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Past Tense

Past Tense

A Novel
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Hardcover
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The Greats
Excerpt

The Guyana night breeze, fresh from the ocean and rich from the jungle, slips into the exhibit hall through the gaps in the plastic sheeting. It inches around — exploring, discovering new territory, taking up new space.
It winds its way around Gather’s tree-trunk legs, then swirls over her strong belly and shoulders. It breathes a thousand scents into her nostrils. A thousand tastes dance on her tongue.
It whispers in her ears, “Come out!”
Gather smells and tastes and hears.
And wakes up.
Jomon feels a flutter of hope in his chest. There is a way out, after all.
He looks around the cell for an escape route.
There is a place where the bars in the door meet the bars in the wall. A crossbar, a place to tie something. He has no rope, but his school uniform shirt might do, especially if he tears it and twists it so it is like a rope. He could also, maybe, use his trousers, but he doesn’t want to be found in just his underwear.
Jomon takes off his shirt. He bites into the threads that hold the hem together, then rips the shirt right up the back.
Now he has something he can use.
“It won’t be that easy,” says a voice.
Jomon is startled. He looks in the direction of the voice.
It is coming from a boy, about his age, sitting in the cell across the hall from him.

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