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Authors: Tricia Springstubb

Every Single Second

BOOK: Every Single Second
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A
CKNOWLEDGMENTS

Once a book ventures into the world, it belongs to readers, not me. Yet I can’t let this one go without saying that my deepest hope is that it sparks questions, conversations, discoveries, and most of all, new and deep connections. My heartfelt thanks to Donna Bray, Viana Siniscalchi, and all the genius people at HarperCollins who believed in this challenging book.
Mille grazie
to my agent, Sarah Davies; to my wonderful readers, Mary Oluonye, Delia Springstubb, and Kris Ohlson; to Mary Grimm and Susan Grimm for everything, including Mario Lanza; and to Mary Norris for her support and especially her knowledge of Italian.

D
EDICATION

For my family near and far,

who have been there for me

time and time again

M
AP

C
ONTENTS

 
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Dedication
  3. Map
  4. Prologue
  5. Secret Sisters
  6. An Announcement
  7. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  8. Land of Innocence
  9. Flip of a Coin
  10. Because Angela Didn’t Tell
  11. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  12. Nonni, Cross to Bear
  13. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  14. Disaster Dolls
  15. Among the Barbarians
  16. Breakdown
  17. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  18. You Can’t Always Get What You Want
  19. In Common
  20. P2F2
  21. Dad’s Secret
  22. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  23. Marie
  24. Aiuta!
  25. Anthony’s Secret
  26. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  27. The Future Awaits
  28. Because Angela Didn’t Tell, Again
  29. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  30. Bell and Rem, Time Sisters
  31. Seize the Doughnut
  32. Buona Festa!
  33. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  34. Too Late
  35. The News
  36. Flip Book
  37. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  38. Angela DeMarco Has No Friends
  39. Marie, Again
  40. Seashell
  41. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  42. Landslide
  43. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  44. Nonni, Time Traveler
  45. This Voice Inside
  46. With a Capital F
  47. Why God Made So Many of Us
  48. Camera’s Eye
  49. Gad
  50. Choose Your Own Adventure
  51. Sticks and Stones
  52. Nella’s Turn Not to Tell
  53. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if Only, if Only It Could
  54. Mi Ricordo
  55. Chutes and Ladders
  56. James Garfield Middle School
  57. A Small, Pure Bell
  58. Do-Over
  59. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  60. The Countdown Begins
  61. Seashell, Again
  62. Speak
  63. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Said
  64. Now Now Now
  65. The True Turtle Girl
  66. Leap
  67. You Know
  68. What the Statue of St. Amphibalus Would Say If It Could
  69. Every Single Second
  70. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Wanted to Say More than Anything
  71. Leap Second
  72. More than Three Dimensions
  73. Nonni, the Secret Keeper
  74. What the Statue of Jeptha A. Stone Would Say if It Could
  75. The News, Again
  76. Crapp
  77. Friendship, Fate, and Other Cosmic Things
  78. Now and Always
  79. A Final Word from the Honorable Jeptha A. Stone
  80. About the Author
  81. Books by Tricia Springstubb
  82. Credits
  83. Copyright
  84. About the Publisher

PROLOGUE

A
t first Nella doesn’t recognize the sound. The wind, maybe? Except the trees behind the stone wall don’t move. A flock of birds with heavy wings? Except the sky is empty. Ghosts? Except of course that’s ridiculous. A girl who’s lived her whole life across from a graveyard does not let herself believe in ghosts.

The July night is warm, but she shivers. Until a few days ago, Nella knew every sight and sound, smell and taste of her neighborhood. The steep hill and narrow houses, the cheesy music at Mama Gemma’s, the supernatural perfume of fresh doughnuts, and the zing of lemon ice. She
and Angela used to love— No. Don’t think about Angela. Just don’t.

She starts down the hill. Past the deserted bocce court. The silent social club. The boarded-up school. Emptiness all around. The sound grows louder. It’s almost dark and she should go home, but the sound tugs her forward. The hill is so steep, the houses and shops have to dig in and hang on with all their might. When Nella was still little, maybe seven or eight, she saw pictures of a landslide. She freaked. She imagined her neighborhood suddenly swept away, tumbled and crushed and reduced to piles of bone and rubble. Anthony, Angela’s big brother, reassured her.
No landslides in this part of the world,
he said, shaking his princely head. Smiling with those deep-set eyes. Personally guaranteeing nothing bad would ever, ever, do you hear me
ever
, happen to her or Angela.

Anthony!

The world tilts and goes blurry.

“You okay?” asks a soft voice at her elbow.

A stranger. A woman with long dreads and dark, anxious eyes. Nella has almost reached the street where it happened, and suddenly she’s surrounded by other people, all intent on getting to the source of that sound. Looking into the woman’s concerned face, Nella at last recognizes
what that sound is. Voices. Voices singing.

“I’m all right,” says Nella, and then, who knows why, she says thank you in Italian.
“Mille grazie.”

The woman hesitates, but the sound, the singing, is pulling her, too. She reaches up—Nella is taller than she is—and gives Nella’s head a motherly pat. Then disappears around the corner.

Police cars block off the street. Cops lean against them, arms folded. Maybe they’re here to protect people, but they scare Nella. There are news vans, men with cameras on their shoulders. She looks around, recognizing no one. A tornado snatched up every person she knows and spun them away. An earthquake gobbled them down. A landslide pulverized them.

She slips between the barricades. A sea of strangers overflows the narrow street, spilling onto the sidewalks and little front lawns. Where did all these people come from? What are they singing? It sounds like a hymn, but not one Nella knows. She searches for Angela’s face, her bright shining hair. Crazy! Of course she’s not here. This is the last place on earth she’d be.

There was blood on the sidewalk, her little brother said. They washed it away, but you can still see it.

Nella squeezes her eyes shut. She can’t stop shivering.
Wrapping her arms around herself, she thinks,
This is where it happened.
Thinks,
How could it happen?

The voices rise, growing richer and stronger, gaining power till they turn into a solid thing, pushing hard against the darkness, trying to push it back and make something happen.

Or undo something that already did.

SECRET SISTERS

then

T
hey met on the very first day of school.

The night before, Nella Sabatini laid out her uniform, a plaid jumper and round-collared blouse. She had new pink sneakers with snow-white laces she still didn’t know how to tie.

And she had a lunch box. Her father had given it to her, proving again that he loved her best. The lunch box was pink, with her name in sparkly letters. For days Nella had carried it everywhere. That night, it stood on the kitchen counter, waiting to go to kindergarten with her.

Back then, Nella only had one little brother. Salvatore.
But her mother was pregnant again, and Nella was sure it was a sister. (Little did she guess that in the coming years her mother would bring home nothing but one fat, squally boy after another.) That night, Mom’s back hurt too much for her to bend over, so Nella stood up on her bed for her good-night kiss. The plan was to leave Salvatore with Nonni, their crabby great-grandmother who lived nearby, and for both parents to walk her to St. Amphibalus Elementary School. Even back in those days, having her parents all to herself was a rare event. Put that together with starting school, and no wonder Nella couldn’t sleep. No wonder she had strange dreams of her mother moaning and her father pacing, no wonder she thought she was still asleep when she felt his hand on her shoulder, shaking her. Not gently.

BOOK: Every Single Second
13.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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