Avis walked along the familiar path between her house and Marcy's. With her hands in her pockets, she surveyed the familiar Midwestern scene: fields to her right. The air tingled with the premonition of oncoming rain.
Avis tilted her head up to the darkening sky. Releasing a sigh, she thought about a life away from here. A life where the sky would be intersected by the towers of glistening skyscrapers. A life where farm boots and ragged jackets would never fit in. A life where she wouldn't know every face she saw. A life that was different.
In her heart, though she would never tell Marcy, Avis knew that, if the opportunity arose, she would run right out of the city limits of their 500-person town. She would run away from all the moms and dads in jail. She would run away from the inevitable life of either a teacher or a farmer.
Then, the world would be hers.
Halfway to her house, Avis saw a bike on its side in the middle of the path. Crouching down, she ran her hand over the sky-blue paint. Could this bike be her chance of escape?
Standing up, Avis shouted, "Anybody's bike? There's a blue bike over here!"
The only response was the wind rustling the grass.
The clouds rumbled. Avis picked up the bike. Her ponytail blew in the growing wind. A drop of rain hit her nose. Swinging her legs over the bike, she mounted it. The rubber handles bit into her calloused palms. The back of her boots rammed into her calves as she pedaled, bit she didn't stop.
Her house came into view, small and cozy. The cream painted shone sickly pale in the storm. One light shone outside her house though the rain. Avis pedaled faster.
When the gravel turned to pavement, Avis' clothes were drenched. Breathless, she pushed herself onward. The flat horizon in front of her was obscured by the rain. A wheel hit a puddle, splashing mucky water up at her. Her bike sweared, but Avis held steady.
Two blinding lights beamed in front of her. In their light, she saw the horizon of a city.
Author James Wicke wrote to the editors: "It's about a girl's longing to break out of the small-town life she is living in. I hope that all readers can connect with the yearning for something better than the life they have currently."