“We saw it and then we got called away.”
What she didn’t say: “You be careful. Night’s no time to be out.”
Erika had overheard enough about those burnings, and they were girls her age, sometimes boys but more often girls, and sometimes the disappeared was someone from school. They’d learned to do the math and keep their mouths shut. The teachers certainly never talked about it. Someone would be gone and then the cheery surface would close over them and it would be, “Turn to page 68 for the reading.”
Sunday excerpts in June come from Erika and the Vampire, available in July.