Christ, said Moira, beside me.
Don’t swear, said Alma.
Moira took Janine by the shoulders and shook her. Snap out of it, Janine, she said roughly. And don’t use that word.
Janine smiled. You have a nice day, now, she said.
Moira slapped her across the face, twice, back and forth. Get back here, she said. Get right back here! You can’t stay there, you aren’t there any more. That’s all gone.
Janine’s smile faltered. She put her hand up to her cheek. What did you hit me for? she said. Wasn’t it good? I can bring you another. You didn’t have to hit me.
Don’t you know what they’ll do? Moira said. Her voice was low, but hard, intent. Look at me. My name is Moira and this is the Red Centre. Look at me.
Janine’s eyes began to focus. Moira? she said. I don’t know any Moira.
They won’t send you to the Infirmary, so don’t even think about it, Moira said. They won’t mess around with trying to cure you. They won’t even bother to ship you to the Colonies. You go too far away and they just take you up to the Chemistry Lab and shoot you. Then they burn you up with the garbage, like an Unwoman. So forget it.
I want to go home, Janine said. She began to cry.
Jesus God, Moira said. That’s enough. She’ll be here in one minute, I promise you. So put your goddamn clothes on and shut up.
Janine kept whimpering, but she also stood up and started to dress.
She does that again and I’m not here, Moira said to me, you just have to slap her like that. You can’t let her go slipping over the edge. That stuff is catching.
She must have already been planning, then, how she was going to get out.