Tell Me a Story (Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 3 Challenge)

Welcome to day 3 of this reading extravaganza, and also to my personal favorite blogger challenge for the week. I mean, I got to write a story. What could be better than that? This prompt comes from the blogger host for day 3, Ashley from saidthestory (https://www.saidthestory.com), and it challenges us to write a short story including at least 5 characters from four different stories, and do basically anything you want with them. This story is definitely not on the level of the authors whose characters I borrowed, but I’m pretty proud of how it turned out, nonetheless. Here it is, for your reading enjoyment!

(Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters. They all belong to the authors who created their wonderful stories. I’ve included a bibliography at the end, crediting each author.)

***

The first thing that drew Annabeth’s attention was the sudden cold. She looked up, confused. The Athena cabin had been warm just a second ago. What…

She froze, her knife, which she had been sharpening, sliding out of her grip. There, standing in the doorway of the cabin, was Arachne, a giant spider lady with murder in her gaze. But… that wasn’t possible. Monsters couldn’t get into camp. And… and she should still be dead. Right?

“Are you afraid?” a female voice asked, but it didn’t sound like Arachne’s. Annabeth was sure she would never forget that voice, not as long as she lived. This one was different, less harsh, less… monstrous. It sounded like a human’s voice, not much different from her own.

She figured it was best not to answer, and instead forced herself to slowly stand. When Arachne’s form moved toward her, her spider legs scuttling horrifyingly across the wood floor of the Athena cabin, Annabeth froze again. “You should be,” the voice continued. “I am fear.”

For the first time, Annabeth noticed that Arachne’s lips weren’t moving with the words. She wasn’t real, just an illusion. Must be… must be the Hecate kids, messing with her.

“O-okay,” Annabeth stammered, stumbling backward, “Lou Ellen—guys—this isn’t funny. You can stop now.”

From the shadow beneath the (probably) fake Arachne, a single, normal-sized spider crawled out. It paused, as if studying Annabeth, and then continued straight toward her. Others followed, until there was a whole horde of them, streaming from beneath Arachne, from under Annabeth’s bunk, seeping through the walls. Annabeth couldn’t help it. She screamed, scrambling away from the spiders, but there was nowhere she could go. Within seconds, the cabin was covered in them, and she stood frozen among it all. Strangely, though, they didn’t touch her. They stood all around her, mere inches from her shoes, as if waiting for something.

“Tell me what I want to know,” the voice that was not Arachne’s said, “and they will spare you.” Annabeth couldn’t even check to see if her lips were moving with the words this time, too afraid to move her eyes from the spiders around her.

Logically, Annabeth knew this wasn’t possible. Spiders may hate the children of Athena, but there was no way this many could have been hiding in the walls. No way they could all actually be here. Just like Arachne, these spiders were just illusions. Annabeth knew that, but her emotions wouldn’t listen. Her heart continued to pound, her breathing came too fast, her palms became slick with sweat. She was going to die under a horde of spiders, and she hadn’t even gotten to kiss Percy goodbye.

“What do you want to know?” she managed, still staring at the spiders.

“Who are you? Why have you brought me here?”

Annabeth was taken aback. “Me?”

“Yes, you.” The voice seemed annoyed now. The spiders inched closer to Annabeth’s foot, and she shuddered. “You appear to be the only one present, so it must have been you.”

Annabeth finally forced herself to look up. The illusion of Arachne was gone, and in its place was a girl with shimmering silver strands and an eye patch over her left eye. The one eye that remained swam with hate, distrust, and, Annabeth thought, a little fear. She looked about 16, a little younger than Annabeth, but the darkness in her gaze… It didn’t belong to a 16-year-old.

Annabeth had never seen this person before in her life. Clearly, though, the girl was a demigod, and a powerful one.

“Are you a new camper?” she asked, purposefully ignoring the spiders around her. “They should have taken you to Chiron. How did you get here?”

The girl’s expression went from hate, distrust, and fear to slightly less hate, distrust, and fear and a lot of confusion. “Camper?” she asked. “Chiron? What are you talking about?”

“If you’ll just get rid of all the spiders.” Annabeth’s voice was carefully controlled. “I can show you.”

The girl seemed to consider, her eye flickering between the spiders on the floor and Annabeth’s face. She started to open her mouth, to assent, Annabeth hoped. Then she tilted her head to the side, as if hearing someone call her name, and when she turned back, her face was full of rage. “No,” she snapped, her voice sounding a little crazed now. “It’s a trick.”

Before Annabeth could say anything else, maybe try to reason with the girl, she flicked her hand, and the spiders rushed at Annabeth’s feet.

Any rational thought that she could have had disappeared, dissolving into panic and screaming. Maybe the spiders were real after all. She could feel their legs as they crawled over her, could feel the pain of their bites. Felt the stickiness of webs as they wrapped her up.

Sounding tinny and far away, almost lost in the all-consuming panic, Annabeth heard the girl say, “This is why you do not cross the White Wolf.”

Annabeth didn’t know how long she suffered, how long the spiders were crawling over and under and around her, how long the bites consumed her whole body, but finally, blessedly, it stopped. The pain, the crawling legs, the overpowering fear, it all…disappeared. Still, she lay there (she didn’t know when she had ended up on the floor, but she was there now), her eyes barely open.

After a moment, she registered voices, speaking above her. One of them was the girl’s, the other a man’s, dark and deep and terrifying.

“Queen Adelina,” the man’s voice said. “Your powers are strong, but they are wasted on this girl. Let me teach you how to truly bring fear.”

“I will use my powers how I please,” the girl said, sounding haughty, as if she really were a queen. “I know them well. I do not need your help.”

“No, no, of course not,” the man said. “I misspoke. I simply meant to say that our powers are… quite well aligned. I am Phobia.”

Annabeth frowned. Now she was on the ground not because of fear, but curiosity. She didn’t want to cut off their conversation too soon. Phobia… it sounded like Phobos, the god of fear. Percy had told her about his encounter with the god, and it hadn’t sounded fun. She didn’t fancy the idea of meeting him herself.

“I control fear, as you do,” the man—god?—was saying. “I can help you find your way back to your kingdom.”

The girl (apparently her name was Adelina) was silent. After a moment, though, it seemed that she had agreed, because Annabeth heard footsteps walking away, toward the cabin door. It opened and shut, and all was silent again. Annabeth lay there for a little while longer, holding her breath, before she let herself open her eyes. She was alone. Slowly, she pushed herself up, looking at her arms and legs. There were no bites. Nothing itched or hurt. It had all been fake. Somehow, that girl had gotten into her head, made her believe there were spiders on her, that she was being bitten, and none of it had been real. Annabeth shuddered. She knew of no demigod that could do that, at least not so well.

She pushed herself to her feet, shuddering from the residual fear, and looked around for her dagger. It was still on the floor by her bunk, where she had dropped it when the illusion of Arachne came in. Taking a deep breath, she bent and picked it up, then straightened, sheathing it at her belt. She needed to go after this girl, and the man, Phobia. She had a feeling that whatever they were doing, it couldn’t be good for the camp.

Steeling herself, she walked out of the cabin and out into the summer sunshine.

The central green was abandoned, which was odd. It was the middle of summer. The camp should be full of demigods, and yet there was no one, not even people hanging out by the central hearth. Annabeth frowned, spinning around in a slow circle. Nope, no one anywhere in sight.

Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flash of light, and turned toward it. There was nothing there now, but she crept slowly toward it anyway. It was near the Hecate cabin, where random flashes of light and other magical occurrences were not uncommon. Under any other circumstances, Annabeth probably wouldn’t have paid any attention to it.

She crept around the side of the cabin, peering around, and saw Lou Ellen Blackstone, the head counselor of the Hecate cabin. Her curly black hair was tied into a ponytail high on her head, and though Annabeth couldn’t see her face, she seemed to be focusing very hard on something. In her hands she held a hardcover book, and Annabeth could faintly hear her speaking, murmuring under her breath in Ancient Greek.

Annabeth knew that, in general, interrupting a Hecate kid in the middle of one of their spells was not a good idea. It could cause all sorts of problems. But she couldn’t just wait around until she was done. Spells could take a really long time, she’d learned. Either that or Hecate kids just used them as excuses to not have to talk to people. After mulling it over for a moment, she stepped out from the wall and cleared her throat.

Lou Ellen’s chanting stopped. She turned around and looked at Annabeth, her expression twisting into a frown. “Annabeth?”

“Hey, Lou Ellen,” Annabeth said, taking a few careful steps toward her. She glanced at the book in the other girl’s hands and noticed that it wasn’t a spell book. It appeared to be a regular, mortal book that you could get at any bookstore. Except, of course, for the fact that it was probably written in Ancient Greek. The book was still open, so she couldn’t see the cover clearly, but she saw that the dust jacket was dark blue and gray. “What are you up to?”

Lou Ellen glanced at the book in her hands, clearing her throat. “Just…testing out some new spells.” Carefully, she closed the book. Annabeth could see the title now– The Young Elites. To the side, in a neat stack on the grass, were a few other books in a rainbow of colors.

Annabeth nodded. “What book is that?”

“Oh, it’s just a fantasy book.” Lou Ellen was obviously trying to appear nonchalant.

Annabeth’s mind was racing, putting together puzzle pieces that seemed impossible. “Lou Ellen,” she said cautiously. “Were you, by chance, trying to bring some characters into the real world?”

Lou Ellen blinked in surprise. “How did you know that?”

“Well…” Annabeth told her about her encounter with the girl in the Athena cabin, though she simply said she’d been attacked by illusions, and not that she’d been completely frozen and useless for most of the experience. A faint pallor fell over Lou Ellen’s dark brown skin.

“You said her name was Adelina?” Lou Ellen asked. “And there was a guy named Phobia, too? Oh, gods…” Her gaze flickered to the pile of books next to the wall. On the very top of the pile was a book whose cover showed a cityscape with two figures, a hooded girl and what appeared to be a robotic man, facing different directions above it. The title said Renegades in large white font across the image.

“How many of those books have you used the spell on?” Annabeth asked.

“Only three, so far,” Lou Ellen said. “I didn’t think it would actually work. I was just curious… Why would it be those two, of all the characters…?”

“Which ones?” Annabeth snapped, causing Lou Ellen to jump. Sheepishly, she held up the book she was holding, then pointed at the pile. “The top two.”

Annabeth started to walk over to the pile to pick up the books and shove them at Lou Ellen to make her fix this. As she was leaning over, though, reaching for the top two books, the sound of unsteady footsteps came around the corner. She and Lou Ellen both looked up, and she heard Lou Ellen gasp audibly in surprise.

It was a boy, looking very dazed as he stumbled out of the shadowy corner, toward them. He had blond hair and blue eyes and was dressed in an odd-looking jumpsuit. He looked vaguely familiar.

“Peeta?” Lou Ellen whispered, and it clicked in Annabeth’s head. When she had read The Hunger Games, she hadn’t pictured him quite like that (he was a little too tall, his ears a little too big, his nose the wrong shape), but of course this version was from Lou Ellen’s imagination, not hers. It wouldn’t be an exact match, but it was close enough.

The boy blinked at them. “Uh… yeah… who are you?”

Annabeth and Lou Ellen looked at each other, then at him. Before either of them could answer, though, there was the sound of faraway screaming, and Annabeth snapped back into the present. The camp was in danger.

“That’s not important,” Annabeth said, though she was still a little bit awed. Peeta had been one of her favorite characters. She turned to Lou Ellen. “Can you send him back?”

“I—I don’t know. I can try.”

Annabeth tossed the book to the other girl, who caught it deftly. “Do it. I need to go find the other two before it’s too late.”

“Be careful, Annabeth. Adelina’s dangerous on her own, but now that Phobia’s with her…”

Annabeth nodded. “Just fix it, okay?”

Lou Ellen didn’t look certain of her ability to do that, but Annabeth didn’t have time to stand around and give her a pep talk. The screaming was louder now, and seemed to be coming from the direction of the mess hall. Annabeth gave Lou Ellen what she hoped was an encouraging smile, then sprinted off, leaving her and Peeta staring at each other behind the Hecate cabin.

As Annabeth ran, she found herself wishing that Percy were here. She was used to having him there, fighting by her side, but he was over at Camp Jupiter right now, and he wouldn’t be back for at least a few weeks. She had to handle this on her own. A memory of the spider illusions came back into her head, and Annabeth was suddenly unsure she could do this on her own.

When she neared the mess hall, the sky overhead seemed to get darker, huge, nearly black storm clouds materializing in the sky, and a dark, ominous mist appeared as if out of nowhere. The screams seemed to increase tenfold. She supposed that meant she was going the right way, and ran faster. She hid behind a column at the mess, peering around at the scene beyond.

The girl with the silver hair, Adelina, was standing on the far side of the mess hall, her eye blazing with rage. Behind her and a little to the side was someone else. It was light enough that Annabeth should have been able to make out the person’s face, but she couldn’t. It was as if he were a living shadow. All she could see of him was his shape, which appeared to be male and human, and the glint of his weapon, a huge scythe which he carried in his left hand. Annabeth resisted the urge to cower against the pillar. Clearly, this was Phobia.

Judging by the torn state of Adelina’s cloak, and the broken vines and various weapons scattered across the ground, the demigods had tried to fight, but now, everyone in the mess hall was cowering, presumably locked in the throes of Adelina’s illusions. Annabeth’s breath caught as she saw Chiron, frozen and trembling in the corner of the mess. Even he hadn’t been able to fight it.

From her hiding spot, Annabeth could feel a rising terror, as if fear could be caught just by being near those two. The air was saturated with it.

Adelina wasn’t talking. She just stood, watching all the demigods writhe on the floor before her. Her expression was an odd mix of guilt and satisfaction.

Annabeth took a breath and stepped out from behind the pillar. “Adelina,” she called, forcing herself to stand up straight. She would not let herself succumb this time.

But a voice, whispering inside her head, knew that she would. She ignored it.

Adelina’s head whipped up, her eye narrowed. Annabeth thought she could feel the tendrils of Adelina’s power start to turn their attention to her, to lap at her feet like ocean waves. She drew herself up taller and continued. “If you’ll come with me, I know someone who can send you back to your world. It was just an accident. You weren’t supposed to be here.”Adelina shook her head. “Why should I trust you? You’re the one who brought me to this…place.” She said the word place as if it were the nastiest insult she could concoct.

“I wasn’t.” Annabeth shook her head. “I don’t have the power. But I know who does.”

Adelina turned toward her more fully, suddenly interested. “Take me to them.” The sudden excitement in her voice made Annabeth nervous. She doubted Adelina wanted to meet this person to say hi and chat for a bit. If Annabeth actually took her to Lou Ellen, she suspected that what happened wouldn’t be pretty.

Annabeth opened her mouth, scrambling to find a way to delay this, but it turned out she didn’t have to.

Phobia stepped up and said something to Adelina, too quietly for Annabeth to hear. Adelina’s expression flipped in an instant. Without a word, she locked her murderous gaze on Annabeth. Annabeth started to back away, but it was too late. Adelina’s powers had their hold on her. She saw spiders on the ground around her, chasing after her as she backed away.

Adelina wasn’t the dangerous one here, Annabeth realized. Yes, her powers were flashy. Yes, they could be scary. But Phobia… Phobia was the one in charge here, even if Adelina didn’t realize it herself. Adelina made illusions, but Phobia controlled fear itself. And what Annabeth saw when she looked at Adelina’s face was exactly that. Fear. Fear masked by anger, yes, but fear nonetheless. Adelina was clearly unstable as it was. With Phobia there, quietly twisting her emotions, there was no chance of reasoning with her.

Approaching her like this had been incredibly stupid, Annabeth realized, as the illusory spiders overwhelmed her. She tried to force herself to move, tried to ignore them. It’s not real, she repeated over and over in her head. She managed to move one foot, then the other, backing up. She kept her gaze locked on Adelina’s, knowing that if she closed her eyes, she would be lost.

Adelina seemed surprised. Apparently she was used to people instantly succumbing to her powers.

The surprise worked to Annabeth’s advantage, as Adelina’s focus broke slightly, and the itchy, crawly feeling disappeared for a moment. Annabeth took her chance and ran.

Behind her, she heard Adelina scream, but Annabeth kept going, sprinting toward the Hecate cabin. Please gods, let Lou Ellen have figured out the spell. She knew Adelina was following her, and probably Phobia too, but Adelina was hindered by her long cloak, so Annabeth could easily stay ahead of them.

She sprinted around the back of the Hecate cabin and ran right into Lou Ellen, nearly knocking them both to the ground.

“They’re coming!” she gasped. “Did you figure it out?”

And that’s when she realized there was someone else there. Peeta, still very much outside of the book, was sitting on the grass by the wall. Annabeth’s heart fell. She looked to Lou Ellen.

“Yeah… about that. I thought about it, and I really don’t think I should send Peeta back. I mean…” She glanced over at the boy, and although he was obviously not paying attention, she lowered her voice. “This version is still pre-trauma and brainwashing. Don’t you think it would be kind of cruel to send him back to that fate?”

Annabeth gritted her teeth, taking a few deep breaths. “So you didn’t even try?”

“Well… no.”

Annabeth groaned. “I have two murderous psychopaths chasing after me, and no way to get rid of them?”

“Wait, they’re coming here?”

“Yes.”

Lou Ellen’s brown eyes went wide. “Oh. Okay. I’m sure I can figure it out. Toss me The Young Elites, will you?”

Annabeth did. Lou Ellen opened it and started murmuring under her breath. A second later, they heard the sound of pounding footsteps coming toward them. Annabeth snatched up the two other books, shoved them under her right arm, then grabbed Lou Ellen’s arm with her other hand. “You’ll have to figure it out on the go. We need to run!”

Lou Ellen nodded. As Annabeth began to drag her along, she glanced back at Peeta, still sitting on the grass, and screamed, “Peeta! Follow us!”

She didn’t have time to check and see if he listened. She just ran.

Next to her, Lou Ellen was still mumbling to herself. “Into the book,” she mumbled in Ancient Greek.  “No, no… Return to the book…”

She was holding the book open, frantically flipping through pages, though it was just a regular fiction novel. Annabeth had no idea what she could be looking for.

“Aha!” Lou Ellen stumbled a little, forcing Annabeth to catch her. Lou Ellen barely seemed to notice. “Kenettra!” And she went back to her mumbling.

Annabeth wasn’t sure where to go, but if this came to a fight, she didn’t want to be near any of the camp buildings. She veered toward the woods, glancing behind them. Apparently Peeta had heard her, because he was there, running along a few paces behind them.

Farther back, she could see Adelina, her cloak flapping around her as she ran. Annabeth didn’t see Phobia though.

Not until she ran right into him.

Yelping, Annabeth stumbled backward.

“Hello,” Phobia said, as if this were a completely normal occurrence. Even this close to him, Annabeth could see nothing of his face. It was encased in shadow, and as Annabeth watched, what little form he had disappeared, melting into the shadows of the forest. Fear gripped Annabeth’s heart, much stronger than it had been ever before. She wanted to curl up into a ball and hide, cower away from the shadowy man she knew was there, even if she couldn’t see him.

Lou Ellen pulled her arm away from Annabeth’s and pointed at the place where Phobia’s form had been. She said a word in Ancient Greek—appear—and suddenly Phobia’s form was back.

“How did you do that?” he demanded, his voice rattling Annabeth’s bones. Lou Ellen just shrugged. She glanced at Annabeth. “Think you can hold off Her Majesty while I figure out how to make this guy really disappear?”

Annabeth nodded, not letting herself think too long. If she did, she’d remember the fear. Lou Ellen gave her a wicked grin, her teeth flashing white in the fading light of evening. Her eyes seemed to almost glow.

They spun, putting themselves back to back. Lou Ellen brandished her book as if it were a weapon. Annabeth dropped the books she’d been carrying, unsheathed her knife, took her stance. She would not let herself falter. Not this time.

Peeta sidled up beside them, looking nervous, but took a ready stance. Annabeth didn’t know how much Lou Ellen had told him about the situation, but he was the only mortal here, and the best weapon they had for him was a book. She didn’t think letting him die before she could convince Lou Ellen to put him back would be a good idea. Adelina’s scream reached them as she thrust out her hands, and the sky darkened even more, making everything around them black as night, and Annabeth reacted.

She shoved Peeta aside, screaming a single word (“Hide!”), and then attacked, lunging forward with her knife held high. Adelina’s magic washed over her, making her body explode into pain. She almost stumbled, but then gritted her teeth. She’d fought through pain before. This wasn’t much worse than that.

Adelina clearly didn’t expect her to resist because Annabeth crashed into her, knocking her to the ground. Adelina growled, righting herself, her powers tugging hard at Annabeth’s senses. Now she felt like she couldn’t breathe, like her lungs were filling with water and she was drowning. This was much harder to ignore, Annabeth’s whole body shaking from the exertion, from the imagined lack of oxygen even as she felt her chest continue to rise and fall, taking in air the same way she always did. She focused on that and rounded on Adelina again.

“How can you ignore it?” Adelina growled.

Annabeth had barely managed to convince her brain she could breathe. Convincing it she could also talk was not going to happen. So she didn’t answer, just curled her fingers tighter around her dagger and came at Adelina again.

At the last minute, Annabeth noticed the knife the other girl pulled out from her cloak, and twisted out of the way of the weapon before it could land. So she was armed. Annabeth had hoped that maybe the girl was just arrogant enough to rely on her powers alone. That would’ve given Annabeth an advantage, however slight.

Annabeth swung the dagger, landing a cut on Adelina’s arm, and smiled slightly. The celestial bronze could actually hurt her. Fictional or not, this girl had some immortal blood. Thank the gods. 

As they fought, Annabeth could tell the other girl was tired. Just like a demigod, using her powers too much wore her out, and she’d used them a whole lot today. In a rare phenomenon, Annabeth was glad she had no special powers. She just had herself—her wits and her strength. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Annabeth!” Lou Ellen screamed from where she was fighting, using a combination of spells and weapons to keep Phobia at bay. “I’ve got it!” She swung her arm wide, and Annabeth realized that Phobia’s shadowy form was gone. The sense of utter terror that had coated everything was gone. Annabeth nodded in understanding, and Lou Ellen grabbed a different book, presumably Adelina’s.

While she was distracted, Annabeth let her guard down, just slightly, and Adelina got a hit in on her shoulder, so close to slicing her neck it sent shivers down her spine.

Annabeth spun back to face her, raising her blade again. She needed to slow down, let Adelina think she was winning, so she could lead her back to Lou Ellen. Starting right away would be too obvious, though.

So she dialed down slowly, letting Adelina get in more hits here and there, making sure to block the ones that were a little too close to vital body parts, taking steps back, slowly, so Adelina wouldn’t find it suspicious.

As she did, she could see Adelina’s confidence growing. She felt Adelina’s powers tugging at her again, after being gone for most of the fight. But there was still a caution in her eyes.

“Adelina,” Annabeth said, taking her chance now that Phobia was gone. Maybe now she would listen. “I promise, I didn’t bring you here. But we can send you back.”

Adelina’s eye narrowed. “I don’t have much love for promises,” she said, swinging her knife at Annabeth’s face. Annabeth dodged and raised her own knife, the metal crashing together with a loud metallic clang! 

Annabeth looked at the girl, sighing. She let another blow land on her arm, took another step back. It was no use, she could see. This would have to be done the hard way.

Finally, when she was close enough, she yelled, “Lou Ellen! Now!” And spun out of the way.

Lou Ellen thrust out a hand at Adelina, her lips forming the word for “stop” in Ancient Greek, and, just like that, Adelina was frozen in place, her expression one of shock.

Lou Ellen flipped through The Young Elites to a certain page and said a few more words in Ancient Greek. As she spoke, her eyes seemed to glow, the air around her to crackle with magic.

And then Adelina was gone, only empty air in the place where she had been. Annabeth felt herself relax.

“Is she…?”

“Back in the book,” Lou Ellen confirmed. “And just to be safe, I made sure she wouldn’t remember us, or what happened. I didn’t want to risk changing anything.”

As she spoke, a blond boy came out from behind one of the trees, looking absolutely terrified. Peeta. He stared at them as if they were aliens, and didn’t come closer, which was just as well, because that meant he couldn’t hear their conversation.

Annabeth looked at Lou Ellen. “You have to send him back, Lou Ellen,” she said gently.

Lou Ellen glanced at the boy and sighed. “It just seems so…”

“I know. But really, what would we do with him? He’s not a demigod. He can’t stay here. And he can’t exactly assimilate into the real world… Besides.” She smiled a little. “You wouldn’t want to keep him from Katniss, would you?”

Lou Ellen picked up Peeta’s book, opening it and flipping through the pages. “I’m not, really. He’s still in the book…” But then she frowned, looking down at a page.

Annabeth stepped over, peering at the page Lou Ellen had stopped on. There was a sentence which, she could tell, had originally had Peeta’s name in it. But the words were blurring, morphing into a different word. It was happening slowly, and Annabeth could still read the name without much difficulty, but it was definitely happening.

Annabeth and Lou Ellen looked up at the same time, peering at each other. Lou Ellen’s face was full of reluctance. “I guess I have to.” Nodding once, she turned to face Peeta, slowly walking over to him.

It was only a few minutes, and Peeta faded. They checked the book. Peeta’s name was back, clear as ever.

In silence, both of them feeling suddenly exhausted after the stress of the day, the two of them gathered up the books and began to walk back toward the cabins. Once they got to the Hecate cabin, Annabeth put her hand on Lou Ellen’s shoulder. The other girl looked up at her.

“Do me a favor, okay?” Annabeth asked. “Don’t try to do that again.” Sometimes fiction needed to stay exactly that. Fictional.

Lou Ellen smiled a little. “Yeah, okay.” Taking the books from Annabeth, she turned and walked into the cabin, the door closing behind her without her touching it.

Annabeth took a breath and walked away.

***

Bibliography

Annabeth Chase – from Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus, various short stories and other series, all by Rick Riordan

Lou Ellen Blackstone – from the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

Peeta Mellark – From the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Phobia – from Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Adelina Amouteru – from The Young Elites by Marie Lu

***

I had a lot of fun writing this story. I hope you guys enjoyed it, and thanks again to Ashley for the wonderful prompt!

I’ll see you tomorrow for day 4’s challenge!

-Ariel

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