The front door shut with a soft click, and Dana Petersen didn’t even turn from stirring the vegetables, “Take your shoes off Ali.” She heard the thud of her daughter’s shoes hitting the mat, and then the thud of someone else’s following suit. The sound made Dana put down the spoon, and move to the open doorway. Catalina froze in mid step, her hand wrapped tightly around the hand of a little boy that Dana had never seen before. He was shivering, and clearly hadn’t eaten well in a while, as even under the mud streaking his face she could see how gaunt he was. “Who are you?” she asked, bending so that she could make eye contact with the little boy.
“He’s my friend,” Catalina piped up before he could speak.
“Harvey Fyre,” the little boy mumbled in a low voice, his gaze fixed on his hand, that was linked with Catalina’s.
“Where are your mum and dad?”
“Mummy, that’s not a nice thing to ask,” Catalina admonished, as she squeezed Harvey’s hand comfortingly “It makes him sad,”
Dana straightened up, used enough to Catalina’s ability to tell how others were feeling to make no comment, “Dinner will be ready in ten minutes. Why don’t you take Harvey upstairs, so both of you can clean up a little?”
“Okay.” Catalina tightened her grasp on Harvey’s hand, as the two children went upstairs. The little boy was propelled along by her daughter in the wake of Catalina’s habitual energetic stride.
Copyright Emily Morris 2018