The sky was still turning pink and gold when Sholeh left the hotel room she and Evan had shared last night. It had been difficult to say goodbye there, but she hadn't wanted him to accompany them to the bridge that connected to Tryadnea. She didn't want to watch him vanish behind her along with the one place she'd ever felt she truly belonged. Moreover, she wasn't sure if she'd have the strength to say "No" if he asked the question that was in both of their hearts. She doubted that he would be selfish enough to ask, but she was selfish enough to want him to.
Granted, Zhahar and Zeela would probably have stepped in if Sholeh could not give the right answer, but she didn't want the last few minutes on the island to be spent wrangling with one another. It was hard enough to go home and face whatever waited for them there. They needed to be united for that, just them against the whole world, as it always would be.
Now they stood in front of the bridge that would take them home. It wasn't much of a bridge, just a few stones that stood above a runnel of water likely caused from all the rain from this past week. If it hadn't been for the insistent tug in their chest leading right to it, Sholeh and her sisters might never have even considered it. They could see the other side quite clearly--could almost hop to it, even in Sholeh's heavy dresses. But as soon as she put her foot onto the first stone, the landscape across from them shifted.
Instead of Fandom's lush greenery, there was a field of yellowing grass, bisected by a cart track. They all recognized it instantly. It was a road that lead to their mothers' village. One step, two, and they were on the last stone before their homeland.
=Home,= Zeela said, though she sounded uncertain.
*The connection is weakening,* Zhahar said, and she sounded certain. *Now or never, little sister.*
Sholeh squared her shoulders, refusing to take one last look, and stepped off the last rock into the field. There was no shift in time or space, no feeling of instant loss, but when she glanced behind her, there was no sign that Fandom had ever existed. The field of dying grass extended beyond what she could see in all directions, with only the cart track to show that there was more to Tryadnea than just this.
For a moment, she felt lost and adrift, alone, not truly of one world or another. But then the protective and comforting feeling of her sisters pressed closer and she remembered that no matter what happened, she would never, ever, truly be alone. They were Sholeh Zeela a Zhahar, the a Zhahar Tryad. She couldn't ever be far from home because she always carried the most important things with her.
"Let's go home," she said quietly.
[And that's the last post in Fandom for 3girls_1core, at least for awhile. But the sisters will be staying on as ex-pats, though they'll be incommunicado for a bit. Thanks to everyone who made having them so much fun!]
- The Park, Just After Dawn, Saturday Morning