Author's note: I wrote this a couple years ago and, although my writing style has since matured, I decided that... Show full author's note »
The HomeIt was becoming dark when they finally reached their destination. They had traveled about 500 miles in seven hours, and were all feeling rather tired. Everyone perked up, though, when the hovercar slowed once more, and then at Andy’s “Stop” it halted.
They were in front of a large old-fashioned house, way out in the country. Dusk was settling in, and the world seemed peaceful and calm.
“What are those lights, and what is that noise?” Caitlin asked softly. Andy answered without turning in his seat.
“The lights are stars. You would have never seen them in the city because of all the other lights, and the pollution. You are hearing crickets. You don’t notice seasons as much when you are in the city, but this is one beautiful summer evening.” All were quiet for another minute, “Okay, we should get you guys settled in your rooms.” Andy jumped out of the craft, and taking the packs, started towards the hose. Dean, Mark, Sarah, and Caitlin came along behind him a little slower.
“You know, he doesn’t seem that bad,” Dean said turning to the others.
“You’re right. He is the nicest adult I’ve ever met.” Mark said. Caitlin added,
“And this place he has brought us to; it seems wonderful!” The three turned to hear Sarah’s view on the matter.
“I don’t know,” she said shrugging her shoulders, “He certainly seems to be okay. C’mon, let’s catch up.” The four lengthened their strides until they were at a slight jog. There was one thing Sarah knew. She would never get tired of all the open space surrounding them. She absolutely reveled in its freedom.
When they entered the house, Andy, true to his word, showed them their rooms.
“Caitlin and Sarah, this is your room,” he said as he pointed them into a spacious room with two comfortable looking beds. A painting labeled The Great Barrier Reef 2052 was hanging on the wall, and a Digi-Pallet (similar to a computer) was in the corner on a desk. Long white curtains covered a giant picture window, and the walls were painted a light blue.
“Wow” was all that Caitlin could manage. Sarah looked around with tears in her eyes. She turned to Andy and said,
“This really is home,” and hugged him long and hard. Andy, surprised, patted her on the back with tears in his own eyes, until she let go and went to unpack her stuff. Andy then took the boys to look at their room.
The walls were painted green, with matching coverlets on the beds, and a picture on the wall was titled Muir Woods 2053. Mark noticed the same artist had painted the pictures in both rooms. What he mostly thought though was that it was unusual to see so many paintings in the same place, except for museums. Something else struck him as odd.
“Robots. I haven’t seen any.” Mark looked at Andy, with a puzzled expression on his face. Andy was certainly rich enough to have robots. They weren’t that expensive. Dean was also looking at Andy with a curious expression on his face. He had felt there was something unusual, but hadn’t been able to place it. Looking around the comfortable room, he noticed that, like the girls’ room, there was a Digi-Pallet, but no other technical equipment. Andy sighed.
“Here, why don’t you unpack, then come downstairs to the dining room. You guys haven’t eaten in a while, and I’m guessing you haven’t eaten a decent meal in years. I was going to explain in the morning, but I guess now is as good as anytime. We passed the dining room before we came up the stairs. It is second door on the left.” He gave them a weary smile, then left the room to, the boys guessed correctly, inform the girls likewise.
“Really?” Asked Mark, a little sarcasm creeping into his voice. He smiled at the younger boy, whom, in the past few years at the orphanage, he had come to think of as a younger brother. “I think we established that fact. Well, I’m done unpacking.” Mark surveyed the room again while Dean did likewise. Their clothes were in the closet, and they had kicked their shoes under the bed. Two books were on Marks nightstand, and a drawing pad on Dean’s. “What were you sketching on the ride? I was too busy feasting my eyes on everything to notice.”
“Nothing really. Just a landscape.”
“Here let me see.” Mark held out his hand to Dean, who picked up the sketching pad and handed it over.
“Those things get harder and harder to find. I’ve been having to be really conservative with the paper recently. Nothing is ever done on paper anymore. It’s all digital.” Dean walked around the bed and looked down at his picture which Mark was staring at. “What do you think?” A smile tugged at the corners of Mark’s mouth.
“Amazing, as usual. Really amazing.” Glancing once more down at the picture, which looked as if it had been drawn by a professional artist in weeks, as opposed to an 11 year old in a few hours, he handed the sketch back to Dean. “Let’s go downstairs and hear what Andy’s explanation is, and maybe grab some food while we’re at it.”