Chapter One: A Park
Margaret Bloom walked despondently down the sidewalk, hunched over and shuffling her feet. She was the sort of figure that a casual passerby would generally ignore, that the common pedestrian wouldn't even give a glance.
And that was the purpose.
Margaret didn't like being noticed. Being noticed meant being asked questions. And when someone asked you a question, you were supposed to answer them. Margaret didn't like answers any more than she liked questions.
Being noticed meant people demanding your time, waving at you, talking to you, expecting you to respond.
Margaret had better things to do.
Margaret walked until she reached the bus stop. There she waited, still hunched over in a large hoodie that covered her face. No one questioned her as to why she wasn't in school. People just stayed out of other people's business, in Lowston. That was how she liked it. That was how she needed it.
Fact was, Margaret had a sound reason for not being at school. That very morning, they had found their principal lying facedown on his desk in a coma. The teachers were horrified as well as mystified, and had let the kids out of school.
Margaret knew exactly where each kid in her class had gone. Her class was so predictable. Seven of them would go to the cafe and chat, eight of them would go to the mall, and fourteen of them would be at the movie theater. Margaret wanted none of those.
The sound of tires screeching on cement tore through the air, causing anyone nearby to wince and throw their hands to their ears. Margaret's hands remained by her sides.
She let the tires come to a full stop before getting on; for no particular reason, just to make everyone wait longer. Her grandma had always complained people in this modern day and age never had enough patience (which, of course, was always accompanied by the when I was your age talk).
Margaret got off the bus almost right after she got on, signaling the driver to stop a few blocks later. The driver sighed and murmured something, not feeling very happy with this young lady. Margaret ignored him as she got off at the park. Sitting on an old, beat up see-saw, she stared off blankly into space.
The bus moved on, leaving her alone in the world. Not even little children came to the park anymore. Margaret doubted anyone left still knew of its existence. Well, maybe one other person. The principal's been here a couple times, Margaret thought to herself, but look at what happened to him.