“Just one more. Please?” He clasped his hands and blinked his large doe brown eyes.

Karol looked at Pete, plumped in his pillows. His headboard bookcase was already neatly packed full of books. Horizontal stacks rose from the top shelf. Multi-coloured stripes of green, brown, red, black, blue.

“Ya so.”

He squealed, and jumped out of bed. Grabbing an inches thick leather bound The Sherlock Holmes Collection. Leaning on Karol for balance, he placed it carefully at the top of the tallest stack. There was no room for another book without scraping the beige popcorn ceiling.

That night, the earthquake hit. Rattling and swaying the apartment as if a jet had skimmed the roof.

Karol heard dishes breaking in the kitchen, and a loud thump. They wandered into Pete’s room.

He lay silent and motionless in bed. Sherlock had tumbled, denting Pete’s left temple like the crumpled in corner of a poorly handled shipping box.

The family curse had struck again.

Karol shrugged. “Told ya so.”

They wandered out of the room. Scratching at the metal plate in their skull from The Big One of ’26.