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Thicker Than Water


I eased the door open and slid out of the seat, the smell more intense than inside the car, and the ground muddy where firefighters had run their hoses. My heels sank into the muck. I was doing irreparable damage to my black suede pumps, but they were several years old. Besides, I had never particularly like them.
One of the men had gone to the Chief's car and came back carrying a black case. Gil's head reappeared for a minute. He pushed the people back from the center of the circle. I eased closer, glad I was wearing my black wool coat instead of my camel's hair, concentrating on not losing a shoe in the mud.
Staccato flashes lit up the landscape. There must have been a camera in the black case. I strained to see what the camera was focusing on, but the flashes blurred rather defined the target.
"Get a light over here," Gil yelled.
As the spotlight swung toward where Gil was pointing, I squeezed closer to the action. What I saw when the light illuminated a pile of smoking debris brought me to a halt. A charred arm, lifted skyward as if in supplication, fingers clenched.
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