Now where was I? I was sitting in the library with my friends, reading books.
“I could not find a book. ” announced Glimmer. She turned to me, and spoke: ”You can go last.”
I glanced down at my book. It was titled The Families of Madin.
I flipped to the first page. It appeared to be a kind of chart. In large lettering on the top was The White family. It must have been a record of all the families in Madin! I looked at a section near the bottom:
Lina White (deceased) X F n White
Glimmer White Silver White
I knew that Glimmer and Silver were orphans. Glimmer told me that her mother had died of disease when she was three, but she never told me anything about her father. It was a complete mystery.
Just then, another book fell out of this one. It was faded, the title almost worn away. Written on it in capital letters was the title: The Element Paints.
I opened the book and read the first four words:
Chapter one: Early history.
“I studied that book!” said Jack. No one else had time to say anything before the door was opened and the man from Calone came, talking about Jack,s execution.
I raced through the alleyways of Madin to the north of the square, and in a few minutes I was out of the main town. I kept running up the hill, the weeds in the field slowing me down. When I got inside the house, the kitchen was empty. I kept running into the living room. I had to alert Father to get out of the house! The living room was empty. I whirled around and opened the door to Father’s room. The room was empty. Then I raced to my room and opened the door. Empty. Then I opened my chest and grabbed the necklace my mom had passed to me before she died. Then a thought came to me. My dad must be in the forbidden room!
When I opened the door to the forbidden room, I realized it was more like a closet. It was only four feet to the back.
And in the back, there was a skeleton. But as I looked closer, I noticed something strange.
The skeleton was made of wood.
It was fake.
I was walking out of the back door when suddenly came a loud Zip zip zip zip zip! I looked at the wall to my right and found it covered with poison darts, a kind of weapon used by the military of Aline. I ran outside immediately without looking behind me.
The shooter was bearing on me. I turned and saw a man in red clothes chasing me. When I saw him, he drew his dartgun and I was forced to run. I ran down the hill when I saw someone crouched in the grass. It was a boy about my age, with blond hair and dark eyes. I ran toward him.
“Run, run!” I shouted. The boy heard me and started running in the direction of the town. Who was he anyway? I knew I saw all the boys in the town at least once, and no one I met was like him. Could it be that the boy was forced to move here to make a living? I doubted it. Madin was like one of those old fashioned Calone rat traps--Easy to get in but impossible to get out. For people that buy a house there anyway. Strange the traders could pass right through but we could not. Couldn’t someone steal a ship ticket, act like a trader, and board a ship to North or Calone?, I thought.
Then I got an idea.
When this boy reached the square, he turned right. I did too. When passing through the square, I saw it was a scene of chaos. On the north side, there was a crowd fleeing from some military officers with torches. In the crowd I could see the librarian with her jacket burnt. The warehouses on the north side were untouched, but I had the feeling they would soon be burning down.
A couple windows were smashed on the library walls. A few torches inside had fallen on a shelf, and the books were burning. I felt it was a miracle the library was still standing. The opposite side of the square was a different story. An entire side of the bakery was in rubble. The market was up in flames. The south side of the square was packed with fleeing people. This was a scene similar to the day of Mother,s death. Mother was captured and sent to Calone for her execution. I was not going to let anyone capture me.
I slowed down to a walk. Soon I was calm enough to notice that the boy was walking beside me. “Thank you.” he said. “ You distracted my captor. He thought I was a boy named Jack. Anyway, here.” He threw me a small glass vial with an orange potion inside. “My mother gave it to me, saying that it can cure any disease. Use it carefully.” The boy ran down the street. I started to walk at a steady pace.
I tripped on something. What was it? I looked down and saw a book. When I picked it up I noticed there was no title. I flipped it open. The pages were blank. The book was unfinished. I shoved it into my pack and kept walking.
When I got to the harbour, I saw a ship docked there. Without thinking, I ran up the gangplank. This could be my escape. Once I got onto the ship, I noticed I had made a big mistake.
The walls of the room were hung with weapons. There were two guards in the room, heavily armed.
And the guards were walking toward me.