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Unformatted text preview: n up, and not from smiling this time. Liesel could see it on her face. Blood leaked from her nose and licked
at her lips. Her eyes had blackened. Cuts had opened up and a series of wounds were rising to the surface of her
skin. All from the words. From Liesel’s words.
Book in hand, and straightening from a crouch to a standing hunch, Ilsa Hermann began the process again of
saying sorry, but the sentence did not make it out.
Slap me, Liesel thought. Come on, slap me.
Ilsa Hermann didn’t slap her. She merely retreated backward, into the ugly air of her beautiful house, and
Liesel, once again, was left alone, clutching at the steps. She was afraid to turn around because she knew that
when she did, the glass casing of Molching had now been shattered, and she’d be glad of it.
As her last orders of business, she read the letter one more time, and when she was close to the gate, she
screwed it up as tightly as she could and threw it at the door, as if it were a rock. I have no idea what the book
thief expected, but the ball of paper hit the mighty sheet of wood and twittered back down the steps. It landed at
“Typical,” she stated, kicking it onto the grass. “Useless.”
On the way home this time, she imagined the fate of that paper the next time it rained, when the mended glass
house of Molching was turned upside down. She could already see the words dissolving letter by letter, till there
was nothing left. Just paper. Just earth.
At home, as luck would have it, when Liesel walked through the door, Rosa was in the kitchen. “And?” she
asked. “Where’s the washing?”
“No washing today,” Liesel told her.
Rosa came and sat down at the kitchen table. She knew. Suddenly, she appeared much older. Liesel imagined
what she’d look like if she untied her bun, to let it fall out onto her shoulders. A gray towel of elastic hair.
“What did you do there, you little Saumensch?” The sentence was numb. She could not muster her usual
“It was my fault,” Liesel answered. “Completely. I insu...
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- Winter '13