The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

It was always like this at the end the gentle rings

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Unformatted text preview: en, on the paper that had bubbled and humped under the stress of drying paint, did he begin to write the story. It was done with a small black paintbrush. The Standover Man. He calculated that he needed thirteen pages, so he painted forty, expecting at least twice as many slipups as successes. There were practice versions on the pages of the Molching Express, improving his basic, clumsy artwork to a level he could accept. As he worked, he heard the whispered words of a girl. “His hair,” she told him, “is like feathers.” When he was finished, he used a knife to pierce the pages and tie them with string. The result was a thirteenpage booklet that went like this: In late February, when Liesel woke up in the early hours of morning, a figure made its way into her bedroom. Typical of Max, it was as close as possible to a noiseless shadow. Liesel, searching through the dark, could only vaguely sense the man coming toward her. “Hello?” There was no reply. There was nothing but the near silence of his feet as he came closer to the bed and placed the pages on the floor, next to her socks. The pages crackled. Just slightly. One edge of them curled into the floor. “Hello?” This time there was a response. She couldn’t tell exactly where the words came from. What mattered was that they reached her. They arrived and kneeled next to the bed. “A late birthday gift. Look in the morning. Good night.” For a while, she drifted in and out of sleep, not sure anymore whether she’d dreamed of Max coming in. In the morning, when she woke and rolled over, she saw the pages sitting on the floor. She reached down and picked them up, listening to the paper as it rippled in her early-morning hands. All my life, I’ve been scared of men standing over me. . . . As she turned them, the pages were noisy, like static around the written story. Three days, they told me . . . and what did I find when I woke up? There were the erased pages of Mein Kampf, gagging, suffocating under the paint as they turned. It makes me understand that t...
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