~~I walk with Casper back into the sleeping hall and Erin waves us over “So whose group are you in?” She asks and I’m surprised at the excitement in her voice. “Umm Sargent Fletchers” I reply and her shoulders sag in disappointment. “Aww, just when I thought I’d have some decent company” She mumbles. Casper chuckles a little beside me “Don’t worry Anna, Roebai’s in your group so you won’t be by yourself.” he says but this isn’t good news, I’d rather be by myself rather than with him. I have to stop myself from shuddering at the thought of working with him. “Someone said my name,” an all too familiar voice says from behind me. Roebai appears and I scowl a little but stop quickly, deep breaths, I tell myself. “Anna’s in your work group” Casper says and Roebai turns to look at me. “Is she now? Well lucky her” He says and flashes me a crooked smile. I look away from him before I start to blush a little, this should not be happening, you hate him remember, I tell myself. “The boss told me to tell you that you’re going to have to go to work today otherwise you’ll get a whipping” Casper warns him and Roebai just gives him an ‘am I bothered’ face then turns and walks out of the hall. “He has attitude problems” Erin says but I notice that she watched him until he’d disappeared out of the hall. “Well he’s allowed to, his mum was executed last week” Casper says frowning at her. “I know, he just runs so hot and cold” She says raising her hands in defence. I on the other hand am looking back to the spot where Roebai exited the hall, his mum was executed? That would explain the drinking and the pain in his eyes.
At about 9:00 Casper jumps up from where he was sitting on the bed and rubs his hands together “Right children, time to get to work” He says and Erin lets out a sarcastic ‘yay.’ I stand up and walk out of the hall with them then I suddenly realise I have no idea where I’m supposed to be going. “Umm where…” I start to ask Casper and he smiles already knowing what I’m trying to ask him. “You’re in hall number 4” He says then points towards a line of people that I, presumably, have to join.
I nod a thank you then make my way to the back of the line and, surprise surprise, Roebai is there. “Hey sweetheart, ready to get your hands dirty?” He purrs at me and I just ignore him, don’t rise to it, I think, that’s what he wants. He does a pretend pout “Oh come on princess please don’t give me the silent treatment.” His words are mocking but I catch a little sincerity in them. I still ignore him though and just roll my eyes. He sighs “Fine, I’m sorry about trying to kiss you, I was wasted though so cut me some slack.” I have a feeling that this is the closest to an apology that I’m going to get and he is the only one I know in my group so I sigh and give up the silent treatment.
“Fine, you’re forgiven but if you try it again I will kill you,” I say and he smiles.
“Don’t worry I won’t, you’re a rubbish kisser anyway.”
My mouth drops open in shock but I quickly slam it shut and just scowl at him. I don’t have time to reply to him though because the line has started to move forward. The guards at the gate tick people off as they walk past them into the work house. When I reach them the closest one narrows his eyes at me “Who’re you?” He asks
“Umm Anna Prince, I joined this morning” I say and the guard nods his head then ushers me inside. I follow the line of people as they walk over to rows of benches sitting next to tables. I sit down on one next to a girl with red hair that’s pinned back into a bun wearing a grey fleece covered in dirt. I don’t know where Roebai’s gone and I don’t care, this day is likely to be hard enough without him adding to it.
I turn to the red haired girl “What do we do?” I ask her and she turns to look at me looking a little surprised. “I’m new,” I add and the surprise turns to understanding.
“Well your lucky cause today is the easiest job, we have to sort the good food from the bad food” She explains then looks points at the crates that sit behind us. “The good food goes in that one and the bad food goes in that one then it goes to the kitchen for us to eat, nice isn’t it?” she says sarcastically and I stare at her in disbelief “Where does the good food go?” I ask then feel stupid when she laughs “Well to the Weeds of course” She says shaking her head. I assume that ‘weeds’ is referring to people like me. “I’m Dana” She adds offering me her hand.
“I’m Anna,” I reply and we shake hands. As our hands separate I hear loud clinking noise then huge metal crates lower themselves down to the tables and pour their contents onto them. All sorts of fruit and vegetables roll out in front of me and I stare at them in panic. “How am I supposed to judge what’s right and wrong?” I ask Dana and she smiles then starts to show me how to tell what’s suitable for the ‘weeds’ and what’s not.
I soon get the hand of it and Dana spends the rest of the morning explaining what other jobs we have to do. Most of it consist of either picking food of planting it. There’re a few cleaning jobs though which I’m not looking forward to. “The worst job though is grave digging” Dana says when she’s finished explaining kitchen duty. I stop sorting the food for a moment “Grave what?” I ask before I throw a mouldy potato into the unsuitable crate. Dana swallows before she contuses. “Grave digging, we have to dig the graves for people who die here” She says quietly and I stare at her in shock. “People die here?” I hiss at her and she nods then we both sit in an awkward silence until a guard enters the room “Lunch” He barks and everyone jumps up from their seats almost instantly. Dana smiles at me “Want to sit with me?” She asks as we walk out of the work hall
“Yes please” I reply gratefully then follow her to the line for food. It’s quite long and I know we’ll be waiting a while but I don’t mind, it gives me a chance to look around at everybody. Someone here might have killed my father and if they are here I will find them.
It takes about 15 minutes for us to reach the place where they’re handing out food and I stare at the bowl of what must be soup in my hands. Wrinkling my nose in disgust I push it away from me when we sit down on the muddy floor. “It doesn’t taste that bad” Dana offers seeing my face.
I shake my head, “I had a large breakfast” I lie and she just shrugs.
“Well if you aren’t going to have do you mind if I have it?” She asks and I motion for her to have it. She smiles and scoops it up then slurps it down with a few big gulps. I raise an eyebrow at her and she shrugs “I’m hungry,” she says and I just shake my head, laughing a little.
“Hey ladies” I hear a voice say from above me and I look up to see Casper, Clay and Roebai standing above us. I watch Dana snap her mouth shut swallowing whatever she was about to say. She looks up at the boys as if they’re gods, well she looks at Roebai like that anyway. He just stands staring at the floor, looking bored. “Can we join you?” Casper asks and I look over at Dana who just nods slowly, seeming to be a little awe struck.
“Sure,” I tell them when it’s obvious Dana isn’t going to say anything. Casper grins and then slowly lowers himself to the ground with his soup then starts to drink it. Clay does the same but Roebai is a little more hesitant I can see he doesn’t really want to be here but then determination fills his eyes and he plops himself beside Clay without saying anything. “What have you been doing this morning then?” Casper asks in an attempt to start a conversation.
“We were sorting the fruit and veg out,” I say then let out a small shudder, I dislike food in good condition so handling mouldy fruit isn’t what I’d choose to do in my free time.
“Well me and Clay have been on cleaning duty, I finally managed to get him back for spraying me with toilet water, I managed to dump a bucket of the cleaning water on him” Casper says laughing and I look over at Clay and notice that his clothes and hair look a little damp.
“Eugh, that’s disgusting,” I say wrinkling my nose but Casper just laughs and I see Clay crack a smile, boys are so immature. “What’s the matter princess, can’t handle a bit of dirt? Well you’re going to have to get used to now you’re living here.” I narrow my eyes at Roebai who’s flashing me a cruel smile. The others laugh at the joke but I just feel anger boil inside me, I don’t want to show Roebai that he’s got to me though so I laugh with them then in the sweetest voice I can muster fire back at him “Well I’ve gotten used to you so I think I can handle a bit of dirt” I say feeling a little smug when he scowls at me and the smile I give him isn’t fake.
When the guards come back to announce that lunch is over the boys leave and Roebai sprints into the work house, away from me but I’m just happy I managed to get one up on him. Something tells me it doesn’t happen to him very often.
Me and Dana sit in the same place we were sat in earlier and she’s giving me a baffled look. “What’s that look for?” I ask her when it’s clear she’s not going to explain herself.
“You’ve been here 5 minutes and you’re already speaking with Roebai” She hisses at me and I frown at her. Speaking with? More like spitting at but its close enough.
“Why’s that such a great thing?”
Dana raises her eyebrows at me in an ‘isn’t it obvious way?’ She sees it’s clearly not and rolls her eyes. “All the girls here have tried to get his attention at least once and he hasn’t bothered even acknowledging them, yet he was outright flirting with you.” This makes me blush a little but I shake it away. “I have no interest in him, he’s an arrogant pig” I say frowning at my use of vocabulary, surly I could have come up with something more creative but apparently not.
“I’m just trying to warn you, Roebai is the kind of person who’s used to getting what he wants in the female department and he must see you as his next challenge.” Her words make me shudder a little when it’s put like that but I just shake my head at her. “Don’t worry nothing is going on between me and Roebai and nothing ever will”