The door clicked open and I lead the gang under the house and over to the hatch. Lifting the hatch I shone the torch down the stairs and we made our way down.
“Wow, this place is amazing!” Alice exclaimed as we walked around the cavern.
“Not ideal though,” Elliot commented, “But if I can hook up some wiring and give us some lights, it’ll be perfect.”
“You can do that?” I questioned.
“Yeah. My dad’s an electrician so I’ve learnt a few things off him, and we always have spare bulbs and cables lying around. It shouldn’t be an issue.”
I saw Luke make his way over to the pool and move the water around. He seemed so fascinated by the clarity of the liquid. I made my way over to him.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” I asked.
He looked up at me and said nothing. Since he’d never been one to talk to me, I decided I was going to try myself. I knelt down beside him.
“The water’s pure and drinkable. I think that’s pretty awesome.”
He shuffled awkwardly for a bit before saying, “I know.”
Of course, I chided myself, He’s a water Flector.
Splaying his fingers, he built up a stream of water until it towered over our heads. When he turned his wrist the water rained down on us and we laughed. I looked at him and he smiled.
“Wow, boulders!” Elliot shouted. He stamped his foot and the boulders went flying.
I screamed as one came flying towards me. I flung my arms over my face but there was no need. When there was no impact I peeked out. Tomas had stopped the boulders. Little tornados supported each boulder, making them hover in mid-air, with one just inches from my face. Slowly Tomas lowered them to the ground.
“Th-thank you, Tomas,” I stammered as I lowered my arms.
“What were you thinking, Elliot?” Alice demanded as she rushed over to me and gave me a hug.
“I wasn’t, I just-I’ve never used boulders that big before and…” Elliot was shaking too, “God, Maggie, I’m so sorry.”
“No, it’s not,” he walked up to me, knelt down in front of me and started rubbing my arm, “I am so sorry.”
“We should probably head back up,” Tomas announced, “And we should probably head home. It must be getting late by now.”
Alice helped me up because I was still shaking, and she supported me as we climbed the stairs. As Elliot clicked the door in place I noticed Tomas was right. It was getting late. The sun had dipped below the horizon and the clouds were streaked with a beautiful orange color. It was like any other sunset, but for some reason this time it looked magnificent.
We made our way round to the front of my house and by then I had stopped shaking. Standing at the bottom of the steps that led up to my house, we all looked at each other. We all said goodbye and they turned around to go home, but before Alice stepped any further I had an idea and touched her wrist. She stopped and turned to face me.
“Uhh, the last twenty-four hours haven’t exactly been a walk in the park, and I don’t know if I could spend tonight alone after everything. Would you like to stay the night? I have some clothes you can borrow for tonight and everything.”
Alice hesitated before speaking, “I’d like that.”
She smiled and turned to Luke who, along with the others, had stopped and was waiting for her, “Could you tell Marnie I won’t be home tonight? I’m staying with Maggie.”
Luke nodded and the guys turned and walked away. Alice and I climbed the front steps to my front door.
“Alice is staying,” I declared as we walked through the front door.
“Oh that’s nice sweetie. Hi Alice. I met you earlier, didn’t I?” Mom smiled.
“Yes ma’am.” Alice replied in a formal manner.
“Oh you don’t need to do any of that “ma’am” stuff with me. Just call me Tammy,” Mom smiled again, “Do you eat meat? I’m making a Moroccan lamb stew for dinner.”
“Yes, of course. That sounds delicious,” Alice actually appeared nervous. I was not used to seeing her like this.
“Okay well this will be ready soon. I’ll call you guys when it’s time to eat.”
We headed upstairs and as I closed my bedroom door the tension became awkward. Suddenly we had no idea what to do.
“So…” Alice said as she scanned the room.
“I’ll find you some pajamas to wear,” I said as I started rummaging in my drawers. Eventually I pulled out a shirt and some shorts – the only pajamas I had other than the ones I usually wear.
“Is this okay?” I asked as I held them up.
“Sure,” Alice smiled as I chucked them on the bed.
“Hey, who’s Marnie?” I asked, trying to make conversation.
“Oh, she’s my foster mom. She’s also Luke’s real mom.” Alice studied my face, trying to gauge my reaction. However, I knew all about unconventional families so this didn’t faze me.
“Really?” I flopped down onto the bed nonchalantly.
“Yeah, they took me in.”
We were called for dinner so we went to go get it. After asking if we could take it upstairs, we headed to my room and continued talking. Alice told me about her life.
She grew up in an orphanage on the other side of town and was moved from foster home to foster home until she was thirteen. Once she was taken back to the orphanage for the seventh and final time she was deemed an undesirable foster child because she was a teenager, and had recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The orphanage looked after children until they turn seventeen, and then they were on their own.
When Alice turned seventeen several months ago, she moved in with some other teenagers. However, apparently they weren’t the best people to be around. Drinking became a regular occurrence in Alice’s life, and her bipolar didn’t make it any easier.
“I remember the first storm after my seventeenth birthday. It was the night I became a fully fledged Flector. I was drunk, stumbling along the footpath, and it was pouring down. The sky just lit up with the first bolt of lightning and my spine felt like it was erupting into flames. I remember I collapsed in an alleyway, and a car pulled up in front of me. I remember footsteps rushing towards me as my vision faded, but I don’t remember seeing them. The last thing I saw was my hand lying on the concrete with lightning sparking from it.”
She told me when she woke up she was curled up under a blanket on a couch, and this boy – Luke – was staring at her. His mom, Marnie, gave her all kinds of soups and hot chocolates to make her feel better, and it worked immensely. She had asked about Alice’s life and she had told her, and then Marnie had said that there was no way Alice was going back to the flat after everything that had happened. So they adopted her. They made her become clean, she enrolled at our school, and she got her life on track.
“It sounds like Luke’s family is really nice,” I replied.
Alice beamed, “Yeah, they’re the best family I’ve ever had. They accept me for who I am, disorders and all, and I’m grateful.”
“So they taught you about who you were and the Flector history and everything?”
“Uh huh. The first week I lived there I was buzzing with questions, and they were more than happy to answer them.”
“Have you guys ever been to the Entum?”
“Oh, we all have,” Alice replied, “Although we have to drive to the next town over to get there. The Flectors in this community are still trying to figure out where our portal is.”
“Do we not have one?” I asked.
“We do – every town does – we just don’t know where ours is,” Alice reached over and touched my bracelet, “This is pretty. I’ve seen you wear it every day since you started at our school. Does it mean anything?”
“Yeah, actually it does. This time last week my friends from my old town stayed over, and we put these friendship bracelets on. We’re going to let them fall off naturally.”
“Aww, that’s sweet.”
“Mmm,” I replied absentmindedly as I twisted the bracelet around my wrist. I wondered what Jane and Mel were doing at the moment. I so desperately wanted to talk to them.
Eventually Alice and I ended up lying side by side on my double bed and I apologized for not having a spare mattress for her.
“It’s fine,” she reassured me, “I’m just happy that I have a sister to have sleepovers with.”
I smiled. It was so nice to be friends with Alice. We ended up talking all night, and finally fell asleep when the sun was just peeking up over the horizon.