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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7. The Feast of…Thanks?

          "Okay, guys. I'm gonna need you to distract the girls while I go shopping and cook." Nick instructed.

          "I have dibs on Serena!" Max declared.

          "Seriously?" Matt said, staring daggers at the fiery-haired boy. 

          "Well actually, one of you needs to help me cook, so decide without killing each other." Nick stated matter-of-factly.

          "Fine, I will, only because I love Serena more!" Max said, proud of himself.

          "No, I will cook, because he bur-," Matt was cut off by Ash appearing behind the two and cracking his fists again the back of the two boys' heads. They both groaned.

          "Shut up, both of you! Matt, you cook, because I honestly don't trust anything that Max cooks. Max, you entertain Serena. Done. Not another word unless you want to meet my...friends..." As Ash said the last word, the air suddenly got cooler, and there was faint howling to be heard in the silent room.

          Luke started cackling maniacally from his spot in the corner. "You should see the looks on your guys' faces!" He stood up and gave his older brother a high five.

          "O-kaaay? Just keep the girls away from the kitchen at all costs," Nick concluded.

 

~Twenty minutes later~          

 

          The explosion shook the ground so violently, that the girls all paused from where they were training. One my one they all dashed from their various spots around the premises to the tree house. They all already knew the location of the explosion: Nick's room. 

          "Nick? Are you okay?" Lily called, opening the door. Smoke poured out of the small room.

          "What the heck was that. You could've destroyed the house!" Jay said, shoving Nick's shoulders, and causing him to stumble back. Lily glared at Jay, who glared just as fiercely back.

          "And where are the other boys, anyway?" Serena asked, coughing from where she stood.

          "I'm sworn not to tell," Nick said, puffing out his chest.

          "They're watching TV, aren't they," Amber guessed.

          "I'm afraid I can't say," Nick lifting his nose to the ceiling.

          Without another word, the four girls left the room, and made their way to the lounge. Sure enough, the other four boys were sprawled out, their eyes glued to the screen.

          "What are yo– Is that The Walking Dead? I love that show!" Jay said, then plopped down onto the ground next to Ash.

          Lily rolled her eyes, smirking. "She's just as bad as they are." The guys plus Jay all groaned and cringed as a walker tore out the throat of a screaming man. The others nodded agreement. "Well, I'm gonna get started on dinner, and I could use some help." Lily said, hinting to the others.

          "It looks like Jay won't be of any use." Serena added.

          "It's not like we even want her help, though!" Amber said, louder than normal, in hopes to draw the girl from her trance, but to no avail.

          "Well now where did Nick run off to?" Lily asked as the three wandered to the kitchen.

          "Whatever. I'm starving." Amber declared.

          "Wait! Don't make anything! I'll be right back! Just... Hang on!" Nick said, bursting into the kitchen. He then promptly spun on his heel and climbed down the ladder.

          "Where are you going?" Lily called after him.

          "It's a surprise!" Nick called back.

~

          Serena pulled some water out of the forest floor about the size of a tennis ball. She held it in her hand and stared at her watery reflection. She had thought about what Amber had said and she had finally decided. Matt. Matt was sweet, smart, quiet, and cute. She loved the way his chocolate brown hair swept to the side and his sparkling blue eyes. Obviously, he was the best choice. Satisfied, Serena headed back to the tree house.

~

          "Okay, boys, let them see!" Nick said excitedly. The boys were leading all four blindfolded girls into the kitchen. At once, they untied them to reveal a feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, apple cider and more food than the girls could imagine.

          "What is this?" Lily asked in awe.

          Nick beamed at her, "Thanksgiving."

          "I dunno what that is, but I'm starving!" Amber said, grinning.

          The group sat down at the table. "Wait, you mean you guys don't know what Thanksgiving is?" Ash asked, wide-eyed.

          "No, we were raised at the orphanage, remember?" Jay said from her seat next to him.

          "Well, Thanksgiving was when the American colonists left England. They landed on the East Coast and were starving and sick. The Native Indians helped them make this meal, which they all shared, brining peace between the two groups for the time being." Matt explained, winking at Serena. Max kicked Matt's shins under the table, but he expected that of the fiery boy. Matt turned his shins into stone before he was kicked, so Max ended up kicking solid rock. Serena smiled to herself, she loved Matt's rock power, although it was the total opposite of his personality.

          "Okay, well it isn't going to help anyone if we just sit here letting the food go cold! Let's eat!" Luke said impatiently.

          "I can't believe the orphanage was keeping a holiday like this away from us!" Serena said in between bites of turkey.

          One everybody had eaten until they couldn't possibly hold any more food, Nick stood up. "Okay, then! Time for dessert!" Everyone groaned. "Ash, could you help me carry it out?" Ash stood up, winked at Jay, then left for the kitchen. Soon after, there was a loud crash, and the sound of Nick scolding Ash. The two promptly emerged from the doorway, each balancing three pumping pies in their arms. As Ash was placing a pie in front of his younger brother Luke, he put his hand behind the smaller boy's head, and smashed it into the pie. The dining room, once filled with cheerful conversation, was now deathly silent. Everyone watched, their mouths gaping as Luke lifted his nearly- unrecognizable face from the sludge that was once a beautiful pie. Faster then anyone could follow with their eyes, Luke grabbed the nearest pie, and smashed it into Ash's face.

          "FOOD FIGHT!" Max yelled, standing up on his chair. 

         Everyone grabbed the nearest food item, wether it be a plate of cranberry sauce, or a steaming pot of gravy. Food was flying at terminal velocity. It was either hit or be hit. On one side of the room, Serena was throwing the water and apple cider like water balloons. On the other, Ash had resurrected the bones of the turkey, and was using them to trip people, while Jay had concocted a food tornado. In the corner, Lily was having sparrows drop raw eggs all over everyone. Max was having a jolly old time throwing scalding hot potatoes, while Matt was blocking them with his rocks. (He probably was trying to look good for Serena.) All the while, Nick was standing there in horror, looking at what had become of his beautiful feast. 

        Finally, after everyone had settled down, Nick spoke up. "EVERYONE CLEAN UP THIS MESS RIGHT NOW!" He bellowed in a voice no one had heard from him before. Terrified, the glop covered group set to work on washing the entire dining room. Serena doused everyone with water, effectively rinsing off everyone's clothes. Jay and Ash collected the food and dumped it outside where Lily had gathered a bunch of animals to eat all of it. Amber evaporated the water and soon, the kitchen was spotless.

         A couple hours later, the four girls sat on the couch watching Animal Planet while Ash, Matt, and Luke played a board game.

         "Why do we have to watch this? It's so stupid. It doesn't have action, it's not scary, and there are no walkers!" Jay complained.

          "We learn about animals, and sea creatures, and hunting...." Lily replied, her and Serena's eyes glued to the screen.

         "Ooooh! Oooh!" Serena jumped out of her chair. "It's the part about the dolphins!" She clasped her hands together and watched, mesmerized as a pod of Spinner Dolphins danced across the screen.

          "I don't get the big deal. You have dolphins in your room," Jay said.

          "Ya but these are wild. There's a big difference," Serena replied earnestly.

          "I know!  Why don't we go down to the river?" Luke offered.

          "Sounds good to me," Amber responded.  "What do you guys think?"

          "I love the idea!  Let's go!" Serena exclaimed.

          "River it is," Matt finished.

~

          The group padded lightly along the moonlit trail in the woods. They could hear the eerie call of an owl, and the seemingly endless song of the crickets. The bushes and briar sparkled with dew in the pale light. They all had their swimsuits on, however the weather was so cold that they could see their breath.

          "Stop that!" Amber said, slapping Jays arm lightly.

          "Stop what?" Jay asked impatiently.

          "Making it so cold! I don't like it..." Amber said, and she was right. Without realizing it, Jay had accidentally lowered the temperature in a matter of minutes.

          "Opps." Jay sighed, crossing her arms. "It's almost winter, get used to it."

          It wasn't long before they came across the river. The water was serene and still, as if begging to be dove into. Serena, of course, was the first in. She executed a prefect dive, and plunged into the water with scarcely a ripple. Almost immediately, her legs transformed into an aqua tail and shirt became a shimmering blue bikini. Lily had a tree grow up from the ground right where she was standing, and jumped off from the highest bough. Amber, on the other hand, was more reluctant and waded in slowly, her body glowing softly as she slightly heated the water around her. Jay, on the other hand, immediately ran a few steps, leapt into the air and flew high above the lake. Tucking her wings in, she dove faster than a hawk right below the lake's surface.

          Quietly, Serena pulled Max aside where the others couldn't see. "Hey," Max breathed excitedly, thinking that Serena had chose him.

          "Hi," She fidgeted, uncomfortable with letting the fiery boy down. "Look, you're a great guy," Max's face fell. "But, you're just not the one for me. There's a girl out there who is perfect for you, it's just not me. I'm sorry."

          "I-I.. Whatever. See you later Serena," Max trudged off, leaving Serena to go back to the others.

         After Serena told Matt that she liked him, he asked her out and they were officially a couple. Happily walking back to the river, hand in hand, the group gave a chorus of "Ooooohhs."

          "Look at that cute couple!" Lily winked at Serena, who, in turn, laughed.

          "I'm gonna get back in the water, you coming?" Serena asked Matt.

         "Nah, I'll watch you swim, Mermaid," She giggled and kissed him on the cheek.

         "I'll miss you," She said, jumping into the river.

         "I'll miss you more," Matt replied, looking like he was in a dream. Which for him, this probably seemed like one.

        Jay groaned, "You two are going to be that couple?" And with that, everyone burst out into a fit of laughter.

 

The next few hours whizzed by in a blur of games, pranks, and splashing. After a while, the teenagers settled down in front of a fire that Amber constructed. Jay leaned against Ash while Serena cuddled against Matt.

          Luke sighed. "What a day."

          Amber smiled, "Guess what I brought!" She said excitedly.

          "Wait, where's Jay?" Serena asked, causing everyone to look around. Their eyes all fell on the sight of Jay huddling behind the group, her face stuffed with marshmallows.

          "JAY YOU PIG! THOSE ARE FOR EVERYONE NOT JUST YOU STOP EATING NOW AND SHARE OR ELSE!" Amber exploded, jumping off the log she had been sitting on.

          Jay stood up straight, and calmly strode towards the group, trying to keep a straight face. Lily spluttered, and that was when everyone lost it. They were all rolling on the dusty ground, laughing until tears were running down their red faces and all the air in their lungs was extended. Once the giggling died down, everyone got a stick and two marshmallows.

          "Aha! Another perfect one!" Amber said triumphantly.

          "How are you doing that?! Mine keep burning." Lily said dejectedly.

          "Well mine won't seem to cook at all! You know, not all of us have the power over marshmallows." Serena pouted.

          "Know what? Screw this!" Jay stood up, raised her stick to the sky, and called a lighting bolt down. Her body acted like a conductor, however the marshmallow just turned into a black liquidly blob and splatted onto the ground. She plopped back down onto the log, crossing her arms.

          "Ya know who I haven't seen for a while?" Nick asked. 

          All the others turned to face him. "Go on...?" Luke said, gesturing with his hand.

          "Max." Nick finished. Now that he had mentioned it, they hadn't see him since he was rejected by Serena.

          "Well, Serena chose me so.... I'm sure he is off sulking," Matt mused.

           "I'm tired of you two constantly fighting! What if that pushed him past his breaking point and he left! If something happens to him, it's your fault!" Ash said standing up.

          "Oh no. We better go looking for him. What if Blaze..." Serena didn't need to finish. The teenagers stood up, and galloped into the forest, calling his name.

          After a good three hours of searching, as they were about to give up, the group, not together again came across a morbid sight. Lily gasped and looked away. 

          "No... There's no way he would actually..." Amber breathed.

          Serena's fists clenched at her side, and her anger started to bubble like boiling water. Jay's face was a mask of calm, as if she had been expecting this to happen. Nick stood there, speechless, unable to peel his eyes away from the sight. Matt felt guilty, as if he had caused this. Luke was shifting from foot to foot, occasionally glancing at his brother. Ash had and aura of black around him, and was confronting the spirit of...Max...

          "Is he...?" Serena asked, her voice trembling. Max from a distance appeared to be leaning casually against the base of a tree trunk. A few paces closer, and the onlooker would be proven wrong. Very wrong. The blood was everywhere; even though he was long dead, it continued to flow out of the neat slash across the boy's neck.

          "Yes." Ash answered grimly.

          "Blaze?" Lily asked uncertainly.

          "Uh-huh." Ash said again.

          "How do we know? I mean, for sure." Lily prompted.

          "Guys, look over here." Jay called. She had wandered about 15 feet away, and was pointing at a cluster of trees. On those trees, written in the blood of the fallen comrade, were the words, "Is this a game to you?" It was signed with a fancy cursive B.

          "Oh, he will SO pay for this." Ash grumbled, and Jay put her hand on the boy's shoulder, calming him down.

          "So... What do we do now?" Amber asked.

          "We should go home and get some rest. It's been a long night." Nick said, turning around.

          Ash turned around and picked up the body of Max, controller of lava, and closed his eyes, frozen in time, a look of an unspeakable fear clouding the warm brown surface.

      

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