From Within a Cardboard Castle

From behind cardboard fortifications, Jacob looked out upon unfamiliar terrain. His fort was indeed mighty, from its refrigerator box watchtower to its spacious dryer box living quarters. The yard sloped away, a carpet of Summer grass. A stately two-story home lumbered behind him, a mysterious giant to be explored like the twenty before it he’d explored in his ten years of life.

The two girls had come into view twenty minutes earlier, jabbering as only girls could, as far as Jacob could tell. They weren’t related, four shades of skin tone difference told that much. About ten years worth of difference in wear and tear on the clothes filled in the rest.

Yet how they were with one another, practically as if two halves of the same person! They communicated in snippets of language and looks. All it took was a furtive glance in his direction, a shared trick of the eyes, and the giggling started anew. Perhaps, Jacob thought, the string bracelets explained it somehow, this strange thing called ‘friends’.

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