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When Emma and Evan left their grandmother’s house they first stopped off to pick some blueberries. The bushes were filled with them every Summer and while it was a bit early they couldn’t resist. The berries were so sour and tart that they both would inadvertently grimace after eating them, often times laughing at the faces each would make. The berries were scattered across a small, mosey field that separated the house from the barn-like garage. There was a silvery rock laid path that connected the two structures and undisturbed rock lay like shells on the shore of the sea, resting all around the ground. Off towards the barn a red wagon sat beside two small bikes, both old cruisers. The wagon was half filled with apples they’d picked from the orchard earlier and as they finished collecting their blueberries, they headed toward the entrance of the forest.

It really was a lovely property and the land seems so filled with beauty and wonder to the both of them. Despite something strange between their grandmother and mother, they both loved visiting here. Emma loved visiting because whenever they did they got to ride the old cruisers. She loved all the laughing and racing and chasing they did with one another. Evan loved visiting because he got to climb the mountain in the forest that led to the cemetery. And although his older brothers would often correct him with their eyes rolling in annoyance, he still believed it was a mountain and not just a hill. The truth is things of wonder to a young boy mine as well be made from magic and there’s no way of telling them otherwise. But his brothers were getting older and their youthful abilities to recognize magic had been fading. Evan knew when they corrected him about the hill that they had once call it a mountain too. It was back when they first showed it to him and deep down he knew they remembered. It was no use in reminding them though of something he was sure they missed.

As Emma and Evan entered the forest they both took off running. They were racing with one another towards the creek, trying to see who would get to the tree with the swinging rope first. It was a game they often played and sometimes it was not so funny. Evan usually won, except when Emma seemed like she needed it. Meaning she was most likely going to cry. But it wasn’t one of those times and Evan arrived, touching the trunk of the tree, in victorious fashion.

The rope was tied on a long, draping branch from a tree that swung over the rushing creek. It was the type of swing that you slid your foot into for safe holding. Evan went first and then helped Emma get her footing. He pushed her for a few swings and then he went again. They switched back and forth for awhile, making noises and testing the distance and durability of the rope.

After some time they left the rope and their friendly, draping tree and crossed the quiet creek. They skillfully followed a trail of rocks and landed dryly on the other side. They climbed the steep forest hill with little trouble too. They had made this journey many times before and they knew the rout well.

Once they got to the top, Evan was bubbling with excitement. He was getting closer to the magic and the mountain and the sandy slopes that separated the cemetery from the neighborhood. The outlook spot that oversaw the entire neighborhood street, as well as the cow farm that was next door. On the other side, was the cemetery that was brewing with scary stories about a Green Lady who haunted the grounds. The story went that she was a widow and all she loved was her emerald jewelry. After she died, she was buried in the cemetery but robbers came and dug up her grave, stealing all of her treasures. And since then she haunts the cemetery, glowing green, looking for her stolen emerald. There wasn’t a time Evan had visited this place and not thought of her. As scary as it seemed when he did, there was also something so sad about her restlessness. He hoped that it wasn’t true and that whoever she was, she was resting in peace.

Emma walked along the top of the mountain as Evan sat looking across the landscape from the outlook spot. He wanted to build a fort here and he was sure of it. He would defend it too. He wasn’t sure from what though. Perhaps the Green Lady or other kids or those construction workers that wanted to mess up this magical place. To the East of the cemetery were a bunch of tractors and dirt piles. No one was working there but it was just a matter of time. Both Emma and Evan didn’t like that they were there at all. It just meant that something was going to change, which always seemed to mean that some magical would disappear.

The sun was beginning to descend behind the trees in the horizon. They both knew it was time to head back and both of them were getting tired. As they crossed the creek and walked through the forest, they journeyed together in silence.

Emma thought of the pink and green candies their grandmother would treat them to when they got back home. She could nearly taste their powdery sweetness. And Evan thought about building his fort and defending the mountain, although somewhere deep inside, he was calling it a hill for the first time.

 

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