Contrary to her reasonable nature, Stranger had kept count of the months since she had gone to find the island in the mist.
Six months of bland fall and dreary winter had passed without anything more interesting happening. It was strange how she wanted the island to be real, for since then the world had become bland, predictable, and unapologetically lethargic.
You couldn’t turn on the television without bombardment of bleak events, and there was no section of the Internet to escape where there wasn’t a spat of human beings ripping one another apart. As important as it all was Stranger found herself wandering more and more alone outdoors, walking down ways people had rarely gone, looking for anything unordinary.
If she were honest and stopped to talk about her feelings, she might have admitted, with slow, somewhat hesitant mumble, that her wandering was not from having lost anything, but because she was sure there was something to find.
That one thing might be something that could change the world.
This was no sort of logical conclusion, just a deep, rhythmic impulse that tapped at her mind like a jackhammer. Against her best judgement she listened to its steady whisper and followed it out to a railroad in a quiet part of town.
There was a beach to her left and a park to her right, but the clingy winter hadn’t quite relinquished the sun.
She was crossing the railway when she heard a voice. The words were indistinguishable, but the voice was definitely there.
Stranger walked along the tracks toward the voice. She searched for any sign of someone in the bushes off to either side, but there was no sign of anyone.
It was very strange, because she felt as if someone should be there.
She was about to head back to the road when heard the voice again, clear and loud, though the words were lost to the air.
For unexplainable reason, Stranger bolted toward the voice.
“Hello!” she called.
“Hello…” the voice drifted into wind.
Stranger waited, listening for a rustle in the bushes, or a response to her cry.
The quietness hovered like a heavy breath, and Stranger suddenly realized how alone she was. Her cheeks burned, and she hurried back the way she had come.
It must have been an echo.