Some days later Bruno was lying on the bed in his room, staring at the ceiling above his head. The white paint was cracked and peeling away from itself in a most unpleasant manner, unlike the paintwork in the house in Berlin, which was never chipped and received an annual top-up every summer when Mother brought the decorators in. On this particular afternoon he lay there and stared at the spidery cracks, narrowing his eyes to consider what might lie behind them. He imagined that there were insects living in the spaces between the paint and the ceiling itself which were pushing it out, cracking it wide, opening it up, trying to create a gap so that they could squeeze through and look for a window where they might make their escape. Nothing, thought Bruno, not even the insects, would ever choose to stay at Out- With.
'Everything here is horrible,' he said out loud, even though there was no one present to hear him, but somehow it made him feel better to hear the words stated anyway. 'I hate this house, I hate my room and I even hate the paintwork. I hate it all. Absolutely everything.'