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  • Madeline Walz

You Never Really Leave Home Behind (Otherworld 0.6)

Originally released as NaNoWriMo 2020 Day 1: A written walk down the street to your favorite place through the eyes of somebody else.

It’s James Rochester’s last day in Savannah before leaving for college in Michigan.

While not essential to the Otherworld series, this flash fiction takes place before Beneath Which Sky and can be read at any point in the series.


September 9, 2049 Savannah, GA

James Rochester crossed the road to Broughton Street, trying to imagine living elsewhere. It was difficult, and yet, today was his last day in Savannah until November. Tomorrow, he’d be leaving for college in northern Michigan.

Why did I choose GPU again? he wondered, pausing in front of the cat cafe. A large black and white cat was sleeping on the window ledge. According to the collar, the cat’s name was Toby. James stood there for several minutes, watching the cats playing inside, before continuing down the street.

He stopped again a couple blocks later, in front of the honey store. He considered going inside. Probably can’t get chocolate honey butter in Michigan. I’ll get some on my way back.

He kept walking, scanning the store windows absently. Nothing caught his eye until he reached a furniture store just before Drayton Street. I’ll miss this place, he thought. He grinned at the complex window display, which featured two chairs made from jet engine cowlings. James pulled out his phone and took a picture, like he always did when the store had a new display, then kept going.

There was a longer-than-normal line outside Leopold’s Ice Cream, stretching down the block and around the corner. Instead of trying to go past it, James crossed the street. When he reached the other side, he stopped to look at the university library on that corner. He took a step under the overhang and stared up at the giant metal bee underneath. This college is so cool. Why couldn’t it have my major?

He continued down the block, crossing back to the other side of the street at the next intersection. A colorful cafe stood on the corner. James went inside. His friends from high school waved from their usual table. I’ll come back, someday. After all, you can never really leave home behind.


Image by Fotoluminate LLC on Shutterstock

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