At Night


The word is ‘Fragile.’

A Little More Trust universe, Colfax is about 12.

Reading time: <5 minutes

Are you scared, little brother?

The teasing voice from earlier that day echoed in the dark and Colfax shuddered. No, I’m not! he’d told her then. They were just learning to climb to great heights. That was nothing. All viri had to learn so they could fend for themselves. Colfax wasn’t afraid of learning what he had to, no matter what kind of reactions Gwen tried to get out of him.

If she could see him now, he imagined, she’d tease him some more. Luckily she was a heavy sleeper.

Normally, Colfax was, too. The reason for his being awake crescendoed once more, the sound of a loud voice above and to the side like an imminent thunderstorm. They’d been arguing for at least an hour now.

When Colfax was a younger child and he and his equally precocious sister were learning the most important lessons, he had seen the room the humans were in now. His father had taken them up to watch the room from beneath a cabinet while he explained to them in hushed words why it was dangerous. Going out in the open was only for supply runs and only when the humans were gone.

They’d gotten stuck under the cabinet for a time. While they watched in silence, one of the humans came in and bustled around the room. Two glass figures had been knocked to the carpet with loud thumps. As they all watched, the enormous shoes stepped back in surprise and one heel landed on a figure. Colfax committed the sound of that figurine shattering to memory. In an errant moment, it was little more than a pile of sharp dust to the human. It was too small.

Too fragile. We are that fragile, he had noted to himself.

Now, Colfax and Gwen were nearly teenagers, and he didn’t think he ought to entertain such silly thoughts. The humans had their world and he had his. It was what it was and there was no changing it.

Nights like this were hard to remember that. The humans argued and the power in just their voices recalled the sight of a giant heel lowering slowly onto a helpless glass figure. Eliminating its existence, just like that. Colfax shuddered again.

I’m not afraid, he told himself again as he turned over in bed. He stared blankly and flinched with every raised voice. To ease his worries and allow himself sleep, Colfax buried the thoughts he didn’t know how to cope with even deeper than last time.

He didn’t sleep until they took their fight to a different room.

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