She rode the escalator up to the ground floor, where the proper shops, the fountains and plastic palms began. It was the school holidays, but too early to be busy. None of her classmates were allowed to go to the centre without their parents. Sometimes she'd bump into a family group with one of her peers in tow and would exchange awkward greetings. She had picked up a sense that adults tended to be uncomfortable with her solo trips out and about, so now whenever questioned by shop assistant, security guard or parent she would always imply that an unspecified adult relative was just off in another store. Largely, though, no one questioned her, in fact no one ever really seemed to see her at all. Sometimes Kate thought she was invisible.
It was 9.30 a.m. She retrieved her laboriously typewritten agenda from her back pocket:
9.30 10.45 Tandy: research walkie talkies and microphones
10.4512.00 general centre surveillance
12.0012.45 lunch at Vanezi's
12.4513.30 Midland Educational: look at ink pads for fingerprinting
13.3015.30 surveillance by banks
15.30 bus home
She hurried on to Tandy.
From What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn, copyright 2007. Reproduced with permission of the publisher, Henry Holt. All rights reserved.
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No Man's Land
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Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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