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Unformatted text preview: from the splice of light that came through the crack in
the door. When he sat down, the flame went out. Too much movement. Darkness flowed in. The only light
available was a white rectangular stencil, the shape of the kitchen door.
He struck another match and reignited the candle. The sweet smell of fire and carbon.
Rudy and his sisters each tapped a different domino and they watched them fall until the tower in the middle
was brought to its knees. The girls cheered.
Kurt, his older brother, arrived in the room.
“They look like dead bodies,” he said.
Rudy peered up at the dark face, but Kurt did not answer. He’d noticed the arguing from the kitchen. “What’s
going on in there?” It was one of the girls who answered. The youngest, Bettina. She was five. “There are two monsters,” she said.
“They’ve come for Rudy.”
Again, the human child. So much cannier.
Later, when the coat men left, the two boys, one seventeen, the other fourteen, found the courage to face the
They stood in the doorway. The light punished their eyes.
It was Kurt who spoke. “Are they taking him?”
Their mother’s forearms were flat on the table. Her palms were facing up.
Alex Steiner raised his head.
It was heavy.
His expression was sharp and definite, freshly cut.
A wooden hand wiped at the splinters of his fringe, and he made several attempts to speak.
But Rudy did not walk toward his father.
He sat at the kitchen table and took hold of his mother’s facing-up hand.
Alex and Barbara Steiner would not disclose what was said while the dominoes were falling like dead bodies in
the living room. If only Rudy had kept listening at the door, just for another few minutes . . .
He told himself in the weeks to come—or in fact, pleaded with himself—that if he’d heard the rest of the
conversation that night, he’d have entered the kitchen much earlier. “I’ll go,” he’d have said. “Please, take me,
I’m ready now.”
If he’d intervened, it might ha...
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13