Zoey had always been nervous the day before the first day of school, but today, she had the same excitement as a couple of weeks ago when she first arrived in Texas. This was a chance to start over, which hopefully included a better popularity status at her new school. Tomorrow would be an opportunity to show Miles that she could be fun and make friends like he had done in California. She had already made a few friends.
Spencer introduced the twins to a few of the neighborhood kids. They met Ryan Thomas, who lived three houses down from the Montgomery house. The only thing Ryan cared about was football. Although he was a skinny kid, his ultimate dream was to be a defensive end like his Dad. He actually got along better with Zoey than Miles. Spencer and Miles were sure it was because he had a crush on Zoey, but Zoey disagreed. There was also Sophia Williams, who lived next door to Ryan. Sophia was the complete opposite of Zoey. She had competed in beauty pageants since she was two years old. She wore a dress everyday and was always flaunting her winning smile that won her numerous titles and crowns. Zoey wasn’t interested in anything Sophia constantly bragged about: etiquette classes; modeling classes; acting classes; dancing classes; gymnastic classes. So, both Miles and Zoey had chosen Spencer as the closest friend in their new neighborhood, although Spencer was closer to Miles.
Zoey was going through her closet trying to decide what she was going to wear for her first day of fourth grade at Tidwell Elementary.
“Whatcha you doing?” Spencer asked, as she appeared in the doorway.
“Oh, nothing…just looking for something to wear for tomorrow,” Zoey answered as she covered the view of her closet.
“Let’s see what you got.” Spencer ran over to Zoey’s closet and began combing through her wardrobe. Zoey quickly became nervous. She had spent an entire day arranging her closet by type, length, space, and color and she feared Spencer would disrupt her organization.
“I don’t really like dresses,” Spencer declared holding up a red dress, one of Zoey’s favorite, and returning it to the jeans section in the closet. Spencer was little help. When it came to clothes, she was more like Miles. She didn’t wear dresses and she really never put any thought into her wardrobe.
A frustrated Zoey began to push the clothes in Spencer’s direction causing her to halt her search. “I’m sure I’ll find something.”
“Don’t worry about it, they’re just clothes. Who cares what you wear?” Spencer offered.
“I have to make an impression,” Zoey nervously replied.
“What kind of an impression?”
“The new girl impression,” muttered Zoey.
“What’s the new girl impression?” asked Spencer.
“The ‘I’m a nerd who didn’t have friends in LA impression’,” Miles offered as he entered Zoey’s room.
“Why are you in my room? Get out!” Zoey demanded.
“Hey Spencer, you wanna play video games?” Miles asked.
“Sorry, Zoey. That’s way more fun than this,” Spencer apologized as she hurried out with Miles.
“That’s okay,” Zoey mumbled to herself.
Zoey immediately began to salvage Spencer’s raid through her closet by putting everything back in its original place. When she finished reorganizing, she fell back on her bed and began to stare at the ceiling.
“Tomorrow is going to be great,” Zoey began to repeat over and over in her head. It didn’t matter what she wore—this was a new start for her and she was going be fine. She liked everything about Texas so far: her new house; Miles’ new friend, Spencer; the Family Tree Book. She even liked the neighborhood library better because it had books she hadn’t read. As she assured herself, she began to get excited. Although she usually had an obsessive nature to plan ahead, she decided to take Spencer’s approach–she was going to pick her outfit tomorrow. She had already narrowed the choices down to two outfits so she figured it wouldn’t be a huge deal to decide in the morning.
She reached under her bed and grabbed the Family Tree Book. Her mother told her to keep the oversized book in its place in the attic but last night Zoey managed to sneak the book in her room. She didn’t like the feeling of being alone in the cold, dark attic but she was fascinated with the copious history the book provided. It had become her favorite past time.
As she pulled the book towards her, the gold metal emblem on the book’s cover hooked onto the edge of her bed’s frame and fell to the floor.
“Uh-oh,” responded Zoey.
Zoey never noticed the emblem until now. It was a small, solid gold tree with many branches that resembled a key in the back. As Zoey reached for the emblem, there was a sudden, faint glow that she didn’t notice.
“Zoey! Lunch is ready,” Ms. Montgomery shouted from downstairs.
Zoey could not let her mother find out about the emblem. She quickly grabbed it and placed it in her pocket. She thought it would be safe there. She then shoved the Family Tree Book back under her bed and ran downstairs for lunch. “Coming!”
“She had to go home,” Miles replied.
“Are you excited about tomorrow?” Zoey asked her brother as they ate lunch.
“I wish we were back in LA. I bet school here is stupid.” Although Miles had become fast friends with Spencer, he still missed all of his old friends back in LA.
“How can school be stupid if that’s the place where you learn?” Zoey asked.
The phone began to ring. “I got it!” Zoey jumped up. She loved answering the phone. “Hello.—Hi, Daddy!—I know, tomorrow is the big day.”
Miles didn’t want to talk to his Dad. When his parents first announced their separation, Miles didn’t know whom to blame. His anger darted between both, his mother and father. As they were preparing for the move to Texas, the resentment began to settle on his mother for moving him and Zoey away. Once they arrived at their new home in Houston, however, the blame shifted to his Dad. He determined that his father should have moved to Texas to be near him and his sister; therefore, it was his fault that he was in Texas without him and had to start a new school tomorrow. He jumped up from the table and ran upstairs without being seen by Zoey.
“Thanks, Daddy. Hold on, let me get Miles.”
“Miles! Daddy’s on the phone!” As Zoey ran back to the table, she noticed Miles had disappeared. “Mom! Have you seen Miles?”
“I thought you guys were in here eating lunch,” said Ms. Montgomery as she entered the dining room.
“He was just here. Dad is on the phone. I’ll tell him I can’t find him.”
“No, I’ll tell him. I need to talk to him,” said Ms. Montgomery as she grabbed the phone.
“Where did he go?” Zoey thought to herself. She decided to look for him in his room. Maybe she could catch him before her Mom finished talking to her Dad.
“Miles! Are you up here?” Zoey opened Miles’ bedroom door.
“No! And you’re not supposed to come in my room without knocking.”
Zoey looked around the empty room searching for her brother’s voice. “Where are you?”
“I’m out here.” Miles had climbed to one of his favorite places in his new home—the oak tree outside his window.
Zoey looked towards the open window. “Dad’s on the phone.”
“I don’t want to talk to him.”
Zoey begin to climb out of the window.
“What are you doing? This is my tree. You can’t come out here.”
“Yes, I can. Your name isn’t written anywhere on this tree.” Zoey struggled to get out of the window and reach Miles. “Look, we will be fine tomorrow,” she assured him as she sat next to him.
“Easy for you to say. You didn’t leave your friends,” Miles explained.
“But we’ll make new friends. What about Spencer?” Zoey asked.
“She’s okay but she’s still a girl. I want to go home.”
“We are home, Miles.”
“This isn’t my home!” screamed an angry Miles.
A sudden wind began to gush around the tree. Zoey and Miles began to grab the tree for support.
“What’s that?” asked Zoey.
“This happened when we first moved here. It’s just a stupid wind,” Miles replied.
Unbeknownst to Zoey and Miles, Zoey’s pocket, which carried the book’s emblem, began to give off a stronger glow. The wind began to grow stronger causing a tornado of leaves from the ground to encircle the twins.
“Miles, what’s happening?” A frightened Zoey grabbed her brother’s arm.
“I don’t know! The wind is too strong to move. Just hold on!”
“Mom! Mom!” The twins screamed.
The leaves and wind began to completely engulf Miles and Zoey.
“Just hold on to me!” yelled Miles, “Don’t let go!”
“I’m trying! I’m trying!” yelled Zoey, “Look Miles!”
The leaves began to rapidly change various colors becoming stronger with every switch. Suddenly, all of the leaves turned black.
“I can’t see anything!” shouted Zoey.
“Just hold on!” Miles ordered.
The wind and leaves became more powerful, breaking and engulfing branches. Miles, struggling to keep him and Zoey on the tree, began to lose his grip. Suddenly the branch that Miles had in his grasp snapped from the tree and the strong wind finally overtook the screaming twins causing Miles and Zoey to vanish into the eye of the powerful tornado..