Chapter 9: The Edge

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Jack and I were eating the food I'd snitched from the kitchen (security there was greatly lacking) when the Kelpie pulled to a stop in front of what I assumed was the Edge's Horse Station. I looked down at my watch. We'd made good time. The whistle signaling our stop (as if the squealing brakes weren't enough indication) had barely sounded when I was out of my seat. Jack, however, tried to wait for the crowd to pass us by. I shook my head. Farm Boy. 

I yanked him to his feet and dragged him behind me through the throng, squeezing through what weren't exactly gaps and pushing people out of my way. I felt a measure of smug satisfaction knowing we were part of the first wave down to the cobbled walkway.

I didn't know much about the outside world, but had always heard that the boundary between Juxtaposition and the Farmlands was a mix of the two cultures. If anything that was here could serve as a judge of what I could expect in leaving my home, this was going to be a disaster. I saw a couple of old, junky Cars most people in Mainstream Juxtaposition wouldn't even deem worthy to sniff at, and a few crude vehicles (I supposed they could be called that) hooked up to... um... what could only be technology far more sophisticated than any of Mainstream Juxtaposition's. 

The machines walked with a fluid grace, without any of the jerks I associated with machine, and were covered in something like hair. Other than that, I guessed people walked. We passed a market, which I noted automatically, as it had plenty of food sitting out in the open. Finally, I turned to Jack. There were some things that needed to be discussed.

"Look. I know you want to go to the Eastern Mountains. You said you can't go back to The Farmlands, and you couldn't stay there, in Mainstream Juxtaposition." I took a bite of my apple. "So, what about here?"

Jack looked less than thrilled with the idea. "Well, it's just that-"

"Your mum was born here, wasn't she?" I asked, warming to the idea now.

"Exactly," Jack said quietly.

I looked at him. "That should make you want to stay here."

But Jack just shook his head, eyes pained and far away. "Mum lived here all her life until she met Dad, who had just left Mainstream Juxtaposition. I lived with them and Ana and Finley in the Farmlands."

"So?" I asked impatiently.

"So, they're all dead!"

"I know." I still didn't see his point.

He sighed and put a hand in his pocket. "I've only been here for five minutes and I already want to leave."

I thought of my haven, and how close I had felt to my family there. If I had had a choice, I would never have left.

"Besides,"Jack threw me a sideward glance. "They seemed pretty serious about finding you."

I stiffened. "I don't know what you're talking about."

He wasn't fazed. "Sending out all those police officers, including the head of police, to find one girl?" He threw his apple core over his shoulder and spun to face me full on. "How do you know they won't follow us here? They could already be on their way."

At his words, I felt a jolt from my center to my fingertips. I knew at once that he was right. My only choice was to leave Juxtaposition. For good.

"Anyway," Jack added in an undertone. "We need to plant some beans."

I looked up. "What?"

He saw my expression. "Nothing."

I narrowed my eyes. "No, you said we need to plant beans. Why would we need to plant beans?"

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