TITLE: Stars, Cats and Candycorn
GENRE: MG Realistic Contemporary Fiction
I know change is supposed to be good for me. At least that’s what everyone says. But moving to a new house and a new school and a whole new time zone in one weekend seems like a lot of change for a kid—especially after everything we went through nine months ago.
“Hurry up, Claud, or I’m gonna take this stupid costume off!” my younger sister Lucy hollered from downstairs. Her voice echoed through the hallway.
“Be right there!”
I stuffed my blonde hair into one of Dad’s old hats, tucked a silk scarf into my collar, and picked up a magnifying glass in my gloved hand. So it wasn’t my best costume ever, but Dad wasn’t much help with stuff like this, or anything these days. Sherlock Holmes was going to have to do.
Lucy waited for me in the dining room with her arms crossed. She wore Dad’s old coat and derby hat and she had drawn a fake mustache above her lip with a black marker. “I can’t believe you’re making me wear this thing. I look like a complete dork,” she said.
“No you don’t,” I lied. But she didn’t look at all like Dr. Watson. She hadn’t tried to cover up her red curly hair or her freckles. Still, it didn’t matter. At least we were trying to pretend that this was just like any other Halloween.
“What took you so long? All the good candy’s going to be gone,” Lucy complained.
“I couldn’t get my stupid hair to stay in my hat,” I said.
Dad was in his robe and his face looked thin and pale behind his glasses as he scanned the newspaper. I wasn’t even sure if he had bought any candy to give out to the neighborhood kids. He looked up. “Creative costumes, girls. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would approve.”
“We did what we could,” I said, knowing that Dad was talking about the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. I had read them all and some of them more than once.
“You want me to come with you?” he asked. “I don’t think you should be walking around by yourselves in the dark.”
“It’s Halloween, Dad,” Lucy pointed out. “That’s what we’re supposed to do.”
“Besides, we’d get laughed at if you came with us. We’re not little kids anymore,” I said.
He looked through me, as if his gaze reached far beyond where I stood. “Alright, but stick together, and take Bruce. He needs a walk.”
Within seconds Bruce, our golden retriever, had grabbed his leash and was perched in front of me, panting enthusiastically. He had brown eyes and soft, floppy ears, and he was named after Bruce Springsteen, Dad’s favorite singer. Now that Bruce was 11, like me, he had slowed down, since that’s 77 in dog years, but he still had the spirit of a puppy. Sometimes, though, he’d sit quietly and stare out the window. I wondered if he missed Mom as much as I did.