daily – 41

I jerk back around the door frame and practically fall headlong down the stairs, barely righting myself with the post at the bottom. My brain’s grinding through possibilities and questions. I have to get back up there and find out what’s going on.

I fumble with the clunky hardkey. “Hold on,” I wheeze. “Come on…” Finally shoving it into place, I wrestle it around and hear the heavy clack and thunk of the Housing Authority Safety Code mandatory, old-fashioned internal gears. Somehow, the awkward, foreign sound makes me feel a bit better.

“Hurry up. Come on!” Sweeping Patrick into the house with a hug that he doesn’t fight, I find myself scanning the street over his shoulder. “Okay, you’re fine.” Except I kick the door harder than I intended and it slams closed, swinging completely free of any system restraint or airseal cushion.

Patrick pulls away, looking confused, though the fear is creeping back in

“It’s okay,” I say quickly, looking upstairs then back at him. “Um, did you eat?” I aim him toward the kitchen. “Have a snack or something. Oh, make me a salad, would you? I have to check on…something. I’ll be right back.” He’s just watching me. Think faster. “I’ve got a big project, and the office is reconfiguring my system so that’s probably what’s…”

I’m lying to him, now?

The thought makes me sink in place. I take a deep breath and look at him. He’s a good kid. He’s smart. He’s young, but he’s still far older than I was at his age.

Be honest. Be his father.

“I’m being hacked.”


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