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I could hear Maria coming. They would make this real; if they caught me it would be true. It could not be true, not ever. Susie moved toward me, but I shoved her out of the way. Maria called for Fernando. He caught me before I could go down the Landslide.


I tried to turn on him but his arms were strong. I started kicking him as hard as I could, driving my shoes into his shins. He grunted, but didn’t release me. Instead, he sank down with me sitting on his lap, and he pinned my legs under his. I slammed my head back against his shoulder. Fast, so I couldn’t evade him, he shifted so one of his arms now pinned both of mine, while the other arm locked my head against his chest. I fought to break free, but Fernando was unyielding.


“Let me go!”

“I can’t Niña,” Fernando said, “Not until you calm down.”

“I’ll kill you,” I screamed at him.

“If that would make it better, Niña, I swear I would let you.” His voice was scratchy, broken. In it, I could hear his crying.

[Excerpt Landslide, Pages 235-236]

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