Sarah opened the door of her house, an old but simple and warm house with two floors. The house was made of wood and painted in a soft blue-gray color with white windows. The light entered by two big windows and reflected the old but well polished wooden floor. Nothing in the house was expensive; everything was simple but tasteful, making the house a very nice place.
Sarah walked to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, taking out a bottle of orange juice.
"In a glass," said softly the voice of a woman from the living room. Sarah gulped before she drank the juice directly from the bottle.
"How does she do that!" she asked herself as she took a clean glass. After she drank her juice, she took another glass and put more juice in it. Grinning, she walked to the living room.
"Here," she said passing the glass to the women who's face was covered with the newspaper and who was comfortably sitting on a dark red couch.
"Thank you," said Lisa coming from behind the newspaper with a smile on her face as she took the glass from her daughter.
"Where were you?" asked Lisa after drinking the juice and raising a quizzical eyebrow.
Sarah automatically put her most charming smile on her face. "Err.I was with Peter," she said sitting on the arm of the couch, trying to peek in her mother's newspaper.
"I said where.not with whom," repeated Lisa smiling a bit, knowing perfectly where she had been.
"Mmm. I." mumbled Sarah, looking at her mother as she tried to think of something. As soon as she looked into her mother's green eyes, she knew she couldn't lie.
With a sigh, she answered, "I was in the forest," she said looking down ashamed.
"You know I don't like you to go there alone," said Lisa softly but firmly, taking Sarah's chin in two fingers and making her look at her.
"I am sorry," said the little girl, apologizing, showing her baby blue puppy eyes. Now it was Lisa who knew was doomed with those eyes.
"Ok, I know you are going to go anyway. Just don't go alone, OK?" said Lisa looking again at her newspaper and trying to sound firm. Sarah smiled widely and jumped into her mother's lap, ruining the newspaper and kissing her cheek madly.
"Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! I don't like it when you are mad at me," said the girl jumping into her mother's lap and Lisa laughed.
"When on earth was I ever able to be mad at you anyway?" said Lisa taking her in her arms and turning her over so she could tickle her until Sarah almost cried from laughing.
"I give up! I give up!!" said Sarah in surrender. Both sat next to each other laughing.
"Have you seen your Aunt Jo?" asked Lisa to Sarah.
"Nope, not since I came back from school," answered Sarah walking to the radio and putting a micro CD in the player.
"She has to come here to pick up her dry clothes. Her washing machine broke and she doesn't know why," said Lisa.
"Oops, I think I know why." said Sarah comically showing her teeth, "but you have to promise not tell Aunt Jo."
"Ok." said Lisa curiously, wondering what new adventure her daughter was in.
"It's just that Peter and I were wondering how fast the machine could go.you know, taking the water from the clothes. So he suggested a little experiment with a small rock inside." said Sarah already giving her mother her charming smile.
"Ohh, no." said Lisa rolling her eyes, "Poor Jo, she's always at the mercy of Peter and his science experiments."
"Yeah well.it's broke, but Peter said he can fix it," explained Sarah.
"I know he can- after he and Michael have the time of their life taking it apart first!" said Lisa trying to re read her ruined newspaper. Sarah grinned, taking her homework and sitting in the floor.
Mother and daughter sat there, listening to the soft music and doing their own things. Lisa finished reading the paper, stood up and went to make dinner, leaving Sarah in the living room working.
"Mom." said Sarah from the living room, "Why doesn't anybody new ever come to town? It's boring!"
Lisa sighed and answered with the truth, "Because Green River is a very far away town Sarah, and the people here like life away from the big cities."
"I want to live in a big city, I've never been in one," said Sarah from her position finishing her homework.
Lisa looked out the window of the kitchen lost in her own thoughts and just murmured "yes you were" to herself.
Remembering the past years, Lisa shuddered inside remembering all the trouble she had the first years of Sarah's life. After returning to the continent, Lisa went south and gave birth to Sarah in old New York , hiding her pregnancy from Jake under the floors of an old building. After giving birth, Lisa found out that Jake was near and took the baby and ran away. She lived like that for the first three years, traveling with baby Sarah from what used to be Mexico until she returned to the north and decided to hide in the cold forests of Northern Canada .
When Sarah was almost four years old, she found Green River , a little old time town. The town was made of refugees from the first Zentraedi attack. Micronized Zentraedis, ex soldiers against war and their families made that town to get away from the rest of civilization and live in harmony. When she arrived, she exposed her case truthfully to the town council and they decided to let her live there with her daughter. The location of the town was very difficult, between two mountains with a lot of minerals in it that naturally interrupted the connection of telecommunications. In all the years they were there, nobody ever came into the town, making the place a friendly neighborhood. There was a school, there was a doctor. They had everything they needed and lived in peace. After four years running, Lisa finally was able to call a place home.
"Mom.MOM!!" said Sarah next to her, making her come back to reality.
"Yeah.sorry!" answered Lisa looking down at her ruined burger. Sarah frowned,
"That is not mine," she said.
Lisa laughed and threw the ruined burger away and made a new one. They set the table and ate, talking and having a good time.
It was at night when Sarah was asleep in her bedroom that Lisa felt in her body the pain of her loss. When she was alone in her bed, she cried until falling asleep, remembering and wondering about Rick. So many years without him, so many experiences they couldn't share because of Jake. All those years on the run, Lisa wanted to go back to Rick, but she knew perfectly well that Jake was true to his words. She wondered about her friends, her family. she wondered about Claudia's baby, she wondered how tall Dana had grown. Sometimes she laughed softly remembering the jokes of the Trio, or the face of Miriya when she didn't understand something. But most of all, Lisa remembered Rick.
When she found out that she was pregnant with Sarah she couldn't believe it. Her first reaction was to go back to them, but then she realized that if Jake found out that she was pregnant he would have a powerful weapon in his arms: their child.
With the decision of protecting at any cost the life of her unborn child, Lisa decided to never look for Rick again. Jake was probably going to know about the existence of Sarah even though it was a very well keep secret.
But she missed him; her heart was in pain every night when he wasn't near her. She had a bittersweet feeling every time Sarah made something new, when she walked for the first time, when her first teeth came in. She was so like him in so many ways that Lisa almost felt his presence around her. It was the moment when she took the baby in her arms when she born, a birth she had completely alone, that Lisa knew that Sarah was a part of Rick forever. Even though babies usually change the color of their eyes with time, Lisa knew that Sarah's eyes were exactly like Rick's. And that was the last time Lisa broke apart crying in front of her daughter, asking for help from God. Since then, she only cried when she was alone in her bedroom, never showing her true feelings around her. She wanted Sarah to have a normal life, as much as she could give her.
When Sarah was five and began going to kindergarten, she asked one day about her father. Lisa knew that moment was coming eventually, but she wasn't prepared enough. Looking at the small girl in front of her, with her little bag and dirty snickers from playing so much at school, Lisa knew her answer would affect her daughter's life, want it or not. Lisa was afraid and gave her a general answer. Sarah never asked about her father anymore.
Lisa cried softly until she finally fell in an uneasy sleep with her memory of the past eight years.
A soft knock bothered Sarah's sweet sleep. Coming back from dreamland, she realized the morning sun was coming in the window. It was probably 7 o'clock when the knocks came again. Moaning and sleepy, she stood up from her warm bed and opened the window, then jumped in bed again and covered her whole face.
"Sarah! I found something!!" said Peter coming through the window.
"Yeah, tell me something new." said Sarah opening one eye.
"Really!! This morning I went to see if the bird's eggs opened, remember? The ones of last week." said the little blond boy sitting on Sarah's bed. Sarah gave up, rolled her eyes and came up from the covers, resigned to listen to the story.
"So!...there I was in the tree when I heard this weird sound, like metallic things.it came from the sky." said Peter fixing his glasses over his nose as Sarah began to show interest.
"The sky? Like a plane?" asked Sarah excited.
"How would I know? I haven't seen a real one in my life!" answered Peter frowning.
"Well me neither but I can imagine." said Sarah raising her eyebrow like her mother.
"Anyway..I tried to look and I finally saw a bright light in the sky moving! MOVING!! I was speechless.and you know I am never speechless, but I was!"
"What was it?!" interrupted Sarah, now fully awake.
"It was an aero plain!!! And it looked lost I think, because it would go from one way to the other and it was like that for a while until it landed, not far away from our pirate's cave," said Peter in a rush.
"Oh My God!" said Sarah jumping up and down in her bed. "We have to go and see it now!!"
"We don't have time now! There's school!" said Peter worried. Sarah stopped jumping and thought about it.
"Well.to hell with school! I have to see that! I always wanted to see a real plane," said Sarah whispering.
"What if it's dangerous?" said Peter trying to put some sense in it, even in all the excitement.
"Mmm. My mom said last night that I can go to the forest as long as I wasn't alone." she said rolling her eyes.
"But this is big! And what about my mom?! She will know! She's our teacher after all." said Peter a little worried about his mother's reaction to their sudden adventure.
"Damn! Sure.Aunt Jo, I totally forgot," said Sarah frowning.
They stood there and finally gave up.
"Well, after school then.let's see if it's still there," said Peter trying to comfort Sarah who was visibly angry with this.
"Yeah." she said disappointed.
"Think about the good side of it, the whole gang can go!" Peter said, trying to cheer her up.
"Sarah! Breakfast is ready!" shouted Lisa from downstairs, "and tell Peter to come down for breakfast too."
Both kids looked at each other in wonder.
"How does she do that?" asked Peter amazed.
"I ask that same question all the time lately," answered Sarah wondering if her mother had some kind of telepathic ability she didn't know about.
"C'mon you two! We are going to be late!" yelled a woman from the front yard of Lisa's home.
"We are coming, we are coming!!" said Peter running with his hand full of pancakes.
"You are eating again?!" said the woman amazed, with her arms crossed across her chest and her long black curly hair flowing in the cold morning air.
"You can't blame me! Aunt Lisa makes the best pancakes ever!" he answered jumping in the back of the car and eating what was left in his hands. Sarah came running behind him.
"BYE MOM!" shouted Sarah at the top of her lungs. "Hi Aunt Jo!" said the girl grinning and jumping next to Peter, taking the last pancake from his hands.
Lisa came to the door and waved goodbye to her daughter.
"Lizzy! Michael will come for the clothes later! I promise! It was just that we were trying to figure out what happened with the laundry machine but we don't have a clue," Jo hurriedly explained to Lisa.
"Go Go! Don't worry about it. but I suggest changing the motor of the washing machine," murmured Lisa winking to Jo with a knowing smile. Jo understood.
"Oh no, this pair is going to be the death of me!!" said Jo rolling her eyes and waving goodbye to her friend. She jumped in the car and they all went their way to school and Lisa got ready to open her store.
School ended early and the whole "gang" was ready for the expedition to the forest. At the head was Sarah, wearing her typical big hat on her head, already bossing everyone around to hurry. Behind her was her sidekick, best friend and neighbor Peter, a little smaller than the other kids of their age. Next was Samantha, a shy girl, blond with a pony tail and black eyes. Then there was Gregory, a redhead with chubby cheeks and the word "trouble" written all over his face. The gang was completed by a couple of troublemaking Italian twins, Paul and Paula, each with the face of an angel.
"C'mon!! If you don't hurry I swear I will start biting something or someone!" said Sarah extremely serious, very like Lisa when she was working. Sarah also had the same effect on everyone that her mother could. The gang ran until Gregory asked literally for heaven's mercy, with his face red from exhaustion. Sarah sighed.
"Ok, we can walk, but keep moving!" said Sarah and Samantha grabbed her arm.
"Sarah is this dangerous?" asked the little girl worried.
"Naaah, what can happen?" said Sarah sure of herself. Samantha nodded, trusting Sarah with all her heart.
The gang walked until they reached the pirate's cave, as they called a little dark cave where they played in the summer. They slowed their steps by instinct until they finally saw what they were looking for.
In the middle of the valley, surrounded by dark green trees, a bright white veritech fighter was placed in battle mode position. The sun was over the veritech and it shone beautifully in the afternoon sun. The gang was speechless and amazed as they all took their first look at a machine like that.
"My mom.she told me about this.I just never thought." murmured Sarah completely shocked and walking to the veritech.
"Sarah don't!" shouted Samantha, scared to death, but Sarah didn't listen. She was hypnotized by the beauty of the VF. Slowly she walked to it, and her friends just stood in place, watching the bravery of Sarah.
Sarah didn't think about anything, she felt her blood running faster and feeling an excitement she never felt before. It was like she was walking to something that belonged to her, was bonded to her somehow.
When she was just a few steps away she extended her shaking hand and touched the cold metal of the machine. Somehow this felt natural for her, very familiar. She looked at it and touched it like she was touching a horse; she was amazed and felt a feeling of belonging that she never felt before. She just wished her mother was there with her.
"Come on guys, it's safe," said Sarah looking like the owner of the machine. The kids slowly came out to the clearing and walked to the machine, looking at it with fear and amazement, but always looking at Sarah for comfort.
They were so near now they could feel the soft and cold texture of the metal.
"Damn with this communication channel!" said a masculine voice coming from the forest in the opposite direction of the gang. They froze in their places scared to death, their little hearts pumping faster than ever.
The tall man stopped in his tracks when he saw the bunch of kids next to his VF. They just looked at him as he looked at them.
"Hey! What are you doing?!" said the pilot. He was almost in his thirties, his hair was black and unruly, one side covering the left side of his face but showing a pair of baby blue eyes.
Sarah was the first to react and shouted "RUUUUN!" to her friends. They finally moved and started running in the direction they came from, Sarah behind them.
Rick saw them run away scared to death and then he realized those kids were his ticket out of this weird forest and maybe to a phone. The kids wouldn't be alone without some parents.
"WAIT!" said Ricks starting to chase behind them, "Please wait! I didn't want to scare you! I need your help!"
"Don't listen! Just run, run faster!!" commanded Sarah almost hurting her throat. The kids just ran and ran on the familiar ground.
The place wasn't known to Rick but he was in good shape and kept an eye on the last kid, the one who was bossing them.
"RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!" screamed Gregory at the top of his lungs and Samantha cried scared.
"Run Sam, RUN!" shouted Sarah again.
"Hey! I said stop! I am a pilot.RDF! I am one of the good guys!!" said Rick almost out of breath.
The chase took some time until finally Rick was right behind Sarah. Suddenly her big hat covered her face, blocking her vision and forcing her to slow her run. Just as Sarah was forced to slow down, Rick stepped on a rock that moved and sent him to the ground, taking Sarah with him.
"RUN!! RUN AWAY!!!" she screamed at the top of her lungs to her friends who hadn't noticed the accident.
Rick didn't realize he was holding Sarah's ankle. He looked up from the ground just in time to move before the kid kicked him in the head.
"Leave me alone! Leave me alone!!" she screamed and kicked her free leg against Rick. He covered his face and tried to block the constant biting.
"Hey stop kid!!" said Rick, unable to stand up.
"Take your hands off of me!!" said Sarah with her hat still over her face, not actually able to see anything.
Rick finally took his hand off the girl's ankle and she stood up. Before he could move, she jumped over him and kicked him in the ribs. Rick wasn't prepared for this and lost his air.
"Take this! Damn you!!" said Sarah kicking him over and over again.
When Rick finally was able to take in some air, he yelled as hard as he could, scaring her.
"STOP!!!" he yelled and sat up, still grabbing his stomach.
Sarah was paralyzed in fear.
"What the heck do you think you are doing?! You kicked me hard!" said Rick trying to catch his breath. Sarah was speechless.
"You are the worst kid I've ever seen! I need your help, not your aggression! Damn," he said unable to see her directly because her hat was still over her face.
Sarah was still there, unable to move. She grabbed her own hands and shook like a leaf in the wind.
"You don't have any right to hit me!! You are just plain rude!" said Rick, finally standing up.
"You scared us!" said Sarah finally finding her words.
"Yeah, I am sorry but I didn't expect to find a bunch of kids in the middle of nowhere touching my veritech!" answered Rick.
"You scared us!!" she repeated raising her voice, but still shaking.
"Why did you hit me so hard?!" asked Rick stepping closer to Sarah. She stepped back, feeling even smaller near this huge man.
"You.SCARED US!!!!!" she shouted at him
"You are the dumbest and ugliest kid I've ever seen!" said Rick, still angry at her.
Sarah didn't know why, but his tone and his words hurt her like a knife. She felt she couldn't breath and her eyes filled with tears. She stepped back again and her hat fell to the ground, showing her tiny face and her soft brown hair falling down around her shoulders.
Rick was shocked. He saw the little girl with tears in her eyes and couldn't stop thinking of Lisa. He knew that sad face. It was Lisa's. His Lisa. Missing the last 8 years of his life. Watching the girl Rick was speechless, so like her, like a drop of water. The little girl in front of him looked like a little Lisa and he thought he was finally going crazy. Looking closely at her, he realized she had blue eyes, not green like Lisa. Blue.he saw closely and was even more amazed when he found he was looking into his own eyes, like a mirror.
He gasped. What was happening? He wondered, but Sarah thought differently. Her feelings hurt badly, she cleaned her eyes with her sleeve hard enough to leave a red mark on her cute face. Now angry, she yelled at him "I HATE YOU!!" and ran away. Rick stood there, watching her go away and disappear into the trees. Did he have a vision? He wondered. Finally, when the silence surrounded him, he looked at the ground and took the hat in his hands. No, it wasn't a dream.