Hi guys! This is a project for a creative writing class - I thought I'd pop it on here and see if I could get any opinions from you guys. Please let me know if you can suggest any improvements or point out any problems!

Also, title suggestions are totally welcome. Current one is just a working title.



"You're going to your Aunt Sara's."

The tall, dark-haired girl looked up. Oh, Emily thought. So that was what was happening.

Emily was ten years old, and lived with her Aunt Marci. She had had parents once, she knew that – everyone has parents. Who they were and what happened to them was a mystery, as Marci didn't like to talk about them. All Emily knew was that she had lived with Aunt Marci for as long as she could remember.

Aunt Marci's ruddy cheeks looked ruddier than ever as she frowned at her charge. Sometimes Emily wondered if she was a changeling, like in fairy tales – Aunt Marci was so big and red, and looked nothing like her.

Marci furrowed her thick eyebrows. "Have you nothing to say? Did you hear me? You're going to go to Sara's. In British Columbia."

That didn't really mean anything to Emily, who in all honesty did not pay as much attention in school as she should. She tried to look suitably impressed for her aunt's sake. "Sorry, Aunt Marci." She had noticed Aunt Marci had been acting strange lately. She also knew that Aunt Marci hated being asked questions. It seemed expected right now, though, so she ventured to ask one. "How long am I going to stay there?"

After all, Jessie McQuade's birthday was next weekend. The whole class was excited for it.

"Oh," shrugged Aunt Marci, who loved to make a sensation, even when her audience was only one little girl. "A year or two, probably."

Aunt Marci made her sensation. A year! Or two! It might as well be forever. As for British Columbia, it couldn't be that close – Emily had only met her Aunt Sara once, at Christmas. In fact, Emily had a sinking feeling that British Columbia, wherever it was, was no where near her comfortable little housing co-op in Toronto, Ontario.

"Oh, I shouldn't have told you so early." Marci shook her head, noticing Emily's expression. "Don't mope all week. We're leaving Friday. I just wanted to give you a chance to tell your friends before you leave." She sighed. "I'm too considerate of you, child. Don't expect Sara to be so kind, now."

Emily, who hated to be called 'child', put a smile on and thanked her aunt. She was a sensible girl, and knew from experience that Aunt Marci was easier to deal with if she stayed polite. "Can I go outside, please?"

"Yes, yes, go ahead. Get your coat, you don't want to get sick before you leave."

Emily ran for her coat and went outside. There were always kids to play with outside in the co-op, rain or shine. The co-op was mainly families, and it was normal for everyone to be outside until it got dark out.

Jessie was outside with another of the neighbourhood girls, and from the smirk on her face it was obvious she knew what had happened. Her mother was good friends with Marci, and she usually knew what was going on in Emily's life before Emily did.

"I hear your aunt just got a job up north and you can't come with her. I hear you're going to move to British Columbia."

From her tone, one would think British Columbia was a shameful place to be. Emily ignored it – Jessie was always talking like that. "Yeah, I am. I'm leaving Friday."

Sammy, the other girl, piped up with a horrified expression. "You're really leaving?" She looked like she was going to cry. Sammy cried all the time.

"Yeah, I really am. But I'll be back eventually!" Emily smiled encouragingly. "Don't you worry." Secretly she doubted they would ever be back in the co-op – Marci was always moving – but she hated to see Sammy cry.

"I doubt it." Jessie sniffed, though she didn't sound as scathing as before. "I bet you'll forget all about us."

"Oh, don't say that!" Sammy exclaimed, tears starting to glisten in her big brown eyes.

"I won't forget you guys." Emily grinned. "You're my friends."

"Well," Jessie conceded, "I hope not. We'll remember you." That was Jessie's way of saying she would miss her.

The rest of the week seemed to go by in a flash. Emily found a map of Canada in her classroom. It confirmed her suspicions about British Columbia – it really was far away. Far, far away, actually – farther than she had thought. The only good thing she could see about it, really, was that it was near the ocean. She had always wanted to see the ocean. Hopefully Aunt Sara would take her one day!

Aunt Marci, to Emily's surprise, took her on a shopping trip in a sudden gesture of generosity, and bought her new boots ("British Columbia is terribly wet, you'll need them"), a new smart little jacket and some other clothes. Her niece would have been delighted, except she also insisted that Emily throw out some of her more ragged, beloved clothes.

Her class held her a farewell party on Thursday and even Jessie was tearful as she said goodbye. Emily packed all her treasures into the shabby red suitcase she had used in all her previous moves. To an outsider, she was oddly untroubled – not many girls Emily's age would be so calm when moving away from all her friends. This was not a first for Emily, though – Aunt Marci was always moving. Although she loved the little co-op, Emily had only lived there for two or so years; she had left other friends behind when she moved in. She was upset, of course, but not as upset as one would expect.

Friday morning came, despite Sammy's desperate prayers that it wouldn't, and Marci and Emily drove to the airport in the dawn light.

All of Emily's sorrows were forgotten when they boarded the plane. A childhood of constantly moving had instilled in her a love of adventure; the idea of flying was novel and fascinating.

"Calm down and sit still." Aunt Marci told her, looking decidedly whiter than usual. Emily did as she was told, but it didn't stop her from peering out the window as they took off.

And they were flying! Emily couldn't help but grin excitedly as the ground fell away. She'd always wanted to be in a plane – sometimes they saw them overhead on the playground. To soar over the clouds!

It was fortunate that they didn't have a window seat, or Aunt Marci would probably have asked her to close the little covering. The passenger beside them was fast asleep, so Emily could peer past him out the window.

She remembered those four and a half hours for the rest of her life. To think there were so many amazing things between Toronto and Vancouver! Mountains, lakes, farms. Cities. Even the clouds they passed over – and through – were fascinating.

When they touched down in Vancouver she was almost disappointed. Almost, that is – because Aunt Marci was already pulling her along to here, there, out of the airport, into a cab. She watched the unfamiliar streets until they finally reached their destination – a bus depot. More being pulled through crowds. Another lineup. And then-

"Well, here's your ticket. Stay on the bus, don't talk to strangers. Your Aunt Sara will meet you in Small River."

Small River! Where was Small River? And, wait, what?

"You're not coming with me?"

"No, child, of course not. I've got a plane to catch home. I've already spent a lot of money taking you this far."

Brave adventurer she might be, but this was a bit much for Emily. She looked nervously at the big bus.

"Come on now!" Marci told her impatiently. "Take the ticket!"

Emily put her hand out slowly. Marci pushed the paper in it and thumped the suitcase down in front of her. "Get on that bus, Emily. I have a cab to catch."

And just like that – just like that – she was gone.

Emily watched her go back through the big doors, with a sudden, awful feeling of loneliness. The bus driver, a middle aged man with a family of his own, gave her a pitying glance.

"I'll take your bag, miss. You just hop on the bus and pick a seat." He smiled softly.

"Thanks." Emily murmured, and, with one last glance at the doors her aunt had disappeared through, said goodbye to her old life and climbed on the bus.