ELEMENT: Chapter 9 (1)
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Chapter 9


Element- A distinct group within a larger group or community, such as “the criminal element.”

The old man sits us down at his old kitchen table overlooking the wide, slow Coquille River below. Since my brothers and I left the trade market, we’ve come a long way—probably fifteen miles of thick forest now lies between us and home. I feel like we have a lot farther to go and that the dangers have only just begun.

Two shallow grooves are worn into the table where two people have sat and shared food for many years, but everything else about the house suggests that George lives alone.

“I don’t work for the Government,” he tells us as he puts a kettle on the stove to...

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