I’m fourteen years old, home sick from school, and someone is pounding on the front door.
Who comes out to the country and wants to visit in the middle of the day? No one I want to talk to.
The dogs outside are barking like crazy so I pull my pillow over my feverish head and roll over. The pounding continues.
My room is on the second floor of a cobbled-together addition Dad built last year. I raise my head and look out the crooked windows. A large yellow sedan is in the drive.
I stagger out of bed and take two steps before I realize the knocking has moved from the massive old oak front door, to the dilapidated back door. My foot is on the first step, when the cardboard door crashes open.
I run back to my bedroom and drop to the floor, ready to roll under it and hide. Only, there’s so much of my crap under there I can’t fit.
Just as a footstep hits the first tread of the stairway I run to my brother’s room and slide under their crap-free bunk bed.
Two sets of black booted feet walk by – inches from my face.
I listen as they ransack my brothers’ room. Books crash to the floor. A box that one of my brothers carved, lands on the floor next to me and the false bottom drops open.
So that’s where he hides his stuff, I think. Little sneak.
Cousin says, “I’m going downstairs, you check under the beds.”
I see Jimmy’s ankles bend as he prepares to kneel down. I roll over two times and plant my face against the wall.
“Cousin,” he calls. “Wait for me. I think this place is haunted.” Jimmy’s boots pound down the wooden stairs.
For what seems like hours I hear the bang, crash, clap of possessions being ripped from our home. After the noise stops, I lay there counting to a hundred and then another hundred.
I slip out from my hiding place and tiptoe back to my room to look out the windows. My knee hits something solid on the bed. It’s a jagged knife with a long black handle. I use my pillow to slide it out of the way and peek over the windowsill. No yellow sedan.
I creep down the stairs to the wall phone and pick up the heavy receiver. With a shaky finger, I pull the round dial seven times. I ask the school receptionist to find my mom.
“It’s urgent,” I whisper.
While I wait I look around the family room and wonder how the robbers could have made so many trips through the house and not knocked over our month-long Monopoly game sitting on a rickety card table.
Mom’s irritated voice comes on. “What is it now?” she asks.
I start to cry and she says over and over “What is it? What is it?”
“We were robbed,” I wail.
“Did they?” Mom gasps …
TO BE CONTINUED.