Carried Away

Coventry Home, an old stick-frame farmhouse, stood three stories tall—four if one counted the basement where Sister Argentine’s potatoes grew eyes and Sister Thomas Anne’s cider turned hard. There were no farmers at Coventry: only girls, some of whom had been abandoned, some abused, but all of whom held the inviolable belief that their mothers would come for them soon. For this reason, as often as they could, they pressed their noses against the long windows of their top-floor dormitory. They were looking beyond the blackberry bushes that climbed the siding and spooled like steel wool around the farmhouse. They were looking for their mothers.

If it was dry and the fogs had gathered up their quiet gray skirts, the girls might discern a narrow break in the bushes, a winding ribbon of space where a thorned canopy hadn’t latticed tight. If it was night, they might spy two coin-sized disks of light wobbling up down within the break. Up down. The advancing disks slowly waxing larger and brighter were two moons caught in the brush guard of a battered decommissioned postal jeep. Two moons among the bracken was Case Worker Steadly bobbing toward them.

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