Hidden In The Void | Teen Ink

Hidden In The Void

May 4, 2022
By addi, Mashpee, Massachusetts
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addi, Mashpee, Massachusetts
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Author's note:

This story was inspired by a true story I saw.

“Which butterfly is that, Florence?” My sister inquired. 

“A Zebra Swallowtail, it’s the only one I haven’t caught yet.” I flashed my collection of butterflies at Minnie. She looked at it with awe.

 “I’ll catch you that butterfly!” Minnie proclaimed. Rather than appreciating her I scowled. My heart rate began to quicken as my mother tapped on my door. 

“Head to Gus for some lemons would you, girls? I reckon I’ll make some lemonade.” I looked to Minnie to put my scrapbook back on its shelf, she did. “Don’t stray off the path.” Our mother said. “Do not go into the woods.”

Minnie and I stepped out of the comfort of our chilled house and into the blazing sun. Our house was big, white, and sat on the top of a hill. I could see Minnie’s blue curtains in one of the windows. The paper was delivered on our wrap-around porch. Today the Merifolk Newspaper was dated August 14, 1894, yesterday August 13, 1894. It headlined “Baltimore! A city on the rise!” with a picture of a 50 foot building on the front page. 

We began walking down the cracked dirt roads on the way to Gus’s market. We had been in a drought for three weeks, but our trees still maintained their typical green pigment. The road on the other hand wasn’t so lucky, it was withering from the lack of rain. The mud had dried in June, and since the dirt road has been cracking. When a buggy drove through, no mark was made. The trail of dust in its wake was its only outturn.

We started to reach the end of our long driveway. “Pick up your skirt Minnie!” I scrutinized. As if it should be an eight year olds instinct to walk with her skirt held enough so that it didn’t drag in the dirt, but not enough that it exposed your ankles. “You’re dragging through the mud.” I continued. She hiked up her skirt to her calves, which prompted a dramatic gasp out of me. 

“No one will see Flo, hardly anyone walks around in the heat.”

“That is seldom the truth. Seeing a lady’s ankles in this town is like committing murder.”  

We walked off our property and into the town that was also ours. It bustled with all 149 residents, selling and buying goods in the town center. “Good day to you girls!” Mrs. Caroline Taylor called at us.

We were the golden family of Merifolk, supposedly on this land for 112 years. It was hard to believe, there were 8 families in Merifolk, none of us were related, and no one had had any children since I was born. The town knew our mother who was an excellent networker, socialite, and dramatic. And our father who owned Merifolk. I felt the pressure more than Minnie, being almost 17. My mother made it clear that I should have few responsibilities as a young lady beyond keeping the house and going to church, but it all felt so restrictive. I wanted more for my sister and myself. Deep down I wanted to leave this town.

When I walked into the shop I closed my umbrella which had been shielding us from the radiating sun. Minnie relaxed her eyes which seemed to be tired from squinting. I fought my sister for a chair to sit down in. The heat in the shop was unbearable.

“Move Minnie, I’m the one who has to wear this dreadful corset.” I whispered with force. After taking a few minutes to fan myself I thought about how uninteresting my French tutoring was, and how dreadfully hot Gus’s shop was. It was because we were the only ones who could afford an air cooling system. 

“Look at the new drink we’ve got in!” Gus pointed from the counter. Minnie ran over to the ice box and grabbed a glass bottle with a sewage looking liquid inside. She slid a penny to Gus and popped open the bottle. 

“Minnie, get the lemons would you?” 

“Try this first! It's the greatest thing invented since toilet paper.” I took a swig of the ‘Coca-Cola’ as it was called, and spit it all over the floor. 

“Lord, Minnie, how can you drink this?” I handed the drink back with a grimace, leaving the spit and Cola mix for Gus to mop up. 

Gus’s shop had hardwood floors, low ceilings, and was directly across from a great stretch of woods, filled with wolves they told us. Nothing was a mystery to me in Merifolk except for those woods. All the Merifolk folk were over the age of 30, with the exception of my sister and I. All they did was work and worship.

 I was rubbing the bruises my mother had inflicted on me after I left Minnie unsupervised outside. I spent a couple minutes fanning myself and twiddling with my umbrella when I realized it was too quiet. 

Minnie got a glimpse of what looked to be a Zebra Swallowtail fluttering out of a window in Gus’s shop. She followed it into the road, where Mr. Taylor’s buggy scarcely hit her. Minnie skipped through the sandy colored, cracked roads until she reached the beginning of the forest. She had never been so close. For a while even the butterfly looked tentative, hovering above the ferns that lined the edge of the two worlds. 

My sister reached out to grab the swallowtail, but it just escaped her. So she followed it into the forbidden wood. 

I checked the whole town for Minnie, which went by quickly because of how truly minuscule our settlement was. The realization that I would have to go into the woods to find my sister was daunting. The most important rule of my mothers, don’t go into the woods. It was the one thing she could never hit me for, because it was something I couldn’t do wrong. I wasn’t worried so much about Minnie as what my mom would do to me when she found out I lost her. 

“Minnie! Minnie, what are you doing? Why do you have to be such a nuisance?” I chastised. “Alright, you got me. Minnie you can come out now! Minnie, please come out now.” My scold melted into a cry. I stood at the edge of the woods.

Self preservation kicked in after disbelief. Pushed by the fear of my mothers hand I went into the woods to search for my sister. 

The trees formed an ominous green arch that told me I was about to enter something different than I knew. The sun told me it was about four o’clock. This made me anxious; night is when the wolves come out. On my first step into the ground of the woods was abnormal. The ground was  untouched. I didn’t know these woods were a breach between my void and the truth.

It only took 20 steps to get far enough into the forest that I could no longer see my town. The brush concealed it. I removed my shall to combat the heat, but not without following my instincts first. I checked my surroundings for any people who might consider me improper for showing my shoulders, but remembered no one but Hunter, the town Hunter, would ever have reason to be out here. I felt sweat pooling on my nose, and saw the occasional drip. My wavy brown hair that had been meticulously braided began to friz at the top leading to short curls that framed my soft features. I was impatient, and the more steps I took the more dirty my dress became. It was going to be impossible to clean this grime out of my white dress.

About 30 minutes into my nature walk a twig snagged the pink ribbon in my hair. It would remain there a few more hours. My hair fell and spread across my shoulders, some waves framed my face. 

I thought of my mothers lemonade, and how she would probably soon send someone into the town looking for us. Then I thought of who would hurt my sister more, me or my mother. If I had got my hands on her then I would have strangled her, she had me in complete disarray over this. I was surrounded by trees and thorns, and vines. Plus inches of dead leaves with the occasional flower poking through.

The sun was nearing the tops of the trees and Minnie was nowhere to be seen. I felt a sensation I had only experienced when Mother was about to hit me, worry. That’s when I stepped on something shiny and red, poking out from under some dead oak leaves. It made a crinkling sound, like I was compressing some thin metal. I picked it up, ‘Coca-Cola’ the name sounded familiar. I smelt the opening in the middle and knew it was the same drink Minnie had tried earlier, but a completely different design. The bottles at Gus’ shop were glass, and this was much lighter in weight and opaque. How had it gotten out here? 

I felt like I was under a microscope, being watched. It made my stomach churn. I heard some rustling behind me. I noticed my hands getting sweaty as I gripped my umbrella to fend off any threats, but it was Minnie. 

She peaked out from a huge tree, bigger than one I had ever seen, that was lined with blue flowers at the bottom.

“Minnie! Blasted child!” I ran to her. I hit her with my umbrella repeatedly until she hugged me. I looked down over the shoulder of her blue dress to see a bottle with something fluttering in it. 

I pulled away to pick it up, not realizing how tightly I was holding my sister. 

“I told you I’d find it for you.” She smiled. That was when I saw her for the first time, and I loved her. My eyes said thank you but I didn’t. She noticed the red tin I was standing over. Minnie picked up the tin. 

“Coca-Cola?” She looked up at me. I nodded. “How did it get all the way out here?” She said. I shook my head and looked around like I was searching for a way out. “I’ve never seen anything like this before, Flo. Not ever in town. I didn’t think anyone besides Hunter ever came out here.” 

“We need to get home now, Minnie.” I grabbed her hand. 

“Florence, it's already dusk. We’ll never make it home in time for bed anyway.”

“If we stay here we’re food for the wolves! We’re risking our lives every second we’re here. Let’s go!” I tugged on her, but her feet were planted in the leaves like mud. 

“Aren’t you the slightest bit curious as to where this tin came from Flo?” A pause. “Please, please, please! A bit further!”

I did want to know the origins of the tin, but I still refused her. That was, until I heard the wind. 

“Swwwooosh” A sound came and went. It was the sound of a ball hurling past your ear. Like wind, but man made. There was no visibility in the forest. It was impossible to see 10 feet in any direction. 

One direction of the sky was black and littered with stars, the other with a lingering blue tint. Minnie started walking in the direction of the wind, and overcome with curiosity, I followed her. She picked up something blue. It had the texture of paper but was almost like a piece of fabric. It had two straps, and looked fit to cover someone's face. My sister held the paper mask in one hand and the glass bottle with my butterfly in another. 

“Put that down Minnie, I haven’t a clue what it is.” She ignored me and I let her. A few more steps took us to a new place. We looked at the blueish black surface and then at each other. There were two yellow lines in the middle. It was a road covered in oil, or something. I thought my eyes deceived me. It was a strip without trees that looked like it went on for miles, dividing the road into two.

Minnie took the first step into the road, when out of nowhere two stars came hurling towards her. I was barely able to grab the cuffs of her sleeves when the contraption zoomed by us. It made an obnoxious noise, a honk of sorts. The stars on the front of the contraption blinded me for a second. Before I could recover Minnie shouted, “Look! There’s another!” 

I blinked and she was in the middle of the street. “Minnie stop! It’ll hit you, did you see how fast the last one was!” I yelped. 

“It’ll stop, it can help us. I know it.” Minnie assured. The shuttle was accelerating at my sister and I felt truly afraid. I looked at the impending brightness and then back at my sister.

 “Minnie move!” My voice cracked. Once I realized she had frozen in the road I ran and tried to push her out of the way. That's when it hit us. 

There was a blur in my eyes and a ringing in my ears, but I recognized the feeling of my sister's hair in my hand. She had the straightest, softest, most blonde hair. I always hated to brush it because it was much nicer than mine, and our mother made a point of it. Somewhere in the ringing I heard a slam, like a cabinet was being closed or a book was being dropped. I propped my body up on my elbows. My head hung between my shoulders for a few seconds before I realized my neck was still there. That was when I saw the boy standing over my sister. I was in such a haze I didn’t notice his strange garments. He stood over Minnie with his hands on his hand in a panic. 

“Is she alive?” I stammered. The boy’s neck snapped in my direction.

“We need to get her in my car, to the hospital…” He shook his head. “I should never have taken the online red cross training.” The boy struggled to lift Minnie into his “car,” as it were. “Can you stand? I need you to help me, we need to get her up.” Suddenly everything stopped moving in slow motion. Once I crawled to my sister I realized how badly she was bleeding. I didn’t trust this boy in the slightest. Everything about him was unfamiliar and strange, but I needed him to get us somewhere that could help her. 

I rose up from what felt like my grave. While we lifted Minnie into the car I made eye contact with the boy and noticed him. He was wearing jeans and a loose red top with a hood and a small ‘C’ embroidered on the cuff. The blood from my sister's head blended into his top. He looked to be my age, not that I’d ever seen anyone else my age. He had hazel eyes, brown skin and radiant dark hair that curled at his ears. 

The boy opened the back door where I sat holding pressure on my sister's head. Her blonde hair was covered in a brownish red - blood. It felt like someone was holding my tongue, keeping me from speaking, but I had so much to say. “I’m so so sorry,” the boy said, “Why was she standing in the middle of the road? She's just a kid. It was my fault, I just started driving. I feel terrible. Please don’t sue me though, my grandma isn’t a citizen… and my mom always says not to get in trouble because they’ll dig things up on us and she could be deported… I’m sorry. That must seem so tone deaf. I just hope she isn’t… she doesn’t-” The boy stopped the rant. “Are you hurt though? Because i’ve seen stories about people getting hit by cars and having things dropped on them and at first they’re fine but they have internal bleeding and die. Do you have internal bleeding do you think?”

We made eye contact in the mirror. “My name is Amir. I’m going to get your sister to a hospital. Or, I assume she’s your sister. 

“She is my sister. Her name is Minnie, and you hit her with this thing. Where are we even?” I whimpered.

“You mean the car?” Amir said.

“Is that what this is called? 

“You’re having amnesia, you must’ve been hurt if you can’t remember what a car is.”

“I had no idea what this thing was before you hit me with it.” Amir looked at me through a mirror. It felt improper. My dress was torn, my hair was down, and my corset had loosened.”

“We must be 40 miles from the nearest hospital. I have no idea. Here try my GPS, I’m not sure if we’ll have service out here, but I don’t know where to go.” He tossed me a heavy glass rectangle that lit up with a picture on it. 

“What is this? Where did you get all of these things? We don’t have anything like this where I’m from.”

“You must be messed up if you don’t know what a phone is. Check your pockets, I’m sure you have one.”

“Excuse me sir, but I would not need pockets, I’m a lady.” 

“Are you a cosplayer or something? Do you larp?” Amir said, “I only asked because you dress like a grandmother and talk like a character in a historical book.” I took a closer look at the ‘phone’ he handed me. 

“Who’s in the picture in the box?”

“Who’s my screensaver you mean? That’s my girlfriend Sam.”

“You’re courting her?” Amir laughed. 

“I don’t like the way that sounds.”

“How did you get such a colorful cabinet card?”

“It's just a picture. Not to flex, but I have the iPhone 13.” It was like I had entered a whole new world. I inspected the phone further. “Oh no,” Amir said, “My headlight must have been broken in the collison… it's flickering.” The road became significantly darker. The phone said what looked like the correct time, 8:34 PM. It made sense if the sun had been setting before all this. But how could it know that? It would normally be candles out by this time, but I wasn’t tired at all right now. 

Just under the time read the date. I looked it over once August 14, 2022. I chuckled the first time I read it and went in for a re-scan. August 14, 2022. No matter how many times I looked at it, it remained the same. My hand clasped over my mouth. 

“I must be sleeping,” I said, “I’m sleeping and I’ll wake up and it will be August 15, 1894.” 

“You hit your head,” Amir insisted, “I’m so sorry, I hit you and I jumbled your brain. You must be so confused. I’m so sorry- I don’t actually know your name. Do you even remember it?”

“My name is Florence! And I haven’t forgotten anything, but I’m extremely confused. But I know it is 1894, in my town, for my whole life I’ve been told what year it is, starting in 1879 until 1894. Why have I never left my town?” My lips trembled. “Where the hell are we?”

“Why don’t I tell you about things to help jog your memory.” I nodded at Amir out of curiosity and politeness after my outburst, but I did not question the competence of my brain. 

“It’s August 14, 2022. School starts in 14 days. We can finally go back to not wearing masks after years of Covid.”

“Masks?” I said.

“You didn’t forget masks did you? I wish I could forget those.”

“What do they look like… I mean maybe I just need to see one to remember.” Amir pulled out a “mask” identical to the one I found in the woods with my sister earlier. I think I’ve been lied to. 

I slid the phone back to the front of the car, back to Amir. “I have no idea how to use this because I’ve never seen one before.” My sleeve inched up when I was handing my phone back exposing my bruises. 

“Oh my god.” Amir pronounced.

“Don’t use God's name in that way.”

“I’m just in shock, I can’t believe how quickly those bruises showed up.”

“They aren’t from the crash, they’re from my mother.” 

“I could just kill any parent who hurts their kids. Messed up. Maybe they can help you at the hospital. To you know, get you out of there.” 

“If I hadn’t gotten out none of this would have happened.” 

“Where are you from anyway?”

“Merifolk County, I’ve never left there. My mother never let me… To this point my life has revolved around my mother’s beliefs, the bible. She’s been trying to raise me to be a proper lady but I’ve never been good enough. That's why she hits me, I think, to remind me I need to be better.”

“That’s not normal, for parents to hit their kids.”

“I wouldn’t know. The only other kid I’ve ever known is my sister.” 

“Sounds like a wacky ass town too, like a cult or something… Is that why you’re dressed Amish like that, religious reasons?” 

“I’m dressed like this because it's what proper ladies wear.” Amir looked disturbed, but was clinging onto the idea of my brain damage. To a boy who grew up 60 miles away but 128 years ahead, it seemed I had a few screws loose. Time wasn’t what separated us in reality. It wasn’t something supernatural, not a portal or breach. It was something stronger and much more cynical. It was a tyrant, my mother.

“I’ll pull up the directions. Just make sure I don’t hit anything while I’m not looking. Hit anything else that is.” Amir said. 

It had been about 30 minutes before we spotted a light, that was the same time my sister came back to us. 

“Flo?” Minnie panicked. I scrambled back over to her and hugged her. It was nearly pitch dark in the back of Amir’s car but she knew it was me. I stroked her blonde hair with gratitude instead of jealousy for the first time. Her head stopped bleeding, but she couldn’t say much without slurring her speech. I had read medical journals about bleeding from the head and what slurred speech was a sign of… not good.

“Look at all the candles, Flo.” Minnie slurred in a haze. Buildings hundreds of feet high were growing as we drove closer. I watched Minnie’s head explode. “Where are we?”

“It’s Baltimore,” Amir said, “Where I live, I was only so far from the city because I was visiting my girlfriend’s cabin.” 

I recalled the paper I had seen on my porch in the morning, about Baltimore being a city on the rise with a 50 foot building, but now I was seeing buildings scraping the sky. Had we traveled through time? All I knew is that there was much more out there than our town of 100, composed of no one under the age of 40 except my sister and I. 

We were almost out of the woods, one mile from the hospital when our journey came to a halt. Big cars, called vans, Amir said. Blocking the entire road that gave access to the city. We were almost there, I could see it. We were so close to the hospital. Amir had to stop so that we didn’t run into the vans that blocked the entire street. I looked at Amir in the car mirror confused, wondering if this was usual, but his look of confusion made my stomach drop.

“I’ll get out and see what’s up, stay here.” Amir instructed.

I peered out the window of the car. The doors of the vans opened simultaneously which made Amir take a few steps back. I saw the silhouettes of large hunting guns, the one familiar thing to me in this whole picture. I saw the hunters from my town with these guns every season. As a child I would sneak into the shed where they were kept and take apart these very same guns and put them back together. I was Minnie’s age, and too curious. 

I recognized Gus from town. He stepped out of the first van. I barely heard him say, “Give us the sisters and we won’t hurt you.” Then a woman; she stepped out of the second van in a poised manner, clearly trained in good edicate. I could see the silhouette of her red gown sweeping the roads. As she neared us, I heard her voice.

“Gus, don’t make promises that you can’t keep. You know what he knows… too much.” I recognized the woman, my mother. Amir’s car was stopped about 20 feet away from the vans. Minnie and I didn’t know exactly what was happening but we knew it was bad, Amir did too, I could see it on his face in the dark. It was clear he regretted hitting us for a completely different reason now. 

My mother walked towards the car slowly. Amir received a call. His phone was on his seat. His girlfriend, Sam. A step and a buzz, a step and a buzz. 

My mother came up to the door. “You need to come out girls,” she said. I was afraid of her in a new way. She seemed unhinged. 

She was impatient waiting for us to come out and opened the door. Minnie, who was prompted up against the door, subsequently fell out. She hit the ground and melted into it. She did not have the strength to get up, or become a problem. I did. 

My mother grabbed my hand and yanked me out of the car. She swiftly stuffed something pink in my mouth; the ribbon I had shed in the woods what felt like a lifetime ago. She tied the ribbon around the back of my head so that I could not speak. I was tongue tied again. I tried to fight her off and tried to scrape Millie off the pavement, but she was lifeless. I fought my mother as she tried to pull me into the van, but I was so tired. 

Before I was stuffed into the van I heard Amir crying, “Who are you?” “I’m just trying to get them to the hospital!” “Please don’t hurt us.” 

My mother took a gun from Gus and approached Amir. She got really close to Amir with the gun still in her hand. I saw her mouth move and his tremble. The gun was held at stomach level between the both of them, and was pointed at Amir. 

Just as I thought she was dead, I saw Minnie’s foot twitch a little. I was staring at her through the window. I needed to get to her. I tried to open the door in the least disruptive way, but it swung open. I ran towards my sister, still on the pavement, scarcely opening her eyes. I grabbed her arms to drag her to the van because there was nowhere else to go. I cringed each time a new scrape opened up on her leg from being dragged along the road. My mother walked back with me. I hadn’t been looking, but no shots were fired. By the time I looked back Amir’s back car lights were a distance away.

I got Minnie back to the van and was drained of all my energy. I just laid on the floor with Minnie’s head on my lap, shaking. I suppose I drifted off to sleep.

I opened my eyes in a white nightgown with lace dawning the sleeves. My pink bow was holding a tight braid together. I was back in my room. Lemonade at my bedside, the sound of chickens chirping, the wind swaying my pink curtains, and an eerie feeling creeping through the corners of my body. My shoulders were freezing. I was back in my world of falsehoods. I just needed to find my sister.

I twisted the glass handle on my door. The door creaked. I found my way to the stairs which led me to the parlor. I inspected the mantle of the fireplace; a wall full of portraits that had always been there. There were footsteps in the kitchen. I walked that direction while clenching my fists to stop them from shaking. I lost my balance in the doorway between the parlor and kitchen, grasping at two sides of the wall for support. My mother’s eyes pierced me and she boiled something. 

“Good, dear! You’re awake,” she smiled, “you had your father and I worried sick about you, sleeping at this hour.”

“Where’s Minnie?”

“Oh dear, I reckon the commotion woke you, no?” I shook my head and squinted my eyes. 

“Your sister is infected with Smallpox. The Doctor took her last night. I thought you would have noticed, but you never have been the most observant.”

“What are you talking about Mother, we both know what happened last night?”

“You were probably in a deep sleep, tired from studying perhaps.”

“Can I see her then?”

“Who?” My mother laughed. I took a confused look at her, dumbfounded that she could be joking when Minnie almost died, or for all I knew was dead. I knew she got hit by a car last night.

“I joke,” her face flattened again, “but no, she has to be isolated for at least a week, you don’t want to catch her disease.”

“I couldn’t mother, I’ve had Smallpox before my ninth birthday.”

“No you didn’t Florence.” I didn’t want to fight her any more. I used to think I was lucky not to have scars from the pox, but now I wish I had to end this debate. 

“Where is she then?”

“She will stay in the guest wing, where you are not to go.”

“I’m going to go wash up.”

I felt butterflies in my stomach, something unnerving was at play. Smallpox certainly wasn’t the problem with my sister, she was hit by something, something we weren’t supposed to see or know existed. I didn’t know why but my mother was doing something deliberate. She always did this; tried to convince me of something I knew as fact was fiction.

I went back to my room and I saw something flutter past my window. It was a Zebra Swallowtail, the butterfly my sister had been lured into the woods chasing. I felt like I needed to follow it now. I unlocked my window and pushed it open. It had been years since I opened the window, some white paint chipped off. The sound of birds chirping flooded the delicate quiet of my room. 

I put one foot out the window. Clinging to the house, I started shifting my body through the opening.. I climbed down the vines that winded up my house. My eyes followed the butterfly until I couldn’t turn my neck any further. I wished for it to slow down, to give me time to catch up. 

The vines ended five feet above the ground, I let go and landed on my ankle. It was painful, but I couldn’t falter. My gown was stained by the green grass. 

I limped in the direction of the butterfly. I followed it along the side of my house where it hovered near a window. I peaked in, my house was quite big and I didn’t recognize it from this angle. I saw Minnie in a blue dress laying on a white quilt. The room looked very sterile. My sister and the sun were the only things that gave it depth, other than that it was stark white.

I tapped on the window and thought this could be our escape. I wondered how much my mother knew I knew. I knew it wasn’t 1894, like I had been raised. I knew there was more out there than she let me know. And I knew she would do anything to get us back if we ran away. I didn’t know what she would do if she found us after escaping again. I tapped on the window loudly again and Minnie came to. Sitting up looked extremely painful for her. 

I mouthed to her crack open the window. Minnie tried to get up but she could not walk. She looked so much older than eight just then. 

It was a risk, but I needed to break the window. I was sure they would know when we were gone anyway. I grabbed a big rock off the ground and smashed it through the window along with my hand. I felt what it was to have glass lodged in your knuckles, it was no worse than when my mother threw a tea cup that broke on my face.

“Come on out the window, Min?” I said.

“What are you doing out there?” Minnie clasped her hands over her face, looking loopy.
“You don’t remember what happened? Minerva you need to trust me, we have to go now.” I said with urgency. Minnie knew that when I used her full name it was serious, but she was still tentative. “Minnie there are bad people after us, please trust me.”

“Why does everything hurt so bad?”

“I’ll have to tell you when we’re far enough away. I think they’re watching us.”

That was enough for her. She had a look of cringe as she hobbled to the window sill and through the opening. We were on ground level, but when she fell out the window she whimpered in pain. Through the whole endeavor the butterfly stayed near, switching from flower to flower for a little fix of pollen. It led us through the side yard, to the edge of the woods. I helped Minnie walk by propping her arm on my shoulder. The butterfly flew towards the trees. It stopped at a patch of purple flowers next to a stream like it was saying come to me. 

When we stepped into the woods there was the distant sound of a horn, one I reckon the whole town could hear. I looked back from the woods and saw the townspeople all running in our direction. I picked Minnie up, ran deep in the woods, and never looked back again.

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