A Blazing Seal of Approval: An IDIA Short Story

Why, hello, everyone!!! It seems I’ve been neglecting this blog a teensy bit. The school semester has been crazy, but I’m trying to put together a few more posts for you guys before next semester. I’m also still working on the editing for Lightporter, and I’m hoping to have an update (with a release date!!!) for you guys soon! We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, I was looking over some of my older stories and I saw a short story I wrote as fluff a little while back that takes place right after Twinepathy, and I thought that would be a fun way to celebrate the new year with you guys! So I hope you enjoy, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

“It just makes absolutely no sense.”

I look over at Denver as I pour milk on my cereal, trying to decide if I should shake my head or laugh. The two of us are the only ones home. It’s Saturday, so the rest of our family is out shopping. We opted to sleep in, instead. “Denver, Brooklyn and I can speak to each other with our minds, and you don’t seem too weirded out by that. Why should teleportation make sense?”

Denver sighs, stirring his oatmeal. “I don’t know. It’s just weird. None of this makes any sense scientifically.”

I shrug. “It’s kinda weird, but I’m starting to get used to it.” I lean forward. “And I also told Blaze he could join us for breakfast, so be nice.” It’s been about three weeks since we officially joined IDIA, and while our family has met some of the IDIA members, Jen thought it might be a good idea for them to hang out some more. I think she just wants to keep an eye on our family, but that’s fine with me. As long as we don’t have to lie to them anymore, I’m happy.

Denver’s frown deepens. “Every time I’ve met him he seems sarcastic and rude. Why do you like hanging out with him so much?”

“You’ve spent five minutes with him!” I protest. “Give him a chance.”

He sets down his spoon. “His illusion stuff and teleportation don’t help. He could be spying on you when you least expect it.”

There’s a laugh nearby, one that I instantly recognize. “Like right now?” Blaze teases. He appears, grinning. “Hey, Jazz. ‘Sup, Colorado?”

Denver and I both look at him with blank expressions, and Blaze’s grin widens. “Your name’s Denver. That’s in Colorado…”

I groan. “Blaze, you are not helping his opinion of you.”

Denver takes a deep breath and turns back to his oatmeal, electing to ignore Blaze, I guess. Blaze sits down at the table. “Do you guys want donuts?” he asks. “Because I can go and grab some.”

“You mean steal some?” Denver asks, looking up at Blaze.

Blaze’s face reddens, and he glares at my brother. “I would never do that!”

“Sure, Blaze, I’d love some donuts!” I interrupt cheerfully, trying to break up the tension. “Maybe you could grab some more milk, too, if that’s okay? We’re almost out.”

“Definitely,” Blaze agrees tiredly. He disappears instantly, and I wave a hand through the spot to make sure he teleported and didn’t just turn invisible.

I immediately turn to Denver. “I thought I asked you to give him a chance! He’s trying super hard to impress you.”

“Does this really mean that much to you?” Denver asks with a sigh.

I nod. “Yes, it does. Could you just try to find some common ground, or at least not insult him by insinuating he’s a thief?”

“Fine.” Denver leans back in his seat. “I’ll ask him about his powers. Maybe he’ll like talking about himself.”

“Denver!” I protest.

He smiles. “I’m teasing. But just so you know, I do not give you permission to date him yet.”

“WHAT?!” I practically screech, but before I can protest further, Blaze reappears with donuts and milk in hand. I clamp my mouth shut and slump back in my chair, glaring at Denver. With Blaze here, I know I can’t protest about Denver’s statement because I’d never hear the end of it from Blaze. After all, we’re just friends, and Blaze said he doesn’t date… whatever that means.

Denver reaches over and picks up a donut out of the box. “So, Blaze, how exactly does your teleportation work?”

Blaze looks over at him, as if trying to decide if Denver’s trying to get valuable information on how to destroy him. “Well, it’s all based off of light,” he explains vaguely. “It’s kind of complicated, and I’m not sure I completely understand it, either.”

Denver straightens, actually looking interested now. “It’s based off of light? Really?”

“Yeah…” Blaze glances at me and back to Denver. “Why?”

“I did an in-depth study of light for a science project in high school.” Denver leans forward. “So if your powers are based off of light, I might be able to understand them.”

Blaze tilts his head to the side. “Maybe you can help me figure out exactly how my teleportation works, too. If you’re interested, that is…”

Denver smiles. “Definitely! You know, we might be able to use the physics lab at the college to run some tests, as long as you can make sure no one sees you teleporting or anything.”

Blaze brightens. “Sure! And I could bring in some other teleporters, too, if you want to compare the difference between our teleporting. Most teleporters’ powers work similarly, except for mine.”

“Don’t even ask Trav,” I add in. “She’s always so grumpy.” At least they’re getting along well. I should have known my nerdy brother would find something interesting to do with Blaze. I stand up, putting my empty cereal bowl in the sink. “I’m going to leave you two here to do your science stuff while I go… read or do something interesting.” I grin at the two of them as I leave.

A couple of hours later, I’m deep in a novel, laying on the couch in the living room, and Denver comes in, flopping down in an armchair. I ignore him, flipping a page in my book, but he clears his throat. I sigh and put my book down. “What?”

“You now officially have permission to date Blaze,” he says with a grin.

“Denver!” I protest. I consider throwing my book at him, but I opt for a pillow instead. “Come on! We’re just friends.”

He shrugs. “That’s what I always said about Ezra before we started dating.” I groan, but he grins at me, although his grin is a little sappy since he’s thinking about his girlfriend. “Anyway, Blaze and I are going to get some teleporters together next month to work on some tests and stuff to figure out exactly how his teleporting works. Do you wanna be my lab assistant?”

I give him a fake grumpy frown. “Not if you’re going to keep teasing me about Blaze.”

Denver leans forward. “But if you’re just friends, why should it bother you?”

I want to wipe that teasing grin off of his face. “Because…” I groan. “This is a losing battle, isn’t it? Fine, I’ll help you.”

He stands up. “Good. I’ll let you get back to your book.” He ruffles my hair when he walks past. “And you were right, by the way.”

I lift an eyebrow. “As usual. About what?”

“Once I gave Blaze a chance, it turned out he wasn’t so bad.” Denver smiles at me. “I may be your big brother, but you can still teach me a thing or two, I guess.”

I grin. “Well, that’s what I’m here for.”

I hope you enjoyed that fun little story! What did you think? Would you like to see this published as an ebook on Amazon? Comment below! I’d also love if you’d leave a review on Goodreads if you can!

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Beautiful People: Albany’s Childhood | Fantastic Friday

Hullo, everyone! I kind of… forgot about posting, didn’t I? Whoops. I was trying to figure out what I could do for a Fantastic Friday post this week, and I had pretty much decided to just wait and do the Monday post I was planning, but then this month’s Beautiful People link-up appeared in my inbox! So why not? I was originally planning to use Anvil for the next Beautiful People, but since this one is a childhood edition, I decided it would be better to use Albany, since Anvil’s would be… not happy. Well, let’s get on with the questions!

BeautifulPeopleHeader

  1. What are their first childhood memory? Albany has a lot of vague “first memories,” but the first one that’s actually clear is the first time she and Brooklyn communicated telepathically, which was when they were about three. That was the first time they realized they were doing it, at least. It was a very traumatic moment and consisted of lots confused baby talk in their heads.
  2. What were their best and worst childhood experiences? Her best childhood experience was probably the time she spent with her dad and Denver at a playground for three hours. That’s one of her older memories, but a favorite one. Her worst childhood experience was probably the time she fell off a tall slide, off the side, or any other time when her curiosity got her into trouble.
  3. What was their childhood home like? It was an averaged sized house, but it was an older house, so it had lots of fun nooks and crannies to hide in. It was certainly a happy place, and they were sad to leave it.
  4. What’s something that scared them as child? Albany was absolutely terrified of heights when she was younger. Bugs and snakes she could handle, but put her up on a tall ladder and you would find out how loud she could scream–and how tight she could hold onto something.
  5. Who did they look up to most? Her older Denver, for sure. To her, he was the most awesome person in the world, and she would follow him around everywhere she could. Until he got too cool to have his little sister hanging around him. But he got over that phase pretty quickly.
  6. Favourite and least favourite childhood foods?  I’m not sure she had a least favorite food, but if she did, it would probably be broccoli or something like that. Her favorite food growing up was Mac and Cheese. Any kind, anywhere. Especially if it had breadcrumbs on top.
  7. If they had their childhood again, would they change anything? Albany would probably say no. She loves they way her life is, and she wouldn’t want anything to change that. Plus, she had a really good childhood.
  8. What kind of child were they? Curious? Wild? Quiet? Devious? Heh. Need this even be a question? She was the most curious child on the face of the planet–still is, in fact. She got into trouble quite a bit, and relied on Brooklyn to help her out.
  9. What was their relationship to their parents and siblings like? Albany was close to her parents when she was little, and told them everything (still does, if she can), but she was always closer to Denver and Brooklyn. She and Brooklyn went everywhere together, since they were twins, not to mention they had their telepathic connection. And as I mentioned before, she adored Denver.
  10. What did they want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become? When Albany was little, she wanted to be a character in a book. Not kidding. Because don’t all bookworms want that at some point? (Don’t tell her, but she got her wish!) There were times when she wanted to be a princess or an elf, and sometimes she decided she wanted to be a spy or a president. Nothing normal, that’s for sure. As of yet, all she’s become is a superhero, so…

I hope you enjoyed getting to learn about Albany’s childhood! She’s an adorable character, and I can’t wait for all of you to read Twinepathy in its full and final form soon!

Twinepathy Cover Reveal (!!!) And BONUS Part 8: Lemonade (!!!)

Hullo, everyone! ARE YOU EXCITED??? Because I’m MORE than excited!!!!! 😀 You guys have been so awesome and supportive of Twinepathy, and I’m thrilled to be able to share the cover with you! And because you guys are sooooo awesome, I’m not even going to stall before I show you the cover. (And also because I’m too excited to stall. :P)

HERE IT IS!!!!

(c) 2015 C.B. Cook. All Rights Reserved

(c) 2015 C.B. Cook. All Rights Reserved

Doesn’t it look WONDERFUL??? *cough* If I do say so myself, that is. 😉 It took me twelve tries before I got a cover that I was actually happy with, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it! Does this make you even MORE excited for the book? I hope so! 😀 And now, part eight…

Part 8: Lemonade

Brooklyn inhales sharply. Maddie looks at me, unsure of whether she should be happy or scared. I place a gentle hand on her shoulder. “That’s neat,” I tell her. “So you have… um…” I wrack my brain for the word I know is there. “Telekinesis,” I finally say.

“Well, here they—” That same annoying voice breaks off mid-sentence. I whirl around to see Blaze standing just a few feet away, this time without his mask. Next to him is a tall girl, probably in her mid-twenties. Her brown hair is cut short, and her eyes are full of… of something, making you think she might know everything about you. But she looks friendly enough as she runs her gaze over us.

“Albany, Brooklyn,” she says with a slight smile. “It’s a pleasure to officially meet you.”

I probably look like a frozen rabbit because I’m so freaked out. How does she know our names? I don’t recognize her. She doesn’t even look vaguely familiar. Her eyes come to rest on the kitchen. “Do you have any coffee or tea? Explaining might take a while.”

“Lemonade,” Brooklyn squeaks.

She’s offering lemonade to a creepy stranger lady who knows our names and just got teleported to our house. “Who are you?” I manage to find my voice, but it sounds much less threatening than I’d hoped.

“I’m Database. You can call me Data,” she says, going into the kitchen.

I exchange glances with Brooklyn. “There’s no way that’s your real name,” I growl.

“You’re right,” she comments, coming back in with a glass of lemonade. “But usually we tend to stick with our codenames at first.”

We? I open my mouth to ask a question, then close it. She focuses on Madison. “Who are you, sweetie?” Her voice is calm and soothing, but Maddie still cowers behind me. Data sighs and reaches towards Maddie.

“Wait, she’s—” I use this as an excuse to grab her arm. I use the physical contact to boost my mental connection to her and then go in to read her mind.

Nothing.

It’s not the same kind of nothing as Maddie’s. It’s not like walking into a mostly empty warehouse. It’s more like walking straight into a brick wall. She’s watching me curiously, then her mouth quirks into a smile. “You’re trying to read my mind, aren’t you? I remember that physical contact helped you…”

I shove her away, making her stumble back a few steps. She’s older than me, taller, and probably stronger, too, but I’ve done a little bit of martial arts and strength training. “I don’t know who you are, but you’d better explain yourself or leave before Denver gets down here. He won’t be happy to see you here.”

Blaze grins impishly. “Oh, I can make sure he won’t see us, if he does come down.”

Data gives him a glare, then turns to us. “Listen,” she starts gently. “We have a lot to discuss. Why don’t we head to the coffee shop down the road, Lava Java? We can talk there, and we won’t have to be worried about being interrupted.”

I exchange glances with Brooklyn. I can tell she doesn’t want to go, and she keeps glancing nervously up the stairs towards Denver’s room. In spite of not wanting them here, my curiosity has definitely been piqued. And when my curiosity’s involved… well, there’s no way anyone can sway me any differently.

“How will we handle Denver and our parents?” I ask.

Data nods, pleased. “You can either go tell him you’re leaving or you can leave a note. We won’t be gone too long, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your parents, depending on when they’re going to come back here.”

Brooklyn makes a sound that tells me she’s not pleased at all, but I ignore her. “We can leave a note.”

Brooklyn makes the sound again. “No, I’ll go tell him,” she growls, giving me a look. She hurries upstairs, and in a minute she comes back down, grumbling under her breath.

“All clear?” I ask.

She nods. “He’s so distracted I don’t think he even heard me. I told him we were going shopping. He was putting on a flannel shirt. Flannel. I can’t even believe…”

I roll my eyes and nod at Data. I grab Maddie’s hand, which she squeezes tightly, and we follow Blaze and Data out the door, Brooklyn trailing, as we leave possible safety behind.

SO THE COVER!!!!!!! What do you think? And the part? Database seems like an interesting character… should the twins trust her and Blaze? Guess we’ll find out!

Next Part –>

Beautiful People April: Siblings – Teel and Peri

Check out the main post here.

Check out the main post here.

Whew, just barely making it! This is my first time doing the Beautiful People tag, and it’s perfect for one of the stories I’m working on. The current working title is The Standard, and two of the main characters, Teel and Peri, are sisters. And twins. So, let the questions begin!

<I>And, yes, I am going to use Thor and Loki memes and gifs. Because siblings.</I> Continue reading

Gone

I’m pretty sure this is the very first story where I had one of the characters die. Since then, I believe there’s only been one other character that has died. So I’m mostly not violent. 😉 A sad story to write. Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!

“Get out, Hilary!” I yelled. I pushed my little sister out of my room.

“I was just looking around!” Hilary whined.

“It doesn’t matter!” I shouted. I was fuming. “You shouldn’t be in my room at all!” I pushed my seven-year-old pest, I mean sister, the rest of the way out of my room, slamming the door shut behind her. I sighed, plopping down in my desk chair. I then began to work on my homework.

Just a minute or two later, I heard a knock on the door. “Who is it?” I called grumpily.

“Erika.”

I immediately recognized my mom’s voice. “Come in.”

My mom opened the door and slipped into my room, Hilary trailing in behind her. I gulped. My mom perched on the end of my bed, with Hilary on her lap. I could feel a lecture coming on.

“Erika,” my mother began sternly. “I think you owe an apology to your sister.” She held up her hand to ward off all of my protests. “I understand about you wanting her to stay out of your room, but you could have asked her to do it in a more kind and loving way.”

“But, Mom—” I began with a whine in my voice, until my mom cut me off with a glare. I turned to Hilary. “I’m sorry,” I grumbled grudgingly.

My mom sighed. “That’s good enough for now, but I expect a sincere apology later,” She nodded towards my school books as she stood up. “You can get back to your homework now.” She picked up Hilary and left my room, closing the door softly behind her.

I immediately jumped up from my desk chair and paced around the room, stomping furiously. I stopped by my bed and slammed my fist into the mattress viciously. “She always takes Hilary’s side!” I growled to no one in particular, glaring at my door. I finally sighed, frustrated, and slumped back into my chair to work on my homework.

~~~

I sat in silence during dinner, just picking at my food. I was still fuming. My dad had finally made it home, and Hilary was chattering on and on about everything that had happened to her that day. Needless to say, I was having a hard time keeping my temper under control. I really just wanted to get away from Hilary.

“How was your day, Erika?” my dad finally managed to ask when Hilary took a break to eat her hot dog and macaroni and cheese. Of course, it was her favorite meal.

“Fine,” I muttered, pushing back my chair. “May I be excused, please?” At least I’d said it politely.

Mom looked over at my plate. “You can probably eat some more of that food,” she told me in her no-nonsense voice. I slid my chair back into place.

“Did you have a bad day at school?” Dad asked. He wasn’t really concentrating on me; he was too busy trying to keep from laughing as Hilary’s hot dog began to drip ketchup on her plate.

“No, it was fine,” I mumbled. I ate several more bites of my food. After choking down the rest of the macaroni and cheese and half of my hot dog, Mom finally let me leave the table, so I hurried up to my room.

After the rest of the family finished dinner, I went downstairs to use the computer in the living room for my homework. I narrowed my eyes when I got in there. The computer was taken… by Hilary, of course. I checked the screen over her shoulder. Ugh. Of course. She was playing some princess game. She looked up at me, smiling.

“Look, Erika, I’m designing a princess and her horse. I’m making her look like me.” She paused, grinning proudly. “Do you think I could be a princess?”

I rolled my eyes. “You have to be the daughter of a king or queen or married to a prince. Now, get off the computer. I need to do my homework.”

“But I got here first!” she complained, putting on her pouty face.

My homework is more important than your silly princess game!” I snapped. I picked her up out of the chair and set her down on the couch. I sat down in the chair myself and immediately began working on my homework.

“Erika!” Hilary squealed, tugging on my arm. “Don’t close my—” Too late. I clicked the button to close the window with her princess game. She flopped down on the floor by my chair, sobbing loudly. Drama queen. I ignored her.

“Erika? Hilary?” Uh-oh. Mom poked her head into the room and spotted Hilary sobbing in a heap on the floor. Of course, she fell for Hilary’s drama queen act. “Hilary! Oh, what’s wrong, honey?”

What happened next was totally predictable. Hilary ratted on me, but completely exaggerated the whole thing, painting me as the mean, scary bully, while she was the absolutely innocent angel. She was sobbing throughout the entire story. I do have to admit that she’s a pretty good actor. She was pretty convincing. Almost.

Unfortunately, my mom bought the entire performance. She comforted Hilary, and told her that she should stop crying. Then she turned a steely glare on me. “And you, young lady, will go to your room immediately. I’ll be up there to talk to you in a minute.” She turned back to Hilary. Luckily, I had enough sense to remember not to stomp up the stairs or slam my door. I flopped down on my bed.

It had hardly been a minute before my mom came into my room, a frown pasted on her face. I stayed where I was, staring up at the ceiling. She perched on the edge of my bed again and studied me.

“I’m very disappointed in you, Erika. You really need to work on loving your sister more. I understand that sometimes little sisters can be annoying, I had three of them, but, since you’re older, we expect you to be more mature, especially now that you’re in eighth grade. Is that clear?”

I reluctantly said what I knew that she wanted me to say. “Yes, ma’am.”

My mom looked at me thoughtfully. “Maybe you should read First Corinthians 13 tonight.”

I sighed and nodded, my fingers crossed behind my back. I might read just enough to be able to give my mom a short summary in the morning. I don’t mind church stuff, but I didn’t want to read anything that my mom thought would help me be nice to Hilary.

Mom stood up. “Dad’s playing Go Fish with Hilary, so you can use the computer for your homework if you still need to.” She patted my knee, standing up. “Think about what I said, Erika.” She left my room quietly, closing the door gently behind her.

~~~

The Wednesday night youth group meeting is one of my favorite parts of the week. That’s mostly because I get to hang out with my friends. Our youth pastor, Keith Jenkins, is pretty cool, too. He’s only twenty-five, so he’s really good at making his lessons interesting to us. He’s also really good to talk to.

That’s why, when I got to church, I headed straight to the youth worship room instead of the fellowship room. I knew that the worship room was where Mr. Jenkins stayed until about fifteen minutes before the service started.

“Mr. Jenkins?” I called when I peered into the worship area. He looked up from reviewing his notes about the sermon and smiled.

“Erika! Come on in.” He sat down on one of the chairs and patted the one next to him. I came in, letting the door shut behind me. He motioned me over. “Sit down. Do you have something on your mind?”

I looked down at my hands. I’m not very good at opening up to people; it doesn’t feel very natural to me. “Uh, kind of.”

He leaned towards me. “Go ahead. And, remember, anything you tell me is confidential; I won’t tell anyone about anything unless you tell me otherwise.”

“Well,” I hesitated, “I’ve been having trouble with my sister.” I told him everything that had happened, starting with Hilary in my room. “She’s just so annoying. She’s such a pest!”

Mr. Jenkins nodded. “I understand. Sometimes it’s really hard to get along with our siblings.”

“Sometimes!” I protested. “She’s always bothering me!”

He laughed. “But you do see your sister a lot, which makes her a very good candidate for a really close friend.”

I snorted. Not very ladylike, I know. “No way. I’ll never be able to be friends with Hilary. She gets on my nerves so much. Sometimes, I wish… I wish she’d never been born!”

Mr. Jenkins studied me. His face was dead serious now. “You may feel that way now, but someday you’ll realize how much you really need her and love her.”

~~~

About halfway through homeroom the next morning, the intercom buzzed. Mrs. Walton, my homeroom teacher, was clearly indignant at the interruption, but she replied anyway. “Yes?”

“Please send Erika Gardner to the office immediately.” the voice requested, crackling over the speaker.

Mrs. Walton nodded at me. I was immediately the center of attention as I stood up to leave. Ugh. I hate it when other people stare at me, and they were all wondering what I had done. I quickly escaped into the hall, my mind racing. I couldn’t think of anything I’d done (at least, not lately) that would be severe enough to force me to go to the principal’s office. Most of the time, I’m a pretty good kid, except for a few mistakes every once and a while, like the time in third grade when I dared Donny to go down the playground slide on his back, head first. Not good. I got in trouble big time. There was also the time last year, seventh grade, when Cindy and I started a food fight. That was fun. But I couldn’t think of anything I’d done lately.

Finally I reached the principal’s office and walked in. Uh-oh. Something must have been really wrong, because both of my parents were there. Both of their faces were pale, and my mom’s eyes looked puffy and swollen, like she had been crying.

The principal stood up and nodded at me. “I’ll leave the three of you alone.” She left the room, closing the door behind her.

I glanced nervously at my parents. Something was going on, and whatever it was, it was definitely not good. My mom looked over at my dad, and he reluctantly took over.

“Sit down,” he told me. I obeyed. He took a deep breath and began. “After the Johnsons picked Hilary up to take her to school, they were involved in a car accident. Hilary died in the crash.” He was clearly having a difficult time.

I opened my mouth to protest, wanting to say something that would help Hilary not be dead, but no sound would come out. The room started to spin before my eyes, and I gripped the chair, my knuckles getting white. I could hear my parents talking to me, but they sounded really far away. “No,” I was finally able to whisper hoarsely as the room stopped spinning. “No!” I yelled, sobbing hysterically. “Hilary can’t be dead! She can’t! She can’t…” My voice faded away into choking sobs.

~~~

I diligently went to Hilary’s funeral that Saturday, but when we got back home, I threw myself down on my bed, sobbing. I remembered what Mr. Jenkins had said on Wednesday night, the day before Hilary died. Boy, was he right. I really did love Hilary, deep down inside. Sometimes you never know what you got till it’s gone.

 

“They say you never know what you got till it’s gone…”

Gone-tobyMac-