Ethan ran, wiping his eyes so he could see, and wiping his nose he could breathe, but kept running. He ran out the back of the school, through the fence and into the forest. He ran until his heart was popping out of his chest, until it felt as though someone had stabbed him in the ribs, until his legs ached like never before. Collapsing on the ground, he looked around him. He couldn’t stop the tears, and sobs. He might be able to outrun the words, but not his emotions–he was never able to, no matter how hard he tried. His emotions enveloped him, taking over his body, and then he was shaking. His sobs echoed.
He hated crying. All he wanted was for it to pass. And it did; eventually his breath slowed, his eyes tired. Around him was unfamiliar territory. He’d thought he had explored all of the woods, but these trees were different. The bark was the same, but the leaves were a crescent shape. It was beautiful sight; in the middle of autumn, the forest was a sea of oranges and reds. The leaves calmed him, luring him in with their beauty. Every leaf seemed to be in a different stage of fall. Some were all a vibrant red, some yellow or orange, some even flowed with color, from green to yellow to orange to red. Ethan ran around collecting all of them.
He found an open space, and got to work. First he cleared a section of the forest floor, creating a perfect circle. Then he began arranging the leaves. He started in the bottom of the circle with the green leaves, and made a perfect gradient from green to red. It was mesmerizing–a moment of perfection in a sporadic world. He was so wrapped up in his work that he didn’t hear the voices calling him, or the approaching footsteps. He didn’t snap out of it until he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Did you do that?”
Ethan nodded, and the group behind him started started whispering. He didn’t pick up anything they were saying. He had created a field of the circles, all arranged into another perfect circle. Everyone seemed impressed, but he couldn’t care less, he just wanted to make more. He couldn’t stop. It had taken him over, yet it was the most calm he had been in ages. Inspiration had consumed him.