It was Saturday. Lucy was on her lunch break at the day-care center. To her great surprise, Lee Smith had come over to visit, with a shipping envelope under her arm.
“I found some marijuana and paraphernalia in William’s room, so I searched Lachlan’s room while I was at it,” she said.
“Seriously? You think Lock’s—”
“No. I just… the point is, I found this in the bottom of his closet where the portal used to be.” She took a sketchbook out. “What d’you make of it?”
Lucy leafed dispassionately through the sketchbook. As unpleasant as the subject matter was, the drawings were obviously the product of talent and practice.
“Does Locksmith do a lot of drawing?”
“Not since he was little.”
“Well, then, he couldn’t possibly have done any of this himself. I’m guessing these are by that friend of his back in Georgia.”
“That’s what the note said.”
“What — oh, this.” Lucy pulled out the note and read it.
“Hmm… ‘stay out of my stuff, Mom’… I think he’s trying to tell you something.”
Mrs. Smith laughed. “I know, I know. I’m overbearing, I’m smothering… I can’t help it. This is how I am. And Lachlan is almost the perfect son, if only he weren’t so…” She paused. “I don’t know. Withdrawn?”
“Nobody’s perfect, but I’m quite sure there’s nothing wrong with him that you can fix by rummaging around in his room.” Lucy sighed. “Can I be honest with you?”
“What he needs is to get out of the house, and either make more friends his own age or do something useful. Both, if possible.”
“Something useful… that pilot with the Tarnhelm family is interested in teaching him how to fly an ultralight. I’m not sure I like the idea. It sounds dangerous.”
“Well, I know nothing about any kind of piloting, but if she thinks he can do it… knowing him, she’s probably right.”
“She says it’s safer than most of the things he’s been doing lately, which is not as comforting to hear as she thinks. I hate the thought of putting him in more—”
“Hold that thought.” Lucy turned toward the doorway, where a boy of about four was standing.
“What is it, Colt?”
“Danita and Mikayla are fwowing up.”
“I’m on my way.” She got a roll of paper towels out of the cupboard, then turned to Mrs. Smith.
“I understand the last thing you want is another hero in the family,” said Lucy, “but that’s what you’re stuck with, and one way or another he’s going to find an outlet for it. You’ll have to excuse me now — I have vomit in stereo to deal with.”