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Unformatted text preview: it was Liesel who possessed the talking.
“You think,” she said, “you can buy me off with this book?” Her voice, though shaken, hooked at the woman’s
throat. The glittering anger was thick and unnerving, but she toiled through it. She worked herself up even
further, to the point where she needed to wipe the tears from her eyes. “You give me this Saumensch of a book
and think it’ll make everything good when I go and tell my mama that we’ve just lost our last one? While you
sit here in your mansion?”
The mayor’s wife’s arms.
Her face slipped.
Liesel, however, did not buckle. She sprayed her words directly into the woman’s eyes.
“You and your husband. Sitting up here.” Now she became spiteful. More spiteful and evil than she thought
The injury of words.
Yes, the brutality of words.
She summoned them from someplace she only now recognized and hurled them at Ilsa Hermann. “It’s about
time,” she informed her, “that you do your own stinking washing anyway. It’s about time you faced the fact that
your son is dead. He got killed! He got strangled and cut up more than twenty years ago! Or did he freeze to
death? Either way, he’s dead! He’s dead and it’s pathetic that you sit here shivering in your own house to suffer
for it. You think you’re the only one?”
Her brother was next to her.
He whispered for her to stop, but he, too, was dead, and not worth listening to.
He died in a train.
They buried him in the snow.
Liesel glanced at him, but she could not make herself stop. Not yet.
“This book,” she went on. She shoved the boy down the steps, making him fall. “I don’t want it.” The words
were quieter now, but still just as hot. She threw The Whistler at the woman’s slippered feet, hearing the clack
of it as it landed on the cement. “I don’t want your miserable book. . . .”
Now she managed it. She fell silent.
Her throat was barren now. No words for miles. Her brother, holding his knee, disappeared.
After a miscarriaged pause, the mayor’s wife edged forward and picked up the book. She was battered and
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- Winter '13