The sun was starting to set on another day in the city, the pastel pinks and oranges and purples starting to paint across the sky, displacing the typical blue that covered the expanse. The buildings seemed to magical in the twilight--always. It was always the case. Despite them being man-made constructs, they still seemed so beautiful. The city was interspersed with nature, trees and flowers and parks. There were so many varying forms of beauty--one had to be careful not to get lost in it. A bus upon the streets made its way north along its route, one of the last circuits it would have to complete before the bus service ended that night. As such, the streets were not busy, and the people upon the bus were in luck. One young man in particular by the name of Jackson Harrows was seated on the back of that very bus, gazing out the window at the sickening beauty flashing by as he rode down the street, music from his iPod blaring in his ears, blocking out the sound of the abnormal amount of people on the bus. Usually it was just about empty, but this night in particular, there were plenty of other students and citizens aboard, aiming to get to their destinations and certainly weren't being quiet about it. Jackson abused the increase volume button on his iPod to crank up the music, but the crowd just seemed to get ever louder. How was he supposed to lose himself? Those ungrateful, arrogant, selfish, hateful people kept dragging him back to the agonizing reality. Could they really not just let him be? Let me be... Jackson thought, closing his eyes tightly, trying to focus on the music, but failing to the utmost agree. There was just no use. Let me be, let me be! he practically shouted in his mind like a mantra, as if repeating it would cause the noise to quell. His knuckles were white as they gripped his legs tightly, teeth clenched as the music seemed so loud in this instant. Where had all the other noise gone? He wasn't moving. Had the bus come to a red light? But it didn't sound like the bus was running at all. Opening his eyes, Jackson was baffled beyond belief. Never before had he been so shocked to see something in his life. His lips parted, and before he knew it, his mouth was completely agape, eyes wide with something akin to sheer panic. He found his hands slowly yanking the earphones out of his ears, the silence that greeted him ever the more unsettling. The bus was completely empty. No other college students. No citizens. No bus driver. No one. Jackson's heart skipped a beat. Getting up slowly, he walked down the aisle. Looking out the windows, he noticed none of the other cars were moving. None of them. There were no pedestrians on the sidewalk. Not a single person. It wasn't long before Jackson was forced out of his stupor as he reached the front of the bus. He forced the door open and meandered out onto the street. The silence was so immense that he could hear his music blasting out of the earphones that were dangling by his side. Never before had things been so quiet. Jackson, who never cared for people or their obnoxious ways, now found himself afraid, for he feared he was the only person left in...what? The city? The state? The country even? One foot followed after the other as he paced in some sort of trance down the street. How would he find out? Maybe if he could get back to his place, he could check the television. That became his plan, but...what would he find? Walking along the sidewalk in the direction of his apartment building, Jackson quickly grew weary of the silence and put his earphones back in, lowering the volume of his iPod so it wouldn't deafen him. Jackson spent most of his walk with his heart racing and his thoughts crashing throughout his mind. As he turned onto the street where his apartment building was supposed to be, however, he realized that nothing was the same. Trees were a commonality in the city, but the ones growing all clustered along this...dirt road?...were completely exotic--ones that wouldn't typically grow in this area. Jackson rubbed his foot against the dirt ground causing a bit of a dust cloud to muster up and get carried away by a warm breeze that was just so oddly misplaced. Farther down the road, the trees were cleared and there were actually houses, but much like everything else, they were out of place as well, lacking technological innovations and being older in architectural style...if architecture were even applied. Music still ongoing, Jackson planned to wander down this road to explore what lie farther down, however, a sudden gust of wind emanating from the north nearly knocked his entire being over. He nearly screamed and raised his arms to block his face to avoid the torrents of dirt and dust from landing in his eyes. The gale lasted several seconds, and when it had finally passed, Jackson found himself gazing upon something incredulous. In the distance where the gust had originated now appeared to be floating in midair something the likes of which the young college student had never seen before, except maybe in tales of fantasy and whim. It was a floating castle made of white...stone perhaps? He squinted his eyes to get a better look, but from this distance it was really hard to tell. The magnificent thing didn't cover a particular lot of square footage, or so it seemed, but it was very tall possessing at least several stories, and atop the roof were ramparts and turrets that seemed to be vacated, but of course the distance would obscure most things like that. Granted, the only way to investigate the magnificent structure was to head towards it. Where did it even come from? What is even happening here? he questioned himself despite knowing he didn't have the answers, and he couldn't even begin to fathom a single guess. All he knew was that the castle appeared to be his source of answers. Maybe there was someone staying within that could assist him in his plight. Would they tell him that it was all a dream and he'd wake up, or that this was some sort of new fantastical reality and the world was in some sort of dire peril? Only time would tell. Racing back to one of the campus parking lots, Jackson ransacked a moped with the keys still in it that was just sitting in the lot not parked anywhere. Someone must have been driving it before they disappeared. The fellow wondered if it would be operational. He hopped aboard the stylish white vehicle (how appropriate given the destination) and turned the key within the ignition. The moped rumbled to life to Jackson's great pleasure; at least something was going right today. Giving the thing some gas, Jackson took off from the lot and drove down the road headed north to the strange castle, weaving in and out of the non-moving traffic, his thoughts vacant and his mind focused on his goal for the moment. A wish...fulfilled.