Young Hearts (Chapter 8, page 1 of 4)

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Chapter 8

Mr. Pryde didn't say much for the rest of the trip up the winding road. Samantha wanted to ask about his last name and any potential relationship to Jonas Pryde, but she didn't want to risk revealing from where she and the others had come. The last thing the children of Eternity needed was a bunch of strange adults invading the island to ship everyone off to foster homes.

They passed by a one-story house painted white with pink trim and a front yard swarming with gnomes, flamingos, and deer. A silver box on Samantha's side of the road identified the house as belonging to the Schulmans. The road now turned to packed snow as the truck climbed up the hill.

At the top of the hill, Samantha saw a house whose wooden sides might have once been white, but now had turned gray. The black roof added to an ominous feeling surrounding the house. There were no lights in the windows on any of the three floors. "This is where you live?" Samantha asked.

"This is it. My ancestors built the place back in 1720 when the town was founded," Mr. Pryde said. He pulled the truck around a curve onto a patch of bare dirt that had been spared from the snow. "It's a mess, but it'll keep you warm and dry for the night."

"Thank you, Mr. Pryde. I promise we won't inconvenience you too much," Samantha said. Even as she said this, she saw Wendell leap from the truck and race over to a rusty car. He swept snow away from the hood to gape at the engine. "I'm sorry about him. He's never really seen a car before."

"If he can get the old girl running he's welcome to keep it," Mr. Pryde said. His laugh sounded as though he were choking on a bone. "You might want to help your other friend out."

Samantha went around to the side of the pick-up, where Prudence rocked back and forth as if the truck were still moving. "Prudence, we're here," Samantha said. "Give me your hand and I'll help you down."

"I don't want to get down," Prudence said. "I want to go home. I shouldn't have come in the first place."

Samantha climbed over the side of the pick-up truck and shoved aside crates and netting to sit beside her friend. "It's not so bad," Samantha said. "You have to give it a chance."

"That's easy for you to say. You've lived here before."

Samantha heard a creak and looked over to see Wendell tearing something out of the car's engine. She didn't have time to coddle Prudence any longer. She tilted her friend's chin up to look her in the eye. "Prudence, you're acting childish. We still have to figure out what to do. I can't do this alone."

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