GENRE: Middle grade fantasy
Ruth Belanger joined the steady procession of strangely garbed people moving toward the bookstore. Her place in line was ensured, since she knew Tanya would have been there for hours. Several kids from her school were moving toward MacCrimmon’s Bookstore with her. She spoke to them only when they acknowledged her first; otherwise, she ducked her head and allowed her long hair to hide her face. No one seemed to notice that it was eighty-five degrees outside with 80% humidity. Ruth looked down at her long black skirt, long-sleeved black T-shirt and black cotton shawl. I’m glad I just wore this outfit. I would have fainted by now in those wool cloaks and scarves, she thought. She pushed back a damp strand of hair from her face, and then bent her forehead to wipe on the shawl she clutched tightly around her shoulders. Despite the heat, she picked up the pace.
Ruth stopped near the front door of the bookstore, not going more than three feet from the kids just in front of the door, just in case anyone accused her of breaking in line. She didn’t see Tanya. Ruth began to panic. Her eyes scanned the line now looking for at least one of her two friends. She was alone with about two hundred kids; Ruth’s stomach began to coil upon itself. She’d exchanged no more than about a dozen words in the last two years even with the ones she knew.