Jon was ten years old. He was probably strong enough. He could beat up Kevin if he wanted to. He just didnít want to yet. He didnít really need friends. They would probably be doing something else when he wanted to go outside anyway. He guessed he had everything he needed and usually did not ask anyone for anything.
Jon liked talking about his room, even though not many people seemed interested. He had started off with only one tunnel from his room to the backyard. He thought it was important that he be able to escape if he needed to. You never know when you might need to get away from your mother or sisters.
The second tunnel was to the kitchen. You could get hungry if you spent a lot of time in your room as he often did. This tunnel was a little more complicated than his escape tunnel. To escape, all you had to do was slide down, so a smooth inside was fine. But there was not much point sneaking down to the kitchen through your tunnel if you couldnít get back upstairs unseen. This tunnel had to have grooves all around the inside and be rubber coated so you could get a grip and climb back up without slipping.
Hew did not really need tunnels to the bathroom and living room since everybody in the family went to both rooms whenever they wanted and nobody said anything when he went to either room. But as long as he had tunnels to some places, he might as well have them to the other places he went. And besides, he could then go wherever he wanted in the house without anyone knowing. He did not yet have a tunnel to the cellar. But he was not sure he wanted to go to the cellar anyway, at least not by himself.
His first robot did not do much. He had to use a control to make it go around the room. He liked it better when the robot was fixed so it would go where he wanted it to just by his thinking about it. He like it even better when he had special robots. He had one which would go down the kitchen tunnel and bring back a peanut better and jelly sandwich and a glass of milk without spilling it. Another robot would pick up his dirty clothes and take them to the hamper. One could clean the floor, taking the dirt into its feet and then dumping it out the window through its mouth. That was pretty neat. He had one that would play video games with him and another that could play chess. He was just learning to play chess but the robot would not help him. So far he had lost every game.
His father was willing to take off a whole day from work any time Jon wanted and he would let him stay home from school so they could work on robots together. The next time they would fix that last robot so it would teach him to play chess better rather than beating him all the time.
One night he knew he had to get out of his room. His feet felt very heavy and he was just able to reach his escape tunnel before anything bad happened. When he slid out the bottom he was surprise to see that it was daylight, probably afternoon. He did not remember there being such a large field behind his house with golden hay or wheat (he was never sure which was which) rustling gently in the b breeze.
He knew he should walk to the middle of the field. Sure enough, the hole he was somehow expecting waited there with a wooden ladder sticking up about two feet in the air. Without any invitation, he backed down the ladder one step at a time.
He finally reached the bottom but it was difficult to see much in the dark. He saw a wooden table with a checkerboard tablecloth set for tea with a silver service and a plate of chocolate chip cookies. It was hard to make out the faces of the couple already seated at the table. As he sat down in the one empty chair, he could tell that they were both quite old and had wrinkled skin. They looked a little like Mr. And Mrs. Slater but he could not tell for sure.
The woman poured the tea which Jon drank to be polite. He did not usually drink tea unless he was sick. He would have preferred cocoa. The cookies were not bad though.
As his eyes grew used to the dim candlelight, he could make out three holes in the walls which looked like they might be carved out of the dirt. He thought he saw a white Persian cat disappear into one hole. In another he saw what looked like red beady eyes and long whiskers which might have belonged to a very large rat. He could see nothing in the third hole.
Looking back at the table he could see that the candle was about to go out. He began to panic and knew he had to get out fast. He dove for the third hole, hoping that the old people also had an escape tunnel. He was lucky to find himself of the floor next to his bed.
Jon also sometimes talked about his favorite activity outside of his house. They were building a new set of houses a few blocks over. The workman would go home at night and then he could play there. You had to find a house at just the right stage of being built. If you waited too long they would have already put in the cellar stairs. It was just right after the concrete blocks for the cellar and foundation were laid but before any wood was added.
At just the right time, you could keep people in the clear so they could not get out. You could make them take their clothes off and it would be up to you whether they could keep their underwear on. You could probably keep as many as ten people at a time in the cellar. I f you had any more, you would need extra guards because the people could help each other get out. Even then, if they did help each other, you could shoot them in the arm or leg if you had a gun so they could not climb any more.
Jonís therapist said they did not have time to talk any more today. He said he wanted to have Jonís mother come in with him next time to see what she thought of all he had said about his house. He also said that if Jonís father could get a pass from prison for a home visit, he would like to have him come in too. In the mean time, he wanted to show Jon some pictures to see what they looked like to him. Jon could just use his imagination an there were no right or wrong answers.