doll, the pocket watch was about the size of a manhole cover. Nate lifted it up, surprised that he felt no strain and bore the weight easily. Setting the timepiece down, he approached the book. It was fairly thick. He picked up one end of it. The weight was not a problem, but the shape made it unwieldy at his current size.
After trying a few methods of carrying the memoir, Nate decided he would probably have more luck sliding it, and then tying the string around it to get it up and through the window to Trevor.
The first dilemma was how to get the items down from the third shelf to the floor. His thinking was suddenly interrupted by the shrill sound of a whistle blowing. “Time to go,” Trevor called in an urgent whisper. The flashlight beam wobbled as Trevor began taking in the slack of the string. Nate froze, looking from the timepiece to the book.
Summer peered out of the alley, waiting impatiently. How long did it take to grab two objects from a cabinet? It seemed like Nate and Trevor had been inside the museum forever. There had been a moment of tension when they first leapt up to the roof, but the action had not attracted any attention. Since then, she had seen a couple of cars go by on Main, but otherwise the uneventful waiting was mind-numbing.
“Do you think they’re all right?” Pigeon asked, breaking the silence.
“Of course,” Summer said. “Better off than we are, sitting in some stupid alley.” Looking at Pigeon, with his dark brown skin and leather jacket, it was like she was talking to a stranger. He crept forward, scanning the street. “I wish I had a mirror,” she said. “I’d love to see the Chinese rendition of myself.”
“Police car,” Pigeon warned, withdrawing deeper into the alley and crouching down. Summer shrank into the shadows as well, flattening herself against the wall. From farther back in the alley, she could see only a narrow slice of Main Street. The police car flashed by. Summer edged forward in time to see the taillights disappearing around the curve toward Greenway.
“Now, why are you kids hiding from the cops?” said a deep, no-nonsense voice behind her. Summer and Pigeon both whirled. Pigeon squealed. A few steps away, deeper in the alley, loomed a big man in an overcoat and a brown fedora. “What are you doing here?”
“Uh, nothing,” Summer said, conscious of the Moon Rock in one hand, the Shock Bits in the other, and the whistle around her neck.
“Awful late to be hanging around a dark alley doing nothing,” the man observed. He had his hands in his coat pockets.
“We could say the same to you,” Summer said.
“I’m not doing nothing,” the man said. “I noticed you two hiding here looking guilty and it made me curious. Where are your friends?”
“Who?” Summer asked innocently.
“The other two boys you were with. The Indian kid and the redhead.”
Pigeon turned and tried to run, but the man sprang forward adroitly and seized him by the collar of his jacket. He had a big hand with thick fingers and hairy knuckles. Summer saw Pigeon stuffing the Shock Bits into his mouth, so she ran from the alley and blew hard on the whistle twice.
The man released Pigeon and chased her down the wooden sidewalk, catching up in a few long strides. He grabbed her elbow harshly in one hand and pulled the whistle off over her head with the other. Crushing the plastic whistle between his thumb and forefinger, the man hauled Summer back toward the alley. By the light of the nearest streetlamp, she could see his face better. Square jaw with a firm chin. Heavy eyebrows. Hard eyes. He was gripping her by the same arm that held the Shock Bits. She had a Moon Rock in her free hand, but didn’t see how it would help her as long as he was clutching her.
Pigeon emerged from the alley just before they reached it, fingers sparking in the darkness. The man stopped just out of reach. “Shock me,