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Jemma, Caspa, and Casra held their breath. Jarad, Daelaudon, and Primaus were coming their way. The foot of Jarad emerged from the corner and turned toward Casra's hiding place. These boys were no ordinary boys. They were the wanted kidnappers of Sydnour.

Sydnour was the darkest place for a thousand miles in any direction, for two reasons. First, it was just about always night there. Some people rumored that Jarad had cast a spell on the place to make it eternal night. And Jarad's gang wasn't the only one that was like that. There were many dark hearts willing to harm other Sydnourish people.

If the eagle eyes of Primaus saw the girls, they could say good-bye to anything they had ever wished for. No one was known to come back from the depths of Jarad's hideout, wherever it was. The offer of reward for the gang's capture grew daily with each new missing person taken by Jarad's essential deputy, Daelaudon. Jemma held back a gasp as she saw, through a gap in the weighty trash bags around her, Jarad approaching the low wall that offered partial concealment for Casra.

"Well, what do we have here." It wasn't a question. Jarad didn't ask questions. "I believe it is the cross-eyed Casra Weller. I wonder if her synesthetic sister Caspa or her athletic friend Jemma is around. Dae, take them away. Primaus, you and I will look for the other two."

Jemma willed herself to stop trembling. Any movement in the bags could and would alert Jarad or Primaus. She screamed as a sudden strong hand grabbed her arm and pulled her out.

"Jemma. What a pleasent surprise. My friend Primaus found your friend Caspa. We are so good at hide and seek! I think you should come over to my place for a loong sleepover. I'm sure Primaus, Daelaudon, and I would be happy to escort you."

Jemma blinked back tears as Jarad grinned. He roughly shoved her into the back of Daelaudon's van. It was sure to be a nightmare for the girls.


Jemma fought back a sob. She was curled up in the back of the van with chains around her neck. It could be worse. It could be worse. There could be more of them in that van. There could be Caspa's and Casra's mechanically enhanced sister, Cassa, in the van too, or her own twin Josia. This thought got her thinking- where were Cassa and Josia anyway? They had claimed to be sleeping over at their friend Didyi's house...

Didyi! The name exploded in Jemma's head.

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