Lying flat on the grass, the sun illuminates the branches hanging above me, the autumn leaves that have yet to fall glimmering in the light. Pushing back the strands of my hair that have escaped into the wind's trail, I let out a slow sigh. You'd think it would be peaceful, lying out here amidst the bugs and the bees, the dew-dropped grass scattered about the ground. But it isn't. It hasn't been for a while now.
The clanking of machinery and armed tanks fill my ears, the stomping of soldiers and guards making their way down the path, aligned with my garden. Gunshots fire into the air, sending a sudden shock rushing through my body, making my throat rise to a cough. Spluttering, I sit up, looking back at the house behind me. My Mother stands by the worktop, scrubbing it clean with a cloth, and the patio doors remain wide open, inviting me back inside.
But half of me enjoys lying out here, although the wind sends a chill down my spine. For some reason I enjoy listening to the life outside my house, because it's more interesting than anything that could happen here. And I think about it often. The tall brick wall isn't far from my house, the wall that separates our land from theirs. I wonder what it must be like over on the Other Side, how the people live, if there's even any people at all.
But there must be. Sometimes I hear voices and I'm sure they're from somewhere other than here, though I can't be sure. My Mother's always nagging at me to stop staring at the wall as I walk past, or checking the newspaper every morning for an uprising. But I can't help it. I'm curious, curious to what lies behind what we learn as the truth. What people teach is what we are told to believe, but how can we believe something unfamiliar?
They're just like us, they all say.
But I beg to differ.
Pushing myself up and brushing the grass from my jeans, I trudge across to the house. Stepping over the numerous amount of pots lining the steps - my Mother's obsessed with gardening - I take a foot inside. The tiles immediately freeze against my toes and I jump over to the breakfast bar, slipping into my usual seat.
"Darling, I've told you so many times to wear shoes when you go outside." Mum remarks, filling a glass of water and handing it to me.
"And I've told you many times I'd prefer to go barefooted."
She sighs, taking a sip of her own drink. Maroon red lines the rim of the glass from her lipstick, and she holds a gentle gaze on me, lips pursed. Sometimes I wonder why she still bothers to talk to me; I'm forever answering her back.
Finishing off the glass, I slip on some shoes and grab my house keys. "I'm just going out."
I go on 'walks' so often now that Mum gives up on questioning me. "Okay, be back for six."
Smiling to myself, I head out, mind set to whatever adventure I'm up for today.