I glide out the door, whooshing down the corridor with quick and urgent steps, my face grimacing at the plainness of the walls, the sterile-looking doors and uniform number plates. The pressed white numbers stare down with cold faces, just another passenger. They see a million every day, from their jutted out positions and harsh view down the hallway.
The carpet's like the carpets they use in primary schools, rough and bumpy, brings back memories of sore, red knees with branded horizontal lines throbbing. It's raining on the deck, the wet, slippery boards glint maliciously yet becomingly and so I step outside. Rain pelts down callously, competing against each other as to who can hit down the fastest and hardest. I close my eyes, imagine home; there's not much, I'm not glad I'm dead but I don't wish I was alive either. Every day was just the same, it was….boring. I try to think what I miss most, I love my mum and dad but…I don't…miss…
I open my eyes, realise that there's something in front of me: a small, hexagonal token-like object and a note. The ink from the note has run; I can't make out the crying words, the paper tears apart in my hands and dissolves into the rain. I weave the token around my fingers, staring into space, comforted by the coolness of the token pressing into my skin. The rain stops, the deck dries and people move onto the deck, passing by in a hurried haze of hands and feet and so many faces. I don't like being round lots of people and so I move away, back into the heartless corridors. I pass people conversing in worried whispers, shaking their heads and mumbling incoherently. I don't remember my room number and so I sink down onto the carpet in some hallway, on some floor, on some boat going to somewhere.
Slowly, the boat stops. The passengers swerve towards the exit, taking in great, excited rasps. I follow quietly behind, treading on each step as if I were surrounded by mines. A faded banner waves gently to me, summoning me to come closer. "WELCOME TO ELSEWHERE" is written in large, bold letters. It looks just like Earth. Clouds still drift through pale skies; the sun still shines painfully bright. The buildings look the same, the trees and plants, the cars and people, are just the same. I'm curious. Am I still alive? Is this just Earth? It's so much like a wacky dream but even my dreams don't go into as much detail as this. Just then, I hear my name being called.
"Zafrina? Zafrina Jones?" I turn to see a young woman with startlingly bright red hair, but tender all the same, wearing a fair yellow rain mackintosh. She smiles at me, revealing a row of milky white teeth and gestures we to come to her with a gloved hand. I walk over to her; she shakes my hand and tells me that her name is Morag and that she is from Elsewhere's Alternative Admissions Advisory Board. She talks fast and her eyes dart around her sockets enthusiastically, she has the air of a clumsy person but an affectionate one. She smells of warmth and clean hair. She says that she understands that I have no relatives or friends currently living in Elsewhere and so she has come to take me to a housing opportunity "temporarily" until I have enough money and knowledge of Elsewhere to live on my own. A housing opportunity is a flat filled with around 3 or 4 alternative admissions (without relatives or friends in Elsewhere) that live together. The board give each flat a certain amount of money every month to pay for food and other necessities.
We get into Morag's car and drive to the housing opportunity blocks. They look normal, grey and a little dingy but they're not too bad. She says my flat is number 6, third floor, flat 3c. The board try and put residents with people around the same age group, but at this Morag gets a little fussed at having to explain the idea of age in Elsewhere, she says that it'll all be explained in my acclamation appointment tomorrow. I have no idea what an acclamation appointment is but I don't want to hold Morag back any longer because I know she has other arrivals to attend to. We exchange a hurried goodbye and she drives off, leaving me feeling what seems like a little bewildered. I look for flat number 6; it appears that I happen to look at every flat apart from number 6. Eventually I do manage to find my flat but it does take a while, I pass a few people on the staircase but they just brush past me urgently, like they have little time to get somewhere. I scan the brass letters and numbers curiously. The doors are somewhat mismatched from the rest of the building, all different colours and styles and with this imperfection the block of flats feels much more humble. Number 3c smiles from a deep indigo coloured door, it's classy, smart. The number is freshly polished and beams proudly from the centre of the door. I ring the doorbell and stare down at the welcome mat, it's sensible; the word welcome is printed in block capitals onto the coarse straw bristles of the mat. It doesn't slip when you wipe your feet.
There is a shuffling behind the door as the lock unlatches, an impish face peers round the edge. Then the door swings wide open and the face erupts into a spectacular grin. "Oh hello!" the face exclaims "You must be Zafrina, please, do come in!"