She recalled the first time she’d seen Carson when Harper had arrived at Sea Breeze. Harper was six years old, like a tiny doll, small and delicate and all fancy dressed in a smocked dress and anklets that had frilly lace trim, with a big bow in her red and gold hair. In contrast, Carson was wearing a sand-crusted swimsuit and torn cutoff jean shorts. She was as brown as a berry, barefoot, and her wild, dark hair was salt dried and sticking out in angles.
As usual, I could only draw on random bits and pieces of my memories, but I was fairly certain I spoke the truth. I remembered Daedalus. Back in the old days, the king of Crete had ordered him to build a maze to contain the monstrous Minotaur. But, oh no, a simple maze wasn’t good enough for a brilliant inventor like Daedalus. He had to make his Labyrinth self-aware and self-expanding. Over the centuries, it had honeycombed under the planet’s surface like an invasive root system.It’s different now, Austin told me. Since Daedalus died…I don’t know. It’s hard to describe. Doesn’t feel so evil. Not quite as deadly.
Oh, that’s hugely reassuring. So of course you decided to do three-legged races through it.Will coughed. The other thing, Dad…Nobody wants to disappoint Harley.I glanced at the head table. Chiron was still holding forth about the virtues of team building while Harley bounced up and down. I could see why the other campers might adopt the boy as their unofficial mascot. He was a cute little pipsqueak, even if he was scarily buff for an eight-year-old. His grin was infectious. His enthusiasm seemed to lift the mood of the entire group. Still, I recognized the mad gleam in his eyes. It was the same look his father, Hephaestus, got whenever he invented some automaton that would later go berserk and start destroying cities.
Also keep in mind, Chiron was saying, that none of the unfortunate disappearances has been linked to the Labyrinth. Remain with your partner and you should be safe…at least, as safe as one can be in a three-legged death race.Yeah, Harley said. Nobody has even died yet. He sounded disappointed, as if he wanted us to try harder.
In the face of a crisis, Chiron said, it’s important to stick to our regular activities. We must stay alert and in top condition. Our missing campers would expect no less from us. Now, as to the teams for the race, you will be allowed to choose your partner—
There followed a sort of piranha attack of campers lunging toward each other to grab their preferred teammate. Before I could contemplate my options, Meg McCaffrey pointed at me from across the pavilion, her expression exactly like Uncle Sam’s in the recruitment poster.He looked at her, smiling. Is that so? Girard crossed his arms. In that case, why don’t you and I go fishing together sometime?
Mamaw was startled by this invitation that seemed to come out of nowhere. Flustered, she felt her heart beat faster. Fishing, indeed . . . What a thought! She was busy. She had things to do. She couldn’t just jump into a boat and take off on a lark.As she opened her mouth to decline, she heard the high-pitched cry of an osprey. She could never refuse the call of an osprey, and looking up, she spied the beautiful, black-winged raptor circling the Cove.
Beside her, Girard paused to take in the sight. The great fish hawk at work, he said with awe, bringing his hand up to his brow to shield his eyes. No better fishers in the world.I’ve always loved ospreys. They’re site loyal and mate for life. I think that makes them rather noble, don’t you?