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Interestingly, the main character and her sister shares their names with the protagonist of No Place Feels Like Home and her sister. The girls, named Nikki (Nicola) and Mariel respectively, are significantly younger than their counterparts from NPFLH, at 8 and 6.
See the chapter-by-chapter summary for detailed informations and the full text.
The story opens with a short description of the Russel family, which appears to be based heavily on the McCleaghs. It's the weekend, and Michelle and Dylan are taking the girls to a local park with a petting zoo. Nikki's favourite part of going there is playing with a young dog called Wolf. Although he's large and "scary" looking, the dog seems to be a real sweetheart.
As it gets unbearably hot, the family leaves the park to visit a local outdoor pool. They have only just arrived when they hear screams and see people running along the deep pool in a state of panic. Nikki is hauled away by her father before she can see what is going on, but notes that the water is red with blood. In her mind she comes to the conclusions that some man must have exploded in the water.
At home, later in the evening, her brother Tyler tells of a boy he knows who jumped from a roof and got "split in half". As the children are never allowed to watch the evening new, and Nikki is curious about whether they'll mention the poor exploded man, she hides in a cupboard. Putting together two and two, she realizes that it was Tyler's friend Richard who was injured at the pool. The siblings cope with the news by re-enacting the accident with Barbie-dolls.
About a week later, a very upset Uncle Paul comes barging into the house, warning them that he's had a visit from the police. Along with Dylan and Michelle, he's member of a mysterious organisation called the SLYH. The kids are sushed upstairs while their parents talk to Paul, and become afraid that their parents are going to jail. Michelle explains to them that the only risk so far is that the SLYH may become illegal, as its goals are against many people's ideals. She refuses to tell the children what the organizations actually does, because she wants them as little implicated as possible.
That night, Nikki has a nightmare about Richard, who has come back to school horribly mangled and barely recognizable as human. Asked by her teacher to be his "special buddy" for the week, Nikki experiences a nightmare phenomenon where her feet lose their grip on the floor and she's left hanging in mid-air. The teacher, recognizing Nikki's suspended and helpless position as a sign of fear, calls her cruel and tells her she must have learned this hate from her parents.
The next day hardly gets any better, as they discover that a group calling themselves Mothers Against Child Endagerment (MACE) are demanding the dog mascots be removed from the park because of a lot of hypothetical situations. Arriving at the park, they discover that the dogs are already gone, and that the MACE have pinned their petition posters all over. Dylan, enraged, tears them all down.