A/N: Ah, I'm on a writing roll right now. Another one-shot should be up whenever I'm not feeling lazy. Which is sometime this week. xD Anyway, this is unbetaed, and I don't even know how I got to write this. It just ... happened, you know. Weird. I think this turned out okay, pretty good. Not the best, not the worst.
Please point out any mistakes. Enjoy.
Once Upon The Memory Hill
The night was restless.
Somewhere, far away, an owl hooted, and a wolf's howl was sounded, echoed by a pack of the wild dogs joining their leader. Animals, numerous amounts of them, chattered back and forth, scurrying off in different directions, each attending their own tasks. The grass rippled in a wave from the cool wind, brushing its tips gently against my ankles, dampening my socks from the layer of mildew.
I stood there, my face lifted heavenwards, staring at the night sky unblinkingly. It was a long time – such a long time since I stayed still, doing nothing, contemplating about life. The hill was all too familiar, all too quiet despite the frequent interaction with the animals. It haunted my mind constantly with memories of long, long, ago. Something I couldn't stand to be apart from, something I was no longer part of.
Far, far away, the edge of the horizon illuminated a phenomenal pink streak, easily blending in to the black night sky that was dotted with countless amounts of stars. I knew what she would have to say to this. I knew my sister would take my hand the first minute, gently pointing out all the wonders of the world, and the next, she would be jumping up, her arms in a crazy frenzy, just for the fun of it.
Years ago on this very hill, I stood here, a daisy clutched in my tiny fist. I lived here, almost literally. We had a log cabin, because we couldn't afford a nice flat in the city, merely because it was too expensive. We made good use of the land we had, even though it wasn't technically ours.
It was a family tradition that my sister had made up – each night, we would sit on the hill and just talk, or even sing, tell stories, eat, anything just to pass time. We would listen to the waves crashing against the shore below us, and be grateful for everything we have. It brought us closer.
That night I was alone. As alone as alone could be. No sounds could be heard, except for the occasional waves, and leaves rustling. If anyone approached me, I could have heard it from half a mile away. My parents were gone; they were in the city, at an auction for an 'actually decent house', because they were tired of this place. My young mind couldn't understand that the first time. We were happy, I had thought. We had a home. That was enough.
Not enough for them, apparently. The daisy was a gift from my mom, when she'd picked it up on the flower beds that grew in a clearing. Just for my little angel, she had said and kissed me goodbye. My sister got my daddy's old radio, because she loved music. I was jealous. Pain and jealousy tugged at my heart, and hit me blindly during their departure.
I ran away before she could ever find me, and the hill was my only refuge. When I looked at the stars, I imagined that the stars were wishes floating in the air, waiting to be fulfilled. That was what my sister had said from a few months back. The memory was hazy, but it was something along the lines of wish upon a star.
And so I wished. I wished that my parents would be back soon, I wished that everything will be back together again, I wished for a pet unicorn, I wished for the impossible. My mind was focused, so focused, that I couldn't hear the footsteps.
I was startled and gave a little yelp, but it was just my sister, with the radio in her hand.
My jealousy came back, and I tried to avoid her and ignore her, but I wasn't good at holding grudges at such a young age, especially when she asked me if I wanted to use it, saying that we could share. I had the best sister in the world, I'd thought, changing from one radio station to another, before I gave it back to her and just settled with staring at the sky once more.
Are you hungry? She gave me an inquiring look before pulling out a picnic basket from behind her and spread out my favorite light blue cloth on the ground. Because checker cloths are overrated, she'd say the first time I asked her. I didn't understand, but I didn't question it.
Ham sandwiches were her specialty and my fantasy. We sat there for the longest time ever, without talking, just chewing and watching the night. She'd dusted her hands on her shorts and then pointed at the little lights floating around us. Fairy lights.
Fireflies, I had corrected, feeling proud that I knew something she didn't. She'd grin at me, and shook her head. Fairy lights, she repeated and jumped up so suddenly, I couldn't even see what she was doing. She was grinning though, and holding something that was shining in her hand. The firefly.
I put it in a jar of jam that she brought along, fascinated at the new find. I cradled it to my chest the whole evening, as I listened to her voice paint extravagant pictures of our possible new life in the city. We would ride cars more often, get to take hot showers, travel, ride the merry-go-round, and meet new people. My eyes widened at the prospect of riding an up and down ride instead of climbing the stairs. I had exclaimed, That means we can fly!
Her voice lulled me to sleep, but I woke when she shook me. I'd whined and flopped back on the grass, but she shook me anyway, persistently, and showed me her watch. 11:11, the magical time where wishes come true, she'd declared. I jittered around on my toes, excited to make a wish, unlike my sister who had her hands clasped tight and her eyes squeezed shut.
At the last few seconds, I grabbed the jam jar and freed the firefly, just as my mind operated with a wish, the first thing that came to my mind: I want to live in the city.
And now here I am, listening to the whistles of the wind, regretting my wish. It came true, but my life wasn't the same. It was an unhappy life; so miserable. My parents, my beautiful parents whom had loved me and hopefully still do from my childhood had gotten a divorce. My sister was gone, killed in a war, as a reporter.
My heart squeezed at the painful thought of it, but I blocked it out. The evening before her death, she'd told me that her long ago wish on 11:11 was me. That I would be happy; someday, sometime, that everything would work out for me. I didn't know if I was happy now, or if everything worked out for me, but her wish gave me the tiniest sparks of hope.
And so, I stand on the all too familiar hill that restless night, reminiscing on the days of long, long ago.
Where life used to be happy.