The Case of the Missing Lightning Bat: An Evan Sinclair Mystery
Evan Sinclair sat hunched alone in his usual spot at a little round table in the library with his nose in a book and his salami and cheese sandwich hidden in his lap under the table. His earbuds blasted Rascal Flatt’s “These Days,” playing on his favorite country music channel. Music was the only thing that helped him get through the day. Every few minutes, he glanced up to be sure Miss Harlin, the school librarian, wasn’t looking and sneaked a bite of the sandwich. His dad must have made his lunch that morning because salami and cheese was his dad’s favorite. It wouldn’t be Evan’s choice, but his dad was always quick to tell him that he either ate what he made him or he could do without.
Technically, students weren’t allowed to eat in the library. Miss Harlin was notorious for banishing students for such an offense. Most of the students called her Miss “Harwitch.” Luckily, she liked Evan.
At the table adjacent to his, Angelica Tyler hunched behind an oversized illustrated book on astronomy to hide her own lunch. She didn’t have to worry. Miss Harlin liked her too, but it was hard to break the rules right out in the open. In fact, Angelica had introduced him to his new favorite lunch spot. Angelica was heavyset with bright red curly hair that perfectly framed her freckled face and, like Evan, stuck out like a sore thumb in the school cafeteria and preferred the solitude of the library.
Evan was used to being alone. He often found it difficult to relate to his classmates, especially after the horror called middle school began. He still hadn’t gotten over the devastating incident that occurred just before he began the 7th grade. Every day felt like an out of body experience with him being a witness helplessly watching the nightmare play out. Evan often fantasized that he was an alien and his parents had just found him and decided to raise him as their own. He was just waiting for his alien superpowers to manifest. Big Momma, his grandmother, often said he had difficulty socializing because he was an old soul. He wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but he had come to believe it was not a compliment.
Evan smiled at Angelica as he watched her discreetly plop a cheese and cracker into her mouth. She started to smile back when her jaw suddenly dropped in shock. Evan had turned around to follow her gaze when his earbuds were abruptly ripped from his ears and a loud voice said, “Evan.”
Evan jumped and furrowed his brow at the lanky boy standing over him with the deliberately-unkempt stringy brown hair that lopped over his chestnut eyes. “Jayden? Umm… Hey!” Evan couldn’t believe his eyes. This had to be a prank.
Angelica’s mouth fell open and Evan saw small yellow chunks in her mouth that she had yet to swallow. Her look of shock was warranted. Jayden Stevens was by far the most popular kid in the entire school. So why would he be in the library during lunchtime with the geeks?
Jayden raised his eyebrows, recognizing the song spewing out of Evan’s earbuds, which were now resting on the desk. “Rascal Flatts, huh?” He snickered. “You’re the only black bruh I know who likes country music.”
Evan wasn’t sure how to respond. “We live in Texas. A lot of people like country music.” Evan was accustomed to comments like that. He lived in the western suburbs of Fort Worth where there was very little diversity, and with his being in advanced placement, he was often the only African-American in his classes, so he was often called out for doing or liking things that African-Americans supposedly didn’t.
“I don’t.” Jayden cocked his head to the side.
“So what brings you in here?” Evan asked still unsure of why Jayden was in the library, and even more perplexing, why he was talking to him. Other than spewing insults at him, Jayden never usually noticed his existence.
Jayden looked behind him and mussed his hair. “Thor was stolen. I need you to get it back.” His voice rose with each word.
“Shhhh.” Miss Harlin shot them her famous ‘don’t make me come over there’ look.
“Thor?” Evan had no idea what he was talking about.
“Yeah, Thor, my lucky lightning bat.” Jayden said brazenly as if everyone should know what it is.
The game is afoot… Read more about Evan’s adventures in upcoming blogs and in the complete novel coming out soon.