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  • The rest of the Mrs. Kline's class had already moved on to the next painting. Jose let them go. There was something about this painting that was different from the rest. Maybe it was the way the hills curved. Jose could feel them under his feet. He'd felt the shock of recognition from the moment he saw the painting. Jose felt he'd been there before, maybe in a dream, and he'd been happy. The grass rustled in the breeze, he could almost hear it. Sunlight danced across the canvas. Clouds streaked the blue sky. They'd come looking for him soon. He'd get back on the bus and go back to the dirty streets, the dirty sky, the dead eyes, the sadness that always welcomed him home.

    Jose reached out his hand to touch the painting. No one was around to stop him. Just one last connection before leaving. Feel the texture under his fingers, feel the ridges made by the many layers of paint - instead what he felt was air.Jose pulled his hand back. He must be imagining things, he thought, reaching out his fingers again. This time, Jose followed his fingers with an arm and then his shoulder and head. He could hear a girl singing. He could smell bread baking. Jose knew without knowing how that there was a house beyond the rise of hills. It was a place that he knew. It was home.

    The whole class searched for Jose. Mrs. Kline was frantic, giving his description to the guards, and then again to the police. No one could understand how Jose could have just vanished into thin air. He watched them search for him from his vantage point in the tall grass. Jose dropped his backpack on the ground. He started to walk, but soon broke into a run. His eyes filled with tears. He'd been away so long.

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