Emily seized Lottie’s other hand.
“I can’t stop them,” Lottie gasped. She was shaking. She took a deep breath. Emily pressed her hand hard. Lottie’s mouth trembled. Her words rushed out as jagged sounds. The other girls covered their ears. Someone ran from the hall.
“Stop!” Emily cried. Standing, she tried to force her hands over Lottie’s mouth. The words seemed to burn. The ceiling felt low. Walls and shadows tangled. “Someone?” Emily stared round. “Help her!” The women wouldn’t look. Some girls were eating porridge. Suddenly, Lottie’s words halted. Emily spun. Lottie slumped in her chair. Emily’s throat hurt. She watched as two women picked up Lottie’s body and carried it from the hall. She followed them down the corridor. They put Lottie’s body in the street. She heard footsteps behind her. Jane’s shadow stretched across the floor. Emily didn’t want it to touch her. She found herself running through the streets.
Silence filled her sight. The city was grey shapes and sharp winds. Her own thoughts seemed like faraway voices. She pushed past hushed groups. She tried not to guess how many words each person had left. Her legs were weak. She slowed. She leaned against a wall and gazed upwards. The sky looked like faded stone. She wanted it to break. A paper scrap blew past. She didn’t read the name. She remembered as a child making stories of lost worlds with her best friend. Her favourite had been of a paper city blown to bits by winds and gathered up piece by piece. She turned to face the wall. She ran her nails on the rough bricks. Her words ached inside her. She wanted to scratch them all over the city.
She turned and glanced across the street. A slender woman stood among the city winds. She began walking towards Emily. Her tall shape and billowing hair reminded Emily of paintings of caravans crossing deserts. She had no name scrap. She smiled at Emily. Her eyes were colour of comet shadows. Emily felt the lady’s cool hand clutch her own. Her face was close. She smelled of mountain skies.
“Come with me,” she said. Her voice was as soft as butterfly fall.
If Emily goes with her go to Chapter Eighteen
If Emily doesn’t go to Chapter Nineteen