Breathing building to a feral pace, Thomas slid from his cot. Eyes darting back and forth in the dark, he shoved and contorted his pillow and sheet under the blanket to create a decoy. Surprised at a nimbleness he hardly remembered, he clambered up to the window sill where the bar was loose.
He knew it was loose. He’d fiddled with it while sitting up in the high window looking out on the sliver of the outside world visible over the reformatory wall. The week before all he’d wanted to do was bust out for one night to see ‘Big’ down at the theater three tantalizing blocks away.
The scraping noise created by freeing the bar prompted a whispered, “Thomas, are ye mad? Git down.”
“Shhh, Malcolm. The O’Reardon boys are cummin.”
“Shite, Thomas, not tonigh’. Not tonigh’, Thomas.”
“Be a good lad and hush now, Malcolm. Not tonigh’, and ne’er agin.”
His whispered now turned to hushed awe, Malcolm breathed, “Ye’ve gone mad.” Then after a pause in the dark dorm he murmured, “Bless yer crazy arse, Thomas.”