You know you're me when:
a) You come home from school to find out you won a contest and that you're now rich.
b) Your only problem in life is you're younger sister.
c) You have a strange dream that includes your mom, who's a goddess, and then proceed to randomly fall in an alleyway while feeling like you were melted, frozen, cooked, refrigerated, and reheated all in two seconds.
You guys all know what I usually get.
When I woke up in an ally, I immediately took stock of myself. Head attacked, check. Limbs, check. Backpack and all other supplies, check.
Well, at least I wasn't mugged.
I sat up once I felt I had full control of my limbs. It took a little energy, but I managed to prop myself up against a wall while I waited for the blood to get back into my legs. Then I had a small breakfast (well lunch since it's afternoon here), a piece of bread with jam and an orange, while I contemplated what to do.
There was no way I was still in the world of Inkheart. One look from outside the alleyway told me that. I'm pretty sure that there aren't Great Deals on all in store Electronics! in Inkheart. Though I could be wrong. I wasn't in Inkheart for very long.
Even if I was in Inkheart, I don't know where I am in Inkheart. I have food that would last for at least a week, but I don't have much more than that. At the very least, I have to find shelter by the time the nighttime comes. I don't want to be in an ally when the muggers come out.
My legs were fine by now, so I planned to head out into my new environment. But I stopped. Something felt wrong.
I looked down at myself. I was wearing some capris, a V-neck shirt and a hoody. My Nike sneakers weren't ripped or anything, and the golden belt wasn't weighing me down anymore, since I read it away. Then I saw something dangling down from my neck. It was an amulet.
The amulet was circular and hanging around my neck on a blue ribbon. It was blue with a picture of something that looked suspiciously like a backbone on it. The backbone figure was a strait, vertical line with four lines running through it. At a first glance, it looked like something that came out of an antique shop. But it seemed to be telling me to go north.
That's another way you can tell you're me, when you find you have an amulet you never knew you had that mysteriously tells you where to go when you're in a different world.
I didn't really have anywhere to go anyway, so I followed the amulets internal radar. The whole time I walked, I tried not to think about the dream. It was to frustrating. I distracted myself by tailing another girl who was walking in the same direction I was.
The girl had blonde hair and blue eyes. Black combat boots were on her feet, reminding me of Thaila. She was wearing broken in jeans, a T-shirt that had Brooklyn written on it, and a leather jacket. She was carrying a white staff under her arm and juggling groceries in her hands. Ear phones from an I-pod were stuck in her ears. There was nothing that made her seem like to much of a threat, she just seemed to radiate weird.
I followed the girl for a while. Turns out that where a woke up was the shopping section of the town, well, more like city. As soon as I made it out of that area there were huge apartment complexes, layered stores, and roads full of traffic. It took forever to walk through that city; luckily the girl I was tailing didn't have a car either.
It was around thirty minutes (but it seemed like forever) before it was just the girl and I walking across one of the large bridges that cross a river. This was one of the ones that are for people only, not cars. The girl was walking as close to the east side of the bridge as possible. I followed behind her at a safe distance until we got across. I couldn't help but think of the last time that I was near a body of water...
Stop it. Look where you are.
Without realizing it, I had followed the girl to a warehouse.
Time to do some basic facts here. There was no reason that a girl who looked well fed and cared for to go in a warehouse. So rather she's a drug dealer, or something was hiding behind the Mist. I just assumed it was number two.
I stared at the house and imagined that I was wiping the grime off an old window. It worked and I saw it for what it really was.
Perching on top of the warehouse was a large, completely white, mansion. There were doors on every side of the house, all with people the size of the door carved into the wall next to them. Next to every door there were windows that covered the rest of the walls, each with their own set of what I'm guessing is hyroglifics next to them. Then there were stories that made the mansion look like a square pyramid. There were four windows on each side of the stories, each with hyroglifics written next to them and lights to illuminate them. The roof was like a balcony, which I could vaguely see a sleeping figure of... crap, is that a griffin?
I heard a sound of a sliding door, which broke me out of my gaping. The girl was gone. There was no where she could have gone but up a metal staircase that wound all around the side of the warehouse and to the mansion on the roof.
After what seemed like a lifetime of climbing up stairs, I made it to the entrance. It was a square of timber the size of a garage with no door handle or knob. There weren't even enough cracks along the edges for me to pry it open with my knives. How did that girl get in?
I ripped the amulet off my neck and gripped it to keep me from punching something. I'm not quite sure why my first instinct was to punch things, but I'm not sure about anything right now. This stupid thing was my only lead and it's a dead end.
Unconsciously, I loosened my death grip a little. I stuck my thumb, first finger and middle finger out with my thumb parallel to the ground. Then I pointed my little gun figure at the door. The door didn't budge. I don't know why I expected it to anyhow. I didn't even know why I made the gun figure in the first place. It was starting to hurt my hand.
I was even more frustrated that before. I waited. Ten seconds, twelve seconds. When I started to try to send telepathic messages of vulgar words to the door, I finally clicked open.
It didn't really click, the resistance just kind of went away. The timber slid up into the ceiling, like a garage. I stepped in only to be almost knocked away by a blast of wind.
Oh gods. What. The. Heck.
I made it up to see what would normally be a classy living room. There were carved stone pillars reaching up to the ceiling and glass displays of weapons and musical instruments hanging on the walls. There was a long snake skin rug that was impeccably clean, like no one walked on it. A statue of a human with a bird (stork or crane) for a head sitting on a throne was towering over me. Looking closer I could see it's a fountain, not a statue. There was a huge fireplace with a flat screen TV over it, with massive leather sofas on either side. Out the windows I could see a wrap around terrace with a pool, dining area, and fire pit. Out of other windows I could see three wraparound balconies. At the far left of the room I could see wooden doors marked with eyes and a bajilion padlocks.
But it wasn't like that now. A thin layer of frost covered everything, the water in the fountain was frozen and overflowing, and wind was coming out of no where. Another girl in what looked like linen pajamas had what looked like a boomerang out and was murmuring something in auditable. Whatever it was is working. Frost was melting almost immediately after she started talking.
"Felix! Stop making the living room a Artic Palace for your penguins!"
Felix looked up sheepishly. He, along with three little four year olds, were playing with about five penguins that were sliding around the room. One of the four year olds, a girl, screeched as the penguin she was riding on slid from the couth onto the ground. Well, the ice that was suppose to be the floor.
The girl I was tailing, now wearing the linen everyone else was wearing, came into the room. "Ugg! Felix, again!" If possible Felix looked even more sheepish. "I'll give you some help Alyssa."
I had waited long enough. "What's going on?"
Everyone's eyes turned to me.
Alyssa started to murmur something that sounded like "I'll get Carter" and then left the room. All the little kids, and Felix who must be at least eight, stopped talking and even the penguins seemed to get it, since they stopped their chirping. If penguins chirp anyway.
Then the girl I was tailing stepped forward and stuck her hand out. "Hi! My name's Sadie, though you should already know that, and welcome to The Twenty First Nome!" she spoke with a small British accent.
I was confused, but I shook her hand. She didn't let go of my hand after we shook and led me down a hallway. I tried to memorize where Sadie was taking me, but I got lost fast.
"Umm... what's going on?" I asked.
"With Felix? He does that a lot. He's really obsessed with penguins..."
"No. I mean in general. What is this place?"
Sadie frowned. "Guess you haven't gotten the tapes yet. You should have found them with the amulet. Long story short, there was a war against Aphrois a giant evil snake of chaos, we won after a lot of fighting, and now here we are in the Twenty First Nome trying to teach new trainees about the path of the gods, which is sadly still banded in most on the Nomes."
After that messed up monologue, I was even more confused than I was before. How did she know about the amulet? What tapes? Who is the chaos snake? And war? The path of the gods? WTH?
All I could manage to say was, "W-what?"
"I'll have Cater explain. He's a little better at the subtlety. But don't tell him that. I have a reputation to keep as a younger sister."
I couldn't tell exactly where we were, just that we were on the third floor. But soon we had made it to Carter's room. Sadie didn't even bother to knock, she just pushed the door open.
I didn't pay much attention to the room. All I memorized about it was that there was a kitchenette and that sliding glass doors lead out to a balcony that looked out at New York Harbor. I could see Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
Wait, Manhattan? I'm next to freaking Manhattan! Gods, I could just to across the river to Camp Half-Blood if I wanted to!
Knowing that going to Manhattan wasn't a true option made my homesickness hurt even more. Then I realized something else.
Am I on Earth? Or am I on a duplicate or something?
I pried my eyes off the door and looked at the bed. There was a boy sitting in the middle of it. He must be Carter.
I looked at him and practically choked. He was African American, wearing pleated khaki pants, a button-down shirt, and black dress shoes. He had brownish-hazel eyes and curly black hair. He had a brown leather bag sitting next to him along with a curved sword, which creepily reminded me of the weapon Kronos used to kill his father Uranus in Greek Mythology. The stereo system was blaring in his room and he was laying still on his bed with his eyes closed.
I stared at him a little longer. I was amazed by how much we looked alike. Something was telling me that it mattered a lot. I just couldn't tell how.
When we walked in Carter's eyes opened. Sadie turned the stereo off while Carter rubbed his eyes. After he blinked a few times he looked up at Sadie.
"Why didn't you knock?"
Sadie smiled devilishly. "What does knock mean? At least I didn't blast the door down."
Carter grinned a little like he was remembering something. Then he turned to look at me. "Who's this?"
"A new trainee."
"Hey, this trainee can speak for herself, you know." I remarked. "Sadie told me something about a war. What's that about?"
"You have to always make things difficult for me, don't you Sadie?" Carter mumbled. At little louder he said, "Sit down."
I sat down on his bed and Carter explained to me what happened to him, starting from the Red Pyramid incident all the way to the Battle against Aphrois. Sadie left about halfway through to go back downstairs.
When he was done I started flashing questions. "So the Egyptian gods exist?" It didn't surprise me to much, except for the fact I'd never figured it out before.
"Yep. They are a real as can be."
"Where are the adults?" At the end of the story, Carter mentioned that there would be adult chaperones.
"Sadie convinced them to leave. Actually, it was more like they got feed up with us and then Sadie screamed at them."
I laughed. "No wonder they didn't want to stay here." I thought a little bit more. Then I asked Carter, "Where are Zia and Walt? You said that in the end Zia and Walt moved in here."
Carter sighed. "There was some demonic activity in (?) and Walt and Zia volunteered to go investigate."
I could feel for Carter. Even though me and Michel were not technically and item, I missed him so much it hurt. It was taking all my self control to not go back to Camp Half-Blood or seek an entrance to the Underworld just to talk to him. Knowing Camp Half-Blood could actually be just across the river is really killing me.
It's not like I can go anyway. I have a mission to do, no matter how horrible and self-demanding it is.
"It's a lot to process the first day." Carter knocked me out of my daydream. "You should get some rest. We can talk more tomorrow."
I looked out the sliding glass doors. The moon was just coming up into the sky.
Carter took me to my room. It was on the second floor, next to Alyssa's. I didn't look around much; I was lacking in sleep since I got none the night before. I just wanted to crash.
I changed into a pair of the linen pajamas that everyone around here wears, and then laid on the white sheets of my bed. I looked at the large wooden headrest with the hyroglifics written on it. Carter had told me specifically to make sure I used it, something about sinking to deep into the Duat while you're sleeping.
I looked at it for a while, but took Carter's warning. I rested my head on it, and despite its uncomfortable ness, and fell asleep immediately.
I was probably about midnight when I opened my eyes, still half asleep. My brain was still fuzzy, and all that I can remember is that I there was a thunk sound that came from the floor, and that my neck hit the sheets, not the wood headrest, before I fell back asleep.
And now I curse my grogginess. If I woke up sooner I could have gotten the headrest from the floor and went back to sleep.
Instead, I get more problems that I can handle.
Yeah, I mean strange, Duat induced dreams. I'm not sure if they are better of worse than demigod dreams, but they are pretty bad.
Did I mention that my life sucks? Even if I did, it's worth mentioning again.