The town seemed faded, empty, like it was already becoming something old and forgotten to me. I didn’t want that to happen. I wanted this place to be with me forever.
Hayes Hillshire was the perfect town. The buildings were beautiful, the weather was always pleasant, people rode backs instead of cars, the people were great, and they let nature slip into the town, so there were plenty of trees and flowers and wonderfulness. To the right was the Mountanis, the enormous mountain range that separated the coast from the mainland. Hayes was not really an ocean town, but it was close enough to the ocean to be called one. I looked out to the east, where the ocean was. By nightfall we would be crossing it, to Parla.
I didn’t want to leave.
Darine assured me Parla was a wonderful place, just as wonderful as Hayes. I couldn’t believe her. The section of Parla we were going to, a city called Dashe, was just that…a city. I had never been to a city before. The only places I had been besides Hayes were Montgem Hillshire and Pil Luda, to visit a doctor for my mother (little good it did), and my cousin. Both were countryside places quaint little towns with grass and trees. Most of Hillshire was, and the part of Luda closest to us was too.
Dashe, and most of Parla, was completely different. It was all city, all busyness, all noise. Darine had been there once before, on a trip with our father. She said it was very noisy, much too noisy, but now she told me it wasn’t so bad. When I quoted her description from before, she changed the subject, or just walked away.
The Darine I knew before would never do that. She would stay and battle it out with me. Darine had changed after the death of her parents.
Maybe it wasn’t just that, though. Maybe it was just the mountain of horrible things that made her change. It started when my mother died…we (my father and I) had heard of a doctor who might be able to help. We put all of our faith on that doctor. He couldn’t cure her.
Every year, my father took his brother’s family to Parla. He left me home because I was too young. That year nobody thought he would go, because of my mother. He still went though, by himself this time. He never returned.
That’s when my care was passed over to Darine and her parents. A month later they heard someone had found my father’s body. They went to Parla and were shot by thugs. Darine’s mother tried to get in the car and drive both her and her dying husband to a hospital, but he died before they made it. She was still in the car, trying fruitlessly to save him, when the truck came.
The people who told us hadn’t shared all the details with Darine, but I overheard them talking. I wish I hadn’t.
That was a couple months ago. Darine, to keep us both from orphanages in Luda, pretended to be an adult so she could take care of me. A week ago she announced we were moving to Parla, away from everything I had ever known.
I couldn’t understand it. The death of my parents and her parents had not affected me enough to make me want to leave the only home I’d ever known. But, since I was bound to Darine, I had no choice.