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Startling Miriam



Geckos are reptiles found on all the continents except Antarctica. These colorful lizards have adapted to habitats from rainforests to deserts to cold mountain slopes. A special feature like their tail helps them survive and avoid predators. For example, it helps balance their weight as they climb branches and acts as a fuel tank to store fat. Moreover, geckos are able to shed their tails if a predator grabs them.

   

In “The Beggar,” a story in The Deadliest Returns, Miriam is charged with locating the lovechild of Nathaniel ben Ruben, who fled Alexandria to escape the arm of Roman Law when his son was hardly seven years old. One place she visits during her investigation is Zephyr’s Bronze Works, a souvenir shop smeared with pigeon droppings. Her objective is to interview a slave named Elissa who’d befriended the child’s mother. Miriam explains:

   

Just as my eyes were getting used to the darkness, Elissa opened the curtains, drenching the room with sunlight and beckoning me with an outstretched arm to take a seat on the bench along the side wall. I hoped she didn’t notice my momentary reluctance to join a house gecko feasting on a nest of wasps. She too sat, her profile half-turned towards me, so I could see that her sun-browned face was oddly crooked and webbed with fine lines.

   

Miriam was startled by the gecko, but these lizards do keep the insect population in check. Likewise, you may be startled by the turn of events in “The Beggar,” but the story will keep you entertained while you escape the doldrums of everyday life. To find out more, click here.



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