The late day sunlight sent little leaf shaped shadows across the wrinkles in the creek. Her feet stood on the edge, dipping the toes in, and she watched the water pass silently. The water here was magical somehow, some sort of soothing essence which always calmed her.
She remembered summer mornings racing through the fresh cut wet grass barefoot to the creek where the rope swing hung from a high branch. She thought of the tree bridge downstream where she was convinced for several months fairies had lived . Upstream was the "waterfall", as they had always called it, and farther up from that was the fort her father built between two trees.
The creek held many memories, and she watched it flow down and away from her. In her hands, she clasped delicate white flowers like gardenia whose petals she periodically plucked. She would drop a petal into the stream and watch it glide on the surface of the water over unseen rocks and past exposed tree roots until it disappeared from sight. Then she would drop another. The sunlight twinkled in little pockets and she forlornly wondered if it would be the last time she ever saw this place again.
Normally, the sounds of splashing and laughing children filled the creek where the embankments hid them from the watchful eyes of their parents, but for now, she was alone. A soft breeze rustled through the leaves overhead and the rope swing with the knot at its end waved back and forth like a cat’s tail.
Her mother would be calling soon. She was always calling her up from the creek, telling her to wash up in the mudroom, and for goodness sakes’, would you please put some shoes on. But this time the calling would be different. It would be to a car where they had packed all their things, all the things that made up their life crammed into a car, and they would leave the creek behind.
Write what you know.
Sometimes it is helpful. A lot of my writing, whether I want it to or not, centers around my experience growing up in the South. It's a flavor, a feeling, that certain magic of the first fireflies coming out at dusk while murmured voices from the porch carry across the yard.
Also, it begs the question: how do sci-fi writers get anything done at all?