It was about two blocks later that Brad called from behind, “Do we even know where Prospect is?”
“Uhh,” I said.
Jeremy looked back and cursed under his breath. I almost yelled at him for cussing, but Eliot
interrupted my train of thought.
“We could get a map from my car.”
Brad laughed. “You mean your grandparent’s car.”
Eliot huffed. “But still. I’m the only one who ever drives it anymore.”
“Fine,” I said.
After we’d gotten the map and looked up Prospect, we found that it was about half a mile west of Jeremy and I’s house.
“You’d think they’d be more original in their hiding,” Brad said. “It’d make it more fun.”
Jeremy socked him in the jaw for that and Brad stumbled back, shocked at the anger in Jeremy’s usually calm eyes.
“Don’t you ever say that looking for my lost sister is funny again,” Jeremy yelled at him. Then he stalked off to his bike and pulled it up from the lawn.
“Um.” Eliot and I stared at Brad’s split lip and he scowled. “That was a cheap shot.” He whipped the blood away with his wrist and shrugged as though it didn’t hurt.
I followed Jeremy and got on my bike. Before I followed him down the street, I glanced back at Brad.
He waved me off and got on Eliot’s pegs, ready to go. “Whatever,” he muttered.
To say the least, I was glad Jeremy socked him one. He’d deserved it. For one, he was out of line.
For another, I’d wanted to hit him for a long time. It bugged me that he’d think that looking for my missing little sister was fun. I was terrifying, to tell the truth. Every turn down a different street, I half-expected her to be there, only strewn to the side of the road, dead from being hit by the nearest car.
I tried my best to shake the disturbing images from my mind as we rode toward Prospect. What were we supposed to find when we got there, anyway? Her?
No such luck.
When we got to 121 Prospect, we came upon an empty, weed-infested lot.
“Well.” Eliot stepped into the calf-deep tangled grass and looked around. “That was worth every back-breaking pedal with Lard, here, riding on the back pegs.”
Brad came up behind him, ready to tackle, when I sighed. “But she wouldn’t lead us here for nothing . . . right?”
“If that was even what she meant to do,” Jeremy said.
“True,” Brad piped up. “We could have been wrong from the start.”
Eliot tramped through the lot, looking at the ground, or what he could see of it, the whole time.
“Maybe she left a clue?”
“Start looking,” I told the other two, agreeing with Eliot.
We combed through the lot several times before flopping down on the sidewalk, ready to give up.
“There’s got to be a better way to do this,” Brad said.
Jeremy nodded. “You’d think a girl would leave easy clues to find!”
“Obviously, she isn’t as stupid as you thought she was, Jeremy,” I retorted coldly. Just because she was a girl and his sister didn’t mean he had to belittle her.
Then something at the edge of the field caught my eye. There was a systematic patch of weeds missing.
I scrambled to it on my knees I was so excited and leaned over it. It resembled a rectangle, but in dirt, the weeds pulled away from the ground to reveal the dir beneath. The rectangle formed an arrow with the two meeting sidewalks on Prospect and McKinley Ave.
“Found it!” I pumped my fist in the air and whirled on my knees, ready to see the great sign from God that my sister had meant for me. But . . .
There was little more than a STOP sign.
Jeremy was crouched beside me now, staring at the arrow. “How disappointing,” he muttered, still looking the ground but knowing that my elation had been completely deflated.
“Well that stinks,” Eliot said, now on his knees in the grass beside the arrow. “It doesn’t point to anything—”
“Except the STOP sign,” Brad finished for him.
I stood and went to the sign—walked a full circle around it. “Nothing,” I said.
“We could have been wrong from the start,” Brad pointed out. “Would she really lead us to an empty field and then expect us to find this,” he motioned to the arrow, “that points at a random sign?”
Jeremy stood and huffed aloud, his eyes still on the arrow. “Well . . . yeah.”
I nodded. “The contact in her phone. That’s me, you guys. The god Jupiter was called Jove sometimes.”
They all stared at me.
“Then why,” Eliot finally said,” did you not tell us this before?”
I shrugged. “Thought it was stupid to say. That’d she’d want me to find her, I guess. Since she’s been hiding from me since the . . .”
Suddenly, Jeremy dropped to his knees by the sign post and started pawing around at the base, digging away at the dirt and weeds.
“What are you doing, weirdo?” Brad nudged him with his foot, but Jeremy kept working.
“Help me here, man,” he muttered as he dug, his fingers already filthy. I got down on my knees again and started at the other side of the pole. Eliot and Brad just stood where they were, staring at us like we were out of our minds.
“What are you even looking for,” Eliot asked, his voice on the edge of a you’re-insane-and-I-knew-it-all-along tone.
Jeremy sighed and sat back. “The other day, Cam mentioned that she’d gotten enough money for a costume, but that she didn’t want to spend it on a costume.”
“And you think she buried it,” Brad asked, crouching down beside us.
Jeremy shrugged. “Pretty much.”
“By a STOP sign,” Eliot said.
I grinned. “Some treasure hunt.”