The rest of the day, I can't bring my mind around the fact that Aviur saved me from the guards. After all this time of me thinking they didn't want me here, Aviur in fact made the decision to rescue me and let me into this side of the country (unless for some particularly weird reason he didn't want me to die, although I'm sure he would have left anyone else to be caught).
I'm just trying to connect all these broken pieces of information together in my brain, when someone barges into my shoulder. I instantly fall back into the present, like I always do when daydreaming, and notice this boy - probably around my age - staring at his feet and mumbling sorry, before scuttling off. The ragged clothing that hides his body makes me think back to the left side, where I used to live. I thought you didn't get people like him here, although I guess I haven't stepped out of this...palace, yet?
"Who was he?" I ask Trent, who I have been walking round with today, trying to sort out my choice of clothing. So far it has resulted in a day of drinking tea in a conservatory; talking to about a million bunches of people I've never met in my life; making small conversation with Trent, who isn't in the best of moods, and now, finally, going to retrieve my clothing. If I could find one word to sum up this day, it would be pointless.
"No one," Trent replies, to the question I forgot I even asked.
"You know, I think I might as well give up asking all my questions." He nods. "Maybe I should just give up with life."
This grabs his attention. He pulls me to the side of the staircase which we're walking up, and gives me a very stern look. If it wasn't for a tuft of his hair poking up from his head in a very funny angle, I would actually be scared. But instead, I'm trying to hold back a laugh.
"Can you please stop trying to make me feel guilty?" He asks.
"What?" What is he talking about?
"You keep asking all these questions to me and it's not that I don't want to answer them, I can't. Okay?"
He can't? Why not? He has free will for goodness sake. And it's probably best that I didn't say that out loud, because he continues in that serious tone of his.
"And I can't because I've been told not to. My duty is to look after you, like I look after travellers from all over this side of the country when they turn up at these doors. But you're different to them, because you're not meant to be here."
Not meant to be here. Not meant to be here. So why did Aviur save me?
"I made a vow at the start of this 'job', if you would call it that, to never answer questions about this place. Now I know everyone who normally travels here knows about this side of the country, and you don't, but I have been made specific orders to keep you under control, and telling you all these weird and wonderful answers will certainly not be keeping you under control."
I feel myself becoming speechless. Keep me under control? I'm not an animal!
It only takes a moment before I realise that my thoughts in fact escaped my mouth.
"I mean," I try to cover up, "Why should I be kept under control?"
He coughs, perhaps deliberately. "You're likely to be a harm to our side of the country."
"A harm?" I splutter. "You think I'm a harm? You're the ones creating frickin fire from your palms?!"
He hushes me, hands now on my shoulders. "But you're a harm in a different way, okay? So will you just accept that you've had more answers from me already than you should have had, therefore you will receive no more?"
I sigh, dramatically, and taking that as an agreement, he begins to walk up the stairs ahead of me. Suddenly, he swings round and it's hard not to tumble straight into his chest.
"Oh, and you'll get your answers on Friday." He mentions, before continuing up the infinite stairway.
Answers. Answers. I will get my answers. But the only thing I can think is, when? Yes, Friday, but what is today? Somehow all my timing and days have gone out of sync. How long have I been here? What month even is it?
As I climb the stairs two at a time to catch up, I shout up to Trent, "What month is it?"
He leans over the banister above me. "February."
"What?!" I fall to my knees, my heart jumping out of my chest. It takes an awful lot of courage to fight back the tears.
I think back to when I was lying on the grass in my garden, taking in the autumn atmosphere. The autumn atmosphere. How is it February? How have I missed Christmas?
"How is that possible?" I scream, but my voice comes out as a whisper.
What is this world? I don't understand how one minute I'm watching the autumn leaves falling from the branches, and next I've skipped pretty much the whole of winter.
When I look up, ready for my answer, a head no longer leans over the banister. I jump to my feet, clambering up the stairs, but when I reach the top Trent's gone.
"Oh, so now you're a frickin ghost?!" I shout at nobody.
It's then that he opens up a door I never realised was there and says "Come in", and despite me hating him and wanting to carve out his insides so he will tell me all the answers, I follow him. Why? I don't know, but so much hope has drained out of me these few days that I'm left with no choice.
Follow their orders.
Become one of them.