By Damon Knight
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A robust debut novel of friendship, love, and relations set within the segregated pre-Civil struggle South. "This is a promise bridge, and it bridges a promise flowing out of your middle to mine. It cannot by no means be damaged. .. the promise is a part of you currently, comprehend. " hence starts an not likely friendship among Hannelore Blessing, a plantation mistress, and a slave lady named Livie.
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It was a good fight, as far as it went; but when it seemed the collie was getting the worst of it, a man in green blouse and knee-breeches stepped up and fired a handgun. The collie broke away, startled. The cur was writhing, shot through the hindquarters. The green man aimed carefully and shot him again in the head. The body kicked once and was still. The crowd began to disperse. As he left with Sam, Dick glanced back and saw a distasteful sight: a small slob-boy dressed in the Buckhill colors, kneeling with his A for Anything 54 head on the dead dog’s chest, and a tray of drinks spilled beside him on the grass.
After a moment, the other vehicles began to move. There were crashings and roaring engines as the motion transmitted itself down the line. The wrecker crawled ahead. Its broad wooden bumper butted up against the rear of the Lincoln, and began to shove. The Lincoln budged, trembled and bucked nearer the side of the road. Its right front wheel ran off the edge. The wrecker pushed, grinding in low gear. The Lincoln tipped downward, toward the narrow canyon between the road and the house. It hung, swayed reluctantly, and then went over with a grand smash against the side of the house.
Dick prowled purposefully through the house, glancing into each game room and lounge. In the Upper Hall he ran into his mother, serenly promenading with a group of ladies in flustered hats. She saw him before he could get clear. ” She put her plam against his cheek, ignoring his attempt to pull away. ” “It’s hot out in the open,” said Dick. ” Unmoved in the chorus of “Oh, yes,” “My, how you’ve grown,” and “Aren’t you a lucky young man,” she fixed him with a clear, ironic gaze. Dick’s mother was a tall blonde woman, majestically built like all the Dabneys.
A For Anything by Damon Knight