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Unformatted text preview: she crossed the river, a rumor of sunshine stood behind the clouds.
At 8 Grande Strasse, she walked up the steps, left the plate by the front door, and knocked, and by the time the
door was opened, the girl was around the corner. Liesel did not look back, but she knew that if she did, she’d
have found her brother at the bottom of the steps again, his knee completely healed. She could even hear his
“That’s better, Liesel.”
It was with great sadness that she realized that her brother would be six forever, but when she held that thought,
she also made an effort to smile.
She remained at the Amper River, at the bridge, where Papa used to stand and lean.
She smiled and smiled, and when it all came out, she walked home and her brother never climbed into her sleep
again. In many ways, she would miss him, but she could never miss his deadly eyes on the floor of the train or
the sound of a cough that killed.
The book thief lay in bed that night, and the boy only came before she closed her eyes. He was one member of a
cast, for Liesel was always visited in that room. Her papa stood and called her half a woman. Max was writing
The Word Shaker in the corner. Rudy was naked by the door. Occasionally her mother stood on a bedside train
platform. And far away, in the room that stretched like a bridge to a nameless town, her brother, Werner, played
in the cemetery snow.
From down the hall, like a metronome for the visions, Rosa snored, and Liesel lay awake surrounded, but also
remembering a quote from her most recent book.
THE LAST HUMAN STRANGER, PAGE 38
There were people everywhere on the city
street, but the stranger could not have
been more alone if it were empty. When morning came, the visions were gone and she could hear the quiet recital of words in the living room.
Rosa was sitting with the accordion, praying.
“Make them come back alive,” she repeated. “Please, Lord, please. All of them.” Even the wrinkles around her
eyes were joining hands.
The accordion must have ached her, but she remained.
Rosa would never tell Hans about these moments, but Liesel bel...
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- Winter '13