Skylar’s Porta-Detective Kit

The rectangular container actually held a miniature version of my most important equipment: a penlight, small magnifying glass, rolled-up measuring tape, and a square of soft wax for taking impressions. There was also a smaller fingerprinting set called a Uniprinter, since it was just big enough to take one print. It contained a tiny vial of powder, a one-inch square stamp pad, and matching tablet of paper. Unzipping the plastic pouch inside my notebook, I checked to make sure I had everything I needed for class. Pen, pencil, eraser, gum eraser, ruler. Put my notebook and Porta-detective kit in my backpack and I was good to go.

Sort of. Thinking about going to Gwendolyn’s school had me worried. I didn’t know my way around Malibu Middle, and I didn’t have a single friend there either. How would I find my classroom? What if the Malibu locals were stuck-up and picked on me? Why couldn’t I just stay home at my aunt’s house and investigate the secret spot I’d found behind the gate in the backyard?

I put some quarters in my change purse in case there was a snack machine, and double-checked my backpack to make sure I had everything I needed.

After I picked out a cute pair of shorts and a pink top, I set out one of my new bras. All of my bras were new since I hadn’t been wearing them for very long. Unfortunately, they were also the smallest possible size. I painted my toenails pink to match my striped flip-flops and set my thongs down next to my outfit.

Feeling a little hyper like I couldn’t sleep quite yet, I thumbed the combination on my detective kit locks and opened it. I pulled my pink Super-Zoom binoculars out of their pocket and knelt down in front of the window. My aunt’s words echoed in my brain: Stay out of the hills at night.

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Excerpt From: Carrie Cross. “Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills.” iBooks.