I woke up with a start. My hair felt wet like I actually WAS swimming, and I was really cold too. My head ached. A random voice in my head wouldn't shut up, so I just tried to ignore it. I curled up in a ball and tried to fall asleep again. After about ten minutes, I just gave up and got out of my sleeping bag.
"Morning," Katerina said. She was looking at a map with Xerxes.
"Hi." I rubbed my head. The voice continued speaking. "Shut up," I muttered.
"What?" Xerxes looked up from the map.
"Not you!" I blurted. "There's this weird voice in my head..."
Xerxes blinked. "Oh no...What does it sound like?"
I shrugged. "I've just been ignoring it. Why?"
"This could be bad...Hey, can you try to listen to it?"
I nodded and closed my eyes. It sounded like the voice had been ranting for a while. Everything seemed to annoy it. The creepiest part was the voice sounded like me! Well, not entirely. The voice was a little deeper, and severely creepy. And that was a familiar voice, but I didn't know what it was from. My eyes widened.
"What?" Katerina exclaimed.
"The voice is really creepy! And...And it kind of sounds like me!"
"Oh boy." Xerxes pinched the bridge of his nose. "This is bad. This is very bad..."
"What? What happened? Why is it bad? What does it mean?" And the little voice in my head was annoyed that they wouldn't say what happened either.
Xerxes looked at Katerina. They were deciding something.
Something changed. Something in the atmosphere, I guess. I wasn't really sure. "What?!" I exclaimed, suddenly filled with anger.
Katerina gaped at me.
"Oh no," Xerxes muttered.
"Can you just tell me what's going on?!"
A lock of hair fell in front of my face. It was brown. I gasped as it turned blonde again.
"WHAT WAS THAT?!"
"SHH!" Katerina and Xerxes hissed at the same time.
"Sorry," I whispered. "What was that?"
"Split personality disorder," Xerxes stated in a glum, boring tone. "Somebody-Annabelle, no doubt-must have done that...You can cause split personalities with just a bit of brain washing, you know."
I blinked. "What? Why would she do that?"
Katerina shook her head. "I have no idea. Maybe she wants to distract us..."
"Well played, Annabelle." Xerxes rubbed his chin. "Well played...We should just, I dunno, ignore this. I think you'll be fine. Just...like, don't kill anyone...And you should NOT go to a psychiatrist 'cause they would probably be weird about it."
I nodded. It was a lot to take in. I still didn't really get what was going on.
We waited for the others to get up. Finally, Kate woke up at around ten. We ate some breakfast, but I kind of lost my appetite. I just stared out the mouth of the cave. And then I noticed something. It was a little darker than usual for that time.
"Guys?" I looked back. "It's kind of dark outside...Should we be worried, er...?"
Midnight looked outside. "Oh no. You're right! We're doomed. We're doomed. We are so dead..."
Ray looked at Midnight. "Calm down! Just call your mom!"
Midnight nodded, trying not to panic. She took out her phone and called her mom, staring at the sky. "...Hi again...No...Yeah we're fine, sort of...Well, just look outside...It's kind of dark out...Should we be panicking? Okay...Bye." Midnight hung up. She looked at us. "We're supposed to go back to the castle for a meeting or something."
So we packed up and headed towards the castle.
"Hi Bethany!" My mom hugged me really tight.
"Did you get hurt?" she asked.
Other than the split personalities and this terrible headache caused by it, no. "I'm fine. But mom?"
My mom let go and looked at me.
"Are you actually in this...organization thing?"
Mom nodded. "Most of the girls in our family were. Your grandma was before she retired."
My grandma was in a secret organization?! What the heck?!
"How come you didn't tell me?"
"Well...I didn't want you to have to keep that kind of secret. And also the Eternal Night might come after you if you knew about it! And I didn't want to scare you."
Kyra stared out the window. "This is very bad..."
Charnette sighed. "We need a way to stop the Eternal Night."
"We should try to find their lair," Kate suggested.
"That's a great idea!" Kyra exclaimed. "But that could be very dangerous. Perhaps we should just send some of the adult members..."
"Ma'am," Mom replied, "with all due respect, I believe that these children are perfectly capable of this job." My mom cast a significant glance at me. She looked back at Kyra. "If you prefer, I would gladly accompany them for their protection."
Kyra and Charnette looked at each other.
"I suppose," Charnette replied.
"And it would be wonderful training," Kyra added.
We were in a room full of maps. They were everywhere. I had to be careful of where I was stepping or else I might have crushed a map.
Katerina unrolled a large map of the forest. Several areas were crossed out.
"We searched here, and we couldn't find the Eternal Night lair anywhere." Katerina pointed to the crossed out areas. "So where could it be?"
'Why would they be hiding in the FOREST?' that creepy voice in my head asked.
'Shut up, woman,' I replied in my mind.
'My name is Dawn Youngblood,' she said, 'and I'M supposed to be the rude one. You're meant to be all goody-two-shoes and crap.'
Dawn Youngblood?! Suddenly it made sense. Well, a little more sense. But I understood that the voice in my head was Dawn Youngblood, and that weird dream probably had something to do with it.
'Seriously,' Dawn continued, 'the Star spends a lot of time in the forest. The Eternal Night is smart, sadly. They wouldn't be in the forest! Someone would have found them by then!'
I rubbed my chin, considering what Dawn said. That was a good idea, and it could be true...
'Tell them!' Dawn demanded. She was starting to give me a headache.
Resisting the urge to sigh out loud, I said, "Maybe they aren't in the forest."
Everyone looked at me.
Suddenly, I felt self-conscious. "Well...uh...You seem to spend a lot of time in the forest...you probably would have found them by now if they really were in the forest...So they probably aren't."
That was such a stupid idea...
"Awesome!" Xerxes exclaimed randomly. "Like, seriously. Where did you come up with that?"
I felt my cheeks heating up. I just shrugged.
Katerina rolled up the forest map. "So they aren't in the forest...Where would you not expect an evil lair to be?"
We considered the question for a while.
"A neighborhood," my mom suggested. "I know that when I choose a neighborhood to live in, I make sure that there isn't much crime."
Katerina nodded. "Makes sense. Are there any neighborhoods near the forest?"
My mom and I looked at each other, both of our eyes wide.
"Our neighborhood," I replied.