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Authors: Melissa Luznicky Garrett

The Prophecy

BOOK: The Prophecy
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The Prophecy

Book Two of
The Spirit Keeper
Series

By Melissa Luznicky Garrett

 

The Prophecy copyright 2013 by Melissa Luznicky Garrett

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be used or reproduced, except for
brief

quotations, without permission from the author.

 

The Prophecy is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, and events are the product of the author’s imagination or used
fictitiously. Any similarities to actual people, places, or events are
coincidental.

 

Published 2013.

 

Cover design by
www.Damonza.com

 

For Natalie and David Allan.

And also for Isobel Melissa.

 

Acknowledgements

I
typically know what I want to say when I sit down to write my acknowledgments.
Having just completed the final read-through of THE PROPHECY, my first thought
is . . . It’s done at last!

THE
PROPHECY and its predecessor, THE SPIRIT KEEPER, have occupied my mind and time
to varying degrees for the past six years. It’s been a long slog, and to
finally put Sarah and the gang to rest fills me with great relief and happiness,
but also with a twinge of sadness. I guess you can say I grew up with Sarah;
she taught me a lot about who I am as a writer and how to tell a story, and I’m
going to miss her. So, to Sarah Redbird, I say thank you.

My
sincere thanks to Nova Order, Natalie Allan, and Melissa Firman, for their
editorial support and insightful feedback, which allowed me to write the best
book I possibly could.

Thanks
to Leah Shvartsman and Lauren Loiacono for providing the names of the fictional
Native American tribes that come later in the story.

Thanks
to Damon for humoring me when I said, “I know exactly what I want this cover to
look like,” and then delivering on that vision.

Thanks
to my friends and fans, both in real life and online, for their continuous
support and genuine desire to help me succeed.

Thanks
to Ian, Hannah, Jacob, and Bridget. I love you. For always.

To my new
readers: Welcome!

 

~Melissa

ONE

“I
can’t . . .
breathe
,” Priscilla gasped. “And you’re pulling my hair!”

She shoved
me away and rubbed her scalp, giving me a hard look. But there was no mistaking
the gleam in her eyes. As far as I was concerned, she was taking a little too
much joy in my misery.

“Quit
freaking out,” she said. “You’ll only be gone a few days.”

I wrapped
my arms around my chest to keep from lunging at her again. She wasn’t a life
preserver, after all.

“I wish
you could come with us.” My voice shook, and I coughed to hide it.  

The
corners of Priscilla’s wide mouth lifted, making her eyes crinkle at the edges.
“Yeah, right. I’d fit in like a donkey at a dog show.”

I bit
my bottom lip to keep from laughing, despite the butterflies persistently flapping
against my ribcage.

There
was zero chance of her blending in where I was going, what with her Amazonian
height and mass of flaming hair. Besides, Aunt Meg said it wouldn’t be
appropriate for an outsider to attend
any
Council meeting.

Especially
not this one.

It
didn’t matter that Priscilla and I had been best friends since the fifth grade or
that she was in on the biggest secret of my life—that I had unwittingly become
the Katori tribe’s new Spirit Keeper and apparently had the (not always
reliable) ability to manipulate the elements. Priscilla would have to stay
behind. I’d have to do this alone.

“You
won’t be alone,” she said, as if reading my thoughts.

I picked
at a jagged fingernail as I watched the Templeton kids across the street using colored
sidewalk chalk to graffiti their driveway. “I know. It’s just . . .
you know
.”

I’m
scared
, is what I couldn’t say.

Priscilla
play-punched me sympathetically in the shoulder, making me rock back on my
heels. “Yeah, I know.”    

Uncle
David had promised to chip in a few hundred dollars toward a used car . . . if
only I would stop pouting. It was driving everyone crazy, he said. His offer failed
to lift me out of the mood I’d been wallowing in since my birthday a week ago.
Any other seventeen-year-old girl would be thrilled with the possibility of
finally getting a car. But not me. The only thing that concerned me was getting
through the emotional drama of the next few days.

And
let’s face it: I wasn’t your average teenager anymore. As far as I knew, no
other girl had brought her boyfriend back from the brink of death with just the
touch of her hand and the powerful love in her heart. Corny-sounding, but true.

Priscilla
opened the car door and I reluctantly slid in, the backs of my bare thighs
squeaking against the worn leather interior. Adrian sat shotgun next to his
twin sister Shyla, who was in the driver’s seat. He turned a pair of dark, compassionate
eyes on me. His bottom lip pushed out, mimicking the sour expression that Aunt
Meg complained had been plastered on my face so long it was in danger of freezing
that way. But I could tell by the way his nostrils flared and his shoulders
shook that he was trying not to laugh. Everyone, including my boyfriend,
thought I was overreacting.

“It’ll
be okay,” he finally said when I glared back. “You have nothing to worry about.
I promise.”

That’s
what they all promised, but how could they be so sure? For the first time in
seventeen years, I was going back to the place where it all began—the Katori
reservation—where there was longstanding resentment for the mess my mother had unintentionally
caused when she fell in love with the wrong man—
my father
. And as
doom-and-gloom as it sounded, I had a feeling there were some members of the
tribe who would never let me forget what she had done.

Priscilla
closed the door with a click of finality, and I pressed the worn button on the
arm rest. The window inched its way down with a sickly
whir
.

“Call
me when you can,” she said.

Priscilla
stepped away as Shyla eased the car into reverse and backed slowly out of the driveway,
pulling in line behind David. And even though I knew I would only feel worse
for doing so, I turned in my seat and stared out the back window, watching as
my best friend, and the security of home, faded into the distance.

 

“You’re
going to lose them.”

I leaned
forward and glanced at the speedometer, but the orange needle stayed fixed
firmly in place at 60 mph.  

Shyla’s
eyes met mine in the rear view mirror. “They are two cars ahead of us. We’re
not going to lose them.”

“But—”

“Why
don’t you just put your head back and relax for a little while?” she said. “Or,
maybe, I don’t know . . .
shut up and let me drive
? You’re being super
annoying.”

Clenching
my jaw, I choked down another response. I knew I was walking a thin line with
my constant nagging. I’d been on the receiving end of Shyla’s temper before,
and I didn’t exactly want to go there again.

Unfortunately,
I couldn’t get comfortable. Shyla’s rusted Camry was as ancient as the
Parthenon, and the AC wheezed and rattled, sending out inconsistent spurts of cool
air. My hairline prickled with sweat—or maybe nerves—and I swiped the back of
my hand irritably across my forehead.

I
leaned forward between the two front seats again. “Can’t you go faster? You’re
barely going the speed limit.” I watched the orange needle, but it didn’t
budge.

Shyla
cleared her throat. “When you finally learn how to drive sometime this century,
then you can go however fast you want. Until then, quit complaining or bum a ride
with the old folks next time we stop.”

Adrian grunted
with laughter. I sat back and stared straight ahead, trying unsuccessfully to
ignore the growing distance between Shyla’s car and David’s. He was a wannabe Formula
One driver, and I knew it was only a matter of time before he outpaced us. I
stuck my thumbnail between my front teeth and bit down hard, hoping I could
draw out the nervousness like tiny droplets of blood.

“Can’t
you—”

“Sarah,
chill out! I’ve got GPS. There’s no way we’re going to get lost.”

Adrian
turned in his seat. “I was on the reservation two months ago. I haven’t
forgotten my way home.”

Home
.

He’d meant
it as reassurance, but it felt like all the air had been sucked out of the car
with that one word. Did Adrian still consider the Katori reservation his home,
even though he’d already begun to make a new life here in Ithaca with his
sister and Gran? With
me
? I never considered that he might one day want
to return to the reservation for good. I’d always assumed that he would go
wherever I went—considering we were destined to be together forever—and I
certainly didn’t want to end up in some remote little town with a bunch of strangers
who hated my mother, and most likely hated me by default.

“We’ll be
there before you know it,” Adrian said, misunderstanding the reason for my
anxiety. He unclasped his seatbelt and maneuvered his way to the backseat
beside me. 

I scooted
closer and lay my head against his shoulder. My love for Adrian was the one
oasis in this great desert of uncertainty. Adrian rested his hand on my knee
and squeezed, and it was only a matter of minutes before he was snoring.

The uneven
road made my teeth rattle in my mouth. I imagined they were tapping out the
S.O.S distress signal in Morse code. Unfortunately, no one would be coming to
my rescue today. I had no idea how the Katori people would react to me, a
visible reminder of the most significant rift in their tribal history. I might
be the tribe’s new Spirit Keeper, but that didn’t change the fact that I’d been
born an outsider.

“What’s
going on in there?” Adrian asked some time later as he dug the sleep from the
corners of his eyes. He poked me in the side of the head. “Speak now, or forever
hold your peace.”

I met
Shyla’s eyes in the rear view mirror, but she quickly looked away. There was no
such thing as privacy in the backseat of a car. “It’s nothing.”

Adrian brushed
the end of my braid against the back of my neck, making my skin break out in
goosebumps. I squirmed a few inches to the right, as much as the tight space
and seatbelt would allow. I didn’t feel like playing.

“You’re
lying. I can tell.”

I gave
him a look from the corner of my eye. “What, are you a mind reader now?”

He
grinned. “Nope. Just your boyfriend.”

His
eyes roamed my face, and a crease formed between his dark brows when I refused to
give up my private thoughts. The scrutiny became too much, and I leaned against
his shoulder so he couldn’t see my face. He pressed a kiss to the top of my
head.

“Fine,”
he said. “Be that way.” But I could tell he wasn’t mad.

“So are
you still thinking about Cornell?” I asked, purposely changing the subject.
“You should definitely arrange a visit.”

“I told
you before I’m not Cornell material. They won’t want me.” And then more quietly:
“It was a stupid idea to think I ever had a chance.”

I gave
him a half-hearted punch in the thigh. “You
are
Cornell material. You’ve
got the grades.”

“Yeah,
but—”

“There’s
always community college,” Shyla chimed in from the front seat, more as a jibe
than an actual suggestion. Adrian was desperate to go to a top university.  

“Just
drop it,” Adrian said. “I don’t want to talk about it.” He turned to stare out
the window.

Several
moments later he said, “Besides, grades aren’t everything. Do you know how much
an Ivy League university costs for one year? It’s insanely expensive, and I
don’t have that kind of money.”

“There’s
always financial aid or scholarships,” I suggested. “Or you could get a job.
Didn’t you used to fix cars on the reservation? Maybe you could find someone local
who’s hiring.”

“Yes,
you
could
get a job,” Shyla said pointedly. “Gran would appreciate the extra
help, but she’s too proud to ask. Do you have any idea the amount of food you go
through in one week?”

“Was
that a rhetorical question?” Adrian reached forward and flicked the back of his
sister’s head.

“Ouch,
you idiot! That hurt!”

Shyla swerved
the car from one side of the lane to the other, sending Adrian and me knocking
into each other like two pinballs in an arcade game.

Adrian had
his thumb and middle finger poised for another flick, but I swatted away his
hand. “Don’t do that!”  My stomach was knotted enough without having to worry
about getting in an accident, too.

Adrian
and Shyla erupted in laughter, but at least they stopped goofing off. Shyla
resumed her normal pace and I finally relaxed, silently vowing that I would
never be such an irresponsible and reckless driver.

I
clasped the heart pendant at my neck, a gift from Adrian for my birthday. My anxiety
bubbled at the surface like a pot of water dangerously close to boiling over.

“How
much longer?” I asked.

“About
an hour,” Shyla said. “We’re almost to Old Forge, and then not much further
from there.”

Adrian
and Shyla had spent years on the reservation near Blue Mountain Lake. Despite
the circumstances that had driven each of them away, I could feel the pulse of
their excitement, like the throbbing of too-loud music coming from stereo
speakers

“So how
many people actually live on the reservation?” I needed to know what I was up
against. Meg and David hadn’t volunteered much information about the Katori people;
after all, they’d severed all ties with them more than seventeen years ago when
they’d been forced to leave. They’d been but kids themselves.

“About
three hundred live there now,” Adrian said. “The population is dwindling, and
it’s mostly older folks. It’s not really a place most people want to stay forever,
you know? And with fewer kids of full Katori blood being born, not many ever
come back.” He shrugged as though that was the way of things and it couldn’t really
be helped.

I
swallowed down the rising nausea. Three hundred people. Entirely too many, in
my opinion. I would’ve gladly gone the rest of my life without meeting any of
them, but that wasn’t possible now.

“David’s
pulling off,” Shyla said suddenly, interrupting my thoughts.

She slowed
as we merged onto the exit ramp, and then turned right at a stop sign and
followed my uncle for another quarter mile to a gas station.  

The
front passenger door of David’s car flew open before he had even come to a
complete stop. Shyla pulled in next to his car and cut the engine, and Adrian
rushed to help his grandmother Imogene as she struggled to hoist her abundant
frame from the vehicle.

“I feel
like a dam that’s about to burst! That’s what happens when you get old like me
and your bladder shrivels to the size of a prune.” She gave an apologetic
grimace as she waddled off to find a bathroom.

BOOK: The Prophecy
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