He could hear Justice and the others shouting, but he ran in all random directions in an attempt to lose them. He came tearing around a corner so fast that his feet slid out from under him. Chad crashed to the ground as a sudden pain shot up his leg. He checked it; a large tear ran down the side of his jeans, but the skid marks had not broken the skin.
"There he is! I hear him!" yelled Tyler.
Chad scrambled to his feet and took off for any sort of exit. He made it outside and sloshed through the muddy grass to the sidewalk. He did not slow his pace till he clambered up the porch of his house. He looked down. His clothes were drenched and there was the tear in his pant leg—but he had escaped the bullies! The thought warmed him up all over, and he wiped his feet and stride into the house.
His mom screamed when she saw him.
"Chadwick Bailey Stevenson! What on earth have you been doing?" He thought she would be mad, but she threw her arms around him. "I expected you home half an hour ago! What took you so long? You're absolutely filthy! Have you been playing at the old parking garage again?"
Playing? He never played there; but his mom would never understand that. "Th-the rain," he stammered as his teeth chattered. "S-stopped to get out of it for a bit, and I tripped."
Sharon sighed. "Well, it looks like I am going to have to get you some new pants this weekend. Go wash up and put some dry clothes on," she turned him toward the stairs.
Chad traded his wet tee shirt for a dry hoodie and tossed his wet, torn jeans aside, sliding his legs into a pair of sweatpants.
The lightning crashed and the rain pelted the window, but the house was warm and safe inside. After dinner, the family sat in the front room and played games until Chad’s bedtime.
“Goodnight, Squirt,” his dad called after him.
Outside his bedroom door, Chad caught sight of the attic steps and remembered the figurines he had made the day before. He wagged his head; he’d forgotten all about them, and now it was too late. Perhaps tomorrow he would go up there and retrieve them. Thinking about the figurines reminded him of the wad of clay still in his jeans pocket. Chad quickly retrieved that and tucked the marble safely in the pocket of his robe. He changed into his pajamas and climbed into bed, where he fell asleep to the rhythm of the pattering rain.
Chad’s eyes snapped open when someone tugged on his sheets. His limbs felt heavy, as if he were dreaming. A light so bright he could barely look straight at it swirled round and round his head, coming closer to his eyes.
Chad’s heart beat wildly as he tried to fend off the ominous light, but just like in dreams, he could not move his body. Closer and closer it came, inevitable, unstopping. It approached right against his eyelashes, and Chad closed his eyes. Something wide and heavy pressed on his face, and the young boy blacked out.
Chad awoke in a dark place. He heard a faint dripping noise, and felt something that kept his mouth from closing. It was a gag, tied tightly around his head. Chad wanted to reach up and pull it off, but his body still wouldn’t move. Something tied his arms and legs down. Chad pulled back and forth, trying to loosen his bonds.
“Hold, giant!” a commanding voice ordered, echoing in the darkness. Chad saw a light approaching near his knees, but he could not see the source. The boy froze, whimpering with fear. He heard boots thudding closer and closer, but still he could not see anyone. He felt a moving, tapping sensation, no bigger than a few fingertips, working their way up his side and toward his chest, but still he could see nothing. His hands, he realized, were tied behind his back. He was losing feeling in them. The light grew brighter, even as the tapping sensation moved up his leg. Chad noticed that the ceiling above him was very short and made of wooden slats. What were these things? What was happening?
“Turn the giant, that he would face me, Chariostes and Marquiam,” the voice continued.
Chad felt a huge hand envelop his left side and push him very hard. The ground seemed to slant, and Chad involuntarily rolled over onto his stomach. Now his hands were on top. They felt tingly as the blood resumed its circulation in his fingertips. Chad tipped his chin up, and saw his captor for the first time.
It was the figure he had made! The black-and-yellow one! It was standing there, talking to him! Chad blinked several times. The light was still behind his head.
“Zandor, sir!” a voice called out from behind him. He felt the “fingertips” (now he realized they were probably the feet of the other figures; but how had they captured him?) gathered around his firmly-bound hands.
Zandor looked over the top of Chad’s head; the light grew very bright, and as the voice continued very close to Chad’s head, he surmised that it was the glow-in-the-dark figure who was speaking (and glowing). “What is it, Illuminus?” Zandor asked.
“We have discovered markings upon the giant, sir.”
“Markings?” Suddenly, Zandor’s legs seemed to extend, so that he easily mounted onto Chad’s back in a single stride. Zandor joined the others near Chad’s hands. The young boy wondered what they saw, though he knew what was so shocking when he felt their small, clay hands around his fingertips.
“Look, Zandor!” a gruff voice cried, hushed with awe. “It is the same markings we all bear over our bodies! What does it mean?”
“It means, brothers,” Zandor replied gravely, “that this giant is none other than Our Maker.”