It was a scenic drive to Jason’s destination. Sun was mesmerized by the trees, the thin blades of grass that swept side to side in the breeze, and the large expanses of wild land. Sun had even seen a doe and her fawn disappearing like shadows into the trees when they drove by. She felt so free and her heart ached with all of the beauty that she was being allowed to see. It was enough to make her wish that she could spend some more precious time on the earth. She clutched the sunflower that she had received from the shop to her chest and sighed wistfully.
After two hours, Jason pulled off the main road unto a dirt path that led to a peaceful picnic area slightly crowded with families spending some quality time with each other during the three-day weekend. He parked the jeep in one of the available slots and flipped off the ignition. Sun was out the door within seconds of their arrival and Jason was not far behind.
His goal was to start on the trail now so he went over to Sun and led her to the beginning of the path that he had taken hundreds of times before with his family, then just his sister, and then by himself for inspiration for his art. It brought back so many memories coming here again.
After walking for twenty minutes, Sun suddenly felt dizzy and she almost fell. Luckily, Jason was there to catch her.
“Are you okay?” he asked, his forehead wrinkling in concern.
Sun knew why she was feeling weak, but she wasn’t ready to tell him. What would Jason think of her if he knew that she wasn’t even a real person? How could he accept that she was just a clone? “I’m fine,” she said lightly. “I’ve just never walked this much before.” That was true. Genesis Lab wasn’t exactly spacious.
“Well, we can always stop here. The stars will still be visible come nightfall,” Jason suggested.
“No, we can’t,” Sun replied. “I really want to make it to that clearing that you were telling me about.”
“Okay,” Jason consented. “But if you feel dizzy again, let me know.”
They began walking again albeit a little slower which was perfectly fine with Sun. She was enjoying the scenery. They were surrounded on either side by pine trees that rose high into the sky. Their bristles were a gorgeous bottle green that accented the trees beautifully. Sun ran her thin fingers along the coarse bark of the nearest tree before bending down to look at a strange bug that she noticed climbing a stalk of grass.
The bug’s body was burgundy and covered in black spots. Sun watched as its small legs carried it straight up the stock. Once it reached its destination, it paused before taking flight. Sun watched as it soared away until its tiny form was lost in the surrounding woods.
“What was that bug called?” she asked Jason as they began to walk again.
“A ladybug,” he replied.
“That name suits it,” she stated.
The rest of the hike was quiet except for the chirping of the birds that flitted from tree to tree above their heads. Sun had paused a few times to watch them soar gracefully through the sky. It was mesmerizing to watch them flit from branch to branch like ghosts.
Eventually, the woods gave way to a field of grass and flowers and the trail ended. Jason laid out the blue picnic blanket that he had packed in the middle of the field. Above them, the sky was just beginning to darken. It wouldn’t be long before they saw the first star appear in the perfectly clear sky.
Sun sighed contentedly as she sat down and breathed in the musky odor of the woods and let the gentle breeze waft over her. She looked up at the trees that towered above her, their leaves swaying gently in the light breeze. Her gaze caught the movement of an animal, and she watched as two squirrels flitted through one of the tree’s branches in hot pursuit of one another. But in what seemed like just moments, they leapt to another tree and disappeared from her view.
She gazed longingly after them before Jason caught her attention.
“Hey, Sun,” he said from beside her. “Look up.”
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