The old man knew that Patrick had been in trouble once for helping to spray-paint four-letter words on a police car parked outside a restaurant where the two officers who drove it were taking a dinner break. That particular mischief made some sense when you thought about it -- acting out, he'd heard it called -- a kind of getting back. A black eye and bruises from McMurdock were the result, and the old man had fervently wished that there were something he could...
Another cry from next door interrupted his thoughts, accompanied by the sharp splintering of glass, then the shriek was abruptly cut off. Something heavy fell, then there was silence. The elongated shadow of a person passed over the shade that covered the window. There were no further sounds from the upstairs room.
The old man waited, listening in the dark, but the episode appeared to be over. Tomorrow, and for several days, she would not leave the house, hiding out inside. If he, or anyone, knocked, there would be no answer. Then any lingering cuts and bruises would be the result of a fall -- an accident -- her own clumsiness. And young Patrick would make himself scarce, probably with those two friends of his, hoping not to cause further trouble...
From Dead North by Sue Henry. Copyright Sue Henry 2001. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted without the written permission of the publisher, William Morrow & Co.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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