Prologue


"Gwen! Get over here!" a voice shouted from the ground up to a window. A head poked out the window, looking annoyed.

"What do you want, Hailey?" the girl named Gwen asked loudly from above.

"You've gotta see this!" Gwen shook her head. Pulling it back inside, she shut the window and started for her bedroom door. As she passed the rack, she picked up a dark denim jacket to protect her from the ever-present wind of late autumn in Massachusetts.

She appeared around the side of the house in little time.

"There you are! Come see this!" Hailey called to Gwen from across the back yard. Gwen picked up her pace slightly, trotting lightly through the yellowing grass. Wind whistled around the girls as Gwen approached the rock that Hailey sat in front of.

"This," Gwen gestured to the stone. "You brought me out here for a rock?"

"Not just any rock! Look at the markings!" Hailey sounded excited enough about her discovery for both her and Gwen.

The older girl looked closer at the rock. The wind picked up again, blowing Gwen's long black hair into her face. She brushed it out of the way hurriedly, then kneeled down to see the stone.

"I don't know what language it is, but it looks cool," Hailey started, her black, perfectly straight mid-length hair fluttered into her vision. She blinked.

"Well, come on, Hailey! I can't believe you haven't just picked this little thing up and looked at it inside, in proper light. It's sunset!"

"I tried."

"Then why are you still sitting here?"

"You try picking that thing up!" Hailey pointed. Gwen grumbled and tugged at the edges of the cold stone, to no avail.

"What in the world…" Gwen started to back away as the stone heated up.

"What?"

"Hailey, get away from that rock!" Hailey didn't waste any time in obeying as the rock grew steadily brighter with what appeared to be the light from the quickly-setting sun. It started to steam.

"Gwen…"

"That can't be good."

Both girls looked at each other, then turned on heel and started running as fast as possible.

Suddenly, a thunderous crack came from behind them, and the earth shook. Hailey tripped on a large loose branch on the ground and fell to her knees in the dirt. She cried out in pain. Gwen turned around and ran back to her younger twin.

"Hailey!" she screamed as pieces of the marked stone started to fly apart. All of a sudden, the rock exploded, leaving a scorch mark in the sand and rendering the girls unconscious.

"At least I'm with my sister," Gwen thought to herself as she fell to the ground.

The sun dipped below the horizon and all was dark.