The Illusion of Security
The doorknob squeaked and turned slowly. The voices became louder. A head peeked in. “Rane?” he said. The little boy came in.
“Yo,” I said back. He came and sat at the corner of my bed. He held out a worksheet at me.
“I don’t know question four.”
I looked at the paper. He forgot to close the door, so the screaming was drowning him out too. I gave him the paper back. “Your denominator should be five. Close the door when you leave.”
He took the paper but kept sitting there, kicking his heels against the leg of the bed. I glared at him even though I was not angry. “Do you think they’ll stop?” he said.
Mummy was shouting and crying at the same time. Papa was quiet now. His voice low and dangerous. “I think there won’t be a family picnic tomorrow.”
“Can’t we go without them?” he asked, staring up at the whitewashed ceiling with its glow-in-the-dark star stickers.
“Yeah,” I replied, “We can.”
“Can we ride the bicycles?” he kicked against the bed harder.
“Yeah. We can.”