Cat’s Mystery – the beginning of a story of the Aunt Family

This is entirely because of the way Stone has been shaping up in my mind
There were any number of mysteries to Cat’s new school.

Some of them, she’d been expecting: from things she’d heard, and from the last two times she’d changed schools, she knew that every school had its own slang, and that every locale – city, town, village – had its own places that you couldn’t find on a map. The Quarry. The Old Grocery Store. Down by the Tracks. This one, Demville-Latta, was pretty rural, a good thirty-forty minute drive to the nearest so-called city, so in addition to needing a Demville-to-English dictionary, you pretty much needed a car to get to any of these mystery places.

Her parents were not yet convinced of this necessity, which meant that her mystery-detangling was pretty much limited to school and the bus, at least until either her parents gave in or she made some friends with cars.

Among the other mysteries were Track, really? This school’s only good team sport is track? and What the heck is going on with the Cunningham-Bauer-Talbot-Green-etc. family? That family encompassed two teachers, a bus driver, and, at last count, at least ten students, nine of whom rode her bus. They were the closest-knit group of cousins she’d ever seen – and yet sometimes they seemed just like any other family, arguing and sulking and teasing each other.

She’d been warned on day one not to “mess with” that family. That, of course, only intrigued her more.

That would be a nut she would take time to crack. Not too much time, of course, because, after all, she didn’t know how long she’d be here, but enough time that she didn’t come off creepy, stalkerish, or needy.

(By this point, she had how-to-deal-with-new-schools down to an artform. The problem was, new schools didn’t really have how-to-deal-with-new-kids down to anything but a mess.)

The mystery she decided to focus on first was much simpler, although it touched tangentially on that Cunningham-Bauer-Talbot-Green-etc. family mess, in that Miss Cunningham seemed somewhow to be involved.

It was: What is Mrs. Realle doing on lunch break, and why does it seem like Miss Cunningham and Mr. Fentner are involved?

It wasn’t so much that she thought it was anything bad, it was just that she was curious, and she learned far more about a place by sneaking around than she ever did by just going to classes.

So she slipped out of PE and went down to the girls’ room instead of to the cafeteria, which put her in the right place to walk back into that hall with teachers’ offices, the maintenance closet, and an abandoned classroom with 50’s-era science equipment. She slipped into the classroom, hid behind one of the giant lab tables, and waited.

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