The hill was steep. Two weeks up, twenty minuets down. As long as she survived. The sharp incline downward was a menacing sight; smooth, slick stone, any dirt or grass or plant torn away long ago.
Every child in the country had to make this climb and decent, it was the only way to join adulthood.
She could see the city below, all tall buildings and shiny roads. A happy place. A place every child dreamed of.
The envelope sat anxiously in her bag, waiting to be opened. If she reached the bottom, when she reached the bottom, she would use its continence to find her parents. She would finally meet them. It was a moment she had been waiting for her whole life.
She had worked harder than anyone else to get here. Practiced more. Studied more. Learned more. She had passed every trial to get here. Only two others were there with her. The other forty-eight hadn't made it. She looked at her friends, her comrades. Her own terror was mirrored in their faces. They had to be brave now. She knew it. They had to know it too.
She stepped closer to the edge, gathering her courage. One of her friends did the same. The other backed away, shaking his head. He had too much fear.
She sat down at the same time as the other child, their feet dangling over the edge of the hill. No fear. Only hope.
They pushed off, wind whipping their hair, attempting to push them onto their backs. It wasn't long before it succeeded. Now all she could see was the bright blue sky above, not a cloud in sight. Tears came to her eyes. She was so close to paradise.
The soft ground grew closer and closer, and she braced for what she knew would be a harsh impact. When it came, it came fast, but the pain faded moments after. She and the other child stood up, and looked at each other proudly. They had done it.
A sadness passed over the other girl's face. The other girl stepped forward quickly, pushing her back. She fell hard to the ground, and the other girl ripped her envelope away. She lay there, shocked by the other girl's actions. She had come all this way, and she was finally here, and she had lost. Without that letter she couldn't even enter the city, much less meet her family. The other girl had stolen away her one chance. She had been tricked by an Impostor.
And now she is the one who's alone.