The story continues …
He Needs a Friend
By Laura McHale Holland
The social worker looks through the one-way glass at the boy on the other side. He was abandoned by his mother shortly after his father gunned down a dozen people on his way to a custody hearing. The boy stares at the puzzle, hands in his lap, while the social worker watches the brick wall behind the boy fall away.
Icy wind blasts in from a stark, frozen beach with only rocks and snowdrifts at the shore, bare saplings bending to the gusts, no birds on the wing, no footsteps approaching.
The social worker looks up a number on her cell phone. As she places a call, the brick wall reappears. “Hello? This is Ms. Maples from social services. … I’m good. How are you? … No, Chloe is doing just fine; the family wants to leave the past behind. … That was a surprise, wasn’t it: her own grandfather wanting her and Carly killed. … Are you still working as a chauffeur? … Good, good. … Well, there’s a boy here, and his eyes, I can’t explain it, but they’re just like Chloe’s. … He needs a friend … Why not come and meet him? … You could join the Big Brother program … No commitment, just a meeting. … Okay then, see you tomorrow.”
She turns off her phone, puts it on her desk and then enters the observation room. She kneels beside the slumping boy and tells him she has good news. He stares at the puzzle, lips quivering, and hopes she’ll go away soon.
All of the episodes in this series in the order in which they were posted follow: