Author : Damien Krsteski

He heard the stairs squeak. A jolt of adrenaline shot up his spine, tearing his hand off her plastic face.

“What are you doing, Edgar?” His mother’s voice was shrill and loathsome.

The basement suddenly got colder and turned twice as dark. He was kneeling before Evangeline, hands innocently stuffed in his pockets.

“I c-couldn’t sleep,” he stuttered.

She shifted her weight and the wooden stairs gave another painful squeak. Out of all the places in the world, why did she have to be here?

“You look me in the eyes when you speak to me,” she shrieked and descended several stairs.

Edgar turned to face his mother. She was wearing her shabby white nightgown and pink slippers, and was waving one finger menacingly at him.

He hated that fat ogre more then anything, but managed to suppress his fear and hatred for a moment and said, “Yes, mother.”

She grabbed him by the hand and was dragging him up the stairs. Edgar looked down morosely at his Evangeline.

“Good night, Eva,” he whispered.

His mother tugged at his hand. “Don’t you call it that,” she hissed through her teeth. “It’s a freakin’ robot for heaven’s sake. I don’t know why your father insists on keeping it. He is as stupid as you are. Throw it out like a broken radio, I say.”

She led him forcefully to his bedroom and slammed the door shut. He heard the rattling of the keys, then the lock turned.

Pale moonlight flooded the room as he quietly pulled his Solar System curtains apart. Even after fourteen years, he couldn’t quite get used to sleeping in complete darkness. His mother called it cowardly. May be so, he thought, and climbed under the sheets.

That night he didn’t really think about his mother. Or the yelling he would endure first thing in the morning. He didn’t think of school, or of the neighborhood bullies. For the first time in ages, he was asleep before his head hit the pillow.

Yes, Edgar Little was beyond any doubt, unequivocally and irrefutably, very much in love.

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