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Evil Espresso Drinks

The storm churned into a hurricane. Funnel clouds snaked toward the skywalk like the tendrils of a monster jellyfish.

Kids screamed and ran for the building. The wind snatched away their notebooks, jackets, hats, and backpacks.

Leo lost his balance and almost toppled over the railing, but I grabbed him by his jacket and pulled him back.

"Thanks, Cassie!" Leo yelled.

"Go, go, go!" said Coach Hedge.

Piper and Dylan were holding the doors open, herding the other kids inside. Piper's snowboarding jacket was flapping wildly, her dark hair all in her face.

I thought she must've been freezing, but she looked calm and confident—telling the others it would be okay, encouraging them to keep moving.

Jason, Leo, Coach Hedge, and I ran toward them, but it was like running through quicksand. The wind seemed to fight us, pushing us back.

Dylan and Piper pushed one more kid inside, then lost their grip on the doors. They slammed shut, closing off the skywalk.

Piper tugged at the handles. Inside, the kids pounded on the glass, but the doors seemed to be stuck.

"Dylan, help!" Piper shouted.

Dylan just stood there with an idiotic grin his Cowboys jersey rippling in the wind, like he was suddenly enjoying the storm.

"Sorry, Piper," he said. "I'm done helping."

I felt like laughing, when had this sorry excuse of a human helped someone other than himself?

He flicked his wrist, and Piper flew backward, slamming into the doors and sliding to the skywalk deck.

"Piper!" Jason tried to charge forward, but the wind seemed to be against him, and Coach pushed him back. "Coach," Jason said, "let me go!"

"Jason, Leo, Cassie, stay behind me," coach ordered. "This is my fight. I should've known that was our monster."

"What?" Leo demanded. A rogue worksheet slapped him in the face, but he swatted it away. "What monster?"

The coach's cap blew off, and sticking up above his curly hair were two bumps—like the knots cartoon characters get when they're bonked on the head. Coach lifted his baseball bat—but it wasn't a regular bat anymore.

Somehow it had changed into a crudely shaped tree-branch club, with twigs and leaves still attached.

Dylan gave him that psycho happy smile. "Oh, come on, Coach. Let the boy attack me! After all, you're getting too old for this. Isn't that why they retired you to this stupid school? I've been on your team the entire season, and you didn't even know. You're losing your nose, grandpa."

Coach made an angry sound like an goat bleating. "That's it, cupcake. You're going down."

"You think you can protect four half-bloods at once, old man? And two children of the Big Three?" Dylan laughed. "Good luck."

The Big Three? Or was it the big tree?... A tree had a child? Wait a minute, getting off track... sorry.

Dylan pointed at Leo, and a funnel cloud materialized around him. Leo flew off the skywalk like he'd been tossed.

Somehow he managed to twist in midair, and slammed sideways into the canyon wall. He skidded, clawing furiously for any handhold. Finally he grabbed a thin ledge about fifty feet below the skywalk and hung there by his fingertips.

HURRICANE. leo valdezWhere stories live. Discover now