TITLE: Fly Away Home
GENRE: Upper MG (magical realism)
Mandy pulled a marigold out of the vase and snapped the stem short. “You look handsome, Grandpa,” she said, and stuck the golden-orange blossom in his button hole.
“Thank you, darlin’.” He grinned and bent at the waist in a courtly bow. “Got to make a good impression on the judges.”
Mandy rinsed her cereal bowl and left it in the sink, then followed Grandpa outside to the old white truck. She yanked hard to unstick the rusty passenger-side door. Grandpa was already revving the engine, the sound muffled in the fog that clung to the hills. They bumped down the gravel road, tires churning up a cloud of dust, then turned onto the blacktop that led to the highway.
The engine thrummed a steady, rumbling rhythm and the truck’s heater blasted stale warmth. The dewy fields and orchards sped by, row after row, mile after mile, the colors and patterns flowing together in a blur.
“How much longer, Grandpa?” The ride was taking forever.
Grandpa winked at her. “Almost there. Half an hour, tops.”
Mandy rolled down the window and squinted her eyes against the rushing wind. Her hair whipped around – it almost felt like she was flying. She’d whoosh right out the window and up into the air, soaring high into the blue sky, the cool wind under her wings. She smiled to herself. Arms. The cool wind under her arms.
Loose papers began blowing around inside the truck. Mandy rolled the window closed.
“You feelin’ sick? Want me to pull over?”