Night Won’t Breathe | allthatisknown
Martha hadn’t really planned on leaving the house. She hadn’t been allowed out all day, and since she had already gotten caught sneaking out during the day once that week, she didn’t really want to chance it again. The punishment would only be worse the second time. Besides, the week had been a long one, it was almost over, and Martha was so tired of fighting tooth and nail for every little bit of freedom she got, only to pay the price at a later date. It seemed easier to just let today happen, connecting with the world briefly on twitter when she was sure there were no prying eyes to look.
But as night came, she found herself growing restless. She laid in bed for a bit as the sky darkened, listening to her father’s snores across the hallway, and decided, perhaps impulsively, to sneak out. He didn’t usually wake up after falling asleep, so this seemed safe enough. She dressed silently in the dark, shooting off a quick tweet about taking a walk before crawling out her window. Maybe Georg or Ilse or someone would see it, and want to join her. She would be okay with company, certainly. But was she craving it? In truth, she would have been equally happy alone, thinking. Trying to wrap her head around – everything.
She was changing, she knew that. Just a year ago, she would have stared at the ceiling until the small hours of the morning instead of sneaking out. She would have stayed quiet, obedient. Looking back on the person she was then, Martha thought she was quite a bit more of a doll than a person, nothing more than her father’s plaything, beautiful and silent. She was sure, quite sure, that she was becoming more than that – that she was meant to be something more, all along. She had always had the capacity for … something in her. But what? Just who was she? It was a big question to ponder as she wandered deeper into the forest, and the thick blanket of stars above gave her no answer. All was silent, tonight – until she heard the rustling of pages, a sigh of breath.
“Oh!” There was a boy in the forest. Martha’s hand flew to her throat as she stumbled backwards, caught off-guard. She certainly hadn’t been expecting to see anyone. “I’m sorry, I – Uhm. Oh.” Realization dawned. “Melchior? It’s you.” With the small light he had been reading by illuminating his face, it became impossible to mistake him for anyone else. “Am I … uh … Interrupting anything?” She looked around. So lost in thought, she didn’t even notice that she had wandered into a different area of the forest than usual. She still knew it, she knew the entire forest like she knew the order of the books on her shelves and the clothing hung neatly in her closet, by color. She simply didn’t frequent the big oak, finding more solace where the gentle babble of the stream was a bit closer.