Inferno (#2 Destroyers Series)

By: Holly Hook
Book Two of the Destroyers Series

Chapter One

Steam exploded up from the coast where the lava flowed into the ocean and formed the newest land in the world. If Kenna squinted, a reddish river came into view, cutting through the expanse of black rock. Miles away, vapor rose from the peak of Kilauea, the most active volcano on the island.

At the same time, sweat broke out around Kenna’s temples. She must be coming down with something, because her forehead felt like the surface of the hot ground. “No, not now.”

That wasn’t what she needed on her class field trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, her first ever, something she’d been looking forward to for weeks. This had better go away before she got sick on this day of all days. Anything that got her out of her parents’ house or away from the kids at school was worth not getting ill for.

Old lava crunched under her feet as she paced along the rope fence, weaving around tourists snapping pictures of the coastline. A lot of people were gathered here at this viewing area today, which the park rangers roped off years ago when a slow-moving lava flow finally buried the coastal highway.

It was Kenna’s first time getting to come here, though, or to the park, period. Unbelievable, since she’d lived right over in Hilo all her life. She had to be the only one in her class—no, her school—because everyone else stood around in groups, chattering, like they’d done this a million times and didn’t care anymore. Her parents never agreed to take her to see the volcanoes when she was little. They said it was too dangerous, even though this one really wasn’t with its slow-moving lava. You could even get close enough to lava flows to take pictures, if you were careful and knew where to go. Her class wasn’t even doing that, anyway—just the museum and the viewing area. Kenna had tried to pound that point into their heads about fifty times, permission slip in hand, but her mom still said no and went back to her phone call. It interrupted her studies, she said. It was a lame excuse. As usual, her parents just didn’t want her to do anything fun. It was a surprise if they let her out of the house half the time.

But they weren’t here now to ruin her experience, because Kenna had forged her mom’s signature on the permission slip.

Another plume of steam shot up from the coast, making her jump. Cameras clicked around her.

Kenna leaned over the rope fence to get a closer look, pulling her own camera out of her pocket. This was awesome. If her parents would ever get their noses out of work and bother to come here, they’d change their minds. She waited for another plume and click!—she now had some pictures to show Carlos when she got back to the school. They’d go on her hard drive for sure, as she had a feeling her parents wouldn’t let her come out here again until she graduated, if ever. Three years was a long time to wait.

“Oh, look. She’s daydreaming again.” A snotty voice echoed out behind her.

The Kissies stood there in their little group, clutching their purses tight to guard their cell phones and makeup. The head Kissie—Natalie—sneered at her and huddled in with her minions as if Kenna had the Ebola virus. Natalie considered all the plain girls like Kenna to have something along that line.

“No wonder she can’t get a boyfriend,” Natalie said to her cronies. “She’s always staring at the clouds or something.”

Kenna sighed. She wanted to say that Natalie couldn’t keep the same boyfriend for more than a week at a time, but as usual, the words wouldn’t come. Instead, she turned away from the Kissies and watched the distant stream of lava again. Cowardly, but it was best not to comment. All her years of dealing with girls like her had taught her that. Talking back just got you homework assignments that mysteriously went missing or something nasty written about you in every bathroom stall in school. If Natalie got bored enough, she’d go try to make someone else feel inferior because, after all, she was Queen of Hilo High.

Another plume of steam shot up from the ocean as lava poured into it. More camera clicks sounded around her.

One of Natalie’s friends—probably Lexie, her closest minion—spoke up. “She’s probably daydreaming about that Chess Club guy. What’s his name—Carlos?”

Heat crept up Kenna’s cheeks to join the fever already burning there. No. She wouldn’t let them get under her skin again.

Natalie raised her voice to address her subjects. “Carlos is a good kisser. Trust me on that.”

That was it. Kenna whirled around and faced Natalie as her fever shot up a few notches. She couldn’t help it. If Natalie was...if she was…

Kenna opened her mouth to say something crushing after all these years, but of course nothing came out. Natalie just smiled at her, that nasty, evil smile that warned of retribution if she even tried to say anything. It was the same smile she’d gotten before Natalie had shoved her into a trash can back in the third grade. The same one before her diorama of the Grand Canyon turned up shredded to pieces in her eighth grade science fair.

Every insult she’d built up for Natalie and the Kissies during her entire student career died in her throat.

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