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The crankiest neighbour on our block, Mr. Thompson, ran across the street wearing a ratty T-shirt and pajama bottoms. He waved at the kids to run away from Zhu.
He shouted, “Danger! Beast! Away!”
Kyle jumped in front of Zhu. “She’s not going to hurt anyone.”
Dark storm clouds began to gather over my house. Zhu was scared.
Mrs. Evans joined Mr. Thompson on the lawn. She scolded the kids. “Get away from that thing immediately. You don’t know where it’s been.”
Other frightened adults arrived. Zhu huffed and squeaked and shrank back against the house. The clouds opened up, and rain poured down.
I tugged on Zhu’s leg. “Come inside. You’ll be safe there.”
She backed through the front door as the rain soaked everyone and everything. A few of adults grabbed their kids and pulled them away. Kyle tried to talk sense to Mr. Thompson and Mrs. Evans, but neither grownup was listening. They stared and pointed at Zhu squeezing through the doorway. Kyle gave up and followed me into the house.
I closed the door. Now hail pelted the roof. Zhu shivered in the living room. I hoped the storm might drive the mob away and let her calm down.
“Why were they so angry?” Zhu asked.
“You did nothing wrong,” Kyle said. “They weren’t used to seeing a dragon before and it scared them.”
I grabbed a towel from the hall closet so Kyle could dry off. Zhu hid behind a couch. His hands cupped against the picture window, Mr. Thompson was spying on us. I pulled the curtains closed and Zhu came out. I headed to my bedroom to change. I found a T-shirt in my drawer that might fit Kyle and headed back to the living room.
Zhu curled up like a sleeping puppy on the Oriental carpet while Kyle stroked the back of her head. He had come a long way from being petrified of Zhu. I was glad that he warmed up to her. The sound of rain had let up and the fragrance of jasmine tea hung in the air.
I tossed Kyle my shirt. “This should fit,” I said.
He stared at me, scrunching his face. “You want me to wear girl’s clothes?”
“You want to be wet all day?”
“No,” he muttered as he slipped into the kitchen to change.
Zhu lifted her head. “I’m sorry I caused all this trouble.”
“It wasn’t you. Some people are afraid of new things. They aren’t ready for you, yet.”
“I think it might be better if I returned home.”
I peeked through the curtains. My stomach twisted into a knot. A white van was parked in front. The side of the vehicle read, “Animal Control.”