Faint sounds of the classroom played through the poly-plastic shell of the car, all on one side, dome archway, passing traffic passed in and out of focus.

Ellel drove with a cigarette in her right hand, smoking occasionally, tapping the ash out of a small opening of the window. Her body leant into the drive, becoming through corners the small pendulum that kept her on the road, attempting to see around places that hadn’t yet been passed.
—She had been warned about the results of such actions, the determination was based on a variety of factors but the motivation, in this light, cannot be disregarded.

The radio played quietly for itself, the sound of the indicator could still be clearly heard between voices. Inside the car a dim light gave shape to things, the sky a blue/white sheet, late morning white pulses across the line of the horizon. The grey on grey detailing of the upholstery of the car reduced to grey.

Ellel’s old primary school, leaning against the old brown brick that supported the small entrance leading into the school from the road. A larger gate stood further up the hill but was not meant for pupils or parents, would later serve as the function entrance for people from the city. From where Ellel stood she could see the clean gravel paving the way into the school, the light from the afternoon soon lighting through the gate down the road. The sun shone on the road further down the hill through the trees of the school playground, now cleared for solar farming, the district raised for energy. The cars of the mid afternoon began to appear, group commuters, their speed kept a perfect constant. The amount of people passing became fewer and fewer. When leaning over the small wall that dropped to a small garden seven feet below, she looked across at the classrooms with their blinds drawn, the whole place closing up before people were back in their houses.

Ellel drove her car around and out of the town centre. All traffic had to pass through the town, even some commuting from the city. Cars from other places were rarely seen stopping on this route at any other time of day, those who lived in the town still had to in some way accept their place and role there, no one was fully impartial. There as family and friend in opposition. Principle didn’t matter in any place as long as there was something to oppose, simply in the act of acknowledging it. At a red light she rooted through her bag, the passenger seat as a whole, pulled out her phone and connected it to the car and waited for it to light up. She pulled tobacco out of her bag and rested it on top of it.

Rows of squat houses lined the road of a crescent hill that led to a new build located in the confines of a larger development site. The houses on the hill were pristine, mirrored in rows of four, terraced buildings with shimmering green lawns. The ascent of the hill was so great that after a few rows of stub buildings Ellel had passed the height of the rooftops of the previous set. The ground levelled at a plateau large enough for a small roundabout around which a circle of houses sat with roads leading down to the site, further across the hill down to cul-de-sacs and half-finished homes with gravel and sand gardens, the ground around them dug out to wait for the roads to be joined. The backs of the houses cut jagged into the land on which they are built, a strong line of separation between the two places. With population in the suburbs, the country as a whole, slowly falling there was a renewed interest in construction on the border. Many ascetic families had brought together some means and started to establish themselves as a new type of middle class, no longer identifying with the suburbs and ignored by the city. The city had welcomed such movements.

Cars were welcomed to the estate by a house that displayed plastic swans on the roof of its porch and in winter plastered its acoustic walls with strobing lights looking as though the line of houses were being consumed by a spastic web. One of the scattered elderly whose family had chosen to pay for a mortgage rather than have them living in the state shelter. Most of the other houses stayed dark in the winter, tenants only found for the face of the estate, roads leading from their front doorsteps to nowhere in particular, lines of pavement stopping abruptly to allow for neighbouring streets to be stimulated into existence. A kid’s bike lay off the centre of the plateau. Ellel parked her car by the house of the plastic swans, picked up her phone and tobacco and turned off the radio and ignition and left the car.

The sky turned on point to the plateau beneath it.

Ellel waited by the door, the door opened with breaths. —Hey. She smiled to the opening.
—Hey, I didn’t expect you here so early. Come in.
—Oh I probably shouldn’t, I’m in the car.
—Yeah… okay. How come you managed to get out at this time?
—Well yeah, actually, they let me have the afternoon off and so I thought I’d come and pick up Josh so we can get all our stuff ready and prepare for everything.
—Oh, great yeah. Of course. And they’re fine with you doing that when you’re going to be gone anyway?
—Yeah yeah, they’re fine with it.
—Oh, well that’s good. How are you anyway?
—Yeah, I’m fine thanks.
—Well that’s good… should I go and get Josh now?
—If you wouldn’t mind please.
Jake’s sister turned and the door began to close behind her. Her footsteps reached a way into the house then returned to the door.
—I’ll just keep this open.
Air swung from the hallway as Jake’s sister closed the door to. There was a deep shuffle of movement then she emerged again pushing a large house brick with her foot against the door as a stop. She smiled at Ellel while doing so, then returned to the house. Ellel stepped in the doorway then pulled back and stood facing the hill up which she drove, the houses below.

The design of the carpet seemed older than the build date of the house would allow. A dark blue with an almost paisley patterning. The front door looked into the stairwell and corridor leading to the kitchen and living room, only sleights of each room were visible. Jake’s sister appeared in the corridor and climbed the stairs rigid and definite, her own stairs, the white gloss banister shining under her hand, looking at her feet. Emerging back on the landing and travelling down the stairs once more, Ellel smiled at her.
—We’ll be right through. Jake’s sister entered the living room starting a faint murmur of voices, a few moments later Josh led out of the room followed by Jake’s sister.
He walked slowly, with his head down, already wearing his coat and shoes. Ellel knelt as soon as he turned towards her, she had an arm around one of her knees and waited for him. He said Hi mum but kept his eyes relatively low. Ellel took hold of him and put his head between her head and shoulder and rested her head on his. She cast her glance back to Jake’s sister who was looking down with one hand on the doorknob.
—Has he been okay?
—Yeah, he’s been fine the whole time really. He complained about feeling a little sick last night and staid in bed for a bit this morning, but he’s been good all round you know. Haven’t you Josh?
—Did you call the number I gave you?
—No no. There wasn’t any need. He was fine.
—How are you feeling today then? Ellel turned to Josh, lifted his head with her thumb and forefinger and pushed his jacket away from his mouth. He looked into Ellel eyes.
—Thank you for taking him for the night. I’m really sorry again for asking so late.
—Don’t worry about it.
Ellel held Josh’s hand. Jake’s sister looked down to Josh. —You’ve got a big trip ahead of you haven’t you?
—Yeah, we’re really excited. Ellel answered and rocked her hand over Josh’s hand. —Yeah okay, anyway. We better be going, got the big trip ahead.
—Yeah, of course. Don’t worry about it.
—Thank you again for looking after him. Ellel turned and walked towards the car.
—It’s no problem at all, love having you around. Anytime.
—Bye. She elongated the vowel.
Jake’s sister waved. —Bye Josh.
Ellel waved. You can’t enter the room if you don’t leave the room, another walk in the garden.
Ellel opened the driver’s side door and leant over her chair, picked up her bag and threw it on the backseat, then opened the passenger’s side door from the inside to let Josh in who sat and fastened his seatbelt. Ellel sat, reached to close his door, wound the window down a little and began to wave to Jake’s sister while switching the ignition.
—Have you been smoking?
—No. Your dad was in here earlier.

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