6:43 a.m.

The shades draw back once more. I cannot see Carla, yet I know she is there.

I know she is pulling the strings.

7:22 a.m.

The police come and ask me to leave.

I do not have to leave. I have a right to be here, and I consider telling them to find an arborist.

But instead, I drop my leaves, retract my roots, fell my branches, and depart for the early morning unknown of the city.

Carla’s eyes leave a sunburn on the back of my neck as I retreat.

Continue to Chapter Twenty-Eight.