Alice is at the old park, alone. She’s spent the last of her money on a cake. It’s for her birthday.
As Alice clutches to the remnants of her childhood, I try to decide what to do with this cake, and this birthday. Should I let the day pass unceremoniously, as I have with Alice and Kev’s previous birthdays? Should she celebrate now, alone, in the early hours of the morning? Should she wait for Kev to wander home, and try to use the event as an opportunity for bonding?
Our eventual answer involves a phonecall at dawn.
And then a trip to the pavilion in the centre of town. She’s sharing her birthday with Zedadias, and no-one else. She blows out the candles quickly, before anyone can walk by and feign interest in her life in order to get a slice of her cake.
Alice has grown to become a young adult. The education system now abandons her to the world, and she won’t be getting any more free meals from there.
But at least her clothes still fit.
Next: His Journey Begins