(Frequent, smequent. I’m not doing so well in this category, but it is constantly on my mind, so that is something, I suppose. This section is shorter than the others, but it moves the story along enough that I was happy with the results. Only a few quick edits were done, and there are likely errors here and there, but I think I’ve found most of the big ones. My editing skills were never awesome. As always, hope you enjoy, and feedback is always appreciated. 🙂 )
Elaina closed the door behind her and immediately moved to the nearest bookshelf. She paid no mind to the others in the room as she read titles from dusty books, touching items stuffed in every crack and crevice. She reached behind a stack of books and pulled out a small box. Jonathan watched from his seat as she turned in over in her hands, blowing on it gently to clear an especially thick layer of dust away. She inspected it closely for a minute before placing it back behind the books and moving on to the next shelf.
Everyone else sat awkwardly around a small round table. Sam held out the box of food to Jonathan who managed to grab it just as Sam let go. The contents shifted to one side, causing Jonathan to lean sharply as he tried to rebalance the box, almost falling out of his chair. Across the table Dexter watched with an amused smirk. Sam had cleared the table of a large crystal ball and the purple tablecloth. He carefully placed the ball on an empty shelf, then wadded the cloth into a ball and tossed it into a corner of the room. He snatched the food from Jonathan and had the contents spread out on the table in seconds, sampling as he worked. Finally he gestured to the food and stuffed another bite into his already full mouth. Both Dexter and Jonathan watched as Sam fought to keep the food in his mouth as he chewed. Only Spencer leaned forward to examine the spread.
“Chinese.” Sam had finally managed to swallow and was pointing to the various things in front of them. “Chicken. Pork. Fried rice. Ribs. Plain rice. And my favorite,” he grabbed a small dumpling and held it up, “crab Rangoon.” He popped it into his mouth and it crunched. “Not technically Chinese, but still good.” Spencer picked up a Rangoons and examined it slowly before stuffing it in his mouth. He chewed slowly, his eyes widening, until his hand shot out and grabbed two more and began stuffing them into his mouth. Lilly was sampling the chicken and fried rice while Alexia watched.
The Rangoons didn’t stand a chance between Sam and Spencer and were gone in minutes. Sam brushed the crumbs off his hands and reached for the chicken. “Master Damian’s message only told of your arrival,” he said as he piled the chicken onto a small paper plate. “What exactly does he need from me?”
The Risers glanced at each other, confused. Dexter pulled a letter from his jacket and handed it across the table to Sam. He put a forkful of rice into his mouth before unfolding the paper. He leaned back against the chair as he began to read, but his chewing slowed as he read.
The sky darkens as the sun fades away from our worlds forever. Use these children wisely, because they, and you, are our only hope for survival.
Your faithful servant always,
Sam glanced at Dexter across the table, then to Elaina who had momentarily stopped her exploring in order to study Sam’s face as he read. Damian had told Dexter that no one but Sam was to read its contents. Sam looked at the others and sighed. This is impossible. He folded the paper and, with a quick wave, it disappeared into thin air. Spencer’s mouth dropped open in awe, giving the others a view of half chewed chicken. Sam rubbed his eyes, half in weariness, half in desperation. He needed to talk to the High Council. He needed help. And he needed it years ago.
His appetite suddenly gone, Sam stood and told the others to finish while he prepared rooms for them upstairs. After the door closed behind him, the room fell into a tense silence; the only sounds were that of Spencer chewing and Elaina occasionally moving things around on the shelves.
When the bedroom door clicked shut, Elaina spun on the two sprawled out on their beds. “What did the letter say?” she demanded, her eyes trying to pierce holes straight through Dexter. Spence lifted his head and looked at his sister and then to Dexter, but the two seemed caught in an epic staring contest, and he once again resumed his place as the third wheel in their relationship.
Dexter rolled his eyes and draped an arm over his face. He wasn’t interested in talking.
“I know you read it, Dexter, if not to satisfy your curiosity, then to spite Damian. You’ve always hated my uncle.”
“What’s wrong with Uncle Damian?” Spencer’s question was ignored by the others, and he finally sighed and shook his head in annoyance. He hated feeling invisible.
Dexter lifted his arm a fraction and glared at Elaina. “And you’ve always given that lunatic every ounce of trust you could muster. Without question.” Spencer opened his mouth, but immediately snapped it shut after a quick glare from Elaina.
“Damian has never done something he didn’t believe was in Sunset’s best interests. He has spent his life trying to keep us alive.”
“And you? Are you doing what is in Sunset’s best interest? Or do you consider yourself to be the town’s best interest?”
“I am one of Sunset’s best chances, as are you,” she glanced at her brother, “and him.” Spencer grinned as Elaina restrained a groan.
“Chance for what?” Dexter snapped. “For continuing that pitiful town’s worthless existence?”
Elaina’s jaw dropped as he continued. “We aren’t chances; we three were given chances,” Dexter sat up and spread his arms wide. “This is our chance to get out of that decrepit ruin we call home and live a little. I’m not going back! Sunset is better off dead anyway.” He leaned back onto the pillow and flung his arm back over his face.
Across the room, Spence stared at Dexter in shock. Elaina’s mouth worked but she could not put a coherent sentence together from the anger rising within. She balled her fists and took a step toward Dexter, but froze when the door opened, barely missing her as it swung into the room. Jonathan stood in the open doorway and immediately began to apologize, but was stopped short when Elaina spun around and ran from the room, leaving him alone with the other Setters and a thick tension neither one volunteered to explain.
Sam paced in front of the fireplace, thinking of his options even though it was too soon to fully determine what they might be. There were too many factors still to be decided on, and premature brainstorming always got him into trouble. He shook his head, trying to rid himself of his thoughts. Despite the warmth outside, a fire burned in a blackened hearth beside him. He eyed it impatiently. He knew the council would holding their morning meeting, so he sent his message straight to the high councilor’s secretary. Sam silently prayed she deemed the matter urgent enough to bring it to her employer’s attention immediately, or else he might be waiting a while.
He paused and rubbed his tired eyes, wishing he could shut his eyes for an hour or two, but he knew he wouldn’t be napping any time soon. Recent developments have seen to the utter destruction of his napping plans. He sighed and began to curse the passing time but stopped as he saw a folded piece of paper fly out of the flames and land on the floor at his feet. He snatched it up and quickly unfolded it. He hadn’t even finished reading it before he turned and made his way into his closet to make preparations.