Chapter One

Kiki grinned as she bounced out of bed. Ordinarily, the teenage girl despised anything that made her get up before noon, but today, she was prepared to make an exception. While getting up at six in the morning with her new alarm clock would normally be enough to make the green-eyed, black-haired girl throw a tantrum, today, she would over-look the discomfort in favor of getting dressed as fast as she could to get moving as fast as she could.

"Mom!" she shouted as she brushed her long hair into the customary style—smooth, straight, and hiding her right eye and most of that side of her face.

"What?" her mother shouted back as the smell of eggs and bacon drifted up the stairs and into Kiki's room.

"When are we leaving for Abby's place?" Kiki's reply was slightly muffled, if only because she was putting on her lipstick.

"At seven! But that's no excuse to slack off getting dressed! Crystals are never tardy; remember that!"

"Yeah, yeah…" the fifteen-year-old grumbled under her breath as she pulled on a red T-shirt, a long lavender skirt, and old tennis shoes. 'Honestly. What's so important about being on time for everything? What's so important that Mom always says stuff like 'Crystals are always punctual!' and 'Who ever heard of a Crystal being rude? Say you're sorry!' There's nothing special about us; we're just an ordinary family. Yeah, a family so ordinary that your father changed his name to Crystal when he married your mother.'

Sighing, Kiki trudged down the stairs and into the kitchen to eat her breakfast. Her mother had already placed three plates of eggs and bacon on the table, with three glasses of orange-juice, and she and Kiki's father were already seated.

As she sat down, the youngest Crystal couldn't help but think again that she must have been adopted to look so little like her parents. She had strait black hair; her mother was a redhead, and her father was a blonde. She had clear, green eyes; her mother's eyes were blue, as were her father's. And then there was the height difference. Kiki was five feet, even; her parents were both taller than her, and she'd definitely stopped growing.

"Kiki, stop slouching and eat," her mother commanded, red curls bouncing as she spoke.

"You heard your mother, young lady," her father added, his rich baritone driving the point home. "You wouldn't want to go through one of your mother's infamous lectures all the way to Abigail's house, would you? She's in the next town!"

"Yeah, I suppose," Kiki muttered in her clear, musical voice, as she sat up straight and started to eat, like her mother told her.

After breakfast, her mother insisted on going through Kiki's packed bags, and even put in a few things.

"Uh…Mom? Why're you putting stuff in my bags?"

"Oh, you know…just in case. If something comes up, I want you to have these things, alright sweetie?"

'Did…did she just call me 'sweetie'? The last time she did that, Fluffy died two hours later. She'd said, 'I'm sorry, sweetie, but there's nothing I can do' and then Fluffy died. And before that, my goldfish tank was knocked over, and then there was the time that big dog ripped up my teddy bear…'If something comes up…' What could that possibly mean? Unless something's going to happen to her and Dad…no. Don't think that way, Kiki, your parents are going to be fine.'

"Mom?"

"Yes, sweetie?"

"Why're you calling me 'sweetie'? You only ever do that right before something really bad happens."

"Oh, sweetie, you're going to be fine. Don't worry!"

"But…it's not me I'm worried about…" Kiki muttered, not that her mother heard her. The woman had already turned back to Kiki's bags. She could be heard muttering as she checked her daughter's things over and made the occasional addition that the teen was unable to see.

After this had gone on for some time, the older woman seemed to realize that if they didn't get moving in the next five minutes, they were going to be late.

"Let's go let's go let's GO!!!" she exclaimed as she picked up two bags and rushed out to the car, Kiki following with the other two.

"I'm moving, I'm MOVING!" the exasperated teen exclaimed. 'Why on Earth would I need four bags? I'm just spending the night at Abby's place! All I should really need for that is a flashlight, a compass, a change of clothes, and a first-aid kit. Maybe she was calling me 'sweetie' because something'll happen and I'll wind up staying with Abby for more than a day…'

Mrs. Crystal stuffed all four bags into the trunk of the car, her daughter into the back seat, and her self into the driver's seat. In the time it took for them to buckle up and her to turn the key in the ignition, they were off. Abigail Thomas's house, here they come.

AVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAVAV

In a laboratory about twenty miles East and three miles down from Abby's house, scientists ran about in a state of excitement mixed with anxiety. Their hurried footsteps echoed off the white metal walls; uniformed men with guns also hurried about.

"THE LAST OF THE CRYSTAL FAMILY HAS BEEN LOCATED" boomed a tinny voice over the speakers in the walls "REPEAT: THE LAST OF THE CRYSTAL FAMILY HAS BEEN LOCATED. SECURE ALL FACILITIES. PREPARE TO MOBALIZE. THE LAST…" the voice proceeded to continue to repeat its message and instructions.

As they hurried along, two scientists conversed in low tones.

"Do you think they really found them?" asked the first one.

"I don't doubt it for a second," replied the other.

"But…I'd heard that the Crystals were really tricky. Do you think they could have a trick up their sleeve?"

"If they do, it won't help them any. Our guys are good at what they do; the Crystals don't stand a chance."

"And with the last Crystal gone…"

"…no one can stop us!"