Change in Tides part 1



My name is Lily and I’m an alien. My parents are also aliens. I have special powers that I am not allowed to use. You are probably thinking that sounds familiar to another story, but it isn’t. I am nowhere close to a superhero.

I wear all black. Black nail polish, black clothes, black eyeliner, even black eye shadow. Except I am not emo, at least I don’t want to be. My parents forced me to dress that way because since I’m really pretty– their words not mine– I would attract too much attention to myself. Emo kids are left alone, so that is why I only have one friend, Cameron. She is the only other person who knows my family are aliens.

Cameron is not emo, she is your regular highschool girl. Not popular, but everyone knows her anyways because she is really nice. Me and Cameron don’t talk at school because someone like her and someone like me hanging out together would raise too many questions, bit after school we are inseperable. It works that we are next door neighbors.

At home, I am nothing like what I pretend to be at school. I don’t have social anxiety, I don’t wear the color black, and I study really hard instead of pretending like I just don’t care about anything. I’m actually really girly, bit like everything else, I have to hide that part away.

I told Cameron that I was an alien on her 13 birthday. It was just us and we were having a sleepover…


Let’s go in the pool, it’s so nice outside today,” Cameron told me as she went through her dresser to get us some bathing suits.

Sure,” I said before going to sit on her bed.

“Pink or deep blue,” Cameron said turning around to show me the options in her hand. The pink one in her right and the deep blue one in her left. I nodded my head in the direction of the deep blue one and she threw it in my face.

Cameron!,” I giggled and so did she.

“Now go get dressed. You know where the bathroom is,” she said with a smile on my face.

After we both got dressed we headed over to her new pool that her family had just got. It had a nice pathway that led to her backyard to the pool. I don’t know what it was but it was like the water was calling my name because as soon as she opened the gate I darted into the pool.

When I stepped in, I felt a tingly sensation all over my body and could hear a low humming in my ears like the purr of a Lamborghini starting up for the first time. I had a smile on my face, but when I turned to look at Cameron, she was till frozen by the edge staring at me. I was relieved that the look on her face was not terror, in fact it was the opposite.  It was excitement with a hint of concern. It seemed that concern and excitement were battling for dominance, but concern seemed to win because she jumped in after me and quickly pulled me out. Her head kept on darting back and forth as she wrapped me in her towel and led me to her room before shutting the door behind us.

“Tell me everything,” she said, excitement seeming to come back now that I wasn’t out in the open anymore.

It was at that moment that I seemed to remember what my dad said to me before I left…

Don’t go into the pool. As you are nearing your 13th birthday, the water is going to start changing you. You are also going to start changing it as well.


Behind the Paper: Part Six

An hour later after the coffee incident, my boss, Fernando, told us all to go to the conference room for our first meeting. As I settled in my chair near the others, boss walks in. 

“If you haven’t finish your work from your last department, then I suggest you finish it and leave no strings attached. This isn’t a part time job either so you guys should know if you don’t do your work here, your most likely gonna get fired real soon. You are in the best department here so I suggest you should keep up with your work,” Fernando tells us as he sits in his chair with stacks of paper.  

“Yes sir,” everyone in the conference room says.

“Ok so let’s go over the details for the magazine articles. We will want this to be a hit. Garrett and Freddy, you guys are going to write a piece about a scandal that’s going on with the pop star, Isabella Gouma and President Henry. Rumors have been going on that Isabella cheated her way up top because of the help of the president. Molly and Jacob, you guys will be focusing on an very famous soccer player, Kenitu Lovas. He will an interview on the 9th and I expect you guys to go. Louis and Andrew, you guys will….”

After that, I didn’t listen. I am working with Jacob?! I swear, what did I do to deserve this?! But apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought that way. 

“Wait. I didn’t hear you correctly. Who is my partner again?” Jacob questioned.

“Molly. Is there a problem with that?” Fernando looked at Jacob with an cold expression.

“No sir,” Jacob looked at me and wrote something in his notebook. 

When he put his notebook down I took a peek and read . . . .



The Thor the Merrier: Part Four

Thor from Norse Mythology

            When they reached Valhalla, the grandest hall in all of Asgard, all the warriors who were eating jumped to their feet to greet their king. Valkyries, their helmets and armor polished and bright, stopped serving the warriors mead and immediately bowed to their king. Odin gave his subjects a benevolent smile before leading the Thors and Lokis to a private chamber at the back of the hall. The All-Father pulled a bag from his robes and emptied its contents onto a table. Runes inscribed in stone fell in a disorderly pile on the wooden surface.

            “I may have to look further than the runes to find the answers you seek,” Odin said to Frosty Loki and No-Mjolnir Thor, “but they should at least be able to prove if you are telling the truth about who you are . . .”

            Before Odin could do more than glance at the runes, there was a strange crackling noise and a hole appeared in the wall behind the table. However, it was not a hole that led to the outdoors,or another room in the hall – the hole opened into the room of a remarkably familiar spaceship, with a remarkably familiar living pile of rocks peeking out at the gods.

            “Hey, I think we found them – hey,guys! It’s me, Korg! Remember me? We all worked together to escape Sakaar and rescue the Asgardians.”

            “Korg!” No-Mjolnir Thor exclaimed. “How did you find us?”

            Another friendly face appeared form behind Korg – that of the slightly tipsy Valkyrie. “Your friend Heimdall somehow opened a portal to . . . wherever you are. It took us a while, since you seem to be in some sort of alternate universe.”

            “Well, I’m glad you have found us. I was starting to worry that we would never be able to figure out how to get back to the ship,” Frosty Loki said. He cast a sideways look at Odin. “No offense, All-Father. I’ve never been a big believer in runes.”

            No-Mjolnir Thor turned to Odin, Thor the Red, and Silvertongue Loki. “Dear friends . . . I cannot express how grateful my brother and I are for your help. We wish you fine mead and good food!”

            Thor the Red clapped him on the back. “Perhaps someday we can visit your own universe and see your Asgard!”

            No-Mjolnir Thor and Frosty Loki looked at each other. “Er . . . of course!” No-Mjolnir Thor said awkwardly. “It would be our pleasure!”

            With that, No-Mjolnir Thor and Frosty Loki stepped through the hole in the wall and back into the world where they were just Thor and Loki. The portal closed behind them as soon as they were through.

            Thor let out a deep breath and rubbed his eye. “Note to self – we are definitely not inviting our alternate reality selves to our Asgard for tea.”


Counting Down To Life Chapter 20

Chapter 20


April 25, 2017

Somewhere in Brooklyn’s mind

Brooklyn groaned as the bright sun shone on her face and practically burned her eyes out. She rolled over onto her stomach and slammed her face into her pillow. Brooklyn’s eyes began to shut as she happily fell back asleep, then she heard a voice screaming at her. Music, she realized, there was music playing in her room.

It was loud music, and Brooklyn hated it, but she knew she had to get up if she wanted the stupid noises to stop. At the same time, Brooklyn didn’t want to get up because that meant waking up completely.

Brooklyn groaned loudly, through her legs over the side of the bed and stood up. She looked around the room. The plain white walls and black bed sheets were unfamiliar. Besides the bed everything in the bedroom was white. There were two nightstands, one on each side of the bed, a tall bookshelf, and a clean desk in the room, but none of it was familiar at all.

The girl didn’t remember checking into a new hotel, and it wasn’t her room at the hotel she and the others had chosen to stay at when they first got to San Francisco.

Brooklyn called for Atifa or tried to at least, but no sound came out. She tried again, but nothing happened. The girl attempted to walk around the room, but instead, she walked to the bathroom and began brushing her teeth, then her hair, and then she changed into an olive green tank top, leather jacket, dark blue jeans, and leather boots that went to her mid-calf.

It was an outfit like one she would typically wear, but she had never owned a green tank top or leather boots like the ones she was wearing. After pulling a long, sharp dagger out of one of the nightstand drawers and sticking it into her boot, so it was accessible Brooklyn realized what was going on.

She was in a vision. It made perfect sense. Brooklyn remembered collapsing at the mall, she was in an unfamiliar setting, and she had no control over her own body. Brooklyn was in yet another vision. The girl mentally screamed and figured there was nothing to do except wait for the nightmare to be over.

Brooklyn left the room and strutted to another room. This room wasn’t familiar, like the bedroom. It was a kitchen. There were windows everywhere, and it was bright and looked so happy.

Brooklyn walked into the room and stopped in front of a table. A man was sitting at the table with a box of cereal, milk, and orange juice.

“Good morning, sunshine,” the man said with a grin. “Finally decided to join me for breakfast.”

Brooklyn just grumbled and dropped into the chair across from the man. She grabbed a bowl and filled it with cereal and milk, then filled a glass with orange juice.

“Orange juice and cereal with milk? That’s disgusting.”

“Oh, shut up,” Brooklyn snarled. “You do plenty of things that I find disgusting, but you don’t care do you?”

Brooklyn still didn’t know who the man was, but this Brooklyn apparently did.

“I do not!” He exclaimed.

“Believe what you want,” Brooklyn dismissed.

When the two finished eating the man stood up and walked out of the room. When Brooklyn didn’t follow, he poked his head back into the sunny kitchen.

“Are you coming?” He asked.

“Yeah, just admiring the view,” Brooklyn joked. The man laughed at her and waited for the girl to follow him out of the room.

When she finally got up and followed, the man led her to another room that looked like an office.

She had seen it in another vision, this was the room where Brooklyn was ordered to go get the Empathy Crystal. That was the vision that nearly killed her.

The man fell into the chair behind the desk and gestured for her to sit as well. Brooklyn sat and crossed her legs, not knowing why she was so calm. It felt like she had been called into the principal’s office.

“Before you say anything,” the man said. “I know you hate doing this kind of stuff and would rather have one of my other minions do it, but they’re all too messy. These people left my service without fulfilling their duties. Some of them have been gone for years, and I didn’t bother them, but I need to now. I need you to kill them. They are a threat to my mission. They are in contact with the Guardians, and they are all dangerous. I don’t want them to risk hurting helpless and innocent humans. Even I have boundaries.” The man handed me a list.

I took it from him and ran my eyes down the list. There were six names scrawled on the paper.

Namara Kinsley- Noson

Kara Tanes- Maloan

Darian Calano- Maloan

Hagan Jaral- Maloan

Mckayla Haynsen- Noson

Kaden Baltain- Maloan

“That’s a lot of Maloans on this list. Why so many? There are only two Nosons on this list. I thought you liked to work with Nosons,” Brooklyn said, studying the list.

Maloans are stupid and easy to control, and they resemble humans and blend in easily. [Nosons] also look like humans and blend in well, and they are excellent killers, but I stopped working with them after someone started getting jealous,” the man explained.

“Alright. I’ll leave right away.”

“Remember not to freeze when you see who they are and the lives they created for themselves. Some of them have built real lives, but they are dangerous and could break any moment. The two Nosons have been away from their homeland for a long time. They won’t be able to last much longer, and they’re probably in pain anyways. It’ll be easy,” the man said. Brooklyn stood up and walked to the door and paused.

“I will see you later, Zora,” the girl said. Brooklyn stopped in her head. If she had any control over her body, she would have gone into total shock. The man she had been seeing in her visions in for forever was Zora, the Crazy Alien.

Brooklyn realized that meant she, or at least this version of her, was dating her own enemy. The girl was confused and couldn’t process the new information.

It was too disgusting and horrible to think about. Brooklyn had just returned to Zora’s fortress after murdering two innocents, Namara Kinsley and Kaden Baltain. Even if they were monsters, they were innocent. One of the two women she had killed today was a musician, and the other was a mother of three and an artist. Both of them had begged Brooklyn to let them live, but she hadn’t hesitated. That was what scared her. This Brooklyn was dating an evil mastermind, a ruthless killer, and she didn’t seem to care about anything.

Brooklyn didn’t know if all of this was just a dream or something that had actually happened. Zora had always felt familiar, and something about this place felt kind of like home. Brooklyn had to admit, she was terrified.

When this ended, Brooklyn was going to tell Laz her visions were getting worse, but no one was going to know that she knew what was happening in these nightmares of hers. No one could know.

It was Brooklyn’s secret, and it was a dangerous secret too.


The Thor the Merrier: Part Three

Thor from Norse Mythology

         Once they had finished their impromptu meal, the gods walked another mile into the forest before stopping at an enormous stone gate, and behind the gate was –

            “An actual rainbow,” Frosty Loki said, his jaw dropping in amazement. “That is a legitimate rainbow, not just a multicolored glass bridge.”

            Thor the Red smiled proudly before leading the party onto the bridge. “Yes, it is quite an amazing sight.”

            Just barely visible over the curve of the rainbow were the forms of buildings that must have been part of Asgard.However, before the gods could take more than ten steps onto the bridge, a deafening noise that sounded much like a poorly played tuba nearly knocked them off their feet.

            “Oh, no,” Silvertongue Loki groaned.

            “What?” No-Mjolnir Thor asked, perplexed.

            “Heimdall just signaled the beginning of Ragnarok, again. That is the third time this century.”

            Frosty Loki’s brow creased. “Should we be worried?”

            “No . . . but there’s no question that you will be getting an audience with Odin.”

            By the time the traveling companions reached the end of the Bifrost, a large crowd had grown at the gates to Asgard.At the front was a man with a horn in one hand and a gigantic sword in the other; beside him stood another man with an eyepatch so ornate it made No-Mjolnir Thor feel self-conscious about his own eyepatch.

            “Oh . . . it is just Thor and Loki, my liege,” the Thors and Lokis heard the man with the horn and sword say. “But those other two look rather suspicious – how was I to know that they were not frost giants?”

            As the four gods approached, it became obvious that the man was blind – his eyes were milky and unseeing. No-Mjolnir Thor glanced over at his companions. “This is Heimdall? How is he supposed to guard Asgard if he cannot see?”

            “Heimdall can see everything in all nine realms,” Thor the Red replied. “He just cannot see directly in front of himself . . . and now I realize the terrible logic behind that decision.”

            “We kill each other at Ragnarok,” Silvertongue Loki added helpfully.

            The man with the eyepatch stepped forward to greet the gods. “Thor, Loki. It is a pleasure to welcome you back to Asgard. Who are these men who you have brought with you?”

            “All-Father.” Thor the Red bowed deeply before his king. “We found these two in the woods several miles from the Midgard entrance to the Bifrost. They claim to be named Thor and Loki as well,and they also claim to be the god of thunder and the trickster god,respectively. But how can this be?”

Odin looked No-Mjolnir Thor and Frosty Loki closely,his brow furrowed. “These men have a powerful aura about them . . . but I am unsure what it means. I will have to consult the runes back in Valhalla. The four of you should come with me.”

            The companions followed Odin through the crowd and the streets of Asgard. No-Mjolnir Thor felt homesick; this Asgard was homely in all the right ways, with the smell of cooking meat in the air and warm candlelight spilling out of snug homes. Still, it could not compare to the glorious hall and shining streets of his own Asgard.

Counting Down To Life Chapter 19

Chapter 19

San Francisco

April 25, 2017

San Francisco, California

Three days after meeting Amorette, or Amy, and losing Lyvlen due to her inability to trust Brooklyn. Brooklyn, Atifa, and Amy were out shopping in San Francisco while Laz worked with Karter. Well, Laz said he was going to work with Karter on controlling his new abilities, but Brooklyn doubted that was what they were actually doing.

Brooklyn wanted to stay with them, and so did Atifa, but Amy insisted they take a trip to the mall. Neither Brooklyn nor Atifa completely understood why Amy insisted on going shopping of all things, but they went when Amy refused to leave the two girls alone.

Currently, Amy was going on about something she did or someone she met when she was in Paris last year. Brooklyn wasn’t listening, and Atifa was paying more attention to her phone than to the Love Guardian.

“Alright, I’m done talking, so, tell me, Brooklyn do you have a boyfriend, someone you’re interested in?” Amy asked.

“A boyfriend. Why?”

“I just noticed how Karter looks at you. Being the Love Guardian, I am able to tell where there’s love and what kind, romantic love or familial love, and I’ve seen plenty romantic love between you and our young Guardian. At least, I’ve seen romantic love from him and familial love from you, but his love is fading, it’s becoming more like what your love for him is,” Amy said. If this were any Disney movie, Amorette’s eyes would be giant hearts.

“Karter and I have been best friends since we were two. I’ve had another best friend, Lily since I was five. What I feel for Karter is the exact same thing I feel for Lily. Karter is practically my older brother. When I started dating Finn, more than a year ago, that’s what he acted like, my older brother. We will never be more than best friends, ever,” Brooklyn said. “Anyways, if we started dating and we broke up, it could ruin our friendship, and I don’t want that.”

“I understand that you don’t want to ruin your friendship, but your window of opportunity is closing, and it could also end up being an amazing romance that ended with a happily ever after,” Amy gushed. Brooklyn rolled her eyes and explained again why she didn’t want to date Karter and her relationship with her boyfriend.

After explaining it three times, Amy finally understood.

“Now, can we please stop talking about this?” Brooklyn asked, the annoyance in her voice extremely clear. Amorette dropped the subject and looked at Atifa who was staring at her phone, pretending not to listen, she had also noticed Karter’s feelings for Brooklyn, but the Empathy Guardian betrayed her title and didn’t feel empathetic to their situation, in fact, she couldn’t care less.

“Well, Atifa? We talked about Brooklyn’s love life, so why don’t we talk about yours now?” Amy suggested.

“Is this why we went to the mall? So you could drill us about our love lives? We could be doing something so much more productive right now,” Atifa questioned, avoiding the question Amy had asked.

“You know there’s no getting out of this,” Brooklyn said. “I had to talk, so you have to talk.”

“I don’t have a boyfriend, and I’m not interested in anyone. I’ve had plenty of failed romances under my belt, and I don’t need anymore,” Atifa said sadly.

“Atifa,” Amy groaned. “Those were hundreds of years ago. You blame yourself for Eric’s death, but it’s not your fault.”

“He died because I couldn’t protect him,” the Empathy Guardian said.

“Who’s Eric, and what happened?” Brooklyn asked curiously.

“Eric is- was- my first husband. We were married for fifteen years before he died when I couldn’t protect him when we were attacked by one of Zora’s creatures. He’s been trying to get the stones for a long time,” Atifa explained sadly. “We had two children, a son, and a daughter. I had to watch them die too. When my son was fifty-nine in 1871, and my daughter died one year later, but when she was sixty. They both had kids of their own, and I’m still in contact with their families, but they don’t know I’m related to them in any way.”

“You moved on eventually,” Amy reminded.

“Right, because that worked out so well,” Atifa said. “In 1969, I got married again. It was great, but then things went downhill when our daughter was five in 1980, so we got a divorce. He got custody of our daughter, and I ended up seeing her every weekend until she got married. I was at her wedding, but after that, I saw her and her husband on Christmas and Thanksgiving until it became clear that I looked exactly the same as when I married her father. I occasionally checked on her, turns out my ex-husband died in a car accident in 1998, a year before her son was born.”

Atifa took a deep breath, trying to keep the tears in.

“I didn’t meet my grandson for the first time until he was in ninth grade,” Atifa continued. “The only reason I met him was that he was in the same history class as me. It’s strange, knowing your grandson sits across from you in history class. I could’ve told my daughter who I was a long time ago, the other Guardians were okay with it, but I didn’t have the guts. You know, you’re close friends with my grandson. There’s a reason Karter took Tamarisk’s place as a Guardian. A person can’t become a Guardian unless they are related to any of the previous or current Guardians, like Karter, my grandson.”

Brooklyn stared at Atifa in shock. “You’re telling me that my best friend is your grandson.”

Atifa nodded, and Brooklyn refused to look at Atifa while she processed this new information.

“Well, Atifa, you may have had one great love and lost him without having it for long enough, but at least you found it once. I’ve never had that. I may be the Love Guardian, but I have never had love,” Amorette said.

“What about Laz?” Atifa asked. “You’ve been with him for fifty years, don’t you love him? If you don’t love him, then why are you still with him?”

“I do love him, I just, I don’t know. I want more than he-” Amy was cut off when Brooklyn stopped walking and leaned against the wall. “Brooklyn?”

“Sorry, just dizzy.”

“Jeez, I wouldn’t have told you about the whole Karter thing if I knew this was how you were going to react,” Atifa chuckled.

“It’s not that. I just suddenly got really dizzy, I don’t know why,” the young girl explained before collapsing.


I am Annalia: Part Nine

Related image“Liku, what in  Azudacluke are you talking about?”

They both glanced back and forth from me to each other. Even though it apparently wasn’t my fault, they sure weren’t making it seem like that.

Liku turned around and pulled out a key from his pocket. He inserted it into the door handle and locked the door. Tessa was terrified. “Liku, what are you-”

“Please, Tessa, just let me explain,” Liku grabbed a chair from a table in the corner and pulled it up next to Tessa’s chair.

“Okay then. Start talking.”

“Okay, just, please don’t be mad at me,”

“I’ll try,” Tessa muttered.

“Okay, here it goes…uh…you know how…you haven’t been coming to the meetings lately?”

“Uh huh,” Tessa answered.

“And how I’ve been filling you in on the information,”


“Well…” Liku squinted his eyes. “I lied,” he blurted.


“About everything,”


“All the information I told you was false,”

“Liku! How could you do this? Why did you do this?” Liku opened his eyes and held up his hands defensively towards Tessa.

“Okay, okay, please don’t get mad. I’ll explain, even though it sounds pretty stupid. Basically, the last meeting you went to was when we narrowed our heroes down to R.J.,” Liku motioned towards me. “Your classmate. And you, Annalia.”

I already knew that, but I nodded to be respectful. It seemed like this guy was already having enough trouble today. I wouldn’t want to put any of my secrets and facts on top of that.

Liku looked back at Tessa. “Some of the council thought you might be biased since you made friends with Annalia,”

“Seriously?” Tessa scoffed.

“Hey, I wasn’t for that. Anyway, they excluded you from the meetings, and I was ordered to relay information to you and not collect your opinion. As the meetings went on, we were still pretty torn between who would be chosen-”

“Hold on, wait,” I interrupted. “Can I stop you for a second?”

“Uh, sure?”

“I was wondering, why did you guys narrow it down to me and R.J. to save your dimension? We’re just kids!”

“Well . . . according to a prophecy that the head of the Normwhaugs said to Viallanne in a night vision–”

“A dream?” I asked.

“Yeah, whatever. Moving on, the Normwhaug said to her that only a fear greater than fear itself or a bravery that can bring down the strongest walls of this world can stop them. So, after Tessa performed a lot of research on kids and adults in your . . . county?”

“Yes,” Tessa said.

“County, she somehow managed to narrow it down to you two. No offense, but you’re not the bravest kids, but when necessary, you can be pretty tough. We would have brought both of you, but there was one problem: you two are arch rivals,”

“Oops,” I muttered.

“I hope that answers your question. Getting back on track, uh . . . right! We were debating on who to choose, and the council was leaning more towards R.J. Don’t ask why even I don’t understand. He’s just an immature brat.”

I couldn’t help but laugh in agreement. “Finally, the truth is spoken,” I added.

Liku gave me a half-smile and continued speaking.

“After a few more meetings, the council . . . the-the council,” The color quickly drained from his face. Liku looked at me, and then Tessa. “Annalia,” He looked at me. “You’re not supposed to be here,”

“Wh-what?” I asked softly.

“They chose R.J.”

“They did?” Tessa asked. He nodded. “But . . . Liku, then how-”

“They assigned us to retrieve R.J. like how we did with Annalia. But-” Liku turned his attention towards me again. “Do you remember those people that came to your school one day with all the snakes and reptiles?”

“Uh-huh,” I replied.

“I was the guy that brought out all the animals for the lady to talk about and show you.”


“Yup. And, I don’t know what it was, but when I first saw you . . . you had this . . . glow. Not literally, but you seemed to just, light up the room with your presence. I knew you were special. And in that moment, I knew that I would fight for you to be chosen. I tried everything for you to be chosen, Annalia, but it was no use,” Liku looked down in shame.

“So, Tessa,” he looked up at her. “I . . . I lied to you. I said that we were assigned to retrieve Annalia since she was the chosen one.”

Tessa shot up from her seat. “Liku! How could you!”

“I’m sorry, Tess-”

“Not only did you betray the queen, but you got us both in serious trouble!” Tessa glanced at me. “No, you got the three of us in serious trouble. Especially her,” I was speechless.

“Can’t Viallanne just have the pixies-”

“It’s not going to work that way, Liku.” Tessa walked past Liku and put her hand on the door handle. “Not only are R.J. and Annalia special, but they’re very stubborn. So trying to convince Annalia to do that is probably not going to work very well,”

“Convince me to do what-”

“You’ll find out later,” Tessa cut me off. I watched as Tessa grabbed a key from her pocket and inserted it into the door handle. She unlocked it and turned around to face us. Her face was fiery red with rage, but her eyes had the slightest gleam of worry.

“Come on guys.” Tessa grabbed the last white chair from the table in the corner. She walked with it back to the door and opened it. “There’s no way I’m going in alone to fix this mess.”