Chapter 1: It Can't Be That Bad

"Want to play a mini game of Capture the Flag?"






"Well, this is boring," Annabeth huffed, stretching her long legs across the sandy beach of Camp Half-Blood.

Percy fiddled with the blond curls that had escaped from his girlfriend's ponytail. "Boring is better than running for your life from a seriously evil titan."

Annabeth considered swatting his hand away, but relented. "That was just a year ago, huh? I can't say I miss it."

"I think dying a brave, heroic death would be better than dying of boredom." Nico held his hand out towards the rocks and sent pebbles whizzing past Thalia's ear. She didn't flinch.

The conversation lapsed back into silence, occasionally punctuated by the metallic ring of swords striking shields in the faraway arena.

"Risk?" Annabeth tried suggesting again. "Monopoly? Archery? Twister?"

They were interrupted by Rachel.

"You won't believe what I just found!" she said breathlessly as she appeared around the bend, holding what looked like a flat box.

"It's a movie," Annabeth announced, examining the case with newfound interest. "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief."

"It's about me?" Percy blurted.

"'It's the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus and assorted monsters have walked out of the pages of high school student Percy Jackson's Greek mythology texts and into his life,'" read Annabeth from the back cover. "'And they're not happy: Zeus' lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

"'Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy's mother. As Percy finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy's mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves.' Where in Hades did you get this?"

Rachel shrugged. "It just popped up out of nowhere."

"The Hermes Delivery Service?" Annabeth mused out loud.

"Well, are we going to watch it?" Nico asked impatiently. He was already standing up, brushing sand off his dark wash jeans with his hands.

Thalia followed his lead. "Sure. We haven't had a camp movie night in forever."

Annabeth frowned, deep in thought, as she stared at the rock pile an arrow flight's away, where the last rays of sun desperately poked through the cracks. "I have a bad feeling about this. I mean, look at the cover. There's no way he's manipulating the water that easily. Plus, 'high school'? We were twelve!"

"Aw, come on. What else are we going to do?" Percy helped her to her feet. "Besides, it can't be that bad, right?"

Annabeth forced a smile. "Right."