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What's Up with Mike?
Cubbie Blue ~ Book 2
By Randa Handler
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2012 Randa Handler
All rights reserved.
One morning Derek, Brian, Christopher, Cubbie, and Dot woke up very early and saw it was raining, but that didn't bother them because they had plenty to do inside the house. Ever since Cubbie and Dot had arrived from Baltar and had been living with the boys, they had been learning a lot about each other's different lives. Now winter was coming, and the boys knew they needed to preserve enough strawberries so Cubbie and Dot would not go hungry, because since their arrival from Baltar strawberries were the only food they found palatable. So Derek had gathered tons of them; Brian had gotten a recipe from his mom for strawberry jam; and Christopher had found out from his dad how to freeze them.
"Freezing strawberries and making jam will mean that you guys will always have food here in New Hampshire, rain or shine," said Derek, beaming.
"But we're sorry we can't make Baltarian food for you. You must be getting tired of eating nothing but strawberries," lamented Brian.
"Dot and I will not tire of eating strawberries," said Cubbie, so grateful for the boys' help that he started laughing and turning cartwheels.
As Cubbie romped amidst the strawberries, he exclaimed, "This is my sugar rain!"
"What?" asked Brian.
"Astra, my girlfriend back home, told me that it sugar rained yesterday! She knows how much I love it! On Baltar it rains sugar once or twice a year. Then the snow and ice become very sweet, and Baltarians celebrate. I always eat too many iced daisies and get sick. Right, Dot?" answered Cubbie, elatedly recalling those happy times.
"And Trouble Eraser is always coming to the rescue," said Dot, referring to all the times he'd had to erase the trouble Cubbie got into.
"Wow, cool!" exclaimed Derek, handing Cubbie a strawberry.
After they had made strawberry jam, frozen some strawberries, and imagined the pies, shortcakes, and ice cream they could make during the winter, they all cleaned the kitchen and went to bed tired. Derek smiled as he saw heart- shaped clouds above the blue cup in which Cubbie was sleeping, feeling fortunate that Cubbie and Dot were around to teach them about the realm of Baltar.
"The clouds look like hearts. Cubbie's got to be talking to Astra in a dream. Everything is turning blue—there must be some news!" said Derek, smiling.
"I hope Dot can zero in on our coordinates and let me know what's up! We need to help Cubbie evade the Aryon soldiers who are after him, because if they find him they will surely kill him," Astra moaned to the wisemen.
"The only way we can signal him when the Aryon soldiers get close is by focusing on him and hoping your friendship is strong enough to allow you to communicate with him telepathically," one of the wisemen replied.
"I will keep trying," Astra said, turning to stare into the locator pyramid Baltarians used to find missing people and things. "The other day I did see three giants giving him huge red fruits to eat for protection," she added.
That day the soldiers, each with a black streak of hair and carrying a long spear with an orb on top, met to plan their hunt for the lost Baltarian child.
"Maybe we will finally be able to capture one of those blue-skinned creatures," shouted one soldier, excitedly.
"It's a dream come true!" yelled another.
"We will be victorious—I can feel it," asserted yet another.
"Let's all look into the crystal locator, focus our energy to get the coordinates, and start he hunt," ordered the head soldier. "When we are victorious, we will bring our captive to Aryon and figure out at last why those Baltarians are always so happy."
The next morning Derek, Brian, Christopher, Cubbie, and Dot looked out the window and saw movers unloading furniture from a truck and taking it into the house next door. New neighbors had arrived, including a boy they saw calling his dog before quickly disappearing into the house. The boy looked about their age, so they decided to welcome him to the neighborhood, hoping he would be a new playmate.
"I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't helped me and Dot when we arrived," said Cubbie to his friends. "So we've got to say hello to the new boy and show him around."
"Are you going to make yourself visible to him?" asked Brian, knowing that Cubbie was usually invisible to others except when he deliberately chose not to be.
"Oh, no, I'll just join in invisibly, on top of one of your shoulders," giggled Cubbie.
"Me, too," said Dot.
Three days later the boys were in their tree house wondering why they had not yet seen the new boy leave his home, when suddenly his parents pulled out of the driveway. So they knocked on the front door, hoping to find him at home and finally introduce themselves. They heard the boy talking to his dog and saw him briefly come to the window, but he didn't open the door.
"What's up with him?" asked Derek.
"Strange, huh? We've never seen him come out, and now he won't come to the door," added Brian.
"May—be he's sh—y!" stuttered Christopher.
"Calm down. Take some deep breaths, okay?" said Derek, affectionately.
"Maybe he is shy," replied Cubbie.
Excerpted from What's Up with Mike? by Randa Handler. Copyright © 2012 Randa Handler. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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