You’ve entered the world of The Realm Jumpers. The adventure with Riley and his trusty gang of genetic misfits continues…
“Leave it to a loser orphan girl to bring a loser,” Nick said as he pushed by Hope.
She stumbled forward and dropped her bag onto the sidewalk.
“Hey,” I said as picked up her stuff.
Wait. That bully had called her an orphan. She didn’t have parents? Like me?
“Oh. What’s the big, skinny guy gonna do about it?”
I glanced at Hope, and she shook her head. “Leave it. He’s a dummop.”
“At least this dummop can juggle. Loserville Hopester can’t.”
A small kid next to Nick hopped around as if he was having a seizure. I half expected him to fall over he was jerking around so badly.
“Come on Bean,” Hope said to me.
The kid pushed Hope onto the grass. She landed on her knees then fell onto her shoulder.
I grabbed the front of his shirt and tossed him into the bush a few feet from the sidewalk. He shouldn’t treat people like that. It wasn’t nice.
He fell onto his side screeching, “Prickers!”
“Whoa. Did you see that?” the short kid with thick glasses named Eric said, “Holy smokes.”
Someone pushed me from the side. I dropped my and Hope’s bags, then spun and wrapped my arm around the kid’s neck in time to see another shrimp come at me. I flattened my free hand on his chest and the kid flew back.
“Ah,” he yelped as he landed on his behind.
Someone else whipped a soccer ball at me. I palmed it and pitched it right back at him. It hit him smack on the forehead.
“Sweet!” Hope said. “That was awesome.”
My heart hurt it was beating so fast. My mouth went dry. And it felt like there was a drum pounding in my head.
“That’s enough,” Coach yelled as he stormed across the parking lot toward the sidewalk we were on—or at least started on. We’d drifted onto the grass. “Knock it off right now.”
I released my hold on the kid I had and reached down to help Hope up. “Are you okay?”
“Sure, Bean. Thanks.”
She shook her head. “Oh my gosh. You’re hopeless.”
“Nick, what’s goin’ on here?” Coach stormed at him.
“Nothing. Just welcoming the new guy.”
“Keep it up and you will lose your spot. You hear me?”
“Loud and clear, Coach.” He rolled his eyes.
“Hey!” I said. “Don’t do that!”
Coach and pretty much everyone else gathered around looked at me like I was nuts. Maybe I was, but Nick was being so rude I was sure lightning or something would strike him down.
Or he’d spontaneously combust. Or—
“Go home. Now.” Coach pointed in our direction. “Parents will get calls in exactly thirty minutes. If you’re not home, they will be informed of what happened here. You got me?”
I hoisted our bags onto my shoulder. “Hurry. We can’t get in trouble.”
Hope hustled after me along with tons of laughter. How could they be laughing? Coach was going to report us. It might hurt. I couldn’t break the rules.
“Chill, Bean. We’ve got time.” Hope came up beside me. “Besides, he rarely ever does that, you know?”
“We can’t chance it. We might get in trouble.” My heart pounded, and the back of my neck hurt. Like it had its own pulse or something.
I touched the spot that my hair barely covered. Beneath the thin layer of skin was an opening that evidently connected me to a computer. Or some type of machine.
“So. You said you never played with anyone before? I think you’re a big fat liar.”
“No. I didn’t lie.” I couldn’t. It would it would hurt. Huh?
“You’re the best player on the team, Bean. Seriously. What planet did you come from? Planet Soccer?”
“Dude. It’s a nickname. Bean Pole. You know, tall skinny.” She held out her hand. “Here. I can carry my own bag Mr. Knight in Shining Armor.”
I handed over her bag and slowed down a bit when we hit our block. I would meet the deadline if Coach called. I wouldn’t get into trouble. Wouldn’t be punished.
“Don’t mind Nick. He’s a turd. Really. Super rich dad. Thinks he can do whatever.”
“He was mean to you.”
“He’s always mean to me. He’s a bully. Every school has bullies.”
“That’s not right.”
She looked at me a long time. “Yep. You’re from another planet.” She hustled off toward her house. “See ya at lunch, Bean.”
She skidded to a stop, and I ran to her. “What’s up, Bean Pole? Missing me already?”
“I don’t understand what you’re saying, but I have to ask you something.”
I glanced around but didn’t see any flames.
“Oh my gosh.” Hope slouched. “It’s a figure of speech!”
“Will you help me?”
How should I put this without telling her anything Janet said I couldn’t? “I don’t know the kids or this town.” Yeah, go that route. “Can you show me around? Help me fit in?” Hopefully that was safe to say.
“Fit in? Yeah you do need some serious help in that department.” She grinned. “Sure I will.”
“Thank you. I—”
“On one condition.”
“Condition. You know, you have to do something for me if I do something for you.”
“Oh. Condition. Yes. Of course.”
“Of course,” she whispered. “For starters, teach me to juggle.”
“Oh, trust, me, it’s not gonna be that easy. No one has ever been able to.”
“I can.” I nodded. “And you’ll help me?”
“Yep. And your first lesson is: Don’t say Yes. Of course ever again.”
I went to say something and she put up her finger. “Nope. Not a word. Just promise.”
“Oh my gosh.” She grabbed my hand and propped up my pinky. Then she linked hers with mine and said, “Repeat after me. I pinky swear to never use the phrase Yes. Of Course again.”
I repeated what she said, and she laughed. “There. That was a freebie lesson. Tomorrow the fun really starts.”
Join us Wednesday for Chapter 7 of Watcher of the Realms. Be sure to subscribe to the site to not miss a single chapter of Riley’s adventures.
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See you soon….