Percy Becomes a Known Fugitive is the sixty-second chapter of The Gift of a Best Friend. It was first published on June 19th, 2018.
I felt like I was on the scariest and worst rollercoaster ever, except I wasn’t falling as fast or as rough, but the only thing I was holding on to was Percy’s hand.
Most people like to put their hands up when they’re going down. I’m not one of them.
I always held on for dear life. It’s kind of genetic, because my mom and aunts and grandmother do too. Though it’s kind of ironic for me since I do it all the time flying on Toothless.
The wind ripped the breath from my lungs.
I kept my eyes on the water until we finally hit it.
A whiteout of bubbles. The water was cold, but only because I was completely dry until then.
It reminded me of when I fell into the Missouri River near my house. But that was in winter, and the water was even colder. I remembered how I became hydrophobic afterward for almost a year. Will I go back to being afraid of water after this? At first I thought no, because Percy’s with me, but when we hit the water, we let each other’s hands go and the bubbles clouded my vision, and I thought yes. But I wasn’t too afraid this time because I wasn’t moving down a fast current, and I can breathe in water. It took a lot of willpower to do so the first time after my powers activated.
My impact with the water didn’t hurt so much, probably thanks to my powers.
I was swimming about twenty feet below the surface and trying to find Percy, but all the garbage swirling up all around me clouded my vision.
I’m not much of an environmentalist, but I do hate seeing disgusting crap somewhere other than the trash can.
I moved away from it to find Percy, but I didn’t see him. Then I realized something that made me want to punch myself
I have the ability to fly, and while we were falling, I could’ve flown us to land or turned Toothless back to normal and we could’ve jumped onto his back instead of sending him to find Annabeth and Grover, then we wouldn’t have fallen into the river and get separated.
You know, being in serious situations and under pressure really makes you dumb. Of course, I wanted to see what Percy was going to do to get us out of that situation, and this was really the only thing he could’ve done.
I still wasn’t able to spot Percy, so I finally decided just to swim to the surface. It was sunset now and the water’s surface looked beautiful, even will all the crap swimming in it. I didn’t want to get out of the water, because I knew Percy was still in it. But where the hell was he?
I was about to call him through telepathy when I finally heard him breaking the surface just thirty feet away.
“Percy!” I called.
He turned around and noticed me.
We swam to each other, and when I reached him, I wrapped my arms around his neck into a hug, which really surprised him. But when I touched him, it took me a moment to realize he was completely dry. I guess he can be being a son of Poseidon and all, but lucky bastard.
“Oh, I’m glad you’re ok,” I said.
“Uh, yeah,” he said uncomfortably. “Me too.”
“Where were you? What took you so long to come up? Did you find your sword?”
“Yes. And my dad sent me a messenger, who looked a lot like my mom, with a message.”
“Of course. What was the message?”
“Let’s find Grover and Annabeth and I’ll tell you.”
We came ashore next to a floating McDonald’s.
A block away, every emergency vehicle in St. Louis was surrounding the Arch. Police helicopters circled overhead. There were a lot of onlookers too.
“Mama!” a cute little girl said. “That boy and girl walked out of the river.”
“That’s nice, dear,” her mother said, craning her neck to watch the ambulance.
“But the boy, he’s dry!”
“That’s nice, dear.”
Speaking of dry, I did a quick twirl and was all dry myself. Then I put my hair in a ponytail.
A new lady was talking for the camera: “Probably not a terrorist attack, we’re told, but it’s still very early in the investigation. The damage, as you can see, is very serious. We’re trying to get to some of the survivors, to question them about eyewitness reports of someone falling from the Arch.”
There were survivors. Thank God.
I really hope that the park ranger and the cute little boy and his parents made it out safely. I could tell Percy was relieved to hear that, too.
Now where the hell were Annabeth, Grover, and Toothless?
We tried to push through the crowd to see what was going on inside the police line.
“. . . an adolescent boy,” another reporter was saying. “Channel Five has learned that surveillance cameras show an adolescent boy going wild on the observation deck, somehow setting off this freak explosion. Hard to believe, John, but that’s what we’re hearing. Again, no confirmed fatalities . . .”
I tried not to be insulted that I wasn’t mentioned. There were two kids that fell from the Arch, people!
Percy backed away, trying to keep his head down. We had to go a long way around the police perimeter. Uniformed officers and news reporters were everywhere. I even bet that my grandmother was somewhere around here.
Jasmine! Toothless called.
“Perrr-cy!” Grover bleated.
We turned and Percy got tackled by Grover’s bear hug—or goat hug.
“We thought you’d gone to Hades the hard way!” he said.
Toothless flew into me, rubbing his head against me.
I held him. “Good boy. Nice job finding them.”
Annabeth stood behind Grover, trying to look angry, but even she seemed relieved to see us.
“We can’t leave you alone for five minutes!” she said to Percy. “What happened?”
“We sort of fell,” Percy said.
“Sort of?” I asked.
“Percy!” Annabeth agreed. “Six hundred and thirty feet?”
“Gangway!” a cop shouted from behind us.
The crowd parted, and a couple of paramedics hustled out, rolling a woman on a stretcher. I immediately recognized her as the mother of the cute little boy who’d been on the observation deck.
“And then this huge dog,” she was saying. “This huge fire-breathing Chihuahua—”
“Okay, ma’am,” the paramedic said. “Just calm down. Your family is fine. The medication is starting to kick in.”
“I’m not crazy! This boy and girl jumped out of the hole and the monster disappeared.” Then she saw us. “There they are! That’s the boy and girl!”
Well, the woman wasn’t crazy. Unfortunately, everyone will think she is and it’ll be our fault.
Percy and I turned quickly and pulled Annabeth and Grover with us. We disappeared into the crowd.
“What’s going on?” Annabeth demanded. “Was she talking about the Chihuahua on the elevator?”
Percy and I told them the whole story of the Chimera, Echidna, and our high-dive act.
Annabeth looked at me with concern. Toothless too.
“Are you ok?” Annabeth asked me.
My face felt a little hot. “I’m fine, Annabeth.”
“Hey, I am, too,” Percy said.
“Shut up, Percy,” Annabeth said.
“Hey,” I told her. “Stop it. He doesn’t know, Annabeth.”
“I don’t know what?” Percy asked.
Annabeth looked at me to explain.
My face felt even more hot and I turned away. “It doesn’t matter anymore. Percy, you said that you were going to tell me what that lady messenger told you in the river.”
“Right,” he agreed.
He told us that she told him to go to Santa Monica and to not accept some kind of gifts.
“Whoa,” Grover said. “We’ve got to get you to Santa Monica! You can’t ignore a summons from your dad.”
Before Annabeth could respond, we passed another reporter doing a news break.
“Percy Jackson,” he said. “That’s right, Dan. Channel Twelve has learned that the boy who may have caused this explosion fits the description of a young man wanted by authorities for a serious New Jersey bus accident three days ago. And the boy is believed to be traveling west. For our viewers at home, here is a photo of Percy Jackson.”
Well, that was fast. News always travels fast somehow.
We ducked around the news van and slipped into an alley.
“First things first,” Percy told Grover. “We’ve got to get out of town!”
We managed to get back to the Amtrak station without getting spotted. We got on board the train just before it pulled out for Denver. The train trundled we
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