Grandma Teegan was dying. They shouldn’t have come.
Eleven-year-old Bridget trudged up the dark stairwell. Her legs and arms ached. Water sloshed over the rim of her heavy pail. The heat in the tenement house swelled floor by floor, and sweat rolled down her neck and shoulders and dampened the back of her wool dress. She’d taken off her broken shoes and even her bloomers beneath her long skirt, but she was still hot as “frying mutton.” Through July and now into August, Grandma Teegan had muttered about the heat, but for the last week, she’d been too sick for talking or humor.
Bridget set the pail down on the next riser and wiped sweat off her face. She’d made it up three flights. Only one more to go. She changed hands, gripped the handle again, and climbed. Grandma Teegan waited for her.
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