Still filled with anger from her parent’s divorce, and tired of the peer pressure from girls at school, fifteen year old Hazel finds comfort in another world called Red Diamond. Hidden inside a secret book filled with Kings, Queens, sports cars and spy gadgets, the people of this world welcome her warmly as Hazel uses her martial arts skills to keep the criminals of Red Diamond at bay. Things suddenly take a turn for the worse, however, when Hazel encounters a threat to the people of Red Diamond that may be too big even for her to overcome.Will Hazel be able to save them from the treachery and the lies, or will she end up a prisoner of the world she has grown to love, never to see her home again?
Hazel is a fifteen year old girl who lives four different lives. Two of her lives are because of her divorced parents. Her third life is her school life. And her last, but favorite, life is when she stays with her aunt and leaves for another world.
* * *
So let me explain a little bit more. Hazel’s parents got a divorce when she was ten years old. Her dad is a very powerful business man. He doesn’t like smiling too much, unless he’s sealing a large deal or meeting with someone very important. He’s always worrying about his image. He is the kind of person who thinks about things like where to be and what time to be there and if he’s going to be home in time to check his stocks, or whatever he does in his office late at night. Bottom line, he is a very busy person.
Hazel is scheduled to stay with him on Thursdays and Fridays, though he normally has some excuse to cancel. Even when she is at his house, he is typically at some meeting or locked in his office. Not to mention, since she started up dance on Thursdays, it has been hard to fit in time to see her father.
When Hazel does stay with her dad she is treated – and has to act – like a princess. There are maids who live in her father’s grand house and part of their job is to make sure that Hazel stays in line. They make sure that she wears the right dresses for the right dinners and dances. When Hazel is just hanging around the house she has to wear a dress or a skirt. She can’t wear jeans or shorts, because it’s not “proper,” as her father puts it. That is her life at her dad’s house.
Hazel’s mom has become one of the best lawyers in the world. When Hazel is at her mom’s house, she doesn’t see her too much either. Her mother always has work to do. But, her mom loves her work, so Hazel doesn’t complain. She likes to bring Hazel along to almost all the important meetings. She has the impression that Hazel wants to be a lawyer, which Hazel has no intention of doing, but Hazel tags along to make her mom happy. Whenever Hazel and her mom have their “Mother-Daughter Days” Hazel tries to tell her mom that she has no interest, whatsoever, in becoming a lawyer. Her mom never seems to really be listening to what Hazel is saying, though. She always seems to find some work to do suddenly or starts thinking about work that need to be done. Because her mom has lots of last minute meetings, that means Hazel’s hair and makeup have to always be perfect. Worst of all, she has to always wear a nice business suit.
Her third life, which most kids have, is her school life. Due to the fact that Hazel has two well-known parents, she is the most popular girl in school. Now, she’s not one of the mean popular girls. It’s just that everybody knows her and likes to invite her to their parties – which she hardly ever goes to because half of the time she doesn’t even know the person! There are three girls, in particular, who she always hangs around with. They are the J girls. They like to be called that because their names are Jane, Jenna, and Jessica. The three girls do everything together. They eat the same food, do the same activities, and even get the same grades. If one of them is failing and doesn’t have time to bring up her grade, they would all fail. Hazel isn’t like that at all, though. She likes to do her own thing and not have anybody tell her when and what she can and can’t do. Unfortunately, Hazel isn’t too happy with the way her life is going.
For some reason the J girls think she is just like them. Hazel is an A+ student no matter what their grades are. They even tried to get all the same classes as Hazel so they could “match”, but luckily they only got a few of them. Hazel takes karate and doesn’t tell them because she’s afraid that they might sign up too. They have no interest in karate, but knowing the J girls they would sign up just because Hazel was in it. Hazel’s not the best at standing up for herself. She lets the J girls talk her into going to parties, shopping, signing up for dance committee and dressing like a total girly girl.
Now I’m not saying that Hazel’s not interested in fashion – after all, she loves to stay up to date with the latest style. But we are talking about high heal, makeup every day, check the mirror between every class girly girl. Hazel doesn’t like to stand out too much at school. That’s why she lets the J girls do most of the talking and the gossiping. She just wanted to get through the school day so she could go to her Aunt Claire’s house to live her fourth life, the only life that truly matters to her. In that life, no one tells her what to wear or how to act. This is the life where she can leave for a different world.
* * *
Hazel jumped when the school bell rang.
“Now don’t forget class, November third. I want a one page paper on where you want to be in the next fifteen years. And don’t get so wrapped up with Halloween that you forget about it!” Mrs. Madison said as the kids collected their stuff and left the class room. Hazel thought about it. Where did she want to be in fifteen years? She knew she sure wasn’t going to be a lawyer like her mom wanted her to be. And she wasn’t going to be married to some rich guy like her dad wanted. And she sure wasn’t going to be a model like the J girls wanted her to be. Hazel really had no idea what she would write that paper about.
She grabbed her book bag and headed for her locker, as quickly as she could so she wouldn’t run in to the J girls. This was one of the few classes that she had without them and she wanted to leave before they talked her into going somewhere after school. She opened up her locker, put away some of her books and grabbed her jacket and house key. As she shut her locker door she saw the J girls standing in their usual formation – Jane in the front, Jill in the middle and Jennifer right behind.
“Hey, hey! Did you just get out of creative writing? We all took that after gym. We were thinking that we would all write the same thing: How we’re going to become a super model, get married to a hot guy and live in a big house with a pool!” Jane said as the other girls nodded their heads in agreement. Hazel gave a small laugh.
“Yah, sounds cool, but I don’t know…” Hazel said as she started to walk to the door of the school. She sighed, annoyed with herself. It’s not that Hazel didn’t have a mind of her own – she did, she just wasn’t the best at standing up for herself. She was always letting people tell her what to do, and she never said no. Her life has been like that ever since she was ten. She just wanted to fit in at school and get it over with. Instead of just hanging out with the J girls she was sort of becoming the fourth J girl. Just the other day she put lip gloss on right before gym! Something the J girls do all the time. And Hazel didn’t even take gym with them! Hazel was starting to get sick of it, but she didn’t know what to do to fix it. She tried hanging out less with the J girls after school but they didn’t seem to be taking the hint. Besides, they were in quite a few classes together. They even took the same after-school dance class, so that didn’t help much.
“Do you want to hang out before or after dance?” Hazel heard Jane ask from behind her.
“Oh, I can’t today. Sorry. I have homework to do before dance and then I have to make dinner tonight because my Aunt has to work late,” Hazel said, turning her head so she could see Jane.
“That’s fine. We can do homework together!” Jane said happily.
“Sorry, I can’t tonight. I’ll talk to you guys at dance!” Hazel said, waving goodbye and turning before they could find some way to change her mind. Hazel walked out of the school and headed over to the Pod garage. A Pod was sort of like a motorcycle and a scooter mixed together. Almost every kid had one. One of the cool things about them was that they came in every color. Hazel had a light blue Pod because that was her favorite. Other kids had orange, black, purple and even tie-died. Almost every place she went had a Pod garage because they were so popular with the kids. Hazel got on her pod, put her key in, turned it on and headed home. About five minutes later, she arrived at her Aunts house. She put her Pod in the garage and went inside. On the table Hazel saw a note.
I won’t be home until 8:30 tonight. I’m so sorry! You don’t have to wait to eat. There’s steak, mashed potatoes, salad, and corn in the fridge. And don’t forget – you have dance at 5:30 pm. Amber’s mom is going to take you. For a snack, I bought some popcorn and Fruit Waters. See you when I get home!
Love, Aunt Clair
P.S. Don’t forget to feed Snowball!
Hazel read the note out loud. Right when she finished, a white fluffy Maltipoo ran into the room. Hazel laughed.
“Are you hungry, girl? Let’s go get some food!” Hazel said walking into the kitchen with Snowball trotting behind her. She put some food in the dog bowl and got her some water. Then she popped some popcorn in the microwave for herself and grabbed a Fruit Water from the fridge. Hazel headed to her room to wait for the popcorn. They really needed to get a new microwave. This one took twice as long to cook everything because it had trouble heating up. Right when she walked into her room she went over to her bookshelf, took a couple books off and saw a sticker of a big tooth with the words “I went to the dentist!” written on it. She gets one of those stickers in her little take-home bag whenever she goes to the dentist.
Hazel gently pushed on the sticker and a square panel of the bookshelf slid aside to reveal a key pad. Punching in the correct password would reveal a secret compartment. Hazel’s Aunt Clair had bought the bookshelf for Hazel when she was ten. She thought Hazel would want new furniture in her new room, though when she bought the bookshelf she had no idea about the key pad or the secret spot. Hazel didn’t know about it either until she was eleven and decided to put her dentist sticker on it. When she pressed the sticker to the shelf, she saw the key pad appear. She figured that this was where you enter a password, so thinking for a moment about what password she should use, Hazel finally settled on 4lives, since that’s what she was living.
The secret compartment was just big enough to fit a book, so Hazel kept a special one there that her dad had given her when her parents got their divorce. He told her that she could write her thoughts down in it. It was a big beautiful purple book with different sized colorful sequins on the front, and the thick pages were a cream color with tiny sparkles in them.
For about a year Hazel didn’t even look at the book because she was so angry with her dad and her mom for breaking up the family. But when she finally opened it, much to her surprise, it took her to another world, a world called Red Diamond, where they had been expecting her.
Legend spoke of a girl with eyes of hazel brown, who would travel to Red diamond with the help of a magic book. It also said that she would be a master of the martial arts and would help Red Diamond when it was in need. Hazel met all of the requirements. It was a lot for her to take in but she got used to it. Now, whenever someone in red Diamond needed help, whether it was getting a cat down from a tree or stopping a bank robbery, she did what she had to do.
When Hazel told all of this to her best friend Amber, she called Hazel an undercover-secret-agent-ninja-thingy, which was actually pretty close. Hazel was a brown belt in martial arts and would be a black belt in a day. She had always impressed the teacher with how good she was. She had started about four months ago and already she was a brown belt. Hazel didn’t know why, but she was naturally good at martial arts, even before she had begun her classes. But her aunt (the only other person, besides Amber, who knew about Red Diamond) made Hazel sign up for the classes when things started to get dangerous in Red Diamond.
Hazel typed “4lives” on the keypad. She heard a click and then the keypad swung up to revel a spot just big enough for her book. Hazel took it out, opened it and saw the word Trouble.
Whenever there was a problem in Red Diamond, the word “Trouble” would appear in big red letters on the first page of her book. A paragraph underneath would then describe what was wrong. To get to their world, Hazel had to hold the book, close her eyes and think about Red Diamond. She would feel a slight breeze, and then when she opened her eyes she would be there. She sighed and looked at the clock. It was three fifteen.
“I’ve got time,” she said quickly. She got up and ran over to her closet. She walked in and pulled on her black stretch pants, a baby blue tank top and a black jacket which held her gadgets. She slipped on a pair of black sneakers and pulled her hair back into a pony tail and quickly looked in the mirror and smiled. This was the outfit that she wore every time she had to go to Red Diamond. She liked it because it was comfortable and she could easily move around in it. Her Aunt and best friend Amber called it her crime fighting outfit. She headed over to her book and read more about what was going on.
“Trouble! The Gold Room key has been stolen. Location: Hotel Clarisse.” Hazel sighed. The Gold Room was where the Queen and King kept all of their money, gold, and priceless jewelry. There was only one key that you could use to open the only door to the room. Hazel had told them multiple times that they needed to get better security.
Hazel closed her eyes and thought about Red Diamond. She felt the cold breeze, and when she opened her eyes she was in the woods. Theses woods were just outside of the main town and it was the spot where the book always brought her to. Hazel smiled at the familiar scenery and turned around. She took the book she was holding and put it in the chest that was in front of her. Then she shut the top and heard it lock. The chest sunk into the ground and Hazel kicked some leaves over it so no one would see it.
Hazel made her way out of the woods and could see Red Diamond. In the center of it all was the empty silence of the shopping center. Beyond the shopping center, against the brilliant blue sky, stood the grand castle. Over to the left, Hazel spotted Hotel Clarisse. It was about a mile away and was the nicest hotel in all of Red Diamond. A lot of people had weddings or parties there. She took a deep breath and started running toward the building. Red Diamond blurred past Hazel as she ran. Hazel heard kids playing in the park, and although she could hear their laughter, Red Diamond felt empty. After what seemed like forever, Hazel finally ran up to the golden steps of the hotel and took a minute to catch her breath before pulling open the grand glass doors.
Hazel walked inside but didn’t see anyone. She grabbed a pair of glasses out of her jacket, put them on and clicked a button. They were her x-ray glasses. She could see through anything with them on. Hazel looked up and saw two figures. She counted how many floors up they were.
“They’re on the twenty-sixth floor! Ugh!” Hazel grumbled, taking off her glasses. She walked over to the stairs and started running up them. Once she reached the sixteenth floor, she sighed. “I can’t take it any more!” she said out loud as she walked over to the elevator. Walking inside she clicked the button with the “26” on it and leaned against the wall to catch her breath. Hazel knew it was risky taking the elevator since the two people would hear that she was coming. But she wasn’t about to run up another ten floors.
She heard a ding. “Floor twenty-six,” the elevator said. Hazel opened her eyes and moved over to the side where the buttons were as the elevator doors opened. Holding the “open” button, Hazel peeked her head out. She didn’t see anyone so she slowly walked out of the elevator and looked around. Off to the side, she saw two people against the wall. Each was wearing all black, with big black hooded sweatshirts, huge green sunglasses and yellow bandanas over their mouths. Hazel screamed. Hearing the scream made the two hooded figures scream as well.
“You scared the heck out of me!” came a muffled voice from one of the hooded guys. Hazel couldn’t tell which one it came from.
“Yah, you scared me too,” Hazel said, slowly taking a step backward as they took a step forward. She tried to see who they were, but she couldn’t.
“So um, uh…what are you doing here?” asked the man in the front.
“Well, I could ask you the same thing,” Hazel said taking another step back.
“Well, we’re just here because we have to –”
“Don’t answer her!” the guy in the back said as he hit the one in front on the head. He turned to Hazel. “We asked you first, and you’re going to answer us!” he said, pushing the guy in front to take another step.
“I’m just looking for someone,” Hazel said. But right then they lunged at her. And she was ready. She jumped back and started running, leaving the two men on the ground.
“Get up and go after her!” one of them yelled. Hazel hopped onto a side-table, knocking over a little lamp and letting just one foot touch the surface before she jumped off and headed for the stairs. While running up the steps she turned her head. She could hear them catching up. Hazel started to run faster. She came to a door, pushed it open, and found a huge room with the tallest ceiling she’d ever seen. The whole room was filled with tables. She saw a bunch of chairs stacked up in front of the exit door at the other end of the room. She wouldn’t have time to move them. She looked over at the elevator and saw a sign that said “Out of Order”.
“I see her!” one of the men yelled. Hazel looked back and saw their hoods. They were about twenty feet away. She jumped on to one of the tables and ran from one to the next until she got to one that was at the back of the room. She jumped off and rolled under it. With the table cloth covering her, she knew they wouldn’t find her. Breathing heavily but quietly, she tried to get her breath back. She had to think of a plan, and fast. All she had to do was get the key, but she was making things way too complicated.
“Yah, nice one Hazel. I’m just looking for someone?” she mumbled to herself. She held her breath as she heard the two guys enter the room.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” she heard one of them say. His voice was clearer. Hazel figured they must have taken off their bandanas.
“Wait, Richard, I have a great idea!” the other one said. Ok, one of the guys name is Richard, Hazel thought. Then it suddenly hit her. She’d dealt with these two before. Their names were Richard and Steve. They were both stupid when it came to the whole criminal stuff, especially Steve. But lately, for some reason, they’ve been getting a lot better. I mean, the whole disguise thing? They would have never thought of that themselves. They must be getting training, or working for somebody.
“Oh, and what great idea would that be, Steve?” Richard asked. Hazel could tell he was lifting up a table cloth. “There must be five hundred tables in here!” she heard him mumble to himself.
“I’ll say Marco, and then she’ll say Polo! And then we’ll see where she is! It’s perfect! Everybody loves that game!” Steve said, excitedly thinking about his plan.
“Wow that’s…that’s a great idea, Steve! Except for two things.”
“One, we’re not in a pool! Two, we’re after her! She’s not going to give away her position! She’s not stupid…like that idea! Now, do you still have the key?” Richard asked. Hazel smiled to herself. Stupid mistake number one, they just told her who had the key.
“Yes, I have the key. It’s right here on my key chain.”
Hazel heard him jiggle his key chain.
“But it’s really heavy. Why can’t you hold it?”
Hazel looked through a small hole that was in the table cloth and saw Steve’s key chain on his waist. The Golden Room key looked funny because it was so big compared to the other keys. With the way he had it on the chain, she would easily be able to take it off. If only she could get him closer.
“I’m telling you, Marco Polo will work,” Steve said, forgetting about the heavy key. Marco Polo! Hazel laughed a little. Then she had an idea, the perfect way to get him over. But she had to act fast. Hazel quickly pushed a button on her shoes so that they would be able to stick to anything. They worked almost the same way spider legs did. Then she grabbed her gloves out of her jacket, pressed the button on them and slid them on. She would only have one chance to do this.
“If your whole Marco Polo thing works then I will give you one hundred gold coins,” Richard said. “But, if it doesn’t work, you have to give me one hundred gold coins.” Steve thought about it.
“Well, one hundred gold coins would be a lot. That would be as much as we got from the last four jobs the boss gave us.”
‘So they were working for someone!’ Hazel thought. Steve started talking again.
“But I’m pretty sure my plan will work, and I guess I can always make one hundred gold coins again if it doesn’t. Even though it would take a long time… but I’m sure my plan is as good as your gold! You’re on,” Steve said shaking Richard’s hand. “Now step aside and watch how it’s done,” Steve said cracking his knuckles. He cleared his throat. “MARCO,” he yelled nice and loud.
This was Hazel’s chance. She put her feet on the top corners of the table. They stuck like glue. Then she grabbed the bar on the table and lifted herself up so her body was flat against the bottom of the table. She took a deep breath.
“Polo!” she yelled loudly.
Steve started clapping his hands. “Yah, baby! I told you it would work! Don’t forget, you have to pay up!” Steve said as Richard grunted.
“I didn’t think she was stupid,” he mumbled.
“MARCO!” Steve yelled again.
“POLO!” Hazel yelled even louder, trying to shake the table. The two men saw the table shake.
“Perfect,” Steve said in a hushed voice. He stared to walk towards Hazel’s table.
“Marco,” Steve said more quietly.
“Polo,” Hazel said matching Steve’s tone. Sensing that they were near the table, she tried to push herself up as much as she could. She could hear them breathing. Steve signaled Richard to get on the other side of the table.
“On three,” Steve whispered. “Ready? One, two, three!” They both lifted up the tablecloth. Hazel held her breath hoping that they wouldn’t see her. They peeked their heads underneath the table, but they didn’t see anything. They let go of the tablecloth.
“That’s weird,” Richard said as Hazel slipped one hand out of her glove. She felt for the ground with her hand. Once she felt it, she lowered her other hand to the floor. With her feet still stuck to the table she lowered her back.
“I know! I mean, you saw the table move, too!” Steve said turning his back to the table. Hazel quickly but quietly reached her hand out from underneath the table and grabbed the key. She slid her hand back under the tablecloth, but right when she did, she felt her shoes suddenly turn off and her feet came unstuck from the table. She fell with a loud thud to the floor. She gasped as she landed on the ground, confused as to why she had suddenly fallen. That had never happened to her before. Her shoes just stopped working. She tried to turn them back on but nothing happened.
“Did you hear that?” Richard said flipping the table over. They stared at Hazel who was lying on her back.
“Stupid shoes,” Hazel muttered standing up. “Hello,” she said with a little wave.
“Hi!” Steve said as if he was at a tea party. Richard hit him over the head.
“Look, just hand over they key and nobody will get hurt,” Richard said. Hazel, realizing that she still had the key in her hand, quickly put it in her jacket pocket. She looked around to see if there was a way that she would be able to escape quickly and easily. She looked around and saw a window that was about fifty-five feet up on the wall.
“Well, I shouldn’t have to give it to you, because it’s not your key. So, you can’t tell me what I can or can’t do with it. So ha!” Hazel said while putting her hands behind her back. She grabbed onto the charm bracelet on her left hand.
“Well, I don’t think that it’s yours, either. So you can’t tell us what we can or can’t do with it either, therefore neither of us can do anything with it, so ha to you!” Richard said.
“Touché. But you know what? I am getting sick and tired of people telling me what to do and when to do it! What to wear and how to act!” Hazel found herself yelling now. “I’m getting sick and tired of following rules that aren’t even rules! I mean, who said you have to be a lawyer or marry a rich guy! So, for now, it’s in my hands so I get to have it! Sorry.” Hazel finished with a sigh. Steve and Richard were taken aback by Hazel’s outburst. Hazel smiled to herself. She had never thought that she would vent to two criminals. Steve’s eyes were starting to water.
“I know just how you feel!” he said wiping his eyes. Hazel put her hand out in front of her, aimed it for the metal fire alarm that was above the window and pressed the ballet shoe charm on her bracelet. The dance shoe went shooting towards the fire alarm, leaving a trace of the smallest and strongest string you would ever find. The ballet magnet stuck to the fire alarm.
Hazel knew that it would support her because you could hang a house by this magnet and string. Richard and Steve, realizing what was going on, lunged for Hazel. She clicked the tap shoe charm that was also on the bracelet and started flying toward the window. Forgetting that her shoes weren’t working and wouldn’t allow her to stick to the wall, and that she now wouldn’t be able to land on the little ledge like she had planned, she changed her plan and went for the window. Hazel quickly had to slip off her gloves and bracelet so that she could reach her arms up and cover her face as she smashed through the small glass window. As she flew through the shards of glass, her glasses flew off her face. She felt a rush of wind as she flipped over in the air, falling from the twenty-eighth floor.
Hazel quickly reached into her jacket and pulled out what looked like a finger sized skateboard with a chain on it. She pulled the chain off and it turned into a full sized jetboard.
Hazel put her feet on the board as she continued falling and pressed the button on the back of it. Nothing happened – she was still falling.
“No! No! NO!” Hazel yelled over the roar of the wind. “COME ON, WORK!” she yelled, clicking the button over and over again. Hazel closed her eyes, knowing that it was going to be a painful landing.
If she didn’t die from the fall, she would certainly suffer. She felt a sudden jolt. Hazel opened her eyes and saw that she was hovering inches from the ground, standing on the activated jetboard.
“Thank you!” Hazel said. Getting her balance, she leaned forward lowering herself to the ground. Hazel looked up and saw Richard and Steve yelling out of one of the windows. Hazel smiled and gave them a wave.