Norah McClintock presents...

Robyn Hunter Mysteries

You Can Run

Trisha Hanover is a girl with issues. Whenever she can’t handle something, she runs away. But this time, something’s different, and Robyn feels responsible — in a moment of anger, she was mean to Trisha. Robyn decides to make things right by finding her. But life on the street is even more dangerous than Robyn thought, and Trisha is in serious trouble. Instead of helping the runaway, Robyn might find herself in over her head.

Scholastic Canada Ltd.
ISBN 0-439-95230-1 PBK
224 pages
Ages 12 to 14


Excerpt

"Have you ever run away, Robyn?"

"Of course not."

"Well, I have. Plenty of times. I usually ran when I was too afraid to be at home, you know, on account of the guy my mother was living with." Nick’s stepfather. The guy who liked to beat up on people. The guy who had given Nick the scar that sliced diagonally across the right side of his face. The guy who had made him an orphan. "I ran away and stayed gone as long as I could. And, Robyn? If anyone I knew had ever told my stepfather where I was . . ." He shook his head. "You don’t know what really goes on at Trisha’s house, just like you don’t know what really goes on at my aunt’s house."

Whoa, wait a minute! What did that mean?

"But you have to respect people and their privacy," he said. "You have to respect their reasons for doing what they do."

"What about her mother? She’s really sick."

"Her mother," he said, "not yours. That makes it her decision."

"Come on, Nick. You know Kenny. And I’m pretty sure Kenny knows something. You could help me find out." He shook his head.

"There’s another reason I need to find her, Nick. A personal reason."

That’s when I saw Beej. She entered the restaurant just as Nick turned his head to look out the window. She adjusted her ratty backpack on her shoulder and started toward our table, her eyes jumping from me to Nick and back to me again. As she reached out and touched Nick on the shoulder to get his attention, her eyes went to the photograph of Trisha that was lying on the table between us, and her hand froze in mid-air. She stared at the photo, her mouth hanging open a little in surprise. She kept staring at it. She knows her, I thought. Beej knows Trisha Carnegie. But how?

I remembered the first time I’d met Beej. She had been sitting outside the drop-in centre and someone had whistled. When I’d looked around, I’d seen someone I recognized — Kenny — on the other side of the street. He’d stood there for a moment, munching on a hot dog, and then he’d walked away. At the time, I hadn’t made a connection. It hadn’t even occurred to me that he might have been the person who had whistled. But right after Kenny had moved on, Beej had said that she had to go. What if she’d gone to meet someone?

Trisha knew Kenny.

Kenny had spent some time on the street.

Beej spent a lot of time on the street.

Did Beej know Kenny, too?

That day I’d met her, had she been dashing off to meet Kenny? Had his whistle been a signal to her?

Beej looked from the pictures of Trisha to Nick, who had just become aware that someone was standing behind him, but hadn’t yet seen who it was. He started to turn in his chair, but by then Beej was staring at Nick and shaking her head slowly, as if she didn’t want to believe whatever it was that she was thinking. The look she gave me made it clear that she held me responsible. She started to back away as Nick slid out of his chair.

"Beej?" he said. He looked confused when she continued to back away. He followed her gaze to the pictures on the table and his eyes went wide. "Hey, Beej—"

She turned and ran out of the restaurant. Nick got up and raced after her. They had both vanished by the time I got outside. I stood there and waited for ten, fifteen, twenty minutes, sure that Nick would come back. He didn’t.

From You Can Run: A Robyn Hunter Mystery. Text copyright © 2006 by Norah McClintock. All rights reserved.