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Katara and Aang discovered the river near the Earthen Fire Refinery to be severely polluted, assuming the factory to be to blame. When Aang spotted Yangchen's spirit once more and let it lead him to investigate the grounds of the refinery, Katara and the three Air Acolytes followed him. She was helped across the fence by his earth- and airbending, where they discovered that the river running near the factory was terribly polluted.

Before they could take any action, however, the refinery's guards appeared and tried to expel them from the factory's grounds. While Aang bent the Air Acolytes to safety, Katara used her waterbending to destroy the incoming earthen projectile. Bending a huge wave from the river, she urged Aang to move out of the way, intending to strike down the guards. However, Aang asked her to call off her attack, and subsequently used his airbending to let the guards knock each other out. Their actions had been witnessed by Satoru , the refinery's engineer and interim boss while his uncle, Loban , was away on business, who heartily greeted him, instantly recognizing who they were.

When Toph and Sokka returned, Satoru became starstruck by the young earthbender and promptly invited he, and on Toph's inquiry, Katara and the others, to join him on a tour through the factory, where benders and nonbenders from all over the world were employed. When Aang eventually managed to strike up a conversation with Satoru about the refinery's location and accused to factory of having defiled the sacred land, Katara backed him up, referring to the polluted river.

The 40-Year-Old Musings of a Physically Disabled Man, Husband, and Father

When Toph corroborated Satoru's claim that the factory was not to blame for that and subsequently got into an argument with Aang, Katara urged the two earthbenders to remain calm after an earthquake shook the ground, assuming they were responsible for it. When a second quake occurred, Satoru asked them all to leave, but before they could heed the engineer's request, they heard a factory worker call out for help, as the earthquakes had left him trapped under a haywire machine. Katara used her waterbending to pulverize incoming rocks while Sokka ushered the workers to safety and Aang and Toph moved in to save the trapped man.

After the crisis was averted, Katara was shocked to learn that Loban's business partner and co-owner of the refinery was Lao Beifong , Toph's father [26] and even more when Lao declared Toph to be a confused girl rather than his daughter. Katara was used by Sokka as a decoy to lure the Rough Rhinos to the river side, where she would have the upper hand.

When Lao subsequently ordered the Rough Rhinos to escort Team Avatar off the refinery's premises, Katara readied herself for battle and took on Yeh-Lu and a hammer-wielding Rough Rhino member by herself. Before she could finish the fight, however, she was dragged along by Sokka, who urged her to run along with him. When they were cornered at a fence, Katara readied her water once more, blaming her brother for making them easy targets.

It was only after Sokka pushed her out of the way to let the Rhinos crush the fence and halt at the nearby river that Katara caught on to her brother's plan. Utilizing the water of the river, she quickly encased their three assailants in blocks of ice. After Yeh-Lu's burning grenade exploded near the river, Katara noticed it had revealed an passageway which the siblings promptly checked out. Using glowing crystals, they illuminated their path and eventually arrived to an iron ore mine, which was also the cause of the river's pollution.

They were found out by Kahchi and Vachir , who instigated a fight with them. After the skirmish between Vachir and Sokka led to the weakening of one of the mine's support beams, Katara used her waterbending to freeze Vachir's bow, arms, and feet. The interaction made Katara realize that the earthquakes were caused by the mine's instability and she and her brother tried to urge the present workers to leave. No one listened, however, though they were approached by Nutha and Niyok, who explained that everyone down there needed the job to survive, so no one dared to leave without their boss's orders.

Upon Sokka's return, accompanied by Lao Beifong, Katara directed his attention to the weakened support beams, which had been identified as being the cause of the earthquakes. Although the order was given to evacuate, Katara became trapped underground when the mine caved, along with Toph and several others.

When Aang tried to bend a tunnel from above, she called out to him and urged him to stop, as if he bent it the wrong way, the entire tunnel might collapse. Hearing Aang call from above ground, Katara asked if Sokka was there. Aang replied that her brother had not returned and asked how Toph was holding up, she answered that she was doing as good as could be expected, given she was literally carrying the weight of their world. Seeing the earthbender growing exhausted, Katara asked Satoru to give her the remainder of her water, noting that running out would not matter if Toph failed.

After Aang notified her of Toph's students' arrival, she told Toph, who asked her to tell Aang that the situation was like spider ants beneath stomping feet, only flipped. When the metalbending students removed the ground above them, Katara ran out to Aang, kissing him and saying she was glad to be out.

Afterward, she happily reunited with Sokka before catching sight of Nutha and Niyok. Being thanked by the former, the waterbender stated with a smile that it was not a problem. The skies, however, soon grew stormy, and though Katara initially believed that a storm was coming in, Aang told her it was not a natural event. After seeing him try to talk to Yangchen again and ponder a way to reach her, Katara asked if she could do anything to help, though was assured that her boyfriend could do it.

After Aang returned and explained the situation at hand, including the need to destroy the buildings, the waterbender was urged to evacuate everyone from them. She began by destroying the cabbage merchant 's restaurant, telling the panicked vendor that it was not safe for him to remain there, though adding that they could get him new cabbages after the situation ended. After completing the task, she returned to Aang and told him as such.

After seeing Old Iron beginning to emerge from the sea, she asked if he would turn back if the town was returned to its natural state; after an affirmative answer, she warned Aang that he could not wait for the mask to be returned and comforted him over his regret about destroying things with a kiss on the cheek. The waterbender also added her assurance that she would keep the people from interfering in any way.

She bent up a water vortex which allowed the three to slide down to the ground safely. She soon tried to block an attack from Old Iron, declaring he would not destroy the humans. Noticing her boyfriend in an upset state, she decided to approach him, though not before telling Nutha it was good to catch up with them and apologizing for not returning home, though was told by her friend to stop, saying she acted like an idiot while telling her that Katara and Sokka made them proud as Southern Tribers.

Approaching Aang, she noticed that Lady Tienhai 's statue had been destroyed, much to her shock. Hearing him wonder if spirits had no place in the world as a relic of the past, the waterbender believed it could not be true. Taking his hands, she told Aang that they did have a place if he did as well.

She urged him to contact his past lives, saying that the current time connected the past and present. Before walking away, Katara told him to find her if he needed her. Three months later, Katara watched the proceedings of the new Spirits' Friendship Festival. She remarked it was not Air Nomad-like at all because of the kites, loud parade, and Sokka selling meat, something she did not have in mind when Aang told her about Yangchen's Festival.

Upon seeing three grown men wanting to hurt a group of children, Katara intervened and quickly defeated the men. Upon returning to the Southern Water Tribe, Katara and Sokka were stunned by the changes to their home, leaving them confused and lost. Stumbling upon a construction site, the workers became hostile, but Katara defeated them with her superior waterbending. She and Sokka continued on their way and discovered a developing city where their village used to be.

While Sokka was enthusiastic about all the changes, Katara was more hesitant. In a crowd of thrilled Southerners, they found Kanna ; they hugged their her and were happily surprised to learn that she and Pakku had eloped at the Misty Palms Oasis just weeks before their arrival. Pakku asked Katara to help out at the new school for waterbenders he founded, much to her surprise, as she could not fathom where the necessary waterbending students came from.

When Kanna subsequently pointed them to the new town hall, Hakoda's new abode as the Head Chief of the Southern Water Tribe, Katara grew hesitant once again, musing the extravagant building was nothing like their father. After being reunited with their father, Katara and Sokka were introduced to Malina and Maliq , a pair of Northerners leading the Southern Reconstruction Project , as well as the three workers from before, Noa, Kam, and Soonjei. After the workers had left, Malina described the long-term plan for the South, including the construction of a palace, much to Katara's bewilderment.

Later, while having dinner at Two Fishes Northern Cuisine, a pair of young servers stole Maliq's briefcase and injured Malina, prompting Katara and Sokka to pursue. Creating an ice sled, she followed the thieves riding a snowmobile all the way to the shipwreck. Triggering a booby trap on the ship, they landed in the caverns below, where they met Gilak , a comrade of their father's from the war. They quickly discovered Gilak's wartime experiences embittered him against more powerful nations and prompted him to form a Southern rebellion.

Katara protested his views, informing him of how the Fire Nation's colonies were working to create a new society, and demanded he hand over the thieves and the briefcase. Katara quickly froze his hand after he refused, giving her and Sokka an opening to escape. Pursued by Gilak's warriors, Katara slowed them down with an ice wall, but they lost valuable time themselves when Thod, Gilak's elderly second-in-command, stalled them with a story about a snow rat, before Katara waterbent him out of the way. Once they returned home, Katara agreed with her brother that Gilak was an extremist, but she also admitted that he still had a point, as their home had been transformed into a cheap imitation of the North, reminding her of how Earthen Fire Refinery took over Air Nomad land.

They found Maliq standing outside Kanna's hut, and Katara informed him of their failure to retrieve his briefcase. Learning that Hakoda and Malina were inside, Katara scolded Sokka for his lack of manners, as he entered the hut without knocking, but they both stop cold in their tracks upon finding Hakoda and Malina locked in a kiss.

The next morning, Katara and Sokka accompanied Malina and Maliq to tour their new factory. While Maliq began to ramble on, Katara privately discussed with Sokka the implications of Hakoda and Malina's budding romance; Sokka, while somewhat off-put by the image of his father kissing Malina, maintained that Hakoda was capable to choose who was best for him, while Katara still held uneasily against it, unwilling to entertain even the thought of Malina becoming their stepmother. Returning their attention to the Northerners, they learned that the South possessed the largest oil deposit in the world, which they intended to extract to usher in a new age of machinery in the world, allowing machines to become a part of people's everyday lives.

Katara questioned its necessity. The Northerners concluded their tour by introducing Sokka and Katara to Toph, and invited them all to attend the festival that evening as guests of honor. At the festival, Katara was approached by Pakku, who introduced her to two young waterbending students of his, Siku and Sura , however, the girls denied being waterbenders and ran off. Believing to be out of sight, they waterbent openly, prompting Pakku to explain to an intrigued Katara that he found the girls in a village far removed from the sea but that they, while talented for their age, tended to only bend in private.

Katara soon left the festival to check on Hakoda, who was organizing the city's outer defenses in anticipation of an attack from Gilak. As they sat down, Hakoda guessed she was worried about Malina and apologized for not telling her and Sokka sooner, as he thought they were not ready. Katara then questioned why he chose Malina, as she worried the Northerners didn't truly understand the Southern Water Tribe and that she may truly be up to something nefarious. Hakoda reassured her, insisting that Malina has a lot to learn about her sister tribe but deep down she had a good heart.

Nonetheless, Katara insisted that his feelings were clouding his judgment, but her father reminded that she was in love too and that the right kind of love could help her see the truth. At that moment, Aang arrived on Appa. Katara happily embraced her boyfriend but gently declined kissing him in front of her father.

After confirming with Aang that Hakoda was very supportive of their relationship, she decided to give Malina a chance with Hakoda. Returning to the festival, Katara spotted Malina and formally thanked her inviting her friends and her. In the middle of Malina's speech about her plan, a drilling machine emerged in the middle of town square. Gilak emerged and revealed to the assembled crowd the North's plan to take the South's oil for themselves and dominate the Southern Water Tribe, much to Katara's shock. Malina remorsefully admitted that it was the original plan, only for Maliq to reveal that he never destroyed the documents.

An altercation insued between the rebels and Northerners, and Team Avatar decided to intervene and stop them. During the fighting, Katara stood in defense of Malina and Maliq, only to hit in the back by Kam, who declared it to be payback. Katara then enountered Thod, who stated that the point of his earlier story was that the North would always look down on the South, and attempted to recruit her to Gilak's cause.

However, Katara firmly refused his request. Disappointed, Thod declared she had forgotten where her loyalties lay, revealing himself as a chi blocker as he disabled her arms. Luckily, Katara used her legs to bend and encased Thod in ice. Leading Team Avatar, they came just in time to see Gilak stab Hakoda in the chest. Enraged, Katara encased Gilak in ice, scaring off his remaining followers, who were promptly captured by Aang, allowing her to heal Hakoda.

Later, in Kanna's hut, Katara and Sokka were relieved to see their father pull through. Kanna then noted that the discord in the South due to misguided beliefs and that someone had to reexamine theirs. Katara soon got into a debate with Sokka over which party was in the wrong: Gilak or Malina and Maliq.

Sokka insisted that the Northerners' overall plan for the South was beneficial and that they need to adapt to the changing times, to which Katara retorted that the tribe's identity would be lost as a result. The two siblings soon exited the hut to inform the others about Hakoda's recovery. They were soon approached by Malina, who insisted to Katara that she no longer shared Maliq's views, but Katara believed her views would change once more if she fell out of love with Hakoda.

Though Malina desired to say her goodbyes to Hakoda, Katara refused to allow her to see him, although Kanna did. The sisters watched in awe at their demonstration, and eventually revealed that they were indeed waterbenders, but soon ran off. As Aang said that the demonstration didn't go they way he had planned, Katara mused that the girls were not quite ready for such a big change.

The two left with Hakoda, whom Katara gently scolded for going out on his own while he's still hurt. He goes on to say how he had became convinced that the Southern Water Tribe needed to partner with other nations to advance and rebuild the South. Katara, now with a change of heart, disagreed, saying that not everyone in the Nations were on their side, using Maliq as an example. She feared that allowing them to help would turn the Southern Water Tribe into a copy of the other nations.

While Hakoda agreed that that would be a concern, he explained further that Pakku, Katara, and Aang were from different nations but had worked together in order to restore an almost lost art. During the a meeting that night, Hakoda briefed Team Avatar and the world leaders of his plan to modernize the Southern Water Tribe and open it to the other nations. Katara continued to be worried, not wanting her father to change everything about her home.

When Kuei was hesitant to assist, he implied the South was lacking civilization, to Katara's offence.

Does Cerebral Palsy Interfere with Finding Love?

While Katara began to snap back at him, an officer burst through the door, informing Hakoda that Gilak and his army had broken out. A fight then ensued between Team Avatar and Gilak's army, in which Team Avatar eventually became outnumbered. Gilak subsequently kidnapped Hakoda, but with Aang's airbending prowess, the two were able to recover him.

Upon their return to city hall, they learned that Gilak's forces had kidnapped Earth King Kuei whilst they were saving Hakoda. Following an unsuccessful search for Gilak, a messenger Hawk appeared before the group, containing a letter from him, which explained that he wished to meet them on the Bridge of No Return to exchange Kuei's life for Hakoda's. Katara and Sokka explained to the group that it was an old bridge that the tribe used years ago to deal with criminals. After reading the conditions of the letter, Zuko warned them that Gilak would cut the bridge with Kuei and Hakoda on it, even if they gave in to all of his demands.

Katara was horrified, and commented at how evil Gilak's supposed plan was. Katara, having arrived, looked on at the bridge with worry. Noticing her concern, Aang walked over to her and comforted her by kissing her on the cheek, assuring her that Sokka's plan would work out. Sokka then walked up to her, and asked if she was alright. Katara expressed her concern that her trip home had not turned out to be anything like she had expected it to be; she had thought that now that the war was over their lives could go back to how they had once been.

Sokka comforted Katara, saying that while he understood her, it was impossible for anything to be as idealistic as she had imagined because the war altered the tribe, even reaching back to Kanna's time. After Gilak had arrived, the chi blockers crossed the bridge and chi blocked all of Team Avatar.

Unbeknownst to their attackers, the team had been wearing chainmail armor, which thwarted the chi blocking from taking effect, and awaited the opportune moment to strike back. When Gilak attempted to cut the ropes of the bridge, Katara and the others engaged their attackers, though they were unable to save Hakoda, Malina, and Gilak before the latter collapsed the bridge entirely. While Aang had managed to grab hold of the three adults and prevent them from falling to their deaths, Katara fashioned an ice ladder to get to them.

When Katara saw Malina sacrifice herself to save Hakoda, letting herself fall into the abyss, Katara rushed to her aid on an ice slide. Although they both crashed against the wall of the abyss, they both managed to get out of there safely. Days later, Katara spoke to Kya at her grave, saying she had realized that her perception of the "old" tribe was a place including her, but her courage would always be with her.

As a result, she would no longer be afraid of change in the Southern Water Tribe. As she spoke, the Sura and Sika came forward to her and told her they were sorry for her loss. Katara explained how her mother had died to keep her, a Southern waterbender, safe, and that the children's mother had tried to do the same for them. Moved by her story, the young students agreed to learn how to waterbend. Later, she made a traditional Southern dish to share in the multicultural dinner. When they near Cranefish Town, Aang is shocked to see how much it has grown and changed since their last visit there.

Katara is concerned about him, knowing that this land was sacred to the Air Nomads. Upon landing, the group is greeted to cold glares from the townsfolk. While Aang and Sokka are checking out a Water Tribe Helmet at a nearby stall, Katara notices that a fight is beginning to break out. She and Toph spring into action, trying to stop the fight, but the violence only results in causing a nearby apartment complex to collapse. Aang swoops in to save Toph from being hurt in the impact, and Katara creates an ice shield in front of herself, Sokka, and a few others.

When Aang and Toph land, Aang runs to Katara, holding her hands. He feels guilty for leaving her alone in the middle of the fight, and asks if she is okay. Aang agrees to come to the business council meeting later that evening, but first offers to help rebuild the citizens a new home. Aang reluctantly decides to give up helping them, and he and Sokka get ready to leave for the meeting. He goes on to show the girls a new and improved processing machine, that can refine ore at twice the rate as last time.

Katara notes that the last machines were run by benders and non-benders alike, and that now there were no more benders working in the factory. The conflict had then spiraled so far that other non-bender owned factories had built similar machines, putting even more benders out of work. Benders have now refused to work at non-bender owned factories.

Katara then realizes that that was the reason for the non-bender guards. Later that evening, Katara meets up with Sokka and Aang, telling them that Lao has arranged a house next to the factory for the gang to stay in. Sokka excitedly runs towards the house, while Aang stays behind. The two fly over the city for a while, before Aang notices an island in the middle of the bay, and takes them down to check it out. As the couple approaches the shoreline, Aang explains that when they were in Cranefish Town the first time, Lady Tienhai and told him that she believed that humans could create a future that preserves and protects as it grows.

Katara goes on to tell him that wherever they go now, there is more development and more people in the same cities, and that they would just have to get used to it. As the two look upon the city holding hands, and Aang hopes that there was still time to help the city grow into something that protects and preserves. Sokka comments that cleaning up the entire beach would take several days or weeks, and Aang says he just wanted to do something, even if it was as small as cleaning up a portion of the beach. Later that night, Katara is awoken to a large explosion at the factory.

She runs out of the house with Aang and Sokka, where Aang realizes that Toph is missing. She and Aang go after them, while Katara stays behind to help put the fire out. Later that morning, Katara is standing outside the factory with Sokka and Toph, and spots Aang flying towards them. Aang explains that he caught the guy who caused the explosion, literally. Sokka pulls out his old detective hat, exclaiming that it was time for Team Avatar Investigations to figure out what was going on around town. Katara spends the rest of the day with Aang, Sokka, and Toph, going around to the various businesses that had been attacked.

Aang eventually tells them that he wants to speak with the bender-owned businesses in an attempt to get them to help out the non-bender owned businesses, and decides to start with Councilwoman Liling. Aang tells her that since Liling was the one who suggested establishing a police force, that it would be worth it to ask for her help.

During their meeting with Liling, she agrees to help out the non-bender owned businesses, much to Aang's delight. Suddenly, Liling's cat knocks over a Kyoshi statue, but it appears as though Momo was the one who did it. Aang offers to repair the statue, but Liling assures him that her daughter, a skilled earthbender, could do it. Team Avatar are then introduced to Yaling, an earthbender, and her sister Ru. Yaling fixes the statue, impressing Aang with her bending skills.

Toph, however, is unimpressed, and proceeds to metalbend a vase into a statue of herself. Katara and Aang are shocked, and Katara comments on how nice she was to them. Toph explains that she recognized the footsteps of Ru and Yaling as the same footsteps she felt leaving the factory last night. She also has a plan to get some more information out of Yaling the next day, as she had agreed to teach her metalbending.

As they are on their way home, Sokka notices Suki in the distance, standing next to an eel-hound in front of the factory. Toph, being grossed out by the couple, leaves them behind. The next day, Katara is relaxing in the house on a bench with Aang, while Sokka and Suki are playing a card game. The four of them are startled as Toph suddenly bursts through the door, telling them that had been able to get information from Yaling about a rally happening later that night.

Katara tells her that they should slow down and discuss this before rushing into anything. Sokka comes up with an idea that they should sneak into the rally in disguise. He then pulls out his old Wang Fire beard and mustache, and Katara wonders if he kept everything from their travels. Later that night, Katara dresses in Earth Kingdom attire. Katara follows closely behind Aang, watching Toph and Yaling from a distance. Next to them, Sokka tells Suki how beautiful she looks in her disguise, and she tells him that he looks handsome in his.

Aang asks Katara if she thinks that the two of them are like that, and Katara tells him that they probably were a little. They arrive at a building, which is being guarded by an Earth Kingdom man. He asks them what the password is and Aang gives it to him: "Imbalance". The guard lets them enter, and after Katara comments on the tunnels built underneath the city, Aang says they look like the old mines that were supposed to have been filled in.

Katara sneaks through the crowd with the rest of Team Avatar, and Suki is alarmed to see Toph standing at the front with Yaling. Liling then begins her speech from atop a large stage, proposing a plan to drive non-benders out of the city. At the end of the speech, Aang is frustrated and wants to leave, but Katara grabs his shoulder, drawing his attention to Toph, who is walking up on stage behind Yaling.

Toph then confronts Liling, telling her that she is now under arrest, and a fight breaks out. Katara runs into action, but is then knocked to the side when Liling earth bends a large rock wall, leaving her and Aang separated from Sokka and Suki. Liling attacks the couple by hurdling large stones in their direction, prompting Aang to bend up a slab of rock, protecting himself and Katara from the attack. She and Aang then proceed to fight off several other benders who want to attack them. As the fight reaches a boiling point, Liling suddenly bends the earth up underneath Katara and the rest of Team Avatar, sending them flying.

Aang tells her to let them go, because Liling is attempting to collapse the cave. Toph manages to hold the ceiling up, while Aang and Suki corner Liling, who Suki then proceeds to chi-block. When Toph asks if everything will be wrapped up after Ru and Yaling are caught, Sokka tells her that since Liling had so much support from benders in the city, it would be more complicated than that.

Katara responds that she was the one who put the idea of bender supremacy in their heads in the first place. Katara and Aang had three children by the time they were in their early thirties: Bumi , Kya , and Tenzin. Sometime after the Harmony Restoration Movement, Katara married Aang and gave birth to three children: Bumi, a nonbender who gained the ability to airbend later in life; Kya, a waterbender; and Tenzin, who was born an airbender like his father. She passed on these skills to her only daughter, Kya, who became a renowned waterbender in her own right. In AG, Katara wrote a letter to include in the book that Aang was assembling for Tenzin, in which she wished her son the joys of youth and the strength to accept his legacy as one of the world's last airbenders.

Katara trained Korra in waterbending outside of her family's hut in the Southern Water Tribe. During one of her early training sessions with a young Korra, Katara taught her that waterbending was all about slow and calm movements. Her lesson did not stick with the Avatar, however, as she accidentally buried Katara under a pile of snow, not for the first time, when she tried to copy the elder's moves.

Uncovering the elder, Senna apologized, though Katara brushed it off, noting that she had battled more dangerous waterbenders during her life than the youngster and expressing her confidence that the Avatar will learn to control her abilities in time. The session got cut short by Tonraq that day, as a snowstorm was heading their way. Upon learning the next day that Korra had sneaked out during the bad weather, Katara joined Tonraq and Senna during their search for their daughter.

Discovering the young Avatar safe and sound with a polar bear pup whom she desired to keep, Katara convinced Tonraq and Senna to let her bring the animal home, noting that every Avatar had had an animal guide and that raising Naga may be exactly what the high-energy Avatar needed. Katara told the Order of the White Lotus that Korra was ready to start her airbending training with Tenzin.

She noted the Avatar's ferocity, to which the White Lotus leader responded that she also lacked restraint. After Korra defeated her opponents, the White Lotus turned to Katara for counsel, wondering whether or not they should let Korra start her airbending training with Tenzin, since the young Avatar had yet to grasp the spiritual side of bending. Confident in her son's abilities, Katara announced that she believed Korra to be ready to commence her airbending training, as Tenzin would be able to teach her what she needed to know.

At her son's asking, Katara helped Meelo off of his head, much to her grandson's displeasure. As she expressed her joy over seeing her family again, Jinora approached her, informing her that she had read everything about her past adventures and asked what happened to Zuko's mother, Ursa. Katara attempted to elaborate, only to be interrupted by an excited Ikki, who fired several random questions at the old waterbender. Katara sensed her next grandchild would be a strong and healthy airbender.

As the young airbenders ran off to play in the snow, Katara turned her attention to Tenzin and Pema, the latter being pregnant with their fourth child. She predicted that the child would be an airbender, much to Pema's dismay, who explained that it would be nice to have a nonbending child like her. When asked if Tenzin and his siblings were as rambunctious as the young airbenders, Katara said that Tenzin had always been more serious than Kya and Bumi. When it was revealed that Korra's airbending training with Tenzin was to be delayed and the Avatar decided to find her own path by traveling to Republic City on her own, Katara was the only one who understood that Korra had to go and find her own place in the world.

Confident in Korra, she gave her husband's reincarnation her blessing. Months later, after Korra's bending had been removed by Amon , Katara tried using her healing powers to restore Korra's abilities, but to no avail. She later witnessed Korra, whose bending was restored by Aang, energybend Lin Beifong , restoring her earthbending abilities. Katara was hugged by her grandchildren upon their arrival for the Glacier Spirits Festival. Six months later, Katara invited her oldest son, Bumi, to attend the Glacier Spirits Festival with her and the rest of their family.

She, alongside her daughter, awaited the arrival of her sons at the dock, having a joyful reunion with her grandchildren. She later attended the royal banquet in honor of Chief Unalaq , sitting at a table with her family, where she looked on with concern as Tenzin was being picked on by his elder siblings. The next day, Katara encouraged Tenzin to take his siblings along with him on his trip to all the air temples, reasoning that he should cherish the time he spends with his entire family.

She also felt that the three siblings should visit Aang's birthplace together. Tenzin agreed to let his siblings join him and gave his mother a farewell hug, promising to see her soon. Katara attempted to heal an unconscious Jinora , whose soul was trapped in the Spirit World. During the Water Tribe Civil War , Katara did not interfere between the two combating parties, believing her fighting days to be over, [41] and instead helped tend to injured rebels along with several other healers in her healing hut. She was sought out by her family, who brought a spiritless Jinora for her to examine.

Alarmed over the amount of time Jinora had been in that state, Katara placed her granddaughter in a bath of water to heal. Assessing the situation with her bending, she stated she was unsure how much longer Jinora would be able to survive with her body and spirit separated, noting that Jinora was strong to have lasted as long as she had. When Jinora's spirit later returned to her body, Katara happily embraced her granddaughter and later accompanied her and her family to Korra's announcement that peace was restored between the Southern and Northern Water Tribes and that the South was officially independent.

Five weeks after the insurrection of the Red Lotus was put down, Katara was visited by a still injured Korra and set out to heal her. Katara commented that the mercury poisoning Korra had suffered had caused a lot of internal damage. Upon being asked if she could heal it, she remarked that all she could do was help guide the young Avatar's healing process, though the ultimate result of that was out of her hands. Reminiscing on the feeling of going through a traumatic experience, she told Korra that if she dedicated herself to getting better, she would recover stronger than ever.

Katara worked intensively with Korra to help the Avatar recuperate from her mercury poisoning. The two waterbenders set out on the hard process of recovery. Progress was slow, however, and after nearly six months, a frustrated Korra snapped at Katara over the elder's inability to heal her. Katara tried to console her, stating it was all right and urging her to let her anger and frustration flow like water. When Korra admitted that she was tired of the situation, Katara told her she was not the first Avatar who had to overcome great suffering.

Daddy Bent-Legs: The 40-Year-Old Musings of a Physically Disabled Man, Husband, and Father

She recalled how Aang felt about the destruction of his entire culture and revealed that he had sought meaning in his suffering, which eventually led to peace. She urged Korra to do the same and guided her to take her first steps again in a long time. Katara continued to help Korra over the next two years until she was physically fit again.

Katara had a warm, compassionate, and caring personality and often acted as a motherly figure to the group, something that often irritated the rebellious Toph. Her inner strength kept Aang and their friends together through their most difficult experiences, even in the absence of parental figures. While the team traveled through the Si Wong Desert , she was able to hold the group together in its most desperate moments.

According to Sokka, she largely prevented their family from falling apart and took on many responsibilities to the point where she filled the void left by their mother, so much that he pictured her in place of their mother. Even if she had to hide her identity, Katara never turned her back on people who needed her. Katara was marked by a fierce desire to learn waterbending, viewing it as a part of her and her culture that needed to be expressed.

Her enthusiasm for waterbending caused her to constantly train herself in the art despite she originally didn't have a teacher and learnt whatever little she could with great ambition, ignoring the criticism of Sokka. She became overjoyed when she finally found a master to teach her formally. Katara was portrayed as the most mature member of the group, rarely taking part in Sokka and Aang's goofy pranks and Toph's less silly ones, though she did have a sense of humor.

She was a bit of a stickler for morality, even to the point of causing Sokka and Aang to faint from shock when she stated she wanted to pull a scam, as she had berated Toph for scamming people. Her loss was part of what drove her in her fight against the Fire Nation, although she didn't exhibit as much outward prejudice as her brother. Although Sokka told Toph that Katara could be a pain and would get "involved and in-your-business", [44] she is understanding of other people's privacy, continually scolding her brother for snooping around Hama's inn and rummaging through her personal belongings.

On the other hand, Katara could be overly domineering. For all her kindness, she was sometimes self-righteous, had a nasty temper, and could be fierce when provoked. With lack of sleep, this side of her can quickly become more apparent. Combined with her strong sense of compassion, this gave Katara a strong sense of justice and she would run headlong into often dangerous situations to help others, which was best illustrated when she faked to be an earthbender to mix with innocent earthbenders in the prison rig when she wasn't a fighter yet, [52] challanged at the greatest waterbending instructor in the Northern Tribe for forbid women from learning combat focused waterbending, and destroying factories for the severe contamination at Jang Hui while she infiltrated to the Fire Nation.

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Despite being one of the more compassionate members of the group, Katara was one of the least willing to let go of a grudge, especially against those who she felt had betrayed her trust. She held a considerable grudge against those who had threatened Aang or done things she considered morally wrong. However, Katara was sometimes willing to give people second chances. With much reluctance, she allowed Jet to guide Team Avatar to Appa, and appeared to be saddened by his death.

Motherly and feminine as she might be, Katara was not afraid to go beyond her feminine looks and way of being to achieve what she wanted. When she and Toph were denied entrance to a rowdy pub because the both of them were girls, they dressed up as boys. She in particular showed her masculine side when wanting to ride the pub's mechanized bull; being even willing to start an all-out brawl with some of the guys there who mocked her ability to stay on the bull.

The whole thing ended with Toph dragging Katara away before things came to a head. The two later went to a spa and reflected on how being a girl was not so bad at all. Katara's most notable ability was her waterbending. She rapidly developed her skill at the art, as her fierce resolve to master the element helped her become the most powerful waterbending master in her era. She kept practicing even though she didn't have a teacher as her father couldn't find any, [58] learning whatever little she could with great ambition.

Over the course of her childhood, she taught herself basic waterbending techniques and managed to master some simple waterbending forms. What little she knew, she taught to Aang, who quickly mastered all she had to offer. That which had taken her years to achieve, Aang managed to imitate and outperform her within mere minutes, much to her envy and frustration. Katara's waterbending remained amateurish at best until she came across a Northern Water Tribe waterbending scroll in a pirate-traders ship depicting several different traditional waterbending forms. Incapable of passing up such an opportunity to have formal instruction, she eventually made away with the scroll and first learned the water whip technique with Aang [48] and afterward continued to improve their overall technique.

Up until their arrival at the Northern Water Tribe, the two showed considerable improvement and Katara's confidence in her own abilities increased dramatically: She showed the ability to bend with much greater precision and ease compared to when she first stole the scroll, was able to draw unseen water out of different sources and bend greater quantities in general, streaming them into powerful blasts and freezing water with much more control than before.

Later, Katara challenged the master waterbending instructor of the Northern Water Tribe, Pakku, to a duel. Though she was undoubtedly no match for the master, she was determined to not be beaten. She demonstrated more advanced techniques than she ever had previously and greater proficiency in basic waterbending techniques she had previously learned. For the first time, she was seen bending with her feet and transforming the physical state of a wave. Pakku eventually removed her ability to bend by trapping her body and limbs between spikes of ice and so won the fight without harming her, though he admitted that she was an exceptionally talented waterbender.

She fought and defeated Zuko with the augmented power of the near-full moon. During the fight, she knocked him off his feet, deflected and shielded his attacks, imprisoned him in a dome of solid ice, and later a wave of solid ice. Though she was defeated by Zuko after the sun rose, she fought him again with the full moon and defeated him easily. Katara showed promising potential of being a prominent waterbender. Following the Siege of the North, Pakku declared Katara a full-fledged waterbending master in the short time that she was at the North Pole. In Omashu, she blocked a flurry of Mai 's knives by waterbending wooden boards into the air as shields in front of herself, manage to block hand arrows with ice and retaliated by freezing Mai's arm in ice, just being defeated when Ty Lee sneaked behind her and blocked her chi , preventing her from waterbending.

When facing Ty Lee a second time, she fought using the water in her pouch to fend off her chi blocking attacks, forcing Ty Lee to cartwheel away from disks of razor-sharp water. She also stopped Azula from killing Aang by catching her hand in a water whip. Katara rapidly condensed water vapor into ice to defeat her foes.

Later, these whips were able to match Zuko's enormous fire whips. When she was finally surrounded by Dai Li agents, she defended herself with the octopus form, and rode on an enormous wave which knocked down these agents as well as Zuko. She proceeded to escape on a rising stream of water, carrying Aang to safety. Katara's waterbending later became even more advanced and destructive. During a fight with a Fire Nation ship, she lifted a huge wave to separate the two ships and formed a huge steam barrier between them for cover.

Once their ship was hit by a harpoon, she used her frosty breath of waterbending to freeze the hole in the ship's hull, thus repairing it. Assisted by Aang, she formed crashing waves and precise missiles of water to destroy a Fire Nation Army factory. She also blasted a Fire Nation river craft into the air and against a cliff, [1] as well as transported a huge bubble of water from a nearby creek to extinguish a fire. The farther you traveled from the point of origin, the wider your reach, but the less intense the effect. Vinnie Truman had been missing for just over an hour.

The four-year-old with the sandy blond hair, big green eyes, and a smattering of freckles had been playing with his eight-year-old brother, Kip, and six-year-old sister, Cammie, in the yard of the cabin his parents, Jim and Joan, had rented for their summer vacation. No one saw Vinnie wander away. No one could explain why he would have. I looked toward the short blond woman who was wringing her hands in distress as she clung to the sturdy arm of the uniformed officer she was speaking to.

Jake snorted, I was sure, to suppress a chuckle. He turned and gestured to me and the two dogs with us. He could be injured and is probably scared. They can cover a lot of ground with just a few people and are here to lend a hand. Jake turned and looked at Joan. I watched the hard lines of his face soften as he took her hand in his.

He knew what to do: offer hope but get what you needed. I watched as she smiled slightly at Jake and then looked doubtfully toward the dogs. That one looks so young. He has dozens of rescues under his belt. The most important thing you can do now is to stay strong. Can you do that? That seemed to calm her somewhat.

Jake looked at it, then handed it to me. Perhaps his pajamas. We tried looking for him ourselves for a while before we called the police. Jake continued. Anywhere he might want to return to? He was supposed to stay in the yard. I only looked away for a minute.

I shook my head. It happened so suddenly. The team I belonged to was one of the best anywhere, our survival record unmatched. I looked at Jake. I might have better luck in a quiet environment. After leaving the house, I sat down on a bench and instructed both dogs to sit at my feet.

Sitka was an old pro at this sort of thing and waited patiently for the hunt to begin, while Yukon, sensing that something important was up, danced around on the end of his lead. I scratched him behind the ears before instructing him, again, to sit and wait. Thankfully, he did.

Yukon had so much raw talent, I was certain he was going to be as good a search-and-rescue dog as Sitka eventually, but he was less than a year old and, at times, still easily distracted. Once Yukon settled into the wait position next to Sitka, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. She got lost in a storm, and although the team tried to find her, they came up with nothing but dead ends. I remember sitting at the command post, praying harder than I ever had. I wanted so much to have the chance to tell Val how much I loved her and, suddenly, there she was, in my head. I could feel her pain, but I also felt the prayer in her heart.

I knew she was dying, but I could feel her love for me as her life slipped away. I tried to focus on the image of the child with the mischievous grin. I sensed water and was picking up the feeling of curiosity rather than fear. That was good. I heard Yukon begin to whine. Yukon stood up, preparing to greet some of his favorite people. He plopped his butt on the ground but continued to wag his tail. Beside him, Sitka thumped his tail without having moved an inch.

The group stopped several feet short of the dogs. The animals were working, so playful scratches and enthusiastic kisses would have to wait. I sense curiosity but not fear. Wyatt was about to say something when Jake walked out of the house with two plastic bags, each containing a piece of clothing Vinnie had worn. Harmony and Yukon can work with Wyatt and Landon and head toward the lower lake. If you make a stronger connection to Vinnie, or are able to pick up anything more specific, let us know. I trailed directly behind Yukon, while Wyatt walked parallel to my route to the right and Landon paralleled to the left.

Once Sitka had a scent, he was usually very focused on the task at hand, so the odds of Jake and his team finding Vinnie if he had traveled up the mountain were great. Yukon, on the other hand, was pretty green. He had been abandoned on my doorstep five months earlier, and I, as I always did, had taken him in. I spoke to Jake, and he agreed to help me train him for search and rescue.

Yukon headed into the dense foliage of the nearby forest and I followed. I glanced at Wyatt, who was perhaps fifty yards to my right, and then Landon, who was fifty yards to my left. They nodded, letting me know they were able to follow despite the rough terrain. I glanced at Yukon, who sniffed the air and headed deeper into the forest. While we searched, I kept an eye on him, but basically let him do his thing.

After several minutes, he alerted, showing interest where a fallen tree blocked the path. I stood perfectly still and closed my eyes. I waited for a vision to appear. But there was something. Something dark. Something menacing. Find Vinnie. I went after him. I knew once Vinnie realized he was lost, fear would overcome him. The forest was thick with evergreens and underbrush. The area was home to a variety of wildlife, including grizzlies, wolves, and cougars. It was dangerous for anyone to veer off the established trail, but it was especially dangerous for little boys who had no idea that danger lurked in the dark places beyond the clearing.

As we approached the lake, Yukon alerted again. As before, I stopped and looked around.

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I called for Vinnie and then listened. I closed my eyes and tried desperately to make a connection. This time, the vision was a bit clearer. Vinnie had stopped what he was doing to look around. He must have realized he was lost and, as predicted, curiosity had been replaced by fear. I closed my eyes and focused again. He was terrified. Fear and panic fueled the boy as he ran through the underbrush. I cringed as I saw him trip over something. Now the fear was mingled with pain. He got up and tried to run, but the pain was too much.

When he fell again, he simply sat on the ground, clutching his ankle and screaming for help. I took a deep breath. There was something else. I opened my eyes and looked at Yukon. We need to find Vinnie. He sniffed the air, then took off at a run. I tried unsuccessfully to keep up with him and was about to call him back when I heard three sharp barks.

I headed down the trail as quickly as I could manage. Sprawled on the ground was a terrified little boy with his arms around Yukon, who gently licked the tears from his face. He would need to be carried back to the cabin, so I waited for Wyatt and Landon to catch up.

The boy shook his head. He was smiling now that Yukon had settled in next to him. I was on the trail, but then I looked around and nothing looked right. I was so scared. I ran as fast as I could. I wanted to get home, but then I fell. I hate time-outs. Still, the rule about staying in the yard is a good one. There are all sorts of things out here that can hurt a little boy.

And cougars, and wolves, and all sorts of animals that might be lurking nearby, waiting to attack. The boy began to sob hysterically. Yukon began to lick his face frantically to offer comfort. Okay, so maybe I oversold the danger angle. He bent down and picked the boy up in his arms. Wyatt winked at me. Yukon too. I stood up and slowly scanned the forest as Landon arrived.


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I felt pain and hopelessness and death. Someone near death. I closed my eyes and concentrated. It was as if the man was passing in and out of consciousness, letting me in and then pushing me out. I glanced at Vinnie, who looked scared to death. I tried to level my voice despite the intense grief that had gripped my body. Landon, Yukon, and I will try to find the source of my vision. He nodded and began walking back toward the cabin.

When he was out of sight, I closed my eyes and tried to see the face of the man again. He took my hand in his free one and held on tight. His image is fading in and out. I shook my head, then opened my eyes. I looked through the dense forest. He was resisting, but I managed to connect right at the end, when his only choice was to surrender.

Our best bet at finding the man whose death I had just experienced was to force myself to remember everything about that moment. Everything I had seen, heard, smelled, and felt. Wet, perhaps. The trees in the area are dense. I could remember the pain, the fear, the urge to fight, and then the peace that came with the decision to give in and float away from the world toward whatever came next.

There are times I want to run from the images and feelings that threaten to overwhelm and destroy me, but I know embracing the pain and the fear is my only path to the answers I seek. He was sorry for something he did and with his last breath was seeking forgiveness. I opened my eyes. Maybe God. Maybe himself. Landon set off in the direction I indicated with Yukon at his side. I followed closely behind. No longer, really, than it took to take a breath for Yukon to find the body.

I felt my knees weaken and my stomach lurch. He knelt and felt for a pulse, then shook his head. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Yukon began to growl from deep in his chest as I scanned our surroundings. Landon stood up and looked around. Are you sure you sense a second person? I made the call, then returned my attention to Landon, who was still standing over the body. We both knew not to touch him because we could destroy evidence, but in that moment not touching was very difficult indeed. There was a voice in my head that demanded I do something better than simply stand there.

He was soaking wet, but he was fully dressed, and it was much too cold to have gone swimming in a lake whose source was melting snow, so the idea was probably ridiculous. Maybe he was tossed from a boat and swam to shore before he was killed. Book 3 in the new Tess and Tilly Cozy Mystery Series is filled with doggy fun and some good old fashion sleuthing. Here is a preview of Chapter 1.

They arrived in the middle of the night. Two balls of wet and matted fur tied to a porch railing, huddled together for warmth and comfort as the rain slammed into the small town of White Eagle, Montana, from the east. Placing dogs with just the right owner was a task Brady Baker, local veterinarian and shelter owner, and I, Tess Thomas, mail carrier and shelter volunteer, take great pride in doing better than anyone else, but this pair of medium-sized terriers were proving to be quite a challenge.

It appeared as if the training had been going well until Jagger saw Tilly. I motioned for Tilly to sit, which she did immediately. Jagger, who Brady estimated to be about eight months old, plopped his butt on the ground right next to her. I praised them both and told them to stay. I walked away and spoke to Brady for a minute, keeping an eye on the pair as I did. After a minute, I motioned for the dogs to come and then sit and stay again. I asked both Jagger and Tilly to repeat the behavior several times, praising both dogs when my hand gesture was met with an appropriate response.

When a dog was in training, repetition was key. I knelt to greet the terrier and was welcomed with wet, sloppy kisses. I figure once I have them responding individually, I can bring them together for training for short periods of time. I hoped you and Tilly would have time to work with the brothers and me on Saturday. Besides, Tilly is a good influence on Bowie and Jagger. Brady had a point.

Tilly was an old pro at responding to both hand and verbal signals. When she was around, Jagger and Bowie tended to mimic whatever she was doing. He wanted to ensure that the dogs he placed were perfect matches for their new humans. I knew Jimmy. He and his girlfriend, Destiny, operated a paddleboat and stand-up paddleboard concession at the lake during the spring and summer. Once the snow began to fall, they packed up their belongings and took off in their camper for warmer climes.

Brady nodded. Tilly likes to swim. Maybe we can take the boys to the beach on Saturday and Tilly can show them how much fun it is. Once we get them used to the water, we can work on the SUP board. I paused to put the appointment in my phone calendar. You can grab the food as well as the flyers I had made up for the adoption event later this month.

I followed Brady, who was dressed in faded jeans, running shoes, and a dark blue T-shirt. He dressed in slacks, a dress shirt, and a white lab coat when the clinic was open, but when he spent time at the shelter, he dressed down, which was the look I appreciated the most. At the end of the event, prospective parents can fill out an application for the dog of their choice. He nodded. While the plumbing was old and the heater temperamental, the view of the mountains from both my front and back decks was truly spectacular. When I pulled into the private drive that led from the highway to the cabin, I spotted my good friend Tony Marconi sitting in his truck in front of the cabin.

Tony and I had met in middle school. He was not only the smartest kid in our entire school, but he was also sort of a geek. Of course, now that he was an adult and had grown into his height, he was not only the smartest man I knew but the sexiest as well. Not that I would ever tell him that. We were, after all, just friends. I would have stopped to pick up the food on my way home. After Titan greeted Tilly, he trotted over to say hi to me, while Tilly greeted Tony. I ruffled Titan behind the ears, then kissed him on the top of the head.

Tony shrugged as Tilly and Titan headed to my front door together. One of the very best things about Tony, second to his good looks, giving nature, kind heart, millions of dollars, and superior brain, was that he knew a lot of people who developed video games and was always being asked to test them and offer advice before they were on the market. Most of the time he asked me and his other friend, Shaggy, to test them out as well.

There are also no mushrooms, peppers, or tomatoes. All meat, all the way. I grinned. I know you love pineapple on your pizza, so I appreciate the sacrifice. I greeted both kittens and headed into my bedroom, where I put on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. I pulled my long hair into a ponytail, then returned to the main living area of the cabin, where Tony had the pizza on the table, along with plates, forks, and ice-cold beer. It was a beautiful day and I was tempted to move the dinner outdoors onto my deck, but it was still a little chilly in the evenings, although the snow had melted and the meadows were lush with green grass and colorful wildflowers.

Tony had been trying to help me track down my father, who supposedly died twelve years ago. Tony paused and made eye contact before he continued. Okay, he was making me nervous now. I watched as a myriad of emotions crossed his face. Eventually, he spoke. His name is Romero Montenegro. He lives in Italy, where his family owns a winery. You said he checked out. You said he seemed like a good guy. Did you find something else? Tony hesitated. Tony was the sort who was always confident and sure. They have absolutely nothing in common. Tony raised an eyebrow. Romero was a total babe in a cover-of-a-romance-novel way.

Dark and fit, with a polished air and a wonderful accent. Of course my middle-aged mother would find him attractive. Tony splayed his hands on the table, his long fingers open wide. I sat back in my chair and crossed my arms over my chest. Is the guy my mom has been fooling around with still engaged?

She was, in fact, murdered. I am in love with this new series and hope you will be as well. The series is a continuation of the Seacliff High Series although you do not have to of read Seacliff High to enjoy this new series that takes place with the same characters, in the same small town, in the same haunted house, as the original series. I could hear the whispering long before I arrived. It started as a nagging in the back of my mind that grew to a symphony of voices calling me home. I stood on the bluff overlooking the angry sea.

The sky was dark, with heavy clouds that blocked what was left of the afternoon sun. The rumbling in the distance informed me that a storm was rolling toward shore, but it was the murmurs from the house that caused a chill to run down my spine. I pulled my sweater tightly around my thin frame as the wind raged from the west. My blond hair blew across my face as I tried to emotionally confront the nightmare that had demanded my return.

A good friend had died, brutally murdered in his own home. After six months, his killer still roamed free. Lightning flashed across the sky and still I waited. The house had once been my sanctuary, but now, after all this time, I was hesitant to find out who waited impatiently for my return. I closed my eyes and listened as the waves crashed onto the rocky shore beneath me. At the time I believed the gift was the result of some sort of personal growth, but when I moved away from the house and away from the sea, the images faded.

My phone rang, and I turned back toward my Mercedes. I opened the passenger side door and grabbed the phone, which had been resting on the charger. I looked toward the large home that Mom and I had bought and fixed up twelve years ago. Spending time together renovating the dilapidated old lady had not only been cathartic but life changing as well. I really do. But your life is in New York now. I paused before I answered. An image of Alyson flashed through my mind. My real name is Amanda Parker, a name I resumed when the men who wanted me dead were murdered themselves.

But I have to do this. I smiled. And I love you for it. Deciding that serious conversations could wait for another day, I changed the subject. He was twelve years old now and showing signs of slowing down. She gave me supplements as well as some mild pain meds to help with the arthritis.

I let out a sigh of relief. I was worried about him. Give him a kiss for me and tell him I love him. I glanced back toward the house. I love you. I opened the glove box and grabbed the keys to the house. Sure, it had stood empty since the death of the previous owner, and admittedly, it had been about as dilapidated as a house could be and still be standing, but it had history and character, and as far as we were concerned, it was love at first sight.

Hoping the key would work in the old lock, I slipped it into the door. Luckily, it turned without effort and I stepped inside. The furniture Mom and I had taken such care to choose was covered with sheets and every other surface was covered with dust. I took a step forward, batting at the tapestry of cobwebs that hung from the ceiling. I took several more steps into the interior. As I stood silently and listened, memories I thought long buried suddenly consumed me. The gas and electrical turnoffs were in the basement, so I headed in that direction.

There was also a basement and a finished attic. Mom, an artist, had replaced the wall on the ocean side of the attic with windows and had turned the space into a studio. As I entered the main living area, I glanced at the painting on the wall. Mom had captured me and my two best friends, Mackenzie Reynolds and Trevor Johnson, in an unsuspecting moment and converted the photo to oil. And we had texted and Skyped.

At first. A rustling overhead caused me to pause and listen. There was no answer and the rustling stopped, so I continued into the kitchen. I focused on the clickety-clack of my heels hitting the deep blue tile floor as I crossed the room. At the stairs leading down to the basement, I turned on the flashlight on my phone and made my way into the inky darkness of the damp room. Mom and I had cleared out both spaces, and now the basement was mostly empty.

My first stop was the electrical box. Now all I had to do was turn on the gas and I might be looking at a hot bath that evening. After confirming that the gas was working, I went back upstairs to the first floor. It would take me a couple of days of elbow grease before the place was habitable, but for now, I had plumbing and a place to stay. I was about to head upstairs to check out my room when my phone rang. I pulled it out of my pocket and looked at the caller ID.

Ethan was a wonderful person and a kind and considerate boyfriend, but he was a product of old money and a rigid upbringing that resulted in a precise way of moving and speaking. How did your court case go? I knew you would tear the place up with your research. Ethan was a junior partner for one of the top law firms in New York, while I worked as a graphic designer for one of the top advertising agencies.

I just want to settle in, take a hot bath, and maybe have a glass of wine. I told them I thought you would. I understand he was your friend and his murder has gone unsolved and that makes you sad and angry. But really, Amanda, how can you help? I hesitated. That part of me belonged to Alyson. Listen, I have to go. I slipped the phone into my pocket and went toward the stairs. Are you here? There was no answer, but Barkley had never answered in the past.

My ability to communicate with ghosts had been limited to seeing them. In my experience, if they wanted to make contact they would, so I continued to walk on. It felt odd to be in the house without her, but she was busy with her new life, or maybe I should say the resumption of her old one. When I opened the door, I expected to see sheets and cobwebs, as elsewhere, but what I found instead was someone lounging on my bed. A younger version of me, but me nonetheless. What are you? For another, I could speak to her and hear her response. Alyson laid back against the pillow and lifted her legs into the air.

I had no idea. Things have been kinda dead around here since you left. I tossed the Michael Kors bag that held my overnight things on the floor and then sat on the edge of the bed. A white sheet still covered the mattress. What you see is the new and improved version of Alyson. Alyson 2. Alyson shrugged. Did you bring food? But I can remember what it was like when I was you and you were me and we were one. Her long blond hair swept the mattress. I missed my long hair. Not super short. Around shoulder length. I closed my eyes and took several deep breaths.

For all I knew, I was suffering the effects of driving three thousand miles in four days. Now I was sure I was having a hallucination. I never jumped on beds as Amanda or Alyson. Not even when I was a young child. Alyson got down off the bed. How do I make you understand? I live here. If you were me, you would act like me. Alyson walked over to me.

We were exactly the same height, so her blue eyes looked directly into mine. I glanced down at the pantsuit I was wearing with matching pumps. I really was dying to kick them off and pull on some baggy sweats. It was as if I took a vacation from my life, but somewhere inside I knew Amanda was always there, waiting to come out when it was safe to do so. Ghost me was right. It was starting to rain. When I returned, she was gone. It comes down to a few critical seconds as Zoe is forced to either outsmart a genius or watch her husband die.

With Easter only a week away, Zoe is pulled into a dangerous game after Zak is kidnapped, and the person who kidnapped him, challenges Zoe to The Sleuthing Game. Zoe had promised she would retire from sleuthing now that she had an infant to care for, but the stakes are high, so she leaves the kids with Ellie, while she and Levi set out to beat a madman at their own game. I am really excited about this book. It was SO much fun to write. I hope you all will give it a try.

On an intellectual level I knew I was in shock and the emotions that any rational person should and would experience were waiting just below the surface, but in that moment I felt nothing. I looked away from the drapes and stared at him with what I was sure was a confused expression. I knew something was expected of me, but I had no idea what it was everyone was waiting for. He put his hands on my shoulders, turned my body toward him, and stared into my eyes, a look of concern evident on his face.

There must be another way. There was blood splatter everywhere. My mind began to feel fuzzy as the room seemed to fade in and out. I put my hand to my face to try to wake myself from this horrible nightmare. He looked so scared. So vulnerable.

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In that moment I knew this was real and not a dream, as I had hoped. I glanced to the floor and then back to Levi. I closed my eyes as a single tear slid down my cheek. Thirty minutes ago, I was making plans for the Easter celebration I planned to host next weekend.

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Levi put his arms around me and pulled me tightly into his chest. I closed my eyes and took comfort in the sound of his strong, steady heartbeat. But if the note Salinger held was authentic, Zak was still alive, and it was up to me to save him. I glanced at the sheet on the floor and knew I must set the rage in my soul aside. I dug down deep for the strength I needed, squeezed him tightly around the waist, and then took a step back. Will, a teacher at Zimmerman Academy, the private school Zak and I owned, had been staying in a motel near the Academy while his house was being remodeled.

Zak had agreed to meet him that evening regarding a project on which they were collaborating. What we need to focus on is finding Zak. Salinger handed it to me and I looked at it and frowned. Salinger pulled back the sheet, causing me to look away as he did. Levi paled. I looked at the phone again. I knew once I started there was no going back.

I had no idea where this first phone call would lead, but I had a feeling I was in for a bumpy ride. Nothing else made sense. The setup had been much too elaborate for an easy and painless conclusion to be on the horizon. I looked at Levi again. He frowned, but I could see he was struggling to be strong for me. I nodded and pushed the Call button on the phone that had already been programmed. After only one ring a deep voice that sounded unreal came on the line. The message seemed to have been prerecorded using an automated voice system. The purpose of the game is to solve the eight puzzles you will be provided before the allotted time for each runs out.

If you are successful, your husband will be returned to you unharmed. If you are unsuccessful you will never see the father of your child alive again. The first set of instructions, as well as the first puzzle, has been taped to the bottom of one of the tables at the Classic Cue pool hall.