Janna could not stop thinking about the dragon for the rest of the week. And the more she thought about it, the more she expected to see a dragon walking up the street. In fact, the idea of dragons even existing seemed very normal, just as normal as a cat or a dog. Then the “accidents” started happening. On the last day of school, Janna’s gym teacher decided to have a Super Run: 50 laps around the gym. Janna was having a bad day. At lunch, a boy pushed her down. She had an overdue library book with a $3.00 fine. And on the way home, her shoe came untied and she tripped over it. She walked into the garden as soon as she got home. At least it’s the last day of school, Janna thought, carefully picking her way around her mother’s prize tomatoes. The next day, her gym teacher’s wife phoned to say that her husband had suddenly come down with the flu. Janna remembered muttering, “Curse you,” while he was announcing the 50 laps, but curses don’t really work. That afternoon, the neighbors phoned to ask if Janna knew where their son was. Their son was the one who shoved Janna. No, they hadn’t seen him, why? Apparently, the kid had disappeared that night. Janna walked out to the garden after lunch and was surprised to see her mother staring, horrified, at her tomatoes. As Janna approached, her mother rounded on her. “Did you do this?” she asked sharply. “Do what?” Janna was shocked as she finally saw what her mother had been so angry about. Huge, clawed tracks had trampled the tomatoes, right over Janna’s footprints from the day before. “Mom,” Janna said seriously, “do you really think that my feet are that big?” Then she went to get the mail. There was a letter for her. Or rather, there was a manila envelope that weighed a few pounds for her. Inside was a flat chunk of stone with words carved into it. It said:
Sorry about the tomatoes. I should have told Jalure to be more careful. Please come to the edge of the forest tonight. I’ll explain everything then. By the way, that kid was delicious.
Oh boy, someone had eaten the bully. Janna’s mom was going to the grocery store that night, she would be able to slip out. But who were these guys, and how did they know who Janna was?