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When Cee-Cee closes her eyes, she can suddenly see all the missing girls in the Mohawk Valley. It's part of the message: they are buried in wheat fields and stashed behind train tracks, or sprawled at the bottom of the canal. Could have been you, one dead girl says, smart-mouthed. But instead it was me! A live one tied up somewhere in a basement cocks her head: But, guess what?you're next!
Cee-Cee tries to focus, but a terrible headache rises from the back of her neck, as if someone has struck her there. She should take her medicine, but Mrs. Patrick took away the pink bottles. In the thicket overhead, the branches are picked clean as bones, no longer swaying. Now she steps back until her heels butt up against the fat oak tree.
In the woods, everything is silent. Even the trees stand still.
It's 1973 in the Mohawk Valley, and children are disappearing. Cee-Cee Bianco is visited by the Virgin Mary, but her brothers see a much darker vision. When the youngest Bianco falls into a coma after witnessing a brutal crime in the woods and Cee-Cee performs a miracle, she is guarded by war-protesting Sisters whose order is not the benign sanctuary it seems.
MB Caschetta is the author of Lucy on the West Coast (Alyson), which Ms. Magazine called "a spectacular collection." Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Body & Soul. She lives in Massachusetts.
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