by Valerie L. Egar
Sheriff Joe continued talking into the radio, calling every deputy in the county to respond, while Melchinor lounged in the parking lot, preening his wings. I had to do something and do it fast.
I didn’t want to attract Melchinor’s attention. He might run over if he noticed Ziti or me. If Sheriff Joe thought I was in danger, Melchinor might get hurt. I needed to distract Sheriff Joe and get Melchinor out of the way.
I’ve got a pretty good pitching arm, so I picked up a few rocks. I tossed one lightly at the back window of the police cruiser to get Sheriff Joe to turn around. Then I pitched another at Melchinor, aiming for his tail. I didn’t want to hurt him, I just wanted to startle him, hoping he would fly away.
With a yelp and a huff of smoke, Melchinor took off. I ran up to Sheriff Joe’s car.
“Get back, Terry!” Sheriff Joe yelled. “There’s some kind of monster—”
Three cruisers pulled up, lights flashing, sirens blaring. Melissa, Mr. Gibbons, Ms. Quirkhorn, Jenna and Mom all came running. I saw a few porch lights flash on as people who had been asleep wakened to the commotion.
“It’s not safe out here!” Sheriff Joe shouted. “I want all of you to go home and stay there.”
I whispered to Melissa that I’d seen Melchinor and that he’d taken off towards Bridge Street. “The problem is, Sheriff Joe saw him, too.”
Melissa whispered the news to her father and then she and Jenna slipped away to try and catch Melchinor. Meanwhile, Ziti, excited by the noise, tugged at his leash and jumped up and down. A few sparks flew from his nose and caught Sheriff Joe’s attention. He stared at Ziti for a long time. “What kind of dog is that?”
“ All American shelter dog, ” I said. Mom nodded.
“He looks a lot like the thing that just flew away. I swear, I saw sparks come out of his nose!”
Sheriff Joe is a reasonable man, kind and well-respected. He’s also thorough, which is why everyone voted for him. I didn’t know what to say about the sparks, so I looked at Mr. Gibbons.
“Sheriff, can we speak to you alone?”
“I can make some coffee,” Mom volunteered.
“I can’t leave my deputies with a monster on the prowl.”
“Sheriff, I can explain that so-called ‘monster.’ Please, let the deputies go back to what they were doing. “
Sheriff Joe looked skeptical. “I know what I saw: a creature with wings, that huffed smoke and sneezed sparks. It looked dangerous.”
“But it isn’t,” said Mr. Gibbons.
“I’ll give you a half-hour of my time,” said Sheriff Joe. “After that, if I’m not convinced, I’m going to form a search party and capture it.”
To be continued….