As we walked I took Otter’s hand. When I had seen the pain in his face I had panicked, I didn’t want to lose him.
Walking along the corridor where the painting I saw as a blur running yesterday, yesterday felt like a long time ago.
The paintings were all different, and looking closely, had different names at the bottom: Martin Savage, Oliver Breen, Peter Smith, and Monty James. “Did they ever attend the school?” I said aloud by accident.
“Who?” Otter replied
“The people who signed the pictures?” I answered.
“Yes, when you are old enough to leave The School, they pick one photo or picture of yours to keep.”
“At what age do you leave The School?”
“18 normally, though sometimes people leave at 16”
“And how many years do you have left at The School?”
“2” Richard answered first, echoed by Otter who also said “2”.
They were 16, that made me 16 as well. The last day I can remember before I was taken from my mum was the 16th November. “What’s the date today?”
Otter gave me a strange look before replying “29th March, why?” But I didn’t answer, I was trying to work out the details of how long I had been in the cellar, as well as how many birthdays’s I had missed.
30 days have September, April, June and November, all the rest have 31 except for February alone has 28 days and 29 each leap year.
I ran that rhyme over in my head, remembering how mum used to sing it to me.
16th November, 15 days makes it December, 30 days of December, which makes 45 in total.
365 days in a normal year, this makes 410 days.
Then a leap year of 366, this makes 776 days.
Then another normal, 365, year. Making 1141.
Then, 31 days of January, 28 days of February, making in total 1200, then 29 days of this March, making a total of
“1229 days” I said aloud
“1229 days of what?” Otter replied
“1229 days of what?” Otter repeated
“1229 days of being stuck in a basement, actually 1227, today I’m nowhere near that basement, and yesterday wasn’t a day in the basement, more like a morning.”
“1227 days” There was a long silence “That’s a lot”
“Yes, it is”
“I’m sorry” Richard spoke out.
“Don’t be” There was another silence before I asked “Where are we going then?”
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