GENRE: YA LITERARY PARANORMAL
The suitcase with the broken buckle rests between my legs on the bottom step of the brownstone. My whole life is held together by that one loose buckle I flick it back and forth, between my fingers, looking out over the rooftops on the other side of Twenty-First.
"Kat Atkins?" the social worker will ask me. But she'll already know, because right on the seat next to her is my file, and paper-clipped to the top of it is my school picture from Portland High. Sophomore year. Last fall.
My hair is different now. It's longer, and darker. All those highlights I got from walking around the city in summertime are gone.
Eleven. That's how many times I've moved in the last sixteen years.
Two. More years before I turn eighteen. Before I run out of time to find a family.
While I wait, I watch a gray cat with no collar bob along the cracked sidewalk. "Here, kitty," I tell him. He lifts his head. I hold out my hand, steady. The cat rests his warm, whiskery chin in my palm. But before I can scratch his back or pick him up, a wind stirs the budding maple trees across Twenty-First, and the cat rushes away.