I run down it. The second door looks the same: I put my pass card in… And I’m through. The door closes behind me.
Oh. Oh my. This… This is amazing. There’s so much… I hadn’t expected… I hadn’t expected the smell. It’s somehow wet and rich and… I don’t know. Like nothing I’ve smelt before. I’d say it smelt like goo, but that’s not it… And I’m seeing sunlight, real sunlight. It’s the pale yellow of the early morning and long shafts of light are shining through dark brown trees. I remember where I am: I must move away from the door.
Beneath my feet is earth. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it’s soft. It slopes at crazy angles and confuses me. How do you walk on this? I’m wearing smooth grey slippers from the dispenser and I slip as I walk. I look back. The outside of the door looks like rough stone: it merges with the other rocks and trees.
I stop and remember where I am. I checked on the Hub. The home of The Saved is on a hill. If I walk down, I’ll find a small road, running parallel to a river at the bottom of the valley. My plan is to get to that road, then turn left and walk to where there are people.
I learn to be careful after I slip and bang my arm on a tree. It hurts! I move more slowly, stopping now and again to listen and to take in the new sights. It’s cold and I pull the blanket tight around my shoulders. After a few minutes, I spot a sort of line on the ground curving between the trees, and another word comes to me from a book: a track. The ground is firmer there, it’s easier to walk, and I’m still going down.
I see the river running along the valley. My track leads me to something—but it’s not a road. I know what a road should be: black or grey, wide enough to take three or four cars at once and mostly straight. This—this is just another track, but a wider one. My heart’s beating fast from the strain of walking and my excitement. I think I hear something behind me. I look around. Nothing. I wish I had someone with me. For a second, I even miss Mandy. But no: she’d only tell me I was stupid.