Mariah stepped onto the sunlit moistened Earth, dry pine needles crunching underneath her feet. The sunset spilled across the sky in watercolor pastels, the bright July sun dimming with every minute. From here across the forest it was, perhaps, five kilometers to the lake, where Mariah and her friends would ride their neon bikes and swim every other day. The fresh scent of sun, water, Earth, sand, and grape popsicles filled the Summer air. They would go on to remember these days as the best times of their lives.
Mariah had been walking for hours. The sun was replaced by the moon. She was walking towards a grayish-azure light, which shone in the distance. But no matter how much she walked, it was as if she didn’t get any closer. All her friends had left by then. She stopped. Looking around the warm green forest floor and roof, she pondered her next actions. It was dark. Her family was most likely worried and already looking for her. Her grandma told her that in this part of the woods bears would eat a child or two every year, and so far there had been no accidents. But catching another glimpse of the bright star-resembling light, Mariah went on. By around midnight she reached something that she would then never be able to describe in full and vivid detail. It seemed as if there was a miniature Andromeda in front of her eyes, stardust and bright little fireflies sparkling and twirling around. Multi-color shapes floated, and Mariah found herself mesmerized. She stepped inside the portal…
“Mariah! Come to the kitchen! Soup is ready, it’s time for lunch!”
The portal felt wet, as if coated by mist. Mariah felt cold, and she shivered.
“C’mon, Mariah! Hm. Stas, could you please call Mari to the kitchen?”
Mariah was shaking by that time. She thought it was from the cold, but someone reached over and pulled at her eyelashes… And she saw the familiar face of Stas, her cousin. She had been sleeping the whole time.
After eating lunch, Mariah went off into the forest.