TITLE: The Bridge Maker
GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy
Linh had a bad hunch.
Her heart seemed to clatter in time with the thunder cracking outside. Rain streamed in a single roaring sheet over the tiled roof and in white foam from the overburdened drainpipes. Linh heard it trickling in the thin, old walls.
Her mother had not yet come home. She paced the rooms, her jaw tight. She stopped before the living room window, peering into the rain-roaring night. The dark outline of her anguished face reflected back at her in the glass. The world seemed to have stopped.
With trembling hands, she punched the digits of her mother’s work number at the restaurant into the phone for the fifth time. No answer. Wildly, crazily, the vision reappeared; she could not push it away. Might her mother have also met the fate of her father? A car accident had killed him; she had been a small child. The word orphan echoed under the storm's noise, and she shook her head to stop it. She was eleven now.
She paced the hallway, hugging herself. At last she could bear it no longer. She stalked to the closet, found her raincoat and boots. She pulled the white umbrella, like some ghostly mushroom, from its stand. She would walk to the restaurant to find her mother.
But when she clicked on the outside light, she beheld something astonishing.
Five short, meaty creatures with white beards scampered all over the yard—they were her friends, the gnomes!
“Our hats, our hats,” they screamed