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Unformatted text preview: he dies—we’ll simply need to find a way.” Liesel
could have sworn she heard him swallow. A gulp like a blow to the windpipe. “My paint cart, some drop
sheets . . .”
Liesel entered the kitchen. “Not now, Liesel.” It was Papa who spoke, though he did not look at her. He was watching his warped face in a
turned-over spoon. His elbows were buried into the table.
The book thief did not retreat. She took a few extra steps and sat down. Her cold hands felt for her sleeves and a
sentence dropped from her mouth. “He’s not dead yet.” The words landed on the table and positioned
themselves in the middle. All three people looked at them. Half hopes didn’t dare rise any higher. He isn’t dead
yet. He isn’t dead yet. It was Rosa who spoke next.
Possibly the only time that Max’s illness didn’t hurt was at dinner. There was no denying it as the three of them
sat at the kitchen table with their extra bread and extra soup or potatoes. They all thought it, but no one spoke.
In the night, just a few hours later, Liesel awoke and wondered at the height of her heart. (She had learned that
expression from The Dream Carrier, which was essentially the complete antithesis of The Whistler — a book
about an abandoned child who wanted to be a priest.) She sat up and sucked deeply at the nighttime air.
“Liesel?” Papa rolled over. “What is it?”
“Nothing, Papa, everything’s good.” But the very moment she’d finished the sentence, she saw exactly what
had happened in her dream.
ONE SMALL IMAGE
For the most part, all is identical.
The train moves at the same speed.
Copiously, her brother coughs. This
time, however, Liesel cannot see his
face watching the floor. Slowly,
she leans over. Her hand lifts him
gently, from his chin, and there
in front of her is the wide-eyed face
of Max Vandenburg. He stares at her.
A feather drops to the floor. The
body is bigger now, matching the
size of the face. The train screams.
“I said everythin...
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13