“What do you want to know?” asked Anna. She didn’t really know what to say. There was so much to tell, and yet so little.
“Who are you, where did you come from and how and why did you come here? Tell me about your life, your family. Tell me about your home, and most of all, tell me about your time.” It was a tall order, but Anna resigned herself.
“My name is Anna Kerr. I’m fourteen years old. Well, I’m thirteen, but my birthday is next week. At least, it would be if I was at home. I don’t really know what month it is now.
“Until this morning, or last night, or whenever the shift happened, I lived in London. I’ve heard that this is London, but it’s very different to the London I know. We lived right on the edge; it was called Greater London, but really, it was almost Kent. The year was 2009 AD, so I know that I’m exactly four thousand years into the future. I don’t know how I got here. I was having a weird dream, and when I woke up I was under a load of mud, and archaeologists were uncovering me.
“We lived in quite an old house, though it wasn’t nearly as old then as it is now. I expect that if you go down to the excavation site, you’ll be able to see its ruins. Maybe I will sometime, but I’m not sure I want to. I guess that it’s all underground because after a while, the ground rose up or something, and buried everything. That’s what happened in Ancient Egypt – all the ruins were under the sand.
“It’s sort of strange, being here. The people seem all to be named after things from my time. Cadbury’s was a company that made chocolate. Apple Macs were a type of computer. Hermione was a character in Harry Potter, some books that my sister owned, although I read them probably more than her. Obviously, there were real people called that, but it wasn’t common, not in my time. It was quite an old fashioned name.
“In our time, a lot of people spent most of their time on computers or watching television. Not many people actually got out and about, or got much exercise. It meant that a lot of people were quite overweight. The government tried to promote healthier living, but it just didn’t work. It wasn’t helped, in my opinion, by young people having to go to school. We were too tired to do much exercise, and anyway, we just didn’t have the time. There isn’t much else to say. If you ask me what you want to know, I’ll try and answer, but I don’t know what to explain. Tell me about you. Who are you? What is this place? What is the world like?” Anna held her breath at the end of her narrative. She wondered if she’d gone too far, if she was being rude. But to her intense relief, her interrogator laughed.