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He’d been found in an abandoned building when he was days old.  His mom gone, and his whole litter, alone.  Two had died by the time the shelter found them.   And once we finally convinced Ivy’s parents that they must—absolutely had to—adopt one of the puppies, Kermit was the only one left.  He had black and white shaggy fur and spots.  The skinniest little body you’ve ever seen—we could see his ribs, even.  Huge, fat paws that told us he’d grow up to be enormous.  And he did.  Once this kid on the street mistook him for a donkey.  I couldn’t believe he was gone.

Despite what Ivy did, and despite the girl she’d become, I had to help Kermit.

A hundred dollars was a lot of money, but I had it.  No way could I refuse. 

Still, reading the note gave me the chills.  What kind of person would do something like this?  No one I wanted to meet. 

“I don’t think you should go alone,” I found myself saying.

Ivy’s eyebrows shot up.  “But I have to.  The note says—”

“I know what the note says, but think about it.  It could be dangerous.  What if they try and kidnap you?  Are you sure you can’t tell your parents?”

She shook her head.  “There’s no way.” 

“Well, what about my parents?  They’d help, I bet.”

“No, they’ll just invoke the parent-code and call my parents.  You can’t say a word.”  Ivy’s cold blue eyes bore into me, letting me know she meant business.  She spoke carefully, urgently.  “I need to get Kermit back and I need to listen to this person’s instructions.  So are you going to help me or what?”

I looked down at the note and then back up at Ivy.

I didn’t answer right away, but I knew not to argue. 

Once Ivy made up her mind there was no going back.