Champawat was first published in Ellery Queen
Mystery Magazine (September/October 2012). Its Readers Award vote for favorite stories of the year put Champawat at #3. It is available now in Amazon's Kindle
Store, the iTunes
Store and Barnes & Noble's Nook
During the 1918 flu pandemic,
a young nanny is put outside to die. When she survives, she pockets a few
pieces of her employer's jewelry, hoping to sell them and start a new life. But a marshal boards her train to question her. He keeps bringing up
the Alien and Sedition Acts. Does he know she's a thief… or even worse for her, is
he searching for Reds?
Ella jerked awake. Her forehead,
pressed against the train window, was cold with sweat. For two days, she'd been
having the same nightmare. She was lying on the snow-dusted sidewalk, looking
up at the Kingstons' windows. She kept trying to shout to them, to defy them
with her survival. They were sure she'd finish dying before the wagon came. Why
sit listening for the clatter of horseshoes? Even on their street of fine
rowhouses, it might be dawn before the sheet-wrapped bodies were collected. The
wagons filled faster every night, more and more of them rattling out of
Washington to mass graves in Virginia. There were no coffins left and no plots
in the cemeteries. Funerals, like all public gatherings, were banned by order
of the mayor. They'd furled Ella into bed linens from the mending pile, hadn't
they? She was only a servant, after all.
For six hundred miles, Ella tried to
stop reliving that night. She tried to focus on the scenery—forest and
flatland glittering under frost, Pittsburgh, Akron, Cleveland spiked with
girders of new buildings. But on every platform of every train station, some
paper boy, cotton mask over his nose and mouth, waved the latest edition. Two
hundred newly dead in one city, a thousand in the next, then four thousand,
five thousand. The Philadelphia Inquirer screamed 50,000 Sick of Spanish Flu, 12,000 Perish.
Now the train was pulling into
Chicago, where Ella would transfer to another terminal. People around her were
getting up and gathering their things. But she had only what she wore, a
travelling suit and coat from Mrs. Kingston's tallboy, and the contents of her
pockets. So she stayed in her seat, watching the station's bricks and arches
come into view.
She noticed three men standing on the
frozen mud beside the tracks. They were a few steps from a platform that
eventually disappeared into the terminal tunnel. They were well-dressed and
hatless, puffs of breath visible as they talked. When her window passed closer
to them, she felt a shiver of paranoia. They stood with chests out and heads
high, every gesture self-pleased and full of swagger. In her experience, when
men looked like they owned the whole world, they had badges and guns to justify
it. Were these law men? She twisted in her seat, looking for—and seeing,
she thought—the bulge of shoulder holsters under their jackets. Was
railroad security preparing to come aboard? They'd been rousting draft-dodgers
and Reds since the war began. And Ella had no papers. The Kingstons had burned
her things in case sickness clung to them.
She'd gone to them two years ago with
little enough—a few dresses and books, her precious letters from Nicky.
But she'd left with nothing. Nothing of her own but guilt: she'd brought home
the flu that killed them all. Muriel Kingston, only six years old. Eight-year
old John. Baby Annie. The cook, the maid—kind women who risked their
health to nurse her after she survived that night outside.
Her hand slid into the pocket of
her—that is, Mrs. Kingston's—suit jacket. She'd needed money to get
back home, to rent a small apartment there and recover in body if not in
spirit. Her fingers closed over the cold facets of diamonds and rubies, the
smooth gold of their settings. It wasn't as if Mrs. Kingston would ever wear
her jewelry again.
That wouldn't matter to the police.
If Ella couldn't show identification, they'd search her. Every day headlines
screamed that Bolsheviks from Russia were here to foment revolution. Not long
ago, a girl Ella's age—just nineteen—was pulled from a Chicago
train, her carpetbag filled with dynamite. Aliens under suspicion were put
straight onto boats "home" even if, like Ella, they'd arrived as
babes in arms. And if she gave a false (not foreign-sounding) surname, her
pocketful of rings and brooches might mean years at hard labor. Who'd believe
they rightfully belonged to a young woman without protectors or even luggage?
She grabbed her coat from the seat
beside her and hurried toward the back. She kept her eyes on the windows, on
the three men at platform's end. The train was moving at a crawl now. She was
able to keep pace, keep watching, by pushing through one compartment after
The train came to a full stop as she
reached the last passenger car. Dodging the elbows of people straightening
their hats and cotton masks, she took a window seat. She angled for a better
look at the men outside. There was a glint of nickel on the lapel of the
tallest. He was ginger-haired and broad-shouldered. When he turned to point to
the back of the train, she saw he wore a large six-pointed star. A U.S.
Ella felt as if the flu, having
noticed her edging toward health, suddenly yanked her back. Her face went hot,
her stomach jumped, it was a struggle to breathe. The marshal waved toward the
front of the train. The other men nodded, one climbing to the platform while
the other started over muddy sleet to the mail cars.
Seeing the aisle was clear now, she
hurried to a tiny bathroom. She closed the door and leaned against it. Whatever
or whomever the marshals were looking for, if they searched her, she was
ruined. Hands shaking, she spread toilet tissue in the small sink and emptied
her pocket into it. She broke one hairpin and twisted another prying open gold
prongs. She released two large diamonds and an emerald from their settings.
Other pieces were smaller and more common—teardrop ruby earrings, a fire
opal stick-pin, pearl studs. She pulled a thread in the hem of her (or rather,
Mrs. Kingston's) blouse and worked the gems and jewelry into it. Her hands
shook as she pulled the tissue around the larger more distinctive settings.
Then, ignoring a sign asking people not to flush while in the station, she sent
the small bundle through the Hopper toilet's opening to the tracks. When her
foot came off the lever, she heard footsteps stop at the other side of the
She froze, feeling hunted. She
remembered stories Nicky used to love. When he was in his early teens and she
was a little girl, he spent hours telling her about tigers. Newspapers then
were full of articles about man-eaters, how they stalked villagers by following
from a distance of ten or twenty feet, blending invisibly into the jungle.
Their huge feet, Nicky said, were as silent as clouds across the sky.
When she opened the door, she found
herself face to face with the marshal who'd gestured his men to go forward and
back. His ginger hair was exactly the shade of tiger fur. He blocked the aisle
between her and the seat where (she realized) she'd left her coat.
She drew herself to her full height,
such as it was, striving for the look of chilly indignation Mrs. Kingston used
to wear in public. But it was a challenge even to appear calm. U.S. Marshals
were the enforcement arm of the Justice Department, the anti-sedition police
who rounded up aliens like Ella, draft dodgers like Nicky, and anarchists like
This one wasn't wearing his star
anymore. And there was no bulge, nor anything in the way he held his arm, to
hint at a holstered gun. Did he hand it off to his deputies before boarding? To
pretend he was a passenger?
"Sorry to disturb you," he
said. "I hope you're well? There've been quite a few cases of the flu
between Washington and Chicago."
"Are you a doctor?"
"No, just… a good Samaritan, if
you need one, Miss. Are you getting off here, waiting for a porter to help with
"No." She realized her
tickets—nearly ninety dollars worth—were in her coat. Had he seen
them there, had he looked through her pockets? She'd have to be careful not to
lie (but not to name a town, either) if he asked her destination.
"If you're catching the transfer
train to Grand Central or North Western, it's been delayed. A porter just told
me. They've left the dining car open for anyone who wants to wait here."
"I see." Mrs. Kingston's
tone would have ordered him to step aside, but Ella couldn't duplicate it. She
wasn't in the habit of being obeyed.
The man was giving her an appraising
look instead of letting her pass. It was bolder than the looks men gave Mrs. K.
Was it so apparent, even in clothes taken from a rich woman's tallboy, that
Ella was rabble?
"Say, though, I know you, don't
I?" The marshal smiled, showing good teeth and a single dimple. "Did
you board in Washington?"
She thought again of the tickets in
her coat pocket. "You, too?" If he said yes, perhaps she'd see a tic
or squint and know it when he lied again.
"Actually, I think I saw you
walking past a friend's house there." He gave her another head-to-toe
look. "Or rather, the little girl who lives there saw the children who
were with you. I don't remember their names, but I heard about them in some
detail—prowess at jump rope, if they'd tried ice cream inside of cones
yet. That sort of thing. My friend's daughter is at the age where she thinks
whatever interests her must interest everyone."
"Maybe we're all that age,"
The man laughed. "Yes, I am
proving it at the moment, aren't I? You were with a girl Mary's size and a boy
a little older, I think. I was more taken up in watching their… sister, are
you?" He showed his dimple again.
If she didn't know he was a marshal,
she might believe he'd seen her walking with Muriel and John. Anyone might have
spotted them on their frequent meanders to Rock Creek or the zoo.
But that wouldn't include a marshal
from Chicago. Her stomach knotted around the fact. What did it mean?
"Children and dogs always notice
each other, whatever else is going on," Ella managed. She'd never again
get dragged across a street by John or laugh at Muriel's excited chatter. She'd
never again pry baby Annie's sticky fingers from her hair.
"Do you know my friends, the
Palmers, on R Street?" he asked. Ella tried not to show her shock. The
Kingstons lived a block from them. "They have a sweet girl, Mary. Well, a
wild girl," he spoke it like a compliment, "but I don't doubt she'll
be sweet someday."
Ella knew little Mary Palmer, all
right. She'd done all she could, in timing the children's outings, to make sure
Muriel didn't befriend the pie-faced daughter of the Alien Property Custodian.
She hated the man who, with the war as his excuse, robbed immigrants of their
factories and patents, handing them to political cronies.
"I'm sorry," she said,
"I don't know anyone on that street."
How did he come to bring up R Street
at all? It couldn't be a coincidence, and it might be a disaster.
The marshal didn't move. He seemed to
expect more. In a panic to say anything, she added, "I'm at school, I
don't get out much."
"School in the District?"
Perhaps if she wasn't cornered, she
could think. Mrs. K would never have let a strange man trap her in the aisle of
a train. But Ella didn't know how to get past him without answering.
She nearly said Howard University
because she'd strolled its campus once. Her olive skin and thick head of curls,
some escaping the coil at her neckline, might let her pass for mixed race. But
Mrs. Kingston's expensive suit might not. It seemed less risky, in this finery,
to say, "Georgetown."
A hint of smugness on the marshal's
face made her realize she'd admitted to living, not just boarding a train, in
"Really? And what do you
Would he quiz her to see if she was
lying? Just in case, she said, "American history."
Her studies were buttressed
(sometimes corrected) at the Anarchist Hall. It was the immigrants' social club
and night school. They'd seen plays about the labor movement, the Constitution,
abolition. They'd heard speakers like Luigi Galleani, Emma Goldman, Margaret
Sanger. They'd discussed books and philosophy, they'd laughed and eaten and
sung union songs. These days, though, it was as dangerous to wish for utopia as
it was to call for insurrection. First the Hall was torched by vigilantes.
(That's when Nicky insisted she find a job far away.) Then the war started, and
so did the arrests and deportations.
"American history? Good college
for it," he said.
"Yes." Ella had read that
Georgetown charged $600 tuition. That was more than she would ever earn in a
She jittered to step past this man,
but she forced herself to stillness. There's a tiger in India, Nicky once told her, in a place called
Champawat. It will track villagers for mile after mile. Invisible in the
jungle, barely rustling the leaves. Taking its time, only ten or twenty feet
away, waiting to pounce. Unless a person runs. Tigers are like alley cats that
way, Ella. You've seen how a cat will just watch a mouse… until it tries to get
away. Then instinct makes it chase. And kill.
"History," the man repeated. "Yes, that's
grand. You know who Mitchell Palmer is, then, my friend on R Street? He works
for President Wilson, though not where the President first intended. He was
first asked to be Secretary of War. Turned that down, though."
What did it mean that he kept
bringing up Palmer and R Street? Even if it was true this marshal had noticed
her walking past, he'd have seen a girl in a cheap, usually mud-spattered,
suit. On Sundays, Palmer's neighbors might stroll to display the family in full
regalia. But no one dressed as Ella was now, no rich woman like Mrs. K, ever
staggered home from the river with a jar full of pollywogs and a sleeping child
No, he was trying to get confirmation
that Ella lived there. That she was the person he was on this train to find.
Had a relative of Mrs. Kingston's
noticed the missing jewelry? Sent the police to check the train station, to see
if any servant purchased a ticket?
If so, why not just ask Ella for
identification, why not just detain and search her? His pretense was terrifying
"I'm a rude lout, though, to
keep you standing." He backed up to let her pass.
Her hand went of its own accord to
her skirt, to the spot where the tucked-in hem of her blouse was threaded with
the stolen jewels. She held them tight against herself while she skimmed past
him. She found her wrapover and sat in that row by the window. She pulled the
coat to the middle space and turned away to show she was done conversing.
To her chagrin, the man sank into the
aisle seat. "Pardon me for saying so, but you look a bit peaked. Would you
like some water? I can send a porter to get some."
She shook her head.
"You're not wearing a mask like
so many on the train. You've had the flu already, I guess? Perhaps recently?
It's left you pale."
"I'm all right," she said.
"Please don't misunderstand me.
I don't mean that you look— Only that after so long a train ride... But
let me not remove one foot from my mouth to insert the other. I've had the flu
myself. It got hold of me in Philly," he said, "the week it took five
thousand there. Did you lose anyone to it?"
She thought again of her fellow
servants, of the children. She'd used Cook's money to pay the wagon men to take
away their bodies. Then she'd left Mrs. K alone in the house, bleeding through
her tear ducts, her face the color of old liver. Ella had tried to make her
comfortable. She'd done all she could to keep it from her, about Muriel and
John and baby Annie. But when the dying woman realized the truth, there'd been
no helping her.
Ella said, "Everyone's lost
somebody, I think."
"It's not easy to survive these
days, is it, between the war and the flu," he said. "And a hard time
after, if you do."
Why didn't this marshal pounce:
search her, interrogate her, take her away? Why did he stalk her with
To change the subject to something
else, anything else, she said, "Why did your friend turn down being
Secretary of War?"
"Well, he's a Quaker. Not fully
a pacifist—they call him the Fighting Quaker. He's in favor of this war
because it was thrust upon us. But he feared his faith could complicate
initiating another. And the day may come when we have to strike first. So he
took a different post."
She nodded, unsure what to reply.
"I'm a Quaker as well," he
said. "We're supposed to be Catholics, we Irish. But my mother was a
Friend, and she took pity on the besotted fellow who became my dad."
"Did the draft board assign you
to a farm camp? That's where they send Quakers, isn't it?"
"On the contrary, most Friends
who object are shipped straight to the battlefield. Ordered to carry stretchers
if we won't carry guns. But not all of us object. I didn't get called, but I'd
have gone. I don't believe in shirking. It only leaves the dirty work to
She thought of Nicky in a hovel in
Mexico because he refused to kill poor men like himself to settle rich men's
The marshal watched her carefully.
"I believe in this war—the Germans saw to that."
"What about your Quaker
"Our convictions are individual,
not institutional—there's no high church to tell us what to do. We find
our own ways to stay firm in our four tenets, and we leave it at that." He
flushed a little.
"I see." She made herself
smile. While he was talking, she was spared the effort. "What are the
He looked surprised by her interest.
"Simplicity, equality, tolerance, peace. But again, it's different when
war's forced on you. When there's no peace without a fight."
Nicky had said to her, before he left
for Mexico, "It's not just me who doesn't understand this war, Ella.
There's no one on Earth who can find the bone under the skin. It's senseless
grudges by men who'll never win treasure enough to satisfy them. They send
their countrymen to spill innocent blood, including their own, and get nothing
in return." He'd been gone almost two years and still the carnage
continued, and still no one understood why.
"And any day," the marshal
said, "we'll learn we've done it. Won the war and brought the peace.
Armistice any day now, they say. There's a rumor it might be tonight. But
lately, there's always a rumor."
"No peace without a fight,"
Ella repeated. "Do you Quakers introduce paradox into all four tenets?
Your friend is the Fighting Quaker? Do you also have Klansman Quakers?"
"Never that." He flashed a
smile that seemed different from those previous. Because he'd shaken her close
to showing her true feelings? "And Mitchell Palmer, well, however a person
may judge his views on war, he's kept to the tenets. Served three terms in
Congress, working for an end to child labor, a tariff system to protect the
poorest workers. That's why I helped put him in office. I worked on his first
campaign and ran the next two."
Ella squirmed in her seat. She had
the sense this was, for him, turning into a real conversation. Was that to her
benefit, or did it merely protract this ordeal?
"I first heard Palmer speak when
I was at Penn. Years ago, studying history, like yourself." His tone
softened and so did his smile. If she didn't know he was a marshal, she'd think
he was flirting. "He was a determined young progressive. And I found we
spoke the same language. Right down to the rare 'thee' and 'thou' if we aren't
Could it be he really knew Palmer?
Was it possible he had seen her walking past? It wouldn't change the fact that he'd
removed his nickel star. Or that he seemed intent on coaxing her to offer…
what? An admission she'd lived on R Street? Why not confront her with it, pat
her down if he was after Mrs. Kingston's jewels?
She heard the door at the other end
of the car slide open. The marshal twisted toward the aisle to glance over his
While his attention was elsewhere,
she looked him over. He was an attractive man, square-shouldered and lean at
the waist. His profile under the thick ginger hair, clipped short along the
sides and combed straight on top, showed a strong brow and firm jaw. She
noticed too, though it was silly to do so, that he smelled of bay rum
aftershave. When he turned back, his eyes widened from a squint. She looked
away, but not before she caught his pleasure at having found himself examined.
"It wasn't the porter," he
said. "If you're waiting for one."
She shook her head to show she
"If you're thinking of whiling
away some time inside the terminal, you ought to walk through the train. Leave
it where the platform's enclosed. Even a mild November night in Chicago is
enough to make someone from Washington weep. But perhaps you grew up in a raw
climate? Where is it you go home to now?"
Had he searched her coat pockets and
seen her tickets?
"Oh, I don't mind the
cold," she said. Mrs. Kingston would have raised her brows and pinched her
lips to show she found the question impertinent. But Ella's features weren't
trained to it.
"And so Georgetown's on break already, then? Earlier
than usual, isn't it?"
"The flu." She was on
comfortable footing here, at least. "The mayor outlawed public meetings,
and so the schools have closed."
"Ah yes, of course," he
said. "But if they keep you longer into the summer to compensate, you may
dislike the heat and mosquitoes. Or do you go home to worse?"
"It was wise of them to do it, I
If he was here to find her, he'd know
her destination from her ticket. So why did he keep asking where she lived? In
case someone came to meet her train and take her on by car?
Beyond the marshal and across the
aisle, windows framed a sky shingled with wet clouds. The last traces of
daylight were fading over acres of ground covered in curved and crossing
tracks. In the distance, a canal was overspread with a rust-streaked railroad
bridge. She watched a train flash across it while others moved slowly alongside
the narrow waterway. She struggled to say something about it, or to find
another innocuous topic, but the words wouldn't come.
"Your history classes?" The
marshal shifted so his knees touched her coat on the seat between them. She saw
that his pale blue eyes were made intense by dark rings around the iris.
"Have they influenced your view of this war?" His brows were raised
attentively, as if he were sincerely interested in her answer.
Ella felt herself go cold. The
Sedition Act made criticizing the war a crime punishable by $10,000 and twenty
years in prison. Enforcement was literal and draconian. She'd read about a film
maker sentenced to ten years at hard labor for a harsh portrayal of the British
in his movie about the Revolutionary War. They were our allies now, and it was
sedition to defame them (or the President) in any context. It wasn't possible,
these days, to be careful enough.
"I agree with you," she
said. "Sometimes peace has to be won."
"And your professors
"Of course. Why wouldn't
"I understand that some at Georgetown,
Harvard and Yale too, draw supposed contrasts between our laws and our
"Really?" This turn of
conversation seemed very bad to her. Sounding her out about the war and now the
"They talk of starting a civil
liberties league. To challenge the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Anarchist
Exclusion Act." He watched her unblinkingly. "Deportations under the
"I didn't know that."
She couldn't make sense of this. She
felt sure he was looking for her in particular—why else would he keep
bringing up R Street? She'd supposed it had to do with the stolen jewels. But
he'd have no reason to care about the politics of a thief, would he?
She heard the blood roar in her ears.
Had she done something to make a marshal suspect her of sedition? Every alien
knew someone who'd been dragged onto a boat. If the government bothered with
hearings at all, they were closed-door, one immigration officer and no
She was glad the marshal was speaking
again. She couldn't have constructed a coherent sentence.
"Civil liberties," he said.
"I don't begrudge lawyers and courts their roles. But except in extreme
cases, I say leave the law to those who write it." He paused for her
reply. When none came, he added, "And if they overstep, then vote for
different men. Better that than putting it in the pockets of appointees with
grudges and personal stakes. Or do you take the opposite view?"
She managed a, "No."
"Having run Palmer's political
campaigns, that's my orientation. But your professors, they influence the next
generation of voters. We Democrats need them on our side. That's why I
She smiled as if flattered he'd posed
"And forming a civil liberties
league…" He leaned closer. "It implies people get dragged away just
for thinking the wrong thoughts. But you've never been made to feel shy, have
you, about expressing a view in the classroom?"
If she didn't know he was a marshal,
if she hadn't seen him still wearing his star, would she be goaded into
arguing? Would she be fool enough to let her true opinions slip?
"You have to weigh the extent to
which a tool serves the common good," he went on. Determined to draw Ella
out? "The Sedition Act may pull in a few it shouldn't. But the courts can
sort that out. And in times of war, you have to judge value by percentages,
don't you think? Weigh the inconvenience to a few against the harm to
innocents? Like the servant who lost her hands opening a package bomb meant for
a senator. They say it was built from a manual, bought for twenty-five cents
Ella felt a cold sweat glue stray
curls to her hairline. Luigi Galleani's newspaper sold tracts full of threats
and bluster. It was his style of rhetoric, but no one at the Hall took it
seriously. When Galleani lectured, he was fiery but he stayed inside the law.
Mr. Shelstein, who booked their speakers, insisted on it. Then the laws
changed. Galleani's paper was shut down along with a hundred others. Like Emma Goldman
and Eugene Debs, Galleani was in prison now.
Was the marshal looking for an
admission that Ella knew him? Did he mean to learn where she was going in case
she was joining a conspiracy there?
But no one in Washington knew Ella
once called herself an Anarchist. She'd never even mentioned Nicky.
Nicky. Had he come
back now that the war was ending? Had the marshals been following him? Maybe
he'd gone looking for Ella at the Kingstons'?
She barely mastered the impulse to
grab her coat and lurch over the marshal's knees into the aisle. She could bear
anything but that. Anything but Nicky arrested, lost to her.
A tiger has to chase you if
you try to get away from it, Ella. Nicky had been breathless, his eyes
will stalk you patiently for hours and hours if you don't run. But the second
you do, it has to come after you. It's like a machine, and you've pulled a lever. It
has to chase you because that's how a tiger is. He'd been poring over newspaper accounts of the Champawat tiger. It
had eaten 430 humans by then, and hunters were willing to try anything. They heard about
this village where people wear masks on the backs of their heads. Because if a
tiger sees your face, it doesn't understand you're running away. It knows
humans don't run backwards. And if it doesn't know you're running, maybe you
can get someplace safe. He'd said it solemnly, and she could see him
imagining it all. She remembered the cut on his chin—he hadn't been
shaving long, hadn't been good at it yet. Even at that age, she'd wanted to
kiss it. Even then, she'd been in love with him. That's how you get away from a tiger, Ella.
And she'd nodded as if there were tigers all over Seattle.
She forced herself to rest her head
against the seatback, to try to overcome her panic. As long as this marshal was
still stalking her, not yet detaining her, she had a chance. She turned toward
him and mustered a smile. She didn't know yet how to get away, but she could
show a false face in the meantime. Fool him into thinking she wouldn't run.
"I'm told there's a luncheonette
inside the terminal. Do you know it?" She managed a slight laugh. "I
don't believe I can face the dining car again. Every meal is smothered in gravy
and stinks of canned peas."
"Why yes, I know the
luncheonette." She could see his puzzlement. See him making new
"I don't want you to feel
obliged," she said. "But... if you mean to take your supper, too? I'd
enjoy…" She couldn't quite make herself say she'd enjoy his company.
"Certainly." His face
relaxed. "Yes, I'd be glad to join you."
He stood and extended a hand to help
her up. He looked smug, flattered. The mask on the back of her head seemed to
be fooling him.
Putting herself on the arm of a
marshal was one of the hardest things Ella had ever done. As he walked her
through the train's mustard and burgundy cars, she saw two men outside
following along. She recognized them as the other marshals. They were looking
through the windows to see where their boss led.
How could she have thought this was
about Mrs. Kingston's jewelry? She was barely five feet tall—it wouldn't
take three armed men to arrest a small and ailing thief. But a
"radical"? Someone who'd seen Galleani speak, who knew a draft dodger
in Mexico? These days, a connection to any Anarchist was seen as "intended
to provoke, incite, or encourage resistance to the United States." Did
they think Ella was travelling with dynamite? (Hadn't the marshal asked if she
had baggage? Hadn't he sent someone to the luggage car?) Conversation with a
thief would yield less than a search would. But an "innocent" chat
with an Anarchist could lead to information about accomplices.
She wanted to laugh in the marshal's
face. What was it he saw when he looked at her? She'd grown up with harmless
dreamers, not bombers. Orphaned at 15, she'd gone to work in the shirt
factories. For the last two years she'd been a servant, wiping little fingers
and changing diapers. The most seditious thing she'd ever done was pine in
loneliness for a pacifist. And Nicky didn't go Mexico to plot violence, he went
there to reject it.
The marshal murmured something about
not getting separated in the busy station. He put his hand firmly over hers
where it lay on his arm.
To read the
rest of Champawat, please go to Amazon's Kindle Store, the iTunes
Store or Barnes & Noble's Nook