The mountains. What a beautiful view at this time of the day. The gentle breeze, the blissful silence, and it’s all here for me to take in. 

The grass is soft beneath me. I hug my knees, wondering what everything is, what everyone might be doing at this point. My eyes water from that cold, fresh breeze but I don’t close them. It’s all too good to waste for a single millisecond. 

And waste it has been…or at least the black depths deep down below. I don’t bring my gaze down. I’m above all that now. I don’t have to think about what’s happening down there because I’m here. And yet the force to do it is still there. I groan with frustration and stand up slowly, stretching my arms. Up here has been the best decision I have made since it started. What started, you may ask, but see none of that really matters anymore. Because I’m up here, not in that far abyss below. 

I’m not naive enough to believe for a second that I’m safe. After all, this is one of the most densely populated areas out here. Thankfully I don’t let that fact tangle my thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, they definitely are but it’s more of the… deathly silence. The quiet is deafening. I don’t let myself go outside at night and nothing bothers me because of that. For some reason though, without warning, I sometimes feel the urge to push open the door to the threat. Just to see someone. Anyone. Even if they are practically not anyone anymore. 

I didn’t bother to close the hole into my house (I guess it’s my house now) when I went out. It’s a far way off night and the breeze is still so fresh. I think myself it’s pretty clever, what I’ve done with this place. Hidden away in a cliff side. Who would think to look here? And in any case, it would be too difficult to get here, even if someone thought it might be possible. The Grove it is in… I can barely reach it even though I do it everyday. Ugh, it all feels so routine now. And it all brings me further to the point of time not existing.

Something doesn’t feel right. The dark starts to cling to my bones, knowing that the night is coming all too early. I have to get back… further into the trees, the shrubs, the bushes… the woods in which I have laid my home. 

And I reach it. It? I don’t know where it is. Where is it? Something isn’t right. There are vines and plants covering it. Without thinking anything through, I start to claw my way to the hole but it’s bigger than before. I don’t want to think about it. I just need to get inside. I scramble down, being exponentially clumsier than I usually am of course. I know that there is something in my mind screaming for me not to make a sound, but I ignore it. Nothing is here. That would be impossible. 

I reach the first room, instinctively hiding behind the rusted filing cabinet. And I let myself take a peak behind it. My eyes focus first on the mess of papers on the ground. No. Scared, they dart to the almost-worn-to-nothing wooden drawers. Completely broken. Trinkets and glass spill out everywhere. No! 

I run, without my mind catching up, to the spill of mess and carefully pick up a glass shard. Into the next room… My head keeps filling with fear and noise, numbing my hearing and feeling as the glass cuts in. Like lightening, I lift up the shard and take the thief by his neck. He yelps. 

“Who are you?! What have you taken?!”. I don’t realise through the numbed hearing that I’m basically screaming at him. 

“N..nothing! P..please! Let go!”. Somewhat of a squeal came out. I can barely hear him and I let go.
“I… I was just… looking?!” he says hesitantly. I frowned.
“Looking? For what?!” 

“Uh.. uh…”

“For WHAT!?”

He throws himself away. It only works because I’m not expecting it. Immediately I slash down with the shard and surprisingly, the boy dodges. I try to run into him but he dodges again and I run into a bookshelf. In a loud bash, all the books fall down on both of us. Desperately, he tries to scramble away, but my hand has a grip on his hood. I yank it as best as I can, considering the giant atlas on it. 

“Let go!” his squeal becomes more screechy. The grip becomes tighter. “Fine. Fine!” he yells at me, giving me an ugly look. I give one back. “You’re the one breaking into my home”. The boy smirked. I frown, surprised.

“You call this your home?”

I pull my now shard-less hand up in a fist. “Don’t test me, kid”.

“Fine!” he says again, giving up and sinking into the tide of books.

“Map” he says shortly. I frown at him, “Map?”

“Map.”

“I don’t have a map, idiot.”

“Yes, you do.”
“I think I’d know what was in my own home, don’t you?”

“But this isn’t your home.”
I sigh. Technically, no. But… hey! How does he know this? And why do I care?

“Get out! I have no reason to help someone who was literally just robbing me”. I let go of his hood. With effort, the boy scrambled from the sea of books and looks down at me. 

“I can’t leave without it.” he says. 

“Yes, you can.” I say while frantically trying to find the sharp beneath the books. 

Ow! Found it.
“Where is it?” he asks, as if I have any clue about what is happening. Without waiting for an answer, the boy continues his quest to destroy my house. It’s surprising he can lift the bookshelves – he looks like an average 13 year old boy who hasn’t eaten right for a month. 

“Hey! Stop it!” I yell, trying to get up. With luck, I push the remaining books off me and grab him by the hood again. I pull him back, but it doesn’t work.
“You do! See”. The boy looks back with somewhat of a half grin on his face. He then proceeds to repeatedly kick the dirt wall until it revealed a small room.
“Wait, what?” I say, as he picks up a very worn and old map from within the opening.
“A map!” he says excitedly, beginning to leave but I still have him by the hood.
“Wait!” I yank it back. I really don’t know why I’m stopping him. All I know is that I can take being alone again. 

“What’s the matter? I didn’t take anything else”. 

I pause. I have nothing to say.

“The map? You want to know why it was here?” 

I nod slowly. 

“Like I said, it wasn’t your house.” 

“I’m coming with you.” I say suddenly.

The boy looks at me. “You’re what?”

I pause again. 

“I’m coming.”