The sun was up and shining the next morning, but there was still a slight breeze that made me shiver. Mother and I walked to the station and sat waiting on a bench for the train to come. We hadn’t said much, I was pondering over whether I would be accepted, and Mother had been silent since we left the house.
A train whistle blew, and I looked up to see the train speeding down the tracks. I stood up and grabbed my little cloth bundle of a comb and a change of clothes. I had tucked the few clinks my mother could spare in my shoe.
“I’ve got to get back to the Marca.” Said Mother, hugging me tightly. “Good luck, I’ll see you whenever you get back.”
I nodded silently, but was bursting with excitement on the inside. This was my first train ride, and I’d never been to the city before.
“Perhaps if Mr. Teller knew just how not so well off we are, he would’ve reconsidered recruiting me!” I muttered to myself.
When the train screeched to a stop I hurried towards the opening doors.
There were only a few people boarding the train, and I didn’t have to wait for anyone to come off. I found an open seat by a window and sat down, resting my bundle on the seat next to me.
I looked up startled at the conductor standing in the isle with his hand out.
“Oh! Sorry.” I stammered. I handed him my ticket, and he punched a hole in it and gave it back.
“Thank you sir.” I said as he moved on to the person across from me.
The train lurched forward, and I leaned back in my seat. I was on a train, headed for the city, where I might actually get a real job!
A few hours later, the train stopped at a station and everybody got off. I grabbed my bundle tightly and moved with the crowd, making sure I wouldn’t get trampled.
When the crowd thinned, I found myself in a huge train station, full of people and food stalls. Free food had been served on the train, so I moved past the stalls despite the coins in my shoe. Following the instructions, I found my way to the main entrance, and turned left onto Culle Street. I followed it until I reached Vitmond Road, where I took another left. I turned at the second right, and walked along the street until I reached the Black Wolf’s Inn. There was a big wood door that I pushed open to reveal a softly lit room with tables and a counter.
It seemed like a nice inn for the poor district, although, I supposed that Mr. Teller was a Cutter.
Shutting, the door behind me, I crossed the room and waited at the counter.
“May I help you?” An elderly woman with a tight gray bun asked.
“Good afternoon, ma’am, I believe Mr. John Teller has a room is reserved for me.” I replied. I introduced myself as she flipped through a leaflet of papers.
She looked down at a slip of parchment. “Yes. Room 248, on the second floor.” She handed me a key. “Don’t lose this! You won’t be getting another one!”
“Yes ma’am.” I took the key and climbed the stairway to the second floor. As I crossed the hallway, looking for room 248, my heart was racing. Already I had been on my first train, seen my biggest building, walked through the city for the first time, and now I was going to stay in my first hotel. Part of me felt like I would wake up on my normal mattress and head to the river before breakfast. As if all of this was just a dream. I had never received the letter; I had never boarded the train.
I stopped at a room with 248 on the door in fancy lettering. Using the key, I unlocked the door and stepped inside. It was small for a hotel room, but was still bigger than my house. It had a single bed and a small bathroom. I dropped my bundle onto the dresser and slipped of my shoes. Even though it was still early afternoon, I lay on the bed, planning on a quick nap, and soon fell fast asleep.