I stood there a moment, still as salt. It was so hot in the room I could not breathe. The tree outside my window went calm, like somebody took the air away. All night its branches had scratched at the screen and I laid in bed straight as a pin, wondering what was up.
I started to cry, hugging my daddys kimono around me. I do not know why I cried when I had basically won this thing. I still dont know, but sometimes I dont understand why I do the things I do. It is the great mystery of my independent self. Maybe it was for not wanting to go to school ever. Maybe it was because I did not want a part of this world where people like Roe tell me to do things and I am to mind them unconditioned of how I feel about it. Everyone in the world is behind bars.
So I picked up my sketchbook and my pencils, scattered over the floor and in the cracks between the boards, and placed each one in the box. Then I pulled up on the screen, threw my legs over the sill, and thrust myself out the window, landing my bare feet in the dirt.
I sprinted quick as a whip across the yard and behind the outhouse that smelled heavy and sick in the late-summer heat. My heart never raced so hard for being bad. The sun beat down on the brown yard like there never would be another drop of rain. Beyond it, a sprinkle of trees fringed the cornfield.
As I ran, I could hear Nig whipping around on the chain, smelling me near. I could hear Mother on the porch, realizing I had gone. It was skinning her alive. "Caril Ann!" she screamed. But I did not stop.
From Outside Valentine by Lisa Ward, pages 6-10 of the hardcover edition. Copyright 2004 by Lisa Ward. All rights reserved.
The Kopp Sisters Return!
One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.
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