27 - Where They Find a Hostel

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27

         “Ready?”

         I gave a start and looked up at Jacoby. “Oh, yeah, just about.”

         “May I ask what you were using my phone for?” he said, an amused expression on his face as he pulled up a chair.

         “Yes, you may ask, but you may not receive an answer.”

         “So witty, Jasslyn.”

         “Yup,” I said, thrusting his phone back at him. “Let’s find Thornwick Street.”

         “Why?” he said, reluctantly rising out of seat. He looked like a camel, laden down with his sleeping bag, two people’s worth of luggage, and a canvas bag of groceries.

         “We’re staying in a youth hostel today.”

         “What?”

         “A youth hostel. Come on. It’s a lot cheaper than a hotel, and a lot safer and cleaner than a motel. I’ve already called and reserved a twin room.”

         His eyes widened. “How did you manage to find one?” he asked, perplexed. “And neither of us are eighteen.”

         “This hostel accepts seventeen and older. I told them you already passed your seventeenth birthday, and that you’re visiting from Hawaii.”

         His eyes went from wide to narrow. “Why me?”

         “You look more mature.”

         “I’m not even tan,” he protested, flipping his arms over. “I’m paler than you are.” He stared at me. “Why me?” he said again.

         “We’ll just say you’re an avid user of sunscreen, SPF ninety or something.”

         “SPF doesn’t prevent tanning, it prevents UV rays.” He sighed and shook his head, admitting defeat after seeing the look on my face. “All right. Come on. Thornwick’s just past the supermarket.”

         We were more than pleased with the youth hostel. There were several other kids staying there, which made the two of us less suspicious.

         “Can we rest for a little here?” I asked, the soft, laundry detergent-scented blankets a luxurious cloud around me.

         “Half an hour. I’m pretty tired, too.” Jacoby slid our sleeping bags under his bed and passed a hand over his face. His light skin accentuated the dark circles that had developed under his eyes. I couldn’t recall seeing him so tired.

         “How’re your lungs feeling?” I asked. Propping myself on an elbow, I looked over at him as he kicked off his shoes and climbed into his bed, sighing in contentment. I wasn’t sure what kind of blankets the youth hostel used, but they were heavenly.

         “Back to normal. It was fine when I woke up.” He paused to yawn, then spoke again. “I saw one person looking at my flowers in the supermarket, but she didn’t make a move. I guess we’re safe for now.”

         “Why didn’t you talk to her? Ask her?”

         Jacoby shook his head with his eyes closed. “I don’t like the feel of Caston. It’s too busy, there are too many people, and it makes me feel like I won’t be able to notice if someone’s watching me.”

         “You’re right. We’re tourists. Nobody here would notice if we went missing.” I gulped. It was eerie knowing that we could disappear without so much as a ripple. I changed the topic quickly.

         “Hey, how much sleep did you get yesterday?”

         “Not a lot. Mind if I take a nap right now?” he asked.

         “Of course. I’ll wake you up at eleven so we can head out. I still need to go to the bank. But we’ll make lunch first, okay?”

         I reached and tugged the bag of groceries towards me. He’d picked out a head of lettuce, a bag of peppers, and a bottle of salad dressing. He also had two boxes of lasagne and four of instant noodles. “I’ll go refrigerate these.” I doubted Jacoby heard me; his chest was rising and falling softly already.

         Rummaging through my bag, I picked up a sharpie and wrote in large block letters, “PROPERTY OF JASSLYN AND JACOBY” on the veggie bags, and everything else. My curiosity and guilt got the better of me. I peeked into Jacoby’s bag and pulled out his wallet. I spotted the grocery receipt and pulled it out. Food came to a total just past sixteen dollars. I pulled my own wallet out and stuffed sixteen bucks into his. The arrangement could work; I needed to take care of food at the very least, pull my own weight, even if it wasn’t much.

         When I returned from the kitchen, I had two glasses of water in hand. I pulled out a Tic Tac box with Advil in it. My mother insisted that I bring a small version of a first aid kit with me wherever I went. I placed the plastic box and a glass of water beside Jacoby’s bed, and lay down in my own.

         I got out a notepad and a pencil, and made a checklist.

         [  ] Go to bank

         [  ] Find Guider

         [  ] Get to “safe place”       

         Though I had hopes that we would do well on our little quest, I still had a feeling that my list was going to expand, and quickly.

(**A/N: Well this is embarrassing. I said I'd been making drafts so I could update quicker and then went a week without touching Imaginer. My explanation: I finished typing up all of my edits of Imaginer, and sent it off to print. Not publish, but print xD Picking up the copies tomorrow! Anyway, drop me a comment! Short update again, but um, we're onto Chapter Eight now? Haha.)

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