A light flickered. Her green eyes opened and she found herself staring at a gray sky. “Where am I this time?” she thought as she partially sat up, reclining on one slender forearm and brushing her brunette bangs back. A quick glance around her at the dilapidated, graffiti-covered warehouses looming overhead revealed the answer.
Her eyes welled up and her heart sank. “Crap, not again. Why am I here? How long has it been?” As she took a deep, wracking breath to calm herself, the girl’s mind involuntarily flipped through her memories of that place in quick succession. Waiting on a black swing for her father who never came. Hugging Michayla for the last time. Rubbing an silver, oval locket in her hand.
She quickly pulled her legs under her and stood, a wry smile on her face. The girl recalled that she was known here as Raelyn. “I always did like that,” she thought. “but somehow it still doesn't seem to quite fit.” A light flickered. She glanced at the sky wondering if she had seen a flash of lightning but the sky was peaceful.
Sucking in and releasing another big gulp of air, Raelyn began to wind her way in between the buildings toward the heart of the swarming city. Her only option was to visit Lena, a middle-aged woman who lived in an apartment overlooking some local shops. “As much as I hate going to see her,” Raelyn thought, “she’s helpful when it comes to figuring out how long I’ve been gone and where I can find Evey. Lena is the one thing that remains constant. Well, there’s nothing for it. I am here.”
Screwing her face up into a sort of smile, Raelyn knocked. Almost as if she had known exactly when Raelyn would arrive, Lena slid the noisy deadbolt back, flung open the door, and pointed her cane, which she didn’t really need, at Raelyn. “Where in the world have you been for so long this time?” she demanded.
“Ooh, she is not happy. Not happy at all,” Raelyn silently noted. To Lena she replied, “I… well, let’s just say it’s the same old long story, shall we? May I come in?” A light flickered. Raelyn glanced over Lena’s shoulder into the shabby apartment and stared fixedly at the unlit dining room chandelier.
“That is completely unnecessary,” Lena retorted, pulling Raelyn out of her trance.. “You are just here to find out where that girl is. If she’s really your best friend why do you go running off on her like that?” Shaking her head, she continued, “Kids these days, so ridiculously irresponsible. Next time you got a hankering’ to go away for nearly two years you might want to, oh, I don’t know, tell her before you just disappear. Anyways, you should be able to find her at the same place. She hasn’t moved since you up and vanished.” With that she poked Raylen’s belly with the cane. “Go on now.”
Raelyn smiled in relief and made her way to the subway station, boarded a train, and got off after a few exits. "I can't wait to see Evey. She is the one of the only good things about this place. Everything else is just...painful," she mused as she walked two blocks over to the right and entered and older building.