Once firmly ensconced in the mausoleum, Zeke turned on his flashlight. They exhaled simultaneously. It wasn’t clear whether or not anyone had followed or seen them, but for now it seemed like they were safe. Lamarr was in the center of the dingy room, her cries having settled to a simmer. Maybe she sensed the dangers lurking nearby.
“That Lamarr?” Zeke asked. “I’d give her my coat, but it’s soaking wet.”
Zeke looked around, looking more alert than scared. “Hmm, there has to be something to wrap her up in…”
Tommy looked around without responding. The walls were composed of a dozen or so slots each, looking about as grimy as you could imagine. Remains were obviously in them, but Tommy was more concerned about Lamarr crystallizing this memory rather himself being traumatized. He wanted her to forget tonight if it was at all possible.
Tommy suddenly had the idea to take his coat off, and wrap her up in his mostly dry shirt. He did so very quickly, surprised at how automatic the action was.
“Hey, don’t worry about anything, you’re safe. We’ll both protect you,” Tommy said. Lamarr cooed a bit.
“You’re going to get sick wearing that wet coat. You’d probably be better off without it on,” Zeke suggested, but Tommy just shrugged. Lamarr was his primary concern at the moment.
“Hey, look. I knew if I told you the man you know as Milton was my adoptive father, you wouldn’t trust me. But our goals are the same. Well, maybe a little different, but I don’t want to see Zhang or my father as president. You have to know that!”
Tommy decided not to respond to that. He knew Zeke didn’t mean him harm, but forgiving him right away just seemed stupid.
“If your dad emancipates you, where will you go?”
“I dunno. A friend’s maybe.”
Zeke looked hopeful and Tommy just nodded.
A cacophony of voices came from just outside the mausoleum. Lamarr started to blubber in protest. Zeke and Tommy readied their crowbars, assuming the worst.