stop mid conversation and look up at Finn.
“Come. Sit.” Gran motions to the baby blue wingback chair next to the TV. Finn took a seat. He slouched forward, placed his elbows on his knees and clasped his hands.
After a short pause Gramps started, “You. We. Are from another world. A world much different than this one. Our world, Telrus, is a land of magic. People can harness the magic of the fundamental elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Hundreds of years ago, there was a battle between two powerful elemental masters. This battle nearly destroyed our world and created the rift between our two worlds.” Gramps glanced out the front window, something had caught his eye. Convinced that he had not seen anything he turned back to the group. “The Elemental master that won this great battle, was as evil as they come. She forbids anyone from differing kingdoms to marry. Anyone who disobeyed was brutally executed. Your Father is from the Southern Fire Kingdom and your Mother is from the Island Water Kingdom. They knew the penalty for their love but were never willing to sacrifice it. When you came along we all new that we needed to protect you at all costs. So, we brought you here.”
A loud chatter outside the house caught everyone’s attention. Valentina walked over to the window and peered out. The azure sky was streaked with the deep orange of the setting sun. She quickly jumped out of view of the window. In the fading light of day, she could make out the forms of the three men from earlier, aided by the pale light from the lamppost. The dark-skinned form of Govad was barking orders at Soren. Soren’s hands were wrapped in a piece of cloth, torn from his shirt. Govad pointed up the street and Soren turned and left. Govad then turned towards Jasper, spoke and gestured towards the house.
Gran got up from the sofa, grabbed Valentina’s hand. “Go to your Father. Take Finn with you. He will know what to do.”
Gran turned to Finn, placed her hands on his shoulder. “Don’t worry about us, the house is protected with powerful water magic. Go with Valentina. Fulfill your Destiny”
“Go.” Gran pulled him into a loving embrace. Finn walked over to Gramps and hugged him too.
“Finn, take this.” Gramps handed him a small wooden box. “Now Go. Out the back.”
“What is it?”
“There is no time to explain, when the time comes you will know what to do.”
Finn and Valentina hurried to the back door. Gran handed him a small bag. Finn felt the warmth of the freshly baked pumpkin bread. He cracked the door open, and peered outside.
They quickly snuck out the back door and to the edge of the yard. Finn pulled Valentina into the bushes that ran the entire length of the backyard. He gestured to be quiet. Footsteps could be heard nearby, gradually getting louder as they approached. Jasper stopped only a few paces away, mumbling to himself.
“Govad is off his rocker, there’s no house here, just a vacant lot.” He pulled a knife from his pocket, squatted and impatiently tossed it into the ground. “This is pointless, they are long gone.” He stood up, put the knife back in his pocket and began walking away.
Finn rose from the bushes, a branch caught his jeans and the leaves rustled more than expected. The teen turned abruptly, and took a few steps towards Finn. He should have been seen, but Jasper just stood there gazing in his direction as if he was invisible. A moment passed and the teen turned back and continued, on his way. Finn and Valentina waited until he was out of sight before leaving their hiding spot.
Neither of them said a word as they left the rows of rundown homes with unkempt yards, or when they passed the abandoned factories with their smoke stacks piercing the starry sky.
“We’re here.” Valentina had stopped in front of a small two room shanty on the edge of the river. The house was dwarfed by its surroundings. Finn would never have noticed it if Valentina had not stopped.
“This is where you live?”
“Not everyone can live in a nice house.” Valentina scoffed at Finn, and stormed into the house. Finn followed her, at a distance, into the house and shut the door behind him.
“Hello Finn.” A grizzly old man with gray hair and gravelly voice wheeled out from the corner of the room. The room was lit by a single bulb hung precariously from the rafters. “Sit. We don’t have much time”
Finn sat at a wobbly wooden table with mismatched chairs, next to what could be considered the kitchen. Two cabinets with their doors falling off, a rusted sink piled high with dirty dishes, no appliances except a small burner plugged into an extension cord, that one would assume ran to one of the adjacent buildings. The floor was riddled with books and papers. An old chair with stuffing poking out everywhere sat in the corner, next to what used to be a door to Valentina’s room. A dusty mattress with popped springs could faintly be seen in the dim light. Valentina leaned against the wall in the corner, her arms folded across her chest, obviously upset about what Finn had said outside.
“Valentina, you stay here to keep an eye on Them.” Valentina’s father pointed towards the door.
“I will take Finn to Telrus. Help me pack my bags.” He wheels over to a small cabinet, grabs a worn brown leather bag and starts stuffing it full of the contents in the cabinet.
“Dad, you are too weak. Let me.” Grabbing her dad’s hands.
“It is much too dangerous, I must do it.” He wheels over to the kitchen and grabs what scraps of food he can find. He moves to the door and attempts to stand. He stumbles forward, bracing himself against the wall and sits back in his wheelchair.
“See. You are not strong enough to make the journey, plus there is something that I need to do in Telrus.” She grabs the bag from her father
“Something you need to do? Your top priority is Finn.” He leans towards her and whispers. “He is our only hope of going back home, everything else must wait.” He wheels over to Finn and pulls him out of his chair.
“Go with Valentina. Find Pahllas. She should be in a cottage outside of Orestion,” he says as he shoves Finn towards to the door.
“Stop! Why should I trust either of you? I don’t know you,” Finn said taking a step back.
“You must.” The old man tried nudging Finn back towards the door. “I brought you to this world. Your father asked me too.”
“Yes, now go” He opened the door and gestured for Finn to exit.
Valentina remained in the doorway. “You really think he is the one that will save the world?”
“It’s his destiny. It’s why we brought him here, it’s why we must protect him,” her dad said earnestly, “Now go the prime rift will be here any minute. Promise me you will get him to Pahllas.”
“I promise.” Valentina bent over and gave her father a hug. She grabbed Finn by the arm and dragged him down the slippery slope to the edge of the River.
Finn turned around. “My grandparents…”
“Will be just fine.” Valentina’s dad reassured him. “It’s time.”
Valentina placed both of her hands on Finn’s back and gave him a shove. Finn fell forward and vanished. Valentina glanced back at her father and stepped into the rift.