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The Siege

by Rudi Dornemann

By the time the first snow fell, none of us remembered if we'd been the ones to burn the bridges and mine the streets just inside the gates, or if that had been the enemy. Big flakes fell out of the dark like the ashes of the stars we couldn’t see and the city got even quieter under all the white. Out on the plain, the wind blew rolling drifts like slow waves and we saw the distant figures of the enemy scrambling to secure their tents.

My sister Rose and I laughed and watched until the cold metal of the telescope stung our eyes, then we went downstairs and had some of the soup that Mama Anna had made. It wasn’t much -- just water in which a shriveled potato had simmered all day. Sister Zell called it "potato tea," but she wouldn't help when we tried to talk Mama Anna into having a slice of the potato in our soup.

"If you eat it now," said Mama Anna, "it won't be there for breakfast."

"Let them have it," said Sister Zell. She stared out the window where the snow was falling heavier than ever.

Mama Anna put the pot back in the hearth and told us a story about the old days, when the Engineer and the Poet and the other founders built the city. Rose and I tried not to slurp our soup.

Mama Anna was just getting to the part where the Prophet went sleepwalking every night and the Engineer followed him so that he could see where the city walls should be, when Sister Zell interrupted.

"They flogged the Engineer the other day," she said. "On the city hall steps."

"It"s time for bed," said Mama Anna. "For all of us."

There was a huge sound, even louder than then cannons.

"The river-moat froze over," said Sister Zell.

There were three more sounds, like wood cracking, only much louder, and I thought I heard a faraway shout.

"What do we do?" said Mama Anna.

"We wait," said Sister Zell. "They should be waking the dragon soon."

The whole house shook like it did when the calvalry used to ride down the street, back when we still had horses.

"Isn’t it too cold?" said Rose.

"We'll find out," said Sister Zell.

Mama Anna started to cry. Sister Zell held her hand, and we all looked out at the snow.


bot nas?l indirilio

Posted by: sefer006 | February 15, 2009 10:17 AM

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