Small Secret

Author : Jules Jensen

“John. What is that sound?”

There was a moment of tension as John’s mother, still wearing her hospital scrubs, sat at the head of the table. John heard the noises. Little high-pitched squeals and miniature explosions, muffled but obviously coming from his bedroom upstairs.

“My videogame. I forgot to hit the pause button.” John said quickly, his ten-year-old brain coming up with the most plausible excuse it could.

“Go do that now, please. That sound is positively disturbing.” His mother gave him that look that he knew meant she was trying to be nice but she’d had a long day and she wouldn’t tolerate anything that could give her a headache.

John made sure that he calmly stood up from his chair, and that it didn’t screech across the floor.

As soon as he was out of the dining room, he raced up the stairs. He flung his door open and glared at the little ships zooming around.

“No racing when we’re trying to eat supper!” He addressed the toy-sized alien warships hovering in his room with an angry whisper-shout. The two ships lowered to the floor slowly, with a motion reminiscent of a sad puppy that just got told it could never have its favourite ball again. John pointed an angry finger at them, not aware that he looked exactly like his mother when she was laying down the law. “You can be as loud as you want when my mom’s at work, but when she’s home you have to be quiet!”

The two ships powered down. John sighed and closed his door, then slowly went back downstairs.

“Come to think of it, I don’t remember buying you a game with so much explosions.” His mother said thoughtfully when he sat back down.

“I borrowed it from a kid at school.” Another rapid-fire lie, one that was actually half-truth. His friend Jacob had given him a little box with the aliens and their ships in it, saying he found it in some antique store. Jacob seemed all too eager to pawn off what he claimed was the coolest thing in the world, and John was starting to understand why. It was hassle keeping such a big secret from his mom. “I’ll return it tomorrow. It’s not as fun as I thought it’d be, anyway.”

His mom nodded approval, and then they ate supper, amicably talking about mundane things such as school and work.

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