A Verse Full

The cake made up for a lot of what had happened. It had arrived as promised by the nice officer though delivered by a cold faced guard. It was just a piece of sheet cake cut from somewhere in the middle, standard galley fare and nothing special but it was sweet and it made Elle feel like she'd done something right for once. Or at least she'd been doing stuff right and someone finally realized it. She was so tired of always being harped on for everything. Elle knew she wasn't smart, never would be and couldn't even pick up her letters that were baby easy like Serena could. But she was a worker and she hadn't gotten anything for that other than being put down and knocked out. It wasn't fair.

With no sense of time in the room, no clue as to how to relate any noises she heard as part of the ship's normal schedule to where the sun'd be in the sky Elle felt like she was drifting. It had been very early, hours before dawn, when they'd been arrested but how long had she spent waiting in that room and now this one? Slowly, sitting on the edge of the bed, she ate her cake and then rolled onto the mattress to sleep.

When they opened the door and collected her again Elle felt like she'd been asleep for weeks and had just closed her eyes all at once. Having never been subjected to the control of time as a psychological tool she was completely vulnerable to it and it showed in her disorientation as she was grouped back with the rest of everyone.

Elle couldn't even remember how she got the new piece of cake, all wrapped in shiny plastic that was smearing the icing. She held it in her lap on the way back to the Veil and went to put it in her room after Vas gave out his instructions. Maybe she could ask Marisol and Lyen if they wanted some of it after dinner. That'd be nice and then tomorrow she could start bak-

Her room wasn't as bad as the cargo hold, certainly not as bad as the infirmary. They'd cut some of her hammock up, easy repairs given it was patchwork anyway. Her one spare set of clothes had been pulled down and walked on, again no loss there. Even her earnings were still there, though scattered across the floor and deemed to be so paltry as to not be worth stealing.

But her bowl, her sourdough starter -

They lay mixed together, smashed up and smashed together on the ground, dirt and oil from the ship's decks ground into it. It was ruined, destroyed, the one thing that Elle had reached for and wanted to do to feel good and a little bit smart and special. A way for her to make the crew and passengers like her and give her a smile or a thank you and it was taken away from her. For what? She hadn't done anything wrong!

Except she had. She'd reached past her place and gotten reminded that there was a Verse of dumb, plain faced girls like her who didn't matter to no one.

Elle sat the cake down in her room and went to do as Vas had said. There were hours more work to be done before she'd be allowed to rest. Rolling her shoulders to get ready for it she fixed her face into the dumb expressionless look she always wore and got to getting to it.

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