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Chapter Twenty

Gregory Schwipps Indiana University Press ePub

The ringing phone woke him up Saturday afternoon but he came to with a smile on his face. Ollie wasn’t a religious man but he’d thanked God so many times last night he half expected to hear His booming voice on the other line saying, “Glad you liked her, my favorite son.” He tugged himself free of the tangle of sheets and slid along the wall toward the phone, which rang on, patiently. Maybe it wasn’t God at all but the Devil, fussy like some collection agent, telling him he owed his soul for last night. Whatever. Now that he’d met her, it was like the difference between living in a house without electricity and one with. She lived so close—why hadn’t he found her sooner? He’d ask whichever omnipotent being was calling.

“Don’t tell me you’re still asleep,” she said.

“Summer!”

“Who’d you think it was?”

“It seemed like it coulda been anyone.” He sat heavily on a stool at the kitchen bar and put his face in his hand.

“Nice, sucker. Just how many girls call your house?”

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40

S. A. An-sky Indiana University Press ePub

IT HAD BEGUN to grow dark when Tsiporin suddenly appeared. His boots were covered with mud right up to the top, his face was tired, his hair dripping with sweat, but his eyes shone with euphoric excitement.

The jubilant crowd was especially glad to see him and greeted him with cries and questions as to why he had come so late.

“I was sitting in the synagogue reading the Psalms!” he replied, smiling slyly.

Faevich exchanged a significant glance with him, winked at Mirkin, and all three of them, one after another, slipped into the next room.

“Did you really go to the station?” asked Faevich.

“And why not? Of course I did!” Tsiporin replied proudly. After suddenly collecting himself, he assumed a serious look and added, “I had to find out if she left. . . . If someone else had come. . . .”

“Well, what happened? Tell us! Did she leave?” Mirkin interrupted him hastily.

“Of course she did!”

“Tell us in detail!” demanded Faevich. “So help me God, you’re a fine fellow!” he added, slapping his shoulder in approval.

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Chapter Seven

Gregory Schwipps Indiana University Press ePub

Frank woke up and noticed the breeze lightly blowing the faded curtain that hung over the window by their bed. Ethel had sewn the curtains herself, and now the white fabric with its flowered border rose into the room and billowed up before being sucked back against the screen. He watched it do this for some time. It followed the same path but it didn’t. Not an exact pattern he could predict, anyway, lying on his back this Sunday morning in their bed where he’d slept regular nightly hours for the last forty-five years. The window frame had been painted white, but it was chipped in places where he’d hit it with his cane coming around the bed. Dead flies and other insects collected in the corner of the windowsill. The wind blew the curtain in, where it hung in the air for just a moment, before the undercurrent pulled it back to the window frame. Then the breeze would lift the curtain again with almost, but not quite, the same motions. He watched it and thought about how the river breathed the same rhythms.

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Chapter 31

Charlotte Jones Solution Tree Press ePub

“Has she said anything?”

Lutalo stood just outside the infirmary tent, speaking quietly with the nalesi. Shira could hear him as he spoke; she liked listening to his voice. If he spoke softly enough, he sounded like her father.

With a heavy sigh, Shira pulled the warm blanket tighter around her shoulders, running her hands over the red fabric of the too-large Sunbursti uniform she now wore. Slowly, she tilted her head back so she could see the sun. The nalesi, a man named Kafil, had given her a bowl of clear soup to eat. Her hands had shaken so badly when she smelled it she had been forced to set it down, even as her stomach moaned for it. It was the first food she had eaten in almost two days. In silence, Zinnia had sat beside her as Kafil gently had checked her vital signs, whispering simple charms as warm light flooded over her skin. He had also given her a soldier’s uniform into which she could change and get rid of the charred rags she had donned. When he had left, Shira had created a slender gold pencil with a snap of her fingers.

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life among the bulrushes

Michael Hyde University of North Texas Press PDF

life among the bulrushes

157

Jones. If any of the caterpillars manage to escape—perhaps by a gust of wind or bad aim that sends it far from the fire—Daniel will let those go. If Mrs. Peale interrupts in the middle of this judgment as she often does, Daniel will also let the caterpillars go.

He’s convinced moments such as these, small and unexpected triumphs, are moments of truth, intervention, and faith, designed elsewhere by powers he could only hope to challenge.

This time, the one named Patrick is blessed enough to miss the fire completely. Jenny Jones, however, isn’t as fortunate but drags herself somehow from the flames. Daniel watches the two survivors crawl slowly off, moving away from the heat. He licks his fingers before killing the fire with dripping-wet handfuls of pond clay.

Inside the house, Mrs. Peale is preparing for the trip to

Ocean City, shoving clean and dirty clothes into duffel bags. She’s packed the styrofoam cooler with grape soda pop and Budweiser.

When Daniel comes into the living room, holding the empty

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