Jefferson Middle School newsletter
Chapter Ten: In Which He Tries To Decipher A Rhyming Riddle
Flake was not overly fond of riddles. His whole life was woven into one, the prophecy, and he had many restless nights thinking about it. He wished that everything could be straightforward and simple, with a certain goal and a nice resolution. But as Flake read the letter the Oracle left him, he was certain his quest wouldn’t be simple at all. It was rhyming, and rhyming riddles were the worst.
When the old becomes new
The children will flee
Right by the side of the
But first the woods you shall go
And meet the person that is your foe
Someone is following you
But you don’t know
At the last line Flake looked around the room. No one was there. He listened carefully. No footsteps or creaks. Who is this person that is following him? Is it the foe that is mentioned? Is that person looking at him right now? He shuddered and tried to focus on other parts of the riddle. Children fleeing by the side of the glittering sea? The only sea Flake knew was the Coral Kingdom. And the woods? Probably the Fearsome Forest. And what was the time where the ‘old becomes new’? Flake wasn’t sure. As for the children mentioned, he had no idea either.
He threw the parchment down in frustration and looked out the window, as if Snow would be waiting outside. He couldn’t see anything and remembered that it was the middle of the night. Well. He wasn’t even close to sleepy.
Flake really wanted to go to the library and search up more information on oracles and geography, but the guards were doing the night shift outside his door and there was no way to sneak past them. Due of Snow’s disappearance, the chief doubled the perimeter guards and had extras marching around the hallways. Come to think of it, Flake wonders why they didn’t hear his relatively loud conversation with the Oracle. Oracle-magic?
Flake looked at the Oracle’s clue, then at Chief Phoenix’s letter. Was he going to do it? Was he going to pay the price? Or was he going to wait as if Snow would reappear in thin air?
Flake spied certain items in his room. A new satchel that he never used. A jar full of coins. A bag of snacks. A small box of band-aids. A pocket-sized map. His clothes, scattered on the ground. As if on their own accord, his hands gathered all those items and stuffed it in the satchel. He was going. He was going to do it and survive.
Flake spent the night getting ready. That was what he had to be- prepared. Cautious. One mistake and several lives could be lost, including his own. He marked the map. Fearsome Forest here, Coral Kingdom there. He marked paths, gathered food, and looked for things under his bed. He packed nearly everything in his room in the satchel or his backpack. He even put Snow’s birthday present in there, because it would be nice to have something to give her when he found her. If he found her.
By morning, he was ready.
Chapter Eleven: In Which Hidden Knowledge Is Revealed
Snow woke up and yawned. She slowly got up and brushed her messy bed hair to the side. It was a busy day today. She had to wake up early, for… the Conference? No, for her birthday. Yes, that was it. Snow rubbed her eyes and yawned again. Oh, she was sleepy today. What did she do last night? She struggled to remember.
Snow brushed aside the canopy and slid out of bed. When did she have a canopy anyways? Maybe she ordered for one and forgot. How come everything looks… gray? she thought. I must be really sleepy. She walked over to her drawer and pulled out some of her clothes. Except there was no drawer and there were no clothes.
With the revelation that she was grasping into empty air, she finally got out of her sleepiness. This wasn’t her room. This was a… cave. A cave with crystals hanging from the ceiling like a chandelier, and gray rock on all sides. It was a nice cave, with a big plush canopy bed and a small oak desk with a lamp, as well as a sofa chair. There was one door on the side, but it was padlocked.
Snow was suddenly struck with fear. Where was she? Was this some sort of Flame Kingdom lair? Was she going to be held for ransom? She bit her lip, hard. If someone was going to kill her, she was helpless to stop them.
Snow kicked the wall. It helped her relieve her frustration and the pain made her momentarily forget about her predicament.
“Um, can you stop kicking the wall? Some of us need to get some sleep, you know,” said a voice coming from above the bed. Snow gasped and turned around. Snow didn’t know how she could have missed it, but the canopy bed was also a bunk bed, and at the top bunk, was a boy peering off the side. The boy looked familiar, with the white hair and blue eyes, but she was certain she never met him before.
“I’m not that scary, am I? I try hard not to be, but one can’t control bed hair. Also, have you seen my pet rock? Its name is Rocky, and it likes to hide in nooks and crannies,” the boy said. “It has been evading me for ages! It might have been already eaten by Stripes! That’s our cat.”
Snow stared at the boy, not knowing how to respond. He seemed nice enough. “Who are you? Where am I? What is the quickest way home?”
The boy held a hand up. “Now, now. Don’t get too eager. I know it is exciting here for the first time, but try to keep it down. As for the first question, I honestly don’t know. Who am I? A human? A homo sapien? A descendant from the sun god? You tell me.”
“What’s your name?”
“Ooh, let’s play a question game! I’ll answer a question of yours, and you’ll answer a question of mine! Got it?” Snow didn’t answer, but the boy moved on. “Okay, to answer your first question, my name is Jack. My turn! What’s your name?”
Snow hesitated, then decided there wasn’t any harm in it. The only way the boy seemed dangerous of was annoying her to death. “Snow,” she said. The boy, Jack, nodded.
“Nice and simple. I like it. Your turn!” Jack climbed down the ladder and plopped on the bottom bunk.
“Where am I?” Snow asked.
“Bedroom No. 2.”
“No, I mean exact location on a map.”
Jack shrugged. “You can ask that next turn. You already used up one turn, so I go. Has Flake talked to you about dreams?”
Snow narrowed her eyes. “No. Why do you ask? How do you know who Flake is, anyways?”
“That was two questions. You can only ask one question per turn. I choose to answer the last one! Of course I know who Flake is! Who doesn’t? You guys are like the famous twins or something. Probably because of that prophecy,” Jack said. “My turn again! My question: have you noticed any strange people wandering around your windows in invisibility cloaks?”
Snow was getting a bit more suspicious of Jack now. “What are you trying to say?”
“Hey! You didn’t answer my question yet! It isn’t your turn! I can answer your question after you answer mine.”
“Well, no, I didn’t see anyone. Why would I see one if they were in a invisibility cloak? That would sort of defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?”
“Good. You’re not supposed to see anyone. Yes, it will defeat the purpose. I answered your question, so my turn again!” Jack said, grinning.
Snow sighed and collapsed on the big sofa chair. “I admit defeat. The game is over. I can ask questions freely now. When do I get to go back home?”
Jack shrugged. “Whenever Dad says you can go home. Why, you want to go back so fast? You’ve only just got here! I already prepared so much games! Scrabble, foosball, Monopoly, which is my favorite…”
"I'll explain later. He perked up. “Hey, maybe I can bring that other boy too!”
“What other boy?” Snow suddenly got a leap of hope. “Is it Flake?”
Jack just laughed and headed for the door, ducking under a hanging crystal. “If it is, then he must have dyed his hair. Come on!” He pushed open the door and started running.
“Hey, wait up!” Snow shouted, running after him. She had no intention of being alone in this weird place.