Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)
TITLE: The Hills of Enelee
By Amy Michelle Wiley
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I grabbed the rail just in time as the boat thumped against the dock. Only then did I allow myself to lower my eyes from the hills in order to search the faces of those who milled around the port.
Right away I spotted her, a girl around my age, waving wildly as though she honestly were excited to see me. I knew the speech she’d give, about how she’d always wanted a sister and how I should make myself at home because, after all, it was my home now, too.
As if a foster kid like me ever had a home. As if she really wouldn’t mind sharing her room, day after day. As if they’d keep me for more than a few weeks, or months if I was lucky.
I didn’t wave back, and when the gangplank was lowered and the man with her came to carry my bag, I didn’t speak. Instead, I concentrated on the odd clothing these people wore, such long, full dresses. And the men with their cotton coveralls.
“Vyel ly Kusanto Enelee!” The girl beamed, the foreign words tumbling like water off her lips. “Welcome to the Island of Enelee. I’m Melina.”
“Luella.” I told her my name and waited while she exclaimed over it like everyone else. It was so pretty. It was so unusual. It was so everything I wasn’t.
“Dad will bring your bag, but you can I can walk home.” She said it as though she were offering me a special gift, her voice lilting in an Eneleish accent. “That way I can show you around town.”
We walked through the “business” section first. All the signs were written in Eneleish and the stores were taken right out of an old western novel. Most of the products were locally grown. Even the clothes in the mercantile were made on the island.
Then Melina led me out of town and down a tree-lined road. “Our farm is around that bend.” She pointed ahead. “But I want to show you my special spot.”
Oh great. Now the sister thing.
The trail she chose went up steeply, surrounded by trees. She chattered away, about what, I could care less. All I wanted was to get to the house and watch TV. My luck, they wouldn’t even have TVs out here.
“Here we are.”
We had reached the top of the hill. The island was laid out below us, shimmering with every imaginable shade of green. The colors of the surrounding sea were so rich and deep I couldn’t even name them. To the right, the hills rose even higher above us, the greens slowly changing to a majestic blue.
Melina’s voice was like a whisper of the wind. “God’s here. I can feel Him.”
It was the first time I’d heard the name of God without cringing. I couldn’t say I felt Him… or even that I believed in Him… But for some reason, up there surrounded by beauty, I just let her talk. I even listened a little.
“Someday I hope you learn to love this place like I do, Luella.” She looked at me, her eyes steady. “I know you’ve lived a lot of places, and maybe feel like you don’t dare love a place. But Enelee is different. It’s different because the people are different.
“For one thing,” she chuckled a bit, “there isn’t much time to get into trouble. We work hard, and we play hard. But more than that,” her smile softened into something deeper, “The people of this island are full of hope. Full of love. We’ve invited you here, and we’re not gonna back out on that.” Her eyes found mine. “I mean that. You belong here now.”
A part of me wanted to laugh. To say, ‘yeah right.’ I’d heard it before. And yet, I hadn’t. There was something different here.
She must have sensed I wasn’t ready to say anything, because she smiled again and said, “Well, let’s go show you the house.”
We took our time, but eventually we were back on the path, walking toward the bend in road. Walking toward the future.
Author’s Note: I began creating the island and language of Enelee when I was twelve years old, but this is the first story written about it. Someday I hope to write a novel about Enelee.
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