No Problem

Tina tapped on the door.

What are you doing?” Rey hissed. His accent got stronger when he was scared. Tina thought it was cute, but she figured she’d tell him later. Maybe.

“I want to see if anyone’s in there.” She tapped again.

“But if they hear us-”

“They won’t.” Leah shook her head, braids slapping against her cheeks. “Their auditory system don’t work like ours. Ours works by transduction of sound into electrochemical impulses, but theirs-”

The other two nine-year-olds stared at her.

“They don’t hear like we do. They kinda hear with smell. That’s why the bug spray.”

Rey and Tina nodded, but they didn’t really get it. Leah was going to be an ear-doctor after the War, but that meant she had to have gone to medical school, and that meant there wasn’t as much Time in her head.

Tina tapped again. Rey still wasn’t sure what she was doing. Maybe after the War she would have learned how to hear if someone was in a room by tapping a door, but Rey thought maybe that was BS. She seemed pretty sure, though. She nodded back at Rey. “No one there. Open it.”

Rey pulled a slim, black case from his pocket and started pulling out lockpicks, but then he saw the keyhole. It wasn’t a keyhole. It was a trap. It had an electronic lock, rigged to look like a mechanical. He knew how it worked, more or less, but…

“I can’t pick this,” he said. “I didn’t…won’t…learn how.”

Tina checked her watch. “We’re almost out of time, Rey-Rey.”

Only his mom still called him ‘Rey-Rey.’ He wondered if that would still be true when he learned to pick locks. He wondered if his mom lived through the War. Checking on people in the future was super Against the Rules, but everyone did it sometimes.

“OK,” he said. “Just watch out for me.” He closed his eyes.

…the color of the wire doesn’t matter…
…always know what the wire leads to…
…grounding…
…back before the War we used to…
…remember how Mom was..

His eyes snapped open. Tina was squeezing his hand. “Rey. Reynaldo.”

Sí. Yo puedo hacerlo.

“Huh?” Tina saw tears in his eyes. He saw something. He looked at the Future.

Leah stiffened. “Hey. I hear something.”

Rey ran his hand down the wall, then pulled a heavy steel pick from his pocket. “Here,” he said, and started digging out the wires.

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