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Escape This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Auckland, New Zealand
Twilight is the time when the world stops spinning. Doors shut, keys turn in locks, shops close. Shutters press down like eyelids, blocking out the rest of the world. As cars trickle down the roads, the light dims, until only silhouettes can be seen. The street lamps are not lit yet, but this will only last a few minutes. I must enjoy this time, while it lasts.
The air bathes my skin in its cool embrace. My legs seem to move of their own accord. softly brushing sand aside, in time with the rhythm of the waves. I breathe in the fresh, salty smell and breathe out my individuality, one with my surroundings. On my right lies the sea, on my left lies the city, but right now, all is quiet. Calm. Birds are asleep, people are inside, locked away. Even the noise of the waves is dampened. I am the only one to enjoy this world.
Suddenly, a lamp flicks on. My head snaps towards the disturbance. I watch it glow, momentarily confused. It flickers slightly, then settles, as if sure of itself. Its neighbour, following its lead, clicks on, then another, and another. Gradually, the street is brightened, but not enough to push back the darkness of the incoming night a few metres away. The wind, a few seconds ago caressing my skin, picks up, and a smile stretches across my lips. The soft throbbing of the waves strengthens to a dull roar, and the wind whips my loose hair around my face. My head tips back, eyes closed in rapture, and my smile becomes a grin. My eyes snap open.
Electricity laces through my veins, and suddenly, I am running. Racing down the beach, my heels kick up sand and the waves laugh with me, struggling to keep up. An insane cackle escapes my lips, waking up a tui in the bush next to me, but I don’t care. I run and run, leaving the lights of the city far behind. A cliff looms in front of me. I did not even realise I’d been running uphill. My mouth contorts in a snarl, and I run harder. Twenty steps to go. The wind roars in my ears. Ten. I speed up, leaving time lost behind me. Five. Almost there.
Three.
Two.
One.
I leap off the edge. I soar out into space, clear of the cage that is my life. Wings shoot from my back, and my eyes close in calm happiness.
I’m free.





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