Weavers

Weavers by Aric Davis

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Authors: Aric Davis
apartment, isn’t it? We’ll be just downstairs, and that way we can check on my mutts. They get along well enough with supervision, but without, they can be a dickens.”
    Mom looked like she was considering things for a second, and Cynthia watched as Mrs. Martin smiled at her, making Mom smile back.
    “Yes, of course. That will be fine. You’ll be right downstairs, after all.”
    “Perfect,” said Mrs. Martin. “Cynthia, why don’t you give your mother a hug and wish her luck, and we’ll go see what those naughty little pups have gotten into?”
    Cynthia nodded, then ran to Mom and hugged her. Mom squeezed her back, and then Cynthia slithered from her arms and headed to the door with Mrs. Martin.
    “Are you sure you’ll be fine, Cynth?” Mom asked as Cynthia made the door, and Cynthia turned back to her and smiled.
    “I’ll be fine, Mom. Good luck.”
    Cynthia followed Mrs. Martin down the steps to the lower floor of the building, watching the strands from her elderly neighbor’s head trail behind her. They were the color of honey, the prettiest thing that Cynthia had ever seen.
    When Mrs. Martin opened the door to her apartment and waved Cynthia inside, Libby and Stanley ran to greet her, and Cynthia knelt to meet them and dispense rubs and accept kisses. The apartment smelled like baked goods and Mrs. Martin’s funny cigarettes and was filled with old furniture and framed photographs of smiling people.
    “I’ll get us some milk and cookies. We can talk at the table,” said Mrs. Martin as she passed by Cynthia, but Cynthia was too busy petting to respond to the words. The dogs were wonderful, the living opposite of that awful knot or waking up covered in beer in the back of the store. Cynthia was happy, truly happy, and milk and cookies sounded just perfect.
    With a wagging dog under each arm and Kelly-green strands stretching from her scalp to the tops of the dogs’ heads, Cynthia walked into the kitchen and took a seat at Mrs. Martin’s table.

CHAPTER 15
    1945
    The special selections stopped after the third barracks was interviewed by Fräulein Kaufman, and they remained stopped for over a week. The weather then was some of the worst I have ever seen, and though at first the guards joked about how much the Americans and Russians must have been enjoying the cold, those boasts turned bitter soon enough. A pair of oafish guards named Reinhold and Kahler died when an oil lamp fell and set their cabin alight. The two of them were dead by smoke inhalation long before the blaze was extinguished—and don’t think there weren’t smiling faces that day. After all, we were usually the ones leaving the earth amidst fire, but that day it was the Germans.
    The fire was only the start of it, however. The winds blew so hard that the old and young still left were dying nightly, even while inside their barracks. Lucia Lowenstein and Felicia Gruber died in my barracks within hours of one another. We did what we had to, moved the bodies outside, and then divided up what they had left in this world. That may seem callous, but if a scrap of bread or piece of fabric was enough to keep one of us alive a little longer, then so be it. The dead have no need for such things in any case, at least if what the rabbi says is true. I doubt his teachings myself. If there were a God, none of this would be happening. In any event, I think that in times like this it’s fine to borrow from the dead, at least as long as you remember not to mind when people borrow from you!
    On the eighth morning since the storm came, I woke to the sound of songbirds. Sure that I must be dreaming, I sat up and hopped out of bed. The floor gave away the secret before I could sneak outside to feel the wind on my cheek. Spring had come a couple of weeks early. I felt like singing and dancing, but I did neither. Most of the women were still slumbering or pretending to be sleeping around me, and the last thing I needed was anyone complaining about me to the

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