He biked hard. The fatigue of effort was ever so gently catching up to him, but he pedaled on. It was a race, see, and he could not let his sister win. He never could, and, much to his chagrin, she usually would.

Smiling, she shouted “catch” as she used her phone to remotely put a song into his headphones. Then, the race was on. Through neighborhoods, over hills, across distances. Through the years.

The race was always on. No matter who won.

Hopeful sign

The wall was more of a fence, a barrier of corrugated iron meant as much to keep people out as to prevent their gazes looking in. The run-down buildings within the rough rectangle of iron seemed to have survived at least three economic crashes, if only in an architectural sense. A length of barbed wire ran along the perimeter, like so many knots of prayer that there might one day be a need for all of that. Something to protect within.

On the outside of the wall, someone had spraypainted in large, bold letters: