I’m starting Road to Pamel!!! You don’t understand how much I love this story 😀 I hope you guys love it too! I’m super excited for this series! After you read this part, I’d love it if you would comment telling me what you think of the series so far.
Most people believe that the lost city of Pamel never even existed. That the soaring pine forests and serene paths were just fairytales. And if they didn’t believe that, then the tale of Pamel’s treasure was as realistic as dinosaurs running around in the 21st century.
Of course, I didn’t blame them for not believing. Sometimes I even doubted it myself.
But, even though the lost city of Pamel was still lost, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wouldn’t always be.
Mom took my hands in hers, the way she always did when she had something important to tell me.
I knew what was coming.
“Devin . . . we can’t pay the rent.”
I staggered away from Mom. It shouldn’t have surprised me, I guess. I’d known we would have to leave soon.
“Honey,” Mom began, “it’s just another move.”
I hated it when Mom lied to me about our condition. “It’s not ‘just another move,’ Mom!” I snapped. For two years, we’d been moving from apartment to apartment, and finally we couldn’t even keep the cheapest one.
I looked around the vacant room. Anything to keep my eyes off Mom’s pained face. The beige walls stared back at me.
I had to ask. I whispered, “Mom, where are we going to live?”
Mom put her arms around me and rocked me back and forth. “Oh, Devin . . .” she murmured.
I knew why she didn’t answer the question: because there was nowhere for us to go. No family to turn to. Mom was an only child, and both of her parents had died a few years back. Mom and Dad had divorced when I was a baby, so we obviously couldn’t go to him.
There was absolutely nowhere to go.
Mom had been holding me for a few minutes when there was a knock on the door. I wiggled from her grasp and headed over to the door, though my heart was pounding. Was it the landlord, come to kick us out of our apartment?
I glanced at Mom before I opened the door. The scared look in her eyes told me that she thought it might be the landlord, too.
But when I pulled open the door, standing in front of me was not the crabby old man who owned the apartments but a girl I went to school with: Petrina Marsley.
My eyes widened. What was she doing here?
“Devin, who is it?” Mom called, her voice wobbling.
“Girl from school,” I replied. I met Petrina’s gaze, and my eyes had a question in them: why?
“Well, bring her in!” Mom exclaimed. “She doesn’t want to stand out in the wind.”
I motioned Petrina in and led her to where Mom was. As we walked, I caught her looking around the dull apartment. I immediately stared at the floor as I remembered that Petrina Marsley lived in a mansion.
Why had she come to visit? She couldn’t possibly know about us losing the apartment, right? I racked my brain for answers but came up blank.
Mom and Petrina shook hands. “Ms. East, I’m Petrina Marsley. I go to school with Devin,” Petrina said.
“It’s so nice to meet you, Petrina, and I’m glad Devin has a friend,” Mom gushed. “I’ll go get you girls some food.”
I almost asked Mom not to bother with the food, because she’d likely serve us some stale year-old granola. When I opened my mouth to object, I found that she had already rushed into the dimly lit kitchen.
As soon as Mom left the room, Petrina’s friendly attitude melted into seriousness. “Devin. About your home.”
My breath caught in my throat. How could she possibly know?
She grabbed my shoulders and stared into my eyes. When she spoke, her voice had an urgent tone in it that frightened me. “I can help. You know about Pamel?”
I nodded. Of course I knew about the lost city of Pamel! In school, we had to memorize the prophecy:
The streets of Pamel, in darkness they lay,
Will be discovered again one day.
A young hero, a lonely soul,
Will find the light within the walls of old.
“The treasure. It’s real. It’s all real,” Petrina whispered.
“Your food’s almost ready, girls!” Mom chirped from the kitchen.
I could do nothing but stare as she dashed to the door and cracked it open. “Meet me tonight, in front of my house. I can help.”
And then she was gone.
I felt like I should laugh, but for some reason I couldn’t. Everything Petrina had said was ridiculous, but it almost sounded like she believed it. Like she thought Pamel’s treasure was real.
Mom came out from the kitchen just then, carrying a plate with two sandwiches on it. She must have used the last bits of peanut butter and meat for those sandwiches.
When Mom saw that I was the only one in the room, she got a confused look on her face and asked, “Where’s Petrina?”
“She left, Mom.”
“That was a very quick visit. What did you talk about?”
“School project,” I lied. Oddly, I couldn’t bring myself to mention Pamel.
Mom stood beside me and started to put the plate down on a table before remembering that we’d sold it last week.
“Honey, the landlord told me that he’d give us a week to come up with the rent,” Mom said.
But we wouldn’t be able to get the money to pay the rent unless there was a miracle.
The room seemed to grow darker as we realized that soon we would be homeless.