The train stank of sweat and smoke, making Gerald feel like he was going to be sick. The driver was a stocky man with multiple chins, who looked like he hadn’t slept in a long time. The train journey lasted about three hours, and by the end of the journey, Gerald was feeling extremely unwell. He looked around.
The place where they had been dropped off was a sad looking village surrounded by fields with cows in. Gerald and the other children on the train were led to the town hall, which had a sign above it that said BILLETING OFFICE. Inside the town hall many couples were crowded around Gerald and the others, examining their hands, while others were having their name tags checked. One scruffy boy was rejected by one couple because he had a big “H” on his name tag. Suddenly, a strong arm grabbed Gerald, and then he found himself face to face with maybe the ugliest man he had ever seen. Then he spoke. “How strong are you?” His voice was rich and oily, slurring a bit. Gerald knew he was the weakest boy in his school class, but said, “Yes.” The man limped off, and came back with a woman almost twice as ugly as him. She had almost smothered herself with make-up, though Gerald could see her disturbingly ugly features through it. They led him to an old, dusty farm, which looked like it would fall down any second. A massive Alsatian sat in its basket, tail between its two muscly legs. It didn’t look pleased to see its owners back in the house, as it was growling viciously at the ugly man. Gerald asked, “Who are you?” The answer came instantly.
“Us?” said the man, grinning horribly, baring his rotten teeth. “The Blacks.”