Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 61 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters.
Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications.
In the old house, Elisheva could hear every time someone turned over in his sleep. In this huge apartment, the children had to shout, “Ima!” for her to wake up. But perhaps she had been especially tired today, and that’s why she didn’t hear the first few cries. Whoever it was, though, seemed quite hysterical.
Six steps separated her bed from the hallway, and in that time, thoughts of fire, a gas leak, a robbery, appendicitis flashed through her mind. Perhaps the phone had rang, and one of the children who had woken up had been asked to tell one of her parents to get to the nursing home pronto?
Her fingers trembled as she rushed into the living room, to find a bleary-eyed figure leaning against the wall. “Devorah!” she cried to her high-school-age daughter. “What happened?”
“The Arab!” the girl gasped, looking very unfocused. “He came to me in a dream, Ima, and he said that if we don’t do what he asked, it will be…” She paused. “It will be bad.”
“Sit,” Elisheva instructed. When was the last time she had dealt with Devorah’s nightmares? Something like nine or ten years ago? Devorah was already fifteen years old! She gently steered her daughter to the couch, without realizing that what’s-his-name had sat there just a few hours earlier.
“Not here!” Devorah shuddered. “He sat here in my dream also, and it was so scary! Ima…” She seemed to be waking up more. “Ima, what is he planning? What does he want from us?”
“To give us a free renovation.” Elisheva smiled placidly.
“But it’s so strange!”
“You’re absolutely right about that,” Elisheva replied. “Wait a minute, sweetie, let me just wash negel vasser. I’ll be right back.” She washed her hands, and then put two slices of cake onto a plate, poured a cup of juice, and returned to the living room. “Did you wash negel vasser?” she asked Devorah. Rustling from the direction of the bedrooms indicated that she’d better lower her voice quickly, or she’d find herself with a parade of children asking for cake and juice.