An Adventure

Copyrighted to Danya, ©1997, all rights reserved, etc., etc.

Disclaimer and general WARNING: I do not own the Biker Mice (although I wish I did), and the only profit I'm making off this story is the enjoyment of writing it. In other words, I'm not getting paid! This fic is simply for your reading pleasure (or torture, which ever comes first), and I apologize for the brief spats of violence, sexual implications, and bad language for those more sensitive viewers. All characters in this story are figments of moi's overworked imagination (except for the ones which are not owned by me, and while we're on it; I thank everyone for the use of their characters, I hope I did them justice!). I made a very brave attempt at trying to be completely original, but you people are so dang influential! To protect the innocent, the names of the individuals have been changed, otherwise this story has been told exactly as it occurred. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Have a nice day, and thank you for your support. [;-b
Danya :~*


Chapter I:

It's a Wonderful, Terrible Life

Warning: This is a very long story, and Chapter I is just a background on some new characters. I have an unfortunate habit of paying way too much attention to detail, and I don't want you to get bored. So, if you want to skip the background and get right into the action, just skim over the beginning of this chapter so you at least know what the characters look like. Then, read the last part so you won't be lost by some of the things they say in the rest of the story. Enjoy!! 8-D

"Miss Dubay!"

Carter jumped at the sound of her last name, crashing back to reality. Everyone was looking at her, laughing.


The class turned toward the voice like a single being. Ms. Vurture was pleased by this, at least, though you really couldn't tell. Her gray hair was wrapped in a tight bun at the base of her neck, fully revealing a face that looked like it would shatter if she dared a smile. She turned her attention back to her least favored student, her dull gray eyes matching her dull gray dress.

"Miss Dubay, would you kindly answer the question?"

"I'm sorry, ma'am." Carter said. "But could you repeat the question, please?"

"Miss Dubay, if you find this class unworthy of your prestigious attention, then you may leave."

"No, ma'am! I just didn't hear you clearly. I was too busy taking notes, ma'am."

"Too busy taking notes?" She started to walk towards Carter's desk. "And may I see these notes, Miss Dubay?"

"Of course, ma'am."

She innocently looked up at the angry old woman with cool, dark blue-green eyes, and brushed a strand of scarlet hair back behind her ear. Without waiting for Carter to show her the notes, Ms. Vurture grabbed the papers on Carter's desk and started riffling through them. Wordlessly, she handed the papers back, and stalked to the blackboard. Ms. Vurture was one of the most boring teachers Carter had ever known, so she usually ended up daydreaming in class. And in light of the fact that she sometimes got caught, she would read the chapters ahead of time and take notes at home. That way, if Ms. Vurture caught her not paying attention, she could show her teacher the notes, and Ms. Vurture couldn't get her in trouble with the dean. However, there were other ways of punishment that were just as effective.

"Well, Miss Dubay, since you seem to be paying such close attention in class, we shall have to have a test in your honor tomorrow. On everything we have covered this semester." The bell rang and everyone started to leave.

"Nice one, Jinx!"

Carter heard the hissed words just before her books were bumped `accidentally' off her desk. Her papers scattered everywhere, and no one was being very careful about where they stepped. She sat there and fiercely bit back her temper, her knuckles going white as she furiously gripped the sides of her desk in the effort of resisting the urge to scream and tear every person in that room to shreds. She waited till they had all left for lunch, and started to pick up her papers. Most were ripped, or had footprints all over them, and some were even missing.

"I love this place." She said with a sigh as she walked to her locker.

Carter opened her locker, and pulled out her sack lunch and a tattered paperback. The enormous hallway echoed as she walked in her patent leather shoes and high, white socks. She had taken off the navy blue uniform jacket with the gold shield on the sleeve, and was now just in her baggy white blouse, navy suspenders, and dark green plaid skirt. Her fine-boned, delicate figure tended to give the illusion of weakness. She was far from it. Her long, bright red hair was wrapped around her head in a French twist, and a sprinkle of freckles added color to her lovely, fair-skinned face. Two red pet id tags, one reading `Sorrow', and the other a vaccination tag, hung from a small chain at her throat.

Pushing open one of the front doors, Carter looked at the only aspect of the Preston Academy she enjoyed. Just beyond the many stone steps leading to the heavy oak doors of the school was an ocean of grass, dotted by islands of trees. Of all the islands, her favorite happened to be the furthest from the school building. It was also one of the few without a bench to sit on. She liked sitting between these two trees because they just looked so ridiculous next to each other! On one side was a dark, massive oak with thick craggy bark, and big, low branches that were easy to climb. On the other side was a towering beech tree. It was tall and graceful, with high branches and smooth, silvery bark.

It was October, and the leaves were changing. The beech looked like a giant dandelion, while the oak was a fiery mix of orange and red. Carter dug an apple out of her lunch bag and sat down on the soft grass. She took a bite of the apple and started reading. Soft footsteps halted her enjoyment of the book. Why is it always when I get to the best part?! She put the book down and looked impatiently up at the three girls that had given her nothing but misery since day one.

Molly Stratford was the most popular girl in school, and her boyfriend, of course, was the captain of the football team and the most popular boy in school. This, however, did not keep Molly from flirting with every semi-cute guy who looked her way. She was the poster-girl for what the Academy seemed to want to produce. She was smart, thin, beautiful, rich, and had her nose stuck so high in the air she should have had a warning beacon on it for passing airplanes. Her skirt was much shorter than Carter's, and her thick, dark hair hung flawlessly in place a little past her shoulders. Jaimie Barkett and Sara Julen, the two girls standing behind Molly, worshipped her. Jaimie's nut-brown hair was tied back in a neat pony-tail with a bow, while Sara's short, curly, blonde hair was fluffed perfectly just below her ears.

"Yes, Molly?" Carter said stonily.

"Ugh!" Molly said and rolled her icy, pale blue eyes, while the two girls behind her snickered. "How many times does it have to be drilled into your ugly little head that lower class people, such as yourself, are not supposed to speak until spoken to?" She paused, giving Carter a scrutinous look. "You know something, Carter? I've always wondered how you ended up with such a hunky brother. He got the handsome side of the gene pool, I guess. And he's growing up so fast!" She said thoughtfully, looking back at the school building.

"Did you saunter over for a purpose, or did you just feel like hearing your own voice?" Carter asked, her eyes turning a shade greener with anger.

"You're funny." Molly said, sweetly. "But unlike you, I have a purpose here. I have to do my charitable duties, you know."

"Your point, please?"

"Patience is a virtue, Carter, dear. I simply came over to tell you that if you need a decent costume or dress for the Halloween Dance, I'd be happy to let you borrow one of my old ones. I realize how hard it must be on you, not having any money and all. We wouldn't want you to embarrass yourself in front of the whole school, now would we?" Molly tilted her head toward Jaimie and Sara, but never took her eyes from Carter. They shook their heads like fake, plastic dolls.

"We're only thinking of you, Carter." Sara said. Her voice was dripping with honey, but her gray-blue eyes were heartless.

"Yes." Said Jaimie kindly, her brown eyes devoid of any compassion. "We only want to help."

"You have no idea how much this means to me." Carter said flatly as she stood up.

At 5'9", Carter was two inches taller and two years younger than Sara and Jaimie, and an inch taller than the 19 year old Molly.

"I knew you'd understand." Molly said, smiling tolerantly. "We want you to look your best. You've been here almost a year and you still haven't even found yourself a boyfriend. We're only trying to look out for your well being, Carter. After all, you're almost 16, now, right?" She looked innocently at Carter. "I keep forgetting, dear, when is your birthday, again?"

"The 31st." Carter said coldly.

"Oh, that's right! Well, you'll have it made for the dance, won't you! The birthday girl always gets at least one dance with a handsome guy. You have nothing to worry about."


"Yes, dear?"

"You shouldn't hike your skirt up that high. You can see your underwear when the wind blows. Oh, wait, I forgot! That's what you wanted. Never mind." Carter said smiling, and started to walk away.

"Be careful, Jinx." Molly said angrily. "You wouldn't want your precious birthday to turn out bad."

Carter fought back the incredible urge to pound Molly's supermodel face in, and kept walking back to the school building. She walked down the empty hallway, and pushed open a door with a large sign on it. The sign read: GENTLEMAN'S WING. NO FEMALE STUDENTS BEYOND THIS POINT WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE DEAN. She found locker number 1528, sat in front of it and returned to her reading. The hall monitor didn't try to make her leave when he saw her. He had taken pity on the stubborn little redhead the day she arrived; the day he found her sitting in front of the door that separated the Gentleman's Wing from the Lady's Wing. The girls weren't even supposed to be near the door, and he had told her to leave. She just stood there, refusing to move, and he had backed down. Normally, the glares the kids gave him wouldn't phase him in the least, but something about the way Carter had looked at him made him feel like he was the lowest thing that was ever created. That day he had convinced the dean to give her a special pass, which allowed her to enter the Gentleman's Wing at any time to get her brother, or to get to his locker.

Carter stuck a note that simply said `Hi!' in her brother's locker as the lunch bell rang. He always got mad when she didn't let him know she was at his locker. The rest of the day went by uneventfully for her, and she was in a much better mood when the final bell rang. She walked out the open front doors of the school, and ruffled her brother's jet black hair on the way down the stone steps. He wore the same jacket, but he had red suspenders, a navy tie, navy slacks, and a white button-down shirt. He jumped up from his seat on the steps, and slid down the railing to catch up with his slender sister.

Jordan was almost two years younger than Carter, but he was three inches taller, and he looked like a football player. The last time she could remember being able to look her little brother straight in the eye was when she was eight. He had their father's black hair, but his eyes were the same midnight blue as their mother's. He was very calm and collected compared to his sister's temper, but he was viciously protective of her, and it got him into a lot of trouble at school. He was always getting detention for fighting kids who would let an unpleasant comment about Carter `slip' out.

"So how was lunch?" Jordan asked, pointedly.

"Molly offered to lend me an old dress so I wouldn't embarrass myself at the Halloween Dance."

"That was nice of her." He said sarcastically.

"She was still mad about History, I guess. Ms. Vulture's giving us a test tomorrow on everything we've covered this semester, in my honor." Carter said, deliberately pronouncing Ms. Vurture's name wrong.

"The ugly, old bag would." He mumbled angrily, as he remembered the one time he had met Carter's History teacher.

Just after they had arrived in Chicago, on their third day of classes, Jordan was waiting for Carter to come out of the school, but she didn't show up. He had gotten impatient, and walked in to get her. Boys weren't allowed in the girls wing, but he didn't think it would matter because Carter was his sister and everyone was gone, anyway. He heard someone yelling in one of the rooms and went to investigate. As he got closer, he heard Carter's name. He ran up to the door and looked in the window to see an old lady screeching at his sister like she was dirt! He flung open the door, stomped right up to the hideous, old creature and started yelling back at her. He didn't know what he had said to Ms. Vurture, but from the look his mom gave him that night it must have been pretty bad.

Ms. Vurture just stood there in total shock for a few seconds. Jordan was an inch taller than she was, and he was livid! Carter appeared behind him in an instant and covered his mouth. Wrapping her free arm around his chest, she pinned his arms to his sides and started apologizing to Ms. Vurture. He was more than prepared to beat that `woman's' head in, but he didn't resist when Carter started pulling him toward the door. When Ms. Vurture finally came to her senses and screamed `GET OUT!!!', Carter was through the door, keeping a firm grip on Jordan's wrist as she flew down the hall. She didn't stop running till they were three blocks away from the school. After that, Carter made Jordan promise never to approach the girls wing until he saw Ms. Vurture's car leave.

"What do you want for dinner?" Carter asked, interrupting Jordan's thoughts.

"Mom's not gonna be home tonight?"

"She has that presentation tonight, remember?"

"Oh, yeah." He paused. "I feel like Mexican."

"How about nacho's? I don't feel like cooking all night."


"I'll have to pick up some chips, but---."

"I'll get them." Jordan said quickly.

Carter gave him a frustrated look.

"That way I don't have to grate the cheese." He said innocently.

"All right." She sighed. "Just be sure you get the good chips, okay?"

They reached the apartment complex and waved at the outside camera. The door gave a `click', and Carter pulled it open.

"No sweat!" Jordan said as he started down the street to the corner grocery store.

Carter had grated almost all the cheese by the time Jordan walked in their apartment. All the other ingredients; lettuce, olives, hot sauce, guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, onions and refried beans, were on the table in separate plastic containers. She laid the nacho chips out on a cookie sheet and they both started piling the various toppings on the chips.

"Do you think Mom's presentation is going okay?" Jordan asked as he piled onions on his chips.

"Of course it is, and if you put any more onions on those you'll kill the plants while we eat!"

Jordan loved onions. He would take an onion to school in his lunch instead of an apple. Carter thought it was revolting, but then he thought raw tomatoes were revolting. Carter would eat cherry tomatoes like candy.

"I wish we could go with her on her presentation trips." Jordan said.

"Maybe we can convince her to take us with on the next one."

"Aw, man, I hope so. Then we could go to Wrigley Field!"

"Do they let you in if there isn't a game?"

"Yeah, they have tours that go through."

After the cheese was added, she popped the sheet into the oven and let it bake till the cheese was melted. They ate their dinner in front of the French windows in the living room. The apartment was only four floors up and in the suburbs, but they still got a spectacular view of the sun setting behind Chicago.

"So, what do you want for your birthday?" He asked around a mouthful of nachos

"What's this? Number 2,098? Why do you keep asking me that?! I told you, I don't want anything this year!"

"You're only allowed that excuse for one birthday, and you used it last year."

"You didn't follow it, so it doesn't count!"

"Whether or not you receive a present is irrelevant."

"Expanding our vocabulary, are we?"

"Ha, ha. Don't change the subject."

"There is no subject, because I don't want a gift!"

"You're only making this hard on yourself. Now, come on, what do you want?"

"A new nickname." She said, her eyes flashing a little greener.

"They still call you `Jinx'?"

"Yes, and thanks to Molly, I have to rewrite all my Math homework, and my Economics essay!"


"She `accidentally' bumped my books off my desk today and stepped all over my papers! I could've killed that snotty little gutter snipe!!"

"Why are rich people so awful? You'd think they'd be happy being able to have everything they want. I wish we didn't have to go to that school. I'm tired of being ignored."

"Now that's what I can't figure out. They're openly hostile to me, but they avoid you like the plague! Why?"

"It probably has something to do with the fact that I'm bigger than they are."

"The upper classmen are the same size as you, why don't they try to beat you up?" She suggested cheerfully.

"Gee, thanks for caring! I'll mention it to them the next time I see them."

"Well, we could dress you up like a girl and leave you to the mercies of Molly and her snob-squad."

"You're just packed full of good ideas tonight, aren't you?" Jordan said, walking into the kitchen with his empty plate.

"You asked!" She said, following him with her own empty plate.

"No I didn't!"

"Well, you should have!"

"You make absolutely no sense!" He said, giving her a confused glare. "And you still haven't answered my question."

"What part of `I don't want anything' don't you understand?!"

"The `don't' part."

"Just get me some shoes!"

"You have shoes."

"Then get me a new birthday!!"

"I can't, and even if I could, I wouldn't. I like your birthday when it is."

"WELL, I DON'T!!" Carter shouted, green sparking in her midnight eyes. She took a deep breath and calmed down. "I want Sorrow back. I want him back so he can rip Molly to shreds for my birthday!"

"Why? I can do that."

"Jordan!" Carter hit his shoulder.

"OW! How can someone so little be so strong?!"

"You're just a wimp, that's all." She said, putting the last of the food away. "A motorcycle."


"A motorcycle. I want a motorcycle for my birthday."

"Well, that's a little easier, but you don't know how to drive one." He said, walking into the living room and sitting on the couch.

"I'll learn." She said, sitting on a footstool in front of him. "I can ride a bicycle. A motorcycle is just a big bike with a motor on it, right?"

"I guess, but it's on too short notice. What do you want this year?"

He started pulling bobby pins out of her thick hair, and the French twist dissolved, creating long, red waterfall down her back and hitting the floor. Jordan cherished Carter's hair. The one time she had cut it short, he had shaved her head while she was asleep, then shaved his own head so she wouldn't feel silly. He was five at the time, and Carter hadn't dared to cut her hair since then. He gently ran a comb through the scarlet mass, and started to braid it in three sections.

"I already have everything I need." Carter said.

"It's not what you need, it's what you want."

"But there really is nothing that I want!! I honestly can't think of anything!"

Jordan sighed, looking sadly at his sister.

"Mom's getting worried about you, you know." He said.

"I know. I'm taking her costume shopping on Saturday. That should calm her down a little. You decide what you're gonna be this year?"

"No. I'll just have to throw something together."

"I'll get you a costume." She said cheerfully.


"Don't you trust me?" Carter asked innocently, glancing over her shoulder at Jordan.


"I'm hurt!" She said piteously, looking at him with a sad pout.

"You're also evil! Remember the last time I let you pick out a costume for me?!"

"I thought it was a great outfit!"

"You had me dressed up as Minnie Mouse!"

"Oh, come on! That was years ago! I promise I'll get you a masculine costume, okay?"

"Only if you swear it won't be something I would consider stupid!"

"I swear, okay?!"

"I wish I didn't have detention, then I could go with you guys."

"Well, if you had used your pea-sized brain, you wouldn't have detention!"

"The little cockroach deserved it."

"You can't just kick the snot out of every guy who says something about me you don't like!!"

"It's hard to break a 10 year habit, okay?"

"It's been a year since we left that place!! If you don't get a grip, you're gonna get kicked out of school!"

The phone sitting on the coffee table in front of Carter rang and she picked it up.

"Hello?" Carter asked into the phone.

"Hi sweetie!" A female voice said from the other end. "I just got out of the first part of my presentation, and I thought I'd give you guys a call. How was dinner?"

Carter smiled and looked up at a picture on the wall. A beautiful woman with short, dark auburn hair and dark blue eyes smiled back from the frame. She was standing next to a handsome man with coal black hair, a goa-t, and sparkling, bright green eyes. Scratched into the frame, under the picture was written: `Ian & Kaitlyn Dubay'.

"Hi Mom! We had nachos. How's the presentation going? When will you be back?"

"So far, so good." Kaitlyn said cheerfully to her daughter. "I should be back early tomorrow if everything keeps going smooth. I've only got five minutes and I'm nervous, so let me yell at Jordan."

"Okay, bye Mom."

"Bye sweetie, I love you."

"I love you too, Mom."

Carter handed the phone to Jordan.

"Hey Mom!" He said. "No. Yes. Yes, I did! Mom! I know! Mom, calm down. No! Why do you always have to vent on me?! There's nothing to be nervous about, Mom. You're gonna kill `em! All right. Love you too, Mom."

Jordan handed the phone back to Carter and she hung it up.

"I always feel like a sounding board when she goes on those presentations." Jordan said. "All right, I'm done."

"Thanks." She said standing up. The three scarlet braids swung down past her knees. "Well, I have some homework to recopy, so I'll see you in the morning." She said, leaning down and hugging him.

"G'night, sis." He said, tugging on one of her braids as she walked to her room.

"`Night, bro."

Carter walked into her room and sat at her desk. The room was completely bare except for her bed, two dressers, and a desk that only had two photos sitting on it. She looked at the photos and brushed some invisible dust off the frames. One held a recent picture of her, Jordan and her mother. The other was a picture of her father a few weeks before he died. He was grinning overproudly, and holding her and Jordan in either arm. She had only been five at the time, but she could still remember the photo being taken. How her dad had swept her up in his arms when she tried to run from the camera. How big and strong he had seemed to her, and how safe and happy she had felt.

She smiled at the photos and turned to her backpack. It was an old, army issue survival pack that looked like it had been through several wars. Covering half of it was a dark, faded stain, like it had been dropped in grape juice years ago. She pulled out a folder and started writing. By 10:30 p.m. she was finally done. She threw on her nightshirt, brushed her teeth, turned off her light, and crawled into bed. Her bed was placed against a wall, and she knocked lightly on it. She received an answering knock immediately, and she smiled. I wonder if he would actually go to sleep if I didn't do that. She rolled her eyes at the thought. Probably not. 15 minutes later, she was sound asleep.

* * *

The next day went by very well. Carter was determined not to let her Friday be ruined, so she paid strict attention in class, and avoided Molly like black death. They got home and found a message on the answering machine from their mother. Apparently, the presentation went a little too smoothly, and she wouldn't be back till late that night.

"Man that sucks!!" Carter yelled, resetting the answering machine viciously.

"Don't do that!" Jordan said to his angry sister. "That's how the last machine broke, remember? And it doesn't suck, because this means Mom's doing really good. The better she does, the closer she gets to starting her own business, and then we won't have to go to that school anymore."

"I'll bet the tuition for that sorry excuse for a school is a big chunk out of Mom's paycheck, too. I still can't believe her company requires their employees to enroll their kids at the Academy! What's the point?!"

"High society doesn't need a point, that's what the money is for." Jordan said walking to the huge, living room windows.

"Money!" Carter growled, walking into the kitchen for some water. "That's all that matters to anyone! The bank wants money for a mortgage on a house that burned to the ground 11 years ago, that stupid landlord wants money to fulfill the lease on an apartment over 1000 miles away that we don't even live in anymore, the hospital wants money to pay off a bill that should have been paid by the insurance company, and Mom's boss wants everyone to think we have money so much that they make her drive that Jag 24-7 and force us to go to the school from hell and make her pay for the tuition!! I swear, if they made her pay for the hotel rooms she has to stay in for her presentations, I'd kill `em!"

"I'm just glad that half of that is past tense, now." Jordan said from the living room.

"You're not kidding!! For the first time in 11 years, we're actually starting to make money we can keep! Two more months and she'll only have to worry about our tuition."

"It looks like a storm, you wanna go on a picnic?"

Carter ran to the windows and looked out at the cloudy sky. "You needed to ask?! I'll pack the sandwiches!" She said excitedly, dashing back into the kitchen.

Carter made five sandwiches and put them into plastic bags. Then, she filled a gallon jug with water and grabbed two apples and an orange from the refrigerator. Carter stuffed the food and water into a waterproof picnic basket sitting on the living room coffee table. Jordan walked out of his room wearing a pair of extremely faded cut-off jean shorts, a pair of old combat boots, and a tight, ragged tank top. It used to be black, but it had slowly turned to a dull, gray-brown color over time. The clinging material gave a very good view of how muscular Jordan really was. He was only 14, but he looked like a 20 year old kickboxer.

"You're gonna have to ditch that shirt soon." Carter said, walking into the room next to his. "It's getting too small for you." She opened one of her dresser drawers and pulled out a pair of shorts, just as worn as Jordan's, and an old, blue t-shirt.

"I know, but it's my favorite." She heard him say from the living room.

Carter tore off her uniform and ruthlessly threw it into a corner. She put on the old clothes and slipped on an oversized long sleeved shirt over her t-shirt. Wrapping her braids around her head, she walked back into the living room and found her own boots. Jordan was holding the picnic basket and carrying a tattered backpack nearly identical to Carter's, except his didn't have a stain. Carter shoved on her boots, and they headed out the door. A warm front was coming through, so it was very pleasant outside for October. It started sprinkling lukewarm water almost as soon as they hit the tree-lined sidewalk.

"So, what do you want for your birthday?" Jordan asked as they walked toward the park.

"This is getting very old!" Carter said, frustrated.

"You're birthday is next Saturday, and I'm running out of time to get you what you want, so spill it."

"Jumper cables." She said, then sprinted to a tree and jumped, clearing the ground easily.

"Jumper cables?" Jordan asked, looking up at his sister dangling from a branch almost 12 feet off the ground.

"Yeah." She dropped lightly next to him as he passed by. "I want to hook Molly and her friends up to a generator and watch their eyes glow."

"How about some new clothes instead?"

"What's wrong with my clothes now?!"

"They're not yours! They're mine, and you drown in them! I've been looking all over for that shirt, and you're not getting it all dirty today."

"Baby! Mud comes out easy enough."

"In theory."

"You know, I really do want a motorcycle. They give you so much more freedom than cars. I can't wait till I can get one!"

Jordan looked at her thoughtfully, but didn't respond.

It started to downpour as they reached the large park. The huge, grassy field was still fairly green, while the small wooded area next to it was an array of autumn colors. They each ate a sandwich under a huge tree. Lightening flashed across the sky, followed quickly by a roll of thunder. Neither of them even blinked. Jordan pulled a frisbee out of his backpack, hit Carter on the head with it, and took off running.

"OW!! JERKFACE!! IT'S MY TURN TO START!!!" She shouted, stripping off the long-sleeved shirt and chasing after him.

Jordan was a fast runner, but Carter caught up with him quickly, jumping on his back and dragging him to the ground. He got a face full of grass, water, and mud, and he threw the frisbee away desperately.

"Point!" Carter yelled and ran after the frisbee, laughing.

Jordan picked himself up and sprinted after his sister. Carter had to stand still for three seconds every time she retrieved the frisbee, because she was much faster than him. He caught her just as she started to run again and lifted her off the ground. He received a mud ball in the face. Surprised, he let go, but immediately dove for her ankle when she started to take off. She tripped and landed face-first into a mud puddle, tossing the frisbee up in the air.

"Point-set!" Jordan called over the thunder as he ran after the plastic disk.

Carter had thrown it high, and he managed to dive and catch it before it hit the ground. He was just getting up when she slammed into his side and put him back in the mud. Rolling to the side, he tried to get back up, but she jumped on his back. He slipped on the wet grass as the extra weight threw him off balance, and he got rid of the frisbee quickly.

"Renig!" Carter shouted happily as she buried her brother's face in a puddle and started to run.

Jordan threw out his arm and caught her ankle, tripping her again. He dragged her back to him and gave her a mud pie in the face, then sprinted after the frisbee. Lightening ripped the sky in half with a deafening crack of thunder. They ignored it. He slipped again just before he reached the frisbee, and Carter was on him in an instant, rubbing mud in his hair.

"You're caught! I get a head start!" She yelled, jumping off his back, grabbing the frisbee, and running into the woods.

Jordan closed his eyes and counted to 15, then ran into the woods and started hunting for his sister. Instinct forced him to suddenly dive to the muddy forest floor. The frisbee hit a tree in front of him and dropped harmlessly to the ground.

"Almost got ya, little bro!" Carter shouted from behind him.

"You're dead, sis!!" Jordan yelled, picking up the frisbee and running after her, laughing.

She squealed and quickly climbed a tree, with him hot on her heels. Carter was more agile than he was, so she got to the ground first and ran back out into the field, looking over her shoulder for her brother.


Carter spun around in surprise and promptly fell flat on her back as she slipped on the grass. She looked up into the pouring rain at the source of the angry voice.

"MOM!!" She shouted, jumping up and embracing the tall, hooded figure standing above her.

"Hi, sweetie!" Kaitlyn said, laughing and returning the embrace of her muddy daughter without hesitation.

"Mom! You're back!" Jordan yelled, running up to them and hugging both of them.

"I sweet-talked the boss, and he let me come home early. I have a sur---" She was cut off by a ground shaking clap of thunder. She looked up in annoyance, but not fear.

"Let's get going before someone sees us." Jordan said, running and picking up the picnic basket, his shirt, and his backpack.

"I suppose." Their mother sighed. "Wouldn't want anyone thinking I approve of this abhorrent behavior." She said sarcastically.

They walked back to the car she had parked near the park entrance, and climbed onto the plastic covered seats. When Kaitlyn had walked into their apartment and read the note her children had left her, she had taken precautions to protect the expensive company car.

"I have a little surprise for you guys." Kaitlyn said as she drove the forest-green Jaguar. "Because my presentation went so very well, I get to bring you two with me on my next one."

"YES!!!" Carter and Jordan shouted.

"And" Their mother smiled, parking the car at their apartment and turning to them. "It's going to be next Friday."

"WHAT??!!" The children shouted again.

"Therefore, we not only get to spend an entire day in Chicago on your birthday, Carter, but I actually talked that old coot into letting us stay till Sunday."

"YEAH!!!" Carter yelled and hugged her mother. "Mom, you're the absolute best!!"

"Let's get out of this car." Kaitlyn said as a flash of lightening lit up the darkening sky.

They took the plastic covering off the seats of the car and walked in the back door, climbing the stairs to their apartment.

"Dibbs on the shower!" Carter said, running through the living room.

"You got it first last time!" Jordan protested, grabbing his quick sister around her waist, twisting her around, and beating her to the bathroom.

"CHEAT!!" She shouted, hitting the bathroom door.

"He won't be in there for long, you know that." Kaitlyn said, hanging up her raincoat and shutting the door. "What kind of sandwiches did you make?" She asked, poking through the picnic basket.

"Peanut butter and jelly."

"Classic. I've been craving one all day."

She took out a sandwich and started eating it, leaning against the kitchen doorway. Kaitlyn was 37, but she didn't look it at all. She stood at nearly 6', still able to look her 14 year old son in the eye without having to look up. Her thick, dark auburn hair was cut very short, and feathered to frame her smooth, beautiful face. Her delicate-looking figure hid a surprising strength. Carter had the same fine bone structure as her mother, but where Carter's eyes sparked with her father's fiery spirit, Kaitlyn's deep blue eyes were calm, like Jordan's.

"Any ideas for a costume yet?" She asked her daughter.

"Actually, I was kind of thinking of the sorceress look. Dark, sinister, and definitely scary."

"Molly giving you trouble again?"

"Is it that obvious?"

"You have that glint in your eye."

"She's just horrible, that's all. It'll come back to her one day."

"Did you finally cast a spell?"


"Oh, come on! Just think about it!" Kaitlyn said spookily, walking over to Carter and putting her arm around her filthy daughter. She was getting her good clothes dirty by doing so, but she didn't care. "You were born under a full moon, at midnight, on Halloween. If there is anyone on this planet that should have some kind of magical powers, it's you. So, when the full moon rises, and the clock starts to strike twelve on the night of Samhain, make a wish, and I'll bet it'll come true."

"Mom, you're weird!"

"I'm also desperate. You need to start perking up for your birthday. I've finally found you a gift I think you'll like, but you haven't been giving me a very easy time of it. So, how about it? We get all decked out tomorrow and hit the town to find the perfect costume. I wonder if Jordan's already got one?"

"No, I convinced him to let us get one for him."

"I'm surprised after what happened last time."

"He made me promise to get him a good one. I kind of have an idea, but I don't know if the store will have it."

"Don't worry about it. This store has anything and everything that was ever thought of, and we get our pick."

"I guess having to rub elbows with high society has it's perks."

"Yeah, too bad high society is so stuck on itself."

"Next!" Jordan called, walking out of the bathroom in a robe and going across the hall to his room.

"It's about time! You leave any hot water for me?!" Carter said, walking into the steamy bathroom.

"There's only one way to find out, dear sis." He said, grinning evilly from his doorway.

Carter threw a towel at him, but he shut his door before it hit him. Carter took a short shower, scrubbing the mud off quickly and washing her hair.

"It's all yours, Mom!" Carter said, coming out in her own robe. She walked to her room and threw on her nightshirt, picking up her uniform and tossing it into a drawer. After their mother got out of the shower, all three of them sat and talked while playing a `friendly' game of Monopoly.

* * *

The next day, they got up early. Kaitlyn dropped Jordan off at the Academy with a healthy glare, and took Carter shopping for costumes. It took them all day, but they managed to find two very good costumes, which Carter refused to show her brother till Halloween. That week went by relatively uneventfully. Every night after school, Jordan would braid sections of Carter's hair. By Friday, he was done, and Carter's whole head was covered with little braids.

A taxi picked them up after school on Friday, and took them to the Drake Hotel in Chicago. The manager greeted them at the door and showed them to their lavish, three bedroom room personally. There was a note by the phone from their mother, saying she wouldn't be back till late, and they were to order room service immediately. Jordan picked up the phone and dialed room service.

"Hello, this is room 1746, and we'dOh, it is? No! No complaints. Thank you. Bye." He turned to Carter with a confused expression. "He said it's on its way."

"But we didn't order anything yet."

There was a soft knock at the door.

"Room service." A voice called.

"Freaky!" Carter whispered as Jordan looked out the peephole and opened the door.

A brightly dressed man pushed a cart into the room, gave a little bow and left. Carter walked over to the cart and lifted the silver platter cover, while Jordan read the little note that had been sitting next to it. A delicious-smelling pan of lasagna was underneath it.

"MOM'S LASAGNA!!!" Carter shouted.

"She made it when she got here, and had them hold it for us." Jordan said, passing Carter the note and dishing out plates for them.

"It's been weeks since we had this!" She said, taking a big bite of the hot pasta. "Mmmmmmm! Deeee-lish!!"

"Man, I've missed this stuff!" He exclaimed, taking a more cautious bite than his sister.

They watched an old horror movie after eating and putting the leftovers in a little refrigerator, then went to their rooms to unpack and go to bed. Carter tossed and turned for an hour before finally giving up on sleep. The room was bigger than her own room at their apartment, and it was very, very quiet. The place was too unfamiliar, and she just couldn't relax. She threw off her comforter and stopped short as she started to walk out of the room. Jordan was asleep on the floor in front of her door. Slipping under his blanket, she curled up next to him, resting her head on his shoulder. He stirred a little and wrapped his arm around her protectively. In five minutes, Carter was asleep as well. Kaitlyn walked in the hotel room two hours later, and sighed at the sight of her two children sleeping soundly on the floor. She shook her head, went to her room, put on her pajamas, grabbed a blanket and pillow, and laid down on the plush carpet next to her little family. She fell asleep trying not to remember the countless times she had come home to this familiar scene; her kids, curled up in each others arms on the floor, in the corner of an apartment that, with any luck, had been condemned by now.

* * *

A horrible screeching noise brought all three of them instantly awake the next morning. They looked blankly at each other. The noise had stopped. It started again, and Kaitlyn dashed for the ringing phone.

"Hello?" She asked. "Oh, yes. Thank you. Good-bye."

"Who was that?!" Carter asked irritably, yawning.

"Wake-up call." Kaitlyn said, turning around. "Now what are you two doing on the floor? You have beds."

"I didn't see you in yours this morning!" Carter said mischievously.

"That's not the point."

"My room smelled like old flowers, and the bed was too big." Jordan said, standing up and stretching.

"Mine was too quiet." Carter said, walking over to the refrigerator and picking at the cold lasagna. "He was already sleeping there when I came out. So, what are we gonna do today?"

"That's up to you." Kaitlyn said.


"It's your birthday, bean-brain." Jordan said, knocking Carter on the head and taking a bite of the leftovers.

"Oh yeah! I'm 16 today!" She paused. "I want to go to the museum and see the lions!"

"In a museum?" Kaitlyn asked.

"You know, those two man-eating lions from the movie `The Ghost and the Darkness'. They keep them in the museum here."

"Oh, those lions." Kaitlyn looked at the clock on the wall. "Well, they don't open for a little while, so let's grab some breakfast first."

They all got dressed and ate breakfast at a little café across from the museum. They spent all morning at the museum, then drove to Wrigley Field in time for a tour. They wandered Chicago the whole day, having a fantastic time. Two hours before the dance, they returned to the hotel.

"Okay, it's time for presents!" Kaitlyn said excitedly as they walked through the door of their hotel room.

Jordan dashed into his room and came out with his hands behind his back, grinning from ear to ear. Kaitlyn walked quickly to her room and came out the same way. Her mother and brother were very good at finding out what she wanted every year, but this year she really hadn't wanted anything. So, she was dying to know what they had come up with to get her that had them so ecstatic. Jordan walked up to her first and handed her a large, flat box wrapped in silver paper. She tore it open and just gawked at the contents.

"You can remove the lining for the summer, when it's hot." He said.

Carter carefully lifted the leather jacket from its box and caressed the exquisitely embroidered phoenix on the left side. It would cover her heart when she wore the jacket. She flew into Jordan's arms and hugged him tightly.

"It's beautiful, Jordan!!! I love it!!" She said, kissing his cheek. She let go of him and put the coat on. It fit a little big, giving her room to grow into it, and the spongy lining was soft and warm.

"Well, you're going to need a jacket if you get a motorcycle." He said shyly as Carter hugged him again.

"But how did you afford it?!"

"It's amazing how much people will pay to have their homework done for them." He said, grinning wickedly.

"Okay, okay, it's my turn!" Kaitlyn said, handing Carter a small box.

"What is it?" Carter asked, taking off the white wrapping paper.

She opened the little box and picked up a small, black velvet satchel. Carefully, she poured the contents into her hand, and stared at it in speechless wonder. Laying on the palm of her hand was a tiny gold cage hanging from a thick, gold hoop with a latch on it. Inside the cage was a flawless, black pearl a full inch in diameter. It had been a family heirloom for countless generations, and it was one of the precious few things that had been left after the fire that destroyed their house 11 years ago.

"I was going to wait for your 18th birthday, but" Kaitlyn trailed off as Carter embraced her mother tightly, kissing her on the cheek.

"How can I take this, Mom?!" Carter said, letting her go and examining the pendant. "It should be in a safe at Fort Knox, or something!"

Kaitlyn lifted the charm out of her daughter's hands, and latched it onto the chain around Carter's neck. Sorrow's tags made a light `tinking' noise as they bumped against the golden cage containing one of the rarest objects ever created by that planet.

"How do you think heirlooms work?!" Kaitlyn said, taking Carter's shoulders. "They get passed down from generation" She pointed to herself. "to generation." She stroked Carter's forehead, tears starting to darken her eyes. "When you have a daughter, you'll give it to her. An heirloom is a symbol of life. It needs to be cherished and loved, not locked away."

She embraced her daughter fiercely. Jordan walked over and wrapped his arms around both of them, resting his head on Carter's braids. Kaitlyn looped her arm around her son's waist thankfully and squeezed them both.

"All right, that's enough of that." Kaitlyn said, stepping back and wiping her eyes. "We need to get ready."

Kaitlyn and Jordan cheered up almost immediately as Carter's face lit up, and she ran into her room excitedly, coming out with a garment bag. The slender redhead's passionate spirit was infectious to her family. No matter how much they tried, they couldn't be anything but happy when she was smiling.

"This better be a decent costume, Carter." Jordan grumbled as his sister handed him a bag.

"Don't be such a ninny!" Carter said. "You're gonna love it! Now go change!"

Carter quickly went back into her room and changed. Jordan had his back turned to her as she came out of her room, and she gave him a scrutinous look. The black leather boots stopped just below his knees, with three thick buckles holding them on. His leggings were black with a blue stripe up the side to match his sleeveless blue shirt. On his upper left arm was a black leather band with silver studs encircling it. Over the shirt he wore a black leather vest that looked like it had come out of the 12th century. It was long, brushing his legs just below the wide belt buckled over it at his waist. The blue in his shirt brought out his eyes perfectly, and Carter smiled in satisfaction.

"Masculine enough for ya?" Carter asked.

"It's great!" Jordan said, looking in the mirror and adjusting his belt.

"I figured you might like it." She said. "Simple, but nice."

He turned around and his mouth dropped at the sight of Carter.

"What do you think?" She asked, stepping in front of the mirror. "Mom convinced me to get it."

She wore short, soft, black leather boots. The silky fabric of her long sleeved, smoky green dress brushed the tops of her boots. A thin, black belt was clasped at her waist with a gold dragon for a buckle. Her crimson braids brought out the ruby eyes of the matching dragon on the front of the tiara at her forehead. The black lipstick she was wearing and the color of the dress made the green in her eyes practically glow.

"Earth to Jordan!" She said, turning around.

"Wow!!" He said, shaking his head. He had never seen her dressed up before! "You look fabulous!"

"You certainly do, Carter!" Kaitlyn said. "I knew that color would look great on you." She looked at her watch. "Well, it's a quarter to ten, so we better get going."

"Can't wait." Carter said blandly.

They drove to the enormous ballroom downtown and reluctantly walked in. A large group of students were there, and the band was already playing music. Orange and black decorations covered almost every inch of the walls. A large table was in a corner with refreshments on it, and on the other side of the expansive floor, there were a couple booths set up for games. Carter walked over to the refreshment table for something to drink, while Jordan fixed a little plate of food for them.

"Carter, dear!" A high voice said from behind Carter as she reached the table, and she closed her eyes in frustration. She could almost feel them turning green. "I'm so glad you made it!"

Carter opened her darkening, greenish-blue eyes and turned to face Molly. She was wearing a low-cut, tight, sleeveless white dress. A long slit up the right side of the long dress stopped at her upper thigh. Her white gloves went above her elbows, and she held a beautiful, feathery mask attached to the end of a silver stick.

"I was getting worried about you." Molly said. "I thought maybe you had gotten sick."

"You shouldn't concern yourself over me, Molly." Carter said angrily.

"I know. Where's your brother?"

"Where's your boyfriend?"

"Tisk, tisk, Carter. You're getting above yourself."

"So's that slit up your dress."

"At least I have legs to show." Molly said, getting angry.

"And you certainly are showing them tonight, aren't you?" Carter said, smiling.

Molly closed her eyes and laughed softly. "I'm not going to let you get to me, Jinx." She said, looking at Carter with an air of confidence. "I'm going to be nice, because it's your birthday today." She looked up with a sultry smile as Jordan walked over. "That color looks good on you, Jordan. You will save me a dance tonight, won't you?"

"Um, sure." He said, giving her a courteous, plastic smile.

"You're so sweet. I'll see you later, then." She winked at Jordan, then turned sweetly to his smaller sister. "Bye, Carter." She said and walked away.

"Here!" He hissed, handing Carter an apple. "Put a spell on this fast so we can kill that evil `Snow White'!"

"You're crazy!" Carter laughed.

"Please!" He pleaded dramatically. "I don't want to dance with her!"

"Then why did you say you would?!"

"I panicked! She probably wouldn't have left if I had said `no', anyway. Maybe I can get someone to switch costumes with me." He started looking around desperately. "You see anyone dressed as the invisible man?"

"Come on, nutso, I'll win a toy for ya!" She said, taking his arm and leading him across the floor to the game booths.

"What?!" Jordan laughed.

"Here, turn around. I don't want you seeing what I win." She said as they arrived, handing him her apple, turning him around, and pushing him to the side of the little booth. "How many tries do I get?" She asked the vendor.

"Three per token." The vendor said.

Everyone was given a complimentary token at the door, but if you wanted more tokens, you had to buy them for $15 each. Carter handed her token to the vendor, and he handed her three baseballs. She was about to throw one at the stack of plastic milk bottles seven feet away when a voice stopped her.

"You're joking, right?"

Carter turned around to the familiar voice. Sara was dressed up like a sexy Alice in Wonderland. The tall boy next to her was an Armani Mad Hatter.

"I'll bet you $100 that you can't hit those bottles." Sara said smugly.

"I don't want your money, Sara." Carter said, turning back to the game.

"I knew you'd be afraid." Sara said, laughing.

Carter smiled to herself and looked back at Sara. "I'll do your math homework for a month if I miss." Carter said.

"Deal!" Sara said quickly and pulled a $100 bill out of her little purse, putting it on the counter.

Carter picked up two of the baseballs and tossed them lightly over the counter. The vendor looked at her with a very shocked expression. She smiled at him and picked up the last ball. The plastic pyramid exploded as the baseball hit the center of it with deadly accuracy.

"You are such a barbarian, Jinx!!" Sara said furiously and walked off.

"Can I have that one, in the corner?" Carter asked the vendor, ignoring Sara and pointing to one of the many stuffed animals lining the wall.

"This one?" He asked, smiling and taking down a little black kitten with tiny bat's wings when she nodded.

She looked at the $100 bill laying on the counter, not wanting to touch it, when the vendor picked it up and put it in her hand with the kitten.

"You won it fair and square, young lady." He said, smiling. "You have a happy Halloween, okay?"

"Thanks!" Carter said, smiling back and feeling much better about taking the money.
She turned to get Jordan, but he had come around from the side of the booth and was shaking his head at her, grinning.

"What?!" Carter asked innocently. "She started it! Here." She handed him the fluffy little animal with the money and took her apple. "I'll trade ya."

"He's cute, I wonder what I should name him." Jordan said, smiling at the stuffed kitten and putting the money in his boot.

"Well, that's 15 minutes down, and only 165 to go." Carter said, taking a bite of her apple.

"They'll go slower if you count `em down like that."

"I know." She sighed, looking out into the crowd of people fearfully, then started to grin. "Let's go test their social skills."

They walked into the crowd and started `mingling'. High society had a certain set of rules for public behavior, and Carter was having a wonderful time watching all her classmates grit their teeth and follow them. The rules of public social interaction required everyone to act completely civil toward everyone else. All the girls had no trouble acting very civil to Jordan, but they had to act it to Carter as well, and it drove them up the wall.

Near 11:30 pm, Jordan finally got cornered, and he had to leave Carter to dance with Molly. He had left his sister at the refreshment table, but she was gone when he returned after the song. Sara and Jaimie walked up to him and started talking to him. Something about the way they were just babbling on made him uneasy. It felt like they were stalling. After a few minutes, he lost his patience and told them their boyfriends were looking for them. When they turned around to see, he slipped away and started searching for Carter. He found her on the outside balcony with Molly, just in time to hear the tail end of a very dangerous conversation.

"Because you're nothing but an ugly street rat." Molly said calmly and coldly. "You should thank me, my sweet little Jinx. I'm trying to save your poor brother from the horrible fate of becoming what you already are. An insignificant piece of trash, just like your mother. I'm doing him a favor by taking him from you."

Carter's world turned red, blinding her, and a deafening ringing noise made her skin tingle and buzz. She wasn't aware of anything that was going on till she heard Jordan shout her name in her ear, piercing the sound blaring in her head. She blinked, surprised at hearing her brother's voice, and looked around with rage burning in her veins. Her feet were dangling off the ground because Jordan was behind her, hugging her tightly and keeping her arms pinned to her sides. She was holding a scrap of white cloth and the tips of her fingers on both hands were stained red. Her eyes flashed like bright emeralds, blazing with an uncontained fury.

"WHERE IS SHE!!!!???!!!! I'LL KILL HER!!!!" She shouted, struggling against Jordan's grasp.

"Carter, stop it!!" He yelled, keeping a desperate grip on his irate sister. If she got away, there was no telling what she might do.


"No, Carter!! Stop it! She's gone!"


"You can't kill her!! Now, stop it!"

Carter knew he was right, and she knew her brother would never let go of her. She stopped struggling, closed her eyes, and screamed in helpless, frustrated rage.


"I know, sis. I know." Jordan said softly as his sister hung her head and went limp in his arms. He paused, listening to something beyond Carter's ragged breathing. "Happy birthday, sis." He said, giving her a squeeze.

"Huh?" She asked, lifting her head a little.


She looked up at the full moon, concentrating on the sounds of the quiet night. Two faint `bonging' noises penetrated her still ringing ears.

"It's midnight, happy birthday." He said, setting her down and keeping his arms around her as she leaned wearily against him.

A sudden thought made Carter's shoulders move in a semblance of laughter. "It didn't work." She said, tears starting to run down her cheeks.


"Mom told me to make a wish at midnight and it would come true, but we're still here. It didn't work!" She turned and buried her face in her brother's shoulder, sobbing.

"It's okay, sis." He said, holding her and stroking her hair. "It's gonna be okay."

"Is everything all right out here?" A woman asked, walking up to the doorway.

"No." Jordan said. "We'd like to go home, please. My sister doesn't feel good."

"Hold on, I'll get you a phone so you can call your parents." The woman said and walked quickly away.

"There, see?" He said to Carter. "It did work, we get to leave an hour early. We'll be somewhere else soon."

The woman came back with a cordless phone and Jordan dialed their hotel room, keeping an arm around his sister. Kaitlyn picked it up on the first ring.

"What's wrong?" She asked instead of saying `hello'.

"Can you pick us up, please?" Jordan asked.

"Be there in five minutes." She said and hung up.

He handed the phone back to the woman. "We're outa here!" He said after the woman left.

He picked Carter up and quickly jumped off the second story terrace. He landed softly on the grass below and looked back at the high balcony. It's been a long time since I had to do that. He walked to the front of the building, still carrying his crying sister. Kaitlyn was good on her word, and picked them up in five minutes, even though it was a ten minute drive. She knew both of them still needed a little time to cool down, so she drove them back in silence, focusing on the road. None of them spoke till they were in the hotel room, sitting on the large couch in their nightclothes, and drinking hot chocolate.

"All right, what happened?!" Kaitlyn asked.

"Molly went all out tonight." Jordan growled. "She told Carter that you were trash, and that she was going take me away from her. I got there in time, but Molly's going to have some nasty little scars on her shoulder from Carter's nails. I'm still kind of surprised the vindictive little snob didn't call the cops!"

"I'm tired of it." Carter said angrily. "They hold all the cards all the time and it makes me sick! No matter what they do or what they say, we can't retaliate! It goes beyond infuriating knowing that I have to sit there and take everything they dish out because I've been rendered completely helpless by their checkbooks!! I'd give anything to be able to fight back, just once! To have them on the same playing field as me, no `high society', no bank accounts, no rules!!"

"You said it! I don't like outright fighting, but this being helpless is getting way out of hand! Of course, it doesn't help that the only friends we have are the school custodian and a half insane hacker. Man, why are friends so hard to come by?!"

"I wish I knew." Kaitlyn said. "It's what makes them so special, I guess. Did you win that, Jordan?" She asked, pointing to the cute, winged, black kitten sitting on his lap.

"Carter won him for me." He said, grinning. "Along with a hundred bucks."


"Sara bet me $100 that I couldn't win a toy," Carter said, smiling. "She lost."

"You are terrible!" Kaitlyn laughed and turned to Jordan. "What did you name him?"

"Samhain." Jordan said, smiling at the stuffed animal.

"It's definitely Halloween. Okay, it's about time to hit the hay." Kaitlyn said, yawning. "You two are crashing with me tonight. I'm not going to wake up and find you on the floor again."

They all climbed into their mother's king sized bed and slept like they used to so many times before they came to Chicago.

* * *

Continued in Chapter II...