The Empresss Tomb | Page 14 of 187

Author: Kirsten Miller | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2890 Views | Add a Review

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Betty. “Our weekly meeting is tomorrow. If Kiki doesn’t show up for that one, we can break into her house and search for clues.”

“Okay,” I said, standing up from the table. “If you all want to wait, we’ll wait. I just hope we’re doing the right thing.”

“Where are you going?” Betty asked.

“I have research to do. If Livia and Sidonia are back in New York, there might be an item in the gossip columns.”

“But Oona called the meeting, and we haven’t even let her talk,” Betty protested. Oona said nothing. She just concentrated on the table in front of her as if she were willing it to fly through the window.

“Sorry, Oona,” I said. “What did you want to discuss?”

“Never mind,” Oona mumbled.

“Pleeeeeease,” Betty begged, trying to lure Oona out of her funk.

“I’ll wait. It’s not that important,” said Oona, and I suddenly suspected it was.

• • •

That night, the weather worsened. Even with the windows open, my bedroom was hot enough to roast a goat. I lay on my bed in my nightgown, using the Daily News as a fan. Since returning home from the meeting, I’d combed through every New York newspaper. There was no mention of Livia or Sidonia Galatzina. The giant squirrels were the day’s big story.

As if to prove to the city that they couldn’t be ignored, the squirrels had invaded the Central Park Zoo in the early hours of the morning and freed hundreds of animals from their cages. At 6:00 a.m., a jogger reported a pack of penguins feasting on fish in the Harlem Meer. An anaconda was seen sunning itself on the steps of a Fifth Avenue mansion, a poodle-shaped bulge in its belly. Jewel-colored tree frogs clung to pine branches like Christmas tree ornaments. Among the only animals left behind at the zoo were several enormous squirrels. The one that made the front cover of the New York Times had been painted on a plastic iceberg in the polar bear’s habitat. It was a thuggish-looking beast with a sign that said bluntly WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?

According to the papers, security tapes at the zoo had captured a shadowy figure skipping past several sleeping guards, pausing from time to time to moon the cameras. Since the vigilante’s face had been cunningly disguised, and his butt lacked distinguishing features, the police were without solid leads. They had begun staking out pet stores and interrogating art students, but the culprit remained at large. Everyone in New York was anxious to see what he’d do next.

A gust of wind blew through the room, rustling the newspapers I’d tossed to the floor. I turned my sweat-speckled forehead to catch the breeze and caught sight of an unnaturally pale face framed by wild, white hair peering at me from the fire escape. When I shrieked in terror, the face grinned and disappeared. Seconds later, my bedroom door swung open and my bespectacled father poked his head inside.

“Still alive?

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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