Read an excerpt from Eleventh Elementum
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
Skylee’s eyes were so intently focused on the envelope, she didn’t notice the colorful insects or Will. She scampered on down the sidewalk.
He gently reached out, clutched her arm and said, “Sky, what’s wrong?”
“Oh, Will, there you are!” she said in a distressed voice.
“What’s goin’ on, eh?” he asked, staring up at the butterflies.
Skylee smiled when she heard his voice. His ordinarily slight Australian accent was much stronger after being in Sydney. Actually, since Airon had come to live with them, Will had picked up more and more of his cousin’s Aussie ways. And Skylee noticed something else was different about Will. He had returned from his trip with blonde highlights in his wavy brown hair. No doubt from spending hours at the beach. She wouldn’t be surprised if his new surfer-boy look turned many an Aussie girl’s head.
For some reason, she didn’t like dwelling on that thought. So, she turned her attention to giving Will a detailed answer about the stranger, the book, the necklace, and the words that had appeared and disappeared. During her little speech the butterflies, still hovering behind her, continued to distract him.
“Uh-huh,” he grunted.
“Will?” Skylee called a little louder.
“Eh?” Will replied, with his eyes still glued to the butterflies.
“What are you looking at?” Skylee questioned grabbing his jacket.
Will finally turned his attention to Skylee and motioned with his eyes toward the fluttering creatures. He gently placed his hands on her shoulders and turned her around.
“That,” he said in a matter of fact tone.
Skylee cocked her head to the side in bewilderment. A mixture of shock and awe possessed her as she gazed at dozens of colorful butterflies flying above her head. She raised an eyebrow and said, “Eastern Tailed Blues, well…their real name is Cupido Comyntas—what are they doing here so early in the spring? Okay, that’s a little weird.”
“Cripes, Sky, it’s more than a little weird. And by the look of it, they’re following you.”
“All right, it’s really weird,” said Skylee, waving her hands in the air to shoo the butterflies away.
As she watched the purplish-blue insects floating into the sky, she wondered if her mind was scattering with them. I must be going crazy. Why are all these bizarre things happening today? She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts.
“Will, did you hear what I told you?”
He nodded but continued watching the butterflies, now tiny specks, as they faded away. Skylee softly tapped him on the shoulder, which caused him to jump and look over at her.
“Sorry, I’m a bit distracted,” he said with a crooked grin.
She smiled forgivingly at him. Over the last few months, there had been a change in their friendship. It was subtle, but she could sense awkwardness between them.
So, what? He’s still your best friend, she told herself. In fact, they had been BFFs for as long as she could remember. Her mind drifted back to when she was about seven or eight. Those were the days when she spent much of her time with Will and Gracie. They had called themselves the three musketeers, one for all and all for one. That had been their motto.
Those were blissful times even though the skies were gray and even after Gracie’s illness prevented them from going outside to play. They still had fun building forts out of blankets and dressing up as their favorite characters from the books Gracie read to them. Then it all changed—Skylee wished things didn’t always have to change.
She swallowed hard and fought back her emotions. She composed her thoughts and recounted the details about the gifts to Will. She decided to downplay the part about the stranger and the glowing light. It was best not to tell him too much since he was so protective of her. Will crossed his arms and chewed on his bottom lip as he listened.
“Are ya alright?” He reached out and patted her arm. “Did the bloke hurt you?”
“I’m fine, just a bit shook up,” she said, nervously tucking a long wisp of hair behind her ear.
“Well, did you call security or your mum to tell them what happened?”
“Oh, Will, I’m okay,” Skylee said. “You worry too much. I’ll tell them later.” She looked down at her feet. “It’s what I saw in the book that really bothers me.”
“I worry too much? You just told me some bloke climbed through the window and—he could’ve hurt you!”
“But he didn’t…I’m okay. I thought he was after the book, but come to think of it he didn’t really try to take it.”
“And you heard him say something about it existing?” he asked as Skylee nodded in agreement. “So where is the book?”
“I hid it. It should be safe. Why do you think the man said it still exists like he thought something had happened to it?”
Will frowned. “Sky, if you see him again, let me know.”
“I will,” she said, letting out a sigh. “Why are you so obsessed with him? Please, just tell me…what do you think was going on with that book? What could’ve made those things happen?”
“All right,” Will said placing his hand upon his chin in a gesture of contemplation. “Let me get this straight, you opened the book and words just appeared?”
“That’s impossible,” he whispered in disbelief.
“I know. So there’s got to be a logical explanation.”
“Right, and what did it say?”
“Well,” Skylee thought about it a second. Should I tell him the whole story?
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