'I don't know.'
For all the time Pepe had been alive, no-one had said that word like that. Not in that way. She stared at the pile of old clothes in the middle of the room. Dresses replaced by poor-fitting ugly outfits. And still no shoes.
Some girls decided to transfer the contents of their pockets. It was probably the only time the guards weren't their. Tissues, loose change, hair slides, paper clips and lots and lots of sweets. Some of the luckier girls took more money and makeup and possibly their mobile phone. Nearly all of it was sweets though. Food. Who knew if they would get any on the boat?
Lalen took several hairgrips and a lip balm. Pepe knew everything was probably going to get confiscated. Still, she reached into her beige pocket of her old dress and found a open packet of chewing gum and 10p. But the she saw the partially embroidered piece of fabric, and a needle with cut her finger. From the quilt she was making for Theo. Only a few hours ago. When her mother was alive and everything was alright.
Where would Theo be now? With all the other small children, probably. In a strange hall, with a horrible piece of paper saying he'd broken the law, about to be put on a boat to nowhere? And would he be with Henry? How many children were being taken? All of Riverham? All Reals?
Pepe hid the quilt piece behind her pass as the guards were starting to come in. The had bottles full of hand sanitizer. To stop 'diseases'. It made Pepe's cut sting. They had to put something in her hair too, though Pepe washed it regularly and kept very clean.
The crowd was then forced outside. It was cold your bones ached. Pepe looked at the shadowed sky. She hadn't realised it was night now. Her blonde hair looked grey when the wind blew it in her face. A guard told her to walk faster to the boat.
It was huge. And loomed over the Reals like it knew how evil they really were. It looked like it was about to knock this sign that read:
BOAT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AGAINST ADVANCED LAWS
So those were the age groups? That was good.
Suddenly the sky seemed lighter and the air warmer. If those were the age groups, her brothers would be together. Mother would have been happy.