My mind aswirl, I ran back to the hotel, peeked into the lobby, made sure Mr. Gisborne wasn’t looking me way (he wasn’t), and slipped back into line with Harriet and Gil. They both looked at me anxiously. I said nothing.
“Well?” asked Harriet. “What did you see?”
I decided not to tell her everything. “I think it’s the same bus,” I said.
“The same bus?” asked Gil.
“The same one that was at the McDonald’s in Erie,” I said.
“Is that a bad thing?” Gil asked.
“A very bad thing,” Harriet and I said in unison.
I guess it’s time for a little geography lesson here. Maybe not all that interesting, I know, but you kind of need to “picture” things before I tell you about all that happened during that day we arrived—and the following day.
Just before the Niagara River begins its majestic fall, Goat Island splits the river in half—and then little Luna Island splits one of the halves yet again. So three smaller waterfalls compose Niagara Falls. The two parts divided by Luna spill over what are called “American Falls” and the much smaller “Bridal Veil Falls.” The much larger, more dramatic and beautiful part (on the other side of Goat Island), cascades over “Horseshoe Falls,” which is actually in Canada. (Again—all three falls, combined, are “Niagara Falls.”) All things are complicated in the region by the USA–Canada border, which pretty much is the Niagara River for a ways. The Rainbow Bridge over the river connects the two countries, and everyone knows that the more dramatic and famous views are on the Canadian side.
Our hotel was on the American side, right across from Goat Island, which has both pedestrian and vehicle bridges connecting it the mainland, and there are hiking paths around the island. I think that’s enough for you to get the picture.
When Harriet and I got upstairs to our room—which had a wonderful view of Goat Island and the river—she didn’t wait another second. “Okay, Vickie. You’re lying to me.”
“Well … maybe not lying—but you’re not telling me everything, are you?” She stared at me so hard I almost laughed: She looked a bit like a stern teacher accusing a kid of stealing a juice box at lunch. But there was nothing really to laugh about.
“You’re right,” I said.
“You never could lie to me,” she said. “I can see right through you, you know? You’re like a window, Vickie. Did you know that?”
I didn’t know that. And I also didn’t think it was true. Well, it was partially true: Harriet could see through me. No one else could—except Father, of course. Some of the time.
“Tell me about that bus, Vickie.”
I told her.
And Harriet, a picture now of pure fright, stared at me. “Blue Boyle is in this hotel!” she cried.
“I’m afraid so.”
And we stood there, two girls staring across a room while the Niagara River thundered below us like Fear itself, risen to the surface, threatening to sweep us both away.