Hollow part 10 Apr11
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Hollow part 10


Eli was closing school’s door, holding few textbooks, wrapped in yellowed newspapers, when she heard someone’s steps.


“Miss! Miss!”  called voice behind her.


Still holding thick key on her hand, she suddenly turned her face to owner of the voice. She was surprising, when she saw one of her student, Joen. The boy was dressed in too big jacket, simple shirt that before probably was white and now had grey color and short, brown braces trousers, under which stuck out warm knee socks. His too big cap, fell, covering big part of his face.


He leaned forward, putting hands on his knees, quickly taking breathe. Then he jerked up and said: “Please, come with me quickly!”


Eli wanted to ask what’s happened, but before she opened her mouth, the boy cough her arm and pulled.


She felt that books slipped from her hand. She braced her feet against the ground and pull her arm out.


“What’s that supposed to mean?!” she asked, irritated.


“It’s about Noel.”


Noel? Eli frowned her eyebrows. Indeed, Noel was absent for several days. She thought that maybe because mornings and evenings were still cold and in that weather it wasn’t hard to catch a cold.  Anyways, she was to visit him and she had opportunity to do it.


“All right. I will leave textbooks and we can go.”


She backed to the school, leaving the boy in front of the building and after five minutes she came back.


“Let’s go” she said.


It took them some time to get to Noel’s house. The house was neglected. Around the house grew weeds among which laid holey bowls, broken dishes, rusty tools. Everything was old and rotten. On the wall and roof grow grass and moss. Here and there, in places where normally had to be window pane, were wood and blankets.


Eli knocked, but nobody answered. She gently pressed a handle, pushing the door.


“Hello” said Eli, getting uncertainly inside.


The house had a hall and one room. In front of the door stood a table with two chairs. In the left side of the room was bed next to which sat hunched, old man. Although there was a stove, in the house was horrible cold.


“Mr. Leaflin? Eli asked, coming closer to the man that didn’t move. When she stood next to him, she suddenly froze. Her eyes rested on lying on the bed 6 years old boy. The boy’s face was pale and his whole body trembled from fever. All sheet was covered by blood.


“Major-village forbidden to cut down trees in forest.” said calmly Mr. Leaflin, looking at the boy. “The nights were cold. We didn’t have money to buy woods. He went to the forest to pick branches… They caught him.” suddenly his voice trembled”.


“20 hits…I-I’m an old person. I have a little time left. But him….” He stopped for the moment.“…He had whole life.”


Eli said nothing. She was looking at the boy, when suddenly she remember about standing near to the door Joen. She turned her head to him.  In his shaking right hand he held his cap. His face was read. Eli saw big tears, flowing his cheeks. She came to him.


“Will he recover?” he asked, sniffing. “He is my best friend.”


Eli crouched and took Joen’s face in both hands. “Don’t worry, he will be healthy soon.” Then, she took out from her pocket purse and gave the boy a silver coin.  “Take this coin and go for Dr. Worm.”


Joen looked at Eli carefully and then wiped his face by  jacket. Eli saw ray of hope in his eyes. He griped his teacher, took coin and as fast he could run out of the house.


Eli stood up and turned to, sitting back to her Mr. Leaflin.


“I will pay for funeral.”


Saying that she left the house. When she was outside, she rested on the door, took a deep breath and closed eyes.


Children. How naive, they could be. How honest. How resistant to evil. 


She fixed her scarf and run to a mayor’s house.


Part 11 here