General Fitz was not expecting what the intern was about to tell him. In fact, the General was just stacking the last of the papers that needed to be stacked when the intern rushed in. The first word that the intern uttered was “whoa”, because the General’s office was, indeed, very “whoa”. A, it was an ovalish shape. And B, one half of that ovalish shape (the long way) was floor-to-ceiling windows, facing out over the lovely view that came with being on the 101st floor. The trees’ leaves were a lovely array of pink and electric blue, and it truly was a nice evening. The second words the intern said were, “Um, sir? I have a very urgent message for you.” The General looked down at the small, scared teenager. He smiles. “What is it, my boy?” “Well, I’m really not sure why they trusted me with this. They say that it could mean the end of this world and the one next to it, Aarde.” The General knew what the boy was talking about by now, but he could tell that he had felt special, carrying such big news to him. “Go on.” “I have no idea what this means…….what it might mean for my family……I really don’t know. But, they say, that we have another Coexistor. Actually, two of them.”
Chapter One: Lupo?
“Jemmy, you KNOW I can’t go. My parents said no!” “But you HAVE to! C’mon. Convince them!” Marianne sighs. “Oh, Jem. Last time I tried to convince them of something, I got grounded for three weeks!” Marianne’s best friend, Jemma McAllister, sighs. “But…but…” Marianne pats her friend on the back. “Smile! It’s your thirteenth birthday soon! You’ll be leaving me in the dust and becoming a teenager! Be happy!” Jemma smiles and shakes her head, bangly feather-and-chain earrings jangling. “Mari, you KNOW I’ll never leave you in the dust.” “I know. C’mon, you can come to my house for dinner…..” “Okay. I’m just…so sad! Why can’t you come to my birthday party?” “I’ve told me a bagazillion times! My parents won’t let me.” Jemma pouts. “Oh, fine. But-“ Her sentence was cut off by a bus coming by. Marianne feels a tug in her gut, and looks up. In the very back of the bus, a man was sitting. A man in a navy blue suit, and a blue taxi driver’s cap. He had salt-and-pepper hair, and piercing, electric blue eyes. Marianne felt a jump when she saw him. “As I was saying, maybe we could have a sleepover tonight? To make up for you not being able to come to the party?” Marianne, with difficulty, tears her eyes from the back of the bus. “Yeah, sure. We’re not doing anything tomorrow, so it should be fine.” “Perfect!” Jemma’s turquoise-dyed hair flips in front of one of her brown eyes. “God. HOW did you get your hair like that?” Marianne smiles and rolls her eyes. “I’m on the right track baby, I was,” Jemma joins in. “BORN THAT WAY!” They erupt into a fit of giggles, and wrap their arms around each other’s shoulders, grinning.When they get into Marianne’s house, their grins evaporate. Marianne feels that familiar tug in her gut, and, sure enough, sitting on her favorite armchair was the man from the back of the bus. He immediately stands up, makes his hand into a claw, and bows to her. “Lupo.” The one word that the mysterious man says makes Marianne’s knees feel like jelly. “Uh, hi?” She turns to Jenna. “J, head up to my room. I’ll be right there.” Jemma nods, her face one of confusion. “I have a feeling I should sit down.” Her one sentence makes the man look even more worried. “Oh Dios, it’s starting already. Yes, your feeling is correct, Marianne. Sit.” The General feels another tug in his gut, identical to what he felt when he first saw her, and once again, when she came into the house. Who was that girl she was smooshed against? Must have been one of her friends. Her file did say that she was a social butterfly. “Marianne, what you are about to hear is…..a little bit crazy.” Marianne’s curiosity starts to kill her, slowly. “The one description I can give you of yourself is unnatural. I guess the best way to explain more is through a legend. The land I come from, Aapude, believes in a line of eight…gods, I guess you could call it. We call them the Dios. In each Dio, there is an animal spirit. For Kato, it is a cat. For Toleri, a bear. And so on. Sometimes, in a very special human being, there is an animal spirit also. But the animal inside them is completely different from the human being-completely separate. They are not part of the Dios. But sometimes-once every thirteen blue moons-an animal spirit surfaces in a young human. It is not like the Apartigu, the ones who are separate from their animal. In the Renkontiĝoj, the animal and the humans’ spirits are one. These rare phenomena are direct descendants from the Dios.” The man pauses for breath. “What does this have to do with me?” Marianne asks, still confused. “You, Marianne, are a Renkontiĝoj.” “No way. I’m not that spec-“ “I know what you are going to say, and don’t believe a word of it. Marianne, you are a descendant of Lupo, the wolf Dio.” “You don’t know that!” “Yes, I do!” The man stands up. “I know because I felt a tug in my gut the minute I saw you. You felt it to, didn’t you?” Marianne gulps, quiet, and nods. “I, too, am a descendant of Lupo. Marianne, believe me! You have to.” The man was begging her. Begging her to believe. “Why do you want me to so much?” “Because it was prophesized,” It was difficult for him to say this. “That the next descendant of Lupo, was to destroy my land, and yours.”