List 3

In this thought-provoking exploration of bias and injustice, a twelve-year-old boy meets the ghost of Emmett Till (an African-American teen who was lynched in 1955) in the afterlife.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. ambush
    wait in hiding to attack
    Better yet, scare Eddie if he tries ambushing me on the way home?
  2. sly
    marked by skill in deception
    Carlos grins. Slyly, he slides the toy to me.
  3. muzzle
    the open circular discharging end of a gun
    I look down the rounded muzzle. There aren’t any plastic bullets. Or pellets. My hands shake.
  4. scowl
    frown with displeasure
    She scowls and starts walking home, her lips taut, thin like Ma’s when she’s angry.
  5. taut
    pulled or drawn tight
    She scowls and starts walking home, her lips taut, thin like Ma’s when she’s angry.
  6. prejudiced
    showing bias or bigotry or influenced by preconceived ideas
    “Are you prejudiced?”
  7. bias
    a partiality preventing objective consideration of an issue
    “Have you heard of racial bias?”
  8. stereotype
    a conventional or formulaic conception or image
    “Possibly you were responding to unconscious stereotypes of black men as large, threatening, dangerous?”
  9. flinch
    draw back, as with fear or pain
    The ghost boy sits beside her. He tries to hold Sarah’s hand. She doesn’t flinch. Neither hand meets. They can’t. He’s dead; she’s alive.
  10. silhouette
    a filled-in drawing of the outline of an object
    One of Sarah’s books has a boy flying on the cover. There’s a silhouette behind him. A shadow-figure with arms outstretched and toes pointed, his body floating on the wind.
    Peter Pan.
  11. gurgle
    make sounds similar to bubbling water
    Sarah giggles and the boy laughs. A gurgling, deep, rich sound.
  12. quizzical
    perplexed
    Sarah looks at me, quizzical.
  13. apocalypse
    a cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the powers of evil
    I turn from him and Sarah. I look down. Hundreds and hundreds of shadow boys. A heart-wrenching crew. Army strong. No, zombie apocalypse strong. Standing on lawns, in the streets, their faces raised to me.
  14. hover
    hang in the air; fly or be suspended above
    Moths hover, batting their wings at the streetlights; the moon is almost full.
  15. musty
    stale and unclean smelling
    It’s a musty closet with rotting food and maggots.
  16. maggot
    fly larva commonly found in decaying organic matter
    It’s a musty closet with rotting food and maggots.
  17. preliminary
    preceding or in preparation for something more important
    The preliminary hearing has recess. Funny, like the judge and the lawyers are going to play outside. Dodgeball? Flag football?
  18. recess
    a pause from doing something (as work)
    The preliminary hearing has recess. Funny, like the judge and the lawyers are going to play outside. Dodgeball? Flag football?
  19. chant
    utter monotonously and repetitively and rhythmically
    Some chant: “No justice, no peace!”
  20. yak
    talk profusely
    NBC, ABC, FOX all have vans with antennas and slick-dressed reporters yakking into microphones.
  21. picket
    take part in a strike or protest
    Protestors picket outside her house.
  22. stricken
    affected by something overwhelming
    Sarah’s eyes widen. “Video.” She inhales, stricken. “Maybe there’s video?”
    If there’s video, she’d know once and for all her dad lied.
  23. skitter
    move or skip quickly across a surface
    Seconds. That's all. Two seconds. Me, standing. A police car, moving fast. I turn, fall. The gun skitters. I bleed.
  24. paramedic
    a person trained to give emergency medical treatment
    “The article says paramedics were too late.”
  25. bleak
    offering little or no hope
    Sarah’s face is bleak. “I’m so sorry, Jerome. So, so sorry. If I could, I would hug you. Bring you back to life.”
  26. yearn
    have a desire for something or someone who is not present
    Her body leans forward like she thinks she can touch me. Like she’s yearning, needing connection.
  27. sarcastic
    expressing or expressive of ridicule that wounds
    “Does he see you, Sarah? Did he take you skating?” I ask, sarcastic. “Did he? Or is he selfish? Feeling sorry for himself?” If I were alive, I’d flush red. “Sorry, I’m being mean.”
  28. transcript
    a reproduction of a written record
    “The transcript says ‘toy gun.'"
  29. credibility
    the quality of being believable or trustworthy
    “Objection,” says the prosecutor.
    “Speaks to credibility.”
    “Answer the question,” insists the judge.
  30. fidget
    move restlessly
    “I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t know why I didn’t say ‘toy.'" The girl fidgets.
Created on June 15, 2018 (updated June 25, 2018)

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