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Extra resources for The Best American Mystery Stories 2011
The oval shape of the rock could finally be seen; the earth under it was soft, almost tender, it seemed. Bending over, Pekalov clawed the earth like a dog. “ Its moving! ” Kutyr yelled to him when he noticed that the rock had shifted slightly, but Pekalov kept clawing the dirt away, and the rock grew rounder and more distinct as it hung over them. There was a scraping sound; they all froze in place. The scraping grew into a ominous sound, as if the earth had let out a thud, and the huge boulder came down upon them.
Not some other abomination. He just didn’t say that he was digging a tunnel under the river. It seemed to him that at that bitter moment when he was left alone with Kutyr, T H E LOSS 25 God had bid him to be silent. Why should they know that the river was right overhead? Let them dig without fear . . There were three of the blind men, and just as soon as they agreed, Pekalov hurried them off. ” Pekalov fussed about. He was afraid the little guide would come back to them and, repentant, he would spoil everything.
It made no sense to pound on the whole rock, and Pekalov grabbed them by the arms. “Stop! This is a rock! ” he yelled angrily, by now not hearing his very own words. But they heard them. ” yelled the old man irately. ” Pekalov shouted to Kutyr, and only together, with their fists, did they manage to drive the blind men away from the spot. The rock turned out to be enormous, and to figure out how to go about moving it required some thinking. They needed to trench around the rock so that by its own force it would fall out, but fall gradually so that the river, if it was still overhead, wouldn’t swallow them all up instantly.