It had been nearly three months since I was told that I was part of an ancient group called the Thusians, the secret guardians of mankind destined to sacrifice our lives at any given time. I would have thought that after finding this out everything would have become really complicated for me, but it hadn’t. It was nice and quiet.
Everything I went through to get to this point was worth it, because now I had Elle. I still couldn’t believe how such a wonderful, amazing girl ended up with me. We were inseparable during the summer. Unfortunately now I was keeping more secrets from her. It was for her protection, but I still hated it.
Elle and I were lying in my front yard under the shade of the towering oak trees, enjoying each other’s company like we had done most of the summer.
“Nicholas, what’s wrong?” Elle asked for the hundredth time.
“Sorry, I’m just preoccupied today.”
“It’s okay. I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t me.”
How could it be her? She was nothing but wonderful, my reason for living.
“Elle, it’s not you. You know that. I’m just thinking about the last interview I did. It wasn’t very good.”
Last year when I confronted the mob of reporters at the school’s entrance, I told them if they would leave me alone I would do interviews. To my dismay, Cora, my aunt and guardian, made sure I did every interview they requested. It had now become the thing I dreaded most. I had to relive the worst day of my life, the 10-10 Earthquake, like it was some recurring nightmare from which I couldn’t wake up.
“Sorry, Nicholas, I know how much you hate doing interviews, but at least that was your last one until next summer.”
In addition to me only doing interviews in the summer, Cora had told the media that I would only answer questions over the phone. She also required that they never say where I live or where I go to school, even though they were camped outside of my school last year telling the world all of that information. Cora thought, better safe than sorry.
Cora had even talked to Ester Theasing, the head of the Thusian Council and a friend of ours, about doing the interviews to make sure it was safe for me because of Xavier and the Seekers who were trying to eliminate me and any other Thusians. Ester didn’t have a problem with it.
Chase Letterby started visiting us more midway through the summer. After the attack last year he left as soon as his doctor talents were no longer needed. No one had heard from him for a while. Even his regular TV appearances had stopped. But as more time passed during the summer, he started to frequent our house again. Cora didn’t seem to mind his company, despite his countless attempts to get her to go out with him. He was fixed on the one woman he couldn’t have, Cora.
Elle and I continued to lie beneath the trees. She went back to reading her book while rubbing my head. Her hand moved slowly through my hair, making me forget all of my worries. With every pass, a wave of relief went through me. I had positioned myself on her lap facing our driveway, so I could watch my new obsession. A large house was being built next door. It was hard to believe that the lot had been completely wooded just a month ago, and now the house looked close to being completed. Cora was not happy about the new house and the new neighbors that came with it. She still wanted our privacy, and the trees surrounding us had given us ample protection, but now they were gone. She even tried to buy the lot, but it had been sold exactly a week after we moved in last year.
The workers swarmed over the site like ants working hard on their hill. It was amazing to see such a large home being built so quickly. For some strange reason it was fascinating to me. I had no interest in design or architecture, but it still captivated my attention.
Cora and I had been in five different houses in six years, but never a brand new house—one freshly built just for us. Our new neighbors were about to get the fresh start I had wanted after the earthquake, but never got. Maybe that was the reason for my obsession.
Tim Mettey serves as CEO and Disaster Relief Coordinator at Matthew 25: Ministries, an international humanitarian and disaster relief organization. Tim uses his many experiences and expertise in responding to disasters around the world to set the background for his The Hero Chronicle series. Tim struggles with and has overcome his learning disabilities with reading and writing to create this series, and hopes his journey can be an inspiration to others. He says, “Our disabilities do not define who we are, they make us stronger.”