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In 1923, the ancient land of China is being blown to bits during revolution. Out of the devastation of war arises a forbidden love, testing the limits of intrigue and betrayal, as an American woman and a Chinese man find their destiny is intertwined.
Kathryn heaved a frustrated sigh as she leaned farther over
the forward railing, willing the passenger liner to crawl
faster up the muddy ribbon of the Pearl River, but the bevy of
junks and barges, ferries and steamships, sampans and skiffs
clogging the waterway made haste impossible.
Gulls wheeled overhead taunting her with cries that seemed
to say: “Almost! Almost! Almost!”
She drew in a deep breath, trying to force a measure of
calm on her frayed nerves before squinting up at the tropical
autumn sun groping its way toward the peak of the sky. The
balmy breeze that tossed honey tresses carelessly about the oval
pearl of her face might have been refreshing if not laced with
the biting smoke of countless cook fires and the reek of human
waste. That smell could only mean one thing: at long last they
had reached journey’s end.
Smiling, she released the ball of tension that had been coiled
in the pit of her stomach for weeks. Her smile broadened as the
ship cleared the final bend in the river. Spreading before her,
like a great clay basin teeming with varicolored flowers, was
congested Canton harbor. A staggering number and variety of
boats swarmed like gnats in every nook and cranny. The house
boats, ‘great’ boats, slipper boats, passage boats, cargo boats,
coffin boats, theater boats, ‘flower’ boats, leper boats, guard
boats, police boats, fishing boats, and restaurant boats made the
harbor more like a floating city, home to at least 100,000 souls.
Kathryn closed her eyes as she breathed in the familiar
mélange of exotic odors and her smile faded. For one terrible
moment she was leaving again, forced from all that was safe
and dear for a mystifying place called America and the Harvard
education her father so revered.
It seemed strange that the land claiming her as one of its own
was so foreign, its people bearing physical kinship yet beneath
the surface anything but kin. Stranger still, that she viewed
Americans in the same way the Chinese viewed her: she was not
one of them and never would be. China was the only home she’d
ever known. Yet here, because of an accident of birth, she would
forever wear the brand ‘yangguize’, foreign devil.
She squeezed her eyes tighter, forcing back the tears of
resentment that always seemed to come with recollection of the
injustices visited upon her time and again over the last five years.
Suddenly she was afraid to open her eyes again, fearing that she
would find orderly Boston Harbor instead of the controlled chaos
that characterized China’s traditional capital of foreign trade.
Steeling herself she forced one eye open a fraction and
heaved a relieved sigh. They were passing the industrial waterfront
known as The Bund and the Steamer Landing, a fingerlike
quay jutting from the mainland, was now in sight.
As her gaze wandered over the sprawling Bund, buildings
of every sort imaginable crammed within its limits, she recalled
the many happy hours spent there. Her breast swelled with pride
when she caught sight of the Hopewell Trading House. Her
family name, in white block letters, stood out boldly against the
massive red brick edifice of the warehouse: an imposing giant
towering two stories above its nearest neighbors. All seemed to
be bowing in homage to the lord of the foreign trade community.
Reluctantly, Kathryn tore her gaze from the grand vision and
directed it to the fast approaching Steamer Landing and their
assigned birth. She eagerly searched the milling crowds below
for the ‘Trade Lord’ himself. Standing over six feet tall, William
Hopewell was distinguished as much by his broad chest and
regal bearing as his emerald eyes and golden hair. In her mind’s
eye, she could see his powerful frame slicing through the masses
of common folk like one of his steamers through whitecaps. She
tried in vain to control a wild rush of nervous excitement. The
last time she’d seen him was on this very dock waving goodbye
and looking as if he regretted her leaving as much as she did.
Had the years been kind to him?
“Well, Miss Hopewell, docking procedures are almost complete.
We’ll be able to disembark soon.”
Kathryn groaned inwardly. Charles Willard, an affliction
that had beset her as she was boarding the Orient bound liner in
Wales for the last and longest leg of the journey home. Deciding
that a woman traveling alone was unacceptable, the lanky,
sharp-featured Englishman had appointed himself her guardian
before they’d even left port. His domineering smugness had long
ago worn her patience dangerously thin and she ached to tell the
detestable twig of a man that she was less than impressed with
the superior lineage and diplomatic posting he continually touted.
She started actively avoiding him the second day, but he
always seemed to find her no matter where she hid. She was certain
she’d scream if he launched into another wretched discourse
of what made Great Britain so great.
Biting back a remark about his keen sense of the obvious,
Kathryn pretended to be engrossed with scanning the dock and
worked her way along the railing toward the gangplank.
Much to her annoyance, Charles dogged her every step and
insisted on taking her arm as she descended the ramp. Once on
solid ground, however, she tacitly declared the termination of
the unwanted partnership by jerking her arm free. She was to
the porter and beginning to issue instructions for the disposition
of her baggage before he could recover from the shock of her
But recover he did, and it was Kathryn’s turn to be shocked
as he grasped her arm and thrust her backward so he could insert
himself between her and the porter.
“Womenfolk shouldn’t have to concern themselves with
such details,” he clucked. “I’ll take care of this for you.”
Turning about to address the porter, he missed coral lips
compressing into a thin, dangerous line and teal daggers shooting
from narrowed eyes. His instructions were cut short as a
dainty elbow was none too gently driven into his ribs, forcing
“My bags go to Number Twelve, Shameen Four Jie,” Kathryn
continued coolly as if there had been no interruption.
He slipped the porter some money before turning again to
face a thoroughly vexed Kathryn.
“Now,” he said, “let us see you safely home, shall we?”
“I can see myself safely home, thank you,” she snapped.
“Of course you can. Do you see your father anywhere or
shall we get you a conveyance?”
A quick pivot set Kathryn on a new course in the opposite direction
from her tormentor.
“You’ll never make it in the city by yourself!” Charles called
“That is none of your concern!” Kathryn shot back over her
So intent was she on devastating him with a glare, she didn’t
see the coolie leaning against a stack of crates until it was too
late. Her mind registered a dozen things at once as they collided:
his astonished look, the way he absorbed her momentum with an
agile side-stepping motion, the surprising solidness of his trim
frame, and the iron in the arms closing around her. In a blink she
was trapped against his chest, and they were literally nose-to-nose.
Instead of being horrified as etiquette demanded, Kathryn
was struck by the intriguing notion that this common coolie
was anything but common. Although undeniably handsome, it
wasn’t his physical appearance that captured her attention. It
was something she sensed more than saw. It was the intelligence
deep in his currant brown eyes and the regal stance from which
emanated virility and power; the ability to nurture or destroy,
whichever was his pleasure. Yet she sensed gentleness, compassion,
sophistication and something deeper, indefinable, as if he
should be a head of state or captain of industry rather than a
peasant loitering about the waterfront. She could more easily
picture him as a dance partner at a formal affair.
He seemed equally captivated by her, making no immediate
move to release her as he studied her face. His rapt interest
was at once strangely flattering and very disturbing. There was
something penetrating about his gaze that made her feel as if he
was looking into her, assessing and measuring, reading her like
a book. She couldn’t explain it, but in the depths of her heart
stirred a certain recognition, as if they’d met before.
Then the spell was broken and a new one cast when his eyes
warmed and crinkled at the corners as he flashed a most engaging
smile and set her back on her feet.
It was hard for Kathryn to decide whether she was more perturbed
by the way her breath suddenly caught in her throat or by
the dawning realization that she was blushing and gawking like
a schoolgirl over a Chinese man, a lowly peasant at that.
With a mental shake she pulled from his embrace, retreated
a few steps, and struck a more dignified pose.
“I-I’m sorry,” she stammered, then muttered, “But you don’t
understand English do you? Uhm . . . oh, what is the word?”
“Duibuqi,” the coolie supplied with a slight bow of his head.
Kathryn was stunned. That was indeed the Chinese word
she’d been searching for. Perhaps her impression was right. This
wasn’t just an ordinary coolie. She might have inquired how
much English he knew except that the way his eyes were now
twinkling with open amusement gave her the distinct impression
he was enjoying her discomfi ture.
While not surprising, for the lower always seemed to revel in
the failings of their superiors, it still made her angry. He should
be honored that she was at least attempting to apologize, which
was more than most in her social station would have done.
She was just opening her mouth to tartly end the encounter
when a sudden jerk on her handbag spun her around, causing
the silk chords to cut painfully into the tender flesh of her wrist.
A grime-encrusted fist clutching the small white beaded bag
alerted her to the ragged boy’s criminal intent.
“Oh, no you don’t!” she exclaimed, gripping the strings with
A fierce tugging match ensued. Kathryn fought hard to keep
possession of her handbag, but the boy was most determined.
One last mighty yank wrenched the bag free and sent her stumbling
backward. With a wink and knowing grin well beyond his
years the gamin dashed away into the crowd.
“Hey, come back!” Kathryn shouted, then remembering the
coolie, whirled around to enlist his aid.
The entreaty died on her lips. Puzzled, she stared at the space
he’d occupied only seconds before. How could he have disappeared
so quickly? She spun back trying to track the little thief
as he darted like a minnow through the sea of people. A quick
dodge and a duck and he was gone. Casting a last frown at where
the coolie had been she threw up her hands in disgust.
She turned toward the familiar voice calling from somewhere
to her left. Craning her neck she searched the crowd.
“Daddy!” She waved joyfully when she fi nally located the
source of the beckoning voice.
Her eyes never left his face as she pushed through the press
of people toward him.
The black-clad figure parted from the shadows, brows furrowed
over currant brown eyes. Although it had been years and
he was a good distance away, he recognized William Hopewell.
Surely that young woman couldn’t be the daughter.
She would be about the right age, though. What was her
name? He couldn’t recall.
* * *
Happily, Kathryn drank in all the familiar sights and smells
as they worked their way along the crowded waterfront, shortly
reaching one of only two bridges connecting the mainland to
the foreign concession known as Shameen Island. Once a mud
flat roughly a mile long and a half mile wide the “sand surface”,
as its name literally meant, had been transformed into
an idyllic haven of Western civilization. It boasted handsome
houses, magnificent office buildings, luxurious hotels, schools,
churches, bowling greens, croquet lawns, public gardens, facilities
for horse racing, tennis and country clubs; all the amenities
the foreign community found so desirable.
As she crossed the arched stone bridge spanning the wide
canal between island and mainland, Kathryn was struck, as
never before, by the contrast between the two shores. It was
literally like passing from one world into another: leaving a bustling
hive of activity and entering a quiet park. In a strange way,
it reminded her of the little room she’d lived in while attending
The Canton side, jam-packed as it was with boats, buildings
and people, was like the tiny closet she’d been allotted; a space
far too small to hold all of her things. By sharp contrast, the
Shameen Island side, with its manicured lawns and immaculate
streets, was like the bedroom where she slept and studied; a tidy,
While she had missed Canton, she’d forgotten just how
frenzied the pace of the city really was, and gratefully left it.
Suddenly, she felt a rush of pure joy and wanted to shout, laugh,
and dance. She’d made it. She was home and the worst ordeal of
her life behind her. This was a moment she had longed for and
dreamed of but too often feared would be a walk of shame for
being sent home early, branded a failure. Instead, she had defied
the odds and the nay-sayers and not only finished but finished
with honors. She’d left here hopeful and returned victorious.
With a new sense of pride she stood a little taller, held her
head a little higher, and even allowed a bounce in her normally
resolute stride. Along with her father and Worthan, she nodded
and returned the greetings of the Island residents they passed,
more than a few of whom expressed astonishment at how much
Kathryn had changed. She coolly accepted the admiring glances
cast by more than one young gentleman and ignored the glowering
matrons who frowned in disapproval at her calf length ‘flapper
style’ dress that was all the rage in America. She had every
intention of being a trendsetter and breaking the old molds.
What better way to start?
Sitting down to dinner surrounded by her family, Kathryn
was hit by the same joy and pride she had experienced walking
from the wharf and felt as if her heart would burst, so warmed
was she by the laughter and animated conversation of the little
family as they renewed their bond.
“It’s so good to have you home,” William said, impulsively
reaching out to take Kathryn’s hand.
“It’s good to be home, Daddy,” Kathryn affirmed, giving his
hand a squeeze.
Without letting it go she leaned forward, elbows on knees. It
was time to brooch the subject of work.
“Okay, Daddy. I’ve successfully navigated Harvard and am
done meeting your educational requirements. Where do I start
at Hopewell Trading? Accounts?”
With furrowed brow William contemplated her for a time
“I didn’t want to get into this so soon,” he began slowly, “but
we must talk about your future with the company.”
“What about my future?” she asked, not liking the look on
his face or the sudden feeling of impending doom.
“It may not be what you expect.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I can’t make you a partner.”
Kathryn wasn’t surprised by the pronouncement. In fact,
she’d suspected it might happen. She mentally rolled up her
sleeves and prepared to fi ght for her rightful place.
“Because you’re a woman,” William stated flatly.
“Harvard gave me a chance, and I proved that I was more
than capable of holding my own in the business world. Give me
a department to manage, then decide how capable I am based
on my performance, not my gender. You owe me at least that
“In education there is room to take chances but in the
real world there is no margin for that sort of thing,” William
explained, his voice gentle. “I’m afraid the market just isn’t ready
“If you didn’t intend to let me have a hand in running the
company then why did you bother to educate me at all?” Kathryn
“To keep you out of trouble,” William admitted. “You have
such a quick mind and inquisitive nature. I tried to give you
room to be yourself. Maybe I gave you too much room.” He
ran a hand through his graying blond hair. “I know I should
have been honest with you years ago when you said you
wanted to run Hopewell Trading, but I think it’s important
to have dreams no matter how unattainable. It was my hope
that you would eventually drop the notion in favor of more
feminine pursuits. When you didn’t, I tried my best to derail
your efforts. I demanded you go to Harvard and pulled every
string I had to get you in because I didn’t think you’d make it.
I thought you’d come home after the fi rst year realizing that it
wasn’t for you.”
“I didn’t exactly follow the plan then, did I?” Kathryn
interjected bitterly as she sat back, crossing her arms across her
“You look like your mother but have your grandfather’s
brains and fi ery disposition,” William said with obvious admiration.
“To his way of thinking nothing was impossible. Anyway,
you’re done and I can’t any more turn things over to you now than
I could five years ago. The honest truth is that I’ve already chosen
my successor—Hopewell’s Business Manager, Collin McNeal.”
Kathryn lowered her head, lips compressed. Somehow she
wasn’t surprised by this either. She had begun to suspect as
much months ago. The confirmation only fanned her determination
to carve out a place for herself.
“I have a proposal for you,” William continued.
Kathryn braced herself.
“I want you to marry Collin. He has agreed to give you
a position as his Executive Assistant and together the two of
you can run the company. Your role will be more behind the
scenes, of course, but you’ll still be directly involved in decision
“Marry a man I’ve never even met?” Kathryn sputtered,
“Collin is very personable. You’ll like him. Everyone does.”
“And if I refuse?”
“He will still get the company and, if you should choose
to work at Hopewell, you’ll never be anything more than a
“How could you do this to me, Daddy?” Kathryn burst out
pushing to her feet. “I thought you loved me.”
“You know I do. More than anything in this world,” William
said, his tone imploring her to believe it. “It’s because I love
you that I would force this on you. If it helps, Collin balked at
the idea as well but when he understood that this was the only
way for you to have a real place in the company he agreed. I’ve
shown him pictures of you and let him read portions of your
letters. I believe he’s already half in love with you. If I know
him, he’ll pamper you. I’m certain you’ll come to love him
eventually.” He drew in an exited breath. “Think of it Katy,
you, me, Collin and Worthan. Together we’ll make an unbeatable
team, build the greatest trading empire in China. Perhaps
even the world.”
Kathryn had to admit it was a thrilling possibility and,
despite herself, caught some of her father’s enthusiasm. Until
she recalled how she was to get there. Tears scalded her eyes.
“Why can’t you and I be a team, Daddy? Why must you
hand the family business and me over to a stranger?”
William threw himself out of his chair and began pacing the
“I have always prided myself on being open minded, even
innovative at times, but this isn’t something I’m willing to try.
You must understand that in most areas of China women are still
considered lower than livestock. No one would do business with
you. Hopewell Trading would go under and put thousands out
of work. You have to stop thinking of yourself and see the larger
picture. Believe me, if I thought for a minute that it was possible
I would.” He stopped his pacing and faced her. “I’m sorry but
this is all I have to offer you.”
“I have to think about this,” Kathryn said tiredly. “I’ll give
you my decision in the morning.” She pressed a tightlipped kiss
on his cheek and left the room.
With a heavy heart Kathryn ascended the stairs, pausing on
the top step. She turned her head to look down into the empty
foyer. Her eyes were drawn to the same door she had watched
her father walk through earlier that day. It would be so easy to
walk out herself. There was nothing stopping her . . . except
reality. Where could she go? What would she do? Her father was
right about one thing; women were not welcome in business,
therefore weren’t given much opportunity to be anything other
than domestic laborers or prostitutes.
With a sigh of defeat she headed down the dimly lit hallway.
Kathryn was happy to find her room empty, Mother Hong
not waiting up. The nightclothes carefully laid out on the bed
brought a small smile. It had been fi ve long years since anyone
had extended her such kindness.
She closed her eyes as the pain of remembrance washed
over and threatened to drown her in resentment. Kindnesses of
any kind had been hard to come by in America. She had experienced
nothing but hostility for the whole of her time there. To
come home only to find out it was all for nothing made the fire
of resentment burn hotter. She thought her biggest challenge
would be adjusting to being with those who loved her again,
being able to trust the people in close association and not having
to watch her back every moment. Her frown darkened as the
She had trusted her father only to discover this very evening
that he’d acted deceitfully and sold her and her birthright
to another man. She could almost taste the bitterness of the
betrayal, like bile choking her. He was no different than any of
those who had tried so hard to stop her from achieving her goal,
a goal he himself had set to secure her failure.
With an angry shake of her head Kathryn snatched up the
nightgown and stalked over to the corner sectioned off by a
tall mahogany partition that her grandfather had brought from
India when she was very young. She paused a moment to study
the scene carved into it. It was of a jungle clearing filled with
grazing animals of various kinds and sizes, from elephants to
fawns. It seemed peaceful but one could feel the danger lurking
in the dense thicket around the edges. How like life that
Stepping behind the divider, away from the dim lamplight,
she was plunged into shadow. For a moment she felt as if she’d
stepped into one of those bushes and come face to face with a
predator waiting to tear her to shreds. As she began stripping off
her clothes she went through the familiar ritual of discarding the
troubles of the day. She didn’t want to think about the years at
Harvard anymore. It was one long nightmare she would rather
forget. Unfortunately, as one nightmare was ending another was
about to begin. She was about to trade one “Harvard” for another.
Shortly she was sinking tiredly into bed, the arms of the
overstuffed mattress enveloping her in softness and the faint
scent of lavender. Closing her eyes she forced herself to relax.
With an odd sense of wonder she recalled that at this time the
previous night she was crowding into a narrow bunk in a stuffy
stateroom, the promise of dark days being behind her and a
bright future waiting on the horizon, keeping sleep at bay.
Kathryn found herself once again unable to sleep despite
exhaustion, but it wasn’t excitement that kept her awake this
night. She tossed and turned for hours, mulling over her father’s
proposal and what the future might now hold.
An early morning storm swept in, the atmosphere mirroring
the turmoil in her heart. No matter how hard she searched
for it, there was no acceptable solution to be found.
A thunderous boom brought him upright in the narrow cot,
tensed and ready for action. After a moment he relaxed. It was
a thunderstorm and not the sound of battle that had jerked him
from sleep. He blinked hard and shook his head, trying to dispel
the image of fi ery teal eyes peering at him through the darkness
of his dreams.
A smile began to play on his lips as he recalled the American
woman’s expression when she realized she was in the arms of a
Chinese peasant. That was probably the closest she’d ever come
to his kind.
How my life has changed, he reflected sadly, swinging his
legs over the edge of the cot.
Rubbing his face tiredly, he hunched over, resting elbows
on knees. Pensively he fingered the tattered sleeve of his black
cotton tunic. Once upon a time, he had worn silk and enjoyed an
elite position only a handful of men could boast. His standing
had bought him respect and an extensive education.
How dearly he regretted coming back to China. There was
so very little to show for the eight years of toil since returning.
No wife to love, no children to carry on his family name, little
money. He despised what he had become and even more so the
intense loneliness that now tried to drag him into the depths of
The cot groaned as he lay back again, hands clasped behind
his head. Instead of dwelling on things that couldn’t be changed,
he turned his thoughts in a more pleasant direction. His heart
quickened at the thought of her. So many times over the years
he’d dreamed of her, tried to envision what she would become.
In his imaginings, she was an empress, as gracious and powerful
as she was beautiful.
If, indeed, she was William Hopewell’s daughter, his imaginings
hadn’t fallen short where her beauty was concerned. Her
features were fine, her skin creamy porcelain, her bearing regal;
all the marks of a well bred gentlewoman. Her eyes, however,
hinted at something very different beneath the refined surface.
What an amazing color they were, as if sapphires and emeralds
had been ground fine and mixed together. The way they flashed
when she grew angry was mesmerizing. If the eyes were truly
the window to the soul, a glimpse into hers revealed an untamed
spirit, strength of will, and keen intelligence. He sensed the
determination she’d worn like a grand coat as a child was now
a tool in her hands that she used to forge new paths. It was an
irresistible force that no opposition could stand up against.
A fresh smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. In rich, lilting
tones she had certainly put that Brit in his place. He closed
his eyes, again feeling her slender frame against him. He’d half
expected her to slap him for his forwardness. Instead she just
stared, seeming to be as awestruck as he. He was intrigued by
how hard it had suddenly become to think and breathe. He had
never known such a feeling before.
It was an even more pleasant shock to see that she really
did exist and had grown up to become the perfect woman he’d
secretly clung to. If only he could remember her name. He knew
her ship had just come from America so she must be coming out
to join her father. Or her husband. This thought cast a pall over
the scene. The possibility of a husband had never entered his
perfect picture, but that was the trouble with fantasy. It didn’t
always account for reality.
He chided himself for wasting time on such foolishness,
as he had countless times over the years. Even if she wasn’t
married, he could never have this fair empress who had always
ruled his heart. Even if he somehow managed to gain acquaintance
with her, she was American and he was Chinese. Like
all such flights of fancy, she was destined to remain only an
impossible dream, a secret he kept locked away for only himself
Rolling onto his side he let his thoughts drift across the years
to brighter times. It seemed a lifetime ago, but the encounter
with his mother before leaving for America was as fresh as if
it had happened yesterday. He was her pride and joy, his family’s
hope for the future. When he appeared to her in Western
dress and newly shorn hair, her normally peaceful features had
twisted with horror.
“Ti-wei, my son! What has happened to my son?” she
wailed. “I had heard this was the plan your father had for you
but I had hoped it was only wretched rumor. Have you also
adopted a Western name?”
“I will go by Ty Wang,” he had replied.
A perplexed look crossed her face.
“What does this name mean?” she’d asked.
“I-I don’t think it has a meaning,” he had answered with
some reluctance, knowing an outburst would likely follow.
“But why must you forsake your given name?” she’d wanted
to know. “Wang Ti-wei is such a noble name,” she had argued.
“It means “king” and “to lead in the right direction”. This “Ty”
has no meaning whatsoever.”
The way she spat the English name he had chosen and her
obvious disdain for the whole idea of him going to America for
an education, was heartbreaking. She was not only scorning the
name but the choice for his life.
“Whether a name has meaning is unimportant to Westerners,”
he had replied, keeping his tone calm, ever respectful, even
as he withered inside. “It is easy for them to pronounce and that
is what matters. Chinese in America have difficulties enough
with dress and behaviors. Adopting a simpler name is of no
But it had turned out to be of great consequence to him. It
had surprised him how quickly he adapted to his new surroundings,
how easily he had fi t into America’s high society. Being a
novelty of sorts, he was treated more like a visiting dignitary
than the student he was. Over time, Wang Ti-wei was forgotten
and Ty Wang was who he became and those seven years abroad
were the best years of his life thus far.
He fondly recalled summer afternoons in Central Park, long
walks along the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the sound
of footsteps echoing in cavernous halls of learning. Fall would
be past full color there now. Trees ablaze with oranges, reds and
yellows would be shedding their leaves and preparing for the
coming of snow. Perhaps it had snowed already.
The aching loneliness grew more intense at the recollection
of strolls under the fiery boughs with fresh-faced girls who
gazed adoringly at him. In that world he might have had his
‘empress’, for in America nothing seemed impossible.
Then he was forced to return to China, and his time in
America, just like his ‘empress’, was no more than a delightful
dream he revisited when life became unbearable.
Ty shook his head again. This wasn’t helping. He was where
he was ordered to be and had a job to do. The sooner it was
accomplished, the sooner he would be back where he belonged.
A bright flash preceded another stunning roll of thunder.
Then the rain came. The sound of the deluge helped cleanse his
thoughts as the water cleansed the filth from Canton’s streets.
Feeling sleep, like the morning light, was not soon to come,
Ty lit the stubby candle on the table next to his cot. Pulling a
small, black notebook from his shirt pocket, he began to read,
attempting to draw the comfort he so sorely lacked from the
words printed there.