Wednesday, 14 October 2009 - 8:41 pm


Yesterday, I forgot about Jonah. All caught up in my own determination, I didn’t give a single thought to the chain lashed to my leg.

When I cheerfully went to head to the admin building after the rain, he planted himself in front of me and asked where I was going. I gaped at him like a guppy and told the truth on reflex – I was going to see the General.

“He doesn’t see anyone this late,” the cutout said with an edge to his voice that wanted to end the conversation right there.

“Not even if it’s an emergency?”

“Except if it’s an emergency. Is it?”

I didn’t think I could pull off a convincing lie, so I didn’t try. I couldn’t think of anything suitably emergency-like to use beyond ‘we’re almost out of bandages’.

“I just really need to talk to him. It’s important,” I said.

Jonah was unmoved. “You have to return to the dorm now.”

I thought about asking if I could visit Matt instead, but that would have flown as well as a crumpled paper aeroplane, so I didn’t bother. Back to the dorm with me it was.


Today, Jonah was watching me much closer than usual. If it wasn’t his eyes making the back of my neck prickle, it was nurse Peter’s. I don’t know if it was coincidence or if they’re double-teaming me, but it was annoying. Every time I looked around, one of them was there.

Dad swung by for dinner and that gave me some relief. He’s still allowed to do that, despite my close cutout monitor. When I asked him how he was able to come, he just shrugged and said they had no reason to keep him away. And why shouldn’t he be allowed to see his daughter? Someone has to try to keep me in line.

Like they’re not already trying. I didn’t mention that; he knows well enough already. But maybe his visits are a reason for my relatively mild punishment.

I asked him about the Converter. What it’s supposed to do, how it’s supposed to work. He shrugged and said he didn’t know; it was a different mechanical team and they didn’t share that kind of information. But his expression gave something away – it clamped down the way it did when he didn’t want to talk about something. He was holding back something he didn’t want me to know. He used to look like that when I mentioned my mother in the months after she left us.

I never pressed him about my mother. He was hurt so badly when she left and I didn’t feel like I should pry. It was between the two of them and that’s where he wanted it to stay. I tried to respect that.

But this is bigger than us and I’m a different girl. If my mother came up in conversation now, I’d probably press him about that, too, because we might not have time to get to it later. So I didn’t let him get away with claiming ignorance; he knew something and I wanted to know what it was.

“It’s nothing, Faithy,” is all he said.

It’s not like Dad to refuse me like that, even if he did it with a note of sadness. Normally he would give in when he saw that I was determined about something. When he wouldn’t do that this time, I got upset and gave up. I had to bite my tongue against saying something we’d both regret; instead, an awkward silence descended. I wasn’t sure what to say next and Dad isn’t the most verbose person in the whole world, so we finished our dinners in silence.

What kind of secret would he hold back like that? From me? It must be important for him to keep it to himself. It makes a trickle of fear sneak up my spine – what would be so big, or so bad? Maybe he just doesn’t know what I can handle these days.

Besides, he’s not the only one who knows; I’ll just have to get it out of the General. As soon as I figure out how to get to him.