Holy Cow! You put your big girl pants on, and with a little help from that potion you drank, things have just gotten more and more exciting around here! Now that you plan to trick Heather into feeding herself to the Royal Ancient Dude, you just have to wait for tomorrow night’s big party. Thanks to a last minute vote from Katherine, you chose: B. “I’m going with Jake. I think I need to meet this Grinnald guy.”
I don’t know about you, but I hope that little drive includes a swing through a McDonald’s or something, ’cause I need my energy up!
Chapter 20: To Go On a Road Trip, Turn To Page 157
You look Neil in the eye, swallowing back the lump that forms in your throat as you realize just how close you’re standing, and say,
“I’m going with Jake. I think I need to meet this Grinnald guy.” Neil looks at you with, is it a mixture of admiration and disappointment, or does something smell? He nods his head in Jacob’s direction,
“Be careful.” Jacob nods back and asks, “What are you going to do?”
Neil smiles in Finn’s general direction, “Well, I reckon old Finn and myself ought to lay some plans for this party. We’ll be prepared when you get back.”
“Thanks, man.” Jacob stands, and shakes Neil’s hand, then turns to you. “Ready?”
You nod, although you’re not quite sure you really are. You turn to go, but Neil catches hold of your wrist. “Wait just a sec, okay? Jacob, you can go ahead and get your car, I just need a word.” Jacob ambles out the door, and you’re suddenly hyper aware of your proximity to Neil. He swipes his hair out of his face and sighs. You look up at him. Wow. You are seriously the luckiest girl, to be on a crazy adventure with not one but TWO of the cutest boys on the planet! Well, except for that whole He-Who-You-Can-Never-Name-Right wanting to kill you…
You’re brought out of your reverie by the fact that Neil suddenly cups your cheek in his hand.
“Hey,” he’s really close now, “You’re doing a great job…” his eyes boring into yours, “I just wanted you to know. You’re really holding together, and that… that idea was brilliant. Just… stay safe. That potion should last for quite a while, but… I’ll worry. Hurry back.” His hand moved to your neck and he gave it a little squeeze, leaned in a little closer…
“Um, I’m right here, guys.” Damn Finn! You consider pulling a Jacob and punching him in the nose… again. But the moment’s over, and Neil has let go. You give him what you hope is a courageous smile and head out to the car with Jacob.
“What’d he want to talk to you about?” Jacob asks you.
“Oh, nothing really, just, you know, to be careful and stuff.” Your voice cracks.
As soon as the car starts moving, your eyes close of their own accord, and next thing you know, Jacob is gently shaking you awake.
“Wha- are we there?” You look around disoriented.
“No, I just figured you needed some sustenance.” He hands you a cup, and then a bag, as he pulls out from the McDonald’s drive through. You tear through your cheeseburger, fries, and (yes!) vanilla shake as Jacob drives.
“So how did you get involved with this Grinnald guy, anyway?” You ask him around a mouthful of delicious all-beef and pickle.
“Well, I guess it started with my test scores, and some aptitude stuff. Then, when I began studying ancient mythology, Grinnald- he’s a professor- took me under his wing…. things just sort of developed from there.”
“Oh.” You try to cover a yawn, but almost lose some vanilla shake out the side of you mouth. Thank God the lights are off… and that’s your last conscious thought.
“Hey,” Jacob is shaking you awake again.
“Ma-” You swat at him half-heartedly before realizing you’re not at home.
“We’re here.” Jacob smiles at you, and you hope you weren’t drooling in your sleep… or talking… or something else embarrassing…
Jacob gets out of the car, and you hurry to catch up with him. You notice that you are in the driveway of a picturesque stone house, as you follow Jacob up a cobbled path to a huge wooden door that was rounded on top. Jacob lifts the iron knocker, and lets it fall three times. After what seemed like an interminable amount of time, the door creaks open to reveal a grey-haired man in tweed. He’s not what you expected. When Jacob described him as an Einstein, you pictured a little guy with a big brain. This guy was vital though, more like a John Locke-looking guy– in tweed.
“Jacob,” He beckons you inside, and as your eyes meet, it’s almost like he, recognizes you? “And who is this?” He takes your hand and shakes it, as Jacob makes the introduction.
“And what can I do for you?” Grinnald asks Jacob.
Jacob launches into your plan about switching the Ancient One’s blood source from Kayleigh to Heather. Grinnald nods enthusiastically.
“It is a good plan.” He proclaims.
That’s good, but you wonder if there isn’t something else you can do. Well, it never hurts to ask. “Um, is there something we could feed Heather, though, that would be, like, holy water, or something to this guy?”
Grinnald laughs. “Well, yes, technically. We just don’t have a lot of record of it actually working. We don’t have many records at all, in these cases, as you might imagine.”
“Okay, so… what is it?” You venture to ask.
“Oh, well… in theory… holy water will act as holy water.”
“Okay, so we get Heather to drink it, then she passes it on to the Ancient One.” Jacob joins back in the conversation. “So where do we get holy water?”
“You’re in luck, I happen to have some here!” Wow, this guy is super helpful! Grinnald rummages through some desks before producing a couple of small glass vials. He hands them to you, but as you go to take them, his hands close over yours.
“There is one issue.” You don’t really like the way he’s looking at you.
“What’s that?” Jacob asks.
“This should be taken no more than half an hour before the Ancient One feeds. Can you be sure this ‘Heather’ will be amenable to the instructions?”
You and Jacob exchange a look.
“He wants you. What are you willing to do to stop him and save your friend?” Gulp. What are you will to do? A part of you feels like you’ve done quite enough, and need some more sleep.
“No, no, no. She doesn’t give herself to him.” Jacob comes between you and Grinnald.
“Jacob, we must not let personal feelings get in the way of doing what is right.”
“May I suggest we move this little gathering back to a location closer to The Ancient One?”
“Wha- you’re coming with us?” Jacob is clearly as surprised as you.
“If I may. I believe it would be a better use of our time.” Grinnald smiles kindly at you.
“Okay, let’s go.” Jacob claps you on the shoulder, maybe a little harder than you’d like. Go team.
On the way back into town, you try to listen to what Grinnald has to say, and do learn a bit about this ancient one, but sleep overtakes you, and the next thing you know, you’re back at your own house, being tucked into bed. You wake up as Jacob is tugging your shoes off.
“Oh!” You sit up.
“It’s okay,” he reassures you. “Go to sleep. We all need some rest.” He glances at the chair in the corner of your room. “If you don’t mind, I’ll just sleep over there, in case anything happens…. I’ll be close.” You nod, then realizing it’s dark, mumble, “Okay.”
Light is peeking through your blinds, and you vaguely wonder what time it is before falling back into a dreamless sleep.
“Hey you…” your eyes struggle open to see… Kayleigh standing above your bed. You sit up suddenly, but Kayleigh raises a finger to her lips.
“It’s time.” She smiles a secret smile.
You glance over to see Jacob sprawled in the chair in the corner, asleep. A glance at your blinds, and you realize the sun is already setting.
“He’s waiting for you.”
How long did you sleep? Where is Neil? Grinnald?
Kayleigh beckons you to come with her.
A. Grab the messenger bag you know holds the holy water and go with Kayleigh? After all, what are you willing to do to save her?
B. Call out to Jacob? Maybe he can keep Kayleigh from running away long enough for you to get to Heather.
C. Pinch yourself? Because this has to be a dream.