Title: Up Lantau Running
Genre: YA (11- to14-year-olds)
At the top of the stone steps, I take a deep breath. It’s over. The worst seven months of my life are actually over. St. Peter’s, behind me, is a smudge of gray stone. I look out over high rises riddled with windows under a bruised sky and the cul-de-sac at the foot of the steps swarming with red Hong Kong taxis. I clutch the rail of the stairway as a kid in brown shorts and a crumpled white dress shirt pushes past me.
“You’re about to get a pasting,” he mutters, starting down the stairs.
I prod my slipping glasses into place. “What?”
Thwap! “Get a move on, Miss America!”
I glance back in time to see Paul Wilcox raising a school-issued notebook, ready to swat me again.
“Lay off!” I yell, slapping him away.
Paul only laughs.
I stumble forward. Paul keeps up, whacking my head with the notebook every few steps. “Are all Americans as beautiful as you?”
“Shut up!” As I swing around to face him, the weight of my pack throws me off kilter. I reach for the railing, but it slips through my sweaty hands. The sky, the leafy trees tip upside down. The back of my head smacks the stairs, my backpack crunches; the world whips by in greens and grays.
Panting, I blink up at a spinning, blurry sky. I’ve stopped moving. I touch my face. No glasses.
Paul’s voice rises above the shouts and laughter: “Definite passion killers, those knickers.”