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Lake Spring

Brittney~Show them what Real Beauty is

SearchingforPaperTowns

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Authors Note: Cussing and stuff so beware. 13+ years

Dammit. It's my spring break and I get to spend it in a lousy cabin with my ancient grandpa who cares nothing about my personal space and interests. This is just perfect. My mom is a witch, sending me here when she knew I wanted to go to the mall and hang out with my friends. She knew perfectly well, and now here I am standing on a dusty road watching our beat up Camero pull away down the driveway, throwing up dirt and rocks into my face. 

That just leaves the two mile hike to get to the cabin, since it's a distance up the mountains. Colorado sucks. One day it's pouring rain, the next day it's hailing. The next it feels like summer and your burning your ass off and then it's snowing like crazy and you have to yank out the winter clothes again. 

The hike isn't so bad. I stop to dip my hands in the spring, there really isn't a trail to my grandpa's cabin. I need to stop saying "cabin". It's more like a shack with about zero foot space and room. There isn't a bathroom, it's "all natural" as gramps likes to say. Whatever. 

A bunny bounds across my path, twitching it's little pink nose then sniffs its way into the grass and dissapears into a bush. I try to ignore the pain squeal I hear from just a few feet away, and the fox bounding in the opposite direction with a bundle of fur in it's mouth. Gross. 

When I reach the shack, it looks almost the same as two years ago. The paint is peeling, honestly it's just rotting wood and termites in close quarters. The windows are still cracked, I have the feeling that the next storm that hits will be shattering that glass completely. And then where would gramps be? Yes, freezing alone here in his little lean-to in the mountains. He could get a house or go to some community center to live out his days, but he says, and I quote "I would rather break my neck climbing rocks then die slowly wasting away and forgetting myself in an old person's home." 

I forgot to mention. My grandpa has alzheimer's disease. It makes him forget things. Every year I come up here, and I have to reintroduce myself. It's almost cute, but strangely sad for me when he hugs me and exclaims how he always wanted a granddaughter. Yay...

I step up to the door, looking at the blue sky. It looks like it could stretch on forever, those perfect fluffy clouds that are so relaxed. I can see why gramps likes it up here. The door is just another board nailed to pieces of shaved wood. I carefully knock, then struggle to push it back up since the hinges fall off and I have to press it into a crack to get it to stay. This is not living. 

I open the door, and glance around inside. There's a wooden table, made by my grandpa of course. A little knitted comfy blanket resting on a wooden chair by a falling apart fireplace. I remember that blanket, my grandma knitted it before she died. I loved sitting by the hearth with it wrapped around me and a cup of hot chocolate. Grandma and Grandpa would tell me stories of Greek gods and wild animals. Stories for children. 

There's a blanket roll on the ground and that's it besides a tea kettle and some slabs of meat hanging by the window to dry out. Grandpa isn't here. My eyes scan the cabin, checking the nooks and crannys. Half of me thinks maybe he's hiding like he used to when we played "Get the Greek, Hide and Seek" but I doubt it. He probably just forgot I was coming. Typical. 

It hurts too much to think about the past. I need to get my head out of the frickin' clouds. 

"Gramps?" I call into the shack, even though I know its empty.

So I sit down, and I wait staring into the empty silence.

Waiting.

The silence.

Alone.

Waiting.

He comes stumbling in like a clumsy ape four hours later. Ragged breathing, ripped clothes and eyes like a wild man, or as far as I can tell. His head is down.

"Papa?" I stand up from my corner, shoving my phone into my pocket, closing out of Flappy Bird.

"Minerva!" He gasps and falls at my feet, bald spot shining up at me from his position on the floor. I'm taken aback. 

"Minerva?" I ask, wondering if this is some type of joke or mockery against me. Gramps used to like jokes...it takes me back.

I'm seven years old. Gramps and I are hunting on the back side of the mountain. It's a slightly breezy day, but the warmth of the sun makes up for it.

"Gramps?" I whisper, shifting ever so slightly so that I'm closer to him. The deer we have had our eyes fixed upon for nearly thirty minutes raises it's head warily then returns to munching on nourishing grass stems and weeds.

Gramps looks at me and raises an eyebrow like: this better be good, I don't want this deer to run off.

"We need a strategy," I had said softly, gesturing slowly at our unsuspecting target.

"One worthy of Minerva." Gramps had agreed in a hushed voice. "What do you suggest?"

The deer at the time had moved farther down to dip it's nose into a stream. More deer appeared by its side to join it, only moments later. Gramps had told me earlier that if you wait when hunting the whole pack, or herd, could come walking straight to you. He was right.

I point to myself and then point my finger at the deer and make a shooting gesture. Then, I put a hand on Gramps and point the opposite direction. I crouch down quietly and pretend to be shooting again.

Gramps smiles, that toothy yellowish grin of his. He flashes me a thumbs up sign before moving at the speed of a turtle to where I'd planned.

I crept as slowly and with as little noise possible down the banks of the stream. One of the deer looks straight at me, twitching it's little black nose and blinking with its beady eyes. I stare back, uneasy. But then, to my relief a bird caws angrily on a tree above me and flies off with the deer following it's flight pattern.

When I'm close enough I bring up my gun, and engage it. I glance around for Gramps who's giving me a thumbs up sign again and start firing.

I've struck two by the time the herd knows what's happening. They run in the opposite direction, a flurry of hooves and glinting demon like eyes. Did I forget to mention? These are not normal deer- they're blood thirsty killers. But at the moment, I'm the one doing the blood thirst murdering. I almost feel regret, but Gramps wants to send them back to Tartarus.

And while they're streaking away I get in one last shot along with a misfire. Gramps stands from his hiding place and screams curses while shooting his own gun rapidly. The deer that were heading for him turn around only to see me lock and load once more. And the strangest thing happens, they glance back and forth then start racing straight for me. I let the bullets fly, I'm scared.

Then...just before they reach me they stop and then leap over my head. I hit the grass and try to make myself smaller. They all leap straight over me and run into the distance, legs pounding away.

Gramps comes running at me and scoops me in a bear hug. "Brilliant!"

"But..." I'm confused. "My plan failed."

Gramps hugs me tighter, shaking me a bit as he seats back and forth. "You are a strategist my girl! Smart as Minerva herself- I dare say- not all plans succeed but do not fret. You will learn off your mistakes!" And with another hearty bellow he set me down and high fived me. I'd never felt more proud of myself.

I'm staring at Gramps now, memories flashing before my eyes. I can't do this. Why would my ignorant mother still drop me off here if he doesn't remember me?

"I am not Minerva." I say calmly. I brace myself. "I'm your granddaughter." I wait for him to gasp and fall all over me, exclaiming how he always loved children.

He doesn't.

"Oh but I can tell. You are blessed with a gift of strategy from none other than Minerva, the wise virgin goddess." Gramps bows deeply. "If you want to get to camp it's gojng to be a long time. I haven't been to camp for so long..."

He's a babbling fool. I don't know what he's talking about. I wish Grandma P was here. She'd know what to do.

"...tried to find my way back to camp once. It rained and I slipped at the entrance. I asked to go in, but they turned me away, thinking I was just a crazy old man. I tried to tell them..." He coughs but continues in a raspy voice. "I tried to say...it's me. I want to see her. I have to get in. I'm one of the Greats..." Gramps doubles over in a fit of cough attacks. I sigh and make my way to the "kitchen" and fix him a glass of water.

"Gramps...you remember me right?" I hand him the cup. "Your granddaughter Reyna?"

Grandpa sits himself in one if the rickety chairs. "Reyna?" Light floods his blue eyes. "I wanted...to see. But...your dead. Too late..."

I shake my head. I'm not getting anywhere with him. I warily grab a wool blanket and throw it over the shivering old man. "I'm gonna read, okay? Call me if you need something."

I walk to the hearth and start a fire. I can hear Gramps still muttering to himself. "She thinks I'm crazy. Why...he could start a fire better! Tacos...tunnel...terrible...torture..."

I turn away and pick up a memory book that has managed to survive this hell of a place. I glance at it, tears starting to form in my eyes then flip to page one.

It's a picture of gramps and gramma in the front. Holding hands, smiling and about my age. They look so happy and sweet, I can't help but hope for love like that one day. There's a group of other people too, all equally as happy looking. The next page is their wedding. Gramma looks beautiful, Papa is smiling as wide as a crocodile and a bit if a tear has worked it's way down his cheek.

A few pages in is a picture of my dad as a baby. Then after flipping through the majority I find me. Gramps looks younger, his blonde hair not yet gray. He's holding me and pointing with a gleeful smile plastered on his face. The next is of gramps running through the woods with me as a toddler on his shoulders. Grandma holding me and keeping a bottle in my mouth. The memories go on and on. That's the thing about memories. They last forever.

Author note: I wanted to say memories last forever unless you have memory loss or your gramps with that disease but that's just cruel.

I slam the book closed and bury my head into my hands. I'm not going to cry.

Gramps is staring at me. He blinks, his eyes clear for a slight moment. "Diary. Under hides. Read." And then he's back to muttering to himself.

I glance around the shack in confusion. Then it dawns on me. Hides. Animal skin. Yes! I race for the pelts and wrench them all off the walls. A notebook falls to the floor. I grab it and flip to page one like mad. This could be my only connection to gramps. It's important.

Journal, Today is the day after the war with Gaea. I'm kind of tired and aching but we really did it. We saved the world. And I thought it would be a cool idea to keep a journal. For people to remember me by. Besides I needed a reason to document my life. But I know one day this is going to help. I don't know how I just know it.

I stop reading and take a deep breath. It's almost exactly like the stories gramps and gram would tell me, about god and goddesses, magic and battles. I can't bring myself to read anymore until I get my question answered.

"Gramps this book-diary. Is it like those demigod stories? Jason Grace and the others?"

Gramps has been rocking himself back and forth in his chair. His blanket has been discarded to the bare floor. "It's like that yes. Jason was a real hero, so were his friends."

"You were friends with him?"

Gramps however is distracted. He can barely hold a thirty second conversation with me, but I suppose that answers me question. It's like the seven great demigods of the Great Prophecy.

I go back to reading.

I can't talk much today. I'm not sure what to do. Percy needs me- I can hear him shouting my name. I hope I'm right about this journal thing or I'll feel really stupid.

                       Sincerely,
          
                         Jason Grace.


And I fall over myself. Gramps...this is his diary. I recognize the handwriting. So why is it signed Jason Grace?

I think about Grams name. Grandma P. P for Piper. It all clicks into place. He tried to get back to Camp Jupiter. He told them he was one of the Seven from the Prophecy. This is the legend. Jason Grace. Sitting on a chair across from me counting his toes and laughing.

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