'And one of the reasons everyone here is nice, is because there's no inequality, no religion. Religion is strictly forbidden, you know,' Pen continued.
Reizele's face turned into a mixture of surprise and horror. She was wearing a golden star, a Magen David she'd gotten for her graduation from secondary school, around her neck. She tried to subtly hide it with her scarf, but Pen noticed it. She looked surprised, but didn't say anything and nodded, as if urging Rose to say something.
'I remember now... yeah, that was always one of the best things about our society. No religion,' Reizele said.
Pen fished a tiny notepad out of her bra and a pencil from behind her ear. As she started to scribble something down she said:
'Yeah, nobody needs religion. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists... they're all just evil and propagate inequality and war,' she said.
She put the notepad on Rose's lap and Rose looked at what she'd written:
Rose looked up at her. Pen no longer looked carefree, with her cute, wild, blonde curls and blue eyes, hands flying everywhere. She looked serious and worried. Rose picked up the pencil and sribbled:
'Yeah, I so agree. Basically, I love my life here,' Rose said.
Pen looked like she just didn't know what to do. She wrote:
You may yet earn me a trip to the Showers.
-Is that really such a bad thing?
No. Just really shameful, for me and for my family.
-I'll be gone soon, I promise.
Gone to where?
Pen looked up at Reizele.
'So where do you live, anyway?' she asked, in her usual carefree tone.
'Do you have a piece of paper somewhere? I'll write it down for you,' Reizele answered.
Pen pretended to rummage in her bag and gave the girl the same notepad they'd been using before.
'Here you go,' Pen said, still looking as worried as before.
Rose took the notepad again and wrote:
In the 21st century AD
Pen was now absolutely horrified. Still sounding cheery, though, she said:
'Oh, no, I don't know that place, sorry. Would you know your way to there from here?'
Now it was Rose's turn to feel sheer terror.
'I'm not familiar with this neighbourhood, I doubt I could even get out of here,' she said, shaking her head, gesturing with everything on her that she didn't want to leave.
Pen's eyes seemed to fill up with tears as she said:
'I really have to do something else. I need you to go. I'm sorry.'