The Secret of the Stone

In the sequel to "The Secret in the Woods", the four girls, Serena, Lily, Jay, and Amber, are back! But, will they have to courage to persevere when they're pushed to their limits physically, mentally, and emotionally? How will they get along when five mysterious boys arrive at the door of their safe haven? Traitors, heart break, deaths, and friendship.

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4. Surprise

         "See that Frank? Right there!"

          "We can't very well give this to the boss just based on a pebble, Bill."

          A grunt of frustration escaped Bill, the security camera monitor, as he tried to convince his partner, Frank, to take action.

          "But what if it really is something? Frank, what if we let someone slip past us again?!" Bill asked in a last-ditch effort.

          "Ah, what the heck," Frank relented sullenly. He took another sip of his coffee. Watching the security cameras in that cramped dark room wasn't too exciting and his legs did need a good stretch. "Fine, let's go."

          "Yeeees! I knew you'd crack!" Bill cried, at which he got a scowl from Frank, "And besides," he continued cheerfully, "Maybe if we catch somebody, boss will give us a raise!  Haven't got one since Christmas!"

          "Enough. Let's go and get this over with," Frank said as he stood.

          Suddenly, a little girl came running into the tight room. She had her bright blonde hair in two pigtails and her blue eyes were wide with fear.

          "There's somebody in the garden!" she said in a loud breathless whisper.

          The two men whirled around at the sound of her voice.

          "What r'you doin' here?" Frank growled.

          The little girl started upon the two men turning around so quickly and had clutched her teddy bear tighter. Now her chin wobbled as her surprise turned to fright.

          "Now, now, don't cry," Bill said. Turning to his partner, he whispered in a quiet voice, "We are in an orphanage, Frank. Now let's - "

          Frank cut him off by mumbling into his unkempt beard, "How could I forget a place like Sunny Side?"

          Bill shot him a look, then motioned with un upraised eyebrow at the little girl before continuing, "Can you tell us what happened, little deary?" Bill dropped down on one knee to get onto her eye-level.

          "I w-was walking d-down the hall *sniff* to go potty *sniff* when I saw someone in the garden. They was wearing black clothes and a black mask," she said, wiping her cheeks clumsily.

          "Okay, thank you. Now you can head on down to your room, deary. We'll take care of this, won't we, Frank?"

          "Yeah sure, whatever floats your boat," Frank replied, ripping a hunk off of his donut and popping it into his overly large mouth.

          The little girl gratefully scampered down the hall.

          "Oh for goodness sake, stop eating Frank," Bill complained as he snagged the donut and plopped it onto their tiny desk. "Let's go to the garden and see what all this is about."

          The two men went off in the other direction that the little girl hadn't taken, towards the garden.

          Across the screen, three dark-clad figures snuck into the library, unobserved.

~

          "Surprise!" Matt and the other boys came into the kitchen where Lily was working furiously at the stove and Jay and Amber were sitting at the table, munching on burned popcorn.

          "What?" Lily whirled around, dressed in a long purple apron over her green sundress with a wooden spoon in her hand.

          "Woah, take it easy," Luke threw up his arms in mock defense.

          "Yeah, we just have a little present for you girls who have been so kind and generous to us," Ash said this while trying to hide a grin.

          "Better be good," Amber grumbled, "You just interrupted one of my favorite things to do with Jay."

          "Uh-huh," Jay agreed, popping a couple pieces of popcorn in her mouth, "Making burned popcorn is our specialty. We have to cook at least one thing better than Lily."

          "Okaaay," Matt said, "But anyway, we have a surprise for you all!  Wait - where's Serena?"

          "Right here!" Serena called, sliding to a stop as she entered the kitchen, "What'd I miss?"

          "Well the boys were just about to reveal a surprise that they planned for us," Lily said as she stirred a boiling pot of delicious soup over the stove.

          "Then what are we waiting for?" Serena said excitedly, "Let's see it!"

          "We we waiting for you, but, yeah," Nick said under his breath.

          "Ladies of the Elements," Matt began with an exaggerated bow, "I present to you…"

          "I got this," Luke cut him off with a wave of his hand, "So y'know how you were saying that you had to research and find out more about this stone? Well, we decided to go ahead and take initiative. So we went to the orphanage's library and we found this very detailed book all about it."

          From behind his back he produced a thick volume with a dark blue cover.

          "What?!" Amber sat up from her slumped position, "You got us the book? We've been trying to find that book for the whole summer! We looked in every library in the state! I had no idea…" She ran her fingers through her strawberry blonde hair in disbelief.

          "How did you get it?" Jay wondered aloud. When everybody turned to face her, she added, "Well, how did you get past the security guards at Sunny Side? Don't they have cameras? I should know, they've caught me so many times. So. Many."

          "That was a simple matter once we had - " Nick began, winding up for another one of his very detailed reports.

          "Ah, yeah. That's okay. How about you go take some samples of that rare flower over there?" Max cut him off, and shoved him none too gently toward a flower pot.

          "I have three things for you Max," Lily said, in one of her rare angry moods, "One, that is not a rare flower. Two, I would actually like to hear Nick's report. And three that was not a very playful push. I think that I might know a little something about flowers, don't you?" Lily got all up in Max's face and he actually took a surprised step backwards even though she was a good head shorter than he was. Probably because she was waving her wooden spoon furiously and was flinging scalding soup everywhere.

          "I stand corrected," He said, all of his ego vanished in the wind, wary of her dangerous weapon.

          "I thought so," Lily said, hands on her hips. She threw the spoon up over her head.  It flipped once, twice, three times and then landed handle up in the pot of soup.

          Everyone stared at her for a few seconds.

          "Right," Matt said, breaking the awed silence. "Well, here's what happened. So we all got dressed in black and then we headed on over to Sunny Side, and then…"

          Matt went on to tell them of their heroic adventures, with the other boys sometimes pitching in their life-saving deeds. The girls were all pretty sure that they were exaggerating just a bit but were still immensely grateful for what they had done.

          "So you see, it was really quite easy," finished Nick.  

          "It was not!" Max contradicted. "I nearly got caught!"

          "Because your jacket, which may I mention you said didn't need to be zipped up, got hooked on the window sill," Ash said, trying to hide the smirk creeping into his expression.  

          "W-w, it's not my fault the sill had a nail poking out! How was I to know that?" Max said desperately trying to gain his image back.

          "Oh I remember that!" Nick said starting to laugh, "That was hilarious!"

          "And when Nick farted a cloud of noxious gas because he was so scared," Luke shared, earning a glare from the lanky boy. By that time, the girls were rolling on the floor.

          Lily gasped, "Stop! Stop you're making me pee my pants!"

          Finally the laughing finally died down and everyone stood up, with only an occasional giggle here and there.

          Amber wiped her eyes and said, "Kay, so let's see this book that took such determination to get."

          Luke grabbed the big blue volume from the table and handed it to her, their hands brushing slightly. She flipped though the pages, until she finally came to a section marked History.

          "Um, it says here that," Amber dragged her finger across the page, skimming until she found what she was looking for.  She read aloud, "'The Stone was created by the four patron elements. Water, Earth, Fire, Sky. They came to the unanimous decision to bestow their blessings on this stone for future generations. In doing so, they created four heirs to continue their legacy.'"

          "So I guess that means that we are the daughters of the patron elements?" Serena broke the silence with this quiet question.

          "Yeah..." Jay answered, staring at the floor. This time even she didn't have a witty comment.

          "I've always had a secret hope that I would find my parents. That I would feel like I actually belonged somewhere," Lily said, and buried her face in Amber's maroon sweater.  Amber patted her head and smoothed her hair soothingly.

          "I'm sorry.  I- I shouldn't..." Lily said drying her eyes and taking a deep breath.

          "It's okay, Lily," Amber comforted her, "It's a shock for all of us."

          Amber opened the book again and this time went to the front of the book. "This section is called Description. It says 'The stone is divided into four sections. These sections are distinguished by their colors. Blue for water, green for earth, yellow for fire, white for sky.'"

          "Follow me." Jay said standing up suddenly. The large group went down, down, down to the lost level in the house.

          "I didn't even know your house went this deep!" Max said.

                    

          Soon, Jay appeared in the doorway, carrying a broken statue, the Stone, and a box of Krispy Kreme donuts. No one really knew where she got them, but no questions were asked regarding the mysterious pastries. Serena pounced, spraying Jay with water; Jay spluttered and pushed Serena off of her.

          "You're buying me another one. That was my favorite sculpture!" 

          "Fine," Jay grumbled. Satisfied, Serena moved off to the corner of the room. Jay happily plopped down in her seat, clutching the box of donuts.

          Things got serious when Ash reached for a donut. Jay glared at the dark haired boy, her gaze so protective, that Ash froze, his hand halfway to the box. The two had a silent standoff. He slowly brought his arm to his side, lowered his gaze, then stared at his shoes.

          "Wise choice," Amber said solemnly.

          "Yeah, I kinda got that," Ash mumbled.

          "So, down to business. I think that - " Lily started, but was cut off by Jay moaning in pleasure as she took a bite of her powdered sugar donut. "Do you mind?" Lily asked, obviously annoyed.

          "Would you rather me eat my jello?" Jay asked innocently, taking another bite of her donut.

          "NOOOOOO!" the girls all yelled in unison.

          "Fine. Then let me enjoy my donuts in peace," Jay said.

          "Only if you can manage to do so without interrupting me," Lily said, clearly exasperated. "Now, as I was saying - "

          Jay lifted her head, her lips coated in white sugar, burst out saying, "Guys! Do you rea–"

          "So help me, Jay, I will–" Lily growled.

          "Well that wasn't very nice, interrupting me like that. I was saying, two days from now is Halloween! My favorite holiday!"

          "And we need to plan our costumes!" Serena said from her post in the corner. The guys had been watching the exchange in fascinated horror, like someone would watch a car wreck in progress.

          "Go to your room." Lily ordered, pointing towards the door. 

          "Is that really necessary, I mean–" Amber was cut off by Lily placing a finger on her lips, and said, "No."

          Jay hung her head, and marched up to her room. Upon reaching her sanctuary, Jay turned up her heavy metal music as loud as she possibly could, and warbled along with the screaming singers. She knew it would get under Lily's skin, and that was her motivation.

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