Running after her dog, she almost didn’t see the car. The driver screeched to a halt and she waved in apology, taking off after Bounce again.
Three blocks later, she got close enough to the terrier to grab his leash. Out of breath and sheened in sweat, she gasped, “You’re lucky you’re so cute. How do your little legs move so fast?”
Her sweet dog happily leapt around her, oblivious that the chase wasn’t a game and his owner felt on the verge of a coronary.
“I cannot with you. Let’s go home.”
Turning to make the walk back to her house, a man stood in his open car door. He was the one who’d almost hit her. Shit. She hoped he wasn’t one of those road rage people.
There were few things as scary as hiding. He’d never even liked the game as a much younger boy. It was even less fun as a matter of life or death.
Who knew if the slightest misstep – common to all the dead people in horror movies – would be the one that gave you away?
He sat in the corner, behind the dilapidated sofa, hand over his mouth to muffle his breathing. He counted to one hundred and then did it again…and again.
When I was a little girl, I imagined that many of the people in books were real.
Lizzy Bennett and Jane Eyre, Bilbo and Gandalf, Atticus Finch, and Oliver Twist. Many, many who stuck with me.
They were my heroes, the people that fought evil and won, who never gave up and never surrendered…who eventually won out over violence and ignorance and inequality.
Then I turned twelve and came to learn that, while there are good people who fight the good fight loudly and boldly, there is also true evil.
The crime must be avenged. As the chief warrior for her people, the job fell to Nanoi.
During the night, all of the children in their treetop domain had been whisked away. Though she suspected the criminal, there must be no doubt.
If it was him, if he’d taken the innocents among them in a show of anger or to flex his strength, she would take him apart piece by piece.
No warrior, woman or man, could best her within 500 miles. Whatever price he owed would be paid in full before the next moon. It was her duty.
It would be her pleasure.
He had to do it. He had to make himself give her the flowers he’d bought.
He’d begged her not to drive. Begged her to let him take her home. She was mad that his ex-girlfriend showed up at a party he didn’t even want to attend. She screamed and hit him in the driveway, telling him he could go straight to hell with trying to tell her what to do. Their friends did their best to calm her but it only made things worse.
When he made another attempt, she slapped him. Hard enough to send his glasses flying into the grass.