You’ve entered the world of The Realm Jumpers. The adventure with Riley and his trusty gang of genetic misfits continues…
“Their striker is killing us. Riley, get in there and kick that speed of yours into gear.” Coach clapped his hands.
Even though it was a hot night, I jumped up and down to work out the chill that’d settled in. I’d been sitting the bench the whole first half. There wasn’t anything worse than watching the game from the bench as far as I was concerned.
I quickly got possession of the ball and passed it off, then broke away. Brian, Eric, and Anthony worked to free me up and once I had the ball again, I charged the goal.
Screaming from the crowd pumped me up. I could do this. I could—
A guy rammed into me from the side. Totally illegal, but the ref didn’t call it. I spun to shield from the steal, but he was quick. And the ball was gone.
Hope busted up the guy’s charge and kicked it out of our end. The other forward took off after the ball.
No way. I turned on the speed, my heart exploded into a sprint, and my muscles burned. This one was mine. The rest of the team was up field, only this guy and a couple of defenders to deal with.
I beat him to the ball, dribbled it down, dodging his probes and busted free. I kicked and it went in right above the goalie’s head.
“Yes!” I clapped my hands once and turned to get back into position. A gaggle of people swarmed me.
Pats on my back, good jobs, and hugs—all that was for me? My teammates were so excited. High fives. Everything. In practice they just let me be if I scored.
“See, Bean Pole. Knew you could do it.” She punched my gut and took off to her position. “Now, keep that ball on your end!”
And we did. At least until the last minute.
Tied at two their striker made it past me, and I was chasing him down when I saw one of their guys charging Hope.
Laser-focused on the ball, ready to defend it, she didn’t see him coming. He saw her, though, and by the look in his eyes he didn’t plan on stopping.
She’d shut him down a few times tonight. He was out for payback.
“Hope!” She didn’t hear me. I was too far away.
I heard the collision from where I was. The crowd gasped. Hope rolled onto her back, holding her arm.
My speed suddenly kicked in again. A roaring heat in my chest ignited. Pounding. Pain.
This guy was going to pay.
He hurt my friend.
He broke the rules.
The guy spun in my direction. My fist went right for his jaw. The contact sent a jolt up my forearm and straight into my shoulder.
I fisted his shirt, lifted him then slammed him back down, into the grass. “You do not hurt people like that.”
Not my friend.
Not a girl.
“Riley!” Hope yelled through clenched teeth. “Don’t.”
Too late. Arms curled around mine and yanked me away from the kid.
“He did it on purpose,” Christian yelled. “Hope. You okay?”
Something had cracked. I’d heard it. That jerk hurt my friend. My best friend. My only friend.
Coach knelt beside Hope. Tears streamed down her face. “Anthony, you’re in. Come on, Hope. Can you stand?”
“You,” Coach yelled at me. “You’re out.”
“Help me get her off the field. You’re done for the night.”
“Done for a couple games is more like it,” one of the refs said.
“What about him?” I pointed at the guy who tackled Hope.
His coach yanked him toward the sideline.
“You’re both done. Get off the field. Now!” The ref whistled.
I hurried to Coach and Hope and said, “I’ve got her, sir.”
He nailed me with a stare. “Act like I’m ripping you a new one, son, because I should be. But honestly that guy has been playing dirty all night. I don’t condone what you did, but I’m mighty proud of you for sticking up for your players.” He coughed and raised his voice. “You hear me, boy? Take the bench and stay out of my sight!”
Hope snickered through the tears as I grabbed her good arm to steer her off the field.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“So not. But like Coach said, thank you. You flattened him so good my arm didn’t hurt so bad for a second.” She flinched. “For a second.”
“Medical people are headed this way.” I sat her down then kneeled before her. “Let me see. It sounded bad.”
She pounded the bench with her good hand. “I’m out for a while, aren’t I? This sucks rotten eggs!”
“Figure of speech, Bean.”
I held her bad arm steady. I hated that she was in pain. If there was some way I could take it away from her I would. Actually, I felt like punching that kid again. This was his fault. He did this on purpose. I should go back over—
“Ow!” She punched me. “What are you—” Her eyes widened. “Riley!”
My hands burned, hot. They were kind of red, too. As in glowing.
Had to be a reflection of something. The sun had set a bit ago, so it wasn’t a weird glare from it. Or the lights above.
What the heck?
“It’s warm,” she whispered. “Riley. Ow. Wait—it—feels better!”
She flinched and looked at me. “Was that—”
“Your bone.” I released her hand and jumped to my feet. “That was your bone.”
I’d healed her.
Join us Monday for Chapter 9 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….