TITLE: THE HUNT FOR GLORIA REY
GENRE: Upper Middle Grade Sci-fi
I’m ready to talk about the explosion now. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to say that, especially after it first happened. It was too painful then. The pain is still with me and probably always will be, like a broken bone that healed, but aches whenever it rains. I don’t pity myself. There was a time when I did, but I got over that. I had to, if I wanted to survive.
It happened on a pretty day. Blue sky. Clouds like meringue. The school bus had just let off at our apartment complex. Sunlight sparkled off the broken bottles that lined the sidewalks. I walked home along those sidewalks with my friends Serena and April, like I always did. April walked ahead because she was in seventh grade and didn’t want to be seen with Serena and me. We were in sixth. The familiar stench of rotten eggs from Chemtech, the neighboring chemical plant, spooked the air. The scent was more acrid than usual. We should have known that something was wrong, but we didn’t. No one did.
We passed the courtyard where a clan of small children watered each other with a hose. They were wearing their underwear because no one in our complex owned a bathing suit. The older boys played soccer in the nearby field, kicking their ball at the young bathers every now and then, to remind them of whose turf they were on.