The American Lawyer Prologue–cont'd.

    Would he ever understand the importance of her work?
  Her face clenched as waves of pain broke through the solace of shock, jarring her into anger. Anger at having to relinquish the dream of seeing her country returned to the people, anger at having to die so young, and, most of all, anger that the sonofabitch who had killed her would probably get away with it.
    ¡Bastardo! She forced one eye open and saw that she had fallen near the credenza behind Teo's desk. One end of the mantón, the shawl that served as a runner covering the credenza, hung tantalizingly close to her outstretched left arm. The shawl, her most treasured possession, had been hand woven by her Mayan mother and bore her tribal colors. Marisa watched the red and gold threads of the fringe dance like fragile, beckoning fingers in the shaft of sunlight that pierced the study's beveled glass window. Quizás, she thought; perhaps I can do this one last thing.
    She reached up and a stab of pain pierced her side as she grabbed a corner of the shawl. She pulled hard, but her fingers were wet with blood and slipped away from the fringe. Her breathing was shallow and erratic and she felt cold. Something—blood or perspiration—was blurring her vision. She tried again despite the excruciating pain, but this time her fingers failed to reach the fringe.
    Let it go, came a distant sound, more like a cello than a voice. Was it her mother's voice? You've earned your rest, it seemed to say.
No! she said, and reached up again, seizing the corner of the mantón. This time, she pulled harder and held on. She heard a small glass vase shatter against the floor amidst a shower of pencils, a fountain pen and ink well, assorted papers, and, yes, her cell phone! Then stillness again but for the ticking of the clock.
     The phone was only inches out of reach of her left hand, but it might as well have been in another room. Also the pens, the pencils. She felt bits of glass near her right hand and something wet. Her own blood?
     The cello sang, Let it go.

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