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You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader. This is a work of fiction. Sometimes I question if her eyes were really that blue, or if the blue of House Cancer colors them in my memory.
All I brought was the necklace. Unlike our schooner, which was built to cover long distances, the Strider was small and shaped like a clamshell half, with rows of buoyancy benches, clam-cubbies for the nar-clams, a holographic navigational screen, and even a diving board that stuck out from the front like a tongue. I always loved leaning my head over the side and staring down at the tiny whirlpools that occasionally formed, swirling in various hues of blue.
As if the ocean were made of paint rather than water. I was only seven, under the legal deep-diving age, so I stayed topside with Mom, while Dad and Stanton dove down for nar-clams. Mom looked like a siren that day, perched on the peak of the diving board as we waited for the guys to surface with their spoils. Her long, light locks spilled down her back, and the sun glinted off her ivory skin and orb-like eyes. Lying back on my springy seat, I tried to soak up the heat and unwind.
But I was always aware in her presence, always ready to recite facts about the Zodiac at her command. She drew a pouch from her purse. A familiar, far-off look fell over her features, and I regretted saying it. I opened the pouch and pulled out a dozen nar-clam pearls, each one a different color, all strung together on a strand of silver seahorse hair.
She flashed me a rare smile and sat on the bench beside me. As always, she smelled like water lilies. Her stories always eased my nerves, and I settled into my seat, closing my eyes so I could focus on the sound of her voice.
Until one day, a stranger arrived promising to restore balance. The way she told it, the story sounded less like myth and more like a history lesson.
To Capricorn, the wisest House of all, he promised a treasure chest filled with truths amassed from worlds older than our own, worlds accessed through Helios.
Upon arriving, each of the Twelve were shocked to learn the others had also been summoned. Their shock only grew as they each described the Ochus that had visited them: The Cancrian Mother had encountered a sea snake, the Piscene Prophet saw a shapeless spirit, the Sagittarian Guardian met a hooded wanderer, and so on. All he left behind was a warning: Beware my return, when all shall burn. Rho, you know better than that.
Mom was always worried about the Cancrian school system brainwashing me. She decided to tutor me herself instead. I knew Mom was only looking out for me, but I liked playing with kids my age too much to go back to her homeschooling.
Her reflective eyes drank in the blue around us, until they shone brighter than the sky itself. Believing in them will keep you safe. Her stare was so intense that I had to pull away. Instead of meeting her eyes again, I surveyed the water. A trail of bubbles broke the surface, and I arched my neck to look for Dad and Stanton.
But neither emerged. She leapt up to the diving board, and in one fluid motion, she was in the water. Dad always said she was a secret mermaid. I threw on his navigational glasses to follow her movements underwater and watched her spin gracefully around the Strider. Seeing her swim was like watching a ballet. Still in the sea, Dad and my brother pulled off their facemasks. In my periphery, I thought I saw bubbles frothing in the water again. I ducked as he tossed his wet mask into the boat.
It landed with a squelch. Stanton shrieked as the Maw shot toward him and—before my parents could reach my brother—the snake sank its teeth into his shoulder.
She hooked a hand under his healthy arm and pulled him toward Dad. I just stared, too terrified to think of a way to help. Its glowing red eyes can cut through darkness, which is where Maws are supposed to live—in the Rift, hundreds of fathoms down. I found Mom again in the water: She was leading the Maw away from us, but the snake was gaining on her. It was going to strike. Then Mom stopped swimming and turned around to face the snake. Something silver glinted in her hand.
It looked like the blade Dad used to pry open the nar-clams—he always brought it with him underwater, and she must have grabbed it from his belt before diving in. When the Maw lashed out with its mouth to bite her, Mom raised her hand and sliced the snake in half. She pulled herself up by the diving board and landed lightly in the boat.
As soon as she was in, Dad went full speed. Mom sat beside Stanton and rested her hand on his forehead. I expected her to tell Dad how she sliced the Maw in two, but she just sat there in silence. She saved us. I helped Mom sort the nar-clams into clam-cubbies, and when we finished, we sat with Stanton.
She waves at her locker and it pops open. I dip my fingers in my coat pocket to make sure I have my drumsticks, just as Nishi slams her locker shut. I shake my head. I think they want to hear more about your omen. Neither is in our natures. The symbols are rounding the corner. I can just make out the Fish of Pisces before they vanish. I leave the lights off and let instinct guide me through the black space. Hovering in the center of the room, countless winking pinpricks of light form a dozen distinct constellations—the Houses of the Zodiac.
Larger balls of colored light swirl among the stars: our planets and moons. In the midst of it all burns a ball of blazing fire: Helios. I slide a stick from my pocket and twirl it. Amid all the sparkles in the glittering universe, I find the churning mass of blue, the brightest point in the Crab-shaped constellation.
I reach out, but my hand goes right through the hologram. Four lesser gray orbs hover in a row beside my planet; if connected, they look like they would form a straight line. We share this gray rock with the prestigious Zodai University, which has training campuses on every House in our galaxy. I steal a last look at my home planet, a whirling ball of blending blues, and I picture Dad at our airy bungalow home, tending to his nar-clams on the banks of the Cancer Sea.
I fix on the black spot where the gray light of Thebe was just extinguished—and one by one, the other moons go dark. I turn to inspect the rest of the constellations, just as the whole galaxy explodes in a blinding blast of light.
The room is plunged into total darkness, until images begin to appear all around me. On the walls, the ceiling, desks—every surface is covered in multicolored holograms. The room is flooded with light. The holograms disappear, and the place is back to being a plain classroom. Instructor Tidus towers over it. Dean Lyll barges in. Click here for more information Angelic Meditation Music. The content of this website, including all music, all text, all downloads, all music samples and all other material are owned or controlled by Spire Audio or their content and technology providers.
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We'll be playing the best in free music and taking your calls. This week's topic is programming languages: which ones are out there -- and what's the difference? Surprise special guest: The Naughty Hijabi! Topics: radio, university of toronto, utsc, amacss, mathematics, computer science, statistics, music, Namaste Chillum Charas Artist: gloss. Peerless New Destination Poster Child Caviar Album Edit New Destination Dub Dry Land - Music: gloss.
Topics: gloss. Wet Cigarette Wake Up! Straight up! Sloth Vomit When I Rock Melatonin Ego Trip Nice 'n Easy Really Wonky Green Umbrella Always The Topics: rome, dubstep, dub, jungle, drum'n'bass, italy, tre, quoob, edinburgh, scotland, uk, netlabel, Leviathan Various Artists Compilation was put together during October by Kendall Keeler of December Nightskies by receiving songs, artist information and websites from the artists by email and facebook.
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