Keeper of the Lost Cities - Deleted Scene #4

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First Deleted Scene from Neverseen and her friends make their way through Florence to meet took me forever to get the group to Alluveterre. Sweet as this moment is, none of the information revealed is vital info, so it made the book stronger to cut it out and tighten the pacing. —Shannon


OPHIE SIGHED. SHE KNEW MR. FORKLE was right, but that didn’t change her frustration. “I just . . . I need something. One piece of truth among all the lies.”

Mr. Forkle glanced at the eckodons circling in the river, look-

ing very conspicuous and sea-monster-y and sure-to-be-spottedby-someone-if-they-didn’t-hurry, before he heaved a sigh of his own and pointed to her purple backpack. “Is Ella in there?” Sophie nodded. She peeled back the slimy membrane and unzipped the bag, showing him the bright blue, Hawaiian shirt–wearing elephant. Mr. Forkle reached for Ella almost tenderly. “Her head had more stuffing when I bought her.” He smiled when Sophie sucked in a breath.

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“Looks like your mother held true to her promise. That’s one of the reasons I chose your parents. They were good, loyal people. The best humans I’d met, in fact—but I digress. I bought Ella at the hospital gift store after I’d triggered your telepathy. I knew it was far too early for you to carry such responsibility, so I wanted you to have something to bring back the security I’d taken away. But I thought you would respond better if the gift came from your family. So I gave it to your mother and made her promise to claim it as her own.” He sounded so sincere—it took Sophie a second to remember there was a darker side to his little anecdote. “Why did you trigger my telepathy when I was five?” “That is a story for another time. For the moment”—he held out Ella—“this is who I am. The person who bought you your favorite blue elephant, because he wanted to make sure you’d be able to sleep.” Sophie watched Ella dangle from his grip—her past and her future caught in a single moment. She couldn’t walk away from either. “Let’s go,” she said, taking Ella back.

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