Chapter 11

Chapter 11: Maddie

Maddie stands at the corner a block away from her house, waiting for the school bus. She stares straight down, so that all she can see are the tops of her brown boots and a circle of sidewalk. The wind brushes red and yellow leaves into sight, then out again, their dry, curled edges scratching the concrete. One leaf catches against the edge of Maddie’s boot. She shakes her foot, setting the leaf free to catch up with the others.

There are five kids at the bus stop, loud with Monday morning chatter. Sadina is there too, because they take the same bus. But Maddie doesn’t want to see or listen to Sadina or anyone else today. There are too many other things to think about.

When Maddie woke up this morning, Bella was standing beside her bed. After Maddie ate her cereal and got dressed, she stood in the doorway of her room, staring into Bella’s shiny blue eyes. Bella wanted to come to school, Maddie was sure. But there’s a school rule about that: don’t bring anything other than your backpack and lunch box and homework.