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Hide and Seek: Chapter 8

Bracha Rosman

“No, no. You didn’t… you didn’t!” But she knew he had. A wave of darkness engulfed her, and Idy fell to her knees

Thursday, February 02, 2017

I dy stood with her palms against the windowpane. “Jacob! Jacob!” Frantic, she dashed out of the house and ran to the gate. “Jacob! Jacob!”

Mr. Renard placed the key in his pocket and slowly turned to face her. “Get back into the house!”

Idy stood unmoving. “Where is he taking my brother?”

Mr. Renard stepped closer to Idy. “I said, get back into the house!”

Idy didn’t budge. “Where’s Jacob? Where is he going?”

“Move out of my way!”

Idy’s eyes blazed. “Where did you send Jacob? When will he be back?”

Mr. Renard put his hand in his pocket and pulled out the folded bills. “He won’t be back. I sold him.”

Idy’s legs felt weak. “No, no. You didn’t… you didn’t!” But she knew he had. A wave of darkness engulfed her, and Idy fell to her knees. Mr. Renard paid no attention to the heartbroken girl, and left her weeping on the frozen mud.

“What’s going on out there?” Mrs. Renard asked her husband when he entered the kitchen. “Why’s Idy on the ground?”

Mr. Renard looked at Idy through the window. “She’s upset.”

“What for?”

Mr. Renard walked over to the stove to warm his hands. “That I sold the boy.”

Mrs. Renard lowered the potato she was peeling. “That you what?”

“Sold the boy.”

“Sold him!”

“Yes. Weren’t you complaining just last night that there were too many mouths to feed?”

Mrs. Renard ignored the question. “How much did you get for him?”

“Five dollars.”

“Five dollars?” Her eyes opened wide. “Let me see.”

He pulled the money from his pocket and fanned out the bills.

She began to peel the potato again. “That sure is a lot of money,” she said, “but what are you going to do next season without the boy here to do the planting and harvesting?”

Mr. Renard stuffed the money in his pocket. “With the money from the new business proposition,” he said, “we won’t need to plant onions anymore. We’ll be on Easy Street.”

Mrs. Renard scowled. “You’ve been talking and talking about this business deal, but I don’t see anything happening.”

“Oh, it’ll happen all right. Could be this very night.”

“What’s it all about anyway?”

“You’ll know when you need to know.” He lowered his hands from above the stove and walked back to the window.

“She still crying?” Mrs. Renard asked her husband.

“Looks like it.”

“You going to let her stay out there all day?”

Mr. Renard shrugged. “She’ll come in when she’s cold enough or hungry enough.”

“Who’ll come in?” Fay asked from the kitchen entrance.

Her father nudged his chin in the direction of the window, and Fay looked outside. “What’s she doing?”

“Pa sold the boy.”

Fay nearly lost her balance. “What!”

“You heard me.”

Fay grabbed her father’s arm. “You mean he’s never coming back? Idy won’t ever see him again?”

Her father pushed her hands off his arm. “Yes, that’s what it means.”

Fay looked at the shattered girl hunched on the ground. “Want me to go tell her to finish her chores?”

Her mother snorted. “Nah, let her be.” She struck a match and lit the fire beneath the pot of potatoes. “What a shame,” Mrs. Renard said, blowing out the match, “if I’d known you were selling the boy today, I would’ve peeled one potato less.”

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