Jun & Jia
Jia stormed into the schoolyard, half expecting his twin brother to be there. Jun was everywhere: at home, school, hanging out with Jia’s friends, inside Jia’s brain. Jia couldn’t get away from him!
Just then, Jun popped into Jia’s head, stuck his tongue out and blew a colossal raspberry. He knew he was driving his brother nuts, and he loved it. “I hate you!” Jia thought at his brother, then blocked their telepathic connection.
He couldn’t keep his brother out forever, but he could keep him out for now.
Out of the corner of his eye, Jia saw something move in the tall grass near one of the Academy’s old stone storage sheds. If that’s Jun playing another trick on me, I’ll… Something caught the sun and glinted, once, twice, brighter and brighter, like it was trying to get his attention.
Intrigued, Jia made his way to the storage shed. There it was: an ornate jeweled pendant; gold with a large orange gem that seemed to pulsate – no, breathe – like it was alive.
Transfixed, Jia picked up the pendant, ran his hand along its gilded edges, and slipped it around his neck. Instantly, he felt powerful, confident, as though he finally had something that made him special; a secret his brother would never share.
What was that? Jia looked down. Clutched in his hand was an open combination lock. In front of him, the storage shed door hung open. But I don’t know the combination, Jia thought. How did I…?
Before he could finish his thought, he had stepped into the darkness of the storage shed. The pendant, he thought. It’s guiding me! His hand found a lever and pulled it. The floor shifted and slowly descended. Above him, the inside of the storage shed grew smaller and smaller as the floor took him deeper and deeper.
He should have been scared, but he felt calm. Peering over the edge of the descending floor, he could see a cavernous room heaped with… gold? The pendant had led him to a vault!
The storage shed floor met the ground with a rumble. Jia was spellbound – with all this gold, he could be rich, popular, everything that would make him different from his…
“Jia, STOP! It’s a trap!”
… his brother! He must have followed me here! “Get out of here!” Jia yelled at Jun. “I found it first. It’s mine!”
Jun ran toward his brother, ripped the pendant from his neck and threw it to the floor.
Jia looked around with new eyes. Everything had changed. There was no vault. No gold. Inches from where he stood, the floor opened up into a deep containment unit; a prison cell. The pendant had deceived him. And his brother had saved him.
Where it lay on the floor, the pendant exploded into black ash and morphed into a dark, hooded figure with glowing eyes. It moved like a shadow toward Jia. Its voice was a malevolent whisper, like a hiss of gas escaping from a split pipe: “Morphos thinksss you need a little persuasion.”
Jun grabbed his brother’s hand and looked him right in the eye: “Divert and dash?” he thought at his brother. “Divert and dash,” Jia replied.
The twins took off in different directions, running circles around Morphos. He swatted at them as they ran by, but they were too fast. “Pestsss!” he hissed, enraged. They ran faster and faster, until their bodies became a single blur of motion. Inch by inch, they drew Morphos toward the back of the room until…
“Noooooooo!” Morphos howled as he tumbled backward into the containment unit.