Title: Less Than Three
Character/s: Merlin, Balinor, Hunith
Summary: The car engine coughed once, then caught; he heard the sound of beeping as the ancient vehicle was thrown into reverse. He could probably still catch it, if he were fast enough.
Warnings: Divorce and domestic arguments.
Word Count: 280 words.
Prompt: 300 Unkept Promises (Heartbreak Month #2)
Author's Notes: Sorry, Ona.
He heard the sound of raised voices from the top of the stairs—loud enough this time to drown out the music in his earphones, startling him from his mathematics homework. Pausing the track, Merlin listened. His mother’s voice, and then his father’s, the booming baritone filling the house like angry thunder; there was a crash, the slamming of a door and rapid footsteps. Then silence.
The car was starting up outside by the time Merlin made it to the bottom of the staircase, and when he started for the door he was waylaid by Hunith. There were tears in her eyes.
“I’m afraid he’s gone, cariad,” she said, stepping between Merlin and the open doorway. The car engine coughed once, then caught; he heard the sound of beeping as the ancient vehicle was thrown into reverse. He could probably still catch it, if he were fast enough. “It’s over.”
“What are you talking about?” Merlin stepped around her, but she caught his arm, forcing him to face her.
“We’re getting a divorce,” she said, her voice wavering a little on the final word. “Your father’s gone to find himself a hotel. He won’t be coming back.”
Merlin stopped still in his tracks, the kick of his heart turning thick in his throat. “He promised,” he said, aware even as he did so that words were futile. They’d made the decision already; he could see it in his mother’s face. “Let go of me!”
He was out the door in time to see his father’s car disappear around a bend in the road, exhaust fumes rising in the chill autumn air. Shouts wouldn’t reach him now.
He didn’t look back.