Birds of Africa

Pete sees things. He doesn’t want to tell anyone, but it’s true. Once he put his seat belt on just before someone rear-ended his father’s car. Another time, at Coney Island, he refused to go on a ride with his friends, even though he’d been going on roller coasters all day, and this one was tame by comparison. Still, he refused. His friends called him a sissy, but a week later two children were crushed on that ride.

He sees other things too. Things that are even more disturbing. He sees that his mother doesn’t like him. Maybe she loves him in her own way, whatever that is, but she doesn’t like him. She looks at him and wonders how she got such a son. What did she do to deserve this? He gazes into her soul and finds a piece of smoldering coal.

Pete is thinking about this as he’s breaking into the Mortons’ house. The Mortons live next door, but he’s never broken into their home before. Normally he stays away from his block. He prefers neighborhoods where he won’t be recognized. But there’s a first time for everything.

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