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Piper stared out the window, staring at a small blue jay soar around the sky. I sat down next to her, but she didn’t acknowledge my presence. I didn’t mind it though. I was fine with just sitting next to her, watching her marvel at the sight of the bird.

“Jackson, do you want to fly away?” Piper asked, apparently she did realize I was there. I was a little shocked, normally when she was looking out the window up into the sky, nothing could pull her out of her trance. Not a rub on the back or a kiss to her cheek. 

“Why would I, I live in the only place I want to be,” I replied. 

“But there are so many places to go, so many places to see. We could follow the birds and see where they take us,” Piper said. 

“Trust me, I’ve seen them all, there is nothing better than this,” I assured her. 

The truth was, outside the small village that we lived in, the rest of the world was at war. The skies were painted with ash and the grounds in blood. People were barely hanging on, fighting for what little remained. It didn’t matter if it bit to eat of a square of cloth, the world was complete madness.

Not here though. In this small English village, we lived in a dream. We grew food and worked together so that everyone had a little bit of everything. We were all equal, and safe. 

“Tell me what it was like, growing up away from here,” Piper said. 

“Let’s just say, I got here as soon as I could,” I replied. 

Ever since we got married and I told Piper where I came from, she’s been obsessed with learning more about the outside world. I didn’t understand her, why would anyone want to learn more about that hellhole. 

Piper turned away from the window and grabbed my hand. We stared at each other. I was fine just looking deep into her mysterious blue eyes till the end of time, but instead, Piper dropped her gaze and stared at the floor.

“Could you take me?” Piper asked timidly. 

“Take you? Why in the world would you want to go?” I asked. 

She looked up again and leaned forward as though she was about to kiss me, but instead, she continued to beg.

“Please, Jackson-” she leaned back, “I’ve never been outside the village.”

I shook my head, “I can’t, it’s just, you won’t like it out there, I promise.” 

I didn’t really want to go back out there either. I couldn’t go back out there. Here was paradise, out there was... Well, it was a mess. It was nothing that I ever wanted to experience again. 

“Alright,” she said as she pulled away from me and stared back out the window. 

“Piper,” I whispered.

I waited for a response, but it never came.

“I love you, Piper,” I whispered before standing up and walking out of the room. 

We went to bed that night and there was a large space between us. I was cold, but I didn’t dare move closer to her so that I didn’t upset her more. We had had this talk before about going outside the village but never had she been confident enough to ask me to take her out.

It took a while, but eventually, I fell asleep, but it took far longer than a normal left. I had a dream, I didn’t remember much of it, just that Piper and I were standing on the edge of a cliff, she jumped, and I woke up.

I was breathing hard and I turned over to grab Piper’s hand to calm me down, but she wasn’t there. 

“Piper?” I called.

There was no answer. 

I forced myself out of bed and pulled away from the confronting, warm blankets. I put on my slippers and walked to the kitchen. Maybe she had gotten up for a midnight snack. 

“Piper?” I called again.

There was still no response. 

I started to sweat and I started to panic. Where was she? Did she just leave? Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a sheet of paper with writing on it. I rushed over and picked it up, it was Piper’s handwriting. I read it.

Dear Jackson,

I’m sorry I left, I just couldn’t stay there anymore. Don’t come looking for me. I know you're happy here and I don’t want to take that away from you, but I’m not happy. I’m going. I love you too.

-Piper.

I read the note over and over again. It couldn’t be true, Piper couldn’t just leave. I needed her here, with me. I couldn’t be happy without her. 

I knew where she was going, maybe she didn’t leave that long ago. Maybe I could catch up with her. I didn’t care that I was only wearing slippers and underwear, I burst out of the house and into the frigid cold night. 

I still held the note in my hand as I rushed towards the edge of town. I could catch up to her. I could stop her from leaving. I could warn her of the dangers outside and convince her to stay with me, I just had to run a little bit faster. 

I arrived at the edge of town.

“Piper!” I called. 

I shivered as the frosty night air bite at my exposed skin. 

“Piper!” I repeated, but there was no answer. She wasn’t here, she had left already. I was too late.

I turned around to head home in defeat, but my feet refused to move. I couldn’t just leave Piper out there alone. I was her husband, how could I leave her side. 

I turned to face the edge of town and took a deep breath. This was for Piper.

I took a step out of the town and into the hell that I used to call home. I forced myself to take another step, and another one, and another one. 

I looked up into the sky and saw a bird flying overhead. I didn't know where it was going, but I choose to follow it as it flew away from the village.

“Piper!” I called. 

I walked faster and faster getting further away from the town. I don’t know if I’ll ever find her, but I know that I won’t stop looking until I do.

February 06, 2020 15:41

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