By: Annalise

I did the only thing I could think of, I ran. There was no wind spurring me on, no fresh air filling my lungs, nothing. I ran as if there were wild dogs biting at my ankles, as if my life depended on it. At the time my mind took no notice of  the forest flashing past me. It was just before sunrise and a beautiful sight. All I could think of was getting away, as far away as possible. I could hear someone behind me and I pushed myself harder than I ever thought feasible. Must get away, get away crossed my line of vision every so often.

After what seemed like days, but could have been no more than a few minutes, my breath caught up with me and I had to stop. I always had to stop. Panting, I looked around at the dense trees encompassing me, watching for movement. Everything seemed still, calm surrounding my panic. It seemed as if I was the only disturbance that place had had in years. After a while my heart extracted itself from my ears and decelerated it’s beat, repositioning in my chest. My breathing slowed and my mind finally let me see where exactly I was, not that it mattered anyway. In these woods I would be dead by dawn.

No cute little bunny rabbit curled at my feet as I reminisced on my life, on the past few months. In fact I wouldn’t expect any creature that didn’t posses fangs as long as my hand to even exist here. My hair had fallen into my eyes, but I didn’t care that much. I focused all my energy on discriminating the sounds mixing together and confusing my ears, jumping at any rustle or whisper of breeze that I sensed.

Eventually the trees melted away, morphing into blackness. I heaved a sigh of relief, the dream was over. As I calmed down I didn’t notice my mistake, how the colors were reappearing as something all too familiar to me. I turned back to my surroundings and the wind was knocked from my lungs. My hometown, Salem, was staring out of the landscape at me. Taunting me with memories I wanted to desperately forget. That’s what I wanted, to forget. Run away runaway.

The trees, go back to the forest please. I pleaded with my mind, but it was unforgiving. After that, I broke down. Tears ran down my face, but they were cold and uncomforting, numbing my cheeks. As the dream progressed I hid from it, closed my eyes. Many call me crazy, if only that were true. I would run as far as I can from my mind, lose it in the labyrinth of my insanity. That madness, though, eludes me. When I try to run my mind keeps up with me, almost always a step ahead. Running, escaping, is not an option anymore. Even with that plain, unadorned truth in front of me I can’t stop, can’t lose the small scrap of hope that I have kept so close to me.

When I was young and foolish I never wanted to leave, never wanted to run, to abandon all that I had built. Little did I know that with too much structure something can fall, and fall it did. Here I am now watching, hiding from, running from what I made what made me. I can’t help screaming at myself, Stop! You’ll only hurt yourself.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. The one I was running from, the one I had been trying to hide from for a long time I knew in that instant was right behind me. Myself.


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