This is the 31st installment of the book I am currently writing. It is Sci-Fi/Adventure for young adult. It is not part of the Oz Chronicle series. Click on the “Lost Days Book” category on the right to read from the beginning. Or you can click here
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“Nice,” was the first thing Joyner said to me. He met me at the front entrance to the school and walked me to my first class. He was wearing a suit. I was a little surprised, because I wasn’t sure if someone of his stature would actually be going to the funeral, but by the looks of everyone in school, they were all planning on going mainly to get out of afternoon classes. It was almost like the school was buying mourners for Elizabeth Starling. I hoped it would make Ginger feel loved. I had a feeling she was smart enough to see it for what it really was. “You feeling better?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “Nothing serious.”
“Can I give you a ride to the funeral?”
“Got any crazy uncle stories for me today?” he asked.
I chuckled. “No. He might not be as crazy as I thought he was.”
“Really? That’s kind of disappointing,” he said jokingly. “What changed your mind?”
I looked at him. Should I tell him about Uncle Crew and Ginger’s mom? I cleared my throat and only told him half of the story. “He’s not into Bigfoot. He’s into owls.”
“He hunts them?” Joyner asked.
“No,” I said. “He takes pictures of them. Studies them. He says they’re endangered. He’s trying to preserve their territory.”
“Cool,” he said.
“I guess,” I responded.
“He takes pictures of them… where?”
I shrugged. “Shawnee National Forest. Little Grand Canyon. Just around.”
“And he’s got pictures?”
I thought about it. “I saw some owls, but I’m not sure if they’re the endangered ones.”
“Can I see them?” he asked with unexpected enthusiasm.
“You want to see pictures of the owls?”
“Why not?” he asked. “Is that so weird?”
I smiled playfully. “Kind of.”
He smiled back and squeezed the back of my neck. Shivers went down my spine and I could feel goose bumps pop up all over my body. As corny as it sounds, it felt like I had never been touched by a boy before, and honestly at that moment, I couldn’t remember if I had been. “I’ve just never seen an endangered animal before… I mean close up. I think I’d like to get involved with the cause.”
I looked at him cockeyed. “Okay, but Uncle Crew isn’t really the type who works well with others. You might have to help the owls without helping Uncle Crew.”
“I was hoping I could meet him. Pick his brain, you know.”
“Not a good idea.”
We stopped in front of my class. “Okay, I’ll settle for the pictures for now,” he said.
The bell rang, and I turned to go into the classroom when he grabbed my arm. “When?”
“When what?” I asked.
“When can I see them?” he asked pulling me closer.
I resisted, but he kept pulling. “Wow, you really want to see those pictures.”
“So, shoot me for caring about one of God’s creatures.” His tone was hard to read. I think he was trying to be funny, but he sounded a little frustrated.
I was a little unnerved by his sudden keen interest in owls. “I have them on my laptop.”
“Cool, I can swing by your house after the funeral and look at them.”
I shook my head. “I don’t think that would be such a good idea.”
“Why?” This time I knew he was frustrated.
“It’s just that it’s my grandparent’s house, and I really shouldn’t have any uninvited guests over.” I was pretty sure that Nana Taffy and granddaddy wouldn’t mind if he came over, but I was really unsettled by his need to see the pictures.
He shrugged. I think he sensed my tenseness. “Cool, Friday then. I’ll pick you up a little early for pizza.”
I nodded. “Friday. That’ll work.”
Danny Perry ran by and yelled out, “T, we’ll be late for Mr. Hammond’s class. He’ll have coach all over us.”
“Coming,” Joyner yelled back. He smiled and said, “You look really good today.”
I blushed and walked into my class when a bell went off in my head. ‘T.’