'Trust yourself,' people always told her. 'You're special, you came to this village for a reason.' But belief should always be built on solid facts, real evidence. Kyla thought she was just a normal girl; so far, she had never displayed any quality that might suggest otherwise, so it was difficult for her to believe in all that rubbish.
But her belief in herself apparently mattered little. She honestly didn't think she was able to do the things they wanted her to do, but still they insisted in sending her to this wilderness with a group of strangers. Dutifully, she had tried her best to make things happen. She practiced in the morning, in the afternoon, at night. Whenever she stopped for lunch or dinner breaks, she would wonder, why was she still trying? Upon receiving the expectant gazes from the people around, Kyla would have gotten her answer: because quitting was not an option.
With that conclusion in mind and a heavy sigh, she would put down her half-eaten sandwich or whatever simple meal that was provided (it didn't matter anyway), and go try again.
Her favourite practice spot was just behind their campsite, in the middle of the meadows. It was close enough for everyone to be able to see where she was, and at the same time far enough not to hear all the chatter and noises.
It was late afternoon. And just like any other afternoon, it was practice time for Kyla. Kyla put down her cup of tea, and walked into the meadows. She could feel several pairs of eyes following her, and it was unnerving. Once she was surrounded completely by patches of yellow and green, she took a deep breath and relaxed a little. Everything was so quiet; the wind blew quietly by, the ants walked in silence, even the birds talked in whispers. If her mum were here, she would've told Kyla that this was the unnatural quietness before a storm, that doom was about to descend upon them all. A smile crept onto Kyla's face. Her mum had always been gloomy and over-sensitive and difficult at times. One time she heard a small noise coming from the front door, and she wasn't able to stop thinking about it all day. When Kyla came home from school that evening, her mum complained that Death had been knocking at her door. 'Yes, Death, knocking, the whole day, can you believe it!' her mum said with conviction. In the end, Death did find her, and freed her from her own misery.
Kyla stopped her train of thoughts, and focused on the wild flowers before her eyes. They were all bowing gently in the same direction and rhythm. For a very long while, she just fixed her eyes on the flowers. Then she breathed in, breathed out, and straightened up.
She closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.
The ants stopped in their tracks, the birds stopped fidgeting, the clouds halted in the sky; the whole world just stood still, but Kyla wouldn't know. Her mind was focused solely on her favourite song, the one she had played on repeat for months in her school days, and still listened to from time to time till this day. She let the familiar tune play in her mind, and set her imagination free.
In her head, Kyla pictured a quiet meadow, much like the one she was standing in. In a distance, little huts were scattered around in a golden hue under the setting sun. Smoke rose from a few of the chimneys. Several feet away, she pictured a young boy playing on his own, running around in circles, flailing his arms around. His slippers crushed the long grass underneath as he ran. Kyla could almost smell the distress coming from the unfortunate injured grass. Then the boy began shooting out his hand, as if trying to catch something in the air. After a swift grab, the boy gave a victorious shout. He opened his palm slowly. Kyla saw a flicker of bright purple, then it was gone. It had obviously escaped. Kyla wondered was kind of bug it might be; she had never seen a purple bug in her life. The boy, unaffected by the little interlude, resumed his dance. He looked so happy, so carefree, completely immersed in his own play world. She felt envious, then quickly ridiculed at the fact that she envied an imagined character, and laughed at herself softly.
Suddenly, the boy stilled, and looked around. His eyes met Kyla's. They stared at each other.
Kyla was confused. Had she also imagined that reaction? Anyhow, this was one of the most vivid imaginations she had ever been able to come up with, and she was quite pleased with herself. Kyla smiled.
The boy smiled back. Then he started walking towards her. Kyla gasped; was she trying to interact with a figment of her own imagination now?
The boy gradually came nearer and nearer, until they were standing right before each other. Kyla was too surprised to give any reaction. The boy let out a hearty laugh, as if he thought Kyla was being ridiculous, and was genuinely happy to meet her.
With a bright smile, the boy reached his hand out. His tiny fingertip almost touched Kyla's. At that same moment, Kyla opened her eyes.
In front of her was the same quiet meadow, with patches of yellow and green. There were no huts, no chimney smoke, no sunset, no boy. The late sun was hanging lazily above her, clouds drifted by aimlessly, the ants crept on silently, the birds continued their chatter in whispers.
Kyla let out a defeated sigh. Slowly she returned to the campsite. Everyone's eyes were on her. She smiled ruefully and shrugged. 'It didn't work today, again,' she announced. 'I can't do it. I can't bring anything from my imagination into the real world. And I certainly can't help you and your village, whatever it is that you're planning.'
The people just stared at her.
Kyla lowered her eyes. 'Fine. I'll try again later,' she said, and retreated to her own tent.
As Kyla disappeared behind the canvas to sulk and recharge, she completely missed the quiet murmurs amongst the people, about the mysterious child they had all seen, the boy who had popped out of nowhere and disappeared just as abruptly, deep in the quiet meadows.
Beyond the meadows, the sun radiated golden light; it was finally ready for sunset. Somewhere hidden in the long grass and wild flowers, a purple ladybug rested on a green leaf. A gentle breeze blew over, and it spread its wings and disappeared into the vast field of yellow and green.