Hullo, everyone! Can you believe that we’re already to Part Four? I’m so excited! Read on, wonderful people!
The next several seconds are mostly incoherent and chaotic. Brooklyn yelps in panic as I race past her into the living room. I kneel next to the girl. “Okay, kiddo, we want to help you, but our parents probably won’t agree. So we need to get you up stairs and hide you, okay?” She hesitates, then nods, and I hurry her up to my room. The bathroom’s a nice size, so I tell her to go in there, and she obeys. Good kid. I remind her to be quiet and then rush downstairs.
I know Brooklyn will have a terrible time acting like nothing’s going on. She’s a horrible liar. So I tell her to just act like we were in the middle of a game of Go Fish – which technically we were, while I go see why Mom and Dad are home so early.
I head out into the garage, where Mom’s getting out of the car. “You’re back early,” I comment. “What’s up?”
She sighs. “Dad left the tickets for the play on the kitchen counter. We need to hurry.”
“I’ll get them,” I volunteer, dashing back inside. I come back out and hand her the tickets. “Forget about it and have a nice night,” I tell her, smiling.
Mom grins back at me. “I will. Oh, by the way, there was a package or something at the front door. You should bring it inside.” She waves as she gets back in the car, and Dad waves too as they pull out of the garage and drive off.
Something on the doorstep? My heart races. Either someone brought a package since the girl came… or she brought something with her that fell when she did. I hurry out to the front porch. Lying there, next to the doormat, is a plastic grocery sack. It’s clearly got something in it, but it’s also filthy. I pick it up gingerly and go inside.
“What did Mom and Dad want?” Brooklyn asks the instant I step inside. She spots the bag. “What’s that?”
“They left the tickets for their play here,” I say absentmindedly. “You can go get… um, the girl.” We really do need a temporary name for her. Brooklyn eyes the grocery bag curiously but heads upstairs and brings the girl down. She looks just as scared as when I left her up there.
“Before I ask you about this bag,” I begin, nodding to the grocery sack, “I want to know if there’s a name you’d like to be called. I’m Albany.” I can’t remember if we introduced ourselves in the original chaos.
She looks at me, still very unsure. “I don’t know.”
I wonder if she even remembers names, or basic information like who the president is. “How about Madison,” I suggest. “It seems to fit you. Do you like it? We can always call you Maddie, if you want.”
She nodded. “That’s fine.”
I grin. “Good. And it even fits with our city name theme. I wonder if you were born in Wisconsin…” Mom chose Denver’s name because that’s where he was born, and Brooklyn and I were born in, you guessed it, New York.
Brooklyn sighs. “You are so cheesy. What’s in the bag?”
I hold it up. “Is this yours, Maddie?”
She gives me a look that says I clearly just asked her the dumbest question ever. It actually looks adorable on her. The look, I mean. “I don’t know.”
Well, duh. Brooklyn hides a snicker. I attempt to recover gracefully. “Well, it was on the front porch. Either you dropped it when you fell, or someone else put it there. I’m guessing you don’t know what’s inside.”
Madison shakes her head, of course. I untie the handles on the grocery bag cautiously and look inside. Brooklyn peers over my shoulder. “Um… is that just a ball?” she asks.
I reach inside and pull it out. It’s a small ball, and it looks exactly like a miniature volleyball, like the one Brooklyn has in her room. But as I turn it over, I notice that the hole where you would normally put a pump thing to blow it up is actually a button. “There’s a button,” I say, handing it to Brooklyn.
She examines it, and Madison leans over to examine it, too. Brooklyn hands it back to me. “I wonder what it does.”
I shrug. “There’s only one way to find out.”
And I, like the impulsive person I am…
I push the button.
Uh-oh… what’s going to happen? Guess we’ll find out next time… 😉 What do you think is going to happen? Let me know what you think! Also, if you’re interested in joining in the cover reveal for Twinepathy, let me know! I’d love to have your help!