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without a book. She placed the handlebars in the gutter, looked out for any neighbors, and walked to the
window. There was good speed but no hurry. She took her shoes off using her feet, treading on the heels with
Her fingers tightened on the wood and she made her way inside.
This time, if only slightly, she felt more at ease. In a few precious moments, she circled the room, looking for a
title that grabbed her. On three or four occasions, she nearly reached out. She even considered taking more than
one, but again, she didn’t want to abuse what was a kind of system. For now, only one book was necessary. She
studied the shelves and waited.
An extra darkness climbed through the window behind her. The smell of dust and theft loitered in the
background, and she saw it.
The book was red, with black writing on the spine. Der Traumträger. The Dream Carrier. She thought of Max
Vandenburg and his dreams. Of guilt. Surviving. Leaving his family. Fighting the Führer. She also thought of
her own dream—her brother, dead on the train, and his appearance on the steps just around the corner from this
very room. The book thief watched his bloodied knee from the shove of her own hand.
She slid the book from the shelf, tucked it under her arm, climbed to the window ledge, and jumped out, all in
Rudy had her shoes. He had her bike ready. Once the shoes were on, they rode.
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Meminger.” He’d never called her Meminger before. “You’re an absolute lunatic. Do
you know that?”
Liesel agreed as she pedaled like hell. “I know it.”
At the bridge, Rudy summed up the afternoon’s proceedings. “Those people are either completely crazy,” he
said, “or they just like their fresh air.” A SMALL SUGGESTION
Or maybe there was a woman on
Grande Strasse who now kept her
library window open for another
reason—but that’s just me being
cynical, or hopeful. Or both.
Liesel placed The Dream Carrier beneath her jacket and began reading it...
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- Winter '13