I topple recklessly down the stairs, hands flailing, no thought of falling in my panic to flee. I sprint to the door, both arms in front of me, only to find it locked.
A fresh cascade of tears falls on my hands as I turn the lock and knob in a frenzy. I fling the door open with a backward glance. I bolt, sobbing and panting, into the night air.
I quickly confront the large stone wall. Like a penned animal, I scamper alongside it, looking for an opening.
Whimpering with frustration, my hand on the cool stones, I feel my way to a small portal. I lift the latch with shaking hands and push through the gate. The sound of a step on gravel snaps somewhere behind me, followed by an angry curse.
I hurtle into the darkness.
By morning, I am disheveled and exhausted, but still moving. I feel the air on my skin where my bodice is torn. I begin to think again.
As the sun climbs higher, I finally notice the unknown path I somehow find myself traveling. Dreamlike, a sea of lavender heather surrounds me. I glance upward where a hawk soars high in the sky. In the distance, I spot a diminutive spire amidst the green trees of a valley.
A sudden rush of gratitude flooding through me, I trudge forward.