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Searching for a reason

Abby started to run and her father followed. As they ran, Abby spotted two of the ... chupacabras leaving the mall.

They were leaving! I heaved a sigh of relief, sat down and began thinking. There was something bothering me about the situation. Most animals only attack and kill for a purpose, so why were the chupacabras killing for no apparent reason, and why had humans been killed?

I tried to sum up the situation. According to the legend, chupacabras have red eyes, wings, long spikes all over their bodies, smell awful, live in underground caves and kill for food. I knew this much from my research, but what I didn't know was their temperament. Were chupacabras aggressive or only attack when threatened? What threatens chupacabras?

All these questions and more buzzed around in my head. However, the most important question I needed answered at the moment was who should I turn to.

There was always Dad, but I had reviewed all the information he had. Jose and Rick, employees of Busch Gardens, were both dead. Dave, who also worked at the theme park, had seemed suspicious, but he, too, could be deceased. I recalled hearing my father mention the names Sgt. Laborda and Capt. Trillhorn early on in the case _ perhaps they would have helpful information.

I jumped as my father placed a hand on my shoulder. "Come on, Abby, let's go home."

As we left the mall, he said, "Bullface didn't remember a thing, so I sent him home with a "mysterious' big headache." I wasn't surprised, and laughed uneasily. We drove home in silence.

The next morning I awoke, still a bit shaky from the previous night. "Come on, Abby!" my father hollered from the car. I hurried out. Dad and I sped along the highway.

"Abby," he began, "I have to see Capt. Trillhorn today, and it looks like I'll have to take you, but ... "

"Great!" I exclaimed.

My father eyed me curiously and continued, "But you'll have to stay out of his way; a police station is no place for kids." We pulled up to the station and were met at the door by Sgt. Laborda. The short man led us to the smoke-filled office of Capt. Trillhorn.

"Sit," the captain commanded my father.

Sgt. Laborda pulled me out of the room and shut the door. I seized the opportunity and began to fish for information.

"What do you know about the chupacabras?"

To my surprise, he led me to a dark filing room and handed me two files red-letter labeled Discard; Shred Immediately. With that the sergeant left.

I made my way over to a bench and started to read. In the first file there was an interview with someone claiming to have seen a chupacabras. The other file held a bunch of clippings. I had read most of them. They all said that chupacabras did not attack humans. There was also a clipping from a science magazine, and it stated that there were no chupacabras on the Earth.

The last clipping I saw puzzled me. It was about underground caves beneath Busch Gardens and the closing of the brewery. What did that have to do with chupacabras?

As I finished reading the article, I noticed a part had been underlined. It quoted an anonymous, former employee of the brewery as saying, "They'll be sorry they ever closed this brewery!"

Holding the files in my hands, things began to make sense, but why had these files been discarded, and why had Sgt. Laborda given them to me?

update

X-press presents a summer series by young authors. Each author wrote his or her chapter using the chapter or chapters written before them. Anything can happen!

Although Tampa Bay locations are used, the story is fictional. Any resemblance to real humans or chupacabras is purely coincidental.

Last week _ Mooby, the flying chupacabras (who can also talk!), discovers Abby and her father hiding behind the tool box and chases them to University Mall. Abby's father invokes Mooby's wrath by grabbing a chupacabras egg before he chases them out of Busch Gardens.

Next week _ Questions for the accused.

About the author: Mary Ottinger

Age: 12

School: starting seventh grade at Tampa Preparatory.

Siblings and pets: a sister, Leah, 9; an Iguana, Apollo; a dog, Sydney; and a cat, Baggie.

Hobbies: tennis, reading, writing, swimming, knee-boarding and other water sports.

Favorite author: Brian Jacques and Jostein Gaarder.

Ambition: to enter the medical profession.

Previous writing experience: Poynter Institute Writers Camp '95, numerous articles published in the Times' Alligator Express, winner of the Alligator Express non-rhyming poetry contest of fall '96, school newspaper editor.

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