Writers unleashed their cries of freedom in the form of flash fiction. Freedom is not for everyone. What frees one, often confines another. Tragic? Not if you write fiction. Freedom is an ideal that builds great tension in a story. This week, writers found clashes at the heart of freedom.
The following stories are based on the September 17, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) let freedom ring in your story.
Freedom From a Body by Ruchira Khanna
Mohan was laying on his side with tears trickling down his cheeks, and he was quick to wipe from his spare wrist while the other one was occupied with the intravenous drip.
His body was screeching in pain, and he wanted a way out from this disease whose malignant growth had penetrated in his bones thus making it unbearable.
“It is just a matter of time” the docs said.
Family members were stroking his legs with the hope to give him some relief until he finally breathed his last, and got a well-deserved freedom from the diseased body.
Death Row by Amber Prince
She sat facing the thick glass that separated her from him, tissues clenched so tight in her fists they would be of little use to her if she needed them. Her eyes never leaving his as the needles were inserted into his veins, which would soon transfer the poisons into his body.
The time was coming. They had both been waiting for it, dreaming about it even.
She would no longer have to fight her hatred for him. He would no longer have to endure his own hatred of himself.
Finally they would be free. And she smiled resentfully.
Freedom Flash by Anne Goodwin
They stopped at the first layby after the ferry. Jack hopped out to fetch their fleeces, the fog thick as their dread of returning to deskwork after three months drifting across Europe like a couple of hippies.
Darren rushed round the back as a bedraggled figure staggered to his feet from under the dormobile. “How the …?”
“Must’ve tied himself to the axle at Calais.” Jack grabbed his phone. “Gotta report it. I’m not getting done for harbouring illegals.”
The man shivered. Darren wondered if it were fear or cold. “Gotta get him a cup of tea.”
Variations of Captivity by Sarah Brentyn
She stared at the dark window seeing only her reflection but knowing that, beyond the pane, he stood. He watched. What did he see? She wondered. Leaving him did not give her the freedom she wanted. It was a bold move, a departure from her character, to pack up and disappear. But she hadn’t disappeared. Not from his sight. She couldn’t run anymore.
The metal felt uncomfortable and cold on her leg where the gun rested. They were facing off. He, outside invading her privacy, taking away her sense of safety. She, inside contemplating trading one prison for another.
Guilty by Larry LaForge
“Your Honor, we find the defendant NOT GUILTY.”
Jeffrey’s family mobs him as the judge orders his release. The high-powered lawyers hired by his wealthy parents have done their job.
Reasonable doubt. The lawyers said they could create it, and they did.
“Freedom!” Jeffrey’s father exclaims while patting his son’s back. Family and friends hug him with relief and joy.
But Jeffrey remains subdued.
Linda Mykerson is dead. The Mykerson family is devastated. Jeffrey knows what really happened and is haunted by a truth he cannot escape.
He’s not going to jail, but Jeffrey Macbrile is anything but free.
The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.
Merlin’s Gambit by Tally Pendragon
I had a vision: a myth called freedom; I went back there to explore it; and I discovered the astoundingly simple truth that They have tried to hide from us for more than 500 years now. I looked forward into a time when the hiding of this secret produces the worst devastation, unbelief and confusion. I had to try to do something about the plight of mankind, so I formulated a plan, simple enough in its design, yet anything but simple in its execution. This book that you hold in your hands now is the outworking of that plan.
The Chalkboard by Sarah Unsicker
Chelsea watches the seconds tick by on the monochromatic clock. Sixty seconds is an eternity, and freedom lies fifteen full minutes away.
“Focus on your work,” the teacher says, her eyes fixed on Chelsea. Can’t she hear the robins twittering outside, or see the sky, bluer than blue?
Chelsea laboriously copies the lesson from the chalkboard. Meaning is lost as she concentrates on the words.
Other children finish their work. The bird beckons her to the warm sun.
Five sentences in, the freedom bell rings.
Chelsea will never know what is written on the other half of that chalkboard.
The Price of Freedom by Geoff Le Pard
‘When will you drop this vendetta, Mary?’
That’s what Paul had said. It wasn’t like she was free to choose. She hadn’t asked for an illegitimate half-brother contesting their father’s will. She had been patient, tried to explain. But all Paul had said was, ‘What about me? What about Penny?’
It hurt, the suggestion she was dragging them along. She wanted to say it was her problem and she would sort it, but the gaunt look on Penny’s face told a different story. Her father had created this prison but she had taken her family inside with her.
Freedom Flash by Irene Waters
“Now. tomorrow after we walk the dogs we’ve got that art course. It goes for four hours. Have to leave it on time cause Rosie is coming 2.30. Then have to walk the dogs as Barbara is expecting me at six.”
“I can’t listen to any more. I just want my freedom.” He stamped his foot.
“What do you mean?”
“I just want to be free. I want the freedom to wake up and decide then what I want to do – not have it all planned out.”
“You do nothing but….”
“ I wish.”
“Your freedom will be my gaol.”
Bull Fighting by Charli Mills
“It’s my God-given right to clean up on Rock Creek.” Cob tensed his muscles, reminding Sarah of a tethered bull. Dragging boards by a nose ring drained the bull’s fight. Cob raged freely.
“Who does he think he is? Wellmen had better get back here with my payment or he and that skinny little wretch of woman he’s shacked-up with are out on their duffs!”
Sarah flinched at the familiar words used to describe her situation with Cob. Shacked-up felt oppressive especially with him on the prod. “Cob, just calm down. Come to bed.”
It was her only protection.
Stray by Pete
It took me years to learn the game. To sit or raise my paw like a half-wit, all for a few nibbles. A scratch on the head.
It’s difficult. The snap of a twig or the crunch of a leaf and my primal instincts flex. But still I wait.
Near the creek, meaty fingers fiddle with my harness, I’m told to be a good boy. I pant with exhilaration as the straps fall from my shoulders.
Galloping into sunset, the whistles grow faint. But I wasn’t born for show or tricks.
I am not a good boy.
Love it! Again, so many different takes on the prompt. Although this time around, there are some similar themes… All fab flash!
Crimes and relationships have freedom (or lack of it) in common! Another great round!
Wonderful compilation once again Charli, love each and every one but particularly Anne’s. Friends of ours leaving France after their holiday witnessed the throngs of young men running to ‘hijack’ exiting vehicles heading out from Calais to Dover. A very sad state of affairs to say the least.
Oh, wow, that could be scary but also heart-wrenching. I’d get in trouble trying to stuff people in the trunk!
Great compilation as usual, Charli, but this time a little darker maybe.
I think freedom to us into the tension that shadows the ideal. Thanks, Norah!
I like that : tension that shadows the ideal.