Pete felt a sick feeling in his stomach as he let the screen door bang shut behind him. The night was dark and full of secrets, full of promise. He just didn't get it. If they liked each other so much that they were holding hands and kissing, then why didn't they just stay together? It could be like this forevertwo houses side by side, nice evening meals, model airplanes... adults were impossible to figure out.
Crickets chirruped and tiny animals stirred in the bushes.
Across the street, a pair of automobile headlights came on. They were aimed at the front of Paul's house.
Pete held up his hands to shield his right eye from the intensity.
He heard a deep, heavy engine rumble. He heard the crackle of tires on gravel as the car moved.
Pete moved behind the house, where it was thankfully dark.
He rounded the corner and got to the porch.
He stepped up onto the porch and walked up to the door.
He turned the worn round knob and pulled the door open.
He stepped inside and reached for the kitchen light.
He was not alone in the house.
Someone was walking around in the livingroomhe heard muffled footsteps, ragged breathingheavy, a man'sand saw the beam of a flashlight stabbing around.
Pete flicked the light switch. A second later he realized he should run.
The flashlight beam in the next room went out.
Pete stepped forward hypnotically, attracted by curiosity.
The kitchen light lit the livingroom in a half light.
A big man dressed in black, with a ski mask over his head, had Condor III under his arm and was about to turn away.
"Hey!" Pete yelled. "That's mine! Give that back!"
Pete ran and grabbed the model as the man tried to back away.
The man shoved Pete, sending him staggering toward the kitchen.
Then something hit Pete in the back, and everything went black.