Outside the open apartment gate a small pack of children threw rocks at passing cars. The sun’s darting glare off their targets made the game challenging. So far no one had managed to hit anything.
Unless they picked up something bigger, like a brick or a piece of the crumbling sidewalk, it wouldn’t matter if they scored a hit. The landscaping pebbles they lobbed into the street were not going to do any real damage. But, she thought after watching the game for several minutes, that didn’t seem to be the point. It was just something to do.
Sabella leaned half out a parked car down at the corner and wished she had something to do.
It’d been an hour since her teacher had disappeared. Now, lulled by the hazy afternoon sun, she yawned like a cat and arched her back into a stretch. The plastic and metal of the car door radiated heat under her arm. If she wasn’t careful she’d fall asleep. Sabella rested her head against her arm.
She almost didn’t hear the footsteps slapping the sidewalk. Sabella snapped her head up. Two teenagers were coming down the street towards her. Sabella resisted the urge to slip out before they reached her, he’d told her to wait.
A baggy tshirt, ragged shorts, and curvy brown legs appeared at her window. A moment later a girl’s face bent down. “Told you there was someone in here.” The long hair around the stranger’s face was the color of dull brass and fried from peroxide.
Sabella froze, staring back at the girl ogling in at her.
The boy paused behind the car. “Sara, dejala sola.” He was older than the girl, probably older than Sabella too. She could hear it in his voice.
“I’m not bothering her Lucas.” The girl, Sara said. Her eyes were so dark they glittered black. “Hi.”
Sabella pressed her back into the seat, leaning away. “Hi.”
Hands on knees, Sara swept her gaze around the inside of the sedan. She was either oblivious or uncaring to Sabella’s discomfort at the close proximity. “Does he just make you wait here?”
“Sara.” The warning came again from Lucas. Sabella could see him better now. He and Sara shared the same dark eyes. An older brother, she thought. Lucas spat some quick spanish that Sabella didn’t know. His sister made a face at him but didn’t respond.
“So, you have to wait in the car while the grown ups talk?” Sara asked. The question sounded condescending. Sabella frowned, even if it was true.
“I’m watching it.” She lied.
“Sounds boring.” Sara said.
Sabella forced herself to shrug. It was boring. She didn’t know if Sara had been one of the older kids throwing rocks, but that didn’t seem much better.
Sara sent a challenging look at her older brother. “Wanna come hang out with us?” She asked Sabella. The question got the reaction she was looking for. Lucas’ eyes widened considerably and he adopted the stance of someone much older.
“Doing what?” Sabella asked. She should have just said no, and then told them to leave her alone.
Sara shrugged, pushing her badly dyed hair behind a shoulder. “Stuff. Not sitting in a car alone.”
Under Sara’s smug look and Lucas wariness, Sabella thought for a long moment. He would be angry. But he was usually hours. Sabella could follow Sara and her brother around, see what they did, for a little while. It would be better than falling asleep in the car. “For a little bit.”
Sara stepped back to make room on the sidewalk. “You’re his apprentice?”
No one had called it that before. Sabella shrugged, Sara laughed, and Lucas looked worried. The three hiked up the street to where the younger kids had finally tired of their game.
Late, and to my own robbery. No matter, the important thing is that my first line has been stolen by a most nefarious ring of thieves, see all of them at the Legal Theft Project.