EighteenMature

“He... went... to... market.”

“Good!”

Tommy looked up at her. Shahrazad had been working with him on his reading and writing every day since their visit from Mazin, in an attempt to keep him occupied. He seemed to pick up almost all of what she was saying when she chatted away to him and he had made remarkable progress with his speaking; his vocabulary was multiplying by the day. But now Tommy’s enthusiasm was all but gone.

“Go on... what does the next bit say?”

But Tommy just glanced for the thousandth time over at the door and said “I go out now?”

“No, Tommy, I’ve told you. You can’t go out anymore. You’ve got to stay inside with me. Look, we don’t have to do any more reading. Do you want to do some drawing?”

Tommy nodded sulkily and pulled a blank piece of paper and a pencil towards him. Shahrazad sighed and went into the pantry to find something to cook for dinner. She was rummaging around on her shelves when she heard the door being unbolted and opened.

Scattering vegetables, she ran back into the main room to see the door banging shut. When she reached it and wrenched it open, Tommy was nowhere to be seen, vanished into the hustle and bustle of the city. “Tommy!”

She sighed and went back inside. She could see how desperate Tommy had been for some fresh air, some freedom, and yet what could she do? How could she make him understand? It just wasn’t safe. The Adviser’s men could be anywhere, just waiting for him to show up. She’d just better hope he could blend into the crowd as well as he had whenever she’d tried to chase him.

The End

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