in a manner of stopping and starting at irregular intervals
The police were shadows who appeared
intermittently at my bedside to ask me questions I had to struggle to understand.
become vague or indistinct
Their words seemed to
blur together at first, and I paid little attention.
capable of thinking in a clear and consistent manner
Finally, I awoke feeling able to talk to him
coherently and understand what he said.
an instance of strong, rapid pounding or beating
I was almost comfortable except for the strange
throbbing of my arm.
deliberate and stubborn resistance to guidance or discipline
“Just struggling with my own
perversity. You know, I had half-a-dozen ideas for that Christmas story yesterday during the moving.”
feeling queasy, as though one is about to vomit
I bent to push him another box full, then straightened quickly as I began to feel dizzy,
free from disturbance by heavy waves
Before me was a wide
tranquil river, and near the middle of that river was a child splashing, screaming...
deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing
She grabbed him and nearly
in a hesitant manner
He came over to me, touched me
tentatively as though he wasn’t sure I was real.
something left after other parts have been taken away
I was shaking with fear, with
residual terror that took all the strength out of me.
“You mean a
I showered, washed away the mud and the
brackish water, put on clean clothes, combed my hair...
an imaginary place for lost or neglected things
They made their own
limbo and held me in it.
capable of being wounded or hurt
Or would I appear somewhere else naked and totally
When my dizziness cleared away, I found myself sitting on a small bed sheltered by a kind of
abbreviated dark green canopy.
erupt or intensify suddenly
The fear that had followed me from home
someone from whom you are descended
Well, maybe, if I wasn’t completely out of my mind, if I wasn’t in the middle of the most perfect hallucination I’d ever heard of, if the child before me was real and was telling the truth, maybe he was one of my
marked by complexity and richness of detail
Maybe he was my several times great grandfather, but still vaguely alive in the memory of my family because his daughter had bought a large Bible in an
ornately carved, wooden chest and had begun keeping family records in it.
a person considered as coming from some ancestor or race
His life could not depend on the actions of his unconceived
suggestive of friendship or amity; friendly
He sat down
companionably beside me on the bed.
quickly and without warning
And I changed the subject
belonging to a period before a war
His environment had left its unlikable marks on him, but in the
antebellum South, I could have found myself at the mercy of someone much worse—could have been descended from someone much worse.
by the way (used to introduce a new topic)
incidentally, he was playing with fire again, helping an intruder to escape undetected from his father’s house.
doubt concerning two or more possible alternatives
After a moment of
indecision, I got up and followed them, moving carefully from tree to tree.
unpleasantly loud and harsh
literally smell his sweat, hear every ragged breath, every cry, every cut of the whip.
from appearances alone
Groups of young whites who
ostensibly maintained order among the slaves.
a period marked by distinctive character
And like me, she was fine-boned, probably not as strong as she needed to be to survive in this
an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself
consciousness slowly, first moaning, then crying out, “Alice! Alice!”
feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
angered at something unjust or wrong
I thought he’d be more likely to believe me if I sounded
causing bewilderment, shock, or insensibility
Instead, he slapped me
stunningly with one hand while he held me with the other.
force with the thumb
I had only to move my fingers a little and jab them into the soft tissues,
gouge away his sight and give him more agony than he was giving me.
excessively fastidious and easily disgusted
squeamishness belonged in another age, but I’d brought it along with me.
the act of moving forward suddenly
Just one quick
a follower who hangs around a host in hope of advantage
“They were my ancestors. Even that damn
parasite, the patroller, saw the resemblance between me and Alice’s mother.”
similarity in appearance or external or superficial details
“They were my ancestors. Even that damn parasite, the patroller, saw the
resemblance between me and Alice’s mother.”
petty or reluctant in giving or spending
I moved closer to him, relieved, content with even such
stunned or confused and slow to react
I limped over to him, took one of the rulers, looked at it, rubbed my face
groggily, and in a sudden slashing motion, drew the ruler across his abdomen just as he was opening his mouth to speak.
a collection of maps in book form
I got up, went to Kevin’s office and took a small scratch pad and a new pen from his desk and the large
atlas from his bookcase.