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Unformatted text preview: n. Perhaps people did get
injured. Personally, I can only tell you that no one died from it, or at least, not physically. There was, of course,
the matter of forty million people I picked up by the time the whole thing was finished, but that’s getting all
metaphoric. Allow me to return us to the fire.
The orange flames waved at the crowd as paper and print dissolved inside them. Burning words were torn from
On the other side, beyond the blurry heat, it was possible to see the brownshirts and swastikas joining hands.
You didn’t see people. Only uniforms and signs.
Birds above did laps.
They circled, somehow attracted to the glow—until they came too close to the heat. Or was it the humans?
Certainly, the heat was nothing.
In her attempt to escape, a voice found her.
It made its way through and she recognized it. It was not Rudy, but she knew that voice.
She twisted free and found the face attached to it. Oh, no. Ludwig Schmeikl. He did not, as she expected, sneer
or joke or make any conversation at all. All he was able to do was pull her toward him and motion to his ankle.
It had been crushed among the excitement and was bleeding dark and ominous through his sock. His face wore
a helpless expression beneath his tangled blond hair. An animal. Not a deer in lights. Nothing so typical or
specific. He was just an animal, hurt among the melee of its own kind, soon to be trampled by it.
Somehow, she helped him up and dragged him toward the back. Fresh air.
They staggered to the steps at the side of the church. There was some room there and they rested, both relieved.
Breath collapsed from Schmeikl’s mouth. It slipped down, over his throat. He managed to speak.
Sitting down, he held his ankle and found Liesel Meminger’s face. “Thanks,” he said, to her mouth rather than
her eyes. More slabs of breath. “And . . .” They both watched images of school-yard antics, followed by a
school-yard beating. “I’m sorry—for, you know.”
Liesel heard it again.
She chose, however, to focus on Ludwig Schmeikl. “Me too.” The...
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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