Echoing Silence

Brenda Hutcheson Fickey

The Reluctant Reader's Friend

Hank swallowed hard and gave Jimmy Jack a burning glare.
"It doesn't matter if he's a bully or not," Ma said. "We shouldn't behave like he does, no matter what."
"Why the interest in Pinky?" Pete said.
Hank kicked at Jimmy Jack under the table, barely fanning his brother's dangling feet.
"Just wondering, I guess. Ma, is Hank a bully, too?"
"What on earth would make you ask that?" Ma said.
"I'm not a bully, Jimmy Jack. I was fighting Pinky for protection. There's a difference," Hank said. He instantly radiated from every nerve in his body. He squirmed in his seat at the startling slip of his tongue.
"For protection?" Ma said. "Hank, what are you talking about?

He shrank back into his chair when everyone stopped eating and stared at him. Pete set his fork down, scooting his chair back.
"Martha, you and Jimmy Jack finish your meals. Give us a few minutes, will you? Hank, let's go to the sitting room."
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