by E.M. Miles, 8th
Brynn stepped off the rumbling, rickety bus. The strap of her duffel bag dug into her shoulder, and she shifted it uncomfortably. The sun glared down at her, rendering her momentarily blind as she groped for the sunglasses that rested on the top of her head. With her vision clear, she finally takes her first look around the town she grew up in, and her heart twisted. The sprawling landscape of tiny houses was flat, and no glaring glass buildings or garish billboards marred the vivid blue sky. It was late spring, and fat robins and sparrows fluttered and perched on branches, filling the air with their chirps and the rustle of flight. The hiss of car tires on asphalt was muted by the rush of the nearby river. The chatter of a town of people who all knew each other's names and stories rose into the atmosphere as well. A sweet, heavy smell of fresh flowers and river water floated by, carried by a cool breeze that tousled Brynn’s dark brown waves.
Despite it all, Brynn felt sick. She took another desperate look around the town, knowing that she had never been there in her life. The public library of her town was made of red brick, not the harsh white marble that made up the one here. No river ran through the town of her childhood. And where was the wood that bordered the west side of her town, the one she had spent so many summer days exploring? Where was the park, the stretch of grassy field that Brynn tumbled and rolled in? Where was the old, rotted, tumble-down farmhouse on the edge of town that Darren Pickett had once raced out of, his eyes as large as saucers, swearing he had seen the ghost of old Farmer McPharrel? Where were the ravens that came screeching out of the wood? Where was the water tower where she and her sister, Cass, had climbed up to get the best view of the fireworks? What is this place? she wondered wildly. Where am I?