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Unformatted text preview: d of the clock in
the library. Grimly, she realized that clocks don’t make a sound that even remotely resembles ticking, tocking.
It was more the sound of a hammer, upside down, hacking methodically at the earth. It was the sound of a
grave. If only mine was ready now, she thought—because Liesel Meminger, at that moment, wanted to die.
When the others had canceled, it hadn’t hurt so much. There was always the mayor, his library, and her
connection with his wife. Also, this was the last one, the last hope, gone. This time, it felt like the greatest
How could she face her mama?
For Rosa, the few scraps of money had still helped in various alleyways. An extra handful of flour. A piece of
fat. Ilsa Hermann was dying now herself—to get rid of her. Liesel could see it somewhere in the way she hugged
the robe a little tighter. The clumsiness of sorrow still kept her at close proximity, but clearly, she wanted this to
be over. “Tell your mama,” she spoke again. Her voice was adjusting now, as one sentence turned into two.
“That we’re sorry.” She started shepherding the girl toward the door.
Liesel felt it now in the shoulders. The pain, the impact of final rejection.
That’s it? she asked internally. You just boot me out?
Slowly, she picked up her empty bag and edged toward the door. Once outside, she turned and faced the
mayor’s wife for the second to last time that day. She looked her in the eyes with an almost savage brand of
pride. “Danke schön,” she said, and Ilsa Hermann smiled in a rather useless, beaten way.
“If you ever want to come just to read,” the woman lied (or at least the girl, in her shocked, saddened state,
perceived it as a lie), “you’re very welcome.”
At that moment, Liesel was amazed by the width of the doorway. There was so much space. Why did people
need so much space to get through the door? Had Rudy been there, he’d have called her an idiot—it was to get
all their stuff inside.
“Goodbye,” the girl said, and slowly, with great morosity, the door was closed.
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- Winter '13