TITLE: Trouble Comes
GENRE: Contemporary Middle Grade
I craned my neck to see what had died, but it was gone. I flung off my seatbelt, ignoring Mama’s “Hey now!” and raced the fifteen feet through our Winnebago to peer out the back window, hoping to catch a glimpse of the corpse at the side of the road.
“Slow down!” I hollered. Mama obliged, stomping on the brake and sending me sprawling. The Ford that had been trying to pass us all morning swerved and kept going, horn wailing all the way. Mama let the engine die, then twisted in her seat to give me her Behave look.
“Journey Jones, what’d I say about running around in Born Free while we’re driving?”
“Don’t,” we said together.
“Sorry.” I scrambled to my feet and pressed my forehead against the rear window. Through the dust clouding the glass, I made out a small brown shape about fifty yards behind us.
“Can we back up a little?” I asked.
“Just fifty feet?”
“Sit down, darlin’.”
I squinted hard as the wind from passing cars made a flattened, bottlebrush tail flap limply against the road. Satisfied, I made my way back to my seat, where Mama sat with her arms folded across the steering wheel.
“Can we go now?” Mama asked as I strapped myself in.
“Can we go back to Nashville instead?” I countered.
“You know I hate going back,” Mama said, and I sighed, ‘cause it was true. In my twelve years on the road, we’d only ever gone forward.