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By Larry Watson

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Julia ran into the room just in time to correct her sister. ” Mrs. Dunbar hurried close behind, trying to quiet the girls. But their excitement had them bouncing in place. ” Mrs. Dunbar put her finger to her lips, as if to indicate that even his question was too loud. “They brought her here shortly after you left,” she whispered. Johnny and I looked at each other, trying to comprehend what we’d just been told. It felt almost as if we were the victims of a practical joke. The snow we’d stamped from our boots hadn’t even melted when Dr.

Johnny even looked like a little brother. He had his father’s curls, but he couldn’t tame them. They frizzed and coiled in every direction, often making him look as if he’d just climbed out of bed. I could have grown a full beard at that age, while Johnny’s cheeks produced nothing but down. The muscles of his slender body were smooth and undefined as well, and he had a childish habit of bouncing and squirming if he had to sit in one place for long. If anyone in town did believe we were brothers, they likely would have assumed that Johnny took after our delicate mother.

Look here—” Slowly, as if his main concern was not to wake the patient, Dr. Dunbar pulled the blanket down to her knees. Only a sheet covered her now, and beneath it the contours of her naked body were apparent. Dr. Dunbar next took hold of the top of the sheet, but then he left it in place. “Matt, there’s another sheet in that cabinet behind you. ” I tugged open a drawer, and was greeted by the smell of bleached linens. I handed a folded sheet to the doctor, and he looked Louisa Lindahl up and down.

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