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Champawat


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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 Store.

 

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?

 

 

CHAMPAWAT

 

 

Part One

 

 

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 another.

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. Marshal.

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 door.

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 their friends.

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 your luggage?"

"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," Ella said.

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 Washington.

"Really? And what do you study?"

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 year.

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 on piggyback.

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 her.

"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 conversation?

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 others."

She thought of Nicky in a hovel in Mexico because he refused to kill poor men like himself to settle rich men's quarrels.

The marshal watched her carefully. "I believe in this war—the Germans saw to that."

"What about your Quaker beliefs?"

"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 tenets?"

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 careful."

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 shoulder.

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 wasn't.

"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 think."

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 concur?"

"Of course. Why wouldn't they?"

"I understand that some at Georgetown, Harvard and Yale too, draw supposed contrasts between our laws and our constitution."

"Really?" This turn of conversation seemed very bad to her. Sounding her out about the war and now the Sedition Act?

"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 Immigration Act."

"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 translator.

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 asked."

She smiled as if flattered he'd posed the question.

"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?"

"No."

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 mail order."

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 bright. It 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 calculations.

"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.

 

 

 

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