He was lying.
That man with the moonlight eyes was lying. His mom hadn’t just abandoned him. She was probably worried sick, looking for him right now. She had told him not to go too far, had said that she would be keeping an eye on him from where she laid on her towel… She must not have noticed him wandering away…
She was going to be so mad at him…
Sniffling, Malik wiped his nose with the back
of his hand. He had finally cried himself out. His mind felt foggy and numb. Despite how worried and afraid
he undoubtedly still was, he had no energy left for forceful emotion.
Malik shuddered and pulled his knees to his chest, making the heavy chain secured around his ankle slide along the floor. The metal of the cuff bit into his skin, hard and frigid.
This basement was scary. Suffocating. Cold.
At least the light was still on.
Slowly, Malik curled onto his side. He wrapped his arms around his legs as tightly as he could, folding into himself for warmth. He was terrified, but he could hardly do more than shiver after sobbing so hard for so long. The barest trickle of tears continued to pool in the corners of his eyes. He didn’t have the strength left in him to even wipe them away.
Malik wondered, his mind drifting further into a daze of lightheaded exhaustion, if it was cold enough for his tears to freeze. He could envision
them perfectly, how little frozen droplets stuck to his eyelashes might look. Crystal
balls clinging to spindly black lines…Curved, dark smiles, weeping diamonds…
They would probably be so pretty…