Well, it’s been a while, but here we are. I am finally ready to continue with The Declaration and see it through to the bitter end.
Last time, we left Anna and Peter hiding out in Mrs Sharpe’s garden shed, having made their bold escape from Grange Hall. We won’t be seeing either of them in this chapter, which is told from two different perspectives.
First up is Maisie Wingfield, the employee that Anna provoked in order to get sent down to Solitary in the first place. Maisie is described as a “simple sort of a person”, whose favourite things include “cream cakes, pints of cider at the local pub and comfortable shoes for her aching feet”. This is not someone we are supposed to like or admire.
Anyway, Maisie has the unenviable task of telling Evil Mrs Pinsent that Anna and Peter have escaped. As it’s been a while, let’s remind ourselves how evil Mrs Pinsent really is.
“…the woman didn’t have one scrap of soul left. You could tell by looking at her eyes, if you ever dared, that was. They were black, beady and lifeless.”
I find myself hearing Mrs Pinsent’s lines spoken in the voice of the evil stepmother from Disney’s Cinderella. To be honest, that was probably the inspiration for her character.
Mrs Pinsent is obviously displeased to hear that Anna and Peter have escaped – especially given that Anna wasn’t supposed to be in Solitary at all, and Peter was about to be harvested to make more Longevity. She makes a call to mobilise the Catchers, who are presumably based on the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The perspective then switches to Mrs Sharpe, who is busy thinking exposition to herself. As she stares into the mirror, she realises that even Longevity can’t save her from wrinkles. This gets her thinking about the upcoming enhancements to Longevity, which are rumoured to come from stem cells. Could Soylent Green possibly be…people? Not that Mrs Sharpe seems to care – all she wants is perfect skin.
Fortunately for all concerned, Mrs Sharpe’s musing are interrupted by a knock at the door. The Catchers have arrived! What jeopardy! Such tension!