Keep Art Alive :: “Family Tree” :: Art by Christer Karlstad
“Suddenly I stop,
but i know it’s too late,
I’m lost in a forest,
When Annabel finally escaped she left with nothing but a stolen green dress, and what was left of her wits. The air on the other side of the wall hit her hard, the sudden rush of freedom an emotional windstorm. She began to shake uncontrollably, panic settling in at the base of her spine, urging her to turn and run run run. The stones and underbrush sliced her bare feet open, but the pain only fueled her race against nothing. She was not sure they would even come looking for her. What would they miss except maybe the monthly money that came in as payment for her indefinite stay.
Annabel though perhaps she should have brought all the hidden away pills with her. If she made it into the city she could have traded them for some food, or a pair of shoes. She had not thought any of this out, though. She had seen the door ajar, had recognized the negligent new boy who had started working there, had seen him preoccupied by something on his phone, how he did not notice that the door did not shut completely. She had walked down the hall slowly, tentatively, stopping every few breaths to make certain that no one was coming. She hid in the shadows, then ducked herself into a utility closet when she heard that telltale signs of heels on the tile. It was there that she had found the dress, it hung haphazardly on the top of a vacuum, as if someone had undressed quickly.
Time was confusing though without the persistent rounds the nurses and doctors and attendants made, without meal times and session times, and the required fifteen minutes outside. To Annabel it felt like time had sped up suddenly, then came to a sudden and startling stop. She had no idea how much farther it would be to get to a road, and no idea how long the sun would be shining in her favor. It seemed like hours since she had been on the run, but had been just minutes? Her legs ached and her feet stung. She had to stop soon.
She fell asleep without planning or intent, hidden away from sight on the underside of a fallen tree. The night sky was on its way, and with it the cold winds. Annabel never heard the footsteps, nor registered his close by breath as he leaned over her, the boy who had been her means to escape. He stood there watching her, transfixed, feeling like a prince from one of the storybooks his Mother had read to him and his sister when they were just small, and that this girl in green, with dark hair and pale skin, was some kind of lost princess in the forest in need of a rescue.