The Guardian (The Gifted Book 1)

BOOK: The Guardian (The Gifted Book 1)
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The Guardian

The Gifted

Book 1

 

C. L. McCourt

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2013 Cynthia L McCourt

All rights reserved.

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to
amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

This book is available in print at most online retailers.

 

 

~~~

 

For my husband.

 

~~~

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

If
it were not for the words of encouragement and positive feedback I received from my family, friends, and colleagues,

I d
on’t think I would have gotten this far.

 

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

 

 

 

The Gift
ed

 

The Guardian

The Channel

The Dark Healer

The Keeper

Learn more at
http://luxatra.com

 

 

 

 

1
Treasure

 

Thirteen-year-old Randell stood at the top of the attic ladder scanning the space around him. Old boxes and trunks dating back several generations were stacked on a plywood floor under the exposed roof rafters.

He wasn't supposed to be in the attic but it was a space he couldn't resist. It was a rich source of items waiting to feed his imagination and quench his boredom
—or so he hoped.

It had been a while since he'd ventured into the attic with his father but he was bigger now, stronger, and able to sneak up the ladder on his own. His boredom had gotten the better of him that day and he'd decided the possibility of an adventure was worth the risk. His father was working and his mom was in the kitchen with the television on,
so the odds were in his favor.

Light from the dust
-covered attic windows cast silhouettes of the objects that filled the space. As he reached the top of the ladder, he pulled the string and the light from a single bare bulb shone bright, lighting the center of the attic and turning the silhouettes into boxes and trunks and other various items.

Randell moved quietly around
the trunks and boxes, wiping dust from their surfaces, trying to ascertain their contents without opening them. He had only so much time and he couldn't waste it opening a box that didn't hold anything interesting.

Many of the boxes belonged to his parents and contained camping supplies and old clothes. His sled was stowed in the corner along with old toys his mother felt would be collectibles many years from now. It didn't take long
for Randell to reach the wall furthest from the ladder and for disappointment to press against his chest. He turned and scanned the area, hoping he'd missed something, anything of interest.

He was about to start back, thinking he'd seen it all
, when something behind a stack of boxes caught his eye. He quietly pushed the stack to the side, revealing a wooden trunk. He moved slowly and furtively. Even though his mother was in the kitchen the last time he checked, he didn't want to take any chances of being heard.

He pulled his sleeve down over his hand and wiped the dust from the top of the trunk. One swipe revealed two numbers. Another swipe revealed two more. A year, 1910. He gasped, "Yes!" None of what he'd already seen was this old.

Grinning ear-to-ear, he carefully lifted the lid to the trunk, secretly hoping to find a forgotten family treasure or something just as cool. The lid cast a shadow on the trunk's contents making it difficult to see what was inside. Randell gently pushed the stacked boxes a little closer to the ladder so that the light from the bulb up above could shine on his hidden treasure.

His eyes fell on what looked like a small woolen blanket. His excitement began to wane but he wasn't going to give up. He lifted the blanket from the trunk
, ever so hopeful that it hid his treasure, but the next layer revealed was clothing and some old-fashioned women's shoes. Still, this was just the beginning. The trunk was deep and he had only just begun.

Not wanting to get in trouble for messing up the trunk's contents, he carefully set the items on the floor next to him, trying to remember where everything had come from. The next layer consisted of more clothes and a canvas bag that reminded him of the
one Indiana Jones carried in each of his adventures. Finally, something he might find useful. He set the bag aside, away from the other items.

He returned to the trunk to see the next layer of items, but found there was nothing else. He'd reached the bottom. Perplexed, he sat back on his heels, looking at the outside and then the inside of the trunk. He used his arm to measure its depth, from
both the inside and the outside. Something was wrong, and he knew what it was.

Barely able to contain his excitement, he felt around the inner edges of the bottom of the trunk and found a small bit of leather close to the front wall. He pulled on the leather and met resistance, but persistence has its rewards. He pulled harder and the bottom of the trunk lifted away. "Yes," Randell hissed as his heart started to pound in his chest. This was it, his hidden treasure.

He peered into the lower half of trunk, but the deep shadows at the edge of the attic blocked most of his view. He started to drag the trunk towards the light but it made a loud scraping noise on the floor. He stopped, held his breath, and listened for any sign that his mom had discovered his whereabouts, but nothing happened.

Randell released the breath he was holding. "That was close." Not wanting to risk getting caught looking for a flashlight, he decided to simply reach into the trunk and feel around. He dipped his hand slowly, tapping around with his fingertips.

At first he didn't feel anything, but then it happened. His fingers tapped onto something flat and smooth and square. Gripping gently, he retrieved what felt like a book. Holding it up to the light, he saw that it was a leather soft-cover book with a crest carved into the front. He examined the cover and binding, noting the book had no title. He opened the cover to find pages and pages of handwritten text he couldn't read. Upon closer inspection, he realized that it wasn't poor penmanship that prevented him from understanding what was on the page; rather, the pages were filled with letters he'd never seen before. This would definitely need further investigation.

Setting the book next to the canvas bag, he reached in
to the trunk to see if there was anything else in the secret compartment. Feeling braver, he pressed his hand to the bottom of the trunk and swept it from side to side and then back to front, the heel of his hand brushing against something hard and flat.

He patted his hand over the length of the object and his heart raced. "It can't be." He carefully gripped the object and lifted it from the trunk, his hands trembling
, and brought it into the light. It was. He'd found his treasure: a dagger with a one-foot blade sheathed in a hard leather scabbard. The cross guard and pommel were silver and the grip was wrapped with leather strips. There was a crest engraved on the pommel and the scabbard, the same crest found on the book.

He whispered, "Cool." He could barely contain his enthusiasm. He wanted to run down the stairs yelling
, "Look what I found," but he didn't. He couldn't. He wasn't supposed to be in the attic, let alone going through the family's boxes and trunks.

Randell gripped the hilt
of the dagger with one hand and the scabbard with the other and pulled. The swish of the blade as it slid from its sheath sent chills down his spine. The blade looked clean but used. It had seen some action. He lightly brushed the edge of the blade with his thumb and quickly drew his hand back, revealing a small trickle of blood on his thumb. Yep, the blade was sharp.

He sucked the blood from his thumb and pressed it into his jeans to stop the bleeding. Not wanting to risk further injury, not now at least, he carefully sheathed the dagger. He quickly returned the false bottom to its closed position and placed the clothes and other items back in the top portion of the trunk before sliding the boxes back into place, hiding the trunk again.

On the floor behind him were the bag, the book, and the dagger. As he reached for his treasure, he heard his dad's car pull up out front. Stepping quickly, he reached for the string dangling from the light and pulled, hoping his dad hadn't seen the light from the window.

Not wanting to risk getting caught with his prizes before he had a chance to check them out, he sat on a trunk by the back window and leafed through the book. At the top of each page was a brief set of letters, each set repeating
from one page to the next, with only the first letters changed. Dates maybe? Was this somebody’s diary?

He fanned to the back of the book and found writing that looked like English. The handwriting was small and the letters odd at times but he could make out many of the words. Across the top of each page was a date. Yep, a diary.

He set the book on the trunk beside him and placed the dagger on his lap. Using his sleeve, he started to wipe the dust from the scabbard, working his way up from the tip. As he rubbed the hilt, a flash of bright blue light replaced the beams of sunlight shining on the dagger, filling the room for a second and then disappearing just as fast. "What the ...?" he exclaimed under his breath.

Blinking the spots from his eyes, Randell wiped the dust from the windowpanes and peered out into the backyard, as the light seemed to have come from outside. He scanned the groomed grasses close to the house, looking outward toward the tall grasses that filled the large space leading to the woods that surrounded his home.

All was still. Just when he was about to give up, however, a patch of tall grass started to move. Eyes wide with wonder, Randell waited to see what would emerge. Logic told him it would be deer or some other form of wildlife, but his imagination was running wild and he couldn't pull his eyes away.

Thoughts of Aladdin's lamp drifted through his mind. He had just been rubbing the dagger. "Nah!"
he thought. No way could he have caused something to happen simply by rubbing the hilt of a dagger. But then again ... he held his breath as he watched the moving grass transform into a man struggling to get to his feet.

Randell watched in wonder as this stranger, who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, slowly gained his footing. Seeing a stranger in his yard wasn't a common occurrence, but that wasn't what made this situation unusual. Randell blinked several times, trying to ensure the spots that still danced in front of his eyes weren't playing tricks on him.

He needed to be closer to see better. Without thinking, he grabbed the book and dagger, spun away from the window, and raced for the attic entrance. Bounding down the ladder, jumping half the distance to the hall floor, he sprinted for the stairs leading to the first floor. As he reached the bottom step, he grabbed the banister to use as leverage, swinging himself 180 degrees around towards the back of the house.

"Randell! What have we told you about running"
—the back screen door slammed—"in the house?" Randell's father Ander shouted from behind his newspaper in the living room. "That boy ..." Ander folded the paper and placed it on the coffee table before walking calmly to kitchen window, curious as to what had gotten Randell's attention.

"Pam!?" He thought his wife
had been in the kitchen just a minute ago. The television was still on.

"Down here
, Ander. What do you need?"

Ander stood at the top of the stairs that led to the basement,
looking down at her. "Nothing, just wanted to know where you were." He turned towards the kitchen door, the door through which his son had just run.

 

 

 

BOOK: The Guardian (The Gifted Book 1)
4.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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