I feel the forest breathing with me. The crunch of the forest floor under my feet, as I make my way through the giant redwoods, their branches tower above me. Droplets of rain land on my wool ivory hat and I can hear the birds chatter. The setting sun trickles through the branches and I see the break in the trees. Talia is waiting for me by the railing overlooking the cliffs. She wanted me to meet with her before I met everyone else. My steamer trunks had already arrived ahead of me and were placed in my new room. I am half awake from the journey here.
"It was required," she told me when I had tried to argue.
My story had to be perfect. No one could guess I was going anywhere other than the prestigious school in Switzerland. That meant I had to actually go there and then be transported out of the country, secretly. It seemed messy to me, no one had to know I didn't actually catch the plane, I reasoned. It was just for my parents benefit anyway. Talia shook her midnight hair and lightly laughed, then was suddenly quiet. She looked me over, searching my eyes to make sure I was serious.
"They are always watching, you know, Jollie" she said solemnly.
"Who are they?" I had asked her this question before, as she walked with me to the terminal.
"You will find out soon enough," she had answered smiling slightly, "that is what your classes are for."