We walked along a neglected street. A shrill gust of wind whistled through the air and lifted a layer of dust, sweeping it into the edge of the curbstone. An empty cardboard tube rolled along the pavement.
"Are you sure this is the right way?" I asked Livy.
"Was the right way mean? Yer free ent yer? Go where ever yer please."
I looked at my friends. I realised that I still hardly know them. The great adventure I had been expecting didn't even feel like it has begun. Perhaps things hadn't happened exactly as we had thought at the time.
"The.. S'S'Silence- ih-ish- is yet t't'to f'fall." An old woman lay propped against a brick wall, the glowing end of a cigarette hanging from her mouth. She looked up at us with milky blue eyes and wisps of her hair seemed to fall across her face.
"Not loooong..." she croaked. Then her head drooped down into her lap and she was still.
For a second none of us moved. Eventually Livy crept carefully up to the old woman and lifted her head. The woman's eyes stared into the sky without seeing. Livy instinctively jumped and let go of the dead woman. Shaking, she looked at me.
"She was living on the streets. People die on the streets, it's what happens."
Not where we're from. I had never seen anything like this. I began to cry. Was this the sorrow the humble ones preached of? Was there no decay in our home town or was it hidden away?
I'd met someone and a few seconds later, they weren't a person anymore. Where was she now?
We continued towards the Wharf. The solemn Thames had not seemed so dirty and rank the last time we saw it. The ship by the dockside looked lonely, as if it were the only dead thing on the Earth.