MAD IN PURSUIT
Chapter 7 :: Maxey Is Trapped!
During school the next day, Maxey hardly paid any attention. She was so worried about Mr. Larue, the murders, and her friend Rose. She had tried to talk to her mom that morning but her mom rushed off.
After school, Maxey caught up with Rose walking down Ivanhoe.
"Hi, Ro. Can we play at your house again tonight?"
"Uh, sure, Max. I was just going to invite you. But we better sneak in by the fire escape, because my dad might be home. He don't like me bringing strangers around."
"I'm not a stranger!" Maxey laughed.
"Everybody's a stranger to my dad."
They reached Rose's house and the bottom of the fire escape. Rose taught Maxey how to swing herself up onto the ladder. Maxey tore a hole in her new tights, but she didn't worry because she was so excited to be investigating a murder - just like her mother.
After they played checkers for a while, Maxey said she had to go to the bathroom. Just as she had done the last time, she peeked downstairs to see if Pete Larue was home. He was.
Rose's mother was crying.
"If you don't shut up, woman, I'll have to kill you just like I killed Bald Billy and Fast Freddy Chapman. You and that sniveling little snot of a daughter."
Maxey gasped. She turned to run up the stairs, but tripped. Pulling herself to her feet, she prayed that Mr. Larue hadn't heard her.
"That was quick," Rose said.
"Uh, yeah... I guess. Maybe I better go home now. I got in trouble last time for coming home late."
Rose looked sad. "Okay, I'll see you tomorrow at school."
Suddenly, the door flew open. "What the hell is going on around here?" Mr. Larue bellowed. He glared at Maxey and the blotches on his face got redder. "What do you keep nosing around here for? What's your name?"
"M-M-M-Maxey Malloy. I-I-I-"
"Malloy, eh? You're not related to that police detective, are you - Maggie Malloy?"
Maxey couldn't seem to find any words. Finally, she blurted out, "I have to go home now." Then she ran past him down the hall.
"Git back here, you little sack of garden worms!" he shouted. She heard his footsteps behind her.
Instead of racing down the stairs and outside to safety, Maxey ran into the nearest room and hid behind the door. Mr. Larue's heavy feet pounded past the door. Safe! For the moment. The room was a bedroom and next to the bed was a phone. Hooray!
She dialed her house. Little Tom answered.
"Tommy, put mom or dad on the line."
"Tommy, listen to me: is mommy or daddy there?"
"You better get home, Maxey or you'll be in trouble."
"Shut up and just get mom or dad for me."
"You're in big trouble..."
Maxey felt like screaming, but she whispered instead. "This is an emergency, you little runt. Who's there with you?"
"Gramps is. He's watching the ballgame."
"Pleeeeeze put him on the phone."
Tom let the phone drop and there was a long, long pause. Over the beating of her heart, Maxey heard Mr. Larue yelling at Rose.
Rose was crying. She said, "Leave her alone. She didn't do no harm. She's my friend."
"Maxey!" She jumped. It was her grandfather's voice, booming over the phone. "What's this about an emergency?"
"Oh, grampa, I'm so scared. I'm at Rose's house and her father is Pete Larue and he killed Bald Billy and Fast Frankie and he's been hitting Rose, I know it, and he's going to come after me if I don't get out of here. Please tell mom to get here fast."
"Now, that's ridiculous, Maxine Sara. You get home pronto or your fanny will be in a sling."
"No, you've got to believe me. I'm at 6578 Ebony Court. Please, please, please, tell mom!"
"Ebony Court? What are you doing in that neighborhood, young lady? How many times have we told you–?"
The line went dead.
Slowly, Maxey turned around. There was Mr. Larue, with the phone line pulled out of the wall.