Blood Lines

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Bible study ended and Nate returned home with his grandparents by nine p.m. Grandma heated the dinner she had time to make, but they had not found time to eat it as they had been running late for church. Nate pretended he didn't feel well and asked to take a tray to his room. After checking his forehead for a fever and forcing him to take a spoonful of something called Castro Oil, his grandma gave him a tray and sent him upstairs. Instead of going to his room, Nate went to the hiding place in the secret stairs. During the pass twenty four hours he had figured out the pressure point that released the door latch. He entered and squeezed along the narrow corridor until he reached the ladder. Hajji saw him and stood from the desk to take the tray. "Sorry it took me so long," Nate said as he climbed down into the room. He hadn't been able to bring food since noon. He had snuck in a box of granola with the sandwich and cola for lunch, but Hajji had polished them off before Nate had even left. Nate worried when he didn't deliver meals on time. The guy couldn't afford to lose any more weight. But now Hajji placed the tray against the back wall of the desk. This surprised Nate because usually Hajji devoured the food in just a few minutes. Nate hoped this meant he was regaining his strength. Hajji picked up an old looking journal lying open on the desk. "Please sit," Hajji told him, nodding to the chair. "I would like to read you something." Hajji took the kerosene lamp burning on the desk and placed it on the floor then sat crossed leg behind it. Nate didn't take the chair but joined him on the floor because it made him feel he was at a campfire. "Listen," Hajji said and started to read: ... ... middle of paper ... ...lan would have to be scratch. Nate called Billy from the music room and asked him to meet at the crash point. He hoped Billy wouldn't say something to force him to be more specific. Nate wasn't one hundred percent sure the phone wasn't bugged. But Billy had picked up on his meaning right away and hung up without asking for anymore explanation. Half an hour later, Nate waited by the downed log Billy had crashed into two days earlier. He jumped when the kid step from behind a maple. "I got you good," Billy said, grinning. "That wasn't cool," Nate said sternly. "Yeah, it was," Billy said, walking over and taking a seat on log too."You ready for your lesson?" "Not today, Billy. I need a favor, and I need you to not tell anybody about the favor. Can you do that?" "A favor? So, that means ya' gonna owe me?" "Big time, Billy." "So, what's the favor?"
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