The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn
Margaret sat in her room on her bed, holding what looked like some black box. Letting out a deep sigh, she spoke into it.
“Record,” she instructed the box.
“Margaret’s Video Diary,” Margaret spoke. “Friday, October 14, 2112. 1:04 p.m. It is official. I have officially died of boredom.”
At that point, Margaret almost burst into tears, but she held her composure. “What’s a nine-year old like me supposed to do when there’s no one to play with? I have uploaded all my lessons for today and watched all the required lessons. All of my homework for the weekend is already done and has been sent to the Greenville Elementary Learning Network Server. This neighborhood has no other kids that I can become friends with. There are students, but they are all much older than me, and would rather not associate with a ‘kid’ like me.”
Margaret pounded her fist into her comforter. She then crossed her arms on her lavender dress and pouted. The tears, one by one, began flowing down her face. She was so upset that she forgot that she was recording. By the time she realized this, her dress was slightly damp with tears. Her face reddened in embarrassment.
“Excuse me,” Margaret said, crying. “End recording.”
Margaret than heard a knock on the door. “Come in,” she whimpered, as she brought her face to her knees.
The door opened, and her mother, Lily stood there wearing a dress that was similar to Margaret’s. The dress also reflected Lily’s stature. When she saw Margaret, she was greatly surprised. “What’s wrong, Margaret dear?”
Margaret buried her face in her hands and continued weeping. “I am extremely bored, mother.”
The mother sat down beside Margaret and gave her a pat on her shoulder. “There there, sweetheart. There’s plenty to do around here. Have you completed all your homework, and lessons for the day?”
Margaret gave a soft nod. And continued crying. Her eye contact was directed at her feet, away from her mother. “I don’t have any friends, mother. And the older students don’t want to be friends with me.”
Her mother sighed, and looked at her daughter. There was no face for her to look at. Just a large unkempt strand of brown hair. Margaret was now looking downward, at her dress and her knees. She patted her daughter again. “Look at me honey, and stop crying.” she pleaded.
Margaret sighed and looked up. She saw her mother, staring at her. She felt a sense of longing coming from her. “Oh mother!” she cried. And then she threw her arms around her mother and gripped her in tight embrace.
Her mother smiled. “There we go, Margaret dear.” she said, using a soft tone. “Now you tell me that you’re bored. What about your video games?”
Margret released her embrace and shook her head. “I have already played every single game that is approved for someone my age,” she told her. “Every single one bores me now.”
At that statement, her mother was speechless. Margaret too, had no words to say, until a troubling thought entered her mind.
“Why doesn’t daddy ever come home?” Margaret complained. “He’s always on business and he’s never around!”
Her mother nodded, and she hugged her daughter again. “I miss him too, honey. But remember. He doesn’t want to know that you’re unhappy. If you should be happy for anyone, be happy for him.”
Margaret nodded and sighed. “I’ll try. But it won’t be easy with nothing to do.”
The mother gasped, and then smiled. It was as if a light bulb went off in her head. “I just thought of something, my dear.” she told her daughter. “Why don’t you play outside? I heard that children used to do this a long time ago.”
“But mother,” Margaret sighed. “Where would I play? In pretty much every public area, playing is prohibited. Just recently, they demolished the last playground in the city, because no one showed any interest playing in it.”
But her mother continued to smile, completely unmoved by what her daughter said. “I know that, honey.” she said. “But I’m not referring to those areas. What I had in mind is that Forest Sanctuary. From my understanding, you can still play in a spot like that.”
Margaret gave her a strange look. “By myself? Who would I play with?”
“Use your imagination.” she told her. “When I was little, I had an imaginary friend named Lissie. Me and Lissie did everything together. Of course we parted ways eventually, but she was definitely fun to play with.”
Margaret nodded. “It sounds weird, but I’ll give it a try, mother. I’ll be back later!”
Her mother stood up and got out a black box like Margaret’s. “Okay. Be back at 6:30. Set alarm ‘6:30 p.m.’ to Margaret’s Multitasker. Have fun, honey!”
Margaret nodded, and left her room. Her mother followed her, then walked into the master bedroom.
After Margaret left her room, she approached the landing. From the landing was a spiral staircase leading down to the living room, which led into the great room. Margraret went down the stairs, walked through the great room and exited the house.
Margaret walked down the street to the end of the subdivision. The lights were on in various houses, with everyone unwilling to leave them. She approached an intersection, where a teleporter sat. Across the street led to another subdivision. To her left, the street led on, with more subdivisions branching on either side, until it eventually turned into local businesses. To her right, it was pretty much the same thing, only that street eventually led downtown.
Margaret found the coordinates to the Forest Sanctuary and scanned them into the teleporter. After the scan, the teleporter automatically entered the coordinates.
She was about to teleport when some older guy approached her. To her, he looked like a high-schooler.
“Where are you going, miss?” he asked her.
Margaret hesitated, and then sighed. “My mother always told me to never talk to strangers,” she boldly asserted.”
The guy looked at her and laughed. “Really?” he shouted. “That is so old-fashioned! Now look. You can trust me. I’m not like those hoodlums at night. Where are you going?”
At this point, Margaret was getting impatient. Giving in, she let out a sigh. “Okay.” she told him. “I’m going to the Forest Sanctuary.”
The high-schooler laughed again. “You’re going THERE? Nobody goes to that boring place. I’m going to the abandoned mall, so I can see where people used to shop. Later!”
At that, the high-schooler scanned in his location with his Multitasker and pressed the button. The teleporter enveloped him in a beam and he was gone.
Margaret shrugged her shoulders and pressed the button on the teleporter. In just a split-second, she appeared downtown, in a busy plaza. The Forest Sanctuary was nearby, which everyone walked past.
Margaret approached the Forest Sanctuary. It was inside a large glass dome, which covered even the tallest tree. Surrounded by the 300 acres of domed forest was the city. Highrises and various skyscrapers dwarfed over it.
Margaret entered the Forest Sanctuary. From what she learned in her history lessons, she was well aware that trees were becoming more and more scarce in the world today. With urbanization happening everywhere, a measure was taken to protect the forests that still remained. With the Forest Haven Act, which was passed in 2073, every city was required to set aside a designated haven of trees. This would prevent America’s supply of trees from going extinct.
As she walked around, she smiled. For a second, she forgot that there was even a city around her. She suddenly remembered when she looked up and saw the skyscrapers that stood much higher than the dome.
For the next few hours, Margaret played in the forest. Since she had no friends, she took her mother’s advice. She made up her own. With her “friends”, she jumped into the colorful leaves that dropped from the various trees around her.
Margaret then approached a very tall tree. It was taller than all the others, with gnarled branches and gnarled roots. As she was doing this, her alarm went off. All of her imaginary friends left her and she was left alone, face to face with a giant tree.
After taking it in for a while, Margaret began to leave, but something made her stop. It was a flash. A flash that came from a large pile of leaves at the base of the tree.
Curiosity got the best of Margaret, so she got down on her knees and began digging through the pile, scattering as many leaves as she could.
After scattering a few more clumps of leaves, Margaret found it. The flash was coming from a golden leaf. One that flashed its new glow brightly and proudly. What a discovery!
Margaret lifted up the leaf and let it rest in the palm of her left hand. The flash came out of the leaf again. This time, it was brighter. It was as if the flash was granting her approval. The flash continued, glowing brighter and brighter until it covered her body…..
©2012 K. L. Walker