“Gram!” Kat screamed. “I need you!”
“Kat, what's wrong?” I shrieked into the phone.
“My car . . .. . . . somebody blew up my car!”
I panted, clutching my phone. “Where are you? Are you hurt?”
Her quiet moment seemed to extend to an hour. The clack-clacking I heard sounded like teeth chattering.
“Kat, tell me!”
“I’m okay. I’m at school.”
“I’ll be there.”
“Gram, I . . .. . . .” She exhaled heavily and then seemed able to speak again. “I couldn’t get Dad. The police are here.”
I sprinted to the Mustang, talking. “Kat, I’m on my way.” I barreled off in the car. “Tell me what happened.”
More of her heavy breaths sounded before she spoke. “I got here about twenty minutes ago. Parked where I usually do. In the lot. I came in the building and was going to take my first exam, and . . .”
“I’m with you, baby.” I scooted to the edge of my car seat and shoved the accelerator. “And then what? What happened, Kat?”
“We heard a loud noise. Thought the building was exploding. Everybody started running.” She breathed hard. “People screamed to look out. Then somebody yelled, ‘Kat, it’s your car!’”
“Smoke was all over the parking lot.”
Traffic made me brake. Come on, come on, I urged drivers. “Kat, I'm heading there and—”
“I have to go. The police want to talk to me again.”
“I’ll be there in a minute. Hold on, sweetheart, you hear me?”
The clog of vehicles seemed like sludge on the freeway. I veered off to an exit. City streets slowed me down, but I willed myself to be there with Kat. What happened? Who’d want to harm her? Why?
Her little secondhand car surely wouldn’t attract anyone’s envy. Roger had bought that car two years ago. He’d fine-tuned the motor and knocked out the body’s kinks. Kat’s summer jobs at the rec center helped pay for it. She kept that Chevy in shape with weekly washings and much polishing. She was so good at polishing, I thought, feeling a tense smile when I considered her skills. But who’d want to hurt the car? Or Kat?
Grim thoughts made my teeth clench. Did this have anything to do with Grant Labruzzo’s murder? Was he murdered?