From the Sky - Part XXI

"He saw a bat fly around his house last night," Rae said at last.

"A bat?" Sal asked.

"I didn't want to tell you until I had a chance to slip upstairs and look it up in Madame's book."


"Well, it's not good. He said it flew around the house once, twice, three times and then vanished into the blackness."

"At least he didn't kill it. That would have been bad luck."

"But Sal: Three times it flew around the house. Three times! There will be a death! That is what Madame's book says. Bats, you see, are the servants of witches. They are the minions of stregas."

"Oh! Then something terrible is about to happen!"

"And there were crickets last night. Did you hear them, Sal?"


"Storms and death are coming, that was the warning they sounded. Did you know Papa had a cricket in his house all week? He told me he could hear it chirping."

"But a cricket in the house is good fortune!"

"Paulie stepped on it."

The sisters turned and looked over the picnic grounds. The families of the bakery workers were arriving. The air was scented with the richness of bubbling funnel cakes, grilled sausage and peppers, burgers and steaks, and dozens of other aromas. A delightful mélange! The restaurant booths were also getting ready for the big night, and slowly the aromas from their booths were adding to the mix. When the grounds opened to the public, hundreds of people would rush in. By the end of the night Walnutwood's citizens would have full bellies and happy children. But for the first part of the day those closest to the Tarentella's had the picnic all to themselves. They had worked so hard, and now for a few hours they would relax. The sisters watched as Ernesto began distributing one final envelope to each of his workers, a generous bonus for their dedication to making the picnic a success.

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