It is time. Time to come home.

Thirteen-year-old twins haven’t seen each other in seven years, but they’ve never lost their connection to each other. While Peter was an adopted by an abusive judge, Rory has been cycled through twelve different foster homes. Everything changes when magical birds appear to the twins separately, offering to help them reunite and return them to the home they never knew. 

But fate is cruel. They arrive on the planet Inara, on opposing sides of a brutal war. It is up to them to uncover the real enemy if they ever want to see each other again. Unsure of who to trust in a strange world of magic, hidden cities, and dragons, the twins must individually face their fears to stop an immortal being from escaping and continuing his dark mission.

Read Sample Below

Twins of Orion: The Book of Keys

– Chapter 1 –
Peter’s Strange Visitor

When Peter looked out his attic window he didn’t expect to see a magical bird on his lawn, but there it was. The light emanating from its feathers brightened the dark corners of his attic room.

Peter’s mind spun with memory—and a warmth filled him. In his dream, the phoenix-like bird had led him to his twin sister Rory. He hadn’t seen her in seven years, and an ache of longing filled his chest.

But this couldn’t be real. In his recurring dream, the bird had shown him a magical house. And magic wasn’t real.

The blue and gold bird stopped preening its long tail-feathers and looked up at him.

Peter stepped back from the window, stumbling over his desk chair with a loud clatter. He froze, afraid his adoptive father, Judge Talbert, had heard the noise.

No sounds came from below.

Peter quietly put the chair upright and turned off the old box computer. He was shaking far too much to finish his paper this morning.

He looked around his bedroom to center himself in reality. The dirt under his fingernails was real. His favorite book, Adventures of Arthur the Great, was real.

Birds appearing from dreams were not.

The elegant bird stared up at him. It cocked its peacock-like head, much like a dog asking its master to follow him.

Should he dare?

No. He couldn’t do it. Talbert would catch him, and he’d be beaten like last time he tried to run away.

But the bird wouldn’t give up. Suddenly it appeared in his room, perching on the pile of boxes in the corner. Peter scrambled back, knocking over his alarm clock.

How had it gotten in here? His circular window didn’t open, and his door was still closed. He shooed the creature.

Judge Talbert would surely come up from breakfast and whip him for the commotion. Nothing was supposed to disturb their perfect neighborhood. Strange glowing birds and music definitely did not fit. He silently begged the unearthly bird to go away.

Instead, the bird glowed even brighter, and a sweet melody played in Peter’s head. It was as if the song vibrated within him, urging Peter to follow.

He was definitely seeing things again. Had he interpreted it right? Did the bird really want him to follow it?

Don’t be ridiculous. You’re not going after an imaginary bird.

“Stop,” Peter whispered.

The bird looked up at him with an expression of sad disappointment. Then, in a poof of golden air, it disappeared.

Peter spun around. Where had it gone?

He plopped on his cot, feeling empty without the bird’s warm presence.

Talbert’s voice boomed from downstairs, “Peter!”

Peter shook his head free of his crazy thoughts of flying away on a magical bird, and sighed at his dingy existence. It had been a few years since the judge had relegated him to the attic. It was punishment for standing up to Talbert when he’d beaten the new kid for breaking an artifact. Apparently Peter was a bad influence on the other adopted boys.

Over time he’d come to enjoy being alone. Who would want to share a room with five other boys? Peter was more than happy to have Talbert keep thinking it was a punishment.

“Get down here this instant!” Talbert roared.

Peter’s mind raced through all the things Judge Talbert could be mad about. Had he made a mistake in his assigned tunnel? Every day the older boys were given a tunnel to dig, and the younger boys were assigned a tunnel or pile to sift through. Even though he was thirteen, Talbert had relegated Peter to the younger group because of his knack for finding things.

Peter took a deep breath behind the door at the bottom of the stairs, squishing the thick carpet between his toes. He gave himself a silent pep talk. Just face him, take any punishment, then go back to your room. Get it over with.

Even as Peter told himself that, his hand shook as he pushed open the door to the second-floor landing. He’d just healed from the last whipping. He wasn’t ready for another one.

Judge Talbert stood in the foyer with his arms crossed, wearing his usual expensive brown suit. It matched his toupee, which looked like an overgrown caterpillar. Who did Talbert think he was fooling?

The judge didn’t hesitate. “How could you do this?”

Peter forced himself down the carpeted stairs in silence. He knew better than to answer the judge’s questions.

“Don’t you know how important it is?” Talbert stared at him underneath his high-arched eyebrows, as if he could burn a hole right through him.

Peter still felt lost. He had finished his tunnel duties yesterday, catalogued his finds, and taken out the trash. What else was there?

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Wind rushed through her ears, drowning out all other sounds. Her stomach clenched, like the first drop on a roller coaster that never ended.

Rory from Twins of Orion: The Book of Keys by J. Rose

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