It was, overall, a relatively normal day. Classes were boring as ever, Reese figured. He'd be doing homework until near midnight after school, check his Facebook maybe six or seven times an hour. Nothing new. Or at least, nothing new for a junior in high school.
Well, that's what he thought. Until lunch, that is.
Hungry teenagers piled into the cafeteria, shoving and elbowing to get to the food first. Reese followed the rest of his football team, joking with his friends in line, until he reached the front.
He had just picked up a carton of milk when the entire east wall of the cafeteria exploded, revealing the street behind it.
Everyone screamed bloody murder – he was pretty sure he heard himself hit a note he'd never known he could hit. Suddenly people were no longer racing each other to the food line – now the doors were jam-packed with students yelling about terrorist attacks and emergency procedures.
That's when the monster jumped through the open wall. By then, Reese was one of the few kids unlucky enough to not have reached the door yet. He'd shoved with all his strength – which was quite a bit, considering his position as left tackle – but no one had relented, and Reese had been unable to escape the cafeteria.
The few students left yelped, shouting things about giant trucks before once again rushing for the door. Reese, however stood paralyzed in place. This was no giant truck. It looked almost like... like that thing from the Labyrinth they'd been studying in history class. Er, not the David Bowie labyrinth. Like, what's-his-name's labyrinth. Dead-lus or something. What was this thing? Uh, no monsters in New York last he checked.
The monster growled, its bull-head swiveling to examine the ruins. Almost seconds later, two figures leaped through the gaping hole in the wall. What? He'd never seen them before. A dark haired boy and a blonde girl. The girl pulled a knife from her sleeve. Jeezus. what was she going to do with that, cut steak?
Instead, the girl caught Reese's eye. A shock of recognition flashed across her face.
"Percy! There's someone left!"
The boy turned his attention away from the monster at that, glancing at Reese. "Get him out of here. I'll handle this one."
Again, the dark-haired guy – Percy, Reese supposed - looked at the monster.
"Coming back a third time, eh?" he smirked. Percy pulled out a bronze pen from his pocket.
Reese turned to the blonde girl, who was now at his side.
"Look, dude, you need to get out of here. Our car accidentally ran into the wall, but we'll get it out of here in no time. Sorry!" She said calmly. Where was the urgency in her tone from a moment ago?
"What the hell is that thing?" he asked, grabbing her arm in a panic.
She pulled away immediately. "What is what? You can see it?"
"Yeah. The bull-man thing. It's from Greek Mythology, right? What the hell? This is New York! And where did you come from? Why does everyone else think it's a truck?" he started babbling, as Reese only did when he got nervous.
She paused, dread on her face. "No way. We're not that unlucky." She pulled out that bronze knife again, and before he could even flinch away, she dragged it across his hand. The skin split open immediately.
"What the fuck! What is wrong with you, woman?" he exclaimed, pulling his hand away. It was seriously bleeding now.
"Oh, shit. You are..." the girl groaned. "Percy! He's one of us!"
Percy turned momentarily from the fight to examine Reese with a pair of sea-green eyes. "What? Oh, come on. That just ruined my day even more," he moaned.
Wait a second... was that a... sword? In the dude's hand? Why did they have deadly weapons... This was not New York City.
"Annabeth, help me finish off this guy."
"Got it!" The gray-eyed girl, Annabeth, turned back to Reese. "Stay here. No matter what. Don't help us out. Just stay. Do not run away. Wait for us."
"What the hell, you just split my hand open and now you want me to wait for you?" But before he had a chance to finish, she'd already taken that Percy guy's side beside the monster. Minotaur, right? That was the name. Oh, God, what was going on? But he would wait. Shit, he had to. This was too screwed up. They seemed to know what was going on way better than he did, and if they told him it was safer to wait... He didn't want to get hurt.
As Annabeth started fighting the monster, flitting from place to place like quickfire, stabbing here and dodging there, Percy ran over to Reese. He took one look at the hand, and cursed. But that wasn't English... was it?
"Who's your mom?" he asked randomly.
"What? Uh, you should probably be fighting that m-"
"Answer the fucking question!"
"She's a supermodel. Katy Shapiro. You can google her, jeez."
"Okay, then who's your dad?"
"What? I've never met him. Why do you want to know?"
"Oh gods, Annabeth was right... Okay. Here's what I need you to-" They were interrupted by a shriek from that Annabeth girl's direction. That monster had finally caught her, pinning her down. Now he was straightening up, raising his axe...
"Be right back," Percy said, racing with almost inhuman speed to block the Annabeth girl. Just as the Minotaur brought his axe down...
"You're dead!" Reese shouted.
But no... The axe just bounced harmlessly off that Percy's chest. What the hell? That should have killed him. And he wasn't wearing armor, was he?
Percy swiftly pulled out that bronze pen again and uncapped it, a three-foot long bronze blade growing from the pen. It glowed softly, like no metal Reese had ever seen. That was the sword he'd seen earlier. Percy took the sword, and before the monster had the chance to react to the failed axe-attempt, the guy had brought down the sword on the monster. In moments it turned into dust. Percy flinched slightly, then recapped his pen, as if this was "all in a day's work". Weirdo. Then he turned, collapsing on the ground next to the fallen girl.
"Are you okay, Annabeth? Παρακαλώ, be okay." Somehow, Reese knew that to mean "please".
The girl sat up, wincing. "The arm."
"Oh, come on, not again. That's your bad one, isn't it?"
"Yeah. Only this time, you took the axe for me."
"Hah. I guess so. Didn't hurt much. It never does, you know."
"Come on, there's still the demigod to take care of."
Percy gingerly helped the girl up, being careful to use her other arm. They walked over to Reese.
"Dude, what the heck? I have to be in class now!"
"Yes, yes you do. At camp."
"I know. I can make it. Get out a drachma, and we can call Chiron."
"What about him?"
"We'll have to explain."
"No worries, I've done it a million times before."
And then, in an undertone, almost as if it wasn't for Reese to hear: "Annabeth, he's sixteen. Unclaimed. The gods haven't..."
"I know. They've broken their promise to you. We'll have to talk to Zeus."
What? Okay, so these were crazy people who believed in the Greek gods. Reese could comprehend the idea of insanity.
"Uh, by the way, I'm still right here."
"We know," Percy sighed. "Annabeth, I don't know if I could handle the Weird Sisters. Can we go by pegasi?"
"Percy, it's quicker."
"Yeah, but Blackjack could be here in a few minutes..."
"Okay, who the heck are you guys? No, seriously. I have to get to class. And I'm not going with you, whoever you are. What the hell is going on? Dude, this is New York. Seriously. You sliced my hand open. And do you always bicker this much?"
Both of them turned to look at Reese, as if they'd only recalled his existence.
"What do you mean, bicker?"
"We're just talking."
"Um, you guys are psychopaths. I think I'll just leave now," he said, but before he could move the blonde snatched his arm.
"Right. If we put him on a pegasus, he'll freak out."
"Oh, and seeing three chatterbox witches with one eye and one tooth between them isn't weird."
"So what, you suggest we walk?"
"Let's just focus on getting him to camp. We can figure it out."
The bickering was far from over, but these two weirdos eventually dragged Reese into a blue Prius not far from his blown up school.
"I'm calling 911. Seriously. Let me go! Kidnappers!" he exclaimed.
"Don't! It'll just send up a flare!" the Annabeth girl panicked.
"We can't stop him, Annabeth. They're already tracking us." Percy turned back to Reese. "Fine. Call 911. They won't be any help."
"Maybe I will."
Reese took the cellphone Percy offered him and dialed the police.
"Hello?" a bored-sounding operator answered.
"Yes, hello. I've just been kidnapped by a pair of teenagers who believe in Greek Mythology. They blew up my cafeteria and fought a giant bull-man. Um, yeah. We're in this Blue Prius now, heading down Fifth Avenue. I swear, they're psychopaths." Only saying it out loud did Reese realize how weird it was.
"Thank you for calling 911. We'll get back to you sometime soon."
And the line went dead.
"What did they say?"
"They didn't believe me. Fuck, what the heck are you guys doing? I need some explanations here. Are you kidnappers? Because I don't have any money on me, and my mom won't pay a ransom or anything."
"That's not it. You're in serious danger. More than you might realize."
"Yeah, because you two just fought a giant Minotaur in my cafeteria and are now carting me away to God-knows-where."
"No, because we have a rather lethal group of hellhounds, dracanae, and other friendly monsters on our tail," Percy corrected cheerfully. Reese faltered, the words sinking in.
"You're saying there are more of those... things?"
"Yup. We're taking you somewhere safe, Reese. You just have to trust us. We'll explain once we get rid of the monsters, okay? Can you wait that long?"
"Fine. So, you guys are like monster-fighting superheroes or something? And you're gonna get rid of those creatures?"
"In a nutshell, yes. Trust us, okay? We're on your side. We've both been in your position."
"Well, not exactly, because you were seven and I was twelve, but-"
"Shut up, Percy."
"Annabeth, they're closing in."
"Alleyway, right there. Get out of the public eye."
"On it." Percy swerved left down a relatively-hidden alley. Reese glanced out the back window once or twice, but he couldn't see any immediate danger.
They parked the car far down the alley.
"Whatever you do, stay in the car," Annabeth hissed in an undertone to the confused teenager as she and Percy leaped out of the Prius. They stood back to back in front of the car, both glancing at the open alleyway, as if watching for something.
Reese unbuckled himself, swiveling around to watch out the back window. Whatever was coming... Shit, what had happened to his normal day?
All at once, a horde of monsters started racing down the alley. What the hell? He took a closer look... And almost fainted. There were different kinds of monsters, giant black dogs like the one in that Sherlock Holmes (okay, so he was sort of well-read), women with scaly legs, skeletons with faintly-glowing bayonets. Aw, shit. What the hell did the duo of weirdos expect to do about this?
The Percy guy murmured something to Annabeth, and they split in opposite directions. She pulled out her knife once more, driving it into the ribcage of one of the black dogs with impressive speed. It exploded into dust, not unlike the bull-man in the cafeteria. Percy, on the other hand, uncapped that pen. Again, it grew to the full-length bronze sword. He swung and slashed, slicing apart monsters with every swipe.
Within three minutes, the only thing remaining in the alley was a blue Prius, an extremely confused teenager, and two demigods coated from head to foot in monster dust.
"What the hell was that? It was like super-ninja kickass! Straight from an action movie!" Reese burst out as the duo clambered back into the car, brushing the sand off their clothes.
"There goes the "Oh my gods they're psychopaths" attitude," Percy mumbled, making a U-turn and driving back onto the streets of Manhattan.
"But I still need an explanation. Are there more monsters? Are there more of... you guys? And why the hell do you need me? Can I just go back to school and pretend like none of this ever happened?"
Annabeth raised an eyebrow. "I've got a question for you. If you could just go back... Would you?"
He didn't have an answer for that.
A/N: Apologies for the crap ending. More to come soon.