Mrs. Digitalis hopped out of the car, gently closed the door, and walked toward her house.

"She can't go in there," Andrew said. He raced out of the room and into Evie's. Her aquarium stood on her dresser, neatly set up but dry. He grabbed a handful of colored pebbles and brought them back to his room.

"She's on the porch," Evie said.

Andrew couldn't see Mrs. Digitalis. She was obscured by the roof of her front porch. At this angle, if he aimed just right, he could get the pebbles into the porch through the side.
At least it would get her attention.

Andrew opened his window fully. He leaned out and threw. The pebbles landed with a soft clatter—some rolling down the porch roof, some making it through the opening and onto the porch floor.

For a moment nothing happened. Inside the house, the burglars continued, intent on whatever they were doing. They hadn't heard.

Then Mrs. Digitalis appeared, leaning out of the porch, looking upward.

Evie caught her glance and frantically pointed in the direction of Mrs. Digitalis's living room.

The old woman's face tightened. She nodded and backed away, out of sight.

"I'm calling nine-one-one," Evie said, darting out of the room.

Andrew watched the front lawn. Any minute Mrs. Digitalis would be running across. Back to the VW. Of course, she'd be smart enough not to interrupt the crooks. She'd hightail it to the police.

But the car stood by the curb, unoccupied.

He heard a soft click from under the porch roof—a door opening.

Andrew ran to the top of the stairs. "Hurry, Evie! She's going inside!"

"I can't find the cordless phone!" Evie called downstairs.

As she clattered around, looking for the phone, Andrew ran back to the window. Mrs. Digitalis was in the living room now, tiptoeing across the carpet. She knelt on the couch, her white hair spread across her shoulder.

The man rose, startled. He tried to come out from behind the couch.

Mrs. Digitalis shoved the couch toward the wall, pinning his legs. With a quick move, she held him against the wall with her right arm.

The dark-haired woman from upstairs ran into the room. She appeared to be shouting something.

Mrs. Digitalis lifted the man's shirttail over his head—until the shirt, half on and half off, trapped his arms and prevented him from seeing. Then she shoved him toward the door.

In a moment, both burglars were stumbling across the front lawn. As the woman struggled to pull down the man's shirt, she glanced up.

Andrew ducked again. But not before making eye contact.

"I can't find the phone!" Evie said, racing into the bedroom.

"It's okay," Andrew replied. "Our neighbor can take care of herself."

He rose to look out the window. The robber were gone, and Mrs. Digitalis had shut the front door and vanished into her house.

But the young woman's eyes, dark and intense, seemed to hover above the lawn. Still looking at Andrew.