ALIENATION | WAY OF LIFE
The rust-orange spires of Twisted Building punctuated the sky near the place where she lived. Its powder-like colour reminded her of the dyed fingers of a reveller’s hand she had once seen, in The City, in what now seemed the distant past. It had been nearly a year since she had first come to this place but it seemed like a lifetime ago. Twisted Building had been her landmark throughout that time. It stood at a distance, a dull brown initially but time had eroded its metal structure to the now familiar orange. It especially caught her eye when the sun cast low-glancing blows as it climbed up or disappeared down, behind The Grey Hills. It had become easier, living here. Acceptance. She had thought she would have been dead within a week but she had found she was resilient, resourceful, bitter. The grass was tall here, she moved stealthily through it. The sun had made it white, like living straw. Even though there was no-one around she still moved with caution. The warmth of the summer sun had lasted for a long period now. It was a kind of heaven compared to the cold first winter which she had only just survived. All that was a lifetime away. She thought of herself as a cat, with eight lives. Feet first.
The sun was still high in the sky, she had several hours of usable daylight left and so made her way through the grass, to the hedge, where she knew more blackberries would have ripened. They were near to fully-ripened two days ago but she had left them, as the sun had seemed set to continue for several days. Maximise the sweetness. A rustling in the grass dissipated to her left. She had been silent but animals sensed the presence of things. Up ahead, the grass broke and the green of the hedge spilled in, like some leaf waterfall. An image of The City seeped into her mind from memory, it dissolved away quickly, destroyed by circumstance.
Many of the berries were fully ripe and she picked them carefully and placed them into the bag she had made; a collection scrip. Her haul would be enough for several days. Birds in the tree above her, chattered, flapped, flew away and returned. She was aware that this could potentially give away her location but she had seen no-one for months, except for the ghosts but this was no reason to get complacent. She stepped away from the hedge, back into the grass and moved on silently. There were several places she visited on a regular basis; The Apple Trees, Wild Pear (although that had not been particularly good so far) and Nut Trees. There were others, all quite near to one another, she didn't venture far from them. It had taken quite some time for her to find the right locations, several temporary places had sufficed for a time and there had been several false hopes.