Running on the Cracks

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Authors: Julia Donaldson
Tags: Fiction
when she was just the doughnut thief. Anyone would do the same – specially when there might be a reward.
    And that wasn’t the only thing. What reallymade Finlay’s blood boil was the way Leo treated him like a ten-year-old kid brother. Like yesterday, when the President and those others were round at Mary’s, drinking and smoking. Leo acted as if Finlay would instantly become an alcoholic just through having a few swigs of beer.
    ‘I’ll show her,’ thought Finlay. Yes, he’d show her that he wasn’t just a little kid who couldn’t get anything right.
    But maybe that was true. The only thing he had got right seemed to be alerting the world to the fact that Leo was in Glasgow. No, that wasn’t all: he had tracked her down too, hadn’t he? He was a good detective, just like Mary said. Well, now he would prove it to Leo too – he would track down her gran and granddad for her. That would wipe the haughty big-sister look off her face. He would make a start now!
    But how? Leo had a list of all the Glasgow Chans, and Finlay wondered about going back and getting it. No, better to keep it a surprise.Where had she got that list anyway? It must be photocopied from the phone directory.
    The library was just across the road from the bus stop. They had phone books in there, and a photocopier. Quick thinking, Sherlock, Finlay said to himself. (He secretly liked Mary’s nickname for him.)
    ‘That’s not a guide dog, is it?’ said the librarian. For a split second Finlay considered pretending to be blind, but his life was already quite complicated enough without that. He tied an indignant Zigger to the hook outside the swing door of the library.
    When he came back out with the photocopied pages of Chans, the dog was straining and barking furiously at a little girl in a lilac hooded top. The girl was clutching her mother and refusing to walk past Zigger and enter the building.
    ‘Sorry, I think he thinks you’re a burglar,’ said Finlay. He untied the dog and pulled him away.
    Zigger was surprisingly docile on the bus – at first, anyway. He sat at Finlay’s feet, and when a woman sat down next to them and patted the dog’s silky head, Finlay felt a pride akin to ownership.
    Now was a chance to look at the Chan list. No less than three of them were in Geddes Street, which Finlay was sure was very near the Chinese supermarket. He should be able to check out numbers 6, 42 and 59, and still have time to do the shopping.
    The woman got off and a man in a knitted hat sat down in her place. Immediately, Zigger started to growl and bare his teeth.
    ‘Watch it,’ said the man, edging away.
    ‘He’s just trying to make friends,’ said Finlay unconvincingly. The bus was slowing down, and he added, ‘We’re getting off here anyway, aren’t we, Zigger?’ though it wasn’t in fact his stop.
    He cursed not just Leo but Mary as he walked along Sauchiehall Street, withZigger zigzagging ahead on the taut lead. ‘Fancy making me take you out – you’re as crazy as her and her friends.’ His fingers were beginning to feel raw from having to grip the lead so hard. And every now and then Zigger did his growling-and-teeth-baring act at some innocent-looking passer-by. What made him single them out?
    Finlay was having second thoughts about the Chan quest. Maybe that would be best for another day. But here was Geddes Street, and it did lead directly to the Chinese supermarket. And here was number 59, and yes, one of the buzzers had a label saying ‘Chan’ beside it! Supposing he got it right first go? Statistically Leo’s grandparents might just as well live here as at any of the other addresses. That would change the look on her face, wouldn’t it? Finlay rang the bell. He tried to imagine Leo’s face lit up by astonishment and admiration, and failed.
    There was no answer.
    Number 42 didn’t come to the door either,but while Finlay waited, a Chinese woman approached the house, key in hand.
    ‘Excuse me, are you Mrs Chan

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