Mom hadn't sent the crate - not with a message like that. Obviously. So who had sent it? Mom had enemies, that much we knew. But would anyone stoop to something like this? Planting the crate and cassette - just to shock Andrew and Evie?

He looked to his sister. Today, she was the one in her own world. In one hand she held the WELCOME TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD brochure they'd gotten in the mail, which she was reading intently. In the other hand was the cassette recorder, which Evie was listening to with a set of earphones. The weird thing was, she was playing that creepy message over and over.

"Evie, how can you listen to that?" He said.

"It's not 'mother'." she replied.

"Of course it's not! How could she have sent -?"

"That's not what I mean - just listen." Evie pulled off the earphones, wrapped them around his head, and played the tape.

Andrew heard the familiar static fill his ears - the words welling up, so loud -

He reached up to pull them off, then stopped.

This close, the whole thing sounded different. The words seemed less human, more mechanical and unclear. Like actual backward speech, not planted words. Speech that only sort of sounded like words.

"It's like.Modger's in heaven," Andrew remarked.

Evie was beaming. "Andrew, on the cable car ride we passed a lot of funky old shops with weird names. Remember?"

She held out the brochure. It was an illustrated view of the blocks around their neighborhood. On the left side was the street where they had climbed in the cable car. As Evie ran her finger up the map, Andrew recognized some of the shop names he'd seen: Juiced with Java.Wiki-Waki Wireless.Cutso's Cuts.

Her finger stopped when it reached a shop near Coit Tower.

"'Rodger's in Heaven'." Andrew read aloud.

"Yes - Rodger's! Not Mother's. Not Modger's," Evie said. "It's the place where Mom wants us to go next. To pick up the next clue."

Andrew pressed REVERSE and played the tape again. And Again. "So Mom isn't.?"

Evie smiled. "You know Mom. Always one step ahead."