Copyright © Isabelle Santiago, 2008-2009

All Rights Reserved, Freya’s Bower

A week after that cryptic conversation under the stars on the edge of a cliff that overlooked Alamogordo, I found a notebook stuffed in my locker. Strange, no one other than Aimee knew my combination.


The note that sat above it caught my attention. I opened it, fingers trembling. His handwriting was neat, precise, everything in small box letters.


“All that I am is here, within this notebook. I would never lie to you, Paige. I wish what I told you weren’t true. But it is. Now, I just hope that you do not hate me for it.”


It sat there, waiting for me to open it and reveal all of the secrets he’d held from me. The little book, which he carried everywhere, would reveal the reason why he denied what we both so obviously wanted.


I thought of his obsessive note taking, fascinated by things I’d always taken for granted, such as road kill that no one removed from the side of the highway. A child that held his parents’ hands while crossing the street. Fruit, a couple kissing, the sunrise—everything was a new experience, a new adventure. With him, life became an unexpected treat, something to be savored and enjoyed.


My heartbeat thundered. I reached for the small book, opened the cover, and let my eyes roam the first page.




Mission #: 0019930


Destination: Earth


Mission Purpose: Physical study of Earth and its inhabitants. Infiltrate. Return with full disclosure.


Deadline: 365 Earth days.

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