Những trận chiến lớn nhất chính là những trận chiến trong tâm trí chúng ta.

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Tác giả: David Baldacci
Thể loại: Trinh Thám
Nguyên tác: The Whole Truth
Biên tập: Dieu Chau
Upload bìa: Dieu Chau
Language: English
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Chapter 17
hen they all heard the slow footsteps and the room grew quiet save for the little boy’s choking cries.
“Mudder? Where’s Mudder?”
The squat old nun came into the room and glided to the bed. She obviously knew the destination well, even in the dark. She took the little boy in her arms, rocked him, patted his head, and kissed his cheek.
“Just a bad dream, that’s all. I’m here, child. It’s all right. Just a nightmare.”
Her presence always calmed the boy, and he finally fell silent. He was big for his age, but the nun, though old, was strong. The years did not seem to have worn her down, though she had much to weary her here.
She laid him back on his small cot, of which there were twenty-six in a room meant to hold half that number. The nun knew the boys could walk on the beds to reach the two bathrooms they all shared, so closely stacked were the cots. Yet they had a bed, a roof over their heads, and some food in their bellies. For such children, that’s all that mattered to them now. Or probably ever would.
As the nun trudged back to her room, fifty-two ears listened to her measured footfalls. When the sound of her door closing was heard, an older boy said, “And your father’s dead too. Drank himself right into the gutter. Saw him do it.”
“Mudder’s dead,” the other boy started chanting again, but in a quieter voice, for while the nun was a good woman her patience had its limits.
The little boy did not cry out this time. His body did not start shaking, as it sometimes did when they taunted him. An hour later the chanting and verbal barbs stopped. All were asleep.
All except for one.
He climbed down from his bed, dropped to the floor, and slid on his belly like he’d seen soldiers do on the black-and-white TV in the nun’s part of the building. She would let him come there sometimes, for a drink of fresh orange juice and a slice of bread slathered in rich butter and thick jelly.
He reached the bed, sat up on his haunches, coiled into a ball, and pounced.
His hands closed around the other boy’s throat. One fist connected to the far larger child’s face. Blood spurted onto the bedcovers, and he felt it splash on his arm. He smelled sweat. And fear. It would be the first of many times he would experience it in someone else.
He aimed another fist and connected with soft flesh. Then something hard struck him in his right eye. It stung, and his face immediately felt puffy. A bony knee wedged painfully into his belly, forcing the breath from him. Still, he hung on. He hit with his hands, his feet, even his head, driving it deep into the chest cavity of the boy under him. He felt his own blood rush down his face, tasted it when the wet ooze hit his lips. It was salty and thick and made him sick. Yet he didn’t let go.
“Mudder!” he heard his voice cry out. His arms and legs worked like pistons; his chest was so heavy from exertion it felt like his lungs had solidified.
“Mudder... is,” he panted.
Hands tore at him, nails like claws ripped at his back. Someone was screaming into his ear, but it was as though they were on the other side of a waterfall.
He struck, flesh, bone, cartilage. The claws ripped. The blood poured into his mouth. The taste of the ocean.
“Mudder... is... not.”
He drove a knee right into the boy’s privates, something that had been done to him here, more than once. The older boy whimpered and instantly fell limp under him.
He found the air to scream, “Mudder... is... not... dead!”
Then the claws gripped hard and he let go and like a bent, rusty nail in an old fencepost he finally came free and fell to the floor, panting, bleeding. But not crying.
He had never cried again. Not once.
The Whole Truth The Whole Truth - David Baldacci The Whole Truth