By G. Venkataraman
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Extra resources for At the Speed of Light
Liza, Father’s skinny maidservant, waited by the window, keeping well out of the way of Uncle William and cousin Hugh. They were chasing Madam Cat around and around the room, trying to step on her tail. Great-uncle George dozed and dribbled on himself by the fire. The two sisters sat obediently on the long wooden seat adjacent to the hearth, and Anne folded her hands in her lap, trying to be as composed as Deborah. She had imagined she may never hear from Father again, never have to confront those old memories of London.
Deborah suspected embarrassment led him to such a pretence, for she knew Father hated being less than whole. His eyes rested on all of them in turn, assessing them. ” he said. “I am, Father,” Mary said, stepping forward. “Mary? I heard it upon your entrance. You still have that ugly dog? ” Mary had first found Max when he was an injured stray living off rubbish on the streets of London. The legacy of his hard years was one ear which had been bitten in half, and a patch of white fur missing from his back.
Up above her, the sky was blue and infinite. The grass waved in the spring breeze, and the sun was pale on her face. She closed her eyes and entered the familiar world of her imagination. Heaven smiled on her, cherubs beckoned. She breathed great lungfuls of spring, felt herself drifting off on a tide . . “Anne! ” Her youngest sister Deborah was calling her from far away. Anne blinked her eyes open and was dazzled by the sky. “Anne! ” The voice drifted awry on the breeze. ” She sat up. Deborah stood on the edge of the field, scanning for her.