Henry’s mum called him once - put him on speakerphone. Henry’s dad asked if he had ever watched ‘the Road.’
“I’ve read the book, it’s on top of the wardrobe in my old room.”
“With Viggo Mortenson?” Henry’s dad continued, not listening. “Things are going to turn into ‘the Road’ sooner than you think.” Then Henry’s dad, his mum and his brother discussed what the best method of escaping the city would be in the event of a total lockdown.
: I think he should walk along the train tracks, follow the line and we could come pick him up
: That’s a stupid idea, he’d be electrocuted
: Ah yes, I hadn’t thought of that.
: You know there’s a copy of the Road in my room?
I’d cycle obviously, Henry said, but no one was listening to the tinny little voice coming through his mum’s phone, which probably lay forgotten on the sofa next to them. It was during this period of crisis that Henry’s boss had to announce the closure of their shop. Living in a small one bed flat in the south of the city, Henry had just enough money to stay where he was a few months, but he knew that the small amount of savings he had amassed wouldn’t last long. That summer, unable to leave his flat, Henry would watch the news for hours on end, in front of his laptop which sat like another sullen consciousness in the room with him.
Then, his phone, which he had had since arriving in the city, stopped working. He tried to fix it but found that it was beyond repair. As he had no money, he could not buy a new one. He only ever used it to speak to his parents who usually called him, and he would make excuses or say he was busy and hang up. While it wasn’t important to him, it was to them. And at night Henry would dream of alternate worlds, but in the morning he would always wake, feverishly clutching after their tails.
He needed a new phone. Then he remembered the phone he had found.