Project Phoenix 2: Earth

cover, EarthHannah has a secret. She can talk to animals.

And she’s scared she’s going crazy. She’s forgetting things, her grades are slipping at school, and she’s losing time.

Then she discovers that her aunt not only knows about her gift, but has powers of her own. Powers she is using to control Hannah – and make her do horrible things.

But she’s not the only one.

Tyler is young, autistic, and can shift earth with his mind.

And Hannah’s aunt controls him completely.

With help from her animal friends, Hannah goes searching for more clues to her past, and discovers a shocking secret. Terrified, she hatches a last-ditch plan to stop her aunt.

But she’s underestimated how dangerous her aunt is, and how far she will go in order to crush an enemy from her past.

And what that enemy will do in revenge…

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ISBN: 978-0-9925742-9-1


Chapter One

Perri dreamed.

She stood on a stretch of green lawn facing a group of red-brick buildings connected by covered concrete paths. Ahead of her was the biggest and best playground she’d ever seen, with slides and ramps and climbing frames and platforms and rope nets. They were made of wood and brightly-coloured plastic, and children were playing on them, yelling and having fun. Other kids were running around or playing with big, brightly-coloured balls. To her left she saw a girl not much older than herself on a special wheelchair swing, with a boy in a wheelchair beside it waiting his turn. And a girl with a white cane tapped her way along the concrete path toward the playground.

It’s a school, she thought. A school for disabled kids.

As soon as she realised that, her eyes were drawn to a boy sitting cross-legged on the ground, his knees rammed up against the raised concrete lip of a garden bed, one of many scattered around the lawn. He was around her age, maybe seven or eight, with longish dark-brown hair flopping over his eyes, light brown skin and a solid build. He was leaning forward, both of his hands buried in the garden bed’s soil. Perri drifted closer, watching as he sifted the dirt between his fingers. His eyes were closed, his face slack, his mouth slightly turned up at the corners. He looked happy.

A bell rang behind her, not harsh and loud like Mike’s school but deep and melodious, almost like a church bell. But the boy either didn’t or couldn’t hear it. He didn’t move. It was a few minutes before Perri heard footsteps behind her and moved aside as a teacher bent over the boy. Her long black hair, tied in a simple ponytail, hung over her shoulder.

‘Come on Tyler, time to go inside,’ she said. She grasped one of the boy’s hands and gently pulled him to his feet, wiping at his fingers with a damp cloth to get rid of the dirt. He stood without a word, his eyes blinking open and staring straight at Perri. He didn’t see her of course – she wasn’t really there – but Perri shivered anyway. His eyes were empty, as if he were sleepwalking. He didn’t protest as the teacher led him back into school.

It wasn’t until they were a few metres away that Perri recognised her.

It was the lady Cam had rescued from the car. The one whose little girl, Robyn, had been trapped in the back seat.

Perri tried to run after them but the world around her shifted and tilted, green grass and bright sunlight sliding into the milder sunlight of a cloudy mid-morning. Perri blinked. Beneath her feet was grey concrete, stained with darker grey irregular marks and painted with bright white lines like a giant zebra-crossing. Perri looked up and around. Green grass again, though shorter and rougher than the school’s, on either side of a giant road. No, a runway, Perri thought as she saw the airport in the distance. Planes were lined up against it like kittens feeding at their mother’s side, white bodies, colourful tails, and one painted all over with bright Aboriginal patterns in browns, reds and golds.

One of the planes had just moved out of its slot and was making its slow, ponderous way toward the runway. Perri recognised the bright red tail with the kangaroo logo.

Qantas.

She clenched her hands into fists as she watched it turn on to the runway, its nose pointing straight toward her. She knew she was visioning, she knew she wasn’t here. She knew she was safe in her bed at home. But to have a huge, huge plane accelerate toward her, its engines winding up from a deep throb to a whine then a shriek, was still scary. Again Perri tried to move, and again she couldn’t.

And then, to her left, a massive slab of dirt, topped with tufts of grass, heaved itself into the sky and flung itself at the plane.

Perri screamed as dust exploded around her. The plane’s engines coughed and howled, and Perri saw plumes of water erupt from the grass about a hundred metres away and fly to join the dust. She screamed and flung her arms around her head –

And woke, shaking, a moan in her throat. She scrabbled for the switch on the lamp by her bed, the yellowish light pushing back the darkness only a little, and snatched her exercise book and pen from beside it. Hunching around so she was crouched beneath the covers – it was mid-May, and a cold snap had hit a few days ago – Perri flipped open the book and wrote the vision down as fast as she could.

This one, she knew, she would have again and again until all the details were clear. Just like the train crash vision; she’d seen that five times before it had come true two days before. She and Mike and Cam had saved a lot of people when the train hit a car on the tracks and some of the carriages tipped onto their sides. And Cam had used his fire powers to save the lady she’d seen in this vision, and her baby, from the car and stop it from bursting into flames and causing even more damage.

She’d only ever seen her foster-family or friends in visions of two separate incidents before.

Perri knew when Janelle came into the room. She must have made noises in her sleep again. She felt her foster mother sit on the end of the bed, but Janelle stayed silent until Perri had finished writing everything she’d seen and felt and heard. Any detail could help pin down exactly when this was going to happen.

And Perri knew it was important to find out when and where.

Because that massive pile of grass and earth rising into the air could mean only one thing.

There was someone else out there with abilities like her precognition, like Mike’s telekinesis, like Cam’s fire and Summer’s water.

And that person was using their powers to hurt. Maybe to kill.

Perri dropped her book onto the floor and crawled into Janelle’s lap, wrapping her arms around her as tightly as she could and wishing she could never let go.