GENRE: Contemporary Middle Grade
The ambulance in front of Beacon Middle School should have been Baxter’s first clue things were about to change. Wedged between the first two yellow school buses, its flickering emergency lights were dim in the morning light. Baxter, having just arrived, noticed Morgan, a girl from his sixth-grade science class, and approached her.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Iris Wellington was stung by a bee,” Morgan said.
“Kind of overreacting with the ambulance, aren’t they?” Baxter asked. “Was it a freakishly mutated killer bee?” He withheld the amusement he felt at his own joke as an uneasy feeling came over him. Plus, he kind of liked Morgan. He didn’t want to seem insensitive.
“Iris is allergic to bee stings,” she said with a dirty look. “I heard they couldn’t get to her meds. Someone messed with the nurse’s desk and the keys were missing.”
Baxter’s stomach lurched. A dark feeling cascaded over him like a wave. “Is she okay?” he asked.
“You see the ambulance, don’t you?” she said. “What do you think?”
Morgan paused to consider Baxter. “Sounds like something you’d do,” she said. She turned and walked off.
Baxter had a really bad feeling about what was going to happen next.
* * *
Later the same day, they all sat opposite Mr. Vinyu, the vice principal, in his office. Baxter’s mom and dad sat on either side of him. His mom, her eyes red from emotion, was hunched over her crossed legs. His dad was resting his forehead in his hands.