Ashley Sugarnotch was the Runner

When I fall asleep, sometimes an orchestra fills my ears. A symphony. As if I were suddenly submerged in sound. As soon as I become aware of it—as soon as I think—it wakes me back up. I’m left with the sound as a thought. I’m left with the feeling that something important just slipped between my fingers. When I finally slept last night, I found myself in the woods again. This time, I couldn’t move. The roots of a tree had snarled around my wrists. The wolf came (as he always does) and peeled back the skin on my chest. Beneath, instead of muscle, were worms of molten metal crawling around and over each other, swarming my heart. All rust. The wolf snapped out the heart in his jaws and swallowed. I woke up as I said into the air, “finally.”

By Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes