You have decided to go outside!
Big Harry’s Diner? Why is that keychain in your pocket?
It feels familiar. Right, somehow. Should you go there?
Where is First Street? You walk to a corner and peer up at the sign. It says Fifth. First isn’t far. You take off at a run, but the next sign says Sixth. You turn around, run up the street again, and then reach Fourth, Third, Second, and finally, First!
Now you don’t know where to go. Where is Big Harry’s Diner?
You walk along the street. A man is talking on the phone. You’re afraid of him, so you rush by. Where is Big Harry’s?
Two women are talking another street down. They glance up at you. “Girlie, are you lost?” one asks. “This is a rough part of town for a sweet thing like you at this hour.”
They are considerably less frightening. “I’m trying to get to Big Harry’s Diner.”
“Oh, you’re going the wrong way.” She points back the way you came. “Go three streets that way. It’s on the other side of the road.”
“Thank you.” You dash away. Sure enough, after crossing several streets, you spot a big bright sign that reads “Big Harry’s Diner.”
You hope it has answers.
When you push through the door, a woman wearing an apron calls out. “Ava! Oh my gawd! It’s been forever!”
Before you can say anything, she envelopes you in a hug that smells familiar and comforting.
“Big Harry’s gonna be thrilled to see you!” She waves at a young man clearing a table. “Go get Harry!”
Soon, a large grizzly bear of a man emerges from a door in the back. He has a huge bushy beard. You almost recoil as he approaches, but then he hugs you, too. “Li’l Ava! So good seeing you!”
Your name must be Ava. You just now realize you didn’t know it until Harry said it.
But when Harry pulls back, his face is concerned. “Ava? What’s wrong? Is that blood on you? Did that boy hurt a hair on your head?”
“I don’t know where to go,” you say.
“Take her to her mother’s,” the woman says. “She’ll be safe there until they sort it out. Never figured Tucker to be the type to knock a girl around.”
“I’ll kill him if it’s true,” Harry says. “Let’s go get him.”
“Take her to her mother.” The woman is insistent. “She left her card when she came that time.”
Harry frowns. “Ava didn’t want to see her mother back when she worked here.”
“I didn’t?’’ Why wouldn’t I want my mother?
Harry shakes his head. “Not a wit. You hid from her, in fact. What happened tonight?”
“I woke up bleeding.”
Suddenly you wonder if you’ve done the right thing. Who hurt you, and who helped? It’s all so confusing.
Harry puts his arm around you. “I know where you live, and we have your mum’s address. I’ll take you anywhere you want to go. We’ll figure it out.”