J acob looked from Officer Maxwell to Idy. “You mean,” he said quietly, “we have a real family?”

Idy reached for Jacob’s hand. “I told you Hashem listens to orphans. Come Jacoby, I’ll tell you everything I know.” 

Mr. Renard’s eyes sprang open, and he looked around. He pushed himself into a sitting position, gritting his teeth against the pain. The room swayed. When the spell past, he swung his legs carefully over the side of the bed, and tried to stand. Sweating profusely, he took one step and then another, and reached for the curtain and pulled it back.

“Sir!” the nurse said. “What are you doing?”

“I’m getting out of here,” he said, his voice raspy.

“Sir, please, you mustn’t be out of bed.”

“Where do you think you’re going, Renard?”

Mr. Renard’s eyes instantly locked with Mr. Matthews’s. “Home.”

“No. You’re not going anywhere.”

Leaning heavily on the wall with his good arm, Mr. Renard inched his way toward the entrance.

Mr. Matthews stepped in front of the weak man. “I said you’re not going anywhere.”

Mr. Renard swung out his hand, hitting Mr. Matthews in the jaw.

“You hit my pa!” Zachary shouted.

Mr. Matthews rubbed the side of his chin. “I’m fine, son.”

“I’ll call for help!” the nurse said, already running down the hall.

Zachary stepped between his father and Mr. Renard. “You can’t hit my pa!”

“I can do whatever I please. Now move out of my way, boy.”

Zachary stood his ground.

Mr. Renard’s lips drew back over his discolored teeth. He grabbed Zachary with his good hand and shoved him to the side. Unsteady on his injured leg, Zachary fell over. Mr. Matthews tried to catch his son, but wasn’t quick enough.

“You think you’re a man by hurting children, Renard? You’re nothing but a coward.”

Mr. Matthews lifted his son from the floor. “Are you okay, Zach?”

Zachary’s eyes were filled with resolve. “I’m fine, Pa.”

Mr. Matthews tousled his son’s hair. “It took me time, son,” he said tenderly, “but I can see that now.”

Zachary’s eyes shone.

“Coward?” Mr. Renard raised his fist.

“Stop in the name of the law!” Officer Maxwell shouted as he rushed down the corridor.

Lazer pulled back the curtain from around his wife’s bed. “What’s all the commotion?”

Mr. Renard slumped against the wall, drained.

The officer grabbed him. “You’re under arrest!”

Mr. Renard winced as cuffs were slapped on his wrists, and he was led to the patrol wagon.

“Your wife will join you as soon as her leg is set and plastered.”

“My wife? She’s here?”

“Broke her leg trying to flee.”

Mr. Renard’s expression was rigid, but he remained silent as Officer Maxwell slipped behind the wheel and started the engine. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 687)