On my thirteenth birthday, I woke to the buzz of the morning alarm.
“Eight, nine, and ten,” the bell fell silent, and the overhead light flickered on. I rubbed the yuck out of my eyes. “Come on Jess,” I said, and bracing myself against the cold, I threw back my blanket, and rolled out of bed.
I stripped out of my nightshirt and pulled on my day uniform in record time. I put my thumb through the familiar hole in the left sleeve of my sweatshirt. The whole ensemble was various shades of grey and at least one size too big. I felt like an extra in a cheap zombie movie, but at least I was warm now. The engineers had turned the heating off for maintenance last month, it still hadn’t come back on. Pulling my hair into some semblance of order and ignoring the fact that I couldn’t do anything else to make myself look less thin, pale and tired, I pulled on my shoes and hit the release button by the door. I slipped out into the hallway before the door had finished opening.