We were the first ones back to the restaurant—but that was fine with me. One look at Blue Boyle standing near the Niagara River was enough to quench my curiosity about nature for a while. Harriet and I did nothing but sit on a small bench and hold hands tightly until some of the others came drifting back.
One of the first was Gil, who told us he’d been out on the back deck of the restaurant the entire time, just staring at the river and the Falls. “It’s just mesmerizing,” he said. “All that beauty and power and noise …”
“I know,” I said, trying desperately to sound normal so that he would not see the terror that I felt must be obvious in Harriet and me. “It’s almost as if the Falls gives you a truer idea of what nature really is. All that energy and power make us look even more feeble.”
“Blue Boyle doesn’t look feeble,” muttered Harriet.
“What?” asked Gil.
“Nothing,” I said hurriedly. “I think Harriet’s still hungry, and her stomach’s rumbling.”
Harriet looked at me as if I’d just said the dumbest thing she’d ever heard—and she was probably right.
“My mom went walking with the others,” Gil said. “I think I see some of them coming now.” He pointed down the trail where, indeed, I saw a group of students walking toward us. Behind them were Mr. Leon, Mr. Gisborne, and Mrs. Bysshe. And not far behind them were Blue Boyle and some other very large boys—though none nearly so large as Blue—certainly members of the football all-stars here for their reward.
Mrs. Bysshe broke from the group and moved more quickly toward us. She hugged Gil, who did not at all react the way lots of middle school kids do. He hugged his mother right back, tightly. Harriet and I exchanged a quick, emotional glance.
Soon the rest of them were there, and Mr. Leon worked his way toward Harriet and me while Mr. Gisborne checked his clipboard to make sure we were all there. And while Blue Boyle and the others stood just outside our group and seemed to be joking with one another about us. I know it just doesn’t seem possible, but from where I stood, both his teeth and his eyes looked bright yellow.
“That was quite a crew just behind us,” Mr. Leon said.
“Yes,” I said.
“One of them—the biggest one—said that he knew some of you.”
“Yes, he does.”
“He didn’t seem like the most … gentle of souls,” said Mr. Leon.
“No. Probably not,” I said.
“I’d keep a close eye on him,” said Mr. Leon.
“Not a bad idea,” I said. “Though I’d rather not look at him at all.”
That night, back in our hotel room, Harriet and I were doing our best not to talk about Blue Boyle and the others. So we visited some with Gil and his mother next door, then went back to the room. Harriet watched some old movie on television. It was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, a funny movie that didn’t have much of anything to do with the original Frankenstein story. Every now and then she would laugh loudly, and I would look up to see what was so funny. But I didn’t say anything. I was just glad to see Harriet in a lighter mood. While she was watching, I read some more from the books I’d brought along—about the Falls, about Trelawny.
Later, in bed in the dark, Harriet asked me to finish the story about Trelawny and Shelly’s heart. So I did.