————— Home Town —————
I awoke to a blinding light...
... Well, they say third time's the charm.
Somebody was shaking me... I think.
"Yo, Solo, wake up! Come on!"
I managed to get one eye open.
Apparently I wasn't drowning in a sea of darkness; all the other kids, along with an adult or two, from the orphanage were sitting around in a circle in the gazebo at the park while the sun was setting while I was sitting on a chair at the edge of the circle.
Hayden had grabbed my leg while he was on the floor and shaking it, whispering that I should wake up or else—
Draw attention to myself? I evidently saw that had already happened.
Everybody was now staring at me!
Margaret was an outrageously tall orphan girl a year younger than I was, all the kids at the orphanage called her Margie.
She was standing in the middle of the circle holding up a packet most likely containing donations that would serve as funding for the trip we were discussing and a pamphlet containing information about where the trip would be.
I considered Margie a friend; she was an outgoing and perky person, someone fun to hang out with.
Unless she had sugar.
Oh man, you do not know the terror of Margaret having sug—
"Care to explain to me what we've been talking about this entire time, Sol?"
"O-Oh... Um." I stuttered.
Despite being the oldest orphan in the community, I couldn't stand up to Margie when she decided to be responsible and strict once in a blue moon. "Care to, uh... Repeat that?"
Margie sighed. "Honestly? I spend the last 5 minutes talking over this trip that YOU first suggested taking via the excess funds this orphanage has accumulated and you fall asleep?"
She opened up the pamphlet in my general direction, and started speaking. Presumably about whatever our travel plans would be.
Of course, I didn't listen; I simply stared in her general direction and nodded if it seemed as though she was questioning my understanding of whatever she was saying. I preferred to devote such time to more pressing matters.
Thinking about that dream-like experience where I was smothered by hideous black things for example.
Was that really just a dream? It seemed all too real.
Perhaps it was some sort of hallucination, that would explain how I magically seemed to wake up in the middle of this meeting while it was...
I checked my phone.
While it was 4:20 in the afternoon with everyone acting as though I was already here from the start of meeting when the only thing I remembered before the dream was falling asleep in my room with the sun finally out of the way.
Ah, whatever... It doesn't matter much at the moment.
Margie said I suggested this trip, that was correct. Thus, I knew about most of the plans already from discussing with the supervisors of the orphanage.
We were planning to take a train to the beach, all of us over the age of 3.The money would be used to accomodate our stay at a hotel nearby the beach for about 2 days and then we'd all return on the train.
It was a nice idea, catching the last of the summer heat before fall hit.
You're probably wondering why fall hasn't hit already when it's mid October. We have global warming to thank for that! The forecast also predicted that this heat streak would continue well on into next week, which is when our trip would be.
"Are you listening?!"
I nodded fervently.
It's easy to work with Margie on matters like these.
A small whisper came from the left.
"Heh, dude, you're such a jerk."
It was Jacob. He was 16 like me, just a little bit younger.
You know that friend you have that you do the most screwed up things with? Yup, that's what Jake and I do together. He probably caught on to the fact that I was paying absolutely no attention at all to Margie.
"Hey, you'd do the same thing in my position." I whispered back when Margie turned around.
"Would I do that? Come now..."
Oh... We were starting that again.
"Umm... Yes, my dear sir. Frankly, I'm quite certain you would."
"Well, excuse me, you rambunctious tart."
"Oh, that's the way it's going to go, is it? Well have at you, boy!"
After a small, two second silence, we both held our mouths shut to prevent ourselves from cracking up laughing.
Jacob may not be the guy you can rely on for everything, but he was a funny guy to have around.
The meeting lasted until around 5, the remaining time spent mostly by the some of the kids pointing out various preferences or complaining about certain parts of the trip. Then everyone headed back towards the orphanage for dinner.
I said my goodbyes to my friends and started walking in the opposite direction towards my house.
I stopped by a convenience store on the way home, said hi to the friendly old man who was the clerk, and bought some ice cream, sea-salt ice cream to be specific.
Good stuff, I'll tell you that much; It has this sweet but salty taste, pretty unique...
I laid my head down on my bed and stared up at the ceiling window. It was getting somewhat dark already and the moon was out.
"Full moon today, huh..." I said aloud to myself.
Gazing at the moon like this was one of my favorite things to do, especially if the moon was out during the afternoon.
The sun as it dipped down beyond the horizon casted a brilliant shade of fading orange across the sky which served to further eccentuate the image I was seeing now.
I could feel my eyes drooping.
I should probably have had dinner but I actually went back to the convenience store and bought more sea-salt ice cream.
It kind of ruined my appetite.
"Ahh..." I sighed. "A nice end to a perfectly regular day..."
I had all but forgotten about the dream I had at that point, which was a good thing I suppose. I was content with how today went; my thoughts hadn't slipped at all to the events of last year, meaning that I was probably over what had happened, that I no longer troubled myself with thoughts of her.
My eyes finally dropped to a close and my last thoughts before falling asleep was:
Things are okay like this... I think life's going to be okay from now on.
I awoke to the sound of howling winds, debris flying around and hitting the walls of my house, and somebody mashing the doorbell.
Looking straight up to the ceiling window, I saw dark clouds surging with lightning and rain pouring down.
I got up, changed from my pajamas to regular clothing, and ran downstairs to open the door.
It was Hayden again.
Drenched, wearing torn clothes, and panting as though he had run all the way here.
"Sol! You have to come quick! The town! The town is—"
Hayden went into a fit of coughing right after he started trying to talk.
I patted him on the back and tried to get him to explain what was going on, why he was at my house at what seemed to be in the middle of the night.
"Hayden, calm down! Tell me what's going on!"
Hayden eventually settled down, looked up and stared me in the eyes with a pained look on his face.
"Sol..." He started to choke up again. "The town... The town's under attack."
My eyes widened and my jaw dropped in shock.
I was left with more questions than I had before I asked Hayden why he was here.
Everything was just fine a few hours ago... What happened?