My last day of summer vacation and here I was, roasting in this dratted car with its busted air conditioning, while Mom ran errands. Tomorrow would be worse. I sighed. If Mom hadn't lost her job we'd still be in Detroit, and I wouldn't be starting tenth grade in a new school. Many of my friends had stayed on, their parents still looking, still hoping.
The pavement shimmered in the heat as I stepped out of the car, squinting against the blazing Arizona sun. I wiped my sweaty palms on my shorts and turned.
An elderly brown-skinned woman hurried across the pedestrian crossing, her gaze fixed on me. Even across that distance her dark eyes seemed to bore into me. She reached the curb, and gathering her long blue embroidered skirt with one hand and holding on to her orange fringed scarf with the other, she sped towards me. I tried to step out of her way, but my feet seemed glued to the pavement. I could only stare as she lifted a gnarled hand to my shoulder, saying in a soft, lilting voice, "I knew you'd come. I'd been waiting."
Waiting? I felt my eyes widen. What the heck! Was she crazy?
Callused fingers tightened around my bare upper arm. "You have to help us, before he destroys us." Her wide, terror-stricken eyes started out of her face.