Author's Note: This is a short story that I started (and finished) this weekend. I'm not too sure how good it is or if it's good at all because when I started it I was in one of those funks where I think every word that comes out of my mouth is deeply profound. But whatever. I hope you find it enjoyable.

Shutting the back door quietly behind her and then carefully letting the screen door fall back on its hinges, Indy stole across the backyard. She very cautiously climbed the tall black iron fence in the back and leaped down into a drastically different world than the one full of green grass and trimmed exotic bushes she had just left behind. Thick spruces and maples and oaks surrounded her, and the moist soil was spongy beneath her feet. Rays of sunlight made intricate mosaic patterns on the dead leaves that covered the ground. Birds far up in the boughs of the trees twittered and trilled, completing the utopia.

Indy wasn't here to admire nature, though. Without even glancing at the beauty surrounding her, she began walking away from the fence. The ground was flat, and there was an almost path leading in the direction she was walking, but it soon faded away as the ground started sloping upward, exposing untouched dead leaves of late summer. Indy found herself thinking about times way long before she had even ventured beyond her fence, when she had first met Conner.


"I bet you can't do it!" Jimmy Valley was pointing his finger in Indy's face, and she didn't like it. She stomped a sneakered foot and glanced at the group of kids gathering around her and Jimmy and at the mothers chatting in groups over by the benches.

"I can so!" Indy's five-year-old voice was indignant and angry. Though normally somewhat shy, today Indy felt brave. Brave enough to stand up to Jimmy Valley, the second grade boy who tended to bully all the younger kids.

"Well then do it! I dare you!" Jimmy moved his finger to point it at the tall magnolia tree that stood by itself in the middle of the park. Impressively tall and with limbs that came almost all the way to the ground, it was a pretty easy climb. But to really climb it you had to reach the top, all the way up above the roofs of houses and other landmarks. No one Indy knew of had ever done it, and Jimmy often bragged about being the closest. Today she was tired of his boasts.

"I will," Indy said. Her dark hair was pulled back in braided pigtails, which thumped against her back as she walked over to the tree. The kids standing with Jimmy all stared silently as she pulled herself up to the first branch, then the second and the third. In a short period of time, she was up to the level that was usually the highest any of the local kids went. But Indy didn't stop there, and she continued reaching up and up until there were no more branches that she could grab onto without them breaking.

"Ha!" Indy shouted to Jimmy down below, and suddenly she felt dizzy, looking way down at the group of children and the mothers still at their park benches. It was then Indy realized she was scared of heights. Triumph quickly changed to fear as she clutched the branch she was hanging onto and started to cry. "I can't get down!" she shrieked from her perch to the kids below.

Most of the children just kept staring, and she could have sworn Jimmy was laughing, knowing this would happen, but she saw someone step forward to the base of the tree. They hauled themselves up the first branch and up past the regular level all the way up to her. Indy recognized a boy from her kindergarten class.

"Hi," he said, sitting on a branch just below her and swinging his legs in the empty air beneath him. "I'm Conner." Indy tried to smile a little through her tears.

"I'm Indy. We're in the same class." The boy nodded and continued swinging his legs.

"Do you want me to help you get down?" Indy nodded at the casually asked question. "Ok," Conner nodded. "Come on." He reached up for her hand, and Indy yanked it away, still seeing the ground far below and thinking about what would happen if she fell. "Come on," Conner repeated, reaching for her again.

"I'm scared of heights," Indy sniffled, shrinking away as much as she could from his touch.

"Well, my dad says that if you look at the sky then it won't seem like you're so high up cause the sky is so much farther away than the ground. He says that." Conner still had his little hand held up to her, so Indy cautiously took it and let him help her down to the next branch. "Good," he said, wiping a tear off her cheek and coming down another branch to help her down. Indy watched the sky when she could, and it did seem to help some as they slowly made their way down from the tree.

Indy gradually stopped her tears and let them dry on her face. On the ground, a lot of the kids had gone back to the swings and jungle gym, but Jimmy was still standing there, smirking at her. "See," Indy said," I did do it. I made it farther up than you."

"Yea, but your boyfriend had to save you," Jimmy taunted, dancing around her singing," Conner and Indy sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-"

"He's not my boyfriend," Indy said, shoving Conner backwards and running to her mother at the bench so they could go home.