Published on February 21, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
When Gianna wakes up on a cloud, she is disoriented yet fascinated. She thinks she's only dreaming until she gets a storm of paper planes—"They're thoughts of people who remember," a man on another cloud tells her—each pleading for her not to leave. The man tells her these planes are the key to get out of there, and while she thinks it's hard to believe, she decides everything is worth trying if it meant finding her way back home.
Skylar recognizes the grief, the denial on the newcomer’s face while he watches her unfold each paper plane and read the messages—the thoughts—sent her way.
“I need to go back,” she murmurs, finally breaking the silence between them. “I can’t stay here.”
“I tell that to myself often,” he says. His tone is calm, as though already resigned to his inevitable fate. And then he smiles. It’s the reassuring kind, one that makes her smile at him in return. “There is always a way.” He takes a small step to the side and glances behind him, jerks his thumb toward what she initially thought of as a paper sculpture, and says, “Ride back home.”
Her eyes narrow in curiosity. “What?”
“I’ve seen it before,” Skylar says. He drops on his cloud and sits comfortably until he’s poised to tell her a story. “There was an old man here. Sam,” he begins, pointing to empty space to his left. It’s only then that she takes the time to look around. Not that there’s much to see aside from the beautiful expanse of blue hues as far as her eyes can see.
“Might’ve been about fifty. Said he suffered a stroke while tending his garden.”
The brunette stares blankly at the space Skylar gestured to, and then she turns to him. “Where is he now?”
“He’s gone back home.”
The look on her face is quizzical.
“Home,” Skylar says with a smile. “What do you think of when you hear the word home?
There is a word in her head, just one. A name she doesn’t utter, but one that’s always brought about a familiar, warm feeling—like gentle morning sunlight against her skin.
“Anyway. You’d be surprised what those paper planes can do,” he continues. His voice is bright and encouraging, and she wonders how he could be so. She has only been sitting on her cloud for—How long have I been here, again?—a short while, and she already feels miserable. She wants to go back home. “That guy, he’s had millions of paper planes fly to him every single waking hour . . . It was an amazing sight, I tell you.”
“How long have you been here?”
He stops, the question taking away a shade of cheer from his face. He doesn’t seem to know the answer either. “A while.”
“Why don’t you go back home?”
Another shade of cheer gone, and she feels sorry she asked.
“I don’t get enough paper planes,” he replies with a shrug. There’s a short, uncertain pause that transpires between them—one unsure if she should ask why, and the other unwilling to reveal any more of his misery—before he finally says, “And that’s that.”
Without warning, a loud swishing sound is heard around them again, and a bunch of paper planes emerge out of nowhere. Skylar only watches as they all fall on the other’s cloud, and they exchange glances for a while. He sees the sorry flicker in her eyes, and he smiles. “It’s okay.”
She seems reluctant to unfold a plane, but when she looks back up at him, she sees a paper plane drop on his lap.
The look on his face is inexplicable.
“Someone thought of you,” she points out, feeling an ounce of hope for this man in front of her.
Skylar swallows a lump in his throat. Could it be—Jeannie, have you found me?
He unfolds the paper plane quickly, brows knitting together when he sees a handwriting he couldn’t identify.
Be strong, soldier.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. By day, she works in project management and events, and she writes down her daydreams at night. She began publishing fiction for public consumption in 2004, posting her pieces on various online channels like fan forums and Blogspot, eventually exploring other avenues like Livejournal, Soomp!, Tumblr, and most recently, Wattpad.
Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a 6-month-old male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.
Paper Planes Back Home is her first novel.
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