Watcher of the Realms Chapter 20

Watcher of the Realms BannerYou’ve entered the world of The Realm Jumpers. The adventure with Riley and his trusty gang continues…

Chapter 20

“Hey!” Christian pushed off me as I plowed by him, dribbling the ball toward the goal.

I spun. Pushed. Kicked. All of it. I’d make it to the goal no matter what. This was mine. A normal kid’s soccer game. Nothing else mattered.

It was dark out. The lights were bright. The crowd was loud.

And it rocked!

I kicked with everything I had, and the ball blasted by the goalie. “Yes!” I spun around and raised my hands.

The crowd went nuts.

Hands smacked my back. Whistles filled the air. The game was over. We’d won. At that moment, I wasn’t a non-human freak of nature who killed his mother. I was just a kid, playing soccer who just happened to score the winning goal.

Carefree.

Innocent.

Hope tackled me around the waist, and I landed flat on my back. A few more of the guys piled on, but I heard Hope out of all of them. “We’ll forgive you for being a jerk cuz you scored. But you’re mean!”

After a few seconds, I clawed my way from the mosh pit and everyone jogged to the sidelines.

Coach gave us a quick pep talk and we all packed up to head to the locker room.

“Riley. Hold up.” Coach waved me to him.

“Ohhh, you’re in trouble,” Christian and Hope said at the same time.

I slung my bag over my shoulder and jogged to Coach at the corner of the field.

“Hey, son. How are you feeling?”

“Fine, sir.” I stood straight. “Thank you.”

“I know your parents held you out from practice the other day—”

“They’re not my parents, sir.”

“Your foster parents. Is everything going okay with them? At home?”

“Yes. Sir. I wasn’t feeling well. Didn’t want to get everyone sick.” Or infect them with some Barbarian disease we tracked to earth from the Barbarian Realm.

Yeah. Not telling him that.

“Good to hear. But let me tell ya something. The attitude’s got to go.”

“Attitude? Sir?”

“Team sport, son. First you haul off and deck an opponent at a game. Today you pushed your own teammates around. Clean it up or you’re sidelined.”

“Coach!”

“I’m here to help ya with whatever’s got you upset if I can. But I won’t have you taking your junk out on the field and runnin’ over your teammates. You hear me?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now, get in there and clean up.” He slapped my shoulder. “You’re a good kid, Riley. Whatever’s going on, figure it out. You hear me?”

“Yes, sir.” I took off toward the school.

Figure it out? Figure it out? Like we weren’t trying. Let’s see how he’d handle finding out he was a freaking alien or mix of alien, human and…whatever!

Not to mention having to face this Council thing whatever it was. After a week of total radio silence, they finally called Jeff—right before my game—and scheduled a meeting for tonight.

Sectional finals were coming up. School was starting soon. And I had an attitude?

I opened the side door to the school. Crank. The whole thing came off the hinges. Dang it! “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

I propped the dumb thing up and took off down the hall. Just had to get to the locker room and calm the heck down. My heart was pounding. My head throbbing. And I couldn’t catch my breath. What the heck was wrong?

I clutched my chest. The shirt was soaked from sweat, but I was cold. And—

“Let’s see how you like being pushed.”

A solid shove to my back sent me face first down the freaking stairs.

And yeah, cement stairs hurt.

Crack.

A jolt of pain ripped up my arm. My shoulder blasted into a billion pieces as it met the exact corner of a stair.

“Oh my gosh, Nick. Let’s get out of here!”

I finally came to a stop when I rammed into the wall at the bottom of the staircase. Lights flashed in the corners of my eyes.

“Stupid freak,” a voice faded as the person ran away.

Stupid Nick. I pounded my fist on the floor as tears stung my eyes. Why couldn’t he just leave me alone?

My skin heated up. Like a flash of warmth coiling around my arm. I shifted so I lay flat on my back and closed my eyes. Sleep. Sleep would be—

Crack.

A shockwave blasted up my arm.

Crack.

My shoulder snapped back into place. My heart started hammering like crazy. The hair on my once broken arm stood on end. The smell of burgers grilling filled my nose. It had a hint of grass to it, too. Like burgers thrown on wet grass or something.

Was somebody there? Not sure who’d smell like that, but something felt off.

I lay there for a few more minutes before I decided to try moving. My muscles didn’t like it, but I ended up on my feet and started up the stairs. Dang that Nick.

I rounded the corner toward the locker room and smacked right into something.

A growl vibrated the air around me and there was that smell again. Only way more intense.

Now, I didn’t have to look up at many people, but this guy—er—thing I’d run into, I had to look up.

And those flaring purple eyes did not seem happy to see me.

~~~~~~

Join us Monday for Chapter 21 of Watcher of the Realms. Be sure to subscribe to the site to not miss a single chapter of Riley’s adventures.

A big thank you to Sizzling PR for the Realm Jumper graphics.

CLICK HERE to see previous chapters.

See you soon….

Watcher of the Realms Chapter 19

You’ve entered the world of The Realm Jumpers. The adventure with Riley and his trusty gang continues…

Chapter 19

I landed on my back. All the air jetted out of my lungs. Hope screamed. Then Tish did.

Oh, crap. We landed in a nest of Barbarians, didn’t we? We were going to die.

Someone pushed my shoulder. “Get off me, man.”

It was Braeden. I opened my eyes and there he was. My body lay over his, and even though he had a few years on me, my size kept him pinned down.

Until he pushed me. I rolled off to the side, and my head rammed into the foot of my bed. “Ouch!”

“Sorry, Riley.” Hope stood up as she rubbed her head with one hand and held my lamp—broken shade and all—with her other hand.

“Who friggin’ cares about the lamp?” Braeden jumped up. “We made it. Sweet!”

“I don’t like the Barbarian world.” Tish shook her head. “That’s scary.”

“Riley?” Janet yelled as heavy footfalls hammered the stairs leading to my room.

“Crap,” Braeden said. “Whaddo we do?”

“Time to fess up, man, jeez.” Hope shook her head. “Big baby.”

Janet turned the corner of the stairs and skidded to a stop. Big, wide, green eyes examined each of us then she ran to Tish. “Oh my gosh.” She reached for me and waved Braeden and Hope to her. “You’re here. You’re safe.”

Tears sprung from her eyes as she pulled us into a hug. We didn’t all fit, but it still rocked. I liked this big, group hug.

I spread my arms around everyone, too, and Janet cried even harder.

“Sorry I broke your lamp,” Hope whispered.

Janet laughed. “You all are in so much trouble.” She cried harder.

More footsteps started up the stairs.

“Up here. They’re safe,” Janet yelled, hugging tighter.

Jeff joined the mess of tears and said, “You guys are so busted.”

Hope laughed, then the rest of us followed along.

Wait, the room was bright. Light was shining through my windows. “What time is it?”

“7:30 in the morning. You all have been gone more than thirty-six hours!”

“Oh my gosh!” Hope said as we all started to disburse.

Didn’t look like Tish was going to ever let go of Janet again. “Oh, honey. You’re shaking.”

Tish had been so confident in the cave, facing off with that creature. But now everything must be finally settling in.

Heck, I was even shaking a little now that I thought about it.

“You guys are okay? What happened to those army dudes?”

“Took care of them. For now,” Jeff said.

“Let’s get you tucked in. These guys can tell me what happened.” She glared at Braeden.

“And,” Jeff said. “I’m curious. Does any of this have to do anything with a safe I found outside my office window and Barbarians?”

“Whoa,” Hope said. “How’d he know?” she asked me.

I shrugged. At this point, I was so tired and confused, I couldn’t even think straight.

We all filed down the stairs like we were on death row then piled into the kitchen. While J2 dealt with Tish, I dug out some food. When was the last time we’d eaten? It didn’t feel like almost two days.

“Food!” Hope sighed as she bit into a cupcake.

“I don’t think that is classified as food.” Braeden whipped some sandwich meat at her. She squealed.

I bit into my PBJ. All I needed was mint chocolate chip ice cream and I was set.

“Toss me one of those,” Hope said, pointing at my sandwich.

I pitched one of the crustless PBJs at her. “This better?” she held it up at Braeden, and he just huffed.

“We’re so totally dead, aren’t we?” Hope asked.

“You maybe, since you’re not even supposed to know about all this.”

She sat up. “It’s Riley’s fault. He took us to another freaking reality.”

“Realm,” I said.

“Oh, sorry, Realm.” Hope crossed her eyes. “I don’t want to ever go back. Earth, as messed up as it is, is way better. I can’t even believe what I saw. I’m gonna need therapy for—forever.”

“You’re all in trouble.” Jeff sauntered in as he scrubbed his face. “The Council Triad wants to know the second you showed up.”

“What’d you tell them?” Braeden sagged into his chair.

“Haven’t called them yet.” Janet and Jeff leaned against the counter, side-by-side. “Still working out how we’re going to explain Hope’s involvement in all this. But they said once you’re back they’d convene and call us for a meeting.”

“What happened with the army guys?” I asked.

“We grabbed a mind wiper to work their magic,” Jeff said. “It was quite a bit to wipe, though. Everyone’s on high alert here. And surrounding areas.”

“We’re outted, aren’t we?” Braeden asked.

“Might be.” Jeff shrugged. “We knew this time might come. No matter how much we try to hide what’s going on out there, those guys coming here crossed a line.”

Braeden looked at me.

“What?”

“What do you think happens when the world finds out about freaks like us?”

“Maybe these scientists will be stopped then,” I said. “If everyone knows what they’re doing?”

“Yeah, right.” Hope shook her head. “Let’s hope the mind wipe worked.”

“The Council is on it, too, covering this up. We’ll do our best,” Jeff said.

“How’d you know about the Barbarians?” I asked.

“One second we were here, then the next…” Hope’s voice trailed off.

“You were in the Realm of the Barbarians?” Janet finished Hope’s sentence.

I gulped. “How?”

“You left your computers on.” Jeff looked at Braeden. “Unsecured and on, son. Triad detected your mega-data usage and the fact that you were logged in remotely.”

“Nothing like getting sucked into a black hole to make you forget protocol.”

“Sucked?”

I nodded, and we told them about how it all happened. “How’d you guys figure things out?”

Janet let out a long sigh. “The files you had on your computer finished decoding.” She glanced at Jeff. “It’s about you, Riley.”

“Kind of figured that, ma’am.” I swallowed hard again but it still didn’t clear my throat of whatever was about to choke me to death.

The computer files. Answers. What am I?

“Like I said, The Triad got a hold of the files before we could read everything, but we saw some.” Jeff’s eyes didn’t meet mine.

Oh great. He couldn’t bear to look at me. This was going to be even badder than I thought.

“I’m part Barbarian,” I said. Might as well get to it.

Janet wiped a tear from her eye and looked at me. “Yes.”

“And Fae. And human,” Jeff said.

Hope dropped her sandwich. Braeden stopped mid-bite.

Heat clawed its fiery nails up the side of my neck and grabbed hold of my face. “And many fathers.”

Janet fell to her knees before me. “Doesn’t matter what—who—you are. You’re wanted, Riley. We want you. We care about you.” She grabbed my face. “You understand me?”

My eyes burned. The PBJ felt like an over-inflated soccer ball in my stomach right now.

“Riley? Say you hear me.”

“I hear you, ma’am.”

She brushed her thumbs beneath my eyes. “Then believe it. No matter what we find out or come up against, we want you with us. We care about you!”

“What else did the documents say?” I asked, totally scared to know, but really wanting to. “Do I have a mother?”

Janet looked down. “I’m sorry, Riley. They—the scientists who created you—the notes indicate she didn’t survive your birth.”

I killed my mom?

“There were complications.” Janet slowly rose. “Her human body couldn’t handle it.”

“Are you saying Riley here has a bunch of fathers? And a Barbarian is one of them?” Braeden asked. “How is that even possible?”

“The documents you found are not the actual scientific documentation of their experiments. Just subjective notes made from observations of Riley as he developed. I suspect it’s a small portion of the notes out there on him.” Jeff shoved his hands into his hair and looked at me. “Kiddo, it’s going to be fine. You’re fine.”

“How is that fine?” I pushed away from the table. If only I could remember something. Anything. “I’m not human.”

“I’m not either.” Braden flicked his wrist and the salt shaker in the middle of the table flung across the surface. “A human shouldn’t be able to do this.”

But he had human parents. A human mom and dad. One dad. I had many. Two of which weren’t even from this world.

That creature, in the cave. He’d called me kin. So did the boy Barbarian.

Oh, God.

I’m a monster.

~~~~~~

Join us Friday for Chapter 20 of Watcher of the Realms. Be sure to subscribe to the site to not miss a single chapter of Riley’s adventures.

A big thank you to Sizzling PR for the Realm Jumper graphics.

CLICK HERE to see previous chapters.

See you soon….

Watcher of the Realms Chapter 18

Watcher of the Realms BannerYou’ve entered the world of The Realm Jumpers. The adventure with Riley and his trusty gang continues…

Chapter 18

The cave was pitch black, but Braeden had a torch burning as he stood by the entrance.

“Wow. You really were a boy scout once. Huh?” Hope said.

“Glad for that, now, aren’t ya? I think you’ll be owing me some chocolate.”

“Mmm, chocolate. I could eat a pound of it right now.”

“I’m hungry, too,” Tish said.

“I got you covered. Come on.” Braeden led the way, and I saw a light up ahead.

The walls around us were dark. Like we were surrounded by black dirt, packed really tight. Little rocks covered the ground. And there was this yummy smell. Like Janet was cooking steak on the grill.

“Hungry?” He pointed to a little fire. There was a small animal roasting over the flames.

“What the heck?” Hope said.

“Told you. I was an Eagle Scout.”

“I could kiss you.”

“Um…please don’t.” Braeden shivered.

We didn’t say a word while we chowed down. But I kept looking around this strange place. The image on my hand randomly decorated the walls in red paint. Well, I hoped it was red pain and not blood.

Yikes.

“What do you think that symbol means?” Hope asked.

“Not sure. Wish we could have seen what the computer found out about the mark before those men came.” I shook my head. “J2 must be freaking.”

“Bet mine don’t even know I’m gone,” Hope whispered.

“I’m sure they do. They’re—”

“Probably too stoned to even realize I’m gone. Or too worried about what they can hoc to get money for their next fix.” She tossed a little rock at the wall and said, “Okay. So. Now that we’re filled up and nobody’s chasing us to eat our brains, maybe you should try the coin again? I could go for some of those cupcakes Janet always keeps around for you.”

I stood up and shook the dirt off my hands. “Worth a shot, right?”

“As long as we don’t land in some other freakish nightmare,” Braeden said.

I cleared my throat and gripped the coin. “Take us home.” Please. I want to go home. It was kind of cool I was considering J2’s house my home. They’re the only parents I’d known, at least that I could remember, so, I guess it made sense.

But nothing happened. “Home. Please.”

We all just stood there like dorks. “How the heck do I turn this on?”

“Does not work that way,” a gravelly voice echoed against the walls.

Everyone huddled around me as we peered deeper into the cave. Holy cow. How far did this thing go?

“Hello?” I said stepped forward.

“Ever think you may be home and that is why it does not take you away?”

A skinny, wrinkly-skinned, not so human looking creature shuffled into the light of the fire. His eyes were white as snow and he held a cane. Crooked old branch was more like it actually.

He took in a deep breath. “I smell kin.”

I looked at Braeden, and he pointed at me.

“Um, sir?” I stepped forward a little, and the skittish thing flinched. He was definitely not scary like the other Barbarians we’d met. “Sorry. Sir, can you help us?”

“You wish to go home yet not going anywhere so here must be home.”

“We came from somewhere else. That’s my home. That’s where we wish to go.”

“But if you are not, then you are not to go. Must be here for a reason.”

I glanced at Hope and she spun her finger around her ear in the he’s crazy gesture.

“Sir—what is the name of this place?”

“Realm of the Barbarians for it is filled with us.”

“You’re one?”

“Of the first.” He grinned a toothless smile. “You must be specific. Where to go. Only then it’ll know. There you’ll go. There you’ll go.”

“But you’re so small compared to the others we’ve seen.”

“Mmm. Yes. Outskirts. Barbaric.” His laughter turned into a fit of coughing, and he stumbled forward. “Tell me, what brought you here, boy?” He tilted his head back and drew in a breath. “Oh, you have a human with you.” His sightless eyes shifted. “And two more—not so human. Like you.”

“Do you know what I am?”

“You are kin. Yes. Kin.”

I had Barbarian in me. Monster. I was a monster.

He grinned again. “You are many.”

Braeden shrugged.

“What were you looking for when you arrived?”

“Realm Number Two.”

He growled. And suddenly, he had teeth. Long, pointy teeth. Perfect for ripping through bones and flesh. He stood straighter, and it seemed like he doubled in size. It couldn’t be possible, then again, how was any of this possible?

“Sir, what’s wrong?”

“Humans. You have a human with you and speak of Realm Number Two. Evil people. Bad people spoke of that once.” He eased forward, no longer shuffling. No, he looked more like a cougar ready to pounce. “You dare to come here? Risk The King’s wrath?”

“Wait!” Hope said. “We’re just kids. We came here by accident.”

“No one can. Only the chosen can Jump. And it is forbidden!”

“Jump?” I said, looking at Tish.

She puffed out a long breath. “I told you. We’re Jumpers.”

“That voice.” The creature calmed a little and turned toward Tish. “I’ve heard that before.”

She smiled and took my hand. “I’ve seen you too. In my dreams.”

“So it’s true. The humans are coming.”

“What do you mean, sir?” I asked, easing Tish behind me.

“It’s been foretold. All the Realms know.” He growled, the low, scary noise filling the already too dark cave.

“All the realms?” Braeden asked. “There are more?”

“Many.” He growled again, this time even louder. “I will not let you escape. You will not bring The King’s wrath to my home.”

“But we aren’t here to hurt you,” Tish said. “The bad men. They did this to us.”

“Who’s this King? Is he your King?” The way this creature seemed to fear the King, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to meet him. Or his wrath.

He drew in a deep breath. “The tall one. You. Come closer.”

“I’m thinking not,” I said. “And how did you know I was tall?”

“I may not see well, but I can sense things. And in you, I sense much. Come closer.” I glanced at Tish and she nodded.

Well, if the vision seer says it’s okay. I stepped forward a little. The creature drew in a deeper breath and closed his eyes.

“The Srupiso, mark of the Realm Ruler.” He clenched his jaw. “And more. Human. Strength.” His eyes went wide. “Abomination! Abomination!”

He swung his cane, and I ducked.

“You must die, Abomination.”

“Running would be good.” Hope pulled at my hand.

We took off toward the entrance to the cave. With our luck there’d be a team of Barbarians waiting.

“Hey,” Tish said. “Try asking the coin to send us to your bedroom.”

I pushed her along. The old guy was slow, but the way he swung that cane of his and his feral roar, I wasn’t about to take my time out of this place.

“If you’re really part Barbarian, then this is your home. He said to get specific.”

“Little runt has a point,” Braeden said.

“Hey!” Tish said. She clung to Alastair with one arm as she went to slap Braeden.

“Try it.” Hope grabbed Braeden. “Hold on. This is gonna work. I know it. I know it.”

I hoisted Tish onto my hip. The rest of the gang held onto me one way or another and I gripped the coin with my free hand.

“Take me to my bedroom above the garage at Janet and Jeff’s.”

Nothing.

“Crap,” Hope said.

“Please. Please. Take us to my bedroom—”

Wind whipped around the cave.

“Yes!” Tish squealed.

At the same time a roar rattled behind us and a shadow, way too big to be that little old creature, grew along the cave walls. Climbing toward us. Groaning and hissing.

This time I wasn’t waiting for the swirling black void to suck us in. “Jump!”

~~~~~~

Join us Wednesday for Chapter 19 of Watcher of the Realms. Be sure to subscribe to the site to not miss a single chapter of Riley’s adventures.

A big thank you to Sizzling PR for the Realm Jumper graphics.

CLICK HERE to see previous chapters.

See you soon….