Sila smiled as she clicked the flag button. She sank lower into the brown
checkered couch, her jeans brushing her legs and her green shirt ruffling
across her chest.
“Finally!” she cried. “I finished!”
“Sila?” A voice called from the kitchen behind her. “Did you finish?”
“Yes! All six games.”
“Oh, good.” A man walked into the room, a small goatee and a thin
mustache under his nose. Bright blue eyes were placed finely above his lean
nose. He wore a black suit with a red tie.
“Hey Josh. Did you just come back from court?” Sila asked, looking back
to her computer.
“Please don’t call me by my first name; I am your father. Yes. Our case
is going horribly, three recesses in two hours! Plus, I don’t think the jury is
on our side.” He shook his head. “You’d think they’d take pity on her.”
“What’s the case again?” She asked, exiting out of her game.
“Sila, you know I can’t talk about it. As a lawyer, I can’t speak about
this case until it’s finished. That may not even be for a week or two more.
Would you like a soda?” He grabbed a can out of the fridge.
“Yeah. Lemon-lime, if you please.” She got up as he threw her a can. She caught it with ease. She opened it and took a long drink. As she set it down on the table, a knock at the door startled her, almost spilling the drink.
“I’ll get it.” She announced and ran from the room toward the front door.
When she opened it, a man with a lab coat, briefcase, and a hat was leaning
against the wall. He quickly straightened and tried to look as formal as
“Ah, hello. My name is Brad Shair. May I speak to your father?”
Sila looks at him curiously. “Um, I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.”
“Shair!” Josh appeared in the doorway behind Sila. “Please, do come in.”
He stepped aside, gently pulling Sila out of the way. The man called Shair
nodded and stepped in after he wiped his shoes. He took off his sodden hat and
looked around awkwardly.
“May I take your things?” Sila asked, trying to be polite but also
wanting to break the silence.
“Why thank you.” He said, handing his case and hat to her. She took it
and almost dropped the briefcase under the weight. He had a strange look in his
eyes. Almost like warning her of something. “We have much to discuss when you
get back, Sila.” He smiled an odd, curious smile.
She hurried to the back laundry room and hung his hat on a hook. She
wondered if she should leave the briefcase, and thought otherwise. She lumbered
into the living room and found Shair and Josh in a deep discussion. Shair
looked up and smiled.
“I didn’t know if you wanted your briefcase.” Sila explained as she set
it down by his feet.
“Hm.” He eyed her curiously. “How did you get that assumption?”
Sila thought for a moment, and then remembered. “There was something in
your eyes. It looked like you were telling me not to do something, just as you
handed me your case.”
He smiled as if he had accomplished something huge. “Yes. You read my
face, thought my thoughts. That can help you with the competition.”
“What competition?” Sila asked, bewildered. She glanced over to Josh, his
face twisted with guilt.
“Sila.” He said. “I signed you up for a competition. It was for that game
you’ve been playing on the computer. It’s to help see how the brain functions. The
winner gets a full scholarship for college and a cash reward. I thought you’d
enjoy it, but we weren’t to tell you until you completed the six games, all in
“So, when does this competition take place, then?” Sila asked, slightly
sheepish. Shair smiled.
“Well, why don’t you sit down and we’ll talk about it?”