Young Hearts (Chapter 8, page 2 of 4)

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Chapter 8

Prudence nodded. "I'm sorry, Samantha. This is all so strange. But you can count on me. I won't let you down."

"I know. Now, let's get Wendell before he hurts himself." Samantha helped Prudence dismount from the pick-up truck. Then she grabbed the collar of Wendell's jacket. "You can play with this later. Right now we have more important things to do."

"I just wanted to see what's inside," he said. "It's amazing. Not at all like I imagined."

They climbed a set of creaky steps up to a porch with worn netting strewn about over the furniture. Mr. Pryde opened the front door for them, waving them into a parlor finer than anything on Eternity. The white couch with its pink flowers was stained with dirt, the white-and-gold wingback chairs torn, and the wooden coffee table lined with dust. A musty smell like a crypt hung in the air. Books, magazines, and newspapers were thrown around the room. Prudence gathered up those on the couch and deposited them on the coffee table before she sat down.

"You kids want anything to drink? I got water, milk, or soda. There might be some cookies too."

Samantha looked over at Prudence, who sat so rigidly Samantha doubted she heard anything, and then at Wendell, who had found a portable cassette player on the floor. "We're fine," Samantha said. "Thank you for asking."

"If you don't mind, I got to go upstairs and change. I don't suppose your friends watch TV. There's one across the hall," Mr. Pryde said. He ducked out of the parlor; Samantha heard his boots stomp up the stairs followed by a door shutting.

"A television?" Wendell asked. "Can we see it?"

"As long as you promise not to dissect it." Samantha led Wendell across the room to a living room with a blue-and-gold couch, blue recliner, and a rocking chair surrounding a wooden cabinet with a TV and VCR inside. Wendell began slapping the buttons on the television until the screen flickered to life. Prudence jumped back as an image of a man wearing a gray uniform with 'Boston' printed in red and a hat like Mr. Pryde's appeared on the screen. Samantha took Prudence's hand and sat her down on the couch. "It's all right. This is a television program. A baseball game. See, this man throws that little white ball and the other man tries to hit it with his stick."

Wendell fiddled with the buttons until the sound became deafening. Samantha found the remote control on the coffee table and turned the volume down. Wendell looked back at her in disbelief. "How did you do that?"

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