By Helen Dunmore
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Extra resources for A Spell of Winter
None of us said anything. The corridor seemed to have swallowed up our voices, too. Once the corridor bulged out into a half-moon space at the side, like a room with a path running through it. Someone had set spindly chairs there, and tables with flowers on them. I wondered if anyone ever sat there, and what they did. But there was no sound except a humming deep in the house, like the hum of a furnace. ‘I know the way, I’ve been here before,’ said Miss Gallagher proudly. Rob looked at her, but he would not ask her when.
I heard my father curse and the wall shook as the pair of them fell to their knees trying to get their balance and keep poor Joseph from falling. And we heard a terrible soft sound like the leg being sucked off a cooked chicken, and there was Joseph’s arm bouncing down the stairs to the floor below. It lay on the floor in front of our very eyes,’ said Kate. ’ asked Rob. His voice had gone growly with excitement. I said nothing. I stared at Kate, and I saw white strings like roots coming out of the arm as it bounced down the wooden stairs.
Perhaps he had always pulled at the bedclothes like that, and frowned, as if the straightness of the sheets was more important than we were. I watched the shape of his legs under the bedclothes. Were they thinner, and was that why he was lying down? There was a boy in the village who got pushed round by his brothers and sisters on a cart. It was like a long tray with wheels on it, and the dust blew in his face in summer. His legs were wasted away so that you could put your hand round one of them and touch your fingers together, even right up at the top of his thigh.
A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore