The most of the events in this story will most likely never happen, but some of the characters could be people you know, hang out with, work with, go to school with, or make fun of everyday. The place where this story takes place is a real city, but the neighborhood and other places are not real. The main factor of this story does not exist, but many people in this world wish that it did. Imagine having a pencil that would make anything you draw come off the page and into the real world. It would never get shorter, and would always grow back if it was ever broken. It could be used to do a lot of good in this world.
Someone who doesn't have enough to buy new shoes could just draw them out and then "BAM": have some new shoes. A poor farmer could draw out as many seeds as he needed for the season. A lonely kid could draw out a friend so he won't be sad anymore. But as even some people would use this tool for good, other people would use this for evil. They could draw out millions of dollars to fund their own evil purposes, weapons to threaten the peace or be able to promise unsuspecting people anything they wanted if they helped them or just blackmail them into doing it by promising to draw out things that would make their lives terrible. So you see something that could do so much good could do so much bad as well. In this story, one side is trying to protect this tool from falling into the wrong hands and the other side will do anything to go their hands on it. And when it seems that evil has the upper hand, good will find a loop hole and find a way to win.
Chapter 1: The Beginning
They watched the boy seated in the gym, because they were always watching. That is what they had been instructed to do. Watch, and listen, and if necessary, take action. There were more than two of them, because that is how their creator had made it. Their creator wanted them everywhere, to watch and listen, and make sure that nothing disrupted his plans. Because if they if they failed, they would be sent back to that frozen, lifeless prison. No, none of them wanted to go back. So they would watch and listen, hidden in plain sight, and wait for the plan to be set in motion. And they would let nothing stand in their way.
Kelly let out a cry from the sharp pain of her wrist being twisted behind her back and the force of being pushed down to her knees. She couldn't believe he had done that; pulling such a dirty move. But, if he was going to play dirty, she would have to play too. She swung her free elbow back and connected with his chest. As he lost his hold, she stood up and whirled around to face him, ready for his next move. Kelly ducked as her opponent took a swing at her head and was now almost sitting on the ground.
'Idiot' she thought as she used this time to seize an opportunity to swing one of her legs out, knocking him to the ground. He should have known better than to make such a dumb move. But he wasn't that much of an idiot, because he was quickly able to get to her feet and lunged at Kelly. She tried to roll away, but he managed to pin one of her wrists, trapping her on the floor. She tried to push his hand away, but he was holding it too tightly, and her trying to escape made him laugh.
"What now Geek Girl?" he said in a whisper, his gray eyes looking down at her cruelly. Before he could grab her other wrist though, Kelly landed a solid punch in his stomach. A bit stunned, he loosened his grip and Kelly shot her knee up twice, connecting with his stomach again and again. She then rolled out from under him, was able to knock him over with her knee, sit on his stomach and pin his arms to the ground. "Pinned you again Josh," said Kelly with a grin on her face. A bunch of the older guys groaned, but a few of the younger guys cheered and whistled.
"Alright Kelly, let him up," said Mr. Henry from across the high school gym. Everyone could tell that their teacher didn't feel very sorry for Josh since his bright blue eyes were gleaming and his lips were curved into a big smile. Kelly jumped up and extended her hand for Josh. He denied it with a dirty look and picked himself up and brushed off his shirt.
"You only won because I let you!" exclaimed Josh, his face turning a deep red. "That's the only way you could!" Kelly just smiled.
"And what about the other six times this year? Did you just let me win then too?" replied Kelly as she started to unzip the padded vest around her front. The guys who had been cheering for Kelly laughed out loud at this.
"That's enough you two," said Mr. Henry running a hand through his thick brown hair. He was already used to this conversation that happened almost every time these two were on the floor together.
"He's just jealous Mr. Henry because he's a junior and he's been pinned by sophomore seven times this year," said Kelly, flashing a cheeky grin at Josh.
"Shut up you little geek!" he shouted. "Besides, the school year is over and I'm a senior now, and you're supposed to be a freshman anyway! I did let you win, so you ought to show some respect!" he yelled. He threw the helmet are her, aiming for her head.
"Make me jerk!" Kelly shouted back. She caught the helmet and threw it back at him, nailing him in the nose. Everyone then burst out laughing, even the older guys who had been cheering for Josh. "And besides, a freshman girl pinning a senior guy doesn't sound any better than the sophomore girl vs. junior guy scenario. You ought to learn some humility if you want respect. Well that and you need to grow a brain!"
"I said that's enough!" exclaimed their teacher, grabbing the helmet and slamming it on the ground. The boom of the helmet being slammed onto the ground caused a huge BOOM to echo through the almost empty gym. Mr. Henry was a mostly calm person, but he could get loud when the situation needed it. The whole class went silent. "Now I can't kick you out of class since this our last one for the spring, but if you don't knock it off right now I won't let you come back next year, got it?"
"Yes sir," said Kelly and Josh in unison, who were both studying the floor boards of the gym.
"Good. Now go take off your gear and sit down with the rest of the class." They both threw their gear into a clear plastic tub and then both went in opposite directions: Josh to his friends and Kelly to her regular spot by Asher, the top row of the bleachers, three seats over. The one flaw of getting to skip eighth and ninth grade since you had been homeschooled your whole life: you end up being the weird smart kid that everyone makes fun of. Besides, nobody who had a reputation of being tough or popular wanted to be friends with the smarty Star Wars Geek Girl, especially if she always beat them in a fight, well, all expect Asher. But it wasn't like they didn't talk to her. She got some respect for being able to pin a guy and for being able to help everyone else with tough math homework. Kelly had even had a few friendly conversations with some of the guys, but that was it.
As she plopped down on the bleachers, Asher clapped her on the back. "Nice job kid. Way to put Josh in his place."
Kelly grinned. "Thanks pal."
"Well, that was our final sparring match of the year with our two tournament finalists Kelly Morgan and Josh Franklin. I congratulate Kelly for winning the final match of our little tournament and good job to Josh for the effort." Kelly smiled. 'A good effort indeed Josh.' "Okay guys, I hope you've gotten a lot out of this of this Junior Combat class. I want to remind you not to use what you have learned outside of class unless totally necessary. No using each other as punching bags. If we have trouble, the classes will be cut next year, which would stink for our enthusiastic students." Kelly could have sworn he was talking just to her. "Classes will reopen in the fall and we're planning on having a martial arts, fencing and wrestling class, so if you have any questions, come up to me later. Have a great summer!"
Everyone rushed to the locker rooms, Kelly being the only one heading towards the girl's room. The girls from volleyball and tennis were already changing, empting their lockers and gathering their things. Kelly slipped by some of the populars who were retouching their makeup and stood up on the bench to reach her locker. She still didn't understand why Coach Jillian had given the five foot tall student the very top locker in a stack of five when that student had to climb up on the bench to reach it. But, since she was the new kid, she had to get one of the crummy lockers, sort of a rite of passage. Oh well, maybe next year she'd get one she could reach. Or maybe she would hit a growth spurt. That would be ideal. She pulled out her jean shorts and burnout purple Star Wars t shirt from her locker and quickly changed out of her sweaty gym clothes and into her regular clothes. Changing in front of other people had been a bit of a shock to Kelly when she started public school that year, since when you're homeschooled, you have your own dressing room to yourself. She had gotten used to it, but it was still a bit weird to Kelly. Some girls didn't care about people seeing them change, but she changed as fast as she could.
She shoved her gym clothes and lock into her backpack, pulled out her sketchbook and pencil bag from the lock shelf and shut the locker door for the last time that year. Finally, she slipped on the bracelet that she had made about two years ago that she wore all the time and her red Mickey Mouse watch that she got at a thrift store for three bucks. Trying to get past the girls again without being noticed, Kelly walked by, but didn't make it very far.
"Hey look! It's Geek Girl!" It was one of the populars.
Kelly sighed and turned towards the girls. She had learned that, despite everything grown-ups said, ignoring these girls just made it worse. "Hello Carly," she said dryly. "Oh, and by the way, I prefer the term Kelly if you don't mind, you know, since that's my real name."
"Whatever Geek Girl." Kelly signed. Some people are just jerks. "So how was fight class today? Did you find the guy of your dreams after you pinned him?" she asked. All of her airhead friends laughed as if this was the funniest joke they had ever heard.
"You know, if you want to make me feel like crap, I wouldn't try and make me feel dumb about pinning a guy, because you saying that I pinned a guy is coming out as a complement in my mind, because, you know pinning a guy that is bigger than you is a big thing for somebody like me, expect if you're trying to do psychological mind tricks with me and are trying to make me feel good by complementing me and then going in for the kill so I would feel even more crushed, then no, I didn't find the guy of my dreams," she answered without taking a single breath. The group of girls just stared at her. Kelly enjoyed watching their faces while they tried to figure out what she had said.
"You are so weird Kelly," said Carly finally after thinking for a moment. "And you'll never have a boyfriend unless you brainwash him anyway, since you're still a socially awkward homeschooled freak!"
Kelly's face turned bright red. "Okay, just because I was homeschooled doesn't mean that I am socially awkward! I didn't stay in my room all my life and I have friends, way more real friends than you'll ever have. And besides, I loved it, so don't go trying to make me feel like crap about homeschooling either!"
Carly smiled cruelly. "Like I said, weirdo!"
"Yeah, the weirdest," said one of her friends with an annoying, nasal voice. Kelly thought that it was Tiffany, but there were so many populars that it was hard to keep count.
Kelly sighed. There was no teaching them. "Yeah, I guess I am, but at least I'm smart and I don't have to put on gallons of makeup and wear clothes that make me almost look naked to be pretty," she said, and turning on her heels, Kelly walked out of the locker room with her backpack swung over her shoulder and her pencil bag and sketchbook in hand. Mind games always worked on the populars.
And Kelly honestly did think that she was pretty, and not because her mom told her that she was pretty every other day (good old mom). Her friends and even a few guys had told her that she had a pretty face, and that was okay with her. She preferred a loose t shirt, modest jean shorts and a pair of red converse to a tight blouse, mini skirt and pink high heels. But she did know what make-up was, and she wasn't afraid to use any.
Outside the locker rooms, Asher stood leaning up against the wall, waiting for Kelly. "What took you so long?" he asked, swinging his backpack over his shoulder.
"Populars. Don't ask," she replied quickly.
"You really were great out there," he said as they started down the hallway.
"Hey, it should have been you. It's just because I got Dalton Gozer out that I got to…"
"Stop. Just stop right there," Asher said cutting her off and turning her towards him. "You deserved that for all the crap he's given you this year."
Kelly cracked a smile. "Yeah, well it did feel good to sock him a few times without getting into trouble."
As they walked out of the locker room area, the two saw Mr. Henry drop the two huge boxes of gear on the ground. Nobody else that was in the gym went to help, so Kelly and Asher went over to help their teacher.
"Need a hand Mr. Henry?" she asked handing him a helmet that had rolled away from him.
"If you wouldn't mind," he said smiling. The three gathered up all of the gear and placed them in the boxes. Asher then took open of the gear boxes and Mr. Henry the other, and Kelly held open the storage room door as they threw the boxes into the storage room. "Thanks for the help guys."
"You're welcome! I guess I'll see you next year," Kelly said picking up her pencil bag a sketchbook again and Asher tied up his undone shoelace, which he had to do often.
"Before you go, I just wanted to tell you did a great job today Kelly," said Mr. Henry, his brown eyes smiling. "I'm really proud of you, being the top student out of all those older guys, and for sticking with the class, and with the school. I know it's been tough for you this first year."
"Gee, thanks Mr. Henry. This class was really fun, and even though I miss sorta homeschooling, this place isn't so bad. Brian thinks I'm crazy for wanting to do high school in public school instead of finishing at home, but I guess I've proved him wrong," she said smiling.
Mr. Henry smiled too. "I think Brian knew that you could do it. He's a smart guy, and I still think your mother should have convinced him to be a teacher."
"Ha! I can't imagine Brian ever being a school teacher Mr. Henry," said Kelly laughing. "But then again, he did teach me how to be tough. It comes in handy when dealing with the mean girls and Josh and his friends."
"About Josh and his friends; just a word of advice for this summer. I'd stay away from Josh. He's good at holding grudges, so just be careful."
"Thanks Mr. Henry. I'll try, but he usually seems to find me," she said starting to walk out the door. She turned before she left the room.
"Do you really think that people won't fight outside of the class?" asked Asher.
"Yeah, I mean, this class taught us how to fight and how to win. It hasn't really stopped fights out in the hallway," added Kelly.
"This class was meant to teach teens how to defend themselves, to get them active, and well, toughen them up. I know some kids will fight and I've seen them fight, heck, I've broken up more fights than I can count! But I hope they've learned that they shouldn't hurt those who don't know have to defend themselves. And besides, anyone who is looking for a fight isn't going to stop fighting. The school sees my view of it and they agree with me," explained Mr. Henry.
Kelly nodded. "Have a good summer Mr. Henry!"
"Oh and one more thing!" he called to his two students.
"Yes Mr. Henry?"
"Both of you keep drawing this summer. I've loved seeing your work this year. I want some master pieces here in my hand next year. Understood?"
Kelly and Asher both grinned. "Yes sir!"
"Say hello for Brian for me when he gets home!" he called.
"Will do!" she said as she walked out the door of the gym and down the high school's hall. The last day of school had been a week ago but the halls still had students running up and down the halls to finish up extra classes for the year. Her school stressed extracurricular classes, and the spring classes always stretched a bit longer than the last day of the school year. Lucky, these classes were always fun, and they boosted all your other grades.
She saw kids rushing towards the door trying to get out the doors as fast as they could so that they could start they're summers. Kelly had already gone to her art class this morning and the Junior Combat class had been her only other class, so she was free.
"Hey, I've gotta bolt. I have some stuff to do," said Asher.
"What kind of stuff?" asked Kelly curiously.
"Oh, nothing really. Just, um, stuff," he said, with a hint of nervousness that she could tell that he was trying to hide. But Kelly didn't pry.
"Sure thing! Meet up with me tomorrow. I don't want to hang out our empty house all day, and Mom and Dad said I could go out with friends."
"Sweet. See ya later," he said walking swiftly out the front doors. Kelly wondered why he had been so hasty, and what "stuff" he had to do. Asher hadn't been really himself lately.
After she saw him leave, Kelly turned, and ran straight into a teacher. But no just any teacher. No no, this was Ms. Jones, the meanest teacher ever. Well at least according to Kelly and Asher. She had come to their school about a month ago, when Mrs. Quake had her baby.
"Excuse me Miss Morgan," said Ms. Jones with her usual stone edged voice, stooping down to pick up the papers that Kelly had knocked out of her hand.
"Oh, um, sorry Ms. Jones, I didn't see you there. Here, I'll help," she said stooping down too, but Ms. Jones quickly snatched all of them up, as if Kelly with ruin them just by touching them.
"Well, I suggest you watch where you are walking young lady," she said as she practically pushed pass the student and her heels click, click, clicked down the hallway.
"And I suggest you get a new personality ma'am," she said under her breath.
"Hey Kelly!" a voice behind her called. Kelly turned to see Oswald, a freshman who was in her art class and who did sophomore math and science. He was about as tall as Kelly, a bit small for his age, wore rectangular framed glasses and had short blonde hair. Oswald was the kind of kid that would never wear ripped jeans or flip flops to school and always looked very clean, the kind of kid that got branded with the title of "Geek", not that it bothered him. He was carrying what looked like a metal foot and arm.
"Hey pal!" she answered smiling. He was a nice guy, really sweet and sincere, the kind of guy that was sometimes a victim of Josh and his goons. In fact, he was one of the only friends in public school that she had, well, besides Asher.
"Are you done with all your classes?" he asked.
"Yep, I'm actually heading out the door right now," she said.
"Oh. I've still got Robotics then I'm done," said Oswald, sounding a bit disappointed.
"Aren't your parents picking you up right after school to head to the airport?" Kelly asked.
"Yeah, we're heading to New York, then London,"
"Then Ireland, Spain, France, China and Israel," they both said together. Oswald looked a bit embarrassed. "Sorry, I guess I've talked about it a lot."
"Oh, it's fine," said Kelly with a grin. "I'm the one who asked all the questions!"
"I still think it's weird that my parents chose this summer to go on a 'world tour'. I wish your family could have come," said Oswald.
"Me too! But we don't even have enough money to send me to camp this summer, but they did have enough to go on a two week trip to California and Washington without me," she said. Her parents were having their 25th anniversary, and they had decided to go without her and somebody would come stay with her at that time, but they didn't say who. Kelly knew that they deserved it, but she was still a little bit bitter about it. "Maybe we can go a huge trip another time." Kelly smiled. "Thanks for being such a great friend this year. You really helped me out."
"Hey, you helped me out too. I mean, I was able to brag at my club meetings about my genius sophomore friend!"
"But I'm younger than you," she said grinning.
"Oh, who cares? You're smarter than half the people in this school. I think that's a good thing."
"Thanks pal. I'll see you next year!" she said, waving as she made her way to the door.
"Oh, isn't that sweet? Geek love! It's a magical thing." Kelly didn't turn as she heard Josh taunting her behind her. She knew that there was no romantic relationship between her and Oswald (and there probably never would), so she just ignored him. "Hey Oswald, when's the wedding?" Kelly stopped and listened, but didn't turn around.
"Oh, just shut up Josh," said Oswald, a bit timidly. There was a sound of something hitting the ground hard and a groan, and Kelly could not just listen anymore. She whirled around to see Oswald on the ground, feeling around for his glasses that had fallen off of his face and his robot parts spread out across the floor, with Josh laughing at him.
"Oh come on Josh, you need to get a life," she said pulling Oswald up and handing him the robot parts and placing his glasses back on his nose.
"Ha! Oswald's girlfriend fights his battles for him! How touching," he shouted, starting to attract a crowd.
"Whatever Josh. Think what you want," said Kelly turning on her heels. "See you later Oswald," she said as she started walking again. Kelly hadn't said anything about Oswald to spare his feelings, because to be honest, he wasn't the toughest guy ever, but that didn't mean his failed at life or anything. He just was never going to be the star quarterback of the football team.
She was so close to getting to the main doors when she was slammed back against a locker. A flash of pain ran through her back, but that wasn't as bad as looking into her arch enemy's ugly mug. Josh and his three friends Bruce, Greg and Hal stared at her wickedly, with Josh holding her shoulders against the wall of metal. "What do you want Josh?" she sighed. "I'd like to get home so that I can start my summer if you don't mind."
"You embarrassed me for the last time geek," he said.
"Um, you did that yourself bozo," retorted Kelly. "It's not my fault that I'm stronger than you." Kelly could see Oswald jumping up and down, trying to see past the people who were in front of him, a look of worry on his face.
"You take that back!" shouted Josh.
"Well then, let me rephrase it. I'm smarter than you and a better fighter than you!" Kelly shouted back, which was true, just compare their two report cards and test scores.
"You're gonna be sorry you said that geek," said Bruce.
"Yeah real sorry," added Hal and Greg. A small crowd had started to gather. Where were the teachers that were supposed to be in the halls to stop stuff like this?
"What are you gonna do tough guy? Show me your final test scores? Those are pretty scary," said Kelly. A few people snickered. "Or shove me into a locker? Go ahead; I know how to open the lock from the inside. Or better yet, kiss me? Gosh I would most likely die of poisoning for sure!" Now everyone was cracking up, but when Josh looked at them, their mouths were glued shut.
"Oh real funny geek. No, I think I'm gonna practice some of moves from class this year on you." He squeezed her shoulders tighter, but Kelly hid any sign of pain or fear, because she wasn't going to let him beat her, not after all she had done up until now. But her shoulders were getting sore, so she would be happy to get out of this spot.
"You're going to beat me up? Wow, pounding girls now are you? You've stooped pretty low. I mean, flicking glue into my hair during art class was childish enough, but this is just dumb. Didn't you hear Mr. Henry at the end of class? Don't use your skills outside of class, not that you have any," replied Kelly. Where were all the teachers? Shouldn't they be out in the halls watching for stuff like this?
"You need to be taught a lesson Geek Girl, and this is necessary," He swung back to land a punch to her stomach, but Kelly ducked and his fist connected with a locker.
"Kelly! Watch out!" shouted Oswald as he watched the fight ensue. Students yelled and cheered for their champion, most of them for Josh so that they wouldn't have to worry about getting in the same situation. Kelly stopped three of Josh's wild punches with her fore arms and then shot out a quick fist at him, and connected with his eye. The kids gathered around cheered when they saw Josh holding his head. She broke through the circle of kids gathered around and bolted towards the door. She could hear the boys following her. Her converse pounded the ground has he ran towards the football field. Josh and his friends were getting closer.
'Come on Kelly, run faster!' she head was screaming at her. Thump Thump Thump went her sneakers as they pounded the ground. Reaching the empty field, she ran across it, trying to reach the woods. She'd be able to get cut through the woods to get home, and the boys wouldn't be able to follow her through it. She was so close when her legs were knocked out from under her. Her books, pencil bag and back pack flew everywhere. Then Kelly was suddenly dragged up and her arms were pinned behind her back. She was now facing Josh, Hal and Greg, so she knew Bruce was the one behind her, which was a bit of a problem because he was about two times bigger than her.
"What are you gonna do now geek? Use the Force or something like those stupid dudes in bathrobes in those stupid movies?" said Josh laughing. "You're such a geek Kelly!"
"You really ought to get a better vocabulary. I mean, you use the word geek and stupid all the time! What about nerd, or dumb, or brainless? In fact, the last two apply to you," she said. Josh didn't get it at first, but why he did he got even madder.
"You're such a know it all! Do you read the dictionary or something?" he said, coming closer to her. She tried to get away from Bruce, but his grip was too tight and it got tighter when she struggled. Kelly's face turned bright red. She wasn't going to let Josh and his stupid friends push her around anymore. She stomped as hard as she could on Bruce's foot. He loosened his grip just enough so that she was able to swing her elbow back into his stomach. She ran to her back pack and scrambled towards the opening of the woods to give her some time. She rummaged through her bag as she ducked into a big log. "Come on, I know it's here. There!" She pulled something out that looked like a large cylinder: her lightsaber. She pushed the button down and with a flick of her wrist the plastic purple blade came out. It would have to do.
"There you are!" Josh was behind her! As she started crawling out of the log, her hands were pulled out from under her. Turning over on her back, she saw Josh holding onto her ankle. She pulled and twisted against him until her foot slipped through is fingers. Kelly crawled the rest of the way out of the log, climbed up on top of it and whirled around and faced the four boys. They all shared a look and then burst out laughing.
"You're even geekier than I thought! What are you gonna do, whack us with a toy?" laughed Josh.
Kelly just grinned and sprang into action. With a life time of practice with her older brother and three years of fencing experience, she made a flying leap off of the log and was able to land multiple hits on the boys. Even though this was a plastic toy, this toy could leave bruises, and that's what Kelly made it do. She knew how much it hurt and Kelly could tell that they would be sore later. Once she was sure that the boys weren't going to follow her, she sprinted off the field and off the high school campus. She put the incident in the back of her mind as she pushed the purple blade back into the hole, concealing it and threw it into her backpack. This wasn't her first run in with Josh and it sure wouldn't be the last that she was sure of. Kelly had a whole summer ahead of her, and no bozos like Josh and his dumb friends were going to ruin it for her.
Kelly strode down the sidewalk of her neighborhood, deep in thought. The Tuesday afternoon breeze was nice and cool and the heat wasn't as bad as it had been the past few days, but Kelly wasn't thinking about the weather. Summer was always the best and favorite time of the year for most students, especially Kelly; she knew that it would be lonely. Summer was the best part of the year for a kid, but without your friends, it wasn't the same. Sure, Kelly had her family, but her mom and dad were gone of two weeks and her brother Brian, who was a solider in Afghanistan, wasn't coming home for a whole month. And all of her friends were doing something exciting this summer.
Oswald would be on his way to start his world tour with his parents in a few hours, her best friend Abigail was going to Florida for three weeks to visit family and go to Disney World, Freddy, Caleb and Meg were going to a two week art camp, and Jake, Paul, Dan and Sam were going to Star Wars camp, which she had begged her parents to go to, but money was tight this year.
Kelly did have other friends, but they didn't like to do the things she liked to do. Violet and Alice only cared about clothes and boys and Brett, Cameron and Chris just liked to sit in front of the TV and their computers all day and hated to step foot outside (no wonder they were so pale). And almost all of her friends were kids she had done homeschooling field trips and co-op with. Oswald was the only one from public school that she would really want to do anything with over the summer. 'It doesn't matter,' she thought to herself. 'I can do my own thing this summer.' She starting her first job in a few weeks and Kelly would be able to keep herself entertained.
The worst thing was that Brian's birthday was today, and he was half way across the world. Sure, they would Skype tonight if he was free, but it wasn't the same. She had even made him a new bracelet, a wave design one with red, blue, black and white. Every year for his birthday since she was 7, she would make him a new bracelet with a new pattern that she had learned to do. This would be his eighth one, and Kelly would have to wait three weeks to give it to him. That made her miss him even more.
She remembered the first week of summer last year, just two days before Brian was going to be shipped out. They had practically lived in the woods for four days straight, setting out before the sun had even come up and coming in when the sun had fallen again. They spent the day building on to the hide out that the two had started building four years ago in the woods behind their house. Since nobody else lived around the woods, they had it all to themselves. What started out as a little shack had transformed into a two story castle: three ladders which lead up to small platforms in trees, secret doors which lead to hidden rooms, tunnels, a rope swing that when you swung across, it would you get to the other side of the hide out, and storage for all their childhood treasures. Kelly's Princess Leia and Padme dolls, old paintings and raggedy old picture books resided here and Brian's broken lightsabers, the rock collection he had made when he was in elementary school and a book of poetry he always tried to hide for his friends roomed with them. Kelly remembered the conversation they had when they were sitting in one of the hidden rooms. She was studying her Leia doll, and Brian was running her finger over one of his smoothest rocks.
"Are you sure about this public school thing Kelly?" asked Brian, looking up from his rock.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, you've been homeschooled your whole life and you're now jumping into public school, high school for that matter, at 13 as a sophomore! You know, you could have been starting college classes in the next few years at Maplewood community!"
"I know, I know, and I am going to do the classes. I've been waiting to do that art course forever and I'm not just going to pass it up! But I do want to do public school, just to see what there is to it. And I'm only going to be there for three years. I'm going to graduate when I'm sixteen," Kelly answered, trying to defend her case.
"I'm just saying Kelly; it's a lot different from homeschooling. No more sleeping till eight, finishing at one and snacking whenever you want. You have less free time now. You have to get up at six just to get ready, and let me tell you, the kids in high school are jerks."
"But you only went for a year, your senior year, when you were sixteen! I want to have more of the experience I guess…" she said trailing off. There was a silence between them for a long time. They had both gone back to studying their treasures. "Brian, are you scared?" she asked.
"Scared of what?"
"Going to war! Aren't you scared of getting hurt or…" she couldn't say it.
"Dying?" Kelly nodded. "I've got the biggest Allie on my side Skygirl. And besides, all those lightsaber battles of the years have toughened me up." He put his hand on her shoulder and she rested her head on his chest. "I am a bit worried about two things though."
"What's that?" she asked.
"First, that you'll find a new best friend when I leave," he said.
"That would never happen! You'll always be my bestest best friend! There's Kelsey, but she'll never replace you."
"Well, that takes care of one fear."
"What's number two?"
"That when I get back, this place will be a dump."
"What?" she sat up straighter and looked at him.
"Well, I know you won't keep up with it. I mean, you might have a boyfriend by the time I get back. You won't have any time to take care of the hide out," he said with a hint of laughter in his voice. She slugged him on the arm. "Oh my arm! You've ruined me Kelly! How will I able to hold my blaster now?" he said dramatically. She laughed at her brother's dramatic performance and the fact that he referred to the weapon he was going to be carrying with him as a blaster. He always could make her laugh.
"I swear that this place will be in tip top shape by the time you get home. And besides, I've heard that the boys at school aren't really dating material for me anyways."
And she had kept that promise. She had set up booby-traps for dummies and animals who tried to invade the hide out and had made repairs on it daily. She couldn't wait to show it to Brian when he got home. Deep in thought, she didn't notice the kids ride by on bikes, people walking their dogs or couples taking a stroll, and her thoughts turned back to Asher.
Asher had helped her out a lot during this weird year of school. Reasoning from being homeschooled all your life to being a sophomore when your thirteen was crazy, and Oswald and Asher had been her friends, but Asher had sort of looked out for her. Kelly's classes that year had been sophomore social studies, science and language arts, and she had taken junior math and reading, plus Spanish, drafting and robotics the first half of the year, home ed., speech and pottery the second half of the year, and art and writing all year. On top of all of that, she had taken an extra art class and Junior Combat for her extra-curricular classes. Needless to say, she had been booked all year, but she was able to stay on top of homework. Sometimes she had studied and done homework with Asher during study hall or after school in the library, and sometimes they had had conversations about art and Star Wars. Asher was just a nice guy.
Her friend had started to be a little distant during the last few months of school. He'd been skipping lunch and leaving early from classes. They'd been hanging out and studying together less and less, and he'd bailed on her more than once.
At first Kelly had thought that it was just the stress of finals, last minute projects and the end of the year approaching, but she knew that it had to be something else, something much bigger. She knew Asher very well. He was one of her very good friends. Even though people teased and tried to make people believe that they were a couple, they honestly were just friends, and they were there for each other. Or at least, they were supposed to be.