Dare to Dream
"It says here that people used to live above ground. Can you imagine it, Eric?" I flipped the page of the ancient tome.
"That's stupid, Ari. How could they survive there?" He planted his feet upon the rock.
"I don't know, but I bet they could. Can you imagine it? Blue skies, sunlight, green grass." I glanced around our earthen dwellings. Brown, brown, and more brown. We may live an underground castle, but it was no paradise. "I've seen the pictures of how it used to be."
"Who cares? We have our life here, and it couldn't be better." He huffed and stood. "Stop daydreaming. You'll only upset father again, and no one likes him upset."
"I know." But I didn't really. I craved what was above our very heads. Why was everyone else content to remain here? I didn't understand. I couldn't stay. "I'm going to find a way up there, Eric."
His frown deepened before he snatched my book. Ripping the frail pages, he yelled at me. "Stop talking like that. Forget what is above ground. It's for your own good."
Tears stung my eyes as I watched the glorious pages of my book fall to my feet. My brother ran off before I could say anything else to him. He would tell dad. I would get into trouble again, but I wouldn't give up the dream.
* * *
My legs ached. I didn't know how long I had been climbing. Dirt smeared my face, and I blinked the clumps from my eyelashes. Twisting and turning, I pushed and pulled myself out of the crevasse. My hands felt raw, and I couldn't stop crying. I was out of food and nearly out of water. I was going to die here, so far from home.
I never should've left. Eric was right.
Days ago I had lost my way in the underground tunnels. The cavern was endless and darker than I realized.
This floor felt damp and hard. The rocks were smooth under my hands. Lying down, I curled into a fetal position.
"I'm sorry," I said, listening to my voice echo.
Something cool and clear struck my face. I breathed in. It was sweet smelling and delicious. It blew again against me, and I uncurled myself and sat up. Where was it? What was it?
I followed it, searching it out with my hands. Breathing in the delectable air. It had never smelled so wonderful.
I slipped through the dark opening where the wind flowed.
Lights twinkled above my head, and I gasped. It was a crystal-filled sky against its inky backdrop. The wind blew again, and I heard the rustling of…oh, what are they called…trees.
The lights were stars, and there were trees.
The names of the old and nearly forgotten objects floated into my memory. I fell to my knees in awe. My heart beat so quickly in my chest, I thought it would burst.
I was above ground.
And it was beautiful.