TITLE: Swimming With Tchaikovsky
GENRE: YA Mystery/Suspense
That chair shouldn't be empty.
Sally kept her eyes on her bowl. He had to be coming back. It must be a mistake. Some sort of misunderstanding.
As she chased down the last bit of kashi, the scrape of her spoon against her bowl was deafening in the silent kitchen. Her host sister Irina had stopped eating breakfast long ago and now sat cross-legged in her chair, facing the window. Without a word, Mama ladled more kashi into Sally's bowl.
“Thank you,” Sally murmured in Russian. To admit she was full would require looking up into Mama's unblinking eyes.
Yesterday evening her host father, Mikhail Gregorovich, had been sitting in that chair, drinking tea. His mug was right where he'd left it. He'd only gone out to walk the dog.
The frantic barking still echoed in Sally's head. It had been loud enough to send them tearing down the apartment stairwell -- only to arrive too late.
But now Sally had to stay focused. She'd been preparing for this competition her whole life. It was the only reason she was here. Even if their explanation of what happened yesterday was true, what could she do to help? Nothing.
Anyway, it couldn't be true. What government would kidnap an innocent man in broad daylight?
Sally stood up. “I should get going.”
Her host mother froze with another ladleful of kashi poised halfway between the stove and the table.