Chapter 7: Nothing Short Of A Hero

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Ryn woke up early, and her rousing mind was cruelly convinced that she'd open her eyes to the normalcy of her bedroom.

But alas, the first thing to enter her disoriented vision was the gnarled knob of tree root which rested beside her head.

She sat up, alarmed, before memories of yesterday came crashing down upon her with a throbbing headache.

Her shoulders sagged as she glanced around, not to see warm-coloured walls, or book-lined shelves, but rather an endless expanse of swaying trees, a soft orange light peering in through the leaves to watch curiously for her reaction.

The reality of it all settled in, and she found she had to struggle to breathe over the lump that had risen in her throat.

Everything she knew, everything she loved, would not exist for another hundred years.

Her parents.....

She forcefully blinked back the tears that threatened to fall, and instead pushed herself to her feet.

It was important that she find the key to returning to the future, and she wasn't very well going to get anything done if she wallowed amongst the trees, all day.

Lifting her chin, and squaring her shoulders, she marched back towards the city.

***

Ryn knew it would be safer to fly. Soaring high above the city, with her unique powers rendering her invisible, there was no chance of anyone spotting her. No chance of drawing attention to herself.

But there was a part of her that yearned to see what The Lights had to offer, a century before it had evolved into the city she knew and loved.

The streets were bustling with early morning pedestrians, walking alone or in small, chattering groups.

Cars of all shapes and colours drove past with a rush of air, clogging up her throat with the rather distasteful scent of burning petrol. It was no surprise this form of transport was phased out. Ryn couldn't imagine what kind of effect an excess of such fumes would have on the environment.

The roads, in her time, still passed between the buildings as they did now, but they had been modified to accommodate pedestrian activity, rather than squealing rubber tyres. Ports rendered vehicles useless, but people still enjoyed to travel by foot, if only in their leisure time.

Now, however, the people clung to the sides of the road, where footpaths bordered the high-rise buildings, like spider webs.

Ryn tried her best to act normally, but she couldn't help gaping at the strange sights as she passed, following the flow of foot traffic.

As she traversed the familiarly foreign streets, she saw a bright yellow, low-to-the-ground car, waiting at a red light. It bounced up and down in time with the thumping music that streamed from its open window.

A gruff-looking man, somewhere in his mid-thirties, had a tattooed arm hanging out the window, rapping against the metal of the door.

He turned, beady eyes catching her gawking, and he grinned, a malicious expression that sickened Ryn to the core as he looked her up and down.

The lights changed green and the idle engine roared to life. With a wink, the man zoomed off, a cloud of exhaust corrupting the air in his wake.

Ryn shook herself, and turned back to follow the footpath.

Almost immediately she ran into someone, sending the woman's Styrofoam cup crashing to the concrete, where a flood of dark, roasted coffee spilled across.

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