The hallway is larger than I am comfortable with. Taller. Wider. But it is the one I need. So far, I have been able to avoid any metal detectors; Now there is a line of them to my left. I hear hundreds of workers assembling weapons behind doors on the left side. Thankfully, it isn't those doors I need. On the right side of the hall are two unmarked doors. One with fingerprints and wear lower than the other. I chose that one. Success. Every inch of wall space is filled with lockers or toilet stalls. I dash to the first locker. No clothing. No jacket. Just a stale lunch and miscellaneous sundries. All of the lockers. Small. No clothes.
I am unable to blend in. It is 8 degrees outside! How are they able to stand these temperatures?
The bell. I am not where I am supposed to be. My genetics scream at me and pull me into compliance. My very DNA beg me not to defy my handlers.
Breathe deeply. I run for a toilet stall.
Jackpot! The huge winter jackets don't fit in the lockers and are hanging on the hooks in the stalls. I find the right one. Big, bulky, military issue from a war long ago. It will hide my towering frame. After donning my disguise I turn and realize I am head and shoulders taller than the stalls. People are filing in. The “guards” come in first. They look small, though confident in their pressed uniforms. I crouch and lock the stall. Women come pouring in from the assembly line. Weary, they keep coming. Each one goes to her chosen stall and places her hand over and grabs her coat. There are 4 coats crammed on this hook, I better leave now. I bend over and exit trying to look as small as possible. Maybe I should have chosen the men's locker room? As the mass of women push in I get pushed to the back toward the lesser used stalls. I feel more comfortable here. The outer doors are opened by the guards. The weary all hurry out with renewed energy and a blast of cold air. Many are taking down their hair. I chose to do so also. I must blend in. I stay low. Curl my shoulders in. I try to look as tired as they do. They are looking at the ground. I will too.
Outside. Fences on all sides. Even above us. We pass through the final gate. Then they dash. All of the men and women make a dash for their buildings. I then hear the alarm. They know I am gone. I don't dash for the first building. I instead take the second. Wooden Gate. My knock is too forceful. I scared the small person on the other side. Rather than break the gate. I calm down. “Sorry, please let me in.” The person manning the lock sees my jacket and lets me in. I sprint past them so they didn't see me. I don't have a key for the stairwells, so I find one that is surrounded by trees. I climb up the outside and press through the fence on top. I crawl into the rafters and hide.
They are looking. They don't even know where to look. My handlers are looking for an above average hight automaton that follows orders. I have awakened. I know what I look like to others. I can try to blend in. They don't believe I can. Tomorrow I will try.
Sleep. I doze off in the rafters of the stairwells. Adrenaline keeps me from deep slumber. The morning bell rings. Calling the assemblers back to their jobs. I am sorry for the person who has no coat today. I hope she doesn't complain too loudly and make my handlers aware.
The day will be warmer. Lots of sun. I am hopeful for laundry day. As expected, an elderly lady places her clothes on the line. Big billowy clothes that hide her sagging flesh and cover her old bones. Perfect. I watch her. She struggles to straiten to place things on the line. Her hands are slightly curled and struggle to grasp and open flat. I must copy this if I am to steal her clothes. I watch her as she grasps her hip and start back in her door. Her gait is not smooth. In seconds I am down and wrapping her skirt around me. I cut the waistband with my knife and make a hole farther along the waist to keep the skirt from falling off. A white button shirt doesn't cover the length of my arms but the body is billowy. I untuck my own shirt and wad it up inside to make more bulk. The scarf is used to cover my head and hair. My newly acquired coat goes on top.
Now for the walk. I pull my arms up in the sleves and curl my fingers along the cuff to shorten my arms. I uncomfortably walk, almost squatting until the skirt almost touches the ground. Painful enough. I will walk like the old woman without effort.
I exit the north side of the building. I walk along the street. I struggle, just enough. Just enough to look the part, but not enough to warrant help.
The town gates. Do I cross them in daylight? And travel with trades people? Or do I wait for dusk. And drag my bones with the weary assemblers?