Marlene watched countless times, her father leaving for work. She stayed behind wondering what it was he did during his trips. Mother was neglectful; did not do anything with her since she also called that she get home-schooled. She was bored and desperate all the time, seeking adventure. She decided to find way out of the house, one day. She’d never have to ask or regret why she didn’t try.

Crampton Heights was quiet and remote, unlike the other neighborhoods in the city. It was home to a bored girl who longed to explore, who dreamed of a life outside their house. Every day she longed to be somewhere else, but the sound of expensive cars and gracious lawn mowers filled the air instead. Marlene wanted more.

She wasn’t fond of being inside, spending her time doing nothing. She tried many things, using the computer, reading, chatting in forums, Snapchat, but nothing made her day less boring.

She walked to her mother’s room to check on her in the morning one day, and she saw her sitting by the window, silent. Her hand was occupied by a book, the bright shiny one in red, also one of the boring ones she read for fun. In the background was a slow tune from an old phonograph, sitting on the other end by the mirror.

Marlene turned on her heel and went back to her room. Mother wasn’t going to do anything like she never did countless time before.

She stood by her window, when she got to her room, and looked outside at the open field. The sun rays were touching the perfectly mowed grass and the birds were frolicking close to the sprinklers.

The beauty was calling to her, she could see. She wanted to go out there and enjoy it, even though it meant her mother would call the maid to get her before she went too far.

Biting her lip, she popped her head outside the window and weighed how far it was to the ground. Putting one foot after the other, she climbed outside the window and clung to the window sill, making sure she stepped on the right brick on her way down. Before she got a good grip, her shoe slipped and sent her falling towards the ground.

A sharp pain shot through her right foot and she felt like she could not walk. While cursing her luck, she winced and picked herself up through the pain. She limped out into the field and continued on her mission to find anything.

She came close to the center of the field and looked out into the open. It was everything she’d imagined, free and equally welcoming. She felt slightly suspicious that someone was watching her, but when she turned around, she saw that nobody was there. As she continued, she immediately bumped into something that made her stop and hold her forehead.

She could not see what she had bumped into. Frowning, she wondered whether this invisible wall had been there all the time.

Having a feel with her hands, she realized it was actually an invisible door at the center of the field, with nothing else to support it. She felt for the knob and turned it and walked right through like it was nothing. Before she knew it, she was standing in an oddly different place, a vastly different world from hers.

A perfect house was standing in the plain, lit by warm sufficient lighting and looking the part of a luxurious escape. The sky was a deep purple and if there was a sun it was covered in dark purple clouds. The house was the opposite of an old scrawny house from her books. It was clean and pristine, a place that looked like a villa someone would pay to stay.

Strangely, her leg wasn’t hurting anymore and she was walking normally.

As she took a few more steps, a low soothing voice came from behind her.

“Marlene Rivers.”

She whirled met with the owner of the voice. She couldn’t recognise her face. It was an old woman with dark skin, wearing a smile that traced her husky cheeks. Her eyes were bright and sparkling and dark like she could see through her soul.

“Who are you?”

“Oseiko Masum. I take it we haven’t met before, but I already know you. I’ve known you since you were a little child, craving to see the outdoors.”

Oseiko passed Marlene and led the way towards the house. Her long, grey robe trailed behind her and her pace was quick and agile like she wasn’t as old as she looked. Marlene was struggling to keep up.

When they got to the house, Oseiko opened the door and helped her inside.

“How are you living in our backyard? My father will have you arrested.”

Oseiko pointed at the shiny stool by the breakfast bar and Marlene went along to sit there. The woman circled the other side and raised a cup with a coffee-like substance. “Drink this. You’re going to need it if you want stay a minute longer here.”

Marlene stared.

“Trust me, you’ll get sick if you don’t. In the mean time, I hear you say your father owns this place, but the truth is he doesn’t.” She laughed. “Oh no, this place has many owners, but you Marl want to see some adventure. Do you wish to come see it with me?”

Marlene found herself nodding. The urge was too much to deny.

“Then you’re up for something you haven’t seen in your life.” She smiled, through her milky-white teeth.