Stale air rushed at her face. Striped wallpaper covered the walls, curling near the edges. The entryway opened into a small room with the same wallpaper, gray furniture sitting under a dismal light bulb that illuminated the ruddy carpet. She exchanged the small brown bag that she had been carrying for a larger rectangular suitcase. Pinned to the case was a name card with a special chip for identification that she had received a year ago, as officials made sure that all fourteen-year-olds did. Printed in formal letters, the name was written with her surname first, so that it read Easom, Edie.
On one wall was a mirror that sat above a wooden shelf, which Edie Easom squinted at as she attempted to pull back her hair. Even if she had no choice, and nor did the rest of those who were her own age, she felt optimistic. She had to; there was nothing left. To dwell on anguish, she thought, was simply worthless.
Edie ran a finger along the curved glass of a jar filled with ashes. Graveyards were rare because the people needed as much space as they could have, so that all but the richest citizens were cremated. It had been a year and by now, she could look at the gray-filled jar without crying, but she had never had the heart to scatter them anywhere.
Finally, she turned away from the mirror and the jar, from the drab and depressing room, turned off the light and picked up her luggage.
Her hand resting on the doorknob, the air from outside blowing her hair so that it tickled the nape of her neck, the sounds from outside growing louder and louder and louder, she glanced back once more.
“Goodbye, daddy,” Edie whispered to the ashes and to the darkened room. As she wiped a tear from her face, it only grew wetter from the blood of her scraped hand. The door closed with a creak.
Hurriedly, Edie through the suitcase across the gap in the stairs and jumped over it again, this time managing not to scar her fingers. Before she pulled herself onto the landing, she dangled from the edge, and when she looked down, she saw that the shiny buses were already lining up to collect the ones from her neighborhood.
She pulled herself onto the landing and brushed herself off. Running down the steps, she slipped more than once on the melting snow.
She jumped down the last three steps, landing awkwardly on her ankle, quickly standing and not caring to brush herself off but checking to see if she still had her card pinned to her shirt.
The closest bus was a silvery color and glittered like a new knife, like the knives at the market that she used to fillet the fish. An officer stood next to each one, usually looking bored. One was getting ready to close the doors the doors to the closest bus when Edie came bustling up.
“C—” Before he could finish the word, Edie handed him her identity card. The officer scanned it, and she was allowed to move on after the scanner beeped, verifying the validity of the identity card.
She pinned it back on her shirt, quickly hopped up the steps, and grabbed the nearest rail to hold on to, since the seats were all full. The bus was crowded and noisy, just like everywhere else. The doors closed and the bus lurched forward.
“Your card’s upside down,” said a girl with light blonde hair.
“Your card,” she repeated, nodding at Edie’s identification card.
|Imagination||as every character|