Some years ago, when sunlight still shone uninterrupted down onto grassy meadows, a small community had sprung up. The people survived on cows that they ran out to pasture in the lush, thick grasses. Each and everyone grew up to believe that they were destined to stay and populate the little valley community that had only been recently discovered. It was not until a small girl, in a bright yellow dress, asserted herself within the community, that they realised just how dangerous an ingrown region can become. Independence, as a wise person once said, springs dependently from intolerance.

 

***

At the top of a green hill sat a small weathered church. It had been built nearly fifty years before by an evangelical man who believed that the closer the church was to heaven, the more powerful the wrath of God. But sadly the small man had been mistakenly led to believe that the small hill he structured his church upon was the highest in the vicinity. Instead, only thirty kilometers east rose three of the tallest mountains in the state. Luckily they could only been seen on clear days. For a quarter of the year when the sky was shrouded in clouds, the small church seemed to be closer then anything to heaven.

Belle didn’t want to go to church. It was not only that she had to walk for nearly an hour just to reach the place of worship, but also because she had recently turned fifteen. Along with a bright dress that had been a present to herself, Belle had also started to think independently.She had begun to believe that as far as her knowledge went it was nearly level with that of her parents.

“Hurry up darling!” Her mother called from outside, where she was slowly stuffing her shoes full of feet. “The last time we were late we weren’t allowed to join in on the potluck.”

Belle didn’t reply, wishing for her mother to come upstairs and yell. Otherwise Belle didn’t have an excuse for yelling back. Her mother was silent for a moment, wondering if her daughter was becoming an atheist.
Belle leaned out her window, watching as small sheets of rain started down the hillside, covering the church and those who had begun the assent up to the building. “I’m not coming anymore.”

It was a sudden decision, and one that became life changing. Her mother looked up at her with shock, because she could hear the unyielding tone in her daughter’s voice.

“You are offending God!” Her mother yelled, watching as small raindrops started to fall across her face. She ignored the slam of her daughter’s bedroom window and started walking across the grass, convinced that Belle would follow soon. But it so happened that it was the day that Belle realised that she too had a part in her own life. While her mother believed that her daughter was destined to go straight to hell, Belle was willing to take her chances on the wrath of God. So that Sunday morning, as the drizzling rain thoroughly dampened the ground, she stayed inside her cozy but somewhat stuffy room.

She felt a part of her life slowly slipping away. The quiet, docile girlhood that she had previously relished had become something that slightly ashamed her. Her mother, and all that church stood for, had started to turn into a hideous thing that she should hide from at all costs. Even from her small, green hamlet home, Belle knew that there was another world out there. She just had to find it.