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By Tom Sterner All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Drama


Six-year-old Jackie snuck into the bread last night. He ate the last two slices. He took quite a beating when Momma informed Daddy there was no bread for his lunch the next day. Jackie’s lips are stuck shut with dried blood, his forehead bruised from being slammed into the corner where he’s standing, smiling inside. His belly’s full. They can beat him all they want. The next morning he is gone and his four-year-old brother, Phillip, with him. Where did they go, the police want to know. So does Momma and seven-year-old Tommy, Jackie’s brother and oldest of the Sterner children. The tenement is on fire. Flame tongues lick the walls on the fourth floor where the Sterners live. The linoleum is a living thing, bubbling and breathing, belching cockroaches up from the lower floors. Daddy is passed out drunk and Momma frantic to wake him to save him, to save them, her seven children. He doesn’t disappoint her as he comes awake, swats her away, “Get off me, woman!” A hero emerges from the drunken bag of his body, finds a way to save them all.

Chapter 1

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