Let’s pretend you’re Max and that everything you’ve told us so far is the truth, the complete opposite so far. You’re youngest charge, the one you’re most attached to, has just been taken and you believe it’s to a fate worse than death, something that exists because you say it does. What do you do next?
If your answer is ‘go home and mope around for awhile’, to you I say. Hi Jimmy! Glad you found the site. To the human beings playing along at home, or at work because you’re bored and the boss is on break, this seems like a waste of time.
I don’t even remember flying home. I felt heartbroken and numb, and when we walked into the kitchen, the first thing I saw was Angel’s breakfast plate on the table.
Iggy howled and swept his hand across the kitchen counter, catapulting a mug thro ugh the air. It hit Fang in the side of the head.
Ah, yes. The obligatory emotional outburst before Max yells, puts them in their place and makes a quick speech about doing whatever it takes. Everyone looks at Max for inspiration, because they too have read the clichébook, so now she goes through a quick bout of self doubt.
True, I’m the leader, I’m Max the Invincible—but I’m also just a fourteen-year-old kid. And every once in a while, like when I realize all over again that Jeb is gone forever, that we’re on our own, that the others depend on me and I can’t let them down, well, that’s when it all gets to me. Suddenly, I’m a little kid again, wishing Jeb were back—or even, hey, wishing I was normal! Or had parents!
Really? Because so far you’ve bragged and preened about being better than us lowly hoomans. I bet you’d totally trade your superpowers for a real family and a normal life. Speaking of which, how does Max know anything about “normal” life and/or family? She grew up in a lab sans parents and relatives. To her, all that should seem alien and strange.
Now, Max could maybe envy the idea of family. Say she watched a lot of old TV shows, like Leave it to Beaver and such, that project an idyllic family and Max believes that’s what she missed out on. She is young and naïve enough to not know that what you see on TV isn’t always quite what it seems.
Anyway, they argue and bicker for a second. Iggy insults everyone for not doing anything even though they’re not blind. Then Max gets mad and yells at them.
“Guys! Guys!” I yelled. “We’re all upset. But we’re not the enemy! They’re the enemy.”
And then they start talking about things we’ve already figured out. Again, Jimmy, just because your target audience are “Young Adults” you don’t need to insult or pander to them. And you could, just maybe, deviate just a little from the action clichés Jim. I promise your readers won’t throw the book down and swear off reading ever after.
One of them points out that the wolfmen had guns but didn’t use them and then Max says they know where they took Angel. This goes over poorly though, again, Jimmy would prefer to tell us rather than who us. Or ol’ Jimmy boy just wants to wait to include the reactions in the next chapter.
“They took Angel back to the School?” the Gasman asked, confused.
Confused? He’s just now confused? The wolves finding and attacking them after two years? That he understands. The wolves taking Angel only and leaving them behind? More logically sound than the theory of gravity. The werewolves taking Angel back to the base where they operate out of? That’s insanity of the highest order! What could they be thinking?
Oh, and suddenly it’s been four years.
“Why?” Nudge whispered. “After four years, I thought maybe they had forgotten—”
Four years? How in the hell have they survived this long without being caught? If I lived in the same place for that long, someone would be bound to take notice. How are they getting regular groceries? Does no one wonder why Max, or one of the others, comes into town and buys food but they never see them in school?
Now everyone must react to talking about the “School”. Max has an attack of the melodrama again and tells us it’s a bad place. Why? Because it is, stop asking nosy questions! Max doesn’t like to talk about it!
Fang, apparently not being blind to the plot, says that they, whoever they are, want them, the kids, back. Yeah, we already figured that out Sherlock. Can we get to the part where things happen or are the characters going to sit down and have a book club discussion without us?
“Jeb knew they would do anything to get us back. If anyone ever discovered what they did to us, it would be the end of the School,” Fang explained.
Right, so go show the world what you are and what was done to you. A kid with a thirteen foot wingspan will be hard to ignore. This “School” will be shut down and everyone will be happy. Or they can’t because then they’ll be put in a zoo, or so Iggy says.
Right, so pretending that your choices are black and white, you can either risk death and never truly gain freedom or you can gain safety, prevent other people from going through the hell you keep telling us about while being somewhat of a spectacle. Obviously the better option is to attack a compound of wolfmen organized in a paramilitary fashion who are armed with automatic weapons. It’s that or deal with the paparazzi, screw that I say.
Luckily Jeb had a bunch of files he printed off and left behind. The kids put them in the closet so they wouldn’t have to look at them. I guess receipts for electrical bills and chimpanzees give them flashbacks. Then Max pulls out a map from nowhere and closes the chapter.
“Map of a secret facility,” I said, feeling my stomach clench. I’d hoped I’d never have to see it again, never break that wax seal. “In California. The School.”
Why is the map sealed with wax? Was it delivered to Jeb by medieval messenger? ‘Hey, are you Mister Jeb Father-Figure?’ ‘Hello there, yes I am. Who are you? Did you escape from a renaissance fair?’ ‘Good lord no, I’ve been trying to deliver this map for the last six centuries and let me tell you, that’s no easy task.’ ‘What? But I’m only thirty eight! You must have been…’ ‘Doing a lot of searching, yes. Now, if you could just sign here and verify that the wax seal hasn’t been tampered with, I’ll be on my way.’