Raven picked up his wrench off the floor and wound it back and forth as he tightened a final bolt on his slingshot. The first one could only throw pebbles, and the second couldn’t throw much farther, and so this was Mark 3. He was trying more than one sling, too.
He jumped at the sound of the door slamming. Sam’s footsteps pounded their way up the stairs, past his room and into her own. Raven crawled to the door and peeked down the hallway.
He couldn’t see much, but he saw a shadow of Sam dragging a chair across the floor and standing on it. The fiddling of a leather sheath and something wooden clanked its way against the walls and into Raven’s ears. He rolled away from the crack and hid behind the door as Sam’s footsteps thundered back down the hall and faded down the stairs.
Raven breathed a sigh of relief. Sam was getting angrier all the time, it seemed, and even though it had only started yesterday, it felt like months. He picked up his slingshot and sat at his desk, watching out the window as Sam attacked her nearly destroyed target. The sound of arrows striking it became a beat, a beat to a tune that only she could hear. It probably was, he thought. She’d started taking her phone with her everywhere, like a pet, and jamming the sound buds in her ears every chance she got. The look that would glaze over her eyes when she did was ominous, and he could hear the rock-and-roll music blaring from across the room. He knew well to avoid her when she listened to those songs.
Raven’s frustration pulsed harder in his veins, mirrored by the heartache in his bones. What was happening to Sam? Holding back tears, he grabbed some rocks off the window sill and loaded them in the slings. He swiveled quickly in his chair and fired at the target on the other side of the room.
A pair of deep marks appeared side by side in the bull’s eye.
The beat from outside changed to double-time as Sam exchanged bow for sword. Without fully understanding why, Raven threw his slingshot on the floor and pulled his knees to his chest, sobbing and rocking back and forth in his seat. His parents wouldn’t notice. Dad was away, fixing a light transmitter, and Mom wouldn’t be back from the assembly until eight.
He’d have to survive Sam until then.
Only nine hours to go.
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