>THE BOY WHO INVENTED ZERO

>We didn’t really worry about it until Rauf put his hand down on the bed and the blanket sort of broke, flaked off like bark. I let out a little yelp, like we had killed something, but mostly it was because I suddenly realised how old the room was. We were sugar high and had burst through warning tape and sealed up doors to get here, hormones splitting atoms somewhere beneath our skin.

This was where he slept, that was all I could think of, even as Rauf pressed his hand against my thigh. The bed groaned under our weight. The walls sang with history. This was where the thought first entered his head. The possibility, however small, that there was something summing up nothing at all.

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