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Unformatted text preview: siren. “Can I go in?” But she didn’t wait for the answer. She ran the short distance
of the path and shoved past Mama.
Frau Holtzapfel was unmoved at the table.
What do I say? Liesel thought.
How do I get her to move?
When the sirens took another breath, she heard Rosa calling out. “Just leave her, Liesel, we have to go! If she
wants to die, that’s her business,” but then the sirens resumed. They reached down and tossed the voice away.
Now it was only noise and girl and wiry woman.
“Frau Holtzapfel, please!”
Much like her conversation with Ilsa Hermann on the day of the cookies, a multitude of words and sentences
were at her fingertips. The difference was that today there were bombs. Today it was slightly more urgent. THE OPTIONS
• “Frau Holtzapfel, we have to go.”
• “Frau Holtzapfel, we’ll die if we stay here.”
• “You still have one son left.”
• “Everyone’s waiting for you.”
• “The bombs will blow your head off.”
• “If you don’t come, I’ll stop coming to read to you, and that means you’ve lost your only friend.”
She went with the last sentence, calling the words directly through the sirens. Her hands were planted on the
The woman looked up and made her decision. She didn’t move.
Liesel left. She withdrew herself from the table and rushed from the house.
Rosa held open the gate and they started running to number forty-five. Michael Holtzapfel remained stranded
on Himmel Street.
“Come on!” Rosa implored him, but the returned soldier hesitated. He was just about to make his way back
inside when something turned him around. His mutilated hand was the only thing attached to the gate, and
shamefully, he dragged it free and followed.
They all looked back several times, but there was still no Frau Holtzapfel.
The road seemed so wide, and when the final siren evaporated into the air, the last three people on Himmel
Street made their way into the Fiedlers’ basement.
“What took you so long?” Rudy asked. He was holding the toolbox.
Liesel placed her bag of books on...
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- Winter '13