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Unformatted text preview: the stairs. With Mama’s permission,
Liesel stayed with him till morning, reading A Song in the Dark as he sketched and wrote in his book.
From a Himmel Street window, he wrote, the stars set fire to my eyes. THE SKY STEALER
The first raid, as it turned out, was not a raid at all. Had people waited to see the planes, they would have stood
there all night. That accounted for the fact that no cuckoo had called from the radio. The Molching Express
reported that a certain flak tower operator had become a little overexcited. He’d sworn that he could hear the
rattle of planes and see them on the horizon. He sent the word.
“He might have done it on purpose,” Hans Hubermann pointed out. “Would you want to sit in a flak tower,
shooting up at planes carrying bombs?”
Sure enough, as Max continued reading the article in the basement, it was reported that the man with the
outlandish imagination had been stood down from his original duty. His fate was most likely some sort of
“Good luck to him,” Max said. He seemed to understand as he moved on to the crossword.
The next raid was real.
On the night of September 19, the cuckoo called from the radio, and it was followed by a deep, informative
voice. It listed Molching as a possible target.
Again, Himmel Street was a trail of people, and again, Papa left his accordion. Rosa reminded him to take it,
but he refused. “I didn’t take it last time,” he explained, “and we lived.” War clearly blurred the distinction
between logic and superstition.
Eerie air followed them down to the Fiedlers’ basement. “I think it’s real tonight,” said Mr. Fiedler, and the
children quickly realized that their parents were even more afraid this time around. Reacting the only way they
knew, the youngest of them began to wail and cry as the room seemed to swing.
Even from the cellar, they could vaguely hear the tune of bombs. Air pressure shoved itself down like a ceiling,
as if to mash the earth. A bite was taken of Molching’s empty streets.
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- Winter '13