Yes, I know it’s been a while. First I got ill, then I was busy, then I was just too damn tired to keep reading The Declaration along with everything else I wanted to do with my life. But I’m here now, and ready to dive right into chapter 10.
It’s a new day at Grange Hall, and Anna’s got Laundry class, or as it turns out to be today, ironing class.
“She got to see the soft sheets and beautiful clothes that the people in the village wore – soft woollen jumpers, wisp-thin silk blouses and beautiful cotton dresses.”
I assumed this is an advanced Laundry class, or those jumpers and blouses would surely get ruined.
Anna’s volunteered to do underwear today, despite the difficulties of underwired bras and the like. Apparently Longevity only prolongs your life – it can’t keep you youthful. So unless you also undergo surgery, you’re doomed to saggy boobs and such. Great.
Since Peter still isn’t around, Anna works with Sheila for this activity. Sheila is still getting picked on by the other girls, but she gives as good as she gets, pointing out that, unlike the others, her parents wanted her. As you’ll recall, Sheila isn’t really a Surplus; she’s just being held here on the whim of Evil Mrs Pincent of Evil.
Since she’s actually Legal, Sheila sees no problem in swiping a pair of silk panties from the Laundry pile, much to Anna’s discomfort. Anna finds herself unable to fess up, and instead spends the afternoon and evening fretting, until she is summoned to Evil Mrs Pincent’s office.
“Anna already knew why. Mrs Pincent knew. Mrs Pincent knew everything.”
In fact, Mrs Pincent doesn’t know everything, and that’s exactly why she’s called for Anna. She wants to know everything that Peter has told Anna, but despite her natural tendency to be good and obedient, Anna is bound by main character to loyalty to keep quiet.
“It was a room she knew, a room that felt familiar, and even, in an odd way, reassuring. Mrs Pincent was always quick to punish, but afterwards she would always explain why.”
The real horror of the book comes in these asides. Anna is so conditioned by life at Grange Hall that she’s developed a bond with her abuser.
After failing to get any useful information, Evil Mrs Pincent has a rant about Peter, and then dismisses Anna with an instruction to find out who stole the silk panties.
“’Stupid girl’s got no mind of her own, she’s been indoctrinated so well.’”
And here it is, the Plot Development Moment. Having just left Mrs Pincent’s office, Anna overhears a phone call in which our Evil Villainess not only insults Anna for being a compliant idiot, but discusses how she plans to make Peter have a fatal ‘accident’.
“Anna had never known the feeling of hatred before, but now it raged through her body like a rampant cancer.”
Over the top similes seem to be all the rage these days. Anyway, Anna is now spurred into the action. 119 pages into the book, and she might just be about to do something.