O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1920 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 467 pages of information about O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1920.
howling and shrieking upon her, she staggered under their onslaught, drenched to the bone, her dress whipping frantically about her, blinded and deafened by that tumultuous clamour.  She had only one weapon against it—­laughter—­and she laughed now—­straight into its teeth.  And as though hell itself must yield to mirth, the fury wavered—­failed—­sank to muttering.  But Janie, beaten to her knees and laughing, never even heard it die.

“Jerry?” she whispered into the darkness, “Jerry?”

Oh, more wonderful than wonder, he was there!  She could feel him stir, even if she could not hear him—­so close, so close was he that if she even reached out her hand, she could touch him.  She stretched it out eagerly, but there was nothing there—­only a small, remote sound of withdrawal, as though some one had moved a little.

“You’re afraid that I’ll be frightened, aren’t you?” she asked wistfully.  “I wouldn’t be—­I wouldn’t—­please come back’”

He was laughing at her, she knew, tender and mocking and caressing; she smiled back, tremulously.

“You’re thinking, ‘I told you so!’ Have you come far to say it to me?”

Only that little stir—­the wind was rising again.

“Jerry, come close—­come closer still.  What are you waiting for, dear and dearest?”

This time there was not even a stir to answer her; she felt suddenly cold to the heart.  What had he always waited for?

“You aren’t waiting—­you aren’t waiting to go?” She fought to keep the terror out of her voice, but it had her by the throat.  “Oh, no, no—­you can’t—­not again!  Jerry, Jerry, don’t go away and leave me—­truly and truly I can’t stand it—­truly!”

She wrung her hands together desperately; she was on her knees to him—­did he wish her to go lower still?  Oh, she had never learned to beg!

“I can’t send you away again—­I can’t.  When I sent you to France I killed my heart—­when I let you go to death, I crucified my soul.  I haven’t anything left but my pride—­you can have that, too.  I can’t send you back to your heaven.  Stay with me—­stay with me, Jerry!”

Not a sound—­not a stir—­but well she knew that he was standing there, waiting.  She rose slowly to her feet.

“Very well—­you’ve won,” she said hardly.  “Go back to your saints and seraphs and angels; I’m beaten.  I was mad to think that you ever cared—­go back!” She turned, stumbling, the sobs tearing at her throat; he had gone several steps before she realized that he was following her—­and all the hardness and bitterness and despair fell from her like a cloak.

“Oh, Jerry,” she whispered, “Jerry, darling, I’m so sorry.  And you’ve come so far—­just to find this!  What is it that you want; can’t you tell me?”

She stood tense and still, straining eyes and ears for her answer—­but it was not to eyes or ears that it came.

“Oh, of course!” she cried clearly.  “Of course, my wanderer!  Ready?”

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O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1920 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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