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“I like your drawings.”
Amelia looks up, confused, into the face of a little blond boy. “Thanks,” she says, and goes back to working. After a moment, she checks to see if he’s gone, and for some reason he isn’t. For some reason, she continues, “He’s the Doctor.”
The boy takes this as an invitation to step closer. Amelia would be annoyed, but he’s pointing at the Doctor’s torn pants, his crooked tie, the stuff no one else has really noticed before. “He looks a bit raggedy, doesn’t he?” he says.
Amelia meets this boy’s eyes, takes in his slight, worried smile, and smiles right back at him. “My raggedy Doctor,” she says, “I quite like that.”
“Get your ass out of bed!” Zane yelled as he passed Zeke’s door. He gave it a hard thump, as well, and he heard signs of life stirring in there. That was good enough. If Zeke didn’t get to school on time, their mom would not be able to blame Zane. He tried.
When Zane got into the kitchen, his toast was already sitting out, cold. It looked a little like the cat had chewed on it, too. So Dad was long gone by now. At least he hadn’t tried to get the milk out this time.
Zane ate the toast and poured himself a glass of milk. He was just finishing up when Zeke came running from the hall.
“God, what time is it?” Zeke asked, skidding to a stop only when he reached the table.
Zane waited until the table stopped shaking before he set down his glass and answered, “Eight thirty.”
“Shit.” Zeke ran a hand through his hair. “Did Mom take the printer?”
Zane looked around the room, saw no visible printer, and nodded. “You’re out of luck.” He stood up and gave his brother an unsympathetic pat on the shoulder. Ignoring the pitiful look he got in return, Zane scooped up his school bag and walked out the front door.
“Well, if it’s a door, then we can close it,” Zeke said, turning toward his brother. The sword on his hip shifted with him, an awkward reminder of how out of depth they were.
Zane straightened up and rolled his eyes. “It’s not a door, dumbass.” He pointed at the thing, the portal to what he guessed was their true home. “It’s a crack in reality. And last I checked, we don’t have any universe stuff lying around to fill it.”
“So it stays.”
“And Sir Idiot finally gets it. Good job.” Having communicated his point, Zane went back to examining the ground. After a moment, he found what he was looking for: hoofprints. From what he could tell, they led east, right down to the highway.
Zeke caught on as well. He grabbed onto Zane and pulled him along, following the trail.
Zeke’s light is still on, which isn’t surprising. He’s almost certainly playing video games or something equally stupid. Zane scoffs as he passes his twin’s door. When is Zeke going to realize that he can’t just sail through life? Being the “fun guy” isn’t a salable skill.
Zane creeps down the hall, intent on his goal of grabbing food. He, for one, is up this late studying. Just as he reaches the kitchen, though, he stumbles over something. “Die in a hole,” he mutters as he checks to see what it is. It’s one of Zeke’s goddamn toys, is what it is.
Zane is going to kill his brother, he has decided.
i can hearhersinging, even from back here. oh god what if she knowsi’mlistening what willido?
breathe. start by breathing. then closeyoureyes relax thinkhappythoughts.
in my thoughts it’sspringagain. she’s sitting with me, one hand on the table, tappingtapping her fingernails. the other one is holdingmyhand. we don’t care if it’swaytoohot to keep our handstogether. our sweat is our veryown badge of courage. courage to staytogether.
i can’t stay inmythoughts for long. her voice - herlovelyvoice - pulls me away from mymemories (fromourmemories). does she know? doessheknow i came to her performance? doessheknow i’m hiding in the bathroom because icannotdeal with seeing her? doessheknow i’m still listening likemylife depends on it? ordoesshethink i never came? that i never had anything torunaway from? that i’m just as willing toignoreher as sheis for me? can i reallybelievethat she is that naïve?
sosheknows. she has to know. what will she dowithit, that knowledge? nothing. i know that already. she will have nothing to do with me, ifshecanhelpit. she didn’t come to my games, so whyshouldshecare if i come to this?
thetruthis, she shouldn’t.
Thump thump thump thump.
It’s embarrassing, really, and I’m glad that, even if there were someone around me, no one can feel the rhythm my heart is beating. I mean, it isn’t even this enthusiastic about keeping me alive, while I’m running.
It cares more about you than about me.
Jesus Christ, it’s so scared. There’s no reason for it, no reason at all. Things couldn’t possible get worse, so I don’t know what it’s worried will happen. I swear, the worst would be it you ignored me, and that happens all the time. It’s nothing new, so it wouldn’t hurt my heart any more than it already has.
Thump thump thump thump.
It almost drowns out your response.
Nothing to worry about, just a vaguely accusatory sentence. Dreadfully anticlimactic, really.
I have accomplished nothing but an elevated heart rate.
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