The world kept spinning Brenda stared at the globe on her desk she spun the globe more and more, wondering why she had it when she’d never studied it or anything of the sort. She had to study for her test that was where her focus should have been but the world kept spinning and her head was spinning every time she looked down at her bio book. So she stared at her globe thinking of all the places she’d never go wondering if life was really the thing she wanted, to study. But the test was the very next day she stared down at her page again no words written down yet. So she picked up a pen placed the tip on her blank page for notes then stared at her globe. The world was still spinning. She looked at her watch when she went to do so she saw words on her page they said in her neatest of writing as if she focused on writing it quite clearly “I hate this place” she was astonished. She thought to herself ‘when did I write this I was just staring at a globe, I didn’t write this’. But she knew her own penmanship and this was done by her. It worried her deeply to see these words. She quickly crossed it out and scribbled so violently that the page tore to little pieces. The world was still spinning, and she was ready to run away.
Edward was soaked, the rain stopped a few hours ago but he couldn’t afford to stop, not when he was so close to his first destination. He never understood why these people asked him to do such odd things but even still he had to plant the flag on the campus. So he’d just finished running for seventeen miles through a fierce storm now he walked more casually through a nice clear night and as he approached the hill he would climb he heard a scream. It wasn’t a cry for help he’d learned to tell the difference a long time ago but it was still quite loud, not something to be easily ignored. He refused to investigate until the first flag was done. He walked by a dorm house for some of the college students ignoring the sounds of delight and the furious sound of quick pencils ignoring more things than anyone could imagine. The scents the sounds the sights it all reminded him too much of the life he left behind so he tried to ignore it all, which is why he didn’t notice the bio book flying out of the window, and why he was so confused when his head was suddenly throbbing with pain. He didn’t yell out he refused to do anything that would show he needed any help from a university of any kind, he struggled to remain conscious a struggle that he lost.
Brenda packed a bag faster than she had ever thought possible and left her dorm room. She carried everything she thought she’d need for a few weeks of travel and without a plan or a care she just started out the door. When she got outside she saw a man lying on the ground clearly unconscious. She would have ignored him thinking he was merely another drunken student and thus part of the world she was leaving behind but then she noticed next to him was a bio book, her bio book. Guilt over took her so she picked him up. It was a real struggle but she managed to carry him to the school infirmary. Just as she managed to drag him to the nurse he awoke. His first action was to yell, and loud. “WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME!!!” he bellowed with what seemed to be all of his might. “The nurse” Brenda said casually. “I hate schools I won’t go to any school nurse” he said in a much calmer voice as he got up and started to leave. “You hate it too? I was seconds from leaving for good when I found you” Brenda admitted as she started to follow him sensing adventure would soon come his way.
Edward was still trying to ignore his surroundings luckily the pain from the huge bump on his head was helping he barely noticed the strange girl following her not that he minded it at all people following him was something he was more than used to he welcomed spectators though it was odd that she kept staring at the moon he wondered vaguely what she was thinking probably something about full moons being romantic he cared not. As Brenda stared at the moon she couldn’t help but think back to her earlier lesions in school at one point a teacher had informed her that the word lunatic had it’s etymology in the Greek word for moon because they thought it was caused by the full moon. “The moon is so bright,” she began to think aloud “a perfect night to run away.” “You are such an odd girl” Edward said in response. “So says the flag carrier” Brenda replied without a moments pause, and they both laughed.
Edward was having a very very long night as he made his final assent to plant the flag at the top of the hill his knees began to buckle under him, Brenda helped him up and carried him to the top where he planted the flag and the both fainted of exhaustion. The next day they awoke at dawn and ran ten miles east though Edward had no clue why Brenda would want to follow him he didn’t bother to ask he was used to working with people whose motives he didn’t understand at all. They stopped running a few feet from their destination Edward was shocked that Brenda could even keep up with him and that she had the endurance to keep it up for miles. “Were you on the track team or something?” he asked in a semi causal tone. “No I just love running I haven’t really ran like this in years, I needed it.” “That’s really amazing, but I need you to not speak at all while I talk to this man; the people I work for are crazy but they pay me well to just plant some flags, capture frogs and other stupid meaningless tasks they think it will summon someone or something. Couldn’t be bothered to remember.”
They approached a train station it was empty it looked abandoned there was a lone man there in a business suit holding a briefcase. “You’re approximately seven minutes and thirteen seconds late” the man said “Sorry Able I didn’t mean to I had a knee injury.” Edward said bowing slightly. “Noah won’t be pleased.” “as long as I get paid he can blow fuse every single day” “I’ll never see why we need the help of nonbelievers” the man said as he handed Edward the briefcase and turned to walk away “Oh and by the way you can use this train to get to the next town on the map we need the bark from a white birch tree in New York central park sooner rather than later so make that the third thing on you list that will be all Mr. Edward.”
“Your name’s Edward?” Brenda asked finally realizing she never bothered to ask the man she was following for his name. “Yes it is thanks for noticing, I don’t think I asked for yours either.” Edward said as he walked onto the abandoned looking train and carefully read the map and train schedule he’d have to make sure he wouldn’t be ramming into the daily express before he’d even attempt to see if he still knew how to drive a train. The schedules of the trains seemed to leave him a wide window of opportunity. In essence he had all day to get to the next town if he took the scenic route. “So, it looks like, we’ve all day for me to remember how to drive a train.” As it turned out train driving is something one doesn’t forget as easily as Edward originally thought. They were on their way within moments, the sound of the trains engines were like sweet music to Edward’s ears and Brenda absent mindedly spun her globe while sitting somewhere close by.
“Seems like another fine day for an adventure.” Brenda said to herself as the train sped along through an open field of green. “You’ll soon see that everyday is a great time to run away; most of us just don’t take the time to look around and see it.” Brenda laughed at the thought she suddenly had, she resisted the urge to state her new realization, but ultimately failed. “We all just keep ourselves busy so we don’t see the world then wonder why we don’t understand the world around us.” She yelled triumphantly as she actually jumped from her seat and held the globe above her head. “Not all of us. There’s me, and now there’s also you.” Edward said with a smirk. “WE RULE THE WORLD!” She cheered while waving the globe. Edward laughed and Brenda quickly joined him. The world was spinning, and Brenda was enjoying every minute of it.
The train arrived at its intended destination faster than Edward anticipated; he was for the first time, ahead of schedule. He instinctively attributed this to the only thing that was any different in his world; some strange girl was following him, which helped keep him focused. He smiled as he helped her off the train and they exited another abandoned train station into the real world, far from the books that Brenda was fleeing from and it thrilled her, she was smiling too. Edward was carrying another flag, Brenda thought of asking where this flag was to be planted but decided against it, thinking it would be more fun to just hang around for the ride. So she followed cheerfully as the experienced adventurer lead the way to the next challenge. Deep down she knew this was how her new life would be, and she loved it already.
The fires spread quickly; he didn’t know where he was, or how to find his way to safety. He ran wildly hoping that he’d find her and that they’d survive. The support beams of the house began to sway. He was so tired he scarcely noticed his sweat, a piece of burning wood fell from somewhere above him and literally ripped a hole through the side of the building making him an exit. “And escape I shall.” He said casually as he jumped through into the night only to realize two very important things. First was that he was on the third floor, the second was that the fire had started deeper in the forest and even in the outdoors the heat was so intense that the sky was slightly orange to the east. He wondered where she was, but worried more about how to survive. A bear appeared, it stared at him, he knew it was about to charge. Then he awoke. He was alone, he was always alone.
Edward stared off into the distance as Brenda drove the car, complaining about Edward never learning how to drive a car despite knowing how operate a train. Edward pretended to listen as he stared at the man sitting on the street corner, trying to convince himself that he wasn’t seeing who he thought he was. It was clear that the man had just awoken from a nightmare; Edward didn’t know he could have nightmares, and yet it was him. “Stop the car! I need to get out for a moment.” Edward said, feeling more confident with Brenda around and the man having bad dreams. “We’re trying to go get the bark from the tree, remember?” Brenda complained, though she stopped anyway. It had been a week since she started following him and he knew nothing more of his past than when she first met him. The only thing he knew about his past was that he didn’t like it, so she never asked. She was okay with not asking it seemed to make things easier, from what she could tell Edward had been working for the strange cult for some time now though he never really understood their motives, he honestly didn’t care. In fact Edward turned out to not care about most things.
Brenda followed Edward as he walked to a man in tattered grey clothes, the man didn’t look that old, but his clothes did. “Hello Mathew, I see you’ve been sleeping peacefully again.” Edward said as he shook the man’s hand. “And do you still work for the Group?” The man asked in a raspy voice that made him seem older than his clothes. “That I do.” “And I see you’ve found a traveling companion.” “Sure looks like it.” The man stood up and walked over to Brenda. Brenda was instantly shocked, she naturally expected the man to stink but instead he had the wonderful aromas of flowers of many types. “Sorry for ruining your day, but it’s kind of my thing, I’m Mathew, I’m the one who introduced Edward to that cult, and he’s the one who got me out of it.” The man said with a cheery smile that would under normal circumstances brighten someone’s day, served only to confuse. “Umm… hi,” Brenda said in a dazed state, unsure of what anything meant at that point. “How was looking for her?” Edward asked as he turned to walk back to the car. “I think you already know how that went.” Mathew replied solemnly. “If you have nothing better planned, you could follow us for a little while and just stay back when ever I show my progress, we travel a lot you’ll cover more ground, want in?” Edward proposed without turning back to see Mathew’s response.
A few moments later the three of them were walking through central park while talking about nothing in particular. “So after searching through all of California I tried to go search Kentucky, just because it was a place unlike everywhere else I searched up to that point, but I got lost during my hitchhiking and ended up here in the city.” Mathew explained. “I really don’t think you’ll find her there either.” Edward said in a serious tone. “I think you two keep forgetting that I’m new here.” Brenda said with a smirk as she tried to comprehend at least some what was going on. “of course, you haven’t a clue right now, let me explain,” Mathew said calmly despite how excitedly he had been speaking a mere moment earlier, “a long, long time ago a friend of mine vanished, in order to find her ended up joining the cult, at some point I met Edward and got him to work for us, I later left realizing they never wanted me to find her. That about sums it up.”
They eventually found a white birch tree in central park and promptly removed some of its bark. “This mission had a bark way tougher than its bite!” Brenda yelled as they began their descent from the small hill in the unnecessary opening of trees, it was an odd clearing it almost looked like some kind of summoning alter. Several of the trees at the edge of the clearing appeared to have been recently struck down by lightning; it was an eerie place indeed. Brenda couldn’t wait to get away it actually had an aura to it making it seem as if it were from another place and time. It didn’t fit and she didn’t want to find out where it belonged, unfortunately she would find out where it belonged soon enough.