“Will we make it to the ceremony on time?” Gabby asked as the bookmobile glided around a long curve to enter the New Jersey Turnpike.
“We should,” Mr. C responded. “As long as everything goes smoothly.”
“Smoothly?!” Jamal shook his head. “Nothing’s gone smoothly for us so far. Why would this drive be any different?”
“Jamal’s right,” Maya said. She glanced out the window nervously. “I think we should be going faster.”
“Haste makes waste,” Mr. C said, trying to sound as if he hadn’t a care in the world.
“No need to race.” Simon looked at his phone. “The Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge is 64.4 miles from New Brunswick. If we drive at this speed” –Simon punched some keys on his phone– “we’ll arrive with 39 minutes to spare.”
“You don’t understand.” Maya’s voice was nervous as she pointed out the window. “Look!”
All of the Trackers followed the direction of Maya’s finger.
“Holy red ruby!” Chelsea blurted out.
“You can say that again,” said Coop. “I think I lost my appetite.”
“What’s going on back there?” Mr. C asked. “Should I stop?”
“No!” the Trackers shouted together. “Keep driving! And fast!”
A chorus of voices tried to explain what had upset them.
“I-i-it’s back,” Maya began. “A-a-and i-i-i-”
“It’s following us!” Simon shouted he was so impatient to explain what they had seen. A giant, swirling, dark cloud was swooping along behind the bookmobile and gaining on it fast. It was like the dark, cloudy shape in the flock of birds down in Cape May and the cloud that had appeared and disappeared in the Pine Barrens. Only this one was bigger and seemed to be growing bigger and darker the closer it got to the bookmobile. “And it looks very angry,” Jamal said.