“Idiot,” her brain screamed when her feet stopped running at the edge of the wood. Her heart entered the darkness, even though it was folly going through the dense undergrowth, especially at her age.

Entering the field behind her, her followers screeched her name, “Ella, Ella.”

They would follow her path, etched by her own feet which had forged a damned line through the tall grasses straight to her current location. 

What choice did she have? 

She crashed through the brush. Branches ripped at her bare legs and arms. “More path paving,” she muttered. 


So much anger, so much time spent at the end of a rope. She couldn’t blame them. She wasn’t any better off than the lot of them, struggling with the emptiness thrust upon them. She understood the burden she had become, but couldn’t agree to their solutions.

A patch of sunlight caught her eye. She pushed through the foliage and gasped as the first wash of light engulfed her. She knew this place. Knew it as the end of the line.

Ahead of her was a thirty-five foot plunge into a raging river.

Branches snapped as her followers entered the forest.

“What choice?” 

She walked toward the cliff.

At the edge, a single lily waved, lifted to and fro by a gentle breeze, a white flag of surrender.

She sighed and sat, legs dangling, and stared at the water below.

Once, then twice, the wind pushed the lily against her bare arm.

She looked at the sky: quiet, clear serenity above her. “Three hours until nightfall.”

The lily nudged her arm a third time.

It was possible. If she was as quiet as the sky, she could hide in the undergrowth until dark.

She stood.

The lily waved, “It’s possible.”

She walked toward the woods.

She walked toward freedom.

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