Why are we sneaking out in the night? Jack repeated.I already explained, Sam snapped. If you don’t listen—Taylor jumped in to say, Because otherwise Astrid would find some way to stop him. She mimicked Astrid’s voice, injecting it with steel and a tense, condescending tone. Sam. I am the smartest, hottest girl in the world. So do what I tell you. Good boy. Down, boy. Down!Sam remained silent, walking steadily just a few feet ahead.Taylor continued, Oh, Sam, if only you could be as smart plus as totally goody-goody as I am. If only you could realize that you will never be good enough to have me, me, wonderful me, Astrid the Blond Genius.Sam, can I shoot her now? Dekka asked. Or is it too soon?Wait until we’re over the ridge, Sam said. It’ll muffle the sound.Sorry, Dekka, Taylor said. I know you don’t like talking about boy-girl things.Taylor, Sam warned.Yes, Sam?You might want to think about how hard it would be to walk if someone were to turn off gravity under your feet every now and then.I wonder who would do that? Dekka said.Suddenly Taylor fell flat on her face.You tripped me! Taylor said, more shocked than angry.Me? Dekka spread her hands in a completely unconvincing gesture of innocence. Hey, I’m all the way over here.I’m just saying: you can see where that could make a long walk just a lot longer, Sam said.You guys are so not fun, Taylor grumped. She bounced instantaneously to just behind Sam. She grabbed his butt, he yelled, Hey! and she bounced away innocently.To answer your question, Jack, Sam said, we are sneaking out at night so that everyone doesn’t know we’re gone and why. They’ll figure it out soon enough, but Edilio will have to have more of his guys on the streets if I’m not there playing the big, bad wolf. More stress for everyone.Oh, Jack said.The big, bad wolf, Taylor said. She laughed. So, when you play that fantasy in your head is Astrid Little Red Riding Hood or one of the Three Little Pigs?Dekka, Sam said.Hah! Too slow!
Michael Grant
Now,' said the doctor, 'my part is done and, I may say, with some vanity, well done. It remains only to get you out of this cold and poisonous city and to give you two months of a pure air and an easy conscience. The last is your affair. To the first I think I can help you. It falls indeed rather oddly; it was but the other day the Padre came in from the country; and as he and I are old friends, although of contrary professions, he applied to me in a matter of distress among some of his parishioners. This was a family - but you are ignorant of Spain and even the names of our grandees are hardly known to you; suffice it, then, that they were once great people and are now fallen to the brink of destitution. Nothing now belongs to them but the residencia and certain leagues of desert mountain, in the greater part of which not even a goat could support life. But the house is a fine old place and stands at a great height among the hills and most salubriously; and I had no sooner heard my friend's tale, than I remembered you. I told him I had a wounded officer, wounded in the good cause, who was now able to make a change; and I proposed that his friends should take you for a lodger. Instantly the Padre's face grew dark. It was out of the question, he said. Then let them starve, said I , for I have no sympathy with tatterdemalion pride. Thereupon we separated, not very content with one another; but yesterday, to my wonder, the Padre returned and made a submission: the difficulty, he said, he had found upon inquiry to be less than he had feared, or, in other words, these proud people had put their pride in their pocket. I closed with the offer; and, subject to your approval, I have taken rooms for you in the residencia. The air of these mountains will renew your blood; and the quiet in which you will live is worth all the medicines in the world.
Robert Louis Stevenson