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“Whack for my daddy-o…”

Story groaned and pulled her pillow over her head. Marine or not, her dad should respect the sanctity of sleeping in on a Saturday morning.

“Whack for my daddy-o…”

She cursed under her breath and sat up in her bed. It was hopeless. He was going to sing that stupid “Whiskey in the Jar” song as obnoxiously as he could until she got up. It was cruel and unusual punishment really.

“Whack for my daddy-o…”

She shoved her feet into her tattered, old, sock-monkey slippers and donned her skull and crossbones bathrobe over her sleep pants and faded race t-shirt from a 10K she’d run a few years ago.

“There’s whiskey in the jaaaaaaar!”

She jerked open her bedroom door and stomped down the hall into the kitchen, glaring. She might be up, but she wasn’t going to be happy about it.

“Good mornin’, kiddo!” Her dad beamed at her as he popped a hot waffle off the iron and onto a plate. “Mind gettin’ Thing One and Thing Two from outside? They’re buildin’ a snow fort to attack you from later.”

She grunted her acknowledgement and trudged outside, shivering against the snow flurries. Why did her dad seem to think that just because he was awake, everyone else should be too? It was so unfair, and she had been having the nicest dream. At least, she thought it was nice, though sometimes it wasn’t. Or was it? She couldn’t really remember. Something about a guy with tattoos (that her dad never would have approved of), and apples, and sushi? She hated sushi. She shivered as a cold wind blew through the cabin’s porch.

“Will!  Katie!” Story scanned the snow-covered tree line at the edge of the yard for two hiding shapes. “Come on you guys, Dad made waffles.” She sighed and then stifled a yawn. The twins were every bit of their mischievous thirteen years, and they were willing to eat a cold breakfast if it meant pelting her with slushy ice.

“I'm not coming to get you,” she called over her shoulder as she turned around to walk back inside the cabin. A ball of melting snow crashed into her ear, the ice burning as it trickled down her neck and into her shirt. She ran off the open porch and ducked behind a large tree stump. “That's not funny you guys!”

“Yes it is!” Will’s pre-pubescent voice cracked, and she smiled—not because he had been particularly clever in his retort, but because he’d just given her a good idea of where they were attacking from. It helped that Katie was hissing at him to shut-up—that he was giving away their hiding spot. Story could see them easily now, crouched behind a bush only a few feet away. There was nothing for it then but to brave the snow and assault them first.

She hastily formed two snowballs, threw them as a distraction, and then launched herself at the twins, knocking them backward into the snowdrifts. Before she realized what she'd unleashed, she was engaged in a full-fledged snow-wrestling match with her two younger siblings. Two against one were never good odds.

Will was laughing with wild delight as he piled snow all over her while Katie pinned her down with tickles.

“Stop!” Story shrieked through giggles. “Please stop!  Uncle!  Uncle!  You win!  I give up!”

“Hmm.” Will paused with an enormous pile of snow in his hands and looked over at his twin. Katie met his eyes and they shared a feral grin.

Uh-oh. She’d seen those grins before and it never ended well for her.

War of the Seasons, book one: The HumanWhere stories live. Discover now