He refused to stop himself, but gradually he began to feel uneasy. He had the sense that someone was in the darkened corners of the room. Someone watching. He put his pen down slowly and then turned in his chair, peered over his shoulder at the stilled machines.

A frowsty-headed little boy crouched on top of the band saw. Thomas shook his head, blinked, but the boy was still there, dark hair sticking up in a spiky crest. He was wearing the same yellow-brown canvas vest and pants that Thomas had worn as a third-grade student at the government boarding school in Fort Totten. The boy looked like somebody. Thomas stared at the spike-haired boy until he turned back into a motor. "I need to soak my head," said Thomas. He slipped into the bathroom. Ducked his head under the cold water tap and washed his face. Then punched his time card for his second round.

From the book "The Night Watchman" by Louise Erdrich. Copyright ©2020 by Louise Erdrich. Reprinted courtesy of Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.