flash fiction/Lost Things

The dawn was breaking as the little group crested the hill. Melissa wrapped her arms tightly around herself as the procession came to a halt. Cold drops of condensation fell onto her skin and caused eruptions of goosebumps. She stared toward the horizon with its golden halo and the sweep of the long valley that rushed all the way up the hill to her feet. She glanced back over her shoulder at Michael and Lisa, who were bent over the map and talking in low voices.

“No trees,” Melissa said resignedly, scuffing her feet in the dirt as she walked back to the other two. Michael glanced up at her with a sympathetic look on his face.

“I think we should keep heading south,” Lisa said, flipping the cover closed on the little digital screen that displayed the map by pinging off a very old satellite still floating helplessly in nearby space. 

“The sun is rising,” Michael said, looking toward the horizon. Melissa turned and looked again. In the last minute or so, the cold dew on her arms had been replaced with glistening beads of sweat. Lisa stepped forward to join them, facing the force of the fat, hot sun. 

“All right, lets get back behind this hill,” Lisa said, turning and heading back off the way they had come. Michael and Melissa glanced at each other, and then Michael turned away and headed back as well. Melissa stood staring for another moment. The glaring light bounced toward her and her eyes ached. She shielded them with her hand, looking just below the gleaming crust. There, on the still-shaded west side of the farthest hill, almost blotted out by the brilliant light, she saw a little building. A gasp was strangled in her throat as she spun around and sprinted down the hill to join the others. 

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