“Don’t take that box off,” Sadina says. “It’s something really special, Maddie.” Her voice gets quiet and careful, like she’s about to tell the most amazing secret in the world. “You know how Superman has those laser eyes? And Spiderman’s got the web, right? Well, this box gives Bella her super power. It turns her into...” Sadina’s voice drops all the way to a whisper. “...Chattercat.”
Maddie takes a quick sharp breath. With every inch of her body she wants to ask Sadina what that means. But she doesn’t need words. Sadina sees the question in her eyes.
“Chattercat can talk to you, Maddie.”
Maddie’s hands curl tight around Bella, and slowly she turns to meet Sadina’s eyes.
Without looking away, Sadina drops one shoulder, letting her backpack slide to the floor. She shuffles her hand inside it and pulls out another small box. It has a screen on it, like a computer but small, and a cord hanging from it like a mouse tail. Sadina reaches out for Bella and she’s moving slowly, so slowly, as if she thinks Maddie will be afraid. But Maddie feels a buzz beneath her skin that has nothing to do with fear. Because now it’s real. Now, finally, Sadina believes that Bella can talk.