‘I found something on the Hub today,’ I say, trying to sound casual.
‘Yes? That’s nice…’ says Mandy.
But Geek looks up.
I walk to the main screen. Geek follows. I tap through the steps my dad showed me. I pretend I’m just talking to him.
‘Look,’ I say. ‘If you follow this—and then there…’
I type in OPEN.
‘…it takes you to a door.’
‘A door?’ says Geek.
I point to the wall on the other side of the Big Room.
‘Over there. That bit. It’s a door.’
‘A door to what?’
Frizz stops singing, Mandy stops telling Box to pick up his carton.
‘Outside?’ says Mandy.
‘But who’d want to go there?’
Slob’s back. ‘There’s no such place. It was just a story they used to tell us.’
‘But there must be an Outside,’ Geek says. ‘We can see pictures on the Hub. Look…’
His fingers fly on the keyboard, and there’s a picture of tall grey and brown buildings, with water around them. There’s big writing at the top: MORE FLOODING IN LONDON. CONDITION SERIOUS.
‘Go on,’ says Slob. ‘Find out more.’
We all know what will happen. Geek clicks and the message pops up: YOU DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THIS PROGRAMME. Geek’s done this hundreds of times.
‘Hah,’ Slob snorts. ‘Told you so. It’s just a story.’
‘It’s not a story,’ says Mama Mandy. ‘My mum and dad… they told me…’
‘The grown-ups told us lots of things. Look what happened to them!’
Everyone thinks about what Slob’s said.
‘But I can see it…’ I say. ‘Through the monitor…’
People laugh, roll their eyes, sigh… Shev and her monitor: they got bored with that long ago.
‘Just pictures!’ says Slob. ‘Like the Simpsons…’
‘But there are seasons!’ I shout.
‘Oh yeah? What, summer, when it’s hot and spring, when it snows—’
‘No, the snow’s in winter—’
‘Not here, there isn’t. We wear our white peejays all the time.’ He looks round. ‘Anyone too hot? Too cold?’