"It wouldn't have killed Monty. I'd have thrown myself on top of him and let you dig the wall off me." She smiled faintly. "I know who's important around here."
"Very funny." He shook his head. "Except you're not joking."
"No." She rubbed her eyes. "She had a rosary in her hand, Boyd. She must have grabbed it when the quake started. But it didn't help her, did it?"
"I guess not."
"She couldn't have been over sixteen, and she was pregnant."
"Yeah." She gently tugged on Monty's leash. "We'll be back in a little while."
"You're not listening. I'm in charge of this search, Sarah. I want you to rest. We've probably found all the live ones. I'm expecting the order to pull out tomorrow. The Russian team can finish searching for the dead."
"All the more reason to work harder until the order comes. None of the Russians' dogs has Monty's nose. You know he's incredible."
"You're not so bad yourself. Do you know the other members of the team are making bets on whether or not you can actually read that dog's mind?" "That's pretty dumb. They're all close to their own dogs. They know that when you live with an animal, you get to learn how to read them."
"Not like you."
"Why are we talking about this? The important thing is Monty is unique. He's found survivors before when everyone had given up hope. He may find more today."
"It's not likely."
She walked away.
"I mean it, Sarah."
She glanced back over her shoulder. "And how long has it been since you slept, Boyd?"
"That's none of your damn business."
"Do as I say and not as I do? I'll see you in a couple of hours." She could hear him swearing behind her as she picked her way through the rubble toward the line of mobile homes at the bottom of the hill. Boyd Medford was a good guy, a fine team leader, and everything he said made sense. But there were times when she couldn't be sensible. Too many dead. Too few survivors. Oh, God, too many bodies . . .
The rosary . . .
Did that poor girl have time to pray for her own life and the life of her child before she had been crushed? Probably not. Earthquakes took only a heartbeat to destroy. Maybe she should hope that death had come quickly and the girl had not suffered.
Monty pressed against her legs. Sad.
"Me too." She opened the door of the mobile home for Monty. "It happens.
Maybe next time it won't be that way."
She filled up Monty's water dish. "Drink, boy."
Sad. He lay down in front of the metal dish.
He'd drink soon, but she'd wait for an hour or two before she tried to feed him. He was too upset to eat. He never got used to finding the dead.
Excerpted from The Search by Iris Johansen Copyright© 2000 by Iris Johansen. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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