Dalia held her hand up as though for silence. She imagined that instead of a basement she was in the general assembly hall of the UN, calling all nations to silence before she gave the final word on an issue of earth-shattering importance. The dry pop-pop-pop of Chuck’s guns outside, in the backyard punctuated the dull and dreamy silence. Dalia had many things to say, but at this moment, with the gunfire, and with her mind running circles about so many things…she enjoyed the feeling of commanding people’s attention, and again rehearsed the gesture, the dispassionate stare, the pursing of her lips. She was supposed to finish a chapter from Dracula but instead, retreating into her cubby with her reading light she reread the worn and yellowed pages of a book from her favourite series, From Thin Air.