The Replacement Child by Christine Barber
By Christine Barber
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Extra resources for The Replacement Child
She wasn’t Catholic—she wasn’t anything—but the church comforted her. The once brightly colored santos and retables behind the altar were faded. The crucifix, grisly with painted blood dripping from Jesus’ head and hands, was chipped and worn. Everything was shabby, ancient, and smelled of prayers and hopes and candle wax. Someone behind her was praying the rosary in Spanish. She couldn’t understand the words; the quiet mantra was a murmur. A family came down the aisle, five in all, with the youngest, who looked about twelve, supporting the grandmother.
Hell. Damn. She looked around to make sure Del wasn’t there. He wasn’t. Thank God. The table was split in half—women on one end and men on the other. She wiggled her way down toward the men. In grade school, some students always sat in the front of the class and some always sat in the back; she always sat with the boys. Not because she was interested in them romantically—that became an issue only after she’d hit puberty—but because women made her uncomfortable. She could never figure out the social nuances.
Castilian. Lucy waited until Tommy hung up the phone. She walked over to him and he told her what she had expected to hear: He had called the state cops, the Santa Fe police, the hospitals, the Santa Fe County sheriff, and even the city of Española police. Nothing. “Tommy, you’re heading out to the police station tomorrow morning to do your cop checks, right? Maybe we can look into it more then,” Lucy said. Twice a day reporters went to the Santa Fe police station to look over the incident reports to see if anything warranted a story.