Kara wrapped up warm in her red and yellow, striped scarf, throwing her back onto her back as she fumbled to unlock the front door. She was the first up in the house, and first out. Today, like most days, neither her father nor the cat were awake when she left.
Kara always got into school early. She liked being alone to think. 'Thinking is important, it helps clear the brain,' is something she often said. This was something her grandmother used to say to her, when she asked what to do about things. It was an idea her mother particularly liked too. Her grandmother had loved to sit alone, reading or writing, or sometimes she went for long walks in the woods in the afternoon. No one was allowed to disturb her unless it was an absolute emergency: something Kara learned the hard way. But despite her annoyance at being interrupted, Pat Rickshaw was a gentle woman.
Farchurch Secondary school and Sixth Form wasn't a long walk from her house, but it took a long time to walk. Part of the reason may have been that the lanes and roads were twisty and narrow, complicated to navigate in the dim, morning light. The main reason was that Kara liked to walk slowly and look at things.
She always stopped to study the flowers that spilled over the top of the green fence in a lane between a 60s house, where an old man and a dog lived, and a park where the older kids hung out. She'd identified the flowers as a form of clematis. There was something about the way the white petals curved away from the purple centre that made her stop and stare. She'd drawn it a few times. She didn't much care for flowers, but sometimes scenes caught her eye and she had to capture them.
She always slowed down to admire the church on the corner of Bagley Road because of it's ancient stained glass windows and beauty. She sped up when she got to Curt Street, because that was the edge of the Brensham School area, and they didn't much like Farchurch students.
Once she'd gotten to the corner of Gardener Lane, she spotted Mr Roberts in his fornt garden, as he often was even on cold days like today, feeding the birds or completing some other optional task that he found satisfaction in doing. He smiled and waving over and she returned the gesture, but didn't stop to chat. Instead she carried on walking, taking the long way round the block so that the grumpy old woman at number 50 didn't complain at her for her footsteps echoing at 'this god-forsaken hour in the morning.'
Arriving finally at her school, Kara climbed all the way up to the maths rooms, in the oldest, tallest part of the school, where it would be quiet.