Between a Rock and a Hard Place
If you asked me a two days ago if I was willing to jump off of a bridge, I would’ve responded delightfully with
“Are you insane!? And I would have gleefully wondered if your brain had fallen out of your head. But strange as it may seem for two thirteen-year-old kids to be alone in the middle of the Grand Canyon, there I was with my toes barely peeking off the edge of the creaky bridge. My brother, Jason was inches behind me screaming,
“Jump, Amelia! They’re getting closer!”
Then again if you had told me that Griffins were real, I would have laughed in your face. I mean I would have laughed hysterically. I would’ve laughed so hard, I probably would’ve cried.
But here we were running for our lives, with half a dozen wild Griffin’s overhead and a raging river of rapids below. I stared at the angry river below us. It looked ferocious and unforgiving and I was about to jump feet first into it’s churning depths.
I could hear the cry of the Griffins’ above us and the terrible sound of their heavy beating wings. Everything inside of me wanted to run and hide under a rock, but the Griffin’s were flying low to the ground on either side of the bridge and picking up the heavy red rocks in their long razor-like talons.
“Amelia! Jason shouted behind me and snapped me back into focus.
“We have to jump! They’re going to drop the rocks on us!”
I knew he was right and so I shut my eyes as tight as I could, and I jumped.
The air whistled on either side of me as I fell. The churning water became louder and louder until I struck the surface with the shock of shattering glass. The air left my lungs and I went under instantly. I tried to push to the surface, but the current was strong.It took every ounce of effort left in me. I pushed upward until finally, I made my way back to the surface of the river and drew dry air back into my stinging lungs.
I cried out for Jason. There were pieces of the old bridge floating in the water and I could see he was holding onto a stray board that had broken under the griffin’s rocks.
You’re probably wondering how we got here in the first place. And you are most certainly right to think this situation insane. But, to be honest I can’t tell you the exact moment that led this one. And if you asked Piper what she thought then she would’ve said that it was fate. To which I would respond,
“Fate? That’s a bunch of baloney.”
But that was before my brother Jason and I found ourselves lost in the Grand Canyon with Griffin’s trying to pummel us into human guacamole with rocks the size of Jupiter.
Hmm…I guess we should start over.
My name is Amelia Maryse Funke. Yes. I said Funke and no I’m not joking. That has been my name for all of my thirteen years. So before you crack a gassy joke about my name, I must tell you that I’ve heard every single one. And I no longer think those are funny.
Jason Alistair is my twin brother and we are the seekers. Despite being twins we look nothing alike. My hair is a mass of reddish-blonde curls and my brother’s is jet black as a sky with no stars. He has freckles and I do not. I have hazel eyes while his are as blue as the Pacific. Most people can’t believe that we are twins. They can hardly believe that we are related. The only that is the same is our height. We always have the same height, which either leaves him short for his age or me, tall for mine. Jason hates that, but I think it’s pretty funny.
Like I said before, I can’t say exactly when all of the strange things started happening, but somewhere between now and then, I thought I was going insane.
It might’ve started with a missing key or a plate of donuts that would disappear as soon as we turned away. Then the lights would suddenly shut off and the kitchen sink would drip annoyingly in the middle of the night. My parents told us not to worry, But Grace and Frank were always quick to dismiss strange occurrences. Jason swore that we were being haunted and so we took it into our own hands to solve the mystery.
Our parents, Grace and Frank Funke were antique dealers and would often take trips all over the world to find beautiful and rare relics that always seemed odd and bit smelly, in my opinion. But sometimes, they showed up with books and that always caught my attention. They owned a musty shop full of old antiques, from huge grandfather clocks to Russian nesting dolls and a metal Triton that hung on the wall above the cash register. The shop was called Funky Treasures.
Their most recent find was a huge, old book of mythological creatures from Ireland. The huge book was filled with stories of the Fae, unicorns, Griffons and other strange creatures. It fascinated me and so when my mother wasn’t looking I hid it in my backpack and snuck it out of the store with me.
But the strangest thing happened on June twenty second around three pm. And that was when our whole lives changed.
It was a hot, hot day in West Chester, Florida and the sun was beating down on everything. The second I opened the door, my face was struck with humidity. It felt like the world had been swallowed by an armpit and Jason and I were stuck in the middle of it. School was been out for summer break and we were bored. We dragged our sandaled feet across the pavement, but it felt like each step was just peeling the bottoms of our melting shoes off of the sizzling sidewalk. The sidewalk was hot enough to bake a Thanksgiving turkey on it and you could fry an egg in the air alone.
We made our way to Bobby Jo’s soda shop next to our parent’s store and each ordered ice cream floats while we waited for some other kind of inspiration on how to spend our day. But the inspiration never came, so we decided to go home.
We were so deep into an argument of whether or not I could beat him at a game of chess, that we didn’t even notice that things were different on our street until I stopped abruptly. Because something inside of me felt strange.
“Mel, you couldn’t even beat me if I had a chicken for brains!” He laughed. “You would lose in a heartbe- He stopped mid-sentence when he too realized that something was very wrong.
“Yeah…” I gulped
“Where is our house?”
“That is an excellent question,” I said staring at the empty lot where our house used to be.