Finding Valor

Free Finding Valor by Charlotte Abel

Book: Finding Valor by Charlotte Abel Read Free Book Online
Authors: Charlotte Abel
gold is love. Red and gold make orange. If you’d stop pissing her off, maybe she’d figure out that she’s in love with you too.”
    “She ain’t gonna marry nobody without a college education.”
    “So, get one.” Josh thought it was a little early to be talking about marriage, but he could hardly point that out with a gold band on his ring finger.
    “I dropped outta school in the sixth grade.” Hunter picked at one of the loose threads on his stylishly ripped jeans.  
    “Oh. Well, then you need to get a GED first.”
    “What’s that?”
    “General Equivalency Diploma.”
    “How much does it cost?” Hunter looked up and gazed at Josh with his eyes full of hope.
    “I don’t know, but we can find out. Maybe I should just go ahead and drop out of school. We can both get our GEDs when this is all over.” It’d be less humiliating than flunking out.
    “No!” Hunter grabbed both of Josh’s shoulders and gave him a little shake. “The Book of the Dead said for you to live your life as you did before and that don’t include dropping out of school. Not unless the book tells you to.”
    “Okay, okay.” Josh ran a hand through his hair and grimaced when he caught a whiff of his arm pit.  
    He reached for the deodorant sitting on his dresser, but Hunter grabbed his wrist.  
    “Don’t use that stuff. It’s full of chemicals.”
    “I don’t have time for a shower.”  
    “Just use a cleansing spell.”
    “You keep telling me to use magic and I keep telling you I don’t know how!”  
    “Think about how good a nice hot shower would feel. You need a shave, too.”
    Josh scratched the whiskers along his jaw. “I don’t shave more than a couple times a week. What’s up with the beard?”
    “A heart-bond has a way of turning a boy into a man.” Hunter pointed at the bathroom door. “Now go in there and focus on being clean. And do it without soap and water.”
    “Why do I need to go into the bathroom?”
    “Cause you tend to make a mess. Now go.” Hunter gave him a friendly shove and closed the door.
    Josh glanced at himself in the mirror and again marveled at how different he looked. But a handsome face and well-defined muscles did not make up for body odor. “I want to be clean.”
    Nothing happened. He tried it again, this time closing his eyes. “Make me clean.”
    Hunter cracked the bathroom door open. “Don’t focus on the process, focus on the result. It helps if you can conjure up some real emotions. Think about how good it feels when you first come out of the shower.”
    “Why don’t you go downstairs and grab a bowl of cereal or something. You’re making me nervous.” Josh waited until he heard Hunter thumping down the stairs then grabbed his shampoo out of the shower. He closed his eyes and inhaled the familiar fragrance. All the hair on his body stood on end. Energy buzzed and prickled his skin. Pow!  
    Josh’s eyes flew open. The scent of ozone hung in the air. He swiped the clouded glass of the mirror with his palm and grimaced at the oily film and speckles of whiskers clinging to his skin. He almost wiped his hand on his jeans, until he noticed how clean they were. He held his hand over the sink and thought about how he wanted it to feel as clean as the rest of his body. This time he kept his eyes open. The hair on his forearm stood up. The grime on his palm vibrated then formed a small cloud beneath his hand. The reaction was much smaller this time, a faint ‘pop’ instead of a clap of thunder. The only sign that his palm had been dirty at all was the hand-shaped residue in the sink. “Wow. That is so cool!”
    Josh ran downstairs to show Hunter, but he wasn’t there. The rattle of a powerful engine startled him. He ran outside and found Hunter on his motorcycle, geared up and ready to go.  
    Josh had to yell over the sound of the bike. “You were going to leave without saying good-bye?”
    “I never say good-bye.” Hunter lifted the visor of his helmet. “But,

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