She followed Apple out of the bathroom into a lobby. They must have left through a different door to the one they came in by, Anna thought, because this was not a room she recognised. There was a woman there, waiting for them.
“Hello, newcomer,” she said, smiling at Anna. “I’ve heard all about you from the archaeologists – it’s a long time since we had such an important discovery! Now, tell me. What is your name?” Anna didn’t like being referred to as a ‘discovery’, but did not want to repeat the false story she had thought up during her conversation with Apple. It seemed unfair on the archaeologists.
“I’m Anna,” she said. The woman looked at her expectantly, eager for more information. “I’m thirteen years old, I don’t know how I got here, and I just want to go home!” Immediately she bit her lip. She had as good as admitted that she had travelled in time to get here, although implicitly.
“But where is home?” asked the woman, trying to trick Anna into telling her everything.
“London,” said Anna, resigned. Her inquisitor’s eyebrows shot up.
“But this is London, dear,” she said. “At least, this is a city built on the ruins of the place.” Anna knew that much, just from guessing.
“Who are you?” she asked, trying to move on from herself. She wanted to know more about these people than they did about her.
“I’m Hermione. I was named after a character in a book that some excavators found a week before I was born, and Mother had the privilege to read some of it. Something about wizards…” It seemed to Anna that everyone in this place was named after something from her time. “Now, come with me.” Very well, thought Anna. Take me to your leader.
They made their way down a long passageway lit with curious green lights. Halfway down, Apple whispered goodbye and slipped through one of the half-hidden doors that lined the walls. Anna turned to stop her, but was too late.