Some Kind of Wonderful Part-17

Some Kind of Wonderful-
Part Seventeen


Charlie Sandsmark and his mother, Helena, travel around the world from one archaeological dig to another, looking for evidence of the ancient Amazonian culture. So far they have found nothing, until Charlie discovers something wonderful about himself on a small island in the Aegean Sea.


Author's Note: Here's Ch. 17, due to the nature of this chapter and the rest of the story, I thought that a new picture might be a nice change of pace. I'd like to thank djkauf for the wonderful editing and DC Comics for the wonderful characters.


Chapter Seventeen:

“What the hell is this jackass’s problem?” said Connor angrily; trying to lose what he thought was a tail-gater.

I didn’t answer. Instead, I climbed out the window a bit to get a better look. The SUV was definitely not one of Chase’s. For instance, the windows were tinted black. For another, I could tell that it was a different make and model. This one was clearly foreign made while Chase’s driver, Johnson, drove an American one. I stared at the vehicle for some time, wondering what their deal was. Were they just a bunch of ass-holes or was there something more to them. I continued to stare them, wondering when they were going to make their move.
It didn’t take them long.

The passenger side window rolled down and a few seconds later, a man in a dark suit slithered half out. He had a shaven head but there was no doubt that he was Greek, from the color of his skin to his facial features. He sneered at me and then reached into his coat, pulling out a gun. He fired off a shot before I knew what he was doing. My reflexes took over. I snapped my wrist up, the bullet ricocheted away. He sneered and fire another shot. I blocked it again. Don’t these guys talk to one another? Surely, they knew by now that shooting at me was pretty damn pointless. After all back in Greece, I blocked every damn bullet they shot at me. Not really paying attention to what was going on; he fired a few more shots. I blocked two but the third wasn’t aimed at me. I panicked as it went through the back window, dangerously close to Connor. I snapped around and slid back inside.

“Are you all right?” I asked frantic.

“Was that a bullet?” he asked, hunched forward.

I sighed when I saw the hole in the windshield, it was a through and through. But the intent was clear: these guys weren’t pulling any punches. They weren’t trying to catch me anymore; they were out to kill me. I could feel my anger rising. It was one thing to try to shoot me but going after Connor was another thing. I weighed my options, wondering what I could do in this situation. It was clear that these guys had no regard for human life, which was dangerous. There were no cars on the road right now but we were on one of the busier streets. It was only a matter of time before someone---either one of us---got careless. I couldn’t put people’s lives at risk for me.

I leaned my head inside. “Aim for one of the side streets, away from people.”

I didn’t wait for Connor to respond. I felt the truck swerve a bit. Then we went left, apparently down some other road. The SUV turned with us. On either side, I saw lots of trees. I smiled then reacted. It was a split second maneuver but I was all about those these days. I made sure I had a good grip and then climbed out the window. I heard Connor shout at me but his voice was lost on the wind. I rolled over the top of the cab and into the back of the pickup. The guy hanging out of the SUV didn’t waste time. He fired off another shot to distract me. I blocked it then he clambered out the window too. I laughed, there was no way he could go toe-to-toe with me.

But apparently, he was going to try.

He struggled the rest of the way out of the SUV, shouting for the driver to get him closer to the truck. I stood and waited. There wasn’t much I could do anyway. The driver was pretty good, keeping the SUV steady with the truck. It was quite a show to watch, like a Michael Bay movie. The guy hanging out of the SUV positioned himself and jumped. I was impressed when he landed in the back of the pickup, rolling to rest at my feet. I’m not a dirty fighter. Even though my Amazonian hardwire told me to pick him up and toss him out of the truck, I resisted. It was hard but I managed to allow the guy to stand. Seeing him stand, I was impressed once again. He was actually around my size---I was surprised--- but built like he ate bricks for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

He rolled his head a bit then launched into a frontal assault. I’m not sure how I knew to block it but I did. I threw up every defense; it was like I could read his moves. Everything he tried, I had an answer for. It was awesome. He tried again and again to land a blow and I just kept throwing away his punches. It was a shame because I could tell he was a really good fighter, very skilled. He was fast too, seriously fast. It took everything I had to stop him and if I could have broken a sweat, I would have. He was a skilled fighter, better than I gave him credit for. If I wasn’t currently fighting him, I think I would have loved watching him. I’m not sure how I knew he was a skilled fighter too, but I was able to keep up with him. I assume it was another thing my hardwiring had built into me. I wish Hera had given me an instruction manual. It was kinda creepy to learn that by putting on a golden belt that I turned into a cross between Jet Li, Rambo and John Cena. Ok, so maybe they weren’t the best examples but I was definitely a serious bad ass now.

After a few more blows from him though, he started to tire. As big as he was and as fast as he was, he was still no match for my endurance. He tired quickly and I went in. So far, I’d only been blocking everything he’d thrown at me. I’m not sure how I knew it but a part of me knew it was good to be on the defensive to tire your opponent out. Now that he was exhausted, I could move in. I did just that. He tried to block me but he was too tired now. I landed my first blow, breaking a bone. He wailed in pain, stumbling backwards. My fist had connected with his shoulder, disabling the whole of his right arm. He cradled it to his chest. I went for a second, catching him off guard, hitting his left knee.

He cried out even louder and stumbled backwards. He fell off the back of the truck. It happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to react. One second he was there and the next he was gone. I ran to see if I could find him. He landed hard on the road and rolled behind us. I turned away as the SUV approached, I didn’t want to see what happened next. It was a horrible way to go.

Losing one of their friends didn’t seem to stop the SUV though. It plowed on forward like nothing happened. No one else appeared at the passenger window but it put on speed. I knew what it was doing a split second before it rear ended us. The impact knocked me off balance. I fell to my knees. As I was getting up, they slammed against the back of the truck again. I heard Connor’s muffled curse inside the cab. After a third slam, the SUV veered a bit. I finally stood up, angry as all hell. I grabbed the first thing I could find---a toolbox---and launched it at the vehicle. The box slammed into the windshield, scattering tools all over the hood and highway. The glass spider webbed, causing the vehicle to careen wildly out of control.

It fell behind as Connor put on the speed. I sighed in relief, glad that that was over.

I walked over to the back window of the pickup and slid it open. “We’re in the clear now,” I said, letting out a well needed sigh.

“What the hell is going on?” Connor asked, a little bit annoyed and scared.

I’m not sure why I wasn’t scared, probably more hardwiring. “It’s a long story,” I said, taking a breath. “Let’s turn around and head back home. I have to make a phone call.”

He nodded. I am never leaving the house again without Cameron or some of her people. It was bad enough that I kept leaving it without taking that special cell phone Faraday gave me but to leave it without them and put others in danger. Never again. It didn’t matter if I didn’t fully trust them; I could have gotten Connor killed today. I’m not sure if I could have lived with myself if anything had happened to him. I’m just glad that Cissie wasn’t in the truck, id something happened to both of them I’m not sure what I would have done.

“Could you get back in here, please?” he said, glancing back at me for a second. “You’re making me nervous back there.”

I laughed and started to climb back around the side of the truck but I stopped about halfway. Up ahead, there was another vehicle approaching. It was a green blazer this time. I didn’t think anything of it until it got closer. There was something about the way it was driving. When it close enough, the passenger window rolled down. I had a split second to react before the passenger came out with a machine gun. I rolled onto the hood of the truck, my arms throwing up quickly. It was amazing how fast I moved my wrists, blocking every single one of those rapidly firing bullets. A couple got by, one grazed my cheek; another went through the glass and buried itself in my headrest.

Connor cursed and swerved, trying to get out of the line of fire. I kept deflecting bullets until the guy ran out then I cursed. These guys were really starting to piss me off. I let out a large intake of air then turned to face Connor. The only thing that was separating the two of us was the windshield. He made a motion for me to move out of his way so he could drive. I made a motion for him to put on the glass. He rolled down the window and shouted.

“What are you doing?”

“Ending this.” I shouted back.

He did as he was told. I stood up on the hood of the truck, I’m sure Connor figured out what I was about to do. I didn’t wait for him to protest. I aimed for the blazer and jumped. I judged the distance pretty good, landing on the hood of the vehicle. I rolled a bit, cracking the windshield. I caught myself before I rolled off. When I got to my knees, the passenger climbed half way out of the window again. This time he had a pistol. He tried to aim it at me and shot. I grabbed his wrist and twisted. I snapped his wrist; the gun tumbled free and onto the road. He screamed in pain. I grabbed the back on his head and slammed it on the roof of the truck, breaking his nose.

I let him go and rolled over to the driver side. For a second the two of us stared at each other through the glass just like I did with Connor moments before. But unlike with Connor, I punched my hand through the glass. The look on the driver’s face was priceless. It was to distract him from my real plan. I pulled my hand out quickly---surprised there was no blood---then reached over and grabbed his door. Hera give me strength. I felt a surge of power and tore the door away from the truck, tossing it away like it was made of tissue paper. The driver freaked.

“Stop the truck right now” I said, glaring at him and his passenger.

He spouted something in Greek, the equivalent of telling me to kiss his ass. I growled angrily and stepped on the brake. Tires squealed and the truck swerved. It came to a screeching stop, the force of which threw me off the side and sent me flying forward onto the road. I hit the pavement hard and rolled. It hurt a lot less than I thought it was going too. I rolled for a bit and then finally came to a stop. When I pushed myself to my feet and my world stopped spinning, I threw up. Then I checked myself over for damage. There were a few cuts and bruises but other than that, I was pretty unscathed. It amazed the hell out of me actually. The truck had been going at least sixty-five and I’d just been thrown off it. I should have broken several bones but the only thing I had were cuts.
Connor’s red pickup was stopped ten feet up the road. He opened the door and ran out. I pushed the rest of the way up and waved him off. He stopped about two feet from me, a look of horror on his face at first. But when he saw me stand and brush myself off, his horror turned to relief. I looked down and groaned. My shirt was torn, exposing flesh underneath and my jeans looked like someone attacked them with a pair of scissors. I could taste blood in my mouth and I think I broke a nail. I turned back to the blazer, unfortunately the occupants inside didn’t fair too well.

The air bags had deployed but the driver didn’t hit his fast first like the passenger. He’d been leaning halfway out the missing door in an attempt to push me off. So when the car came to a jarring halt, he was facing the bag sideways. He was still hanging halfway out the door, his neck broken. I felt no remorse. After all these bastards tried to kill me a few seconds ago. When I approached the blazer, Connor was right beside me.

“Is he dead?” he asked, looking at the driver.

I shrugged. “Probably.”

He nodded, looking glum. “Holy shit”

I looked at him and frowned. “I’m really sorry about this Connor. I never meant to get you involved.”

He nodded numbly. After a few seconds, he asked. “Who are they?”

“Back in Greece we were attacked by these guys pretending to be government officials,” I said as I started searching through the driver’s pockets, looking for some ID. “They were looking for something on the island I told you about.” He nodded as I found the guy’s wallet. “But the US government managed to get Mom, Donna and me out of there.”

I flipped open the wallet, there wasn’t much in it besides some cash. He didn’t even have a driver’s license. I frowned. How in the hell did he get the truck then? I walked over to the passenger side and opened the door. The passenger was alive but unconscious. I pushed him back, ripped away the airbag and popped open the glove compartment. Inside I found the rental agreement for the truck but little else. Whoever these guys were---I had a pretty good idea---they were pretty thorough about keeping their identities a secret.

I started rifling through the passenger’s pockets. He groaned a bit but didn’t wake up. I found his wallet too, and all that was inside was more cash. I tossed his wallet on the seat and decided to check the back. As I was opening the back door, I heard the roaring of a car approaching. I groaned and took a look. My suspicions were answered quickly. It was the damn SUV from before and it was coming on fast. I snapped back around to the front and yanked the passenger from the truck. I pulled him free quickly, shouting to Connor. He came running around the side of the vehicle and hefted the guy into his arms, dragging him away. These guys were really starting to piss me off. They were like Goddamn cockroaches. You squash one and they just get back up. I looked at the Blazer and smiled. I guess what you really needed was a bigger shoe. I knew I was strong, I’d proven that time and again. In Greece, I stopped the SUV with my bare hands. Even then, I was pushing it a little. I still had yet to test how strong I really was but if I had to guess I’d say I was able to at least push a car.

I walked around to the front of the Blazer, listening, as the SUV got closer and closer. I probably had about a minute or less. It was all I needed. I took a deep breath and shoved the front of the truck with all my might. The leather on my shoes snapped and the legs of jeans split but I pushed the truck. I pushed it hard. It coursed backwards, propelling toward the oncoming SUV. There was a loud screech of tires but whoever was driving wasn’t fast enough to stop. The front end of the oncoming vehicle slammed head first into the back of the Blazer. There was loud crash of metal on metal. Glass shattered; there was the smell of burned rubber.

Both vehicles were now a mangled mess on the highway.

“Son of a bitch” said Connor, dragging the guy over. “You just…I mean…”

“Hand me that guy,” I said, he happily passed the guy over.

I dragged him back over to the mangled wreck and left him lying there, making it look like he’d been thrown from the crash. By the time he came too, he’d probably be in the hospital. It was a lousy thing to do but I couldn’t let anyone connect this to me. I knew I’d have to tell Cameron all about it---she’d be pissed---but at least she’d tried to cover it up.

“Is this an everyday thing with you now?’ he asked, pointing to the wreck.

I shrugged. “It’s been known to happen from time to time.”

We didn’t say anything more as the two of us walked back to the truck and got inside. He turned around and the two of us headed back toward my house.


I made him drive around a bit to make sure we weren’t being followed anymore. Not that it really mattered I suppose. They tracked us as soon as we left Eddie’s house, it was a good bet they knew where I lived. Not that they’d get into The Gates. Unless they bought a house or were on a list of expected guests, there was no way they could get in there. Not even Connor could get in there every morning without being on the list, it didn’t matter that the guard knew him for years because his family lived there. If you weren’t on the list, you weren’t getting in.

We drove around about an hour before Connor brought me home. I was pretty certain that the guys in the two trucks were the only ones dumb enough to come after me. I still wasn’t sure what they were after---ok, I had some idea---but I knew they wouldn’t be stupid enough to try again. At least not in the same manner. They’d already tried twice and failed and it was a safe bet they’d probably try again. Except this time, I wasn’t taking any chances. So after the guard let us through, Connor drove as quietly to my house as possible. When we pulled into the driveway, I looked myself over. There was no way I could get away with any lies to my grandma, especially the way I looked. My clothes alone were enough to prove that I’d been up to something.

“We can tell her you fell down a hill,” said Connor with a smile.

I smirked. “Do you honestly think that’ll work?”

He shook his head. Then he stared at his windshield. There were two bullet holes in it now, both of which weren’t going to be easy to explain anyway. For a while, I thought maybe I could get away with not telling Cameron about Connor knowing my secret. Now I knew there was no way around it. I suppose if the two of us really brainstormed, we could come up with a possible explanation but neither of us were to it. The truth was the best answer and if she wanted to lock us up then so be it. I’d go to bat for him though, explain how I had no choice and that everything was my fault. There was no way I was going to let him get into trouble for my stupidity.

He finally sighed. “You and I never got to talk,” he said softly.

I nodded. “I’m sorry about all this, dragging you into my problems I mean. I’m also sorry about not telling you who I was before, I was scared.”

He reached over and touched my hand then pulled away, second guessing what he just did. He sighed heavily. “I know you’re Charlie but when I look at you all I see is the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen.”

I blushed. “You think I’m…”

He reached up and brushed some of the hair from my face. Then he leaned in. I knew I shouldn’t have leaned in too, but I couldn’t help it. I might have been Charlie and his best friend but that was before. Charlie was gone and he wasn’t coming back. A part of me knew that all of this was wrong but another part of me screamed in my head that it was so right. The latter part was in control, allowing him to put his hand behind my head and slowly move it toward his. Our lips were centimeters apart. I closed my eyes, waiting for it to come. But it never did. Connor’s hand slid off my head and he cursed. It was never a good sign to hear the boy you were about to kiss swear right before you were going to do it.

I opened my eyes. “What’s wrong?”

He shook his head. “I can’t. I’m sorry, I really want to but I can’t”

I smiled weakly. “It’s weird for me too.”

“I know you’re Cassie now but you’re also Charlie too. Does that make any sense?”

I nodded. Unfortunately, it made a lot of sense. I was having the same problem too. It was strange to think of myself as Charlie or even as once being a boy. I’ve been a girl for almost a week or more now and it’s hard to think like anything but. I mean looking at him for instance. I knew he was my best friend and it was wrong to have feelings for him but that part of me that didn’t like it was slowly starting to fade away. Another part of me wanted him so bad that it hurt.

I got control of myself though. “Maybe you and I should go inside.”

We left the truck and walked toward the house. It didn’t seem strange at all that his hand slipped into mine. When we got inside, of course my grandma made a comment about the way I looked. She kept giving Connor a look, thinking that maybe he had something to do with it. I quickly explained as I retrieved the encrypted cell phone. I gave her an abridged version of events and my grandma didn’t look too happy. When I dialed Cameron, she answered on the second ring.

“We have a problem”

She groaned. “What did you do now?”

I quickly filled her in on the day’s events, leaving out the part about Eddie being a Meta. I didn’t want her nor the government to find him. I had made a promise and I was sticking to it. I told her everything that happened besides that though, telling her where to find the cars and how many guys there were. She took it surprisingly well for someone I knew was very angry. But how could I help it. It’s not like I asked those guys to come after me. In fact, I tried to avoid any violence. But as soon as they started shooting, endangering Connor, I knew I had to act. As soon as I told her about Connor, I think she flipped. That one was my fault and like I promised myself, I took full blame. She grumbled a lot. Through it all, she kept barking orders, apparently organizing her team.

“You never make it easy do you?” she asked when I finished.

“Like I had a choice,” I said angrily “they were the same guys from Greece and this time they weren’t screwing around. They tried to kill the two of us.”

Cameron sighed. “I’m sending a car over to sit in front of your house tonight.”

“What about Connor?”

“Make up one of your guest rooms” she said sternly. “He’s not going anywhere. In the morning I’ll swing by and we can have a talk.”

She hung up after that.

I quickly filled in my grandma and Connor. Grandma went upstairs to get Connor’s room ready while Connor used the living room phone to call Kara. I went into the kitchen, looking to see if I could scrounge up anything to eat. It was about one now; the two of us missed lunch. There was some sandwich meat in the fridge and some bread on the counter. I quickly whipped up a dozen sandwiches, leaving Connor at least two. He came into the kitchen a few minutes later. He sat at the table, looking at my plate then his. His eyes widened and I shrugged. He didn’t say anything so the two of us ate in silence. The rest of the day progressed in silence pretty much. Grandma struck up conversation with the two of us, asking us to describe in detail what happened. I didn’t tell her about Eddie either. Connor and I both said he was pretty sick but would probably be on the mend in a few days. Both of us talked to Grandma but neither one of us said anything to the other. It was kinda strange sitting here with him, trying to act like old times. He knew the truth now and for some reason I thought things might be different.

Actually, I thought they might go back to the way things were. Connor and I used to spend hours up in my room reading comics or playing video games. We were a couple of guys having fun. Looking at him now, I knew something like that could never happen again.

After a few hours, he broke the silence. “You still have the Xbox?”

I smiled and the two of us went upstairs. I paused at my old bedroom door. I hadn’t been in there since Mom and I moved out. Most of my old stuff was in there but for some reason I wasn’t itching to go inside. I passed it every morning on my way downstairs but it was just another room now. Ok, so that’s only partially true. I wanted to go in there; I wanted to go in there very much. But every time I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to turn the handle and go inside. Now that the two of us were standing here, my hand trembled above the knob. In the end, it was actually Connor who took the initiative and opened it.

My old room was exactly the same. It had the same blue walls, the same sci-fi themed bedspread and pillow sheets. There was a desk in the corner with my old computer and various movie posters on the walls. In the other corner was a chest full of action figures that Connor and I used to play with all the time. Most of them had sat untouched for years. Mounted on the wall was a flat screen, underneath which was my 360 and a stack of games. I sighed when I looked around. I used to think this was the coolest room in the world. But looking at it now I only had one thought: a nerdy boy used to live here. The thought sent shivers up and down my spine. It scared me to think that I’d changed so much.

“Cassie dear” my grandma called from downstairs.

I left Connor to set up the system while I wandered to the top of stairs. “Yeah, grandma.”

“Keep the door open please.”

I groaned. She had to be kidding right. But there was no smile on her face. I smiled and nodded then wandered back to the room. Connor was sitting on the edge of my old bed, the game console already booted up. He slid over to allow me room to sit. I awkwardly sat down, close but not too close. He handed me the spare controller. The two of us started to play one of our favorite games but it wasn’t long before I realized my heart wasn’t in it anymore. We played for a while anyway. It was a fighting game and Connor pounded the hell out of me in almost every round. I guess I wasn’t much of a gamer anymore. I have to admit it was kinda boring actually.

“Damn dude” said Connor, staring at the screen. “You’re playing like a girl.”

As soon as he said it, he dropped his controller and turned to me. He looked like he’d just swallowed a marble or something. “Shit I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to….”

I dropped the controller too. We didn’t say anything for the longest time. We just stared at each other; my heart was pounding in my chest. I inwardly groaned. He moistened his dry lips. Then it happened. I’m not even sure what it was at first but I knew as soon as I threw myself at him. Both our resistances shattered in a second. I practically jumped in his lap as I threw my arms around his neck, our lips plastering against one another. We fell backwards on the bed then began to roll up in a hot rollicking make out session. I often used to dream of this moment but never in my wildest dreams did I think it was going to be with Connor or that I was going to be the girl.

After about a minute or two---God, it felt longer---I pulled up to breathe. My hair was a mess, my shirt was torn in several places and I was panting like crazy. Connor was panting too, his chest and mine heaving up and down together. I looked into his bright sparkling blue eyes and smiled. He smiled too. This should have been awkward as hell but it felt so right.

I laughed. “Much better than a stupid game, huh.”

He didn’t answer. Instead, he grabbed my head and pulled me in for another kiss.


I woke up with Connor’s arm around me.

For a second it confused the hell out of me, seeing that I had clearly been asleep. I looked at Connor; his shirt was torn in half, his hair a ruffled mess. I think I might have done all that. I don’t really remember doing it but we were kinda hot and heavy. I looked down at myself and was glad to see that my bra was still on. My shirt was a tattered mess though. My jeans were pretty bad too. I never bothered to change when we got home---I looked at the alarm, it was five am---yesterday. It was Sunday now. I knew that in an hour or so, grandma would get up and get ready for church. It was her Sunday routine. Mom hated the whole idea of church; she had a thing against organized religion.

I slipped slowly out from underneath Connor and padded across the room. I’d let him sleep, he’d had a busy day yesterday. I slipped out into the hall, trying to move as silently as I could. When I got back to my room, I thought about going to bed. But for some reason I wasn’t tired. I stripped out of my clothes, taking my shredded jeans with me as I went to the bathroom. I tossed the jeans into the hallway waist basket then went into the bathroom. I took a quick shower. My mind kept going back to Connor and what we did yesterday afternoon. I had no idea what any of it meant but I liked it. I didn’t want to like it but it just felt right somehow, like it was meant to be.

Twenty minutes later, I left the shower. I wrapped a towel around myself and headed for my room. I thought about more jeans and a t-shirt but decided against it. Instead, I put on my running clothes. As I was putting them on, I looked over at the window and saw my friend the owl sitting there. The other day I looked him up in the school library. It was a Eurasian Eagle owl, one of the largest owls in the world. Also only native to Europe and Asia. So whatever the hell it was doing here was beyond me. But I guess I attracted those kinds of things, like the peacock in the middle of the Med.

But what seemed to surprise me most about my nighttime visitor was that no one else seemed to know he was there. He was huge, bigger than a lot of dogs and yet only I saw him.

I walked over to the window and tapped on the glass. His head followed my hand, moving with it like it was a mouse for him to snatch up. I bit my lip and opened the window. There was no screen on this window; I think my aunt used to like to sneak out at night. The tree was close enough for her to climb down after all. The owl stared into my room, cocking his head left and right. It was kinda strange but almost looked like he was getting a feel for the place. I ignored him and continued dressing, pulling on my running clothes. When I sat on the bed to put on my sneakers, he hopped into the room.

I nearly jumped off the bed. “What the hell are you doing?”

It just stared at me, judging me. There was something about the way it looked, the insane intelligence behind those eyes. It was there that I knew that this wasn’t any ordinary owl. A shiver went up my spine as the implication hit me. I bit my lip as I slowly slid off my bed and walked over. He was sitting on the windowsill, looking around my room. When I approached, he didn’t seem the least bit afraid of me. Instead, he watched me with interest for a few seconds then continued to look about as if he was trying to decide if the room was worthy of me.

I took a deep breath and a guess. “Your name is Glaucus, right?”

At the sound of its name, its head snapped around toward me. I jumped back. Holy shit. I wet my lips, trembling a bit. What had Hera said: they weren’t allowed to interfere ... right? But if he was here didn’t that mean they were interfering. He was Athena’s owl after all. That thought sent another shiver down my spine. Athena’s owl, the Goddess of Wisdom had been keeping an eye on me. I’m not sure how to respond to that. I knew all about Athena from the Myths, hell The Odyssey was one of my favorite stories. Grandpa and I used to read it all the time. But never in a million years did I think it would be possible for me to warrant her attention. She was a very important person after all. Hera was important too but Athena…I kinda smiled about that.

“I’m going for a run,” I finally said, getting up the nerve to speak to him again. “I don’t suppose you want to come along?”

I think it was the invitation he was looking for. He turned and flew out the window. I didn’t waste any time following. No, I didn’t go out the window. I took off out of the room, running down the stairs. No one was up yet but I’m sure my pounding through the house was a rude awakening. Before I knew what I was doing, I was out the door and running. I saw the owl soaring overhead, flying low enough for me to see him. He flew toward the park, like he knew which way I liked to run. I was able to keep good pace with him; he never once flew faster than I could run. The guard at the gates opened the door when he saw me, knowing I was coming before I did. He smiled as I ran past. The owl led the way, soaring like a majestic eagle. It didn’t take me long to get to the park. When I got there, it was pretty much deserted.

Glaucus disappeared into the trees off to the left. I ran over after him but it was too dense and there were too many to see where he went. I sighed, wondering why he dragged me all the way out here. I looked a little more for him and when I couldn’t find him, I hit the track.

I was in a good mood this morning. It still kinda freaked me out that Athena was watching me but it made me feel special too. My mind flashed back to the island, to all the bronze statues I saw. Almost all the Olympian Goddesses were represented there so I wondered if the Amazons had more than one patron. In Ancient times, their Goddess was Artemis. In fact, I was actually a little surprised when Hera appeared before me and not her. In almost everything I read, I couldn’t find a thing that connected Hera to the Amazons. Not that I was complaining, it’s just that it felt kinda strange that the Queen of the Gods would come to me personally.

I ran four laps around the track before I noticed someone was watching. I’m not sure where he came from but I saw him the first time on my fifth lap. It was an old man with a cane. He was buddle up for winter, standing on the sidelines watching me run. He looked to be in his eighties. When I finished my fifth lap, he was clapping. I stopped a few feet from him, stretching. I turned around and he smiled. I slowly walked over, wondering what he was up too.

“Did I interrupt something, sir?” I asked.

He shook his head. “I haven’t seen someone run like that in a long time.”

I flushed. “I’m a little special.”

“Everyone is special,” he said as he walked over to a nearby bench and sat down.

I nodded and started to walk off but stopped. I turned back and he looked at me. “Could you do me a favor, miss?” I nodded. “Would you mind sitting and talking with me a bit? It’s been so long since I’ve had a nice conversation.”

I shrugged. I suppose I could give him a few minutes. I walked over and sat down on the bench next to him.

“I can’t be here long” I said, “There are some people who will be angry if I stay out too long.”

He smiled. “That’s the problem with the world. Everyone gets angry about this and that. I’m sure whoever it is will understand.”

“Not these people.”

“Yes, well I’m hardly anything harmful” He chuckled. Then he pulled a newspaper from his coat, opening it up. He read for a few seconds before he spoke again.

“Sad lot the world is in, isn’t it?” I nodded, not sure what he meant. “So much death and destruction these days and now all this Meta business.”

That made me uncomfortable. I just hoped he wouldn’t start talking about how evil Metas were or something. “I wouldn’t know much about that.”

“The world’s changing everyday now or so it seems” he said, flipping to another page in the paper. “Everyone is scrambling to keep up. The more these people start cropping up, the more danger will follow.”

“Do you think they’re dangerous?”

He laughed and shook his head. “Everyone is dangerous in their own way. It’s not their power that one needs to worry about it’s their nature. That’s one of man’s greatest strengths and weaknesses I think. What do they call it, oh yeah, the Nature of the Beast. You never know what a person is going to do until they are faced with a choice. It’s a scary world out there and in order to get by, you have to be prepared for anything.”

I nodded. “Its hard to be prepared for things that you can’t see coming though.”

He laughed and patted my knee. “That’s the way of the world my dear. You never do know what’s coming. If someone were to say to you, a storm is coming, you might grab your raincoat and your umbrella but what if it isn’t a rain storm?”

“I guess you’d need to be prepared for anything?”

He nodded. “Indeed you would” He folded his paper and looked at his watch. “Ah, I must be going now.” He used his cane, trying to get up.

I got to my feet and helped him up. He smiled at me and reached into his pocket, pulling out something. Before I could say anything, he put it into my hand. I opened my palm and saw a cheap coin, it was clearly a fake. It was something I was familiar with though: a gold drachma.

“I can’t take this from you.”

He laughed. “I’ve had that thing for years. Who knows it might bring you some luck.”

I held it in my hand smiled. “Do you need me to walk with you anywhere?”

He shook his head. “I can manage quite all right on my own,” he said with a sigh. Then he shivered, pulling his coat around his neck. “Feels like a storm is coming for sure. I best get home and start preparing.”

I laughed, shaking my head. I watched him until he disappeared out of sight down the path. He was a funny old man but he did have a point. I’m not sure what it was but I knew that I had to prepare for whatever came my way. It was kinda funny because before I was convinced that things were going bad, that these people wouldn’t stop coming for me. Now, I had this overwhelming feeling that no matter what they threw at me I’d be able to take it. I smiled at that. A little bit of sidewalk wisdom and the whole world changes. I laughed.

I stayed in the park, running a few more laps and then I turned and ran back home.

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