Unformatted text preview: inished whistler.
A slab of grief.
The soldier was buried in the dirt, not far from Tommy Müller’s place. It was scratched and trodden, which, to
Liesel, was the whole point. Even with injury, it could still stand up.
The leaf was a maple and she found it in the school broom closet, among the buckets and feather dusters. The
door was slightly ajar. The leaf was dry and hard, like toasted bread, and there were hills and valleys all over its
skin. Somehow, the leaf had made its way into the school hallway and into that closet. Like half a star with a
stem. Liesel reached in and twirled it in her fingers.
Unlike the other items, she did not place the leaf on the bedside table. She pinned it to the closed curtain, just
before reading the final thirty-four pages of The Whistler. She did not have dinner that afternoon or go to the toilet. She didn’t drink. All day at school, she had promised
herself that she would finish reading the book today, and Max Vandenburg was going to listen. He was going to
Papa sat on the floor, in the corner, workless as usual. Luckily, he would soon be leaving for the Knoller with
his accordion. His chin resting on his knees, he listened to the girl he’d struggled to teach the alphabet. Reading
proudly, she unloaded the final frightening words of the book to Max Vandenburg.
THE LAST REMNANTS OF
The Viennese air was fogging up the windows of the train that morning, and as the people traveled
obliviously to work, a murderer whistled his happy tune. He bought his ticket. There were polite greetings
with fellow passengers and the conductor. He even gave up his seat for an elderly lady and made polite
conversation with a gambler who spoke of Americanhorses. After all, the whistler loved talking. He talked to
people and fooled them into liking him, trusting him. He talked to them while he was killing them, torturing
and turningthe knife. It was only when there was no one to talk to that he whistled, which was why he did so
after a murder. . . .
“So you think th...
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- Winter '13