Can the bonds of FRIENDSHIP overcome all odds?
Breaking
The Code
CHAPTER
17
Times Are Changing
Hello people. Deepfried here. I just wanted to formally thank you all for your continued support. All your comments, all your hearts and reposts are positively wonderful and they completely brighten my day. Even though I can’t get around to replying to every single one, please know that I always appreciate feedback. Always. My heart beats just a little bit faster when I get to hear from you guys.
I would like to thank the amazing storybird team for this opportunity, and for my friends David and Sonia for supporting me through this entire process. I won’t be here today if it wasn’t for you guys.
I also want to thank the amazing Bitskoff for working his butt off to get the incredible art for Breaking The Code done, and making it as fabulous as possible. I am in love with each and every piece of artwork. And not only did he, without hesitation, accept this project, but he is also working on another Creative Partner project, as well. How positively fab is this guy? Pretty fab, I do say so myself.
Well, I’ve talked for long enough.
Let’s see what Bethany and Dylan are up to...
Once they reached downtown, Bethany and Dylan didn’t have to look very long to find Sapphire. They found her in the center of a large crowd, around twenty-five people thick.
“What is that thing?” they were saying. “Stay away, don’t let it touch you!”
Bethany pushed through the mob and swept up Sapphire in her arms. “It’s alright,” she cooed. “I’ve got you now.”
Bethany turned to head home, but she was met with several confused faces. “She’s holding it, she’s holding the beast!”
Bethany spun around in a circle. She was completely surrounded, and judging by the looks on the faces in the crowd , she didn’t think they’d let her by without an explanation.
“Who are you?” one lady questioned, nervously clutching her handbag to her chest. “What do you want with that thing?”
Bethany took a deep breath. “My name is Bethany,” she began. “This here is-“
Suddenly, Dylan burst through the crowd. “Bethany, stop!”
Bethany closed her lips and gave Dylan a confuzzled glance.
He leaned into her and whispered, “The police are coming. We have to get Sapphire out of here. Now.”
Bethany’s eyes widened and she nodded knowingly. She shifted Sapphire under her left arm and grabbed Dylan’s hand with her other. Then the two of them ran from downtown as fast as their legs could take them, sirens fading into the background.
Dylan came to a stop, bending over onto his knees and breathing heavily. “Hey, Bethany, can we take a break quick?”
Bethany looked behind them nervously, but conceded. She set Sapphire down by her feet so the dragon could stretch her legs, and then Bethany looked around. They had been running for about a half an hour, she was certain. Where were they?
The beach. They were at the beach. Bethany thought for a moment. The beach was only about a half hour drive from her house. If she and Dylan walked the back streets, they could get Sapphire home in about an hour and a half.
Bethany picked Sapphire back up and walked over to Dylan, who was resting, stretched out on the sand. “Hey, are you ready to go?”
Dylan looked up at Bethany and rolled his eyes. “Dude- I just laid down.”
Bethany pursed her lips. “Sorry, but you’re the one who said we needed to hurry.”
“Yeah, but we’re away from them now. We can take a little time to breathe.” Dylan looked out at the horizon. “Besides, where would we go?”
Bethany looked down the road. “Home.”
Dylan sat up and peered at Bethany inquisitively. “You know the way?”
She nodded. “It’s about an hour and a half to walk, but if we leave now, we should be home before our parents get suspicious.”
Dylan huffed. “Ugh. I guess we should go then,” he agreed. He pushed himself off of the sand, gave the shore a longing glance, and joined Bethany on the sidewalk. “Well, lead the way, then.”
So Bethany did. Sticking to the side streets, like she had planned, the trio managed to evade circling patrol cars and curious pedestrians. They took a few breaks along the way, for middle schoolers aren’t exactly made to walk marathons. Sapphire followed at a close pace, thanks to Bethany’s makeshift leash, a long strand of fraying rope that she had found in a dumpster during the first twenty minutes of their journey. Bethany and Dylan didn’t say much to each other, each silently going over the recent events in their minds, until Dylan broke the silence.
“Hey, Bethany?”
“Yeah?”
“What do you plan to do with Sapphire now?”
Bethany shrugged. “The same thing I’ve been doing.”
Dylan raised his eyebrows. “Oh? And what’s that?”
“Keep her in my room, sneak her bits of my dinner, stuff like that.” Bethany glanced back at Sapphire trailing behind her. “Although she is getting bigger, I had no problems before, so I see no reason why I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
“You really think that can still work?”
Bethany frowned. “Well, why not?”
Dylan shrugged. “People know about her, now. They saw us with her. It’s only a matter of time before they find out where you’re hiding her and come to take her away.”
Bethany knotted her eyebrows together. “I can take care of her.”
Dylan just shrugged. “Sure. But who’s going to take care of you?”
Bethany jerked to a stop. “I don’t need anyone to take care of me,” she spat, her eyes on fire with defiance. “I can take care of myself.”
Dylan took a step back and placed up his hands in a type of surrender. “Sure, sure.”
The two walked the rest of the way in silence, the only noise the occasional scratch of Sapphire’s claws along the pavement.
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