“You do realize that your mom’s cooking is the only reason I came over this early, don’t you?” Pax says, patting his flat belly. He follows me in and makes himself at home at the table.
“Hey, kids,” Mom says, flipping an egg from the pan to a plate. “How do you feel about taking a trip to South America?”
I’ve suspected since we got home that we’ll be going to the Ring of Fire, a hotbed of volcanic activity and earthquakes circling the Pacific Ocean. If we’re heading to South America, my guess is we’ll go somewhere along the west coast.
“Is there any chance we can wait until after our birthday party?” I ask, knowing what her answer will be. The four of us were born within minutes of each other, during an alignment of planets called the Grand Stellium. I still don’t understand the significance, other than it convinced the Cherokee that we were the ones their prophecy spoke about. Sky, Pax, and Storm were born on May second, and my birthday is May third. The dates are different because we were born in different time zones. We’d planned to celebrate all our birthdays on the second.
“Sorry, honey. Another formerly extinct volcano erupted in northern Chile last night, accompanied by a sizable earthquake. The upheavals are stronger and more frequent. There’s a very good probability that we’ll find an artifact there, and that it needs you.”
“Maybe we’ll be done by then, Jewel,” Sky says, hoping to soothe Mom. She isn’t fooling me. She’s as disappointed as I am. Turning eighteen may not be as big a deal as turning twenty-one, but it does make us legally adults in some ways.
We may not even live to see twenty-one.
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