illustrated by rhoda penmarq, konrad kraus and roy dismas
click here for previous chapter, here to begin at the beginning
editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo
"so what exactly happened?" dorine asked jolene.
"in your dream. what exactly happened in your dream?"
"oh - nothing much. it was just a dream. i was walking up and down. there was a lot of empty space. i had to be somewhere but i didn't know where."
"a lot of open space?"
"yes." jolene answered politely.
"my dreams are usually in closed spaces," dorine persisted.
jolene nodded again, obviously uninterested. nobody else at the breakfast table - miss prue, the other two girls who had arrived - sabine and coraline - or any of the guards - even pretended to show any interest.
good! dorine had not really had any dreams at all the night before, because she had not slept at all. one of the things she had thought about was escaping. another was talking about escaping with the other girls. and another was devising a way of talking in code, so she could talk about escaping with the other girls. dreams... could they use talking about dreams as a way of talking in code? it was worth thinking about.
"they are in closed spaces and there is always one more door or corridor before i wake up."
miss prue took a sip of coffee. jolene looked down at the table.
dorine gave it up, and took a sip of her tea. but she felt she had scored a small point - dreams were apparently an acceptable subject of conversation.
one of the guards came and put a plate in front of dorine. she picked up a fork and began to poke at the food on it.
a couple of other girls came in. ameline came in, yawning, and after studying the table, sat down by herself in the middle of the table under the windows. florine came in and sat down next to coraline. the guard who had accompanied florine stood right behind her, as the two talked in low voices.
great, thought dorine. but they can't keep it up - it's only the second day, they will have to relax and get careless. she glanced over at prue, who was sipping tea and had taken a few nibbles at a scone. she looked tired, and not very interested in the proceedings.
"can i ask a question? or two?" dorine asked prue.
"of course. it's what i am here for." prue smiled. "but why don't you eat something first? before it gets cold. and maybe some of the others will show up and there will be more to hear the question. would that suit you?"
"yes, all right." dorine managed not to scowl. she took a forkful of scrambled eggs and put it in her mouth. she felt prue's eyes on her as she swallowed it.
"what?" prue had not, in fact, been watching her, but stifling a yawn. "oh, i'm glad you like it, dear. we will send your compliments to cook."
a guard came in and put a heaping plate - the "english breakfast" she had ordered - in front of jolene. jolene looked at it warily.
dorine looked away, down the table. i wonder how many want to escape, she thought. surely they all do! even the guards. maybe even prue. if she had anywhere to escape to. but then, where did any of them have to escape to? what a negative thought! away, negative thoughts!
dorine had spent the night thinking of two things - escaping and paulette, whom she had of course, only met the previous afternoon. she wished paulette would show up. she had to make an effort not to keep her eyes from going back and forth to the two doors. and of course she hoped paulette would sit beside her if she came in.
and hoped nobody else would come in and take up the places beside her. this is pathetic, she thought, am i still just a schoolgirl? well, it is just like a school. she took another forkful of food. it really isn't too bad. she had some more, and swallowed some tea. she took a deep breath.
and if paulette comes in and sits beside somebody else ... i won't blink, i will think positive thoughts... thoughts about escape, escape, escape.
there had only been a low hum of conversation, but suddenly it stopped. dorine looked up.