Mereana liked the track and she could run all the way down without stopping, down the steep places holding on to the broom bushes to stop herself from sliding, over the rocky places, along the top of the bank, through the onion flowers. At the top of the bank she could climb-down using the footholds that the big children had made, but today she kept to the track so that she wouldn’t get dust on her clothes.
Sometimes she would stop there at the bottom of the track to watch the big children playing soccer with a tennis ball, but there was no one on the park today. She crossed the green and went up the path to where the Crescent began.
At the top of the path she stopped, looking out for the girls, but there was no one on the road, no one on the footpath. She began to hurry, not looking at gates, or people’s letterboxes, or people's houses, but just looking straight ahead. No one played hopscotch on the footpath, no one skipped on the road.
It was when she rounded the corner that she knew the two girls were there. They were sitting up on the terrace looking down.
‘It's her,’ she heard one of the girls say, and the other girl called out a name.
Mereana didn’t look at the girls, but walked quickly looking straight ahead the way her mother had told her.
Then one of the girls called, 'You’re not allowed past here,” and called her the name again.
Mereana didn’t look and didn’t stop, and the girl said, 'We’ll take your bag and throw it in the bushes if you go past here.
She kept going, looking straight in front of her. As she passed them the two girls came scrambling down the bank. The bigger one snatched the bag from her and ran ahead, pushing it into a hedge.
‘There,' the girl said. 'Leave it there. If you get it we'll cut you with glass!’
But Mereana was going to the shop for her mother. It was her mother’s bag, and the money was in the bag wrapped in a piece of paper. Anyway, the girls had run off now. They were climbing the bank again. She didn't look at them, and when she got to the hedge she pulled the bag out and walked quickly.
Then she heard the two girls scramble down the bank and come running up behind her. They pushed her over. One of them held her while the other one cut her with glass.