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Ok, I originally posted this on Quizilla, but I kinda quit that site. So, here's Whispers in the Dark. It's about Taylor Rihanna Grace, the black-haired, blue-eyed daughter of...guess who? Thalia Grace and Luke Castellan. Yeah, seriously. Do not read this unless you've read all the books.
Important Things You Should Know Before Reading This!
- I believe the "Thalia loved Luke" theory.
- In this story, Luke turned good and he and Thalia were together for a while, but he ran away.
- Thalia was pregnant when he ran away.
- Don't read this unless you've read all the books. I know, I already said that, but I'd hate to spoil this amazing series for someone.
I fondly gazed over at my daughter. She was playing Barbies with Percy and Annabeth's daughter, Lisa.
I couldn't help but smile as I watched her. I began having a flashback.
On the day she was born, I was still getting over Luke. I knew my baby was his. I had no idea what it would look like...would it look like him? I was too scared to get an ultrasound, so I didn't even know if it would be a boy or a girl. (A/N: Yeah, I know...Thalia, scared to get an ultrasound? *Shrugs* Don't ask me.)
Then my waters broke.
I got to the hospital pretty quickly.
After a while, the doctor quietly said "Do you want to hold her?"
Her? Oh my gods, it was a girl! And...and I didn't even have a girly name picked out for her! What was I going to call her? Amy, after Amy Lee? Buffy, after Buffy the Vampire Slayer? How was I supposed to know when I hadn't even seen her yet?!
The doctor let everyone in.
"Aww, she's so cute!" exclaimed Annabeth.
"Name her Julie," suggested Grover.
"That's a nice name, but I think you should call her Nicole."
"Percy! She does not look like a Nicole!"
"Thalia, you should call her Hannah!"
I ignored their name suggestions and looked down at my child.
The moment I saw her for the first time, I thought of Luke. Not just because she was his daughter, but because she reminded me of him so much.
Then a name just popped into my head. It was perfect for her.
Now Taylor was four years old and drop-dead gorgeous. She did have a few freckles across her nose and her hair was black, like mine, but that was about it with the resemblance to me.
It looked like someone stuck his face on a girl.
She had her father's cat-like ice-blue eyes, and even parts of her personality were just like his. She looked more like a female version of Luke then I could have ever imagined. Well, a black-haired Luke.
"Mom?" she asked.
"Yes?" I answered.
"I hear thunder outside," she said. "What's Zeus mad about?"
"I don't know, Tay."
A few minutes later, she spoke up again.
"Mom, there's a person at the door."
Taylor ran to answer the door, but I stopped her just in time. As much as I love Tay, she has a nasty habit of answering the door without even checking to see who it was first.
Like that time Zeus came over and she let him into the house while I was in the shower, and I came down in a towel and he was right there, gawking at my daughter that looked just like Luke. Or the time she almost let that weird guy on sixteenth avenue in.
"No, sweetie," I corrected, holding the back of her shirt. "It should always be a grown-up who answers the door. Why don't you and Lisa go play downstairs?"
"Hey, Lisa!" she called. She ran down the stairs, black hair flying out behind her. "You can't catch me!"
"Oh, yes I can!" Lisa yelled after her, sea-green eyes flashing.
I took a deep breath and, even though my half-blood instincts were telling me that it was a terrible idea, opened the door.
I gasped. Standing there was a greatly familiar-looking man. His pale face had an unusual scar that started at his eye and ended almost to his jaw. He had ash-blonde hair and ice-blue eyes.
I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. I honestly thought I'd never see him again. And now here he was, at my door, almost in the same house as his daughter that he didn't know about.
"Uhh...uhh..." I stammered.
"Hi, Thalia," he said.
I was so shocked I wanted to slap him. He broke my heart. He left me for almost five years. Five very long, painful years. He left me all alone to raise our kid. His kid.
And then he just oh-so-casually says "Hi, Thalia" like none of that ever happened?!
There was a woman standing about ten feet away from Luke, which made sure she stayed fairly close to him while still keeping a distance from me. She had dark brown hair with red highlights and her eyes were dark green. She was tall and curvy, like a model. As much as I didn't want to admit it, she was beautiful.
All I could think of to say was "Umm...w-wow. You're back."
As cliche as this sounds, I pinched my arm to see if this was a dream. It wasn't.
"Come with me, Alia," he requested. Astounded, I flinched at my old nickname. Nobody, not even Annabeth, had called me Alia since I was twelve. "I want you to join us. Please?"
And he gave me his best Bambi eyes, the same Bambi eyes I had seen on Taylor. And of course, her half-aunts and uncles from Cabin Eleven.
I almost said yes.
"What are you talking about?" I asked, narrowing my eyes. I tried to at least partly close the door, but Luke held it open.
"I'm really sorry that I abandoned you," he apologized. I felt like he seriously meant it, that he was sorry for real, but I doubted it. He was a son of Hermes, whether he liked it or not. "I lived alone and worked at Wal-Mart for two years. But then I met up with a few old friends of mine, and they persuaded me to come back."
"To them?!" I cried with growing horror. "Luke, are you out of your mind?!"
"No, I'm not. They're way better than the gods, Thalia. Please, I'm begging you!" he pleaded.
He held out his hand.
"No way!" I refused. "Not when you've joined them again!"
The woman gave me the evil eye.
Luke, in the meantime, looked absolutely crushed. I felt like crying.
"Fine," he sighed, turning to walk away and abandon me again. "This is hopeless, Dawn. We're going."
I heard my little girl's footsteps. I started to panic; I couldn't let them see her!
"Mom?" she hollered, coming back up the stairs. "Lisa hit her head! She's crying!"
Luke turned around, surprised. The pretty woman, Dawn, didn't look like she'd been expecting to hear that either.
Too late. Taylor was right behind me, in plain sight.
"Mom, who are those people?"
Luke started hyperventilating.
"Run, girls!" I screamed. "Run for your lives!"
I handed Taylor the "emergency bag," as we called it. It was packed with ambrosia, nectar, clean clothes, flashlights, emergency phone numbers...basically everything we could possibly need in an emergency. Of course she had her cell phone and tracking device on her, too.
Yes, she has a cell phone. Most people would say I was insane for giving a four-year-old a cell phone. But not this four-year-old. She gets into trouble so much, and I'm so paranoid that something bad will happen to my precious little baby. Anyway, it's specially programmed so there are only eight numbers she can call - home, my cell, Percy and Annabeth, Grover and Juniper, Nico, my neighbour Sue, Camp Half-Blood (which I'm hoping she will never, ever have to call), and 9-1-1. That's everyone she will ever need to know how to phone. Well, at least until her pre-teen years.
As for her tracking device, that's a GPS thing. Not only will it help me find her if she ever gets lost or goes out past curfew, but if she ever gets kidnapped I will know exactly where she is and how fast she's going, which will tell me if the kidnappers are taking her somewhere on foot, on a plane, in a vehicle, etc. You can never be too careful with quarter-bloods. Especially this quarter-blood.
Taylor and Lisa nodded understandingly. Lisa, though tears still rolled down her face, had apparently decided that this was an emergency and the bruise on her head could wait.
"Get to Camp Half-Blood as fast as you can," I whispered just before they darted past Luke and Dawn and went off.
This was not good. Seriously not good.
My mom was totally freaking out.
I had been downstairs, playing with my friend Lisa, when Lisa hit her head on the wall and started crying. So I went up to get Mom.
There were people at the door. Strangers, people I didn't know. There was a guy with blonde hair and this really pretty lady with dark brown hair. She looked like a princess or something.
For some reason, the blonde guy kinda creeped me out. Why did he have that weird scar? And he looked sort of familiar - I didn't know who he reminded me of, but he definitely reminded me of someone I know. I really don't know who he looks like, though...Mom seemed to know him...
Anyway, Mom had told me and Lisa to take our emergency bag and run away. My mom was a cop, so she was always lecturing me about stranger danger and all that. Could these be dangerous strangers?
So now we're on the run. Yeah, yeah - a four-year-old and a five-year-old running around all by ourselves. Not that either of us really cared.
"Tay? Your phone's ringing," Lisa pointed out.
Yep, Mom gave me a cell phone. For my fourth birthday. No, not like a grown-up cell phone - a kid cell phone, where you can only call certain people. She said that most people would think I was too young for a cell phone and that other kids would be jealous of me, so I couldn't go around showing it to just anyone and I couldn't let other kids play with it.
Mom says that she gave me a phone because I get into trouble way too easily. I do not get into trouble way too easily, but I'm still happy that I get to have a phone.
I got it out and pressed the button with the little green phone.
"Hello?" I said in my most grown-up voice.
"Hi, Taylor!" exclaimed my Auntie Annabeth. "Where are you?"
"Umm, I don't know," I answered. "This blonde guy showed up at our house. Mom was scared of him. She told Lisa and I to get the emergency bag and run for our lives."
"J-J-Just a minute."
I heard her shout at my Uncle Percy. Something about me and Mom and a guy named Luke and joining the "Titans," whatever that was.
"You've still got your tracking device on you, right?"
"Good. Is Lisa with you?"
"Okay then. We'll show up in a minute, alright? In the meantime, try to stay where you are, but don't go too close to your house. And follow the usual rules."
"Don't talk to strangers, don't get into anyone's car, don't go into anyone's house, look both ways before you cross the street, call 9-1-1 if there's a problem...got it."
"Bye, Auntie Annabeth!"
I hung up.
"That was your mommy," I told Lisa. "She wants us to stay where we are. She and your daddy are gonna come pick us up."
We sat down under a big pine tree.
"How long do you think they'll take?" I asked.
"Uhh...I dunno," she replied. "A hundred years?"
We both laughed.
"Like, oh my gods, Lisa!" I cried. "You're soo funny!"
I thought I sounded really cool, like those popular girls on TV. You know, the ones that wear designer clothes and say "like, totally!" and "OMG, that's so hot?" I was trying to sound like them. (A/N: *cough*The Clique*cough*.)
She nodded. After forever, Auntie Annabeth and Uncle Percy's car pulled over.
"Hey, Lisa," smiled Auntie Annabeth. "Hey, Taylor. We're gonna take you somewhere."
"Where?" I asked.
I exchanged a glance with my friend. She shrugged and we got into our carseats.
Auntie Annabeth and Uncle Percy aren't actually my aunt and uncle, but they're really good friends with my mom, so they're like my aunt and uncle. They take me to daycare and stuff whenever Mom can't. They even have an extra carseat for me, that's how often they drive me.
It was a very long time before we got to wherever we were going. I saw plants and trees. There was a lake and stuff, too.
"Where are we?" Lisa asked.
"This is Camp Half-Blood," Uncle Percy responded. "Taylor's mom wanted us to take you here. It's not exactly safe back at your house, Taylor."
"Why?" I whined.
"There's a...a burglar. Sort of."
"A bad guy? But my mom's a cop! She's supposed to catch bad guys!"
"This bad guy is kinda different, though."
"Like a super bad guy?"
"You could say that. Yeah, super bad guys with swords. Really, really bad people."
I nodded, even though I didn't exactly understand.
"Bye, girls!" they yelled, driving away.
"Bye!" Lisa and I hollered after them.
I somehow knew that I was supposed to go to this big hill with a tree on top of it.
We went there and noticed that there were people living there.
There were a bunch of kids there. Most of them were a lot older than me, but a few of them were my age. They all wore orange t-shirts with "CAMP HALF-BLOOD" in big letters.
Yes, I can read. Pretty good, too. I learned to read when I was three. Mom says that's a miracle, especially since I'm dyslexic like her. She didn't learn to read until she was eight.
"Ahem?" a man's voice said.
Lisa and I turned around, a little surprised. There was this bored-looking overweight guy with dark hair.
"Just what are you children doing here?"
"Umm...I'm Taylor," I told him. "And this is Lisa."
"Your mother's name isn't Thalia, is it?"
I nodded again.
He ran off and came back with this guy in a wheelchair. My mom told me it was rude to stare at people in wheelchairs, so I tried not to.
"Taylor Grace," the wheelchair guy said. "And you must be Lisa Jackson. I know your parents."
He must have meant Mom, Auntie Annabeth, and Uncle Percy. Or maybe he did know my daddy, although I somehow doubted it.
My daddy is dead. He was out scuba diving and he drowned. I was a newborn baby when he died, so I don't remember him. I never knew him.
"What is this place?" was all I could think of to ask. "Why are we here?"
"This is Camp Half-Blood," the wheelchair guy explained. "You've been here before, Taylor. You probably don't remember, though - you weren't much more than a baby."
"Uh, okay," I said. "Who are you?" I was going to ask him how he knew our names, but I figured that it must have been because he knew our parents.
"I am Chiron," he answered.
"Hi, Chiron. Why are we here?"
He looked a whole lot more serious after I said that.
"You know, there are dangerous people out there."
"I'm not talking about the bad guys you see on cartoons. I'm talking about people that want to kill you just because of...who you're related to. You're not an ordinary little girl. You're very special."
"Umm..." I said, confused. "I'm not special. As far as I know, I'm just a regular kid. And why would they want to kill me because of who I'm related to?"
"You don't know most of your relatives, do you?"
"Not really, just my mommy. My daddy went to heaven when I was a baby. I don't know my grandparents, either - whenever I ask my mommy about them, she gets all sad and doesn't say anything. I think they must be in heaven, too."
"Well...sort of. But trust me, your father is definitely not dead. Neither of your grandfathers are dead, either."
"What? No way!" I yelled. "My mommy wouldn't lie to me!"
He paused. I got the feeling he didn't know what to say.
"Taylor, what if you had a secret?" he began. "A big secret, something that could hurt someone. You wouldn't want people getting hurt, so you would keep it a secret, right?"
"Your mommy has a big secret like that. She's lying to you to protect you."
"What happened to my daddy? Why did he leave?"
"He's...he's a criminal."
My eyes widened with horror.
"My daddy is a criminal?! Like the kind my mommy arrests?!"
I starting breathing a whole bunch. I think you call that hyperventilating or something.
"Is he in jail? What did he do? Rob a bank? Kill someone?"
"He's in a sort of...gang. A very special type of gang."
After a few minutes, I could breathe again.
"Why am I here, Chiron? Why are Lisa and me here?"
"The gang your father is in...they want you and Lisa to join them. Your parents are concerned for your safety, so they sent you here."
"They want us?" I gasped.
"Yes," he nodded. "They want you more than they've ever wanted anyone before."
I woke up lying on the floor of a dark room with no windows or doors. Tired, I weakly reached out and turned the lights on.
I looked around; there was a bed, a bathroom, and a kitchen. It was still a tiny, creepy cell, but I had to admit that it was kinda nice that they bothered to do that much. Not that I was glad to be there or anything.
It felt like I was slowly moving and maybe rocking a bit, like I was on a...a boat?!
"The Princess Andromeda!" I gasped out loud.
I immediately stood up.
Oh my gods, this was so bad. Where was my daughter? A four-year-old girl can't take care of herself!
I was really panicking, but I attempted to stay relatively calm. I noticed that there was some blood on my clothes and a scab-type thing on my leg, like I had tried to run away from something and slipped on a sidewalk.
Where was I? Why was I here? My memory was so foggy. I didn't know how I got here, or why I was here, but I was pretty sure that I was on the Princess Andromeda. They must have drugged me; to my horror, I could barely recall my own reflection, or what my house looked like, or what color Taylor's hair was.
After about twenty-five minutes, the drugs apparently wore off. I knew that I had dark hair, bluish-green eyes, and freckles, I lived in a small blue house, and Taylor had black hair just like me.
Suddenly, I noticed that there was one door. Just as I saw it, it creaked open, letting light in. A man walked in. He took off his hat, revealing his blonde hair, his piercing blue eyes, and the scar on one side of his face...
Everybody at Camp Half-Blood was really nice to me. It was sorta weird, though, like somebody had told them they had better be nice to me or else.
When we ate lunch, I was technically supposed to sit at the Zeus table (whatever that was), but while no one was looking I snuck over to the Athena table to sit next to my best friend.
"Hey, Lise," I whispered in her ear.
She turned to look at me.
"Yes?" she replied.
"This is so boring. Let's go exploring."
"Sure!" she grinned. "That will be a blast!"
She lowered her voice.
"But first, we'd better make sure the fat guy and the wheelchair guy aren't looking."
I noticed that the kids at the most crowded table kept staring at me and whispering things to each other. They looked almost creeped out by me.
"Lisa, look over there," I whispered. "Those kids look a lot like me!"
And they did. Almost all of them had my same pale complexion, blue eyes, and messy hair. It was scary how much I looked like them. There was this one girl who even walked like me!
Lisa looked over and her eyes got huge.
"Totally! They look like they could be your long-lost brothers and sisters!"
"I know. So weird." I added "Hey, those guys are busy now!"
We got up and ran off, holding hands as usual. We played tag and hide-and-go seek for about a billion years. After a while, we got bored of that and decided to do something a little more daring. Something the campers were constantly being reminded to avoid at all costs. Something I knew would make my mommy's head blow up if she found out.
We left camp.
We started walking down the highway, crossing the street every now and then to avoid cars. I had my phone, so I figured we were safe.
After a while, I realized something terrifying. We had wandered too far.
We were lost in the middle of nowhere.
(A/N: Next chapter, there's a surprise POV!)
"Uh-oh," Tay said.
I glanced at her.
"What's the matter?"
"Do you know where we are, Lisa?" she asked.
I shook my head.
"Me neither," she groaned. "We're lost!"
"Oh..." I replied. "...Let's try to retrace our steps, like they say on those shows."
We gave up after a few minutes.
"This is hopeless," Taylor sighed. "We're completely hooped."
We sat down by the road, wishing we had brought snacks from Camp Half-Blood. I could hear my friend's stomach growling. By gods, she had a fast metabolism. Whatever that meant.
"What are we going to do, Tay-wa?" I wondered. "Athena always has a plan. What kind of granddaughter of Athena am I?" We watched an awesome movie once where people called each other -wa and -la (like "Shay-la" and "Tally-wa"), so we decided we would do that too. (A/N: This is a rather obvious reference to the Uglies books by Scott Westerfield. They are currently making a movie of it, and Whispers in the Dark is set in 2016-2017, so the film would already be out.)
"Don't talk like that, Lisa-wa," Taylor begged, patting me on the back. "Like my mommy says, nobody is perfect."
I was a year older than her, but you could never guess. Trust me, she was the older one. She was the boss of me and we both knew it.
We wandered around, trying to find camp, even though we knew how hopeless it was. Soon it was getting dark.
I clung to my friend's arm.
"I'm scared," I whimpered.
"Me too, Lisa-wa," she whined. This surprised me; I never saw her show weakness.
"Let's go find somewhere to sleep," I whispered.
"Sounds like a good plan," she agreed. "This was a horrible idea. I should have stayed home."
We went around, looking for a place to sleep, for the longest time. I prayed desperately to all the gods I could think of off the top of my head, including the stupid mean ones.
Athena! I thought. Poseidon! Anyone, please help! My friend and I are in major trouble!
We heard a loud bump behind us. We screamed and jumped.
Thankfully, it was only a squirrel.
"Phew," Taylor sighed. "That was scary."
I had nearly peed myself when I'd heard the squirrel. I just couldn't take it anymore, and cried on Taylor's shoulder.
Finally, we found a deserted park with a couple benches we could sleep on.
"With any luck, this will be a safe place to rest until morning," Taylor whispered. "Then we can go look for camp...oh, wait, we'd better not - they'd get mad at us. In the meantime, we had better pray."
We prayed as hard as we could for a long time. Then we went to the benches, taking turns keeping watch. I had the first turn to sleep while Taylor stayed awake and looked out for us.
The next morning, we got up, grabbed our backpacks, and headed back out to find Camp Half-Blood. We honestly didn't care how angry they got; it was too scary out there.
By the time we finally found the hill with the big pine tree on top, it was lunchtime. Taylor and I were exhausted and starving.
"I'm so glad," I panted, squeezing Taylor's hand.
I heard a noise that sounded like a car horn. I turned around just in time to see a dark-haired woman open the door, snatch Taylor, and speed away. In the process, I was knocked to the ground and landed on my bum.
"No!" she wailed. "Let go of me!"
I lay on the ground, screaming and crying.
"Somebody call the police, this is not my mom! Aaahhhhh!"
After a few seconds, I was able to get up. I immediately ran for camp, more frightened than I had ever been in my life.
"Help!" I screeched. "Taylor's been kidnapped!"
"Lisa, I'm really sorry that this happened and I know you're upset, but can you please try to tell us what happened?" the police officer-type dude said.
I wiped tears from my eyes.
"Taylor and I got bored, so we decided to sneak out," I whimpered. "It was just an innocent game; we didn't think it would hurt anyone. But..."
I had to wipe my eyes again.
"We accidentally wandered away from camp and got lost. I-it was so scary...just a minute..." I had to pause for another minute to wipe my nose on the sleeve of my hoodie. Then I had to wipe my eyes, too.
"It was getting dark. We didn't know where we were, and we thought our parents would be mad at us, so we spent the night in an abandoned park. Then the next morning..."
I burst into tears, crying harder than ever. There weren't words for how devastated I felt.
"We tried to get back to camp," I sobbed. "Just when we got there...a car drove by...th-then they just opened the door, grabbed Taylor, and drove away! She was screaming and yelling the whole time. I couldn't do anything...I was so upset...oh, my gods..."
"That's too bad," he answered. "Do you remember what the car looked like?"
"It was a red van," I responded.
"Did you happen to catch the license plate number?"
I shook my head.
"What did the kidnapper look like, sweetie? Do you remember?"
"Oh, yeah," I blubbered, wiping my nose. "She was sort of an A-Angelina J-J-Jolie lookalike. She had long, really dark hair and her eyes were green (I think). I'm pretty sure she was wearing black, but I don't really r-remember...I only saw her for about three seconds..."
"About how old was she? And did she have any scars or tattoos or anything?"
"Maybe...twenty?" I guessed. "And sh-she had a tattoo on her shoulder, I think. It was like a flower or something. She wasn't anyone I knew."
He wrote down what I said.
"I'm sorry!" I cried. "I-I should have tried to stop her, I know. But...I was too scared. I thought 'I'm the only person that's seen this. What if she takes me, too?'"
"It's not your fault."
I knew it wasn't my fault, but it was just too much. I burst into tears again. I ran to my parents.
"It's ok, Lisa," my mommy whispered. "We'll find Taylor. She'll be ok."
Chiron and my parents started saying a bunch of things to each other really quietly.
"They've never wanted anyone like they want Taylor," I heard Chiron say. "If Lisa hadn't been knocked to the ground, they probably would have taken her - they want her, too, you know."
I went home with my parents that night. We watched Channel Secret, a special TV channel that only gods, demigods, and mortals who could see through the Mist (like my Grandma Sally) could access.
"Good evening. A four-year-old girl named Taylor Rihanna Grace was abducted just outside Camp Half-Blood this afternoon. She was crossing the street with her friend, Elisabeth Jackson, when a car pulled over. In the blink of an eye, the driver opened the door, grabbed little Taylor, and drove away. The only witness was a rather horrified Elisabeth." (A/N: Lisa can be a nickname for Elisabeth or Elizabeth.)
I clutched my teddy bear as they showed pictures of Taylor.
"Taylor is four years old but reportedly looks older. She was born on December 19, 2012. She has a pale complexion, freckles, black hair, and light blue eyes. She is 3'4 and weighs approximately forty pounds. She may go by Tay, Tay-wa, or her middle name Rihanna. She is described as a very outgoing, cheerful child with a good sense of humor and something of a mischevious streak. The abductor is described as a woman of about twenty years old, with dark hair and green eyes. She had a tattoo on her shoulder, possibly of a flower. She may have been wearing black. The car used to kidnap Taylor was described as a red van. If you may have seen Taylor or her abductor, please contact..."
I didn't pay attention to that part, because I knew her phone number by heart.
"Additionally, Taylor is likely to have been taken to the Titans' army. For this reason, and the fact that the abductor is not someone Taylor knows, she is considered endangered."
"Thalia," Luke whispered.
"Where's Taylor?!" I demanded. "If you don't tell me, it won't be pretty."
"Don't worry, she's okay," he answered.
"Why the hell did you bring me here?" I questioned. I gave him my best death glare, but he acted like he didn't notice.
He did not answer.
"Thalia...join the Titans, please...I know you want to..."
"Never!" I screamed. "I hate you, Luke!"
The car pulled over and my kidnapper got out of her seat. She grabbed me, opened the door, and walked out of the car. I kicked her, hit her, and tried to get away, but I stopped when she pulled out a knife.
"Now, Taylor," she began. I wondered how she knew my name. "You had better be quiet and behave yourself, or it won't be pretty. Understood?"
I gulped and nodded.
"Okay. Now we're going to that big boat over there, and we're not getting off for a very long time. Probably not for forever."
She pulled me over to the boat. Without saying anything, I let myself be taken.
My eyes filled with tears, but I wiped them off on my sleeve. I would never see my mom again.
At the tender age of four, I had been ripped from my friends and family without any warning. Now I'd never see them again.
It was all my fault. The whole thing. If I hadn't snuck out, or if I had fought more when I was kidnapped...I could have been back with Mom...
I saw these scary monsters all over the place, and some people that looked like brainwashed zombies. I heard this lady say something to my kidnapper. I somehow caught that my kidnapper's name was Dawn.
I hate this place, I thought. I want my mom. Why did they do this to me? I never did anything to them. I'm just a little girl. I'm completely innocent!
I didn't understand.
I noticed one guy that seemed to be sort of the boss of everybody. I thought he was the same guy that showed up at my door. He had bright blue eyes, just like me, and messy blonde hair. He kept staring at me fondly, like the way a father might look at their child.
I quickly shook that thought. Still, though, why did he have my same blue eyes? Was he related to me? This wasn't the gang my dad was involved in, was it? It made me wonder.
"Are you Taylor?" he asked, coming closer.
I hesitated, then I nodded.
"Who are you? What is this place, and why am I here?"
"I'm Luke. This is the Princess Andromeda. You're here because you're...special."
I crossed my arms. I was getting way sick of people telling me that.
"Why do people keep saying that I'm special?" I demanded.
"Do you know what a demigod is, Taylor?" Luke asked.
"Uhh...no," I answered, shaking my head. What was with these people?
"I don't know if you know this already, but the Greek Gods are real," he began. "And they sometimes have children with regular people. Mortals, as in. Those children they have with regular people are called demigods, or half-bloods."
"Duh. My mom talks about that all the time."
"Well, both your parents are demigods, and that makes you one too."
"Pfft. Tell me something I don't know. Like why I'm so special all of a sudden."
"Taylor, you're what's called a quarter-blood. That means both your parents are demigods. You are special because your parents are very powerful demigods. Very, very powerful. That makes you more than eight times as powerful as your average demigod."
I just stared.
"You're crazy," I stated.
"Have you ever done something that other kids can't do, like causing a thunderstorm? Do you see things other people can't? Do you ever get the sudden urge to steal something?"
I nodded. The answers to all of those questions was "yes."
"That proves who you are. We really want you on our side, Taylor. This is a good cause. Really, it is."
"Why do I have a feeling you're a liar?" I growled.
"The gods...they don't care what happens to people. They act like they care, but they really don't care. They're the liars. We want to stop them."
I could feel my eyes go wide like saucers.
"You want to kill the gods? That's evil and impossible!" I yelled. "You're mean!"
"Do you wonder why I have this scar?" he asked.
I didn't answer. I just glared.
"Wow, you remind me so much of your mom."
"Shut up, you *bleep*," I growled. I didn't know what "*bleep*" meant, but it sounded like a pretty good insult. "Or I'm going to electrocute you!"
"Sorry. Anyway, back on topic. I have this scar because the gods don't care about me. More specifically, I have this scar because Hermes doesn't care about me." He said "Hermes" like it was a swear word. And when he said it, his blue eyes flashed, and I got the vibe that he despised Hermes like you wouldn't believe.
"What are you talking about?"
"It's a long story. Anyway, that's why you're here and why you're so special."
I realized this place must have been doing something to my brain.
"Where's my mom?!" I exclaimed. Back to my usual tomboyish, fiesty self.
When he didn't answer, I shocked him and ran away.
"I gotta get outta here," I muttered to myself.
"Hey!" some guy yelled. "She's trying to escape!"
They all ran after me. I ran as fast as I could, praying to the gods at the same time.
It must have worked, because I managed to get away from them. I hid in a small closet and tried to stay calm. Thankfully, I wasn't too claustrophobic. Well, okay, maybe just a little claustrophobic. But most demigods were, right?
I remembered that I had my cell phone in my backpack, as well as the tracking device hidden on me. Once I was sure that Luke and the others were out of earshot, I unzipped my backpack and called my mommy. Strangely, she didn't answer. I tried her two more times, and she still failed to pick up her phone.
Her phone must be out of batteries, I thought, shrugging. I decided to call Camp Half-Blood instead.
"Hello?" Chiron said.
I tried not to sound like I was crying while still being quiet but clear.
"Chiron, it's me," I whispered. "Taylor Grace."
"Thank the gods you're okay. We didn't even know if you were alive. Where are you, child?"
"I'm on a boat," I replied. "It's called the Princess Andromeda, apparently. And, umm...I don't really like this place. It's creepy. There's a bunch of monsters, and the people are acting weird. They keep telling me I'm special. And they won't quit saying that the gods are bad people and I should join the Titans. What are the Titans, Chiron? Mom never told me about them."
"Taylor, I want you find a safe hiding place," he instructed. "We'll send help as soon as we can, alright?"
"Yeah, okay," I said. "Thanks, Chiron."
"You are welcome. You can hang up now, but call back if you get into trouble."
I hung up and put my phone back into my backpack. Then I got out my tracking device and pressed the alert button to let them know that I was okay, but in danger, if that made any sense. In the little computer program that the device tracked me with, the dot on the map of the world that represented me would flash red as soon as I pressed that button. Gods, that tracking device came in way handy.
I immediately scouted out the perfect hiding spot. It was behind some crates. Just the right size for me to hide in, not easy to see or hear me, and easy to get out of if they found me.
There I hid, waiting to be rescued. Eventually, a flying horse showed up. Yeah, seriously - a flying horse. Just like Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus.
The flying horse took me back to Camp Half-Blood. I honestly can't tell you what happened on the trip back, because I kind of accidentally had a little nap. I couldn't help it; I had barely slept at all the previous night. I had maybe gotten three hours at the most.
"Tay-wa!" my best friend screamed, running to me.
"Lisa-wa, it was so scary!" I yelled back, squeezing her hand. "I missed you so much!"
My Auntie Annabeth gave me a bear hug.
"Taylor," she sobbed. "You're back. It's really you."
I nodded. I was not sure what she was so upset about. I mean, it was just getting kidnapped, right? That wasn't too unusual. Well, alright, but half-bloods did lead unusually interesting lives.
"Yes, Auntie Annabeth. It's me."
After she was done fussing, she got all serious over something.
"Taylor, I have some bad news. It's your mom...she was kidnapped."
"What?! NO!" I wailed. "MOMMY! MOMMY! AHH!"
I wiped tears from my eyes.
"Why did they kidnap her?" I whined.
"The same reason they kidnapped you," she said, looking real sad. "They want her to join their gang."
"Auntie Annabeth, do you know somebody called Luke?" I questioned.
Her grey eyes widened.
"H-how do you...?" she gasped.
"Answer me!" I snapped, crossing my arms and tapping my foot and glaring at her.
"Yes," she sighed. "I know Luke. He used to be best friends with your mom and I. But some bad people got to his head. They lied to him and convinced him to join that gang."
"The Titans, you mean?"
She looked surprised again, but she nodded.
"Luke tried to convince me to join the Titans, too. And he talked about Mom. He acted like he knew her. He said I reminded him of her."
Auntie Annabeth just stared. Then she looked like she was going to faint. Then she walked away.
I shrugged, figuring that that didn't matter too much for now. I was just too glad to have escaped from the Princess Andromeda. But then I remembered about my mom, and I started crying again.
(A/N: Hmm...Tay seems to be making the connection between what happened to Luke and the story she's been told about her father...)
I didn't really talk to anyone that day, except Lisa-wa. I was just too depressed about Mom.
"Lisa," I began. "I noticed something."
"What did you notice?" she asked.
"Well," I answered. "When I was on that boat, there was this guy there. He called himself Luke, and he looks really familiar. I didn't know who he reminds me of until know."
"Who does he remind you of?" questioned Lisa.
"Me, actually," I answered. "Like, it's scary. And apparently the people on that ship were that gang my daddy joined. And the story your mom told me about Luke sounded a lot like the one my mom told me about my daddy. On top of it all, he used to be best friends with our parents."
Lisa moved her dark hair behind her ear, and I saw her sea-colored eyes widen in shock.
"You mean you think he's your dad?"
"I don't think I want him to be my dad, but I think he is."
For a while, she was quiet.
"Why did he remind you of yourself, Taylor?" she asked.
"He was pale," I told her. "And he had blue eyes."
"Lots of people have blue eyes," she pointed out.
"True," I said. "But they were exactly the same color as mine. And what about the paleness? Not very many people are this pale, you know."
"I don't want Luke to be your daddy, either," Lisa quietly said. "But it's stupid to deny what's right in front of your face. My mom said so."
I nodded in agreement.
Later, at lunchtime, I cooked up a devious plan. When I whispered it to Lisa, she grinned.
We stood up on the table so there was no way that somebody wouldn't notice us.
"Food fight!" we yelled, taking extra care to make sure that the Hermes table heard us. This place was severely boring; c'mon, we need a little harmless fun!
Then there was complete chaos. I could hardly open my eyes without getting somebody's airborn food in them.
Just for the fun of it, I threw my food in random directions, too. I didn't really care - I probably wouldn't have eaten it, anyway, because I wasn't very hungry.
That night, I just barely got to sleep. I was all alone in the Zeus cabin (I wasn't allowed to sleep with Lisa, because I wasn't a descendant of Athena), my mom was gone, I might have been related to this criminal that kidnapped me, and it was really dark. Every little noise, every bump in the night sounded like a monster coming to get me.
Suddenly, I heard someone creeping around inside the cabin. I jerked up in bed, startled.
I looked around, not daring to so much as turn the lights on.
"Wh-who's there?" I bravely called out.
Yes! I had finally managed to escape the Princess Andromeda, and it felt a bit like winning the lottery. I just needed to find Taylor now.
I ran up the hill.
"Taylor? Taylor?" I called out.
That was when I saw it.
The Titans' army. They were invading camp.
When I didn't get an answer quickly enough for my impatient ADHD brain, I immediately got out of bed and turned my flashlight on.
It was Luke. Oh, wonderful.
Darting past him, I made a beeline for the door and ran outside.
I screamed the way my mom and my preschool teacher told me to if a stranger ever bothered me.
"Help mee! Help mee!" I yelled as loud as I could, pointing at Luke. "That person tried to touch me!"
I kept repeating it over and over again. Eventually, a bunch of people came running over, including the wheelchair guy (except he wasn't in a wheelchair) and this tough-looking girl. She was five or six years older than me, and she had light brown hair. Even though she didn't look particularly angry, she was intimidating just by being near me. I had seen other kids that looked like her in Cabin Five. (A/N: Three guesses whose daughter she is.)
The wheelchair guy narrowed his eyes at Luke. I saw my Auntie Annabeth come out.
"Luke!" she exclaimed. "How dare you!"
She pulled her sword out and pointed it at him.
Then, another unexpected thing happened. Someone screamed my name, picked me up, and hugged me so tightly it was hard to breathe. I turned around and saw my mom, with tears rolling down her face. It was so weird; I had only seen her cry twice in my life. Once when Lisa (who is basically family) was in an accident and we thought she was going to die, and once when I wandered off and they didn't find me for five hours.
"Mom?" I gasped. "How did you get here?"
"I escaped," she sobbed. "Taylor, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm mostly okay," I answered. "There's some people I don't know here, though. Everybody is scared of them. And Luke broke into the Zeus cabin and tried to kidnap me again."
She looked shocked, apparently because I knew who Luke was.
"Oh my gods, Taylor. Oh, my gods. Go somewhere safe!"
I saw that the wheelchair guy talking to all the other kids who were my age.
"Go hide under your beds," he instructed. "Lock the doors, close the windows, and turn off the lights. And be quiet."
"Why are we the only ones who have to do this, Chiron?" Lisa asked.
"You're too young to fight," the wheelchair guy, who was apparently named Chiron, answered.
We ran to our cabins (I was told to hide in a different cabin, because the Zeus cabin was exactly where the bad guys would look for me) and did what he said. I was scared, so I stayed close to Lisa.
Then I heard the window break.
The other kids in the cabin started freaking out.
"Oh my gods!" a little boy squealed. "What was that?"
"This is bad," I whispered to Lisa. "We're just kids. We can't defend ourselves, we can't kill a monster."
And that was true. We were just kids - the youngest of us were like, one-year-olds, and the oldest kids here looked about nine or ten.
Lisa looked at me with worried green eyes.
Then something just a bit unexpected happened.
"If Taylor Grace is here, you'd better come out," Dawn's voice said. "Unless you want your friends to die, of course."
"Lisa! Do you think they really mean that?"
She was too scared to answer. Then I had an idea.
"Uhh...okay," I said, coming out from under the bed. "Here I am. I'm Taylor Grace."
"Great," Dawn replied. "You're coming with me, brat."
I could feel the other kids staring at me with wide eyes. They thought I was seriously going to give myself up.
"Ha!" I laughed. "Did you think it would be that easy to kidnap me? 'Cuz it won't! I don't have my guard down this time, *bleep*!" I was Mom's daughter, that was for sure.
I wasn't sure what "*bleep*" meant. I heard it on this show the babysitter let me watch. Well, I figured it sounded like a pretty good insult.
Dawn's eyes went wide. She looked sort of alarmed.
I shocked her, making her faint. I didn't electrocute her, though, even though I could. Mom says it's bad to kill people, including mean people.
"Come on, everybody!" I yelled. "Let's get out of here before she wakes up!"
We all ran to different cabins (though I still stuck with Lisa), making sure to lock the windows this time. We barracaded them with chairs and boxes and stuff, too. And the doors.
Lisa was barely visible, hiding under the bed with me. The lights were all off in the cabin, she was wearing dark clothes (aside from the usual orange Camp Half-Blood shirt), and her long black hair sorta hid her face. I was more than a little freaked out by this whole thing, plus I could hardly see her, so I held her hand.
"This is scary. I want those people to go away."
"Shh!" cried an older girl. "They're right outside!"
A few minutes later, we heard banging. They were trying to break in again.
"Taylor, give yourself up!" a woman's voice yelled. "We've been tracking you. We know you're in here!"
"Oh no, Tay!"
I gulped. If I didn't surrender, they would kill these other kids for real. But if I did, I might never see my family again.
I did what I thought was right, even though Lisa screamed at me not to do it.
I opened the door and went outside.
"I surrender," I stated with no emotion.
Sigh. This would not be fun.
They left camp, dragging me with them. I let myself be kidnapped, because I didn't even want to imagine what would happen if I refused to cooperate.
"Gods, I hate these people," I whispered to myself.
The moment I got to the Princess Andromeda, I started planning my escape.
Hmm, I thought. There's a window I could jump out of. But we'll be in the ocean, so I'd better find some sort of life boat and pray to Poseidon like crazy. And how will I let everyone back at camp know where I am? Easy, I'll press the alert button.
Then Dawn locked me in a cell and walked away.
This is gonna be hard, since I can't get to that window from here. But I can still use my cell phone and tracking device.
First, I pressed the alert button. Then I took out my phone and selected "new message."
The text read "help i was kidnapped i am on the princess andromeda." I sent it to everybody except Sue, my mom's friend who's a mortal.
I looked around. I did see a window, but it was high-up.
If I pile up all those chairs and boxes, I thought. I just might be able to reach it.
Luckily, I was tall enough to reach the window if I stood on the pile. I shocked it, thus smashing it, then climbed out.
Creeping past the people on the ship, I managed to find a decent hiding place while I waited for a response.
Mom replied, saying "Help is coming. I love you, Taylor. Stay where you are if possible."
"i love you 2 mommy" was what I said back.
Meanwhile, I prayed to the gods. Finally, a bunch of campers in a little boat arrived to take me back. I jumped off, hoping my backpack wouldn't land in the water.
While we were going back to camp, they briefly stopped to go to the bathroom, leaving me all alone in the car. Pretty irresponsible if you ask me.
I was freaked out, so I waited outside the car instead of in the car. They had been gone for a few minutes when I heard someone behind me.
"Taylor," they whispered.
It was Luke. He had followed us.
For the umpteenth time, I screamed like Mom and my preschool teacher told me. I was seriously getting sick of being caught and/or kidnapped by Luke.
"Help! Help! That guy is not my dad!" I yelled, pointing at him. Everyone outside just ignored me for the most part.
Luke stared at me for a second.
"What?!" I gasped.
"You're my daughter. I'm your dad."
I absolutely refused to believe that, even though I knew it was true deep down. I ran away screaming just as the other demigods came out of the gas station.
That explained it. All of it. The bright blue eyes, the pale skin, the way he kept looking at me, the way he talked about my parentage, the fact that he was best friends with Mom...it all fit. It really, really did.
I wanted to deny it, because Luke was evil. I couldn't, though. Like Lisa said, it was stupid to deny something that was right in front of your face.
So for the longest time, I just sat in the alley and cried.
Finally, I got up.
"I'm Zeus's granddaughter," I said to myself, wiping my eyes and smiling a little. "I can't be a crybaby."
Just as I stepped out of the alley, I heard something that caused me to freeze. It was Dawn, Luke, and some other people I knew from the Princess Andromeda. They were looking for me.
My half-blood reflexes kicked in and I darted back into the alley, trembling with fear. No, I was fearless - "worry" was probably a better word.
"Hey," one of the campers that rescued me said. "C'mon, Taylor."
I nodded and took her hand.
I hope I never see Luke again, I thought.
I got into the car and they took me back to camp. Lisa hugged me and we resumed our day.
"Wait, you're saying you want my daughter to...?" I asked. "Like, not just being on the ship? You want her to run around doing things where she'll run into monsters?"
"Yes," Kronos answered. "I don't see why not, since you're so sure the child is yours."
"That's it," I announced, standing up and making a face. "I quit this...this cult of yours. I said Taylor looked about four or five years old, right? And you expect her to be able to fight a monster? I won't let you force my daughter to do your dirty work at her age! I may hate the gods, but I quit!"
With that, I ran away. I didn't really know or care where I was going; I just ran away.
"Luke, come back!" Dawn yelled.
"You're making a terrible mistake!" another demigod yelled.
That was it. I'd quit the Titans.
I stole a car and started driving. Eventually, I reached Camp Half-Blood.
I saw her. Thalia, the girl I'd loved since I was a kid. Just ten feet away from me.
Seeming to notice me, she looked up. Then her eyes went wide. Then she let out a piercing scream.
(A/N: Sorry for the short chapter. I'll make it up to you with a good ending, though; this story will be finished really soon.)
I honestly could not believe it. I had fantasized so much about this day, and now it was here. Luke had quit the Titans and come back to Camp Half-Blood.
Things were still a bit awkward with him and Taylor. First they just kind of stared at each other without really saying anything. Then they started talking to each other. After a while, Taylor started calling him "Dad."
It was a lot like an adopted child meeting their birth parents for the first time - you could tell they recognized that a bond was there, but they needed time. Taylor had found out that Luke was her father just three hours ago.
"What's your favorite show?" Luke asked.
"I like Sesame Street," Taylor replied. "That vampire guy is weird, though."
"Cool. I watched Sesame Street when I was a little boy."
Taylor nodded. Then, a few minutes later, she looked out the window.
"I'm gonna go play outside," she announced.
"But Taylor," said Luke, raising an eyebrow. "It's pouring rain."
"I like getting wet, Dad," she smiled. "I don't even care if it's kinda cold and I might get 'pnoo-mon-ya.' It's fun to be rained on." I assumed she meant "pneumonia."
Luke glanced at me. I just shrugged.
"You know what's even weirder?" I began, once Tay was outside. "She likes the rain and Lisa doesn't. Wouldn't you think it would be the other way around? That Poseidon's granddaughter would like the rain more than Zeus's granddaughter?"
"Yeah," he answered.
"Stop right there!" a male voice yelled. A voice I recognized from the Princess Andromeda.
I turned around to see a guy, maybe nineteen, pointing a taser at me.
"That won't hurt me," I calmly explained. "I'm Zeus's granddaughter. It's impossible to electrocute me."
Two other guys ran over and grabbed Lisa before I could do anything about it. As worried as I was for my friend, that confused me; why weren't they taking me instead?
"But she isn't," the guy with the taser snickered. "She wouldn't be immune to this taser."
I fell backwards, causing me to land on my butt, and gasped. They would taser a five-year-old girl?
"You still can't hurt her, though." I tried to sound as threatening as possible, but my voice was a little shaky. "B-because Poseidon and Athena are her grandparents. Do you want two gods pissed at you?"
"Ha! You think we're scared of the gods? If Lord Kronos didn't want you brats so badly, we'd torture both of you to death right now!"
"But then," I asserted. "Zeus and Hermes would get mad too. And if four gods were mad at you, it wouldn't be pretty, so bug off!"
These people weren't as intimidating to me. I wasn't really afraid to be brave with them, since they'd basically said they were allowed to kidnap me but not hurt or kill me. I was more worried about Lisa, though they claimed to want her, too.
The guy with the taser grabbed me by my hood (I was wearing a hoodie) and dragged me to his car. The whole time I protested, kicking, hitting, and scratching him.
"Shut up, you little retard," he sneered.
I bit his arm. He said "OW!" but he didn't let go of me.
"HELP!" I screamed.
Luke and I practically jumped out of our seats when we heard our daughter scream. She was outside, but we were there in two seconds.
I couldn't see her. I looked around, panicking, then I realized where the screaming was coming from. It was coming from a car going by.
"No! My baby!" I screeched, running after the car even though I knew that was practically impossible. "Taylor, Taylor!"
Luckily, she managed to jump out of the vehicle, along with Lisa. The girls ran to us, and I hugged both of them.
The car they'd just escaped from turned around and pulled up right by Camp Half-Blood. The people all ran out.
Before they were six feet away from us, Taylor and I shocked them very hard. Too weak to fight or kidnap a child, they sighed and went back to the car.
But not before one of them turned around and said something that would always haunt me.
"Don't think you've seen the last of us. We'll be back someday. You are never safe from us."
With that, they left.
My mommy and daddy got married, with me as the flower girl. They said it was best for me to grow up with both my married parents. Well, whatever. I was just glad I had a real family now.
Mom started acting all weird. She got mad a lot and always wanted pumpkin pie. Plus, she was getting kinda fat, too.
Whenever I asked Dad about Mom's behaviour, he said he didn't know. I had a feeling he did know, however, and he was lying to me for some reason.
One day, I was playing Barbies when my parents came up to me looking excited.
"Taylor," Mom grinned. "Guess what I have in my tummy?"
I paused for a minute.
"Uhh...spaghetti?" I guessed.
"Nope," she laughed.
"A birthday cake?"
"I give up, what?"
"It's..." she began. "...a baby! You're getting a little brother or sister!"
I squealed and hugged Mom's tummy. It was getting pretty big.
"Where do babies come from?" I asked.
Mom and Dad exchanged a glance.
"I'm not doing it," Mom whispered.
"I guess I'll have to do it, then," Dad sighed.
He turned to me.
"When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much," he stated in an 'I really don't want to do this, but I kinda have to' tone. "They do something very special together. Sometimes that makes the mommy get pregnant. Pregnant means that she has a baby in her tummy. Nine months after the mommy gets pregnant, a stork comes and delivers the baby to the parents."
A stork is a type of bird, I think.
"But how does the baby get there, Dad?" she asked.
"We'll tell you that when you're older," I grinned, ruffling her little dark-haired head.
She looked up at me through impatient pale blue eyes. So identical to mine; I still couldn't believe how much she looked like me. Except for the hair, anyway.
"I wanna grow up already," she complained.
"Someday. But for now, you're still a little girl, okay?"
Taylor nodded again. And then she hugged me. And then she hugged Thalia, too. And then we were all in a big group hug, like a regular family.
Yes, we were a family now. And we loved each other.
Sequel: Echoes in the Night.