This was the last stop.
Lifting her pack, the girl stepped off the train. A box of instant noodles rattled in the small backpack. She was a little nervous, but also excited. If she were found out it would be fatal, and three innocent people would die as well. She stopped there, hesitated, and strode on.
It was a small town. She could easily see to the end of the main strip. Quietly, she asked a stranger cooling in the shade about a man who had moved there about two years earlier.
No, no he hadn’t come here to marry. He came by himself. Yes, he probably lives alone. No, maybe not in the actual town, but he would have started out there. Thanks anyways, I’d better ask someone else...Yes, a man, over 30, he lives alone...
The conversations meandered like that until she finally got a likely address. But it was far—a half-day’s walk.
A ride? There were no rides out there. You could take a pedicab part of the way but had to walk the rest. The man lives in a valley, where he started a mushroom farm.
She managed to get clear directions and set off. The autumn air was dry and cool. Clouds of tawny dust rose from the dirt road. Her left foot trod inside the tire rut and her dark jeans were stained with yellow earth.
“This is far,” she thought.
But an exiled leader of the old resistance should be living in a remote location, shouldn’t he? A smile crept over her face. She’d been searching for a long time. Young people, like her friends, always told stories about him: The only person to fly and live after the strange aliens conquered; fighting for free skies, leading a massive uprising, defeated, and gone into hiding...Would he ever take the youth flying again? They had wondered.
Her friends took the story for myth, but not her, she had discovered his whereabouts.
The girl’s legs were tired, so she sat on the ground and sipped from her canteen, watching the road. It stretched into a cluster of lush mountains where the trees were already starting to turn gold and red. The view was beautiful and she felt sorry that her friends would never have the chance to come see it.
It was just talk. Let’s go flying or whatever. Nobody thought the boys would actually build a glider. Then somebody reported it. She wasn’t involved so avoided the catastrophe. A laser beam shot down from the sky and struck the boys. Their guts spilled from their bodies. It was horrible.
The boys’ acquaintances then waited in terror to see which three would be selected. She wasn’t chosen, but her little sister was.
The girl never saw her sister’s death. As soon as she heard the news she started her journey. Anger burned inside her. She had no fixed partner or companion. All she had to cling on to now was a myth and vague hope.
She put the cap back on her canteen, stood, and marched on.
Let me find you, mythical resister, and tell me how to struggle against all of this. Tell me how to fight this unnamed power in the sky.