There are small rooms lining both side walls of the terminal in case of delayed flights. The whole place, including the shuttles, runs completely on solar power; possible because our solar panels are that little bit more advanced, that little bit more efficient, than human ones.
Now, as I approach the queuing area before the check-in desk, which is unusually empty, I see what Sunny has kept from me.
They are here. Them.
Oh no. Oh no.
This could be a problem. I’m doomed.
All right, so maybe that is being slightly melodramatic, but to encounter them wherever or whoever you are is never a good thing, let alone if you are me. I take several steps backwards, pretending to have forgotten something, but I know that they have seen me too.
The check-in desk is just a few metres away. Can I reach it? Suddenly the lack of queue seems ominous, and I glance around nervously. Of course! I almost slap my forehead when I realise. They have got rid of everyone – but why? So there are no witnesses?
Witnesses of what?
I take several hurried steps towards the desk, and when I glance around they are not following.
“Hey, Mai!” a voice calls out as I approach the counter. My heart sinks. “Where are you going so fast? After we came all this way!” I turn slowly to look at them, and recognise the speaker.
“Hello, Moon,” I say, trying to hide my nerves. The tall pale woman grins at me maliciously, showing her sparkling teeth. And they truly are sparkling. When she was ten years old, Moon was taken to a surgeon and had glitter molecules embedded in her teeth. She has never forgiven her father for the pain he had put her through, but it is true that she enjoys the effect she has on other people.
“Come here, Mai,” says Jed, his cold, calm voice drawing me in. Jed. Their leader and a ruthless one. I remember back when I was a child, he was just a few years older than me; just a grunt. But I heard on the day I returned to school that he had been promoted. Gradually working his way up their ranks to become their leader. He always had been power-hungry.
I try to resist the call but it is not working. I cannot stop myself as I start to take a few steps towards him.
“Good girl, Mai,” sneers Moon, ever unable to resist the opportunity to mock someone.
“Go,” says Jed, but he is not talking to me, or to Mai. The two tall men standing behind him step forward. Towards me.
“What do you want?” I say, stepping away from them. “I’m just trying to go Home – and I have a shuttle to catch. Please, let me go.”