Each raindrop is a lost soul, and as they hit my face, I feel a strange sense of release that seems almost supernatural. As the trees reach out to touch me, my eyes focus on the fox as he leaps into the air before floating on his belly with his front legs stretched out, disappearing into the woods without looking back. I hesitate for a moment by digging my fingernails into the palms of my hands. Another flash of lightning. Another deafening roar that causes me to flinch. There are tears in my eyes. They mix with the rain tasting so salty upon my lips. I am nature, I tell myself. I’m both dead and alive at the same time. Picking my legs up, I sprint with all the energy I can muster at the wall of trees that looms ahead. The rivers of mud beneath my feet flow in full force. The fields of wheat, they bend in the storm, swaying like lovers by the side of the road sharing their first kiss. I think of X. I think of her face at the tips of my fingers, and of her awaiting my embrace on the night of our first date. That kiss. Its memory draws the air from my lungs as the branches before me part like a curtain. In the seconds before I enter, the raindrops glow as bright as orbs reflecting the flashes of lightning from above. And yet there’s no thunder, just a steady ringing in my ears that won’t shift. Stood on the threshold, I see the life I once knew, and the life that has yet to begin, and how she’s at the centre of everything. In this life and the next, it’s her I seek out. Through memory and time, it’s her scent that draws me forward. Taking a step into the darkness, I feel drowned in love and violence; in a desperate need to destroy the world I’m leaving so I may create a better one. One that’s exactly how I wish it to be. Closing my eyes, I see my life’s worth painted in images. See it splashed on a canvas that colours the sky then smeared upon the pages of a dog-eared book, and yet all that matters is the thought of seeing that smile of hers again. And so I reach out my hand, and the curtain of branches closes behind me.