“Er … what happened to the other four billion?” she said.
“Sorry?” said Caecilius. “What do you mean?”
“You said there was a population of two billion,” Anna explained.
“Yes, but what’s that got to do with anything?”
“Well, in my time, the population was six billion, and rising. What happened?” He looked very grave.
“I don’t really know. You’ll have to talk to the historians – we have a lot of records from before the Big Fall, because the earth preserved things so perfectly, but it’s not my speciality. I studied music.”
“Really?” Anna was intrigued. “So did my parents – but I suppose it’s a quite different type of music.” She thought nostalgically about her violin, so long gone. Even if it had survived the Fall, it would be dust long ago.
“You never know. Perhaps you should come along to one of our concerts some day; you might be surprised.” That was a point.
“What is going to happen to me now?” asked Anna. “I have nowhere to go, and I don’t know how to make a living here. You can probably do everything so much more quickly now, and my skills would be useless.” She started to despair. Could she do nothing here?
“What skills do you have?” asked Caecilius.
“Nothing useful,” she admitted. “I’m only young – I have no qualifications, not even my GCSEs.” He looked puzzled, so she quickly moved on, not wanting to be cornered into explaining the English education system to a futuristic ruler of what seemed like the whole of the UK, even if he was named after a Roman person from her Latin textbook.
“Well, you needn’t worry about accommodation – I will see to it that you are provided for. In fact, you can stay here, in my ‘palace’. I’m sure we’ll have much to talk about; you seem like a good storyteller and your time seems very interesting. It is not every day that you meet someone from four thousand years ago, is it?” Anna politely agreed with him. “But I’m sure we’ll find something for you to do. I believe farming is much the same as it has always been – maybe you could help with that. No, I’ve a much better idea! You could teach history at the school, or the university!”