I awoke to find a plate piled high with pancakes on my bedside table. I sat up slowly, pushing the thick layers of blankets away. The sunlight washed through the room as my white curtains flapped in the soft wind. I wolfed down the pancakes right there in the bed and placed the silver plate on the nightstand. The wooden floor felt cool on my feet as I shuffled to the closet. I picked a black T-shirt and a pair of worn jeans. A pair of knee-high boots waited for me at the closet door. I brushed through my wild morning hair and took the stairs to the main living room. Miss Carpenter was waiting for me with a big black coat and a huge smile.
“Good morning, Nari,” she sang. She shoved the coat in my hands and talked all about today’s agenda. “First, we’ll go to the park, and I’ll show you the lake. Then, we’ll see about getting your jeans hemmed. They’re far too long. After that, I’ll take you to the mall and….” We got in the car and drove for a long while. After a moment of silence, I decided this would be a good time to ask about Carver.
“When are we going to get my dog back?” I asked. Miss Carpenter looked surprised.
“What dog?” she asked. I couldn’t believe it! How could they not tell her about Carver? I tried not to get angry and explain.
“I had a dog, Carver, but he was left at the school. Could we go get him?”
Miss Carpenter looked worried, but quickly went back to the relaxed look.
“I’ll, ah, get you dog later today, okay?” I nodded, but I was still sketchy. Why did Miss Carpenter look so worried? Why wouldn’t she let me come with her? Something wasn’t right.
* * *
The wind whipped around my braid as I stood on the edge of the balcony. Barbara had given me a sweater, but I liked the chill. It helped my think. A big black bird swooped down and landed on the railing. He picked a seed from his feathers and hobbled toward me.
“Do you think I should go check out the school?” I asked him. He cocked his head and squawked. I smiled. “I think so, too.” I ran back into the house and grabbed a flash light. The stairs creaked softly as I tip-toed into the living room. I grabbed my coat and ran outside. I grabbed for my new bicycle, now glad Miss Carpenter bought it for me. I rode until I got to the dirt road that lead to the parking lot. There, I dropped the bike and ran to my old home. I stopped in my tracks and stared at the school. The lights were on, which could only mean one thing. Somebody had taken my school.