Voices Forum front page //// short stories //// articles //// site index


by John Exell

The nurse brought round the medicine trolley. The patients shuffled towards her, all except Tom. No, he had had enough. He hated the pills, all they did was to make him sleepy. He didn't need them. He didn't need to be here. There was nothing wrong with him. He was a prisoner.

He turned sharply, walked briskly down the corridor, and slipped out a side door. He blinked in the sun, then broke into a run, jumped over a hedge and down the farm track. He was free, free. The dark, dead, dreary ward was a memory.

He continued running until he collapsed against a stile, breathless, a broad smile escaping from his lips. A lark soared high in the sky; he followed it with his mind. He noticed a rabbit dart into the undergrowth, its white tail glistening in the sunlight. The tops of the trees swayed in the gentle breeze. All was movement, life. He breathed it all in deeply.

Of course they would come looking for him, but he didn't care, not at this moment, this precious moment.