Meet Ed Kennedy—underage cabdriver, pathetic cardplayer, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, the Doorman, and he’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That’s when the first Ace arrives. That’s when Ed becomes the messenger. . . .
Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary), until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?
Winner of the 2003 Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award in Australia, I Am the Messenger is a cryptic journey filled with laughter, fists, and love.
Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.
Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt’s always wanted; convinced he’s lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious. In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.
The next morning when, everybody woke up, Topaz, Drake, and Aleea told Cryst everything, including the news from late that night before. “We really have our hands filled now, said Cryst. “How did you find out about the suit?”
“He told me about it when he finished it,” Aleea said. “He sounded so excited. He also told me not to tell anyone except people I trust with my life.”
“Do you know how to destroy it?” asked Topaz.
“No. You would have to ask my dad himself. Why don’t we try and find him?” she said.
“What if they got him already?” Drake asked.
“If they got my dad whey would they need my mom and I?”
“To make him talk.”
“They would have found in his lab if they got him.”
“I agree,” said Topaz.
“I guess,” said Drake.
“Looks like it’s time to go to school,” says Cryst.
“What makes you say that?” asks Aleea.
“The bus just went by,” he says as he sprints out the door.
“CRAP!!” Drake and Aleea yell, and fly out the door with Topaz close behind. When they catch up with Cryst, the bus finally stops.
“You kids should be at the bus stop when I get there,” the bus driver says. The only seats that were open were the front ones.
“So where does your dad live?” asked Drake.
“That’s just it. He moves around and changes his name so much he probably doesn’t even know his own birth name.” For a moment the bus driver looked hurt.
“Hey…” Drake starts
“Hay is for…” Topaz begins.
“Shut up. When you said your dad doesn’t know his birth name, the bus driver looked hurt. I think he’s your dad. What’s your dad’s birth name?”
“Joseph Michael Arrow,” says Aleea.
“Hey, Joe!” Drake says to the bus driver.
“What – DAMN IT!!” Joe swears.
“Cover’s blown. Hi honey! Why did you come out of this boy’s house? Is he…”
“Dad, do you have any enemies?”
“I know you do. They kidnapped mom to get the suit.”
“Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no!” The bus veered to the left.
“DAD! You kind of gotta job to do! CAR!!” The car hit head on.
“AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!” screams the whole bus except Drake, who grabs Aleea. For a reason unknown, Drake was able to morph just his back in order to protect Aleea and himself. There was a scream from the driver’s seat and Drake quickly morphs back to normal and ran over to Joe. Joe was unconscious but quickly gained consciousness. He was covered in his own blood.
“Three seven seven four Mulberry St.,” he says. “GO! Three seven seven four Mulberry St.” He was wheezing pretty badly.
“Come on guys! Aleea what is he talking about?” Drake says.
“That must be his latest address,” she answers.
“Where exactly is it? Wait, I’ll check.” Drake pulls out his cell phone and opens up the GPS app. “It’s on the other side of town. I’m sorry Cryst but you’ll have to keep Aleea’s dad company. Call us if he says any else or,” he looks at Aleea and pauses, “dies.”
“Four seven one three,” Joe says suddenly, than feints from the pain.
“Okay, Mulberry St. is in Ashwood area. We should fly. Come on Topaz, get into Aleea’s pocket. We have to go so fast you would fall of Aleea’s head or hurt her trying to stay on,” says Drake.
“Okay,” Topaz says.
They ran behind a building and Drake morphed and took off with Aleea and Topaz. “Here, take may cell phone and tell me where to go,” Drake tells Aleea. After fifteen minutes of flying they got to their destination. “3774 Mulberry St.” They stare at the house for awhile. It was a mansion compared to all the other houses on the street. It was well kept as well.
“We better get inside,” says Aleea. “My dad is on the brink of…” She was interrupted by Drake’s cell phone ringing.
“Drake!” Drake hears Cryst on the other end. “There are these people in black suits with guns on the bus. A kid called nine-one-one and these showed up the kids told everything we were talking about! Hurry and grab the suit! Damn! They’re coming over…OOF!” Cryst got cut off and Drake put the call on speaker phone.
“Hey Drake,” a man hissed sarcastically. “Why don’t you get the suit for me and your little girlfriend’s dad won’t get hurt,” he snarls.
“YOU STAY AWAY FROM HIM YOU BASTARD!” Aleea screeches.
“Ooh, feisty, just like your mother.” Aleea gasps. “Now relax, it’ll just be a few bones.” CRACK!! Joe howls in the background over the phone. “Daddy doesn’t have to be hurt as long as we have the suit. Bye now.” Click.
Aleea bursts into tears.
“Aleea, Aleea, we have to get the suit. If they can trace 911 calls, they traced Cryst’s call.”
“He’s right Aleea,” says Topaz. “You can’t give him the suit. It would be the end of the world, government-wise.”
“WHAT!!!” Drake goes, surprised. “Aleea you really can’t do that. It would be the end of the free world.”
“I know, but I just found my dad after ten years. He left when I was six. I’m not going to let him die.”
“They will kill you as soon as they get that suit. I don’t want that to happen.” She turns away. “Aleea, please, Aleea I love you! I always have since the first time we met,” Drake says with tears streaming down his face.
She turns and looks strait into his eyes. “Oh my God you do. I feel the same way. I wanted to tell you I was just scared to say so.”
“You can’t have courage without fear,” Drake says.
“Uh… I know you just announced yourselves as a couple, but we have bigger things to think about,” Topaz says.
“Crap! The suit! The set of numbers your dad said must be a code for a keypad to get into the lab. What set of numbers did he say?” Drake concludes.
“4713,” replied Aleea.
They looked for a keypad all over the house. The found it hidden next to a tall cupboard. As they typed in the code, Drake thought he saw a shadow coming out of the window, but when he looks back he sees nothing. The door opens and they walk in. The cupboard/elevator went down deep in the earth. The door opened and they walk into the lab.
“My dad keeps his new inventions usually in the back right corner,” says Aleea.
They jog over there and stare at the suit. It had silver fabric-like plating and a shiny black helmet. “Doesn’t look invincible,” says Drake.
“That’s the point. It’s just kind of like you. You don’t look invincible, but you kind of are,” she says.
“Do you have you sword with you?” asked Drake.
“I think we have company!”
The elevator door opens and three heavily armed men come out.
“Look for the suit. You get that corner,” the man who was obviously the leader pointed to where Drake, Aleea, and Topaz were hiding. “You get that corner,” he points to the opposite side, “and I’ll take the middle.”
They split up and run to their designated areas. The man closest to Drake, Aleea, and Topaz stumbled and tripped over everything. He looked in impossible places, like under other small inventions and in small drawers. When he finally got to the suit, he didn’t see it at all. He saw Aleea and her sword and couldn’t use his voice one last time. Drake and Aleea crouch down and run to the other side. This time the next man got a noise out when saw Drake morph and gouge a slice out of his head. He screeched out and alerted their position.
“Rob, get over here!” yells the man. He pauses. “ROB! Damn it!! I underestimated you kids. You’re dead now!” He cocks a shotgun.
“Aleea, go hide,” orders Drake.
“Okay. Be careful,” she says.
“Don’t worry, I will.” She pauses. “GO!”
She runs to air vent, pulls the cover off it, climbs in backwards, and put the cover back on. She watches as the guy shot the shotgun but missed Drake. He shot again, but again he missed. This time he almost Aleea. Drake knew that and went into overdrive. His fists were flying, smacking the guy like a pro kick boxer with a punching bag. By the time Drake was done, the guy looked like a corpse from a horror scene. He shot the shotgun one last time, but he just put himself out his misery.
“Aleea, I sure hope you didn’t see that,” says Topaz. Aleea out and throws up. “Why did you throw up? You cut a man’s head clean off!”
“It wasn’t as messy,” she tells Topaz.
Drake grabs the suit and they run into the elevator. When they get outside, they take off to go back to the bus. First they stop somewhere else.
“Okay, do you have the suit on?” asks Drake. She walks out from behind a house. “Wow!” Drake says.
Aleea was standing there in the silver suit with her sword in her right hand with her red hair in a ponytail. It might not sound that beautiful, but to Drake every outfit she wears looks like a prom outfit that is the most extravagant in Milwaukee. Even if she was in rags and had dirt all over her face he would loved her the same way.
“Like it?” she asks.
“Like it?! I love it! You look awesome!”
They fly to the bus to see a hostage situation. Drake flew over scaring the crap out of the cops.
“Don’t shoot! I’m here to help,” Drake says.
Aleea jumps off his back and says, “It’s true. I’m here to help too.” She pulls out here sword.
“I’m sorry but what can you do?” says one cop. “They have guns.”
“Let me show you something. Put your bullet proof vest and shoot me in the arm.”
He does it and the bullet bounces off and goes in to the vest.
“That doesn’t change anything!” says one of the newer officers.
The chief looks at him and he puts his head down. “I can sense a special aura around you kids. You can go,” says the chief.
Aleea puts the helmet on and grabs her sword and they run out from the cops were hiding and charge at the armor clad men.
Aleea slashes and swipes making even the high-schoolers and cops cover their eyes. Drake uppercuts one so hard it caused a loud crack that made him wince.
“Having fun Aleea?” asks Cryst, sticking his head out the window. He was answered with a spray of blood across his face. Cryst started to blow chunks, which landed in some armor clad man’s eyes, causing him to scream like a little girl. Aleea put him out of his misery. “Why did you do that?!” Cryst screamed at Aleea.
“Shut up! It was an accident. I can’t control where the blood flies,” Aleea says.
“Sorry,” he apologizes.
Aleea grabs Drake’s hand and he swings her in a circle while she kicks every man in the face. Drake flew up in the air while Aleea spun her sword in a circle. Drake dive bombed at the last man and kicked him in the gut so hard he flew into the wall with a splat.
Everyone looked at the carnage caused by just two kids. Bodies everywhere, blood splattered everywhere and damage to the surroundings.
“Cryst, we’ll be back,” Drake wispers. He takes off to his house and he and Aleea walks to the accident. “Whoa!” Drake fakes. “What happened here?!”
Cryst looks at him funny and then catches on. “A dragon and some girl with some silver suit took care of the hostage situation.”
“Wow! How many people?”
“At least thirty in five minutes.”
“Holy crap! I hear the bus driver got hurt from my girlfriend. She ran from the scene to tell me so I could help. Is her dad okay.”
“He has to go to the hospital. What could’ve you done?” says a cop.
“Can my friends and I come?” Drake asks, changing the subject.
“I guess,” says the chief.
“Thanks,” says Topaz, popping out of Aleea’s pocket. The chief flinches.
They got in a police cruiser and drove off to the hospital.
“So they knocked the door down, shot up the place, some bullets bounced off stuff and every criminal except one died and you stabbed the last one in self defense,” the cop asked.
“Yes,” Aleea shuddered with tears, which wasn’t hard.
“Ok, we should be going to bed now that those bodies are cleaned up,” Jen said. “These kids have school tomorrow, even after that traumatizing event. Bye now.” She shuts the door in his face. “You heard me everyone! Go to bed!”
“I’m so glad you’re okay, Drake,” Aleea says.
“All thanks to you,” he replies.
“BED,” Drake’s mom thunders.
“We’re going!” they said.
Topaz flutters over into Drake’s room with a puzzled expression. “Drake, Aleea, come into Drakes room. I have something important to say.” They walk in and shut the door. “I’ve been thinking. When Aleea told us that her mom was kidnapped, she said the thugs said where ‘it’ was. Aleea do you know your dad?” Topaz asks.
“Yeah. He’s some scientist. Why do you ask?”
That’s what I thought. Do you know what his latest invention is?”
“No. You still didn’t tell me why you asked.”
“I think they are after your dad’s invention.”
“What is so valuable you try to kill and kidnap people?”
“Now who could that be?” Topaz says. They run down stairs and open the door.
“Hi!” greets Cryst. “How are — yohoho! What happened in here!”
“People shot at Drake in dragon form, and they got killed by the ricochet,” Topaz explains.
“How can you be so casual?!”
“Inside I’m screaming my tail off.”
“Doesn’t seem like it.”
“SHUT UP! BOTH OF YOU!” Drake screams. “Cryst do you want to sleep over? We’ll tell you everything in the morning if you do.”
“Fine,” he answers grumpily, “I’m sleeping in the guest room.”
“That is my room.” Aleea says.
“Couch it is.”
Drake heard a knock at his door. He got out of bed and went to the door in his Jamaica shirt and plaid pjs. Aleea walks in with her robe on and a look of uncertainty on face.
“I think I figured out what Topaz was talking about,” she says.
Drake sat up in his bed. “What is it?”
“I don’t know for sure. I think it was a suit that makes you – OH MY GOD! It was a suit that makes you pretty much invincible!”
“Damn,” swears Topaz.
“When did you wake up?” Aleea asks.
“When you yelled ‘Oh my God.’ Remember this is my room, too.”
“Sorry,” she says sheepishly.
“Well at least we know what they’re after,” says Drake.
“Well, no duh,” says Zoey, scaring the crap out everyone. “What happened to the house?”
“Where were you?” he says.
“At a birthday party. I repeat, what happened to the house.”
“What does it look like?”
“Some people shot up the place.”
“There you go,” Drake said. “Why did you come in my room in the first place?”
“I saw Aleea walk in in her robe and I got curious,” said Zoey said.
“Pig,” Topaz exclaims. “How can you even think of that?”
“Anyway,” starts Aleea, “since we’re all on the same page, we should all work together. Zoey you can check the middle school for anything about what we were just talking about, me and Drake can check out the high school, and Topaz, since you can read minds, check minds.”
“’Kay,” said Drake.
“Okedoke,” said Zoey.
“Piece of cake,” agreed Topaz.
“Night everybody,” said Zoey. She walks out of the room.
“Night Aleea. Night Drake,” says Topaz. “Night,” they both say.
“Aleea, I know you were worried, but did you mean that kiss. Friends will be worried, but they would just squeeze really hard maybe a peck, but there was emotion in that kiss, I could tell. ‘They were made for each other,’ mom said, and then you squeezed harder,” Drake says suddenly.
“What about you?” she starts. “You could have said stop.”
“So you did mean it. I thought you would deny it.”
“Better to let it out than to bottle it up, Drake.”
“Was that advice or an answer?”
“Both. We should be getting to bed. See you tomorrow morning.”
“Night.” Drake sighs. Aleea walks out of the room and Drake hears her door shut in the hall.
“You love her Drake,” Topaz tells him. “I can tell without reading your mind.”
“Is it really that obvious?”
“Just like your mom said, you two were made for each other. Just so you know, Drake, she loves you too. Night.”