Mary Peace Finley Award-winning author of books for young people
White Grizzly: Chapter One (cont.) White Grizzly: Chapter One (cont.) White Grizzly: Chapter One (cont.) Buy now Buy now
Julio sprinted toward the gates, but slowed and traced the sign of the cross over his forehead and chest as he passed a mound of freshly turned dirt where a wooden cross marked a new grave. He couldn’t read the words on the marker, but the date was the same as the date he’d carved less than two months ago on the aspen tree near Papá’s lonely grave in the mountains—1845. A gunshot jolted him from the memory of digging with Papá’s shiny new coffeepot and his own bare hands. Men cheered. The impact of pounding hoofs vibrated through his moccasins, and he tasted dust billowing from beneath the surface layer of mud that remained after the days of rain. Through an opening between wagons, he spotted an oval racetrack to the north of the thick Fort walls. "It’s just a horse race, Chivita. Not an attack." Trampled grass and wagon ruts narrowed as the toes of his moccasins nosed toward the gates. He hopped over the tongue of a wagon, and his hand reached out to the studded metal that clad the enormous gate. The metal was cold to his touch, almost sharp. "Hola." He called out. "Hello?" A man gave him a strange look, but didn’t answer. "Vamos, Chivita, " Julio whispered, patting his leg, and eased into the cool, dark entryway. He blinked in the sudden darkness, groping for the wall to guide him. A shiver went through him, not from the cool adobe bricks, but from touching walls Papá had made. Ay, Papá! he thought, I wish you were here.
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© Mary Peace Finley 2012
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