Chapter 48

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We ran with the rolling wind, the way problematic adolescents do on summer nights. It wasn't running in fear or to avoid pain or for freedom; we were already free. It was running because nothing else seemed to be enough to unleash our mad excitement.

The frosted grass crunched beneath my feet and wind whistled in my ears for the first time in months. I outstretched my arms to feel the leaves of trees brush against my fingertips, welcoming the icy cold of winter onto my wet skin. Harry was right there next to me, crazily laughing and screaming "Woohoo!" with a roar louder than the wind. I felt like we had just pulled a prank on my high school teacher, giddy with the rush.

So many months in a crammed cell, so many months detained in a stuffy building, so many months with dreary grey walls. But now we were free, and there was light and there was color and there was the two of us, laughing and screaming and running into the wind. The police were probably already starting their chase, Ms. Hellman may have already found her son's body, and who even knew where that sickening woman with the monstrous legs was lurking. But right now, none of that mattered. Right now, we were invincible.

We were out.

"We just fucking escaped a mental institution!" Harry screamed when we were far enough to not be heard. "We did it Rose!"

I didn't have words to say so instead I tilted my head back in a shrieking laugh. It only made Harry's smile grow, dimples popping out in his cheeks, and I was reminded again that I loved him.

There were still unanswered questions and concerning mysteries, and there were still slight apprehensions when it came to Harry. There were things I would need him to tell me before I could quiet my theories and possible explanations. But I still trusted him with everything I had. It would be crazy not to after all he's been through at my expense, after all he's done. And I was glad it was him that I had met in that horrible place; I wouldn't have asked for anyone different.

It was just maddening that this is how my employment at Wickendale had ended up; running into the woods with Harry. Escaping. That word used to never even cross my mind. I would leave Wickendale every day after my shift, coming and going as I please once I was off the clock. It was normal. Everyone did this, everyone had jobs, and mine was just like any. It just ended up a disaster. Somehow after my employment, between meeting Harry and now I had managed to get thrown into a mental institution and escape in a matter of months. So maybe if I hadn't met Harry none of this would have happened. Maybe he turned my life into an utter disaster. But even if that was true I was thankful for it; he had become the best mistake I've ever made.

I could imagine the horrified face of my earlier self, appalled to be thinking such things about Harry. When I applied for that job, I had no idea what I was signing up for. And that day I met him I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had hated him at first, I had been afraid as I squirmed under his gaze and my stomach flipped when he flashed me an infamous smirk. I knew that he was different, that I would be more interested in him than the other patients. But never in a thousand lifetimes would I have guessed this. Never would I have guessed I would be running away with this unpredictable, charming, possibly crazed but impossibly caring boy. I would've worried about having nowhere to go and no idea of what to do next, but right now, I was strangely okay with that.


This was my second time leaving Wickendale, my first time escaping. And let me tell you, escaping was much more gratifying. It was so fucking invigorating, restoring a sense of power in me that I didn't know I had lost. We were fucking unstoppable.
And we ran as if we were just that for what felt like an hour, until our adrenaline would allow us to slow and catch a breath. Our dashing sprint became a jog and the burning in my legs and lungs were brought to my attention, but I couldn't and didn't want to stop. We needed to put as much distance between ourselves and that place as possible.

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