Category: Story Books
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ONCE UPON A TIME IN the City of Angels, chaos was king, and carelessness
ruled. Street gangs roamed the city. Most politicians bettered their own lives, not
those of the people they were elected to serve. Neighborhoods declined to slumlike
conditions. The Los Angeles school system stumbled headlong toward total
Armageddon. And the most victimized segment of the populace?
The children. The teens. The next generation.
Limited choices and often abusive or neglectful home lives forced hundreds, if
not thousands of children, into the streets to join gangs, turn tricks, do drugs, sell
drugs, drop out of school, get arrested and sent to prison for life, and in all ways
subjugate their goodness in the name of survival.
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Emily, we’ll be back around nine. Don’t let the kids stay up too late.”
Jessi, my sister-in-law, said from the doorway to the living room.
As if her twin girls would ever listen to a thing I said. The door closed, and I
turned to my twin nieces. “Who wants ice cream?”
The two little girls, identical blonde, sweet tyrants, screamed with joy as they
looked back at me with gray eyes so similar to mine. They could be mine, if I
wasn’t so busy all the time. I pushed the thought away and stood up from the
pillow fort they’d built around me to head into the kitchen.
Harry, the baby brother of the twins, slept in a playpen near the dark gray
leather sofa, so I left him there. He was a growing boy, and he needed his sleep.
Soon enough he’d join his older sisters in the kitchen with me.
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It was a Sunday evening in October, and in common with many other young
ladies of her class, Katharine Hilbery was pouring out tea. Perhaps a fifth part of
her mind was thus occupied, and the remaining parts leapt over the little barrier
of day which interposed between Monday morning and this rather subdued
moment, and played with the things one does voluntarily and normally in the
daylight. But although she was silent, she was evidently mistress of a situation
which was familiar enough to her, and inclined to let it take its way for the six
hundredth time, perhaps, without bringing into play any of her unoccupied
faculties. A single glance was enough to show that Mrs. Hilbery was so rich in
the gifts which make tea-parties of elderly distinguished people successful, that
she scarcely needed any help from her daughter, provided that the tiresome
business of teacups and bread and butter was discharged for her.