Chapter 1: Vaughan Museum
A bundle of tourists frenzies around the room, snapping pictures, pretending to read the signs, and touching them. I somehow swim upstream far enough to find my favorite bench, in the corner, at the entrance to the bird exhibit.
A bundle of tourists. That’s my name for them. You know, a herd of elephants, a pride of lions, a prickle of hedgehogs. Tourists needed one. They always come in little packs, or bundles.
Frenzy. Again, tourists are like animals (well, they are animals). A feeding frenzy is “an aggressive and competitive group attack on prey by a number of sharks or piranhas.” Take out the feeding, and you’ve got excited tourists.
Snapping pictures. Snap, snap, snap, everywhere I go. Will they stop snapping? Actually, since everyone has the latest smartphone, the sound is more of a muffled pomp. And the flashes just won’t stop!
Pretending to read the signs. I know the writers of each plaque here. I also know from close study that two out of ten tourists fake-read the signs. (And don’t think that means the rest of ’em actually read them!)
Touching them. Lots of tourists tend to touch the signs. Just a tap on the letters as they move on. Why? I don’t know. Maybe as a sign that they “read” it? People are weird.
I guess I should back up a bit. My name is Friday Daniel and I live in Vaughan Museum. But don’t tell anyone. The owner, Walter Vaughan, is one of the few humans with a purely kind soul. You might think, like I did when I first met him, that an owner of a big, modern thing is more on the rich and greedy side. Yeah, he’s kinda rich. But he’s not greedy. He lets my family stay here. Most of the staff know us, and no one’s turned us in yet. So far, so good.
My mom’s name is Rio Makalla. She is a brave and independent woman, just like her mother. In fact, she was determined not to get married–until she met my dad. They are soul mates, perfect for each other. It is hard to find your soul mate. They’re very lucky.
My dad’s name is Benjamin Daniel. He is positive and fun-loving. He always lightens the mood and can find the good out of any situation. He could find out that a virus was going to kill everyone on Earth (HEAVY FORESHADOWING), and he’d say, “Well, good for all the people on board the International Space Station!”
I have a little brother named River. He’s five years old and very curious. I guess it’s good for him we literally live in a museum. River is nice most of the time. We go on lots of adventures together.
I’ve never met any of my grandparents in person. None of us have enough money to travel anywhere. My mom and dad were both only children, and their parents saved up every last scrap to send them to the United States. Then, they both happened to wind up in the same spot. It was a crazy feat of destiny, in my opinion. If one thing had been a bit off about the whole story, I wouldn’t exist. Actually, I wouldn’t be able to meet my grandfather on my mom’s side anyway because he passed away of cancer when she was six.
Anyway, I am an average-height, average-weight thirteen-year-old girl. I have very long, a bit frizzy black hair, and a lot of it. My eyes are a spectacular blue. I’ve got smooth almond-colored skin, too. Lots of people say I’m very lucky looks-wise.
But that’s about it.