Jadia stopped abruptly, to catch her breath. It wasn’t the only reason she had stopped though; below the hill she was sitting on lay a small town, lights starting to pop on like stars as the evening drew in.
“On an island?” She frowned at the thoughts of others. But, no, this was definitely a town, as obvious as the nose on Jadia’s own freckled face.
Pushing herself off the rough and muddy ground, Jadia raced on down the hill, accelerating due to the steep angle of the scarp slope. At the bottom, the fifteen-year-old spread her arms out like wings and slowed herself to an unsteady stop. It was exhilarating and Jadia couldn’t help giggling, albeit a little hysterically, after everything. A 50-something man walked past, trying to restrain his little Jack Russell Terrier, and gave Jadia a ‘she’s-certainly-not-weird-then’ look. Even so, Jadia had to restrain herself from launching at him and hugging the return to normal life. Gosh, she had missed it all.
She ran through what looked like the central market square of the town, laughing at all the simple things she had laughed at when she was a little beady-eyed girl: the bright marquees that rosy-faced ladies crowded under, yelling out to potential customers to buy their home-grown, ripe and deliciously juicy apples. Little terrace apartment-buildings that shot up to the sky, with wooden shutters that were always open because of the heat, even during the heavy rain, and the silky sheets and garments that that hung around them, drying. Jadia even jumped into the central fountain, her bare feet splashing against the shining coppers lying, untouched at the bottom, and distorted by the clear blue waters.
It was all just like Bella Italia.
Right, now on to the important things. Jadia said to herself, as she jumped out of the fountain, giddy with mixed feelings, but mostly happiness. She headed towards a detached building, determined to use the telephone there, so briskly-but slightly uncertainly-picked up the iron lion’s-head knocker and rapped on the door. She didn’t have to wait along time for the old wooden door to slowly creep inward.
The tanned face of the owner of the house, though, was definitely not any one she was expecting.