With intense pain also comes shocking realization.
As once again, four average teenagers, Vanessa, Alexandria, Dylan, and Eric, are forcefully kidnapped from their lives and thrust into an alternate world where evil rushes at them from all directions, they have no choice but to battle for their lives and protect each other's.
With the help of various unforeseen alliances, the clock races down upon the four as they battle against fate, betrayal, and treachery to save a crumbling kingdom and force justice upon those responsible for its destruction. Yet, will it be twisted love, shaky destinies, or the ever looming fear of death that finally withholds the ultimate goal of returning to the lives they once knew?
Only the revelation of truth will lead to victory.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)|
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The Third SideA Double Sided Teen Novel
By Natalie Black Melissa Black
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Natalie and Melissa Black
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAs told by Alex Aldermen
Tick. The second hand crawls forward one more space. Tick. My petite Gucci heels tap impatiently. Tick. One more second passes, one more of my precious moments of life wasted away as I sit here. Here, on the rough hardwood floor of my fourth period class, PE.
I grow impatient, waiting for the final bell to ring, for the hoard of students to be released from their classes, to be set free.
I wait, for lunch.
Clarissa, one of my best friends, and I strut down the hallway arm in arm. The mob of juniors pushes and shoves to create a path for us down the center of the foyer. The chaotic mess of the corridor, the paper air planes, hurried talk of the next period test, and the rattling sound of slamming lockers, all come to a standstill as I pass by. Every searching eye settles on me. From my beautifully conditioned strawberry blond hair, down to my flawlessly manicured nails, every aspect of me is analyzed to perfection.
It's not like I chose to be the most popular person here at Summit High, I was just born that way. Not that it's not difficult to be loved by everyone; it takes a lot of work. Like, making sure I look wonderful everyday- I don't want to accidentally start an ugly trend. Or, secretly making almost all A's in my classes while pulling off the façade of one who does not study, and fails. I don't want to give the impression that I might be mistaken as a nerd.
Do you see what I mean? Being fabulous all the time takes a lot of coordination and can be exhausting sometimes. This, of course, is why I am forced to catch up on most of my beauty sleep in math class.
We make it to the cafeteria. The moment that makes coming to school worthwhile, when I can walk into a room full of every student here at Summit High and still manage to make every head turn and jaw drop.
I pause at the base of the doors, and with every eye watching, gently flick my wrist through my hair, causing it to gracefully fly and then fall around my face. A simple flick of the hair, a never-failing maneuver.
I notice the girls in the room grow green with envy as their boyfriends melt at my sight.
Without seeming to notice the sudden mood change in the room, I flounce over to my usual table. Dylan, among a few other close friends, is already there.
If you read the prologue, you would know that my family takes in foster children, and until recently were looking for one to adopt then put through college. I met Dylan on a very adventurous, yet unexpected journey lately, and brought him home.
My parents took an instant liking to him, and now, Dylan is my brother. He is about yay high (5'10") with a mop of sandy blond hair piled on top of his head that hangs most the way down his forehead. He has deep, emerald green eyes which contrast with his beach boy tan skin and a crooked smile that could make any girl melt.
"Hey Dylan, I hope you've been thinking about me," Clarissa giggles. She grabs his arm and sits down right next to him at the table.
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention, we are kind of tied up in a strange little love triangle here? Try and follow along as I explain this odd drama.
Clarissa, my best friend, likes Dylan who is my foster brother, who, while zapped into a magical land, fell for Ness, my recent friend who is now my best friend, yet she appears to not care for Dylan, while she can't fool me and I happen to know that she is crazy about him, thus causing friction between Clarissa and Ness who are secretly not really fighting over Dylan.
Weird? Tell me about it.
So, this strange little scene of Clarissa flirting with Dylan while he tries to ignore it because he is too nice of a guy to break her heart, takes place every day during lunch and ninth period study hall.
After lunch, the day drags as slow as the hot summer sun crossing the mid-afternoon sky.
It's not until 2:35 that the final prison- I mean school, bell rings.
Ness, Dylan, Eric- the other best friend of our little foursome, and I walk back to my house to "study" just like we do every day before my parents and eight other children come running through our door. Oh, in case you were wondering, throughout all these people, I am my parents' only birth child.
"Does anyone know why we are walking home, in the middle of the heat, in May, when Alex has a car and I have a scooter?" Ness asked. She gets pretty upset when she's hot.
"We are walking home because you need exercise. And my car is in the shop and only one person fits on your scooter," I reply.
"Come on Ness, you know you love all the fresh Colorado air out here!"
"Dylan! Stop teasing me! You know how much I hate to be hot, especially when I can't even throw ice balls at you!" Ness has had the hardest time without her powers back home.
"It's ok Ness, go sit down and I'll make some lemonade," I offered as we walked through the door of my house. Ness is smart and fun to be around, but not when she gets upset. At least she is working on her attitude adjustment.
Eric and I walk into the kitchen and pour drinks for us while the other two who are setting up homework in my room. Ness and I are partners for an English project that is due in a week. We have to fill a journal full of various imagery statements and we figured we'd get a head start on it.
If only I knew what kind of experiences we'd soon be writing about ...
Chapter TwoAs told by Dylan Huber
Blue. The ceiling, the walls, the bed, it's all blue. Posters of girls hung all over the walls and Megan Fox's picture is taped to the ceiling. My roommate, foster brother, and interior designer, Theodor, is on the bunk below me and won't stop the snoring long enough for me to get some sleep.
He is my bro and all, but cut me some slack. I have a maniac MalibuAlex-want-to-be (Clarissa) on my hands, more homework than ever due to final exams, and Ness to impress. I silently jump off my bed and climb out my second story window onto the roof awning.
As I lay on my back, staring up at the constellations, everything clears.
The distant sound of wolf calls are echoing from the mountains. For a laugh, I join in with them. I must have stayed out there for hours; I didn't come back in until I got pegged from behind by Theodor's pillow.
"Shut it wolf-man! Some of us actually sleep around here!"
"I'm coming," a hushed whisper just forceful enough to silence him yet not enough to upset the 12 year old.
I turn and begin the climb back into my bedroom window when a gut-wrenching pain stops me in my tracks; a pain I had only felt once before. I slid a few feet down the shingles as I held my head with one hand and my chest with the other, trying to silence my moans before they escaped my throat.
Pain exploded within me, lighting my chest on fire as though I were going to explode. My arms wrapped around my torso in hopes of holding myself together, fighting against the gaping tears within my soul that fought to consume me. Blazing pain raced through my veins causing an involuntary grunt of anguish to escape from my lips. Bursts of torment raced through my jaw as my teeth clinched and grinded against each other. Lashing out, I struggled against the invisible beast eating at me from the inside.
Moments later, the pain was gone, vanished, as if it were all a horrible nightmare. I lay back on the roof, trying to catch my breath.
But it was not the pain that worried me; it was the fear of what the pain would bring.
Chapter ThreeAs told by: Vanessa Mottz
Running. I don't really like it, but sometimes it is vital. And when I say vital, I mean my other option is being late. LATE! And if I am late, that means I won't get my perfect attendance award for the 12th year in a row, and that my friend, is unthinkable.
I fly in the front doors of the school and look around frantically, my small tan hands shaking and my natural, chocolate brunette, curly hair flipping back and forth as my head searches the hallway.
But, as usual, it isn't hard to find Alex. If the rolling silence and muffled gasps weren't enough, the boys of all ages that push people into lockers and out of the way for her and Clarissa to walk down the exact middle of the hallway definitely gave her location away.
"Ness, darling, come here for a second," Alex calls out to me from the center of attention. I calm myself and carefully walk over to her. I have practically gotten use to this whole routine. She fixes my hair, and alters my outfit a little, while I go over a quick review with her for her next test and Clarissa glares at me through the narrow slits she creates for her eyes.
Weirdly enough, Alex cuts the review a little short with a phrase that could practically strike fear into anyone's heart. "Have you seen Dylan?" She whisper-asks me.
"Is he missing?" I try to control my voice and stay calm. He is probably just running a little late, right?
"He was at breakfast, but he left before I finished. I haven't seen him since. Is he with you?" Her tone was level and her smile perfect, but I know her well enough to see the faint glimmer of fear pushed to the corners of her eyes. She is good at hiding stuff, I will give her that, but she isn't that good.
"I'll find him," I hope I was at least a little convincing.
And like that, the moment was over and the world came back into play. Everyone was back to normal and the Earth started spinning on its axis again, but I couldn't help feeling like something here wasn't quite right. People just don't disappear, especially not Dylan. Well, not without a reason anyways.
I could barely focus through first and second period. And that is big for me. I can always focus on my school work. Always. I even had to ask to leave the room half way through Mr. Humberman's lecture about bipolar desert fish!
I was walking down the hallway, trying not to scream mind you, when Dylan turned the corner.
"Dylan!" my voice cracked. I didn't mean to sound that frantic, honest! It just kind of ... Oh I am just going to say this ... I have this tendency to over react. "Where on Earth have you been!?"
"Hey, Ness," he couldn't quite meet my eyes and his smile didn't have its adorable lopsided curve like it usually does.
"Well?" He didn't answer my question.
"It's whatever; I have to get to class. I'll talk to you later," and with that, he swerved around me and ducked into the boy's bathroom.
"It's whatever?" What does that mean? This conversation was FAR from over.
Class after class passed and I took note after note, but I wasn't very into it. I had this terrible headache that kept pounding and pounding in my head. By the time the lunch bell rang, I was just about ready to leave.
"Ness," Eric had shown up behind me, his dark hair hanging down almost to his eyebrows. He was wearing a black leather jacket over a plain white shirt, giving a Zac Efron impression. At a muscular six feet tall, he towered over my thin frame. "You okay?"
"Yeah, of course. I aced my math test," I think I'm getting better at this lying thing. Pointless conversation like this went on throughout lunch, but it wasn't until the bell rang that I noticed.
Dylan never showed up to eat with Alex and Clarissa. He didn't eat with anyone in fact. Figures. If finals weren't enough, now I have to deal with the whole Dylan thing. I don't think anything in my life is ever easy.
Slowly the day passed, and then, it was time for study hall. Best class ever. Why? Because I had it with Alex, Eric, and of course, Dylan. Like always, I sat across from Alex, who sat next to Eric who was across from Dylan who was next to me. The final shape ending in a square.
Everyone was kind of quiet as you could sense the tension just floating in the air. The only plus that happened in the class today was that the usual after school study session was scheduled. Whatever was going on, it was going to end there.
By the time we got to the walking home part of the day, it took all I had to not explode. I love my friends, but COME ON!
"So, you guys have fun at school today?"
A murmur of "Yeah's" and "Yep's" rippled through the sticky air. Usually Alex has to get everyone to talk. I am not good at this.
"Well, that's cool. Any tests tomorrow?" I asked. The same response came from everybody.
"I'm thinking of dying my hair orange and blue."
"WHAT?!?!" Alex nearly shrieked the word. "After all I have taught you, don't you know that orange does NOT ever NEVER match with blue!?" I couldn't help but giggle.
Eric then made the daring response of "Um, why?" mission accomplished. Even if we are talking about something that is false, we are still talking. This would have continued longer, but we arrived at our destination.
I stormed into Alex's room and plopped myself on the floor, as did the others.
"Now spill!" I was getting really fed up with Dylan's nonchalant attitude about just disappearing than acting so weird all day long. He portrayed a puzzled look but I could see right through him.
"Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about!"
Dylan stood and casually paced for a moment. I didn't continue to pressure him because I could tell he was going to say whatever it was that needed to be said; he was just trying to place all the words in the correct order.
He closed the door to Alex's room and leaned his head against it. He then whispered so quietly, yet the words seemed to scream across the room.
"Guys, it's happening. Last night held the first signs. I am going to be taken."
Chapter FourAs told by Alex Aldermen
We looked at him. No, we stared at him.
It wasn't like it was his fault, but we knew what this meant. And we knew he probably wasn't going to be the only one.
Eric stood slowly and positioned himself so he was facing out the window. I knew he wasn't seeing anything though. None of us were. We were all engulfed in our own thoughts. Tormented by the unknown and of what was to come.
I couldn't help but think: maybe he was the only one. Out of the four of us, he would be the most likely to be taken by himself, but deep down, I knew it wasn't true. I would definitely be a part of this, after all, Dylan and I had already senplessed. We are bound together by ancient and supernatural laws.
This had happened before. This feeling. For Dylan and Eric, it's pain. It's a distinct pain tearing inside of them, unmistakable.
For Ness and I, it's like a disease. You can't control it and it can't be cured. The world seems to spin, you can't see, you blackout.
This will happen, until we are taken. We don't know where, we don't know why, and we don't know how. But we will disappear from this world and reappear in another.
It might be the same as last time: a forest, a perfect octagonal field, an evil emperor, Juati, until he was overthrown. But it might not be. It might be a new place, with new dangers and evils not yet foretold. Creatures that you don't even read about in your fairy tale books, creatures that are terrifying enough to not even haunt your nightmares.
Ness's face has gone pale and Dylan's forehead shimmers with sweat. I can only imagine what I must look like, but when Eric turns, he looks fine. He casts a feeling of calm throughout the room.
"We can do this," he declared. "We've done it once before, and we have already conquered the most difficult part, we have found each other. We will be there, together, the entire time. We will be strong, and we will do what it takes to save others and get ourselves back home."
We tried to pull ourselves together. We were all getting pretty encouraged and it seemed that Dylan was actually looking slightly excited about another journey. Ever since he got back to the real world, I think he was looking for a bit of adventure.
We all sat in a circle, trying to focus on our homework after that. Ness and I had yet to start on our English project because we spent all yesterday talking, and I had a feeling we'd get even less done today.
The room was tense, quiet and no one stirred when the front door opened and all the little kids began raiding the house. They were so carefree, I envied them.
We sat quietly for a few hours. I hadn't gotten past problem two on my math homework and I hadn't even read the question yet. We were all pretty preoccupied with our own thoughts, and even though they ran parallel to each other's, we didn't voice them.
Soon, the laughter of the younger kids died down until the house slept and breathed as one, but we all stayed still, in our little circle on the plush carpet of my room. We hadn't spoken, hadn't moved.
Excerpted from The Third Side by Natalie Black Melissa Black Copyright © 2012 by Natalie and Melissa Black. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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