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Unformatted text preview: y. To see if he was there.”
The trees were tall and triangular. They were quiet.
Liesel pulled The Word Shaker from her bag and showed Rudy one of the pages. On it was a boy with three
medals hanging around his throat.
“ ‘Hair the color of lemons,’ ” Rudy read. His fingers touched the words. “You told him about me?”
At first, Liesel could not talk. Perhaps it was the sudden bumpiness of love she felt for him. Or had she always
loved him? It’s likely. Restricted as she was from speaking, she wanted him to kiss her. She wanted him to drag
her hand across and pull her over. It didn’t matter where. Her mouth, her neck, her cheek. Her skin was empty
for it, waiting.
Years ago, when they’d raced on a muddy field, Rudy was a hastily assembled set of bones, with a jagged,
rocky smile. In the trees this afternoon, he was a giver of bread and teddy bears. He was a triple Hitler Youth
athletics champion. He was her best friend. And he was a month from his death.
“Of course I told him about you,” Liesel said.
She was saying goodbye and she didn’t even know it. ILSA HERMANN’S LITTLE BLACK BOOK
In mid-August, she thought she was going to 8 Grande Strasse for the same old remedy.
To cheer herself up.
That was what she thought.
The day had been hot, but showers were predicted for the evening. In The Last Human Stranger, there was a
quote near the end. Liesel was reminded of it as she walked past Frau Diller’s.
THE LAST HUMAN STRANGER,
The sun stirs the earth. Around and
around, it stirs us, like stew.
At the time, Liesel only thought of it because the day was so warm.
On Munich Street, she remembered the events of the previous week there. She saw the Jews coming down the
road, their streams and numbers and pain. She decided there was a word missing from her quote.
The world is an ugly stew, she thought.
It’s so ugly I can’t stand it.
Liesel crossed the bridge over the Amper River. The water was glorious and emerald and rich. Sh...
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- Winter '13