DISLAIMER: I do not own any of the ideas or characters relating to the Percy Jackson series. Those amazing ideas are all the work of Rick Riordan. This story has original characters who will interact with Riordan's characters, but again, they're all his. :D This is a new take on the series: Hope you like it :)
Run. Keep running. Don't look back. Breathe. Just breathe, Clary.
I have to get away. Away from that house, away from those terrible people. Away from everything.
Flashing lights bounce and reflect off the windows of a nearby run-down house. I sprint through the neighborhood, desperate for escape. My feet pound heavily on the wet pavement. Blood is pounding loudly in my ears. I feel my face is flushed from the exertion and the humidity in the air. Police sirens wail loudly in search of the delinquent, crazed teenage girl who supposedly left her foster father's car beaten to a pulp. If you ask me, that piece of crap looks better now than it ever did before.
Never mind that. I have to focus on my one objective. Running away from the hell-hole I was placed in for the past six months. My destination? Undetermined. But, I figure anywhere is better- safer. I reach the bus stop, just as a bus is about to start driving away. I run, slamming my hand against the metal machine to alert the driver of my presence. Sure enough, the door swings open. I board the bus, and the disgruntled driver rolls his eyes in annoyance.
"Where to?" he asks, I take the seat just in front of some old fart sleeping, snoring loudly. I place my beat up old backpack beside me and settle into the seat.
"The beach," I respond, voice shaky from labored breathing. Be it out of a rare burst of kindness or through the realization of my freedom, I'm not quite sure, I add, "Sorry about that. My mom will kill me if I'm not there in time for the bonfire."
I lie smoothly. It sounds more believable if a girl is rushing to catch a bus in order to make it by curfew. I hope.
"Oh, that's alright sweetheart. But, a bonfire at eleven at night?" he asks, "Isn't it a bit late for that?"
I joke, "Oh, yeah. But you don't know my mother." I don't either. I turn my head and face the window, staring out at Miami- the place I've lived my whole life.
"No, I guess not."
The ride is quiet the rest of the way. I'm lucky I made it too the bus. Being chased wouldn't do me any good if I ran on foot. I try not to think about what I was running away from and shuttered, the image too terrifying to make sense of. Let's just say my terrible foster family and the police were the least of my problems.
When we reach the beach, I grab my stuff. I pay the fare and bid the driver farewell. As the bus drives off, I make towards the shore. It is pitch black out here, but I feel safer than back inland. The ocean lies ahead of me. I can't see it, but I know it's there. Out of memory, I remember where the pier is, and head towards it. With the pier's daunting large shadow in the near distance, I pass by a drunken homeless person. He's not moving- perhaps passed out from all the alcohol. I move around him. Eventually I reach the pier and set up camp underneath it. By camp I mean I lay my jacket out and lay on it, using my bag as a pillow.
Entranced by the warm air and the calming sound of the ocean, I allow myself to fall asleep despite my fears of being tracked down by that… that monster.
A run down car is driving down a lonely road. The wilderness is still, watching. A snow storm dominated the entire landscape.
The car stops in front of a massive mansion- no, not a mansion. A school. Westover Hall. Four young teenagers step out of the car.
They seem to exchange words, and begin to head over to the front doors.
As they walk in the scene shifts alongside them. The giant doors slam shut behind them. The teenagers- two boys and two girls, start to say something when two larger figures approach.
From the looks of it they appear to be teachers. The four seem to be getting scolded, however, it's hard to make out. The sounds are all warped.
The scene changes. There is a battle outside the school. The four kids now have weapons drawn, and seem to be fighting off a mythical creature.
In the distance, a horn sounds. The blonde girl yells "The Hunters!"
A group of girls come into view. The sounds are bent once more.
The image fades out.
When it comes back into focus, the guy with the unruly dark hair and sea green eyes is searching desperately down the cliff.
A scuffling sound alerts me of a threat. I sit up, and look around. I am alone. It's just before dawn- the sky is a dark blue, and the shoreline is visible. Looking down the stretch of the beach I notice the homeless person is gone. I see that he is making his way up to the street. He must have been the one making all the noise that woke me. He was probably snooping through my stuff and found nothing very valuable, so just left me alone. Good riddance. At least he didn't find my wad of cash, which I'd buried in the sand just in case. Digging the wad of bills out, I look out towards sea.
What a weird dream I had last night. It was so vivid, and unlike most dreams, my memory of it wasn't fading in the slightest. The whole thing just seemed so real. But how could it be? A mythical creature fighting off four kids? Okay, I must be crazy. Recalling last night, however, I wonder: am I?
Shaking off my thoughts, I look back towards the water. The ocean is so vast and mysterious. I am always mesmerized by it. Maybe that's why I chose to come here- I was probably subconsciously drawn to it. I gather my things and head toward the water, making up a plan in my head about what I was going to do next. Sure, I got away from my foster family and that thing, but what next? I'd saved a lot of money over the years. Perhaps I can go somewhere and start fresh. I'm only 13 and a half, but I'm more than capable of taking care of myself. I kind of have to be.
I take off my shoes, and dip my feet into the water. I ponder my ideas, and am almost completely lost in thought when an image in the water catches my attention. It's a face! Confused, I glance around to make sure no one else is there. When I look back, the face is gone. Huh, strange.
I put my shoes back on and head to the coffee shop on the other side of the street. The barista takes my order of a caramel iced coffee and bagel with a curious expression. He probably has noticed my grungy look. After all, I slept underneath a pier last night. Regardless, I make the decision to seek out new clothes.
At a nearby shop, I purchase clothes- a pair of shorts and a black tank top. Afterwards, I rent a room at a motel. The owner barely bats an eye at the thought of a thirteen year old girl getting a motel room without any parents or guardians. When I get to my room, I shower and change into my new clean clothes. I find some spare quarters in my bag and throw my dirty clothes into a wash in one of the motel's washing machines.
In the laundry room, I sit and wait for my clothes to wash. The chairs in the room are uncomfortable, as I lean back with my arms crossed. Looking up, I see there is an old television set bolted firmly on the wall up high. The news is on. Desperate for a distraction I stand on the chair to turn the volume up. The door to the room opens, and a middle aged man in a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts walks in. Man, the tourists here know how to dress like tourists!
He sees my watching him, so he offers me a polite smile. I look away, minding my own business. They've stressed stranger danger enough in middle school to make me cautious around everyone. I hop of the chair and sit back down, focusing on the headline story. The man throws some clothes into the second washing machines, and begins to run a load. He comes up one quarter short.
I clear my throat, "Here," I say, handing him one of my quarters. He takes it.
"Thanks." I look up and see he's smiling at me. There's a sort of familiarity in his eyes when he smiles.
"Is there something on my face?" he asks, noticing me staring at him.
"No! No, it's just that you look familiar… Never mind. I must be crazy" I say. Or was I? Based on recent events, that wouldn't have been too surprising. Despite that fact, I could've sworn I've seen his face in a dream or something.
"Small world!" he laughs. His laugh is free and powerful, almost like the rolling waves of the ocean.
I respond by giving a small smile and nod. I turn away, getting lost in my thoughts, planning my next move. I can't stay in Florida. But where would I go?
"Somethin' bothering you?" The man asks. I turn towards him and see he's occupied the chair across the room.
"No," I say sharply, making it clear I was in no mood for conversing. My attention goes back to the news report. A newscaster is introduced on scene somewhere. A neighborhood it looks like. I barely register where, when she starts speaking:
"Just late last night, thirteen year old Clary Black stole her foster father's prized Louisville Slugger and started beating his car with it. Neighbors say they recall hearing a loud commotion coming from the house, and one witness recalls that Clary is a very rebellious girl who takes no regard for the rules."
I tense up. This news cast is about me. I cast a sidelong glance at the man who has now taken a seat in the room and is nonchalantly watching the report.
"After her foster father, Daniel Stanton, discovered what Clary was doing, he immediately called the cops. Clary fled from the scene and is now wanted by the Miami-Dade Police Department. Anyone who has any information of her whereabouts, please contact the number on the screen."
As she says this, a picture of me covers the entire screen. I am frozen. Slowly, my gaze flows back to the man who is staring at me.
He is staring at me. There is no surprise in his eyes. Instead, there is a knowing look. Surely he recognizes me, but why isn't he ratting me out?
I find my voice, "Uh… please don't call the cops. I didn't do that to his car. I-It… was…"
I stutter not knowing how to explain what I saw. He responds, "I know what happened." Shocked, I asked, "Do you?"
Last night I was sitting outside minding my own business when this giant ugly dude came out of nowhere. He was coming towards me, calling my name and making threats. I looked at the dude's face and screamed because he had one eye. Backing up, I saw Daniel's baseball bat leaning against the side of the house. I grabbed it and faced my opponent. In total freak out mode, I began swinging the bat. Not expecting a fight from such a small girl, the one eyed man was taken aback. He tripped, and fell smack on top of my foster father's car. While he was down, I ran towards him, and kept hitting him with my makeshift weapon. he car ended up getting pulverized.
I heard Daniel yelling at me from the house threatening to call the cops. I snuck around the house and into my bedroom window. I stuffed my meager belongings into a bag, and made a run for it. By the time I got to the front of the house, the giant monster thing was gone, and so was I off and away from that place.
The man replies, "Yes. You did what you had to do. You protected yourself, and now you have to get away from here. I can only hide your presence from the monsters for so long before by brother finds out you exist. You must leave. Go to Ocala. There, you will find refuge and some unlikely friends."
"I.. uh… what?!" I say. What is he talking about? "Who are you?! What are you talking about hiding me from the monsters?"
"Never mind that now. Do as I say: go to Ocala. From there, the people you meet will help you find your destiny." He says. He stands up, and opens the washing mashing he put his clothes in. From it, he pulls out a jacket, gold coins, an IPod with headphones, a bag of sugar cubes, and a bronze sword. Yes, a bronze sword. He hands the objects to me. The handle of the sword fits my hand perfectly.
"Take these. They will each assist you in some way. South Florida rarely feels the cold, but the climate is different up north, so keep the jacket. As for the sword, it is celestial bronze. This metal will help you defeat monsters efficiently- trust me, you will need it." I stare blankly at him. He must have escaped from Looney town.
"This is crazy! What do you mean I have to go to Florida? Why?" I say, backing up.
"You will found out in due time." The man glances out the window, worry written on his face.
"Okay..? And the sword. What are you talking about monsters? Are you crazy?"
Casting a wary glance at the door, he states, "Clary, we don't have much time. I promise you will understand soon enough. You just have to trust me. Can you do that?"
I stared at him, his green eyes, so much like the color of mine. I felt comforted by them, and found myself saying, "Yes, I do. I don't know why, but I do."
"Good. Now go. After this I can't offer you much more assistance."
"Wait, what about the sword? I don't know how to use it! And I could hardly go around carrying this thing around everywhere!" I question. I can feel my heart is racing with stress and worry.
"You will learn." He promises, "The sword is a xiphos sword. It's very ancient. In Latin, its name is Vernum Aestus."
I blink in surprise. I translated it as easily as any word in English or Spanish, as I speak both. "Whoa."
"Clary Black, you are very powerful. You just might not be aware of how powerful just yet, but I promise it will come. For now, I must go." The man spoke formally though his eyes show a sense of worry- for me. He turns to leave, but stops, and turns.
"One more thing. Twist the hilt of the sword when you don't need it." I did as I was told. Much to my surprise the sword disappeared shrinking to a bronze pendant with an intricate design on it that sort of looked like what my mythology crazed science teacher called a Celtic ocean symbol. It was so pretty, and reminded me of the rolling waves of the beautiful sea. The pendant was attached to a long delicate bronze chain.
"Thank you…" I say staring at the necklace, entranced by its beauty. "So, who are you again-"
I look up and see that the man is gone. Disappeared somewhere. A sense of loneliness finds me. I know where I'm going now. But why?
What was that thing that attacked me at my foster family's house? Who was that man? Why did he say I had to go to Ocala? Why did he give me a sword of all things?
These questions begin to give me a headache. I shake them off. Leaving my old clothes behind in the washing machine, I run back to my room to collect my belongings. If what that man was saying was true, I have to leave now. Supposedly monsters will be able to find me now. What an unnerving thought!
Later, I manage to find my way to the bus station, and book myself on a charter bus headed to Orlando. As I board the bus, I finger my necklace anxiously, and scan the people sitting down already. They seem harmless enough.
The bus rumbles to life. I take my seat, and the bus is soon in motion. It'll be about a five hour trip. I settle into my seat, and stare out my window as the bus heads north up the Florida Turnpike. Goodbye Miami. I begin to feel sleepy and nod off.