If you’ve watched Carlos Hernandez’s cozy video about his work with Rick Riordan Presents, you must be stoked to venture back into the multiverse for the sequel we’ve all been waiting for. Carlos made us laugh and cry last year with his award-winning story of Sal and Gabi breaking the universe. How are they gonna fix it??
Read the first chapter and get a head start on finding out.
SAL COME QUICK I’M ABOUT TO FIX THE UNIVERSE
That’s the text message that woke me up at still-dark o’clock in the morning. I read it like twelve times on my smart-watch until I was fully awake.
I didn’t mind being woken up. Ever since Mami died, I’ve kept text notifications on because I’m scared of missing important messages. And I mean, this one seemed pretty important. Papi was about to “fix the universe,” whatever that meant.
And hey, bonus: It had burst the nightmare I’d been having like a balloon. Glad to be free of it. Phew, baby.
Holding my smartwatch up to my mouth, I used speech-to-text to ask Papi, “Where are you question mark.”
The response came a few seconds later: REMEMBRANATION MACHINE HURRY
If I’d been more awake, I would have known that the only place he could have been was inside the big computer that was the culmination of his life’s work as a calamity physicist. Last I’d heard, it wasn’t working very well. Sounded like maybe it was doing better now.
I sat up, flipped off the covers, planted my feet on the ground, and took a minute to try to Humpty Dumpty my brain back together again.
It’d been a rough night. You’d think that after having the same nightmare for five years I’d be used to it. Plus, most people wouldn’t even consider it a nightmare. There’s nothing scary about it. Most people who’d lost their mamis would welcome a dream in which she came back to life and was laughing and cooking in a kitchen, just talking about normal stuff, just being family.
But, see, the problem is then you wake up. Your mami vanishes along with your dream, and all that’s left is the dark of night. Takes me forever to fall asleep again. I just stare at the ceiling for hours, feeling like I am my mami’s grave.
Like you’re your mami’s grave?! I thought, making fun of myself. Come on, Sal. Overreact much? Nightmares suck, but now it’s morning. Time to reclaim your brain. The brain is the king of the body, remember?
Whatever, brain. I’m moving, I’m moving.