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12 June, 2009

JODI PICOULT

Yes my next target is to buy books by JODI PICOULT....been checking our her website and found that her books are all fascinating and few are being made into movies and what not...been reading the excerpts from her books and it get to a point where's i'm asking myself what's next what's next? heheheheheheh aiyo have to go to chowrasta laaaa to search for the secondhand one so i could buy few of them in one go right? kikikiki we'll see.....


An excerpt from Nineteen Minutes:

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn; color your hair; watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five. Nineteen minutes is how long it took the Tennessee Titans to sell out of tickets to the playoffs. It’s the amount of time it takes to listen to the Yes song Close to the Edge. It’s the length of a sitcom, minus the commercials. It’s the driving distance from the Vermont border to the town of Sterling, NH. In nineteen minutes, you can order a pizza and get it delivered. You can read a story to a child or have your oil changed. You can walk two miles. You can sew a hem. In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world; or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge. As usual, Alex Cormier’s life was running late. It took thirty-two minutes to drive from her house in Sterling to the Superior Court in Grafton County, NH, and that was only if she speeded through Orford. She hurried downstairs in her stockings, carrying her heels and the files she’d brought home with her over the weekend. She twisted her thick copper hair into a knot and anchored it at the base of her neck with bobby pins, transforming herself into the person she needed to be before she left her house. Alex had been a superior court judge now for thirty-four days. She’d believed that, having proved her mettle as a district court judge for the past five years, this time around the appointment might be easier. But at forty, she was still the youngest judge in the state. She still had to fight to establish herself as a fair justice -- her history as a public defender preceded her into her courtroom, and prosecutors assumed she’d side with the defense, although her district court decisions had been meticulously fair. When Alex had submitted her name years ago for the bench, it had been with the sincere desire to make sure people in this legal system were innocent until proven guilty. She just never
anticipated that, as a judge, she might not be given the same benefit of the doubt. The smell of freshly brewed coffee drew Alex into the kitchen. Josie was hunched over a steaming mug at the kitchen table, poring over a textbook. She looked exhausted – her grey eyes were bloodshot; her
chestnut hair was a knotty ponytail. “Tell me you haven’t been up all night,” Alex said. Her daughter didn’t even glance up. “I haven’t been up all night,” Josie parroted. Alex poured herself a cup of coffee and slid into the chair across from her. “Honestly?” “You asked me to tell you something,” Josie said absently. “You didn’t ask for the truth.” Alex frowned. “You shouldn’t be
drinking coffee.” “And you shouldn’t be smoking cigarettes,” Josie replied. Alex felt her face heat up. “I don’t –““Mom,” Josie sighed, “Even when you open up the bathroom windows, I can still smell it on the towels.” She glanced up, as if daring Alex to challenge her other vices. Alex didn’t have any other vices. She didn’t have time for any vices. She would have liked to say that she knew with authority that Josie didn’t have any vices, either, but she would only be making the same inference the rest of the world would when they met Josie: a pretty, popular, straight-A student who knew better than most the consequences of falling off the straight-and-narrow. A girl who was destined for great things. A young woman who was exactly what Alex had hoped her daughter would grow to become. Josie had once been so proud to have a mother as a judge. Alex could remember Josie broadcasting her career to the tellers at the bank; the baggers in the grocery store; the flight attendants on planes. She’d ask Alex about her cases, and her decisions.
That had all changed three years ago, when Josie entered high school, and the tunnel of communication between them bricked slowly shut. Alex didn’t necessarily think that Josie was hiding anything more than any other teenager, but it was different: a normal parent might metaphorically judge her child’s friends; whereas Alex could do it legally. As a mother, you spent years leading your child, teaching her by example how to function on her own with confidence and integrity. So why, then, was it such a surprise to realize that you were no longer tugging her
weight behind you, but watching her move along a parallel track? “What’s on the docket today?” Alex said. “Unit test. What about you?” “Arraignments,” Alex replied. She squinted across the table, trying to read Josie’s textbook upside down. “Chemistry?” “Catalysts.” Josie rubbed her temples. “Substances that speed up a reaction, but stay unchanged by it. Like if you’ve got carbon monoxide gas and hydrogen gas and you toss in zinc and chromium oxide, and…what’s the matter?” “Just having a little flashback of why I got a C in Orgo. Have you had breakfast?”
“Coffee,” Josie said. “Coffee doesn’t count.” “It does when you’re in a rush,” Josie pointed out.
Alex weighed the costs of being even five minutes later, or getting another black mark against her in the cosmic good parenting tally. Frustrated – shouldn’t a sixteen year old be able to take care of herself in the morning? -- Alex started pulling items out of the refrigerator: eggs, milk, bacon. “I once presided over an Involuntary Emergency Admission at the state mental hospital for a woman who thought she was Emeril. Her husband had her committed when she put a pound of bacon in the blender and chased him around the kitchen with a knife, yelling Bam!” Josie glanced up from her textbook. “Really?” “Oh, believe me, I can’t make these things up.” Alex cracked an egg into a skillet. “When I asked her why she’d put a pound of bacon in the blender; she looked at me and said that she and I must just cook differently.” Josie stood up and leaned against the counter, watching her mother cook. Domesticity wasn’t Alex’s strong point – she didn’t know how to make a pot roast but was proud to have memorized the phone numbers of every pizza place and Chinese restaurant in Sterling that offered free delivery. “Relax,” Alex said dryly. “I think I can do this without setting the house on fire.” But Josie didn’t seem to be listening. She tilted her head to one side. “How come you dress like that?” Alex glanced down at her skirt, blouse, and heels and frowned. “Why? Is it too Margaret Thatcher?” “No, I mean…why do you bother? No one knows what you have on under your robe. You could wear, like, pajama pants. Or that sweater you have from college that’s got holes in the elbows.” “Whether or not people see it, I’m still expected to dress…well, judiciously.” A cloud passed over Josie’s face, and she slipped back into her chair again, as if Alex had somehow given the wrong answer. She stared at her daughter – the bitten half-moon fingernails, the freckle behind her ear, the zigzag part of her hair – and saw instead the toddler who’d wait at the babysitter’s window at sundown, because she knew that was when Alex came to get her. “I’ve never worn pajamas to work,” Alex admitted, “but I do sometimes close the door to chambers and take a nap on the floor.” A slow, surprised smile played over Josie’s face. She held her mother’s admission as if it were a butterfly lighting on her hand by accident: an event so startling you could not call attention to it without risking its loss. But there were miles to drive and defendants to arraign and chemical equations to
interpret, and by the time Alex set a plate of food in front of Josie, the moment had winged away.
“I still don’t get why I have to eat breakfast if you don’t,” Josie muttered. “Because you have to be a certain age to earn the right to ruin your own life.” Alex washed her hands and wiped them on a dishtowel. “Promise me you’ll finish that?” Josie met her gaze. “Promise.” “Then I’m headed out.” Alex glanced around the kitchen, satisfied that she had played the role of mother to the best of her abilities given her time constraints, and then grabbed her travel mug of coffee. By the time she backed her car out of the garage, her head was already focused on the decision she had to write that afternoon; the number of arraignments the clerk would have stuffed onto her docket; the motions that would fallen like shadows across her desk between Friday afternoon and this morning. She was caught up in a world far away from home, where at that very moment her daughter stood up and scraped her breakfast plate into the trash can without ever taking a single bite. Patrick DuCharme, the sole detective on the Sterling Police force, sat on a bench on the far side of the locker room, listening to the patrol officers on the morning shift pick on a rookie with a little extra padding around the middle. “Hey, Fisher,” Eddie Odenkirk said, “are you the one who’s having the baby, or is it your wife?” As the rest of the guys laughed, Patrick took pity on the kid. “It’s early, Eddie,” he said. “Can’t you at least wait to start in until we’ve all had a cup of coffee?” “I would, Captain,” Eddie laughed, “but it looks like Fisher already ate all the donuts and – what the hell is that?” Patrick followed Eddie’s gaze downward, to his own feet. He did not, as a matter of course, change in the locker room with the patrol officers – but he’d jogged to work this morning instead of driving, to work off too much good cooking consumed over the weekend. He’d spent Saturday and Sunday in Maine with the girl who currently held his heart – his goddaughter, a four year old named Tara Frost. Her mother, Nina, was Patrick’s oldest friend, and the one love he probably would never get over, although she managed to be doing quite well without him. Over the course of the weekend, Patrick had played approximately ten thousand games of Candyland, had given countless piggy-back rides, had his hair done, and – here was his cardinal mistake – allowed Tara to put bright pink nailpolish on his toes, which Patrick had forgotten to remove. He glanced down at his feet, and curled his toes under. “Chicks think it’s hot,” he said gruffly, as the seven men in the locker room struggled not to snicker at someone who was technically their superior. Patrick yanked his dress socks on, slipped into his loafers, and walked out, still holding his tie. One, he counted. Two, three. On cue, laughter spilled out of the locker room, following him down the hallway. In his office, Patrick closed the door and peered at
himself in the tiny mirror on the back. His black hair was still damp from his shower; his face was flushed from his run. He shimmied the knot of his tie up his neck, fashioning the noose, and then sat down at his desk. Being a small-town detective required Patrick to be firing on all cylinders, all the time. Unlike cops he knew who worked for city departments, where they had twenty-four hours to solve a case before it was considered cold, Patrick’s job was to take everything that came across his desk – not to cherry-pick for the interesting ones. It was hard to get excited about a bad check case, or theft that would net the perp a $200 fine, when it cost the taxpayers five times that to have Patrick focus on it for a week. But every time he started thinking that his cases weren’t particularly important, he’d find himself face to face with a victim: the hysterical mother whose wallet was stolen; the mom-and-pop jewelry store owners who’d been robbed of their retirement income; the rattled professor who was a victim of identity theft. Hope, Patrick knew, was the exact measure of distance between himself and the person who’d come for help. If Patrick didn’t get involved, if he didn’t give a hundred percent, then that victim was going to be a victim forever – which was why, since Patrick had joined the Sterling Police, he had managed to solve every single case. And yet. Whenever he walked around the perimeter of a vandalized barn or found the stolen car stripped down and dumped in the woods or handed the tissue to the sobbing teenager who’d gotten date raped, Patrick couldn’t help but feel that he was too late. He was a detective, but he didn’t detect anything. It fell into his lap, already broken, every time. And
even if he could put the pieces back together, that wasn’t the same as keeping it from happening in the first place. Patrick’s boss, the police chief, told him to get over his Superman complex. He’d knock on the wood of his desk and say Patrick was just damn lucky to have a flawless track record, and that he should be grateful. But in the night, when Patrick was lying in his bed alone and letting his mind sew a seam across the hem of his life, he did not remember the proven successes – only the potential failures. He would look into the hazy faces of the victims he hadn’t
yet met, and wonder when his good fortune would run dry. In a town the size of Sterling, everyone knew everyone else, and always had. In some ways, this was comforting – like a great big extended family that you sometimes loved and sometimes fell out of favor with. At other times, it haunted Josie. Like right now, when she was standing in the cafeteria line behind Natalie Zlenko, a dyke of the first order who –way back in second grade, when no one was popular or unpopular yet – had invited Josie over to play and had convinced her to pee on the front lawn like a boy. What were you thinking, her mother had said, when she’d come to pick her up and saw them bare-bottomed and squatting over the daffodils. Even now, a decade later, Josie couldn’t look at Natalie Zlenko with her buzz cut and her everpresent SLR camera without wondering if Natalie still thought about that too. On Josie’s other side was Courtney Ignatio – the alpha-female of Sterling High. With her honey blonde hair hanging over her shoulders like a shawl made of silk and her low-rise jeans mail-ordered from Fred Segal, she’d spawned an entourage of clones. On Courtney’s tray was a bottle of water and a banana. On Josie’s was a platter of French fries. It was third period, and just like her mother had predicted, she was famished. “Hey,” Courtney said, loud enough for Natalie to overhear. “Can you tell the vagitarian
to let us pass?” Natalie’s cheeks burned with color, and she flattened herself up against the sneeze guard of the salad bar so that Courtney and Josie could slip by. They paid for their food and walked across the cafeteria. Whenever she came into the caf during third period, Josie felt like a naturalist -- observing different species in their natural, non-academic habitat. There were the geeks, bent over their textbooks and laughing at math jokes nobody else even wanted to understand. Behind them were the Art Freaks, who smoked cloves on the ropes course behind the school and drew manga comics in the margins of their notes. Near the condiment bar were the skanks, who drank black coffee and waited for the bus that would bring them to the technical high school three towns over for their afternoon classes; and the druggies, already strung out by ten o’clock in the morning. There were misfits, too – kids like Natalie and Angela Phlug, friends by default, because nobody else would have them. And then there was Josie’s posse of friends. They took over two tables during third period, not because there were so many of them, but because they were larger than life. Emma, Maddie, Haley, John, Brady, Trey, Drew – monikers that you always saw at the top of the Baby Name lists. Josie could remember how – when she first started hanging around – she’d get everyone’s names confused. They were that interchangeable. They all sort of looked alike, too – the boys all wearing their maroon home hockey jerseys and their hats backward, bright thatches of hair stuck through the loops at their foreheads like the start of a fire; the girls carbon copies of Courtney, by studious design. Josie slipped inconspicuously into the heart of them, because she looked like Courtney, too. Her tangle of hair had been blown glass-straight; her heels were three inches high, even though there was still snow on the ground. If she appeared the same on the outside, it was that much easier to ignore the fact that she didn’t really know how she felt on the inside. “Hey,” Maddie said, as Courtney sat down beside her. “Hey.” “Did you hear about Fiona Kierland?” Courtney’s eyes lit up; gossip – Josie realized – was as good a catalyst as any chemical. “The one whose boobs are two different sizes?” “No, that’s Fiona the Sophomore. I’m talking about Fiona the Freshman.” “The one who always carries a box of tissues for her allergies?” Josie said, sliding into a seat. “Or not,” Haley said. “Guess who got sent to rehab for snorting coke.” “Get out.” “That’s not even the whole scandal,” Emma added. “Her dealer was the head of the bible study group that meets before school in the band room.” “Oh my God!” Courtney said. “Exactly.” “Hey.” Matt slipped into the chair beside Josie. “What took you so long?” She turned to him. At this end of the table, the guys were rolling straw wrappers into spitballs and talking about the end of spring skiing. “How long do you think the half-pipe will stay open at Sunapee?” John asked, lobbing a spitball toward a kid one table away, who’d fallen asleep. The boy had been in Josie’s Sign Language elective last year. He was a junior, too, but somehow puberty had passed him by. His arms and legs were skinny and white and splayed like a stickbug; his head was tipped backward on the lip of the chair; his mouth, as he snored, was wide open. “You missed, loser. If Sunapee closes, Killington’s still good. They have snow until, like, August,” Drew said, and his spitball landed in the boy’s hair.
Derek. The kid’s name was Derek.
Matt glanced at Josie’s French fries.
“You’re not going to eat those, are
you?”
“I’m starving.”
He pinched the side of her waist, a caliper and a
criticism all at once. Josie looked down at the fries.
Ten seconds ago, they’d looked golden brown and
smelled like heaven; now, all she could see was the
grease that stained the paper plate.
Matt took a handful and passed the rest to Drew, who
threw a spitball that landed in the sleeping boy’s
mouth. With a choke and a sputter, Derek startled
awake.
“Sweet!” Drew high-fived John.
“You da man,” John laughed.
Derek spat into a napkin and rubbed his mouth hard.
He glanced around to see who else had been watching.
Josie suddenly remembered a sign from her ASL elective,
almost all of which she’d forgotten the moment
she’d taken the final. A hand moved in a circle
over the heart meant I’m sorry.
Matt leaned over and kissed her neck.
“Let’s get out of here,” he murmured.
He drew Josie to her feet and then turned to his
friends. “Later,” he said.
· · · · · ·
Zoe Patterson was wondering what it was like to kiss
a guy who had braces. Not that it was a remote
possibility for her anytime in the near future, but she
figured that it was something she ought to consider
before the moment actually caught her off guard. In
fact, she wondered what it would be like to kiss a guy,
period – even one who wasn’t orthodontically
challenged, like her. And honestly, was there any
place better than a stupid math class to let your mind
wander?
Mr. McCabe, who thought he was the Chris Rock of
algebra, was doing his daily stand-up routine.
“What do my mother and the square root of two have
in common? Anyone…?” He waited a beat, and
then grinned at the class. “They’re both
irrational!”
As he turned to the board, Zoe looked up at the
clock. She counted along with the second hand until it
was 10:40 on the dot and then popped out of her seat to
hand Mr. McCabe a pass. “Ah, orthodontia,”
he read out loud. “Well, make sure he
doesn’t wire your mouth shut, Ms. Patterson. Now,
an irrational number is, contrary to what you might be
thinking, not one taking Prozac for mood swings, but
merely one that can’t be written as a
fraction…”
Zoe hefted her backpack onto her shoulders and
walked out of the classroom. She had to meet her mom in
front of the school at 10:45 – parking was killer,
so it would be a drive-by pickup. Mid-class, the halls
were hollow and resonant; it felt like trudging through
the belly of a whale. Zoe detoured into the Main Office
to sign out on the secretary’s clipboard, and then
nearly mowed down a kid in her hurry to get outside.
It was warm enough outside to unzip her jacket and
tilt her face to the sky, thinking of summer and soccer
camp and what it would be like when her palate expander
was finally removed. If you kissed a guy who
didn’t have braces, and you pressed too hard,
could you cut their gums? Something told Zoe that if
you made a guy bleed, you probably wouldn’t be
hooking up with him again. What if he had braces too,
like that blonde kid from Chicago who’d just
transferred and sat in front of her in English (not that
she liked him or anything, swear to God, although he had
turned around to hand her back her homework paper and
held onto it just a smidgen too long, which was pretty
awesome…)? Would they get stuck together like
jammed gears and have to be taken to the Emergency room
at the hospital, and how totally humiliating would that
be?
Zoe ran her tongue along the ragged metal fenceposts
in her mouth. Maybe she should just temporarily join a
convent.
She sighed and peered down the block to see whether
she could make out her mom’s green Explorer from
the congo line of passing cars. And just about then,
something exploded.
· · · · · ·
Patrick sat at a red light in his unmarked police
car, waiting to turn onto the highway. Beside him, on
the passenger seat, was a paper bag with a brick of
cocaine inside it. The dealer they’d busted at
the high school had admitted it was cocaine; and yet
Patrick had to waste half his day taking it to the State
lab so that someone in a lab coat could tell him what he
already knew. He fiddled with the volume button of the
dispatch radio just in time to hear the fire department
being sent to the high school for some kind of
explosion. Probably the boiler; the school was old
enough for its internal structure to be falling apart.
He tried to remember where the boiler was located in
Sterling High; if they’d be lucky enough to come
out of that kind of situation without anyone being hurt.
Shots fired…
The light turned green, but Patrick didn’t
move. The discharge of a gun in Sterling was rare
enough to have him narrow his attention to the voice on
the dispatch radio, waiting for an explanation.
At the high school…Sterling High…
The dispatcher’s voice was getting faster,
more intense. Patrick wheeled the car in a U-turn and
started toward the school with his lights flashing.
Other voices began to transmit in static bursts:
officers stating their positions in town; the on-duty
supervisor trying to coordinate manpower and calling for
mutual aid from Hanover and Lebanon. Their voices
knotted and tangled, blocking each other so that
everything and nothing was being said at once.
Signal 1000, the dispatcher said. Signal 1000.
In Patrick’s entire career as a detective,
he’d only heard that call twice. Once was in
Maine, when a deadbeat dad had taken an officer hostage.
Once was in Sterling, during a potential bank robbery
that turned out to be a false alarm. Signal 1000 meant
that everyone, immediately, was to get off the radio and
free dispatch up for the emergency. It was a clear
acknowledgment that what they were dealing with was not
routine.
It was life or death.
· · · · · ·
Chaos was a constellation of students, running out
of the school and trampling the injured. Chaos was the
boy holding a handmade sign in an upstairs window that
read HELP US. Chaos was two girls, hugging each other
and sobbing. Chaos was blood melting pink on the snow;
it was the drip of parents that turned into a stream and
then a raging river, screaming out the names of their
missing children. Chaos was a TV camera in your face;
not enough ambulances; not enough officers; and no plan
for how to react when the world as you knew it went to
pieces.
Patrick pulled halfway onto the sidewalk and grabbed
his bulletproof vest from the back of the car. Already,
adrenaline was pulsing through him, making the edges of
his vision swim and his senses more acute. He found
Chief O’Rourke standing with a megaphone in the
middle of the melee. “SOU’s on its
way.”
Patrick didn’t give a damn about the Special
Operations Unit. By the time the SWAT team got here, a
hundred more shots might be fired; a kid might be
killed. He drew his gun. “I’m going
in.”
“The hell you are,” O’Rourke said.
“That’s not protocol.”
“There is no fucking protocol for this,”
Patrick snapped. “You can fire me later.”
As he raced up the steps to the school, he was
vaguely aware of two other patrol officers bucking the
chief’s commands and joining him in the fray.
Patrick pushed through the double doors, past students
who were shoving each other in an effort to get outside.
Fire alarms blared, pulsing so loud that at first
Patrick had to strain to hear the gunshots. He grabbed
the coat of a boy streaking past him. “Who is
it?” he yelled. “Who’s
shooting?”
“Some kid…I don’t know his last
name.”
The boy wrenched away from Patrick. “Is there
more than one?” he called after him, but by then,
the boy had opened the door and burst into a rectangle
of sunlight.
Homework papers were scattered on the floor; shell
casings rolled beneath the heels of Patrick’s
shoes. Ceiling tiles had been shot off and a fine grey
dust coated the broken bodies that lay twisted on the
floor. Patrick ignored all of this, going against most
of his training – running past doors that might
hide a perp, disregarding rooms that should have been
searched – instead driving toward the direction of
the noise and the shrieks with his weapon drawn and his
heart beating through every inch of his skin. Later,
he would remember other sights that he didn’t have
time to register right now: the heating duct covers
that had been pried loose, so that students could hide
in the crawl space; the shoes left behind by kids who
literally ran out of them; the eerie prescience of
crime-scene outlines on the floor outside the biology
classrooms, where students had been tracing their own
bodies on butcher paper for an assignment.
Turning a corner, Patrick slipped on blood and heard
another gunshot – this one loud enough to ring in
his ears like a nightmare. Gesturing to the two cops
beside him, they swept into the open double doors of the
gymnasium. Patrick scanned the space – the
handful of sprawled bodies, the basketball cart
overturned and the globes resting against the far wall
– and no shooter. He knew, from the overtime
detail he’d taken on Friday nights to monitor high
school ball games, that he’d reached the end of
the road; the far end of Sterling High. Which meant
that the shooter was either hiding somewhere, here; or
had doubled back past them when Patrick hadn’t
noticed…and could even now have cornered them in
this gym.
Patrick spun around to the entrance again, to see if
that was the case, and then heard another shot. His
head whipped toward a side door that led out from the
gym, one he hadn’t noticed in his first quick
visual sweep of the area. It was a locker room, tiled
white on the walls and the floor. He glanced down, saw
the fanned spray of blood at his feet, and edged his gun
around the corner wall.
Two bodies lay unmoving at one end of the locker
room. At the other, closer to Patrick, a slight boy
crouched beside a bank of lockers. He wore a t-shirt
that read Have a Whale of a Time! and wire-rimmed
glasses, crooked on his thin face. He held a pistol up
to his head with one shaking hand.
A new rush of blood surged through Patrick.
“Don’t fucking move,” he shouted,
drawing a bead on the boy. “Drop the gun or I
will fucking kill you.” Sweat broke out down his
back and on his forehead, and he could feel his cupped
hands shifting on the butt on the gun as he aimed,
completely ready to lace the kid with bullets if he had
to. Anticipation crouched at the back of Patrick’s
throat, swelling so that he had to hold his breath and
hope for the best.
Patrick let his forefinger brush gently against the
trigger just as the boy opened his fingers wide as a
starfish. The pistol fell to the floor, skittering
across the tile.
Immediately, he pounced, while one of the other
officers provided cover and the second retrieved the
boy’s weapon. Patrick dropped the kid onto his
stomach and cuffed him, grinding his knee into the
boy’s spine. His head was spinning and his nose
was running and his pulse was a military tattoo, but he
could vaguely hear one of the other officers calling
this in over the radio: Sterling, we have one in
custody.
Just as seamlessly as it had started, it was over
– at least as much as something like this could be
considered over, anytime soon. Patrick didn’t
know if there were booby traps or bombs in the school;
he didn’t know how many wounded or dead there
were; he didn’t know how many wounded DHMC and
Alice Peck Day Hospital could take; he didn’t know
how to go about processing a crime scene this massive.
But the target had been taken out, and for that reason
alone, Patrick’s entire body began to shake with
the aftermath of what might had happened, if –
again – he hadn’t been quite so lucky.
He sank down to his knees, mostly because his legs
simply gave out from underneath them, and pretended that
this was intentional; that he wanted to check out the
two bodies lying just feet away from the shooter. He was
vaguely aware of the shooter being pushed out of the
locker room by one of the officers, to a waiting cruiser
downstairs. He didn’t turn to watch the kid go;
instead he focused on the body directly in front of him.
A boy, dressed in a hockey jersey. There was a
puddle of blood underneath his side, and a gunshot wound
through his forehead. Patrick reached out for a
baseball cap that had fallen a few feet away, with the
words STERLING HOCKEY embroidered across it. He turned
the brim around in his hands, an imperfect circle.
The girl lying next to him was face down, blood
spreading out from beneath her temple. She was
barefoot, and on her toenails was bright pink polish
– just like the stuff Tara had put on Patrick. It
made his heart catch. This girl, just like his
goddaughter and her brother and a million other kids in
this country, had gotten up today and gone to school
never imagining she would be in danger. She trusted all
the grownups and teachers and principals to keep her
safe. It was why these schools, post 9/11, had teachers
wearing ID all the time and doors locked during the day
– the enemy was always supposed to be an outsider;
not the kid who was sitting right next to you.
Suddenly, the girl shifted.
“Help…me…”
Stunned, Patrick knelt beside her. “I’m
here,” he soothed, gently turning her enough to
see that the blood was coming from a cut at her scalp,
not a gunshot wound, as he’d assumed.
“What’s your name, sweetheart?”
“Josie…” The girl started to
thrash, trying to sit up. Patrick put the bulk of his
body strategically between her and the other boy’s
– she’d be in shock already; he didn’t
need her to go over the edge. She touched her hand to
her forehead, and when it came away oily with blood, she
panicked. “What…happened?”
He should have stayed there, and waited for the
medics to come get her. He should have radioed for
help. But should hardly seemed to apply anymore; and so
Patrick lifted Josie into his arms. He carried her out
of the locker room where she’d nearly been killed,
hurried down the stairs, and pushed through the front
door of the school, as if he might be able to save them both.

2 doa saya sentiasa cun huuu:

hapPY zuRa~~

kakak.. ney excerpts ke the whole chapter 1? ekekke.. =P~

haslina razali

hahahahaha aku pun rasa cam whole chapter..tapi cite dia captivating kan? nak gi beli aaa

My pride and joy

My pride and joy

nuffnang pls click

CHURP CHURP