Infinity walks home with us and we sit in our bedroom, planning to see Odin again tomorrow, I hear footsteps outside the room.
I gesture wildly to the girls and point at the door.
“So, did you say you were going to paint your nails blue tommorow, to go with your skirt?” Avanna says loudly .
This is the worst cover-up sentence I have ever heard, but I reply with “No, probably not actually, I’ve got some homework to do. Hey, Fin, did you say we could go to your house after school tommorow?”
“Yep, I’ll text my mum and ask her,” she says, getting out her phone.
The footsteps resume their walk down the corridor and continue down the stairs, I grab the phone from Infinity,
“That was a cover up, my mum was listening,” I explain.
“Well, we could tell her we’re at Fin’s house whilst we’re with Odin, and you could tell your mum you’re at the monthly choir practice.” Avanna says, gesturing to Infinity
“Great idea!” I agree.
“I’ll do that now,” Infinity says, taking the phone from my open palm.
After school we trudge down the hill towards the lowlands, bags in tow. We take off the bright, signature, school hats and stuff them in our satchels, to avoid being noticed. After a while we find Odin, near where he was last time we saw him.
“Hi, we brought Fin today,” I say to Odin.
“You all here to brag about how your parents still have respectable jobs, huh?”
“No!” Infinity exclaims, but Odin cuts her off,
“They told me all about you, what you think of us, you think we’re just dirty, unsophisticated Lowlanders, worthy only of the most basic things in this society, I am ashamed to have ever been one of you-” he faltered, “ you highrisers!” he says this last word as if it is poison, spitting it out with disgust. To me it seems plausible that it is poison, one that induces tears, as drops start to roll down Avanna’s cheek.
He throws us a glare, that I can only infer to be anger, then turns on his heel, starting to walk away, before shouting over his shoulder, “That’s it, just stand there staring at the poor lowlander,” he aggressively points up the hill, “Go away! I don’t need your sympathy!”
I share a glance with Infinity and we link our arms into Avanna’s.
We turn her around and start our journey back to the bottom of the hill.
I notice that there are no adults around; everyone seems under 21. I mention it to Infinity as Avanna is in no state to be talked to.
“Yeah, I see what you mean,” she says, “I don’t know why there wouldn’t be adults though.
Maybe something keeps them busy during the daytime, I mean, our parents finish work at about Four, so they can look after us and make dinner, but maybe they don’t, maybe the teenagers make their own dinner,” she shrugs her shoulders, “what would I know?”