((Atrast is back in the building! She had to go on a business trip...:P))
Before Akira could answer, an elderly female resident suddenly found herself in the kitchen. She looked rather lost. Glancing at the group, her blue eyes began to gleam with a fierce light that was both lucid and "alzied"--meaning, marked by Alzheimer's disease (although none of the students at Uni-Hi knew the full term or how to spell it). "New kids? Always feel sorry for you. Won't last long, though. T-Day is coming, and then you won't be here anymore."
Atrast felt something in her stomach lurch. "T-Day? What's that?"
"Threshold Day. You haven't heard? It's the day when the lines on the bottom of the news screen go from orange to red. You don't want to miss it. You won't." Atrast, assuming the lady meant that the terror threat level of the U.S. would move from orange to red, gave an involuntary shiver. "When?"
"Soon. Stay in your homes, and don't go into the army."
Suddenly, a Nurse Ratchett-type character--this one with a name tag reading IRENE--strode into the kitchen purposefully. "Come on, Nora," she said softly. "This is the kitchen and dishwashing area, not the dining hall."
"I'll go back," said the elderly resident, "but not before I tell these kids goodbye. Goodbye, kids!" she called, waving her long, wrinkled fingers.
Atrast found herself whispering Goodbye, inaudibly, and waving back.
"Done with those dishes?" barked a voice. MELINDA, from her black name-tag. "Good. I was wondering when you would be finished. Pick up the pace next time, all right? And put on some more deodorant," she added to Atrast.
I practically bathed in it today, lady. Let up, Atrast wanted to snarl. Instead, all she said was "Yes, ma'am," and humbly bowed her sweaty head.
"Did Nora get in here again?" asked Melinda. Atrast decided not to tell.
"Well, if she did, don't listen to her. Crazy Alzheimer's patients don't have anything worthwhile to say." She shook her head. "Sad, pathetic folks."
For some reason, the words T-Day and red came to Atrast...